Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss Whedon owns all.
Spoilers: Set post “Not Fade Away” and not comic book related. I’ve only read season 9 and two volumes of season 10. (I skipped season 8.)
Summary: Sent on a mission to find yet another slayer, Buffy is stuck in Colorado, it’s Christmas, and it’s snowing. Buffy POV.
A/N: Written especially for velvetwhip, zarrah04, inxsomniax, and my brother, John, with special thanks to facingthesun for help with the Christmas song at the end of the fic.
Huge thank you to velvetwhip for the beta read! You're amazing, dear!
By the time I’m freshly showered, the only light is the glow from the fire Spike started in the fireplace, and he’s stirring hot chocolate in one of the pots. The scent of chocolate is heavenly, and he starts to pour the liquid into two mugs as I enter the kitchen. I gratefully accept the offered mug and head to the living room. I clean off the sofa, and Spike plops the now open bag of marshmallows on the end table before settling into a corner. Setting my mug down, I sweep my wet hair into a damp bun and snuggle up to Spike once again. He sprinkles a few marshmallows into our mugs. The fire warms us both, and I blow on the hot chocolate before sipping it.
After a few minutes of amicable silence, Spike says, “Why do you think the Bit did all this?”
I push on one of the little marshmallows, causing it to dunk under the chocolate. “She knows how I feel about you. I talk to my sister about stuff, you know? That’s what sisters do.”
“Well, I didn’t talk to Andrew.”
I laugh. “Andrew lives in his own head. I’m sure he had some sort of fantastical story about us all mapped out. At least, he wasn’t around to make a video this time!”
“I didn’t mind the video so much,” Spike confesses.
“That’s ‘cause you’re a ham.”
After a second’s pause, he owns it. “True.” He drinks some of his hot chocolate and then says, “We should talk about what happened between us. It’s what’s getting in the way, right?”
I peer up at him, but he doesn’t meet my gaze. “Okay. About when are we talking?”
“A *lot* happened in Sunnydale between us.”
He sighs. “You know what I mean.”
I think I do. “You have to say it.”
He shifts his mug to his right hand and weaves his fingers with mine. “I mean before I got my soul. When you came back, and we. . .”
“Brought the building down?” I don’t know if I want to go here. This isn’t quite the way my fantasies of reuniting with Spike went. Revisiting one of the worst times of my life isn’t fun.
I play with his fingers and think back over what I’ve thought about more than a few times since Spike burned up in the cavern under Sunnydale. Now he’s sitting next to me and patiently waiting for me to talk. “I was in a dark place. There was the trauma of coming back and the depression. I heard somewhere that depression is anger turned inward.” I shake my head. “I don’t remember where. Anyway, I think that was me. My anger at being back got turned at the wrong person. . . at the wrong people. I turned it on myself and. . . on you.”
I study his hands. . . hands that have hit me when we were mortal enemies and hands that have been so gentle with me that I almost want to cry when I think about it. I wonder what he sees when he looks at mine.
He runs a finger over my palm. “I know that. And masochist that I was, I was willing to take it. Somewhere in my mind, I thought I was helping you.”
“And I knew that. I knew you were trying to help me. I could see you trying all different ways to pull me out of the depression. You were kind to me. You took me out, you listened to me, you helped Dawn when she got into trouble. You tried pulling me into the darkness and you tried to get my anger out of me. Just that none of it worked. . . none of it worked because I had to figure it out for myself.”
“Now hold on, pet. I was a selfish wanker. It’s not like I didn’t have ulterior motives for helping you.”
I shift sideways to face him. “You didn’t always. You and I both know that. Even without your soul.”
He stares at his mug before closing his eyes, and his voice almost breaks as he references what happened between us in the bathroom, “But the thing I did to you. . .”
I sweep my fingers over his brow bone and closed eyelid. . . the eye that was black and swollen where I punched him over and over as he lay on the concrete not fighting back. “The thing I did to you, too.” I reach over and set my mug on the end table before putting my hand on his shoulder. “Listen to me. Look at me.”
He reluctantly makes eye contact, tears softening his corneas.
I continue, telling him what I’ve been wanting to tell him for so long, “Not all potentially traumatic events lead to lasting trauma. I’m resilient. Part of being the slayer means facing and dealing with traumatic things everyday. You quickly learn to adapt. I learned to adapt.”
“But you. . . I still added. . . you shouldn’t have to. . . I should have been your soft place to land. That’s how it started anyway. . . .” He shifts his eyes again and I let him.
“We hurt each other in relationships. That’s life. Willow hurt Tara when she messed with her mind and was struggling with magic. She almost killed Giles, Xander, Dawn, and me. Xander left Anya at the altar in the worst way possible, and Anya hurt Xander by becoming a vengeance demon again. Giles left town when we needed him the most. I hurt you. . . physically and emotionally. The main thing is that you keep trying the best that you can with what you have. And you did. All the good you did. . . you continue to do. It outweighs the bad.”
He seems to be trying to figure out what to say next, and he finally settles on the side of levity, “Practiced that speech awhile, pet?”
I laugh. “Yeah. Guess I’ve been thinking that for a long time and looking for a time and place to say it to you.”
“The same thing applies to you, too, you know.”
Now I’m confused. “What do you mean?”
“What you said about the good outweighing the bad. . . with me. . . in our relationship such as it was.” His expression is resolute, so I know he means what he says. “I’ve been thinking about what you said yesterday about how I didn’t let you be there for me, but don’t you remember? You *were* there. . . after I got my soul back when the First had a hold of me. . . when I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I haven’t forgotten that.”
I swallow past the lump forming in my throat, and now it’s my turn to avert my eyes. “Can you forgive me for how things went in the past. . . how I treated you?”
Now he sets aside his cup and cradles my hand in both of his, our touch illuminated by the golden glow of the fire. “Already have, love. A long time ago.” He pauses and then asks, “Forgive me?”
I answer him by turning toward him and gently kissing him on the lips in an echo of my first kiss this morning. “Done. And apparently, Dawn has, too.”
His eyes lighten in relief at my answer.
Then, I kiss his cheek and slide across his lap so that my knees are pressed into the back cushion and I’m straddling him. His hands fall uncertainly on my hips, and his expression is a worried one.
I press my lips to his neck. “Hmmm?”
“My feelings for you. . . they haven’t changed.” He wants this to mean something.
I sit back on his thighs and reply with utmost sincerity, “And mine most definitely have.”
Not taking his eyes from mine, he puts his hands up to my wet hair and loosens the bun so that he can run his fingers through the strands and arrange them around my shoulders. My heart picks up speed as he caresses my cheek.
I turn my face into his hand and nuzzle him.
Then, with deliberate slowness, my forearms find his chest as I lean forward to kiss his forehead, now closed eyelids, and lips.
When my mouth finds his, he gives a small groan and follows my rhythm, intensifying the motion until I’m breathless. His hands are more sure on my hips now, and he scoots me forward so that I’m pressed closer.
To give him permission, I thrust my tongue into his mouth, and he responds in kind, his desire becoming more evident between my legs with each moment that passes. A warm heat spreads from my core over my thighs, and my hips move involuntarily against his.
Briefly breaking contact, I sweep my bulky sweater over my head before helping him out of his long-sleeved T-shirt. He watches me in the fire light with love shining in his eyes, and then, he trails his cool fingertips over my warm neck, bare breasts, and ribcage until I’m squirming.
I return the favor by pulling him so close that my nipples skim his uncovered chest, and as my fingernails scrape south over his firm abdomen, he reaches under my arms and undoes my jeans, slipping the denim over my hips and down my thighs. He rocks his hips up against me, and I copy his earlier movements only with his jeans, my heart pounding and my body ablaze as he massages my breast and burrows his face in my neck. He inhales sharply as I stroke him.
With glazed eyes, I whisper, “Please.”
We shed the remainder of our clothing, and I lay back down on the soft sofa, pulling him on top of me. He acquiesces with a growl, and together, we give in to bliss.
* * *
“That was wonderful.” I snuggle back and relish the feel of his naked body against mine.
His arm circles my waist as he pulls the blanket over us. “It was. Nice to know we don’t have to destroy things to move mountains.” He pushes his face into my hair. “And now your hair is dry.”
I touch the waves. “It is. May have to do this more often. Saves me the blow-dry.”
He eagerly props up on one elbow. “More often?”
I glance up at him and grin. “Yes, more often.”
“So as in, this isn’t a one-time thing because it’s Christmas and we’re trapped in a cabin on a setup by the boy and your sis all of which led us to have a heart to heart about old times?” He’s keeping his tone bright, but I detect the lurking fear of rejection underneath ready to come out.
I shake my head. “No, it isn’t. . . at least I hope. . .”
He tickles my ribs, and I laugh and screech, twisting away and turning to face him. He stops, and as I’m catching my breath, he asks, “Hope what?”
I rub my hand over his hip. “I hope that when the snow melts and we have cell service again and we can drive away from here, you might consider maybe coming with me?” He wavers, so I keep talking, “But only if you want to. . . and don’t worry about Thia. I’ll talk with her. You won’t neglect your duties. . . just take a vacation and if you don’t like it in Rome, you can go b. . .”
He kisses me and then nips my lower lip. “Okay. If I said yes, what would stop us from going down the path of. . .”
“Badness and into destructive levels of darkness? I don’t think we will.”
He gives me a look.
“We’re each in a totally different place than before. I’m not newly alive and depressed and angry and you went and got yourself a soul. Plus, we took a long break. Maybe it was needed?”
‘Well, when you put it that way.” He tilts his head. “Maybe our relationship is less complicated than I thought.”
I giggle. “We need to make up our minds about that.”
“We do. What if you and I. . . we still have feelings about what happened before?” He’s serious.
“If we do. . . when we do, we’ll help each other through. One day at a time, and all we have is today. We should make the most of it. All those sayings, despite being cliché, are true.” I kiss his nose and start to rise. “Speaking of today. . . it’s still Christmas, and I’m hungry. Plus, we should check out that iPod thingie.”
I pull on my jeans and sweater and toss Spike his. “I’ve seen the slayers playing with the iPods. I’ll take a look.”
I head to the kitchen to heat up some of the space food and whatever else is in those containers in the fridge, and after getting dressed, Spike pokes around on the iPod’s buttons and messes with the speaker. Rising sound comes blasting out and goes off again.
“Hey! This thing is pre-programmed with Christmas music.”
“What do you mean?” I discover a bowl of cranberry sauce on the second shelf of the refrigerator, and a pecan pie in another. Yum. Together with the cornbread dressing and turkey concoction, maybe we’ll have a nice dinner if the space food tastes decent.
“There’s a Christmas playlist.”
“Well, play it!” Setting the pie and cranberry atop the counter, I poke my head around the corner to see his head bent over the tiny device, an expression of concentration on his face.
There’s a clicking noise as Spike scrolls through the songs. Then, a loud song echoes through the whole cabin. It’s definitely not a Christmas song I’ve ever heard.
Spike’s blue eyes are sparkling. “A *decent* Christmas song!”
“Never heard of it, but it sounds Christmas-y.”
“It’s a classic!” Spike hums along with the tune, closing his eyes and bobbing his head a little. It’s definitely not something I would have ever pictured him doing to this type of music.
I can tell from the look he gives me that he thinks I should know the answer to this. “Slade.”
“Ah.” The beat finds me, and I agree, “It is kinda catchy.”
Setting aside the music machine, he takes my hand and spins me around and briefly dips me before giving me a tender kiss. I smile against his lips and vow to cherish this moment. We’ll have to revisit the ghosts again, but for now, we can cherish the gift of friendship, forgiveness, and possibly renewed love. . . all thanks to Andrew, Dawn, a new slayer, a bit of snow, and a cabin in the middle of Colorado.
Footnote: I definitely did research for this fic…from the weather in winter in Rome to weather at Christmas in Colorado that year to what they call Santa Claus in Italy to whether they actually still made Tab in 2004 (they still make it now!) to what iPods could do in 2004 to what space food looks like and what kinds they make (yes, there’s a list on the internet and apparently, some of it actually tastes good). If anything seems off, well, I tried.
And oh, you know how after you play in the snow/spend time outside in the cold and you run your hands under cold water and it feels warm? That’s how I imagine Spike’s hands feel to Buffy when she’s really cold.