Nominated at The Forbidden Awards: Round 5 Category: The Velvet Award: best happy, fluffy fic.

Rating: NC-17-ish for language and sexual acts… and some sorta non-con but not exactly. LOL
Pairing: Spike/William; S/William/Xander (soon)
Disclaimer: I am not Joss and make no money from this.
Summary: Ah, X-mastime hijinks on the Hellmouth…
Notes: This is pretty AU in that it’s season 6 (BtVS), the whole infatuation with/love of Buffy never happened, Anya ran off at the end of S5, and there are two Spikes—or more accurately, a Spike and a William—twins. The rest would never have happened on the show, near the show or even in the same WORLD as the show. LOL
More notes: This will be a smallish series, the writing of which will be fit in around my current love, which is Spander. Guess that makes this… Spillxandiam? Spandiam? LOL
MORE more notes: For my purposes, Spike is Spike. William is also a vampire but never took on the Spike-persona. William is therefore more like the William from the show but as a vampire, if that makes any sense. LOL





Naughty Nick and the Evil Elf


by
Tisienne Blue


Part One

If it hadn’t been for the empty bottles, he would have wondered what truck hit him the night before. As it was, though… well, Spike was pretty clear on exactly why he was feeling so bloody… flattened.

A small groan left his lips as he forced himself to roll onto his back, eyes blearily staring at the ceiling of the subterranean cavern of his old crypt. “Bloody hell,” he grunted as the chipped rock slowly swam into focus, “what th’ merry fuck am I doin’ here?”

“Yes,” came a matching voice from not far away, although it was the timbre and tone that matched, rather than the mode of speech, “that is perhaps the best question you’ve asked in quite a while… brother.”

“Great soddin’… Will?” Spike demanded, sitting up suddenly and grasping his head as it spun and throbbed. “ ‘s that you?”

Unamused blue eyes met bloodshot cerulean and William sighed. “Of course it’s me, dearest. You called me on the cellular telephone, or do you not remember? I believe you were rather distressed at having lost that leather coat of which you are so fond in a game of cards, although…” He gazed placidly at the mentioned garment which occupied its usual place on his twin’s body, “Perhaps you were merely drunk.”

The bleached blond groaned softly, looking away from his darker-haired double. “Might have been,” he admitted, “but why th’ bloody fuck am I here?”

William chuckled, glancing first at the tangled sheets pouring over the side of the bed, then at the glittering but empty glass containers scattered about. “I am rather tempted to say that you engaged in a somewhat… private party. However, since you are still fully clothed, I don’t believe it to have gone terribly well.”

Spike grunted, clawing his way across the shabby rug to the bed, then levered himself up onto it with a small hiss. “Least I didn’t shag th’ bloody Slayer,” he mumbled, noticing his coat bunched uncomfortably beneath him but unwilling to move again to remove it. “Soddin’ bint was taggin’ along after me last night… ungh. At first, I mean.” He frowned. “Yah… that’s why I went ta Willie’s. Knew she wouldn’t follow me in there on a bleedin’ Friday night.”

The slightly older twin but slightly younger vamp smiled and shook his head as he settled himself on the edge of the mattress, one hand running slowly up and down his brother’s toned torso, although the pale, smooth skin was covered by Spike’s usual black t-shirt. “None of which explains why you came here, dearest, when you could have just come home after your… game. But as I have no intention of spending any more time than is necessary in this… tragedy of a flat, I believe I will return to our place. I trust that you’ll follow when you’re feeling a bit more yourself, hmmm…?”

His arched and unscarred brow was met with a soft snore and William shook his head again, leaning down to press a soft, gentle kiss to his sleeping love’s lips. “Come home when you awaken, beloved,” he murmured, sure that Spike’s demon could not only hear him but would remember on waking again, and with that he stood and headed out through the tunnels for the surprisingly affordable house they’d found almost two years earlier.

Of course, he reminded himself as he strolled, taking care that his new boots didn’t get too soiled, it was entirely possible that they’d gotten a reduced rate due to the previous owners having died so horribly in their own home.

A wicked little smile twitched at his lips with the memory and stayed there for the remainder of his journey, although it faded swiftly upon entering the house and finding not the usual odd but immaculate mixture of punk fashion and Victorian style, but boxes and boxes of God knew what.

And an envelope, carefully addressed in a strong but flowing hand to ‘Spike’.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


His back was still aching from the knot of leather his coat had made beneath him while he’d slept, but he was a vampire, and he’d be damned yet again if he was going to act like the strong twinge when he moved really mattered.

Besides, Spike thought with a smirk, his sore spine would be the perfect excuse to get naked and have Will rub him all over. Not that he needed an excuse, but his brother had always clung more to their upbringing than he had, so letting William think the nakedness was for therapeutic purposes would just move things along faster, and Spike was horny, for fuck’s sake!

On his more evil days, he was almost sorry that he’d hidden Will’s existence from Angelus and Dru, but most times he was glad they’d never known about his twin… and the fact that he’d turned him.

He’d almost slipped up, right there at the beginning, though. When he’d been telling Dru how the three of them would have such a lovely time creating mayhem. Fortunately, he’d caught himself in time and had told her he’d meant his Mum.

He had turned her, too, but… he’d been planning on traveling the world with his beloved Sire. Why the fuck would he have wanted his Mum along on the trip?

But Mum had had other ideas, and while it was one thing to lust after his twin—William was, after all, beautiful and a part of his own heart—it was something entirely sick for Mum to come on the way she had, so…

Spike shuddered a bit, stumbling as he recalled that horror.

“Well, bint’s dusted now. Must have got herself a right odd demon, I’m guessin’. Or might have been that bloody Sire-bond thing, ‘cept…” Then again, he’d thought Dru was bloody well stunning even before she’d made him, so he really didn’t know.

Then again, it didn’t much matter. Mum was dust and William… well, it had taken the demons for the both of them to admit to and act on what they’d both wanted since puberty had struck, but once they had…

He chuckled, remembering all the nights he’d said he was going hunting but instead had snuck off to whichever inn William was staying at while following them.

They’d shagged and bit and shagged some more, usually ending the evening by sharing a serving wench or barman between them in every possible way, finally sinking matching fangs in and draining their conquests dry.

Yeah, those had been the days… and once they figured out how to get rid of the bloody chip in his noggin, they’d do that again… and again, and again.

Until then, though, they’d make do with the shagging… and the ones William brought home and killed for him.

Spike was whistling jauntily as he came up from the basement and found himself confronted by a roomful of stacked boxes and a very angry looking brother.

“What th’ bloody fuck is all this?” he demanded, eyes narrowed to a glare.

William arched both brows and held up the opened envelope. “Wonderful question, that. Do you by any chance remember meeting people—and I do use the term loosely—named…” He peered at the letter again. “Yes… Sparkle and Glitter last night? I had thought you said you were at Willie’s.”

Spike sputtered.

Spike growled.

Spike snatched the letter from his brother’s hand and read it quickly.

Spike growled again. “Don’t know any bloody fuckin’…”

And then Spike remembered.

“Soddin’ elves! Bollocks!”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Two days of researching and neither Spike nor William had come up with anything that could possibly help. Not even sneaking into the Watcher’s shop long after closing to peruse the mystical texts had given them the tiniest glimmer of an idea regarding a way out of the mess Spike had gotten them into.

And it was ‘them’, William acknowledged sadly. He and his brother had been together from the womb and there was no way he was going to let Spike try to handle this on his own. There was only one thing for it. Only one possible avenue they hadn’t tried yet, and… oh, Spike was going to hate it.

That was all the more reason, of course, to avoid mentioning it. Far better to set the wheels in motion and apologize later. And if William did most of that apologizing on his back with his twin’s very familiar cock jammed nearly up into his colon, then so be it, he told himself with an anticipatory smirk.

He picked up the phone and schooled his face into a scowl. Nobody would be able to see him, of course, but he’d found that bearing the correct facial expression made the tone of his voice that much more believable.

“Oi. Watcher. Came across somethin’ an’ don’t know what ta make of it, yah? Figure you lot owe me a fair bit o’ dosh by now, so chop-chop. Get yer soddin’ Scooby hats on an’ get t’ work!”

He couldn’t help smiling at the sputters coming through the line, but William somehow managed not to laugh.

“Situation’s this, git…” He spun a rather simple tale of a demon he knew—a non-violent sort, of course—who’d foolishly gotten into the same predicament Spike had gotten them into, elaborating slightly when the Watcher asked a question here and there, and once the Englishman stopped laughing, William growled.

“Right, then. You and yer merry band of Slayerettes solve my pro… my friend’s problem an’ I’ll call it even.” The smirk was clear in his voice as he went on. “Y’know. Until th’ next time you pathetic wankers run across something you can’t handle without my help. Which should be… ‘bout this time tomorrow, yah?”

The Watcher’s annoyed and offended mutters were ended by the simple expedient of hanging up the phone and William got down to business, which was, of course, trying to find his brother before the utter git did something even more idiotic than playing drunken poker with Santa’s bloody elves.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“Hey, Spike!” Willie called out loudly, his annoying voice grating on the vampire’s sensitive ears, “Look, guys! Spike’s here! Hey, Spike, what can I get you? Some eggnog? Maybe a candy cane?”

The blond growled as he stalked to the bar. “You can get me a big glass of shut th’ hell up, you moron. Or maybe a pint of slimy barkeeper, yah?”

The human smirked, his oily face wrinkling with amusement. “Oh, I’m scared, buddy. Can’t hurt me, can you? Not with that chip in your head. Eeeep!” The last sound emerged as one strong, pale hand darted out and clenched in the neck of his shirt, dragging him halfway across the bar.

“Likely take all of two seconds ta rip out your windpipe, you pathetic little shit. Might have a headache for a while after, but I’m willin’ ta chance it. Got it, pissant?” And oh, that was a gratifying look of sheer terror on the prat’s face. “Right, then. Elves. Where do I find them?”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Willow and Tara exchanged worried looks, even as they flipped through the pages of the decidedly odd books Giles had brought up from the cellar.

‘Santa?’ Tara mouthed, her expression making it clear that what she was really asking was whether Giles lost his mind on a regular basis. Her girlfriend had known the Englishman for much longer than she had, after all.

Willow barely managed not to giggle, even as she mouthed back ‘Elves!’ before slapping her hand over her lips.

For his part, Xander sat at the table, slumped and staring unseeingly at the open tome in front of him. “This is stupid,” he grumbled, flipping to yet another irrelevant page. “There’s no such thing as Santa. You know it, I know it… Hell, even Dawn knows it. It’s all just a big story created by the greeting card companies to delude kids into thinking they might actually have a chance at getting something they want. A myth!”

He sighed, ignoring the suddenly worried glances Willow was giving him. “This is a ginormous waste of time. I should be at my place figuring out how to avoid going to my folks’ for Christmas. They’re all over me to bring them the traditional holiday gifts of booze, booze and more booze… and fruitcake. You know, now that I have a real job and can afford to pay for an apartment that’s not their basement.”

He frowned and slammed his book shut. “Christmas sucks.”

“But… but…” Willow was suddenly sputtering and giving her best friend her biggest, most wounded eyes. “Snoopy dance! And… and the little pitiful tree, and… and Charlie Brown! You love Charlie Brown… and Christmas, Xander! You always have!”

The young man snorted and shoved away from the table. “No. I used to love it, Willow. Even with the drunken Christmas fights and sleeping outside and never getting a single present from anyone but you and Jesse, I loved it. But what’s there to love about it now, huh? Being reminded for over a month beforehand that I’m alone? That everyone has someone to celebrate with, except me? That my girlfriend didn’t even like me enough to ask me to go with her when she left?” He laughed bitterly. “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men? What a fucking crock! We live on a Hellmouth. And even if we didn’t, it’s not any better out there in the rest of the world.”

“So I give up,” he said, his voice flat now. “And I refuse to waste what little free time I have trying to research a guy who doesn’t exist! If you guys want to spend the night trying to find proof of Santa, then you do that. I’ll be home watching porn.”

Xander blinked, then blushed. “Um, I mean sports. Sports. Yeah. There’s a good game on… somewhere…”

He grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair and nearly flew from the shop, still bright red and cursing himself as all sorts of a jackass. Like he wanted the girls—and Giles, because how could his humiliation be complete without Giles hearing it as well—knowing he was going to be home alone spanking the monkey… flogging the bishop… charming the snake.

“Shit. I hate this fucking time of year,” he snarled at the big fake snowman set up at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“Bloody hell,” Spike groaned, even as he tried to force himself upright, using the uneven brick wall of the alley for leverage. “Those little bastards don’t fight fair…”

William chuckled softly from the street then strolled towards his brother. “Yes, but you generally don’t either, dearest.” He arched one brow at Spike, taking in the scuffed and dirty jeans and boots, as well as the bit of what looked like powdered sugar on the side of the treasured duster and the small scrape on one sharp cheekbone. “Oh, beloved… what have those Servants of Santa done to you?”

The bleached blond growled, pushing his brother away and scowling mightily at the barely concealed amusement in his twin’s voice. “ ‘s not soddin’ funny, git! They bloody well ambushed me! There I was, just sneakin’ along after them an’ waitin’ for th’ chance ta beat one of them inta forgivin’ th’ debt, an’ th’ next thing I knew, they were on me!” He swallowed roughly when William simply tried harder to hold in his chuckles. “Musta been ten—no, twenty of th’ little buggers! They… they beat me with sticks, William!”

Well, that had William’s demon coming out in less than a non-existent heartbeat. Twenty of the little fucks, and with sticks, against one vampire? That wasn’t at all sporting!

He moved closer, wrapping his twin in strong arms as he held him close… and then he inhaled slowly, finding the scents of Spike and only two unknown creatures… along with the lingering smell of peppermint… and William had all he could do not to fall over laughing harder than he’d possibly done in his entire existence.

Still, he managed to keep a straight face as he helped his brother from the alley and started them towards home. “It sounds most distressing, dearest. Perhaps I’ll simply take you back to the house and then find us a nice, sweet young thing. After an experience like that, you’re sure to require a bit of… refreshment.”

He waited until Spike relaxed just a bit before letting his lips twitch into a smirk. “And considering what you’ve been through, beloved, I’ll make it a point to avoid anyone who even smells of candy canes. I wouldn’t want to contribute to your ‘traumatic experience’.”

Spike blinked, then growled as William shoved him backwards and took off running. “Bloody fuckin’ hell, Will! I’m goin’ ta stripe your ass for that, you wanker!” he shouted, taking off at a dead run after the fleeing darker blond.

“With what? A peppermint stick?” William hollered back, putting on another burst of speed as he raced for home and their bedroom.

He really would have to go out later to find them something hot and fresh, but first… well, he had a punishment coming, didn’t he?

And maybe the lost bet wasn’t such a bad thing, after all.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Still nothing, Giles admitted to himself with a sigh. Not that he’d truly expected there to be because Xander had been more or less right the other night. Santa—as portrayed in popular fiction and common belief—didn’t exist.

What did exist, however, was a demon older than most.

That said demon was almost entirely benevolent was likely what had kept it from being hunted down and destroyed long centuries earlier. Well, that and the fact that he only came out of hiding one night a year, and that based upon a wish some long-dead child had made in what must have been the dead of night.

He had no trouble believing that it might have been a child like Xander must have been—ignored when he wasn’t being abused; taken for granted and used as slave labor when he wasn’t being ignored… and likely constantly belittled by the very people who should have cherished and loved him—that had made the wish.

There was no record in the Watchers’ Chronicles of exactly what had happened, and in fact the one Watcher who had been in the area at the time had been laughed at by his peers. Until a few years later, in any case, when the reports of food, clothing and various other useful items ‘magically’ appearing on one certain night of the year had become more common and by then… well, the original Watcher had passed on, so the real truth was… debatable.

It wasn’t that the popular myth of Santa Claus had a demon at its center that bothered Giles. It was that nobody knew the demon’s name. In fact, aside from himself and a few of his colleagues, the demonic status of the supposedly smiling and jolly fat man was entirely unknown, which left just about zero chance of finding Spike’s answers. And without a name, there was no possible way to call upon the demon and demand those answers, much less an escape clause for whatever friend of Spike’s had gotten itself into trouble.

Ordinarily that wouldn’t have bothered Giles, but in this case… he was into Spike for close to a thousand dollars and nearly twenty pints of human blood. It would have been a… relief… to be able to write that off.

Then again, Giles told himself with a small, pleased smile, it was Spike. The vampire didn’t really have any way of making him pay up, did he? Not as long as he had that chip in his head, anyway, and that would be a long, long time if Giles had anything to say about it.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


The two-foot-tall spindly creature peering through the shop window shook its head sadly and looked at its partner. “This one is not keeping with the Holiday Spirit. His thoughts are all…” It shivered, a sound like tiny bells echoing in the air around it.

Its companion nodded sadly. “This one will cross over to the Naughty List if he isn’t careful. And yet he knows of Saunde Clohskeht’s origins. That is… unusual, is it not?”

“Yesssss…” Glitter thought for a moment then cocked its head. “But did you see the… Xxxxxxannnder in his mind? This one’s affection for the Xxxxannnnder makes us curious, yes?”

“Oh, yesssssss,” Sparkle agreed, little four-fingered hands rubbing together gleefully. “If Xaaaaandddderrrr is anything like what this one thinks him to be, he deserves a very special place on the Nice List.”

“We will find him,” they said together, hands clasping tightly, “and give him what he mossst deserves.” And with that, their physical forms stepped through a wrinkle of Arashmahar to reform on the balcony of one very lonely young man who truly did believe in Santa and the Spirit of Christmas, no matter what he said out loud.





Part Two

It had been nearly a week since Xander’s blow-up—or breakdown, as Willow insisted upon calling it—at the Magic Box, and yet he hadn’t changed his mind even slightly.

In fact, if anything, the dreams he’d been having since then had simply made him even more sure that he was right.

There was no Santa. There couldn’t be a Santa.

Because if Santa existed and rewarded good little boys and girls on Christmas, then Xander must have been a truly horrible child, and… while he was fairly sure his parents thought as much, he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe that he’d been that bad.

Okay, maybe he’d been a bit of a disappointment, what with the not being good at sports or school or… well, much of anything that would make a parent proud, but he’d never been bad. He’d just been… average.

So he was right and Santa was just a big lie and that was fine. He still wasn’t going to spend his time researching a myth.

Instead, he spent it as he’d been doing during this season since he’d been old enough to go outside on his own after dark. About thirteen, he figured. Before he’d known just how dangerous the supposedly sleepy little town of Sunnydale really was.

As he’d been doing—Slayage permitting—even after he’d been clued to the truth.

He went through his closets, pulling out the clothes he never wore or was tired of but weren’t wrecked, and put them in a box.

He went through the cupboards, removing the things he was pretty sure he’d never use—just as he’d done at his parents’ house and he’d been right because not even his mother had ever noticed the canned items missing—and put them in another box.

He went online and calculated just how much he could afford to spare this year—and it was a good bit more than last year because he didn’t have a girlfriend who required ever-increasingly expensive signs of his affections anymore—and wrote a check, which he put into an envelope along with a non-denominational Holiday card, and… he was done.

The only thing left for Xander to do was getting the boxes and the envelope to the appropriate places, and that would be easy enough.

He had a car this year, after all, and wouldn’t have to struggle with carrying things back and forth on foot in the dubious safety of darkness.

It had been much easier the year before, although he was fairly certain that had been because of Anya.

She’d hated his clothes and his taste in food but she’d been entirely reluctant to let him give much away when she was so sure they could sell it for a profit.

Yeah, last year he’d been so grateful to just have someone that he’d made Father Gustav blink and ask if everything was alright, due his paltry donations to the Mission. He’d given more when he’d been fifteen and had no job, after all.

Of course, then Anya had spoken up and the Padre had looked.. sad for him.

He hadn’t recognized the expression then, but now he did… and he agreed. Anya hadn’t been the best thing ever, but at least he’d had someone who was willing to pretend they cared for him, and…

“And fuck it,” Xander grunted as he lifted the boxes and headed for his car.

He set the boxes in the trunk and double checked that the envelope was in the pocket of his jacket before closing the boot and slipping around to the driver’s side.

He got in and frowned at the tassel hanging from his rear view mirror before tearing it off and throwing it into the street. It was Anya’s, after all.

He’d made it nearly three blocks in his ‘sensible yet stylish’ Toyota when he pulled over and shifted into park.

He really didn’t have anyone, he realized.

Willow was still his best friend, but she had Tara.

Buffy was… kind of Buffy, though not entirely there after dying and being brought back.

Dawn… well, Dawn was the little sister he’d never had, no matter how much of a crush she had on him.

And Giles…? Well, while Xander looked on the older man as a sort of father-figure, the Englishman had never given any sign that he returned those feelings, and…

“I’ve always been alone,” Xander whispered, dry-eyed. “I guess I always will.”

He sighed, collecting himself, then shifted again, this time into drive.

His eyes itched just a bit, but he wasn’t crying, Xander told himself. Not even when he felt the slow tracks of moisture drip down his cheeks. “Oh, God… I just wish…”

He stopped then, fully aware of how dangerous wishing was, and especially on a Hellmouth.

“It would be nice,” he said instead, “to find someone who could make me feel… good. Happy.” Xander sighed. “Whole.”

Of course, that wasn’t going to happen, so he merely smiled a sad, hopeless smile and continued his small voyage to the Sunnydale Mission and the Padre he’d known for years.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Sparkle frowned deeply, even as it pulled its mind away from the human’s and threw a worried gaze at its partner. “You saw?” it demanded, hoping against hope that it had interpreted wrongly… but Glitter’s slow nod was answer enough.

“Yesssss… the Xxxxxxxannnnnder knows what he wants… and he is the most in-touch-with-the-spirit human we have seen in many, many hundreds of years. Witness that while he insists even to himself that he does not believe, he…”

“Still follows the spirit of that long ago wish. Yesss…” Sparkle agreed. “And the Xaaaaanddddderrrrrr does so regardless of having been robbedhurt by the very ones who should have wished him nothing but blissssssss…” And it was then that Sparkle showed its learnings from the many nights spent plumbing the human male’s memories of Christmases past.

No presents, no gifts waiting when the boy woke. Nothing but loud, harsh voices demanding drinks and items that weren’t even in the house.

Slaps instead of kisses; kicks instead of hugs… constant insults rather than encouragement.

Glitter paled even more than was normal for it and might have faded if its partner hadn’t had such a tight hold on its hand.

“But he’s been on the Nice List every year…” it whimpered, not understanding the boy’s life at all.

“Yessss… “ Sparkle hissed, the sound grating along Glitter’s skin painfully, “but look! I also searched its progenitors.”

Glitter closed its eyes, letting the images flow.

Two drunken humans coming down the stairs early… ripping the paper from the carefully wrapped packages that clearly said ‘Xander on them…

Those same humans laughing together and putting the boxes in the back of their car before slipping back up the stairs to argue about who got to sell what… and the joy of those same humans as the child grew older and was left still more valuable gifts.

And the one small, lonely child who always looked hopeful coming down those same stairs after his drugged sleep had worn off, and always being disappointed… no matter how old he’d become.

“We must give him what he truly wants,” Glitter insisted. “Someone who will see him. Love him for always. The way one of Saundhe Clohskeht’s true followers should be loved.”

“Yessss…” Sparkle agreed, its fingers tangling with its love’s. “And we will, Glitter. Because Saundhe hates Hellmouths and we’re here at his behest. And if the vampires can do the job and right a great wrong? Who are we to object.”

Glitter knew its mate was right, but still, it couldn’t help throwing a little bit of extra luck in the Xxxxxxxannnnnnnder’s direction.

“What?” it demanded a moment later. “The boy needs all the strength he can get. And we’ve already overstepped our bounds, so what’s a little luck-charm?”

“Truth,” Sparkle admitted before it and its mate disappeared to their home for another month… which was approximately an hour or two on the mortal plane.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Father Gustav had looked like he wasn’t clear about whether to offer condolences or congratulations upon hearing that Xander and Anya were no longer together, and Xander wasn’t entirely sure of which would have been more appropriate, himself.

On the one hand, he was alone and lonely and Dear God, he was horny… but on the other…?

Well, on the other hand, he was much more rested without the constant demands for more orgasms, and he was definitely not living from paycheck to paycheck anymore.

Less outflow of his hard-earned wages, obviously.

Still, the Padre had looked a bit confused so Xander had simply given him his best smile and handed over the box of food and the check.

The box of clothes was destined for the Homeless Shelter a few blocks down.

“Happy Holidays, Father,” he’d finally said as he was leaving, and Father Gustav had finally smiled sincerely and wished him the same before pressing a raffle ticket into his hand.

“No,” the priest had insisted when Xander reached for his wallet, “Consider it a gift given in the spirit of the season. You’ve done so much for the Mission over the years, Alexander.”

“I didn’t do it for…” Xander started, sighing when the priest smiled and walked away.

Still, it was fine because he never won anyway, so… Xander shrugged and put the ticket in his wallet after noting that the drawing was the following afternoon—Christmas Eve Day.

“Oh, well,” he muttered to himself as he got into his car and headed off towards the Homeless Shelter, “It’s not like I wasn’t going to be here anyway.” And that was true enough.

He always volunteered to serve food at the Mission on Christmas Eve. And he was always finished by six o’clock because the unfortunates who chose to partake of the free meal were smart enough to know they needed to be off the streets of Sunnydale before full dark.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Spike groaned, even as he tried to work his way through the last of the boxes littering his home. “How the bloody hell can there be this many soddin’ people in a town this size?” he growled.

For his part, William couldn’t help chuckling as he looked over his brother’s shoulder. “Well, dearest,” he answered, “since your friend Clemstachinacht Argrichtanilarakh is on the list, I’d say it includes both humans and demons. And strangely, not all of the demons are designated as ‘naughty’.”

Another groan sprung from the bleached blond. “ ‘s not bloody fair! ’m one bloke, aren’t I?” He pouted in response to Will’s snort. “Fine. We’re two blokes. ‘s still too bleedin’ much ta do in one soddin’ night!”

That was actually a rather good point, William had to admit. As was the one thing his twin hadn’t even considered yet.

They were vampires.

They required an invitation into any human home before they could enter.

So just how, William wondered, were they supposed to make their deliveries at all, much less in such a short amount of time?

There was only one thing for it, Will decided.

He’d have to find the bloody-be-damned elves and find out for himself.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


He stopped on his way home to eat a slightly tipsy frat boy and while he didn’t particularly care for the taste of Milwaukee’s-Best-tinged blood, it had at least cured the limp he’d acquired while convincing the two elves that he wasn’t there to attack them.

He almost felt badly for laughing at Spike because the two little beings were actually very good with their bloody peppermint crooks. He would have bruises if he hadn’t just fed.

Still, once he had convinced them, they’d been rather forthcoming with the details of just how his brother was expected to carry out his obligations.

There would be another box in the morning, this one containing very specific clothing for both Spike and William to wear… and a sack which would dispense the proper items at each home, which seemed to imply that actually studying the List wasn’t necessary but that wasn’t something William would ever tell his brother. Especially after the other vampire had spent four days trying to commit it to memory.

The sleigh itself would dictate the order of their deliveries, having some sort of program loaded onto its hard drive that designated age, sleep habits and locations… and when the red and green light on the console started blinking, they were finished and the sleigh would take them home.

It could somehow communicate with the reindeer, apparently.

At least the elves understood and accepted that William would be helping Spike.

No, more than that. They’d been happy about it, Will thought.

But that didn’t matter, he told himself. What mattered was… the loaner-sleigh would be on their roof at dark, they needed to be ready to go when it arrived, the special clothing would let them bypass the ‘invitation clause’… and if they managed to do their job well, they would not only be out of debt but would be rewarded.

Unfortunately, there were strict prohibitions about snacking on the humans whose houses they entered, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t snatch a good meal for himself and Spike outside of those houses, did it?

William smiled to himself even as he ran up the front steps and entered his house. “Dearest! You’ll never guess what I’ve discovered…”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander was still blinking at the fact that he’d actually won something in the raffle.

It wasn’t the grand prize, of course, because that would have been expecting way too much—if he’d been expecting anything at all, which he hadn’t—but he wasn’t the kind of guy who’d sneeze at a perfectly good second-hand digital video camera, was he? Hell, it had probably been top-of-the-line a few years earlier, when it had been new.

And okay, so the little red light thing needed to be replaced and it hadn’t come with a manual, but… he’d figure it out eventually, or so he told the priest.

He gave Father Gustav a huge grin and waved as he drove away from the Mission, his smile fading as soon as the padre was out of view.

“Everyone’s doing family things,” he reminded himself. “I’m alone.”

And sure, Willow had invited him to Casa de Summers for a ‘traditional pagan winterfest celebration, because there are so many different versions and we want to just honor everyone’ kind of thing but he still felt sort of… strange around Buffy. And seeing the very couple-y witches being all… couple-y… wasn’t likely to make him feel any better, either.

He pulled quickly into the Stop-n-Go and came back out just a few minutes later with two boxes full of assorted bottles of booze as well as two memory card thingies for his new camera, as shocked as he’d been that they’d carried them.

Then again, they’d also had printer cartridges and recordable DVDs, so… He shrugged and focused on the important thing. The booze.

At least this year he wouldn’t be a disappointment to his parents… or his Uncle Rory.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“Oh, bloody hell! Get your soddin’ ass out here, Will!” Spike growled, staring at the bathroom door with narrowed yellow eyes. “Can’t be anythin’ like as bleedin’ horrible as my ‘costume’!”

“Shut it, Spike! I can not possibly be seen in public wearing anything this… vulgar! You may be entirely bohemian, but I can assure you that I am not!” Will answered, looking down at himself, and if he could have blushed, he would have. His twin was the one with the penchant for overly tight and formfitting clothes. Let him be the one to wear this… travesty.

Another growl, even as Spike slammed his open hand against the wooden door. “Not playin’ with you, wanker! If I have ta run about lookin’ like a bleedin’ moron, so do you! Now haul yourself out ‘ere before I break down th’ bloody door!” He snarled. “An’ you know I will, don’t you, pet? Wouldn’t be th’ first time, yah?”

William frowned and leaned hard against the door. “I am not joking about with you, beloved,” he replied, his voice becoming softer in the hopes that Spike would understand how very disturbed he was by what he was wearing. “This… it’s… it’s bloody well indecent! I… you can tell my human religion, it’s so very… tight.”

Well, well. That had Spike pausing in his rant.

He’d been trying for more than a hundred years to get his twin to show off his assets, so to speak. He knew what William looked like naked… and he flattered himself that he looked just as good. But Will was still rather shy about displaying his body, even with the demon in residence, and if this was a chance to see his twin in something that disturbed William so much, Spike was for damned sure going to take it.

And his thoughts had given him the perfect words, Spike realized as he glanced at the clock on the wall. They had maybe two minutes before they had to be on the roof and… it would be faster and easier to just lie to Will than it would be to break into the bathroom and drag him along.

He lifted the velvet sack that had arrived along with the clothes that afternoon and slung it over one shoulder as he pitched his voice to a more reasonable—even pleading—tone.

“William… not sayin’ you need ta leave th’ house in it, am I?” he cajoled. “Just want ta see, don’t I?” He chuckled. “Seen every inch of you, luv. Tasted it, too. Felt it, inside an’ out, yah? So what say you open th’ door an’ let me at least see you, hmmm…?”

Will sighed, suddenly imagining the things he and Spike could get up to with the outfit he was wearing. And his brother had never actually seen him in anything but the tailored trousers and loose button-down shirts he preferred, and…

And unfortunately, there was no clock in the bathroom because as soon as William unlocked the door and stepped outside, he found himself snatched up over one red-clad shoulder and hauled into the attic.

“Damn it all, Spike!” he yelled, contorting as he was pushed through one of the dormer windows and onto the roof, “I will not do this!”

William didn’t notice the sleigh and eight second-string reindeer landing silently on the roof behind him, but Spike did.

“Don’t see as you have much of a choice, pet,” the bleached blond announced smugly while he slapped the annoyingly red and white hat onto his slicked back hair. “Seems our ride’s here.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“Merry Christmas,” Xander muttered to himself, one hand rubbing his probably bruised cheek while the other steered the car. “Yeah, Merry fucking Christmas.”

It was bad enough that he’d actually made an effort for his so-called family.

Worse still that he’d dropped close to three hundred dollars on liquor just to try for a good word from them.

Worst was that he’d gotten not even one word of thanks but instead had been greeted with ‘that’s it?’ in response to the box he was carrying.

‘It’s more than you deserve,’ he’d muttered, but apparently not softly enough because the next thing he’d known his Dad was slugging him in the face while his Mom shrieked out her worry that the bottles might break if Xander dropped them.

Okay, his Dad had almost apologized… had said it was nice to see Xander take a punch like a man… but fuck them.

He’d just smiled the sickly smile he always managed with his folks and left without even bothering to give them the other box of booze that was still in his trunk with the video camera he’d won.

“God, this sucks,” he sighed, pulling into his parking space behind his apartment building. For once, nobody had stolen it, and maybe that was his Holiday present because…

“Crap.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


William was still simmering mad, even with the heated gazes his twin kept sending his way.

In fact, the only reason he was holding his peace—which meant that he was keeping entirely silent—was because so far the sleigh hadn’t been even slightly wrong. There had been nobody awake and about to actually see him in the distressingly form-fitting tights he’d been given to play an elf.

It was still simply beyond the pale that Spike—the one who would have reveled in displaying himself so openly—was required to maintain some degree of decorum in the baggy red suit and cap.

And the hat… that was another peeve of William’s.

It was green.

It was pointy at the front.

It was… bloody hell, it was a travesty! And to be required to actually wear it was just… but the sleigh wouldn’t leave their roof until he’d donned it, and…

Will shuddered.

“Bloody hell, let this be over soon…”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander Harris was drunk.

No, he was beyond just drunk.

Xander Harris was very drunk.

He’d gotten home and parked… and the last thing he’d wanted to do was leave the box of liquor in the trunk of his car. What if someone broke in and stole it, after all? It’d be damned hard to return to the store if he didn’t have it anymore.

So he’d brought it inside and when he’d swallowed down the three beers left in his fridge, he’d somehow decided that rum and coke would be a good replacement because he was for damned sure not gonna drive after drinking even a few beers and he had plenty of coke at his place… and obviously loads of booze.

So what if a bottle or so didn’t get returned? It wasn’t like it really mattered, after all.

He was possibly a quarter of the way through the rum when he decided to play with his new video camera, and in the pursuit of same had loaded one of the new cards into it so he’d at least know if and when he managed to get it working.

He tried flipping every switch and toggle, turning each knobby protuberance, no matter how useless it seemed.

He tried everything his booze-soaked mind came up with, still fiddling around with the buttons and so on while he made himself another drink, but… no luck. And wasn’t that the story of his life?

Finally, bored with his own technological ignorance, he shrugged and put the thing down while he turned the TV and DVD player on.

Just because he was drunk and alone on Christmas Eve, that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy some porn, did it?

And this was new porn. Something called ‘Barebacking on the Mountain’. He’d been in a hurry, so he hadn’t actually checked out the writing on the case, and besides…

He’d never heard of it but the clerk at the store had said it was right up Xander’s alley.

He wasn’t sure of how the overly-attentive guy could know what he’d like, but as long as there were boobies, he’d be fine.

Drunk, but fine.





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