Title: Festive Pain

Author: Jade

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Rating: PG-13 for language and mild sexual references.

Pairings: B/A of course! X/Anya. A bit of Angel/Cordy (Sorry)

Spoilers: Up to season 6. I haven't seen any of season 7. It's set two years after that. This is my therapy fic. I haven't been well and I feel even worse after all the A/C ickyness. Plus I've been in a totally Christmasy mood, so I wrote this!

Feedback: Please! To Jade-Hamn@bushinternet.com

Distribution: Of course! Just let me know to all others other than this archive.

"Just a bit further. To the left a bit more, no right." Spike called out.

"Down. Pull it harder." Dawn put in, as the two stood sides by side, with their arms crossed.

"Now go up a little." Anya said. "That's it! Push it in."

"No wait, it should go down some more."

"Be quiet you lot!" Buffy yelled. They all shut up immediately.

Buffy shoved the pin in a circle of the paper chain she was putting up. She jumped off the wooden stool to admire her handy work.

"I have eggnog!" Willow called, opening the door with her back as she balanced six cups on a cardboard tray.

She put it down on the table and turned slowly around. "Oh wow!" she exclaimed. "The decorations are beautiful. It must have taken you all day."

"Buffy did most of it, while we sat and watched Jingle all the Way on DVD." Dawn giggled.

Willow smiled at her best friend and handed her a paper cup decorated in green and red holly.

A large Christmas tree took up a corner of The Magic Box, sitting in a terracotta pot painted blue.

Paper chains were strung over every wall, and tinsel was draped on every picture. Festive lights were around the large windows and door, and a dancing santa, sang on the counter.

"I take it the DVD player is all set up then?" Willow said, "So we just need Xander now."

"He rang me two minute ago to say he had all the films on the list and all so food, so he would be here shortly." Anya informed them.

"So, seats?" Buffy said.

"Check." replied Spike.

"DVD ready?"

"Check."

"Sign saying closed on the door?"

"Check." answered Anya, turning it around.

"Xander?"

"Check." said Xander coming through the door.

"All set then!" Buffy said, flopping down on one of the sofa's they had pulled around the large television.

Xander took off his jacket and trainers and joined the others on different sofa's. Anya and Xander sat on one, Spike and Buffy the other, Willow and Dawn on the third.

Dawn slipped a disk into the machine and pressed play. "Miracle on 34th street first." she told them.

Buffy opened her eyes. The shop was dark, except for the fairy lights giving it a colourful glow. Everyone was asleep, and the credits of The Grinch was rolling.

She yawned and looked at her watch, it was twelve thirty. The last film she remembered watching was White Christmas and judging by the pile of videos that was three films ago.

Buffy stood up, stretched and ran a hand through her shoulder length hair. Xander made a snoring sound, making her jump.

"Not the bunny." Anya muttered.

Dawn had her head on the arm of the sofa and Willow had her head on Dawn's lap.

As soon as she moved Spike sprawled out, taking up all the room.

It was there first Christmas together for two years. Willow had been in England for a year learning to control her magic after Tara's death and her decent to the darker side. Xander and Anya had been on there honeymoon the year before for the Christmas season, so this year Buffy was determined to have it together. She had invited Giles over, but he had fobbed her off with some excuse not to come.

It was beginning to rain outside, as Buffy cleared up the popcorn Spike and Dawn had spilt having a small food fight.

Spike was accepted as a member of the Scooby gang by most of them now, having gotten his soul back, although Xander took a lot to even let him in the house after what Spike had done before he left. He was just coming round to him, and as Spike still felt so guilty about it, he couldn't really punish him any more. Buffy always stood up for up anyway, saying it wasn't him. She stood up for him the way she used to stand up for Angel, just without the love. Spike still loved her, but he didn't try and make her love him back like he did without his soul. They were really good friends, although in time Spike hoped it would be more.

She picked up a stake from the counter and wrote a note saying, 'Gone to patrol. Be back soon, love Buffy.' and left it where it would be easily seen.

As she opened the door, a cool wind blew in her face. She shivered. Her coat was at home, and as she had driven across, coat's weren't her priority.

There wasn't much life about at this time of night. She scanned the usual spots, before her phone beeped. She pulled it out, 'We've gone back home. Xand and Arn gone to have sex. See you there, Willow xxx.'

She smiled and headed home

"Hey Buffy." Willow smiled, holding out a mug of hot chocolate.

"You've been the drinks girl today." Buffy said, taking it. "Thanks."

"Any vamps on patrol?" Willow asked.

"One, on the way home." She replied. "The others asleep?"

"Yeah." Spike now lived with them as well, in the spare room. Willow still had Joyce's old room.

"You tired?" Willow asked.

"No. You?"

"A little." She admitted.

"Why don't you go to bed?" Buffy suggested, "You've got to go shopping tomorrow anyway."

"Oh have I now?" Willow smiled.

"Yes. Otherwise god knows what Anya will end up buying Xander! You need to point out nice stuff. And I need to get everyone, cause I finally have enough money."

"How are you money wise now?" Willow asked.

Buffy grimaced, "Don't ask."

"Pay not good at Sunnydale High?"

"Not really. Enough for food, just. Doesn't matter. That's Buffy stuff." Buffy replied.

Willow yawned. "Goodnight."

"Night."

Willow went upstairs to bed, leaving Buffy in the dark living room by herself.

"Buffy!" Dawn said, "Were you here all night?"

Buffy opened her eyes to the harsh light. "What's the time?"

"Ten." Dawn answered, "Breakfast?" She offered her a bowl of cereal.

"I'll pass ta. I'm gonna take a shower." She said, wrinkling her nose.

Dawn pulled the curtains together. "Ok." she called.

Spike came in and sat on the sofa. "Stick the TV on." He said.

Dawn rolled her eyes and threw him the remote.

Buffy went upstairs and Dawn rushed off to get a third helping of breakfast.



"Next." Buffy said. Dawn slid another present down the table where the sisters were wrapping up presents on the table at The Magic Box.

"More tape." Dawn called and Buffy rolled the circle up the table.

"What you two doing?" Spike said, just coming through the door. Buffy immediately hid a few parcel's. He grinned.

"Where have you been?" she asked.

"Shopping." He said, holding up some bags. Dawn went over to pester him about what he had gotten her while Buffy finished up. She put all of them under the tree. Dawn and Spike added theirs under Buffy's glare.

Xander, Anya and Willow came back from there wrapping part and added theirs under the tree.

They all sat down to watch The Santa Clause.

Spike awoke to a loud pounding on the door. Buffy was the next to wake.

"What the hell?" he complained.

"Answer it." Buffy moaned, pulling a cushion over her head.

The others strangely slept on.

Spike walked over to the lock door and turned the key.

"Oh bloody great." He welcomed his grand-sire.

"What are you doing here?" Angel snapped.

"Rich coming from you." he replied.

Buffy got up from her warm spot on the sofa.

"Come in." she said. Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and two people she didn't know came in.

"So, this is the Slayer?" the man said.

Angel nodded.

"Small." He commented.

"She could kick your ass." Spike muttered.

Buffy went over to wake the others.

"Is the world gonna end?" Dawn asked groggily.

"It might." Cordelia said.

"Yay." Buffy said rolling her eyes and sitting down next to Willow who was half awake.

"We need to research from some particular books I know Mr Giles has." Wesley explained.

"Help yourself, but he will probably have taken them to England with everything else he stole." Anya said.

"He didn't steal them. They were his!" Xander said.

"Whatever." Anya muttered.

"He moved to England?" Wesley repeated.

"Three years ago." Buffy answered.

"Oh bugger." He swore.

"Sit down everyone, you're making me uncomfortable." Willow said. "I'm Willow by the way."

"Gunn, Fred, Wesley, Angel and me. Glad we're introduced. We need those books." Cordelia said.

"You know where the airport is." Spike snapped.

Angel's eyes were on Buffy who was looking away.

He hadn't seen her since she came back from hell. She looked lost then. Now she looked tired. Her hair was shorter, it had been almost to her waist last time, now it was shoulder length. She had lost weight, to much really, but she was still beautiful.

"I can call him if you like." Buffy suggested quietly.

"Wow, the blonde has a brain." Cordelia snapped sitting down on an empty chair.

Buffy said nothing.

"Fuck off." Spike replied.

Gunn and Fred took a seat too.

"What exactly do you want then?" Anya asked. "The worlds ending again? This is getting really boring."

"Some demons are taking over LA. They are really strong. We can't kill them, when we do they divide into two. We're getting desperate." Angel said.

"I remember reading about them years ago in one of Mr Giles books, we just need to find out how to defeat them." Wesley continued.

Buffy picked up the phone a dialed a number.

"Hello Olivia." She said, "How are you?"

There was a pause before she said, "Same old hellmouth. Is Giles there please?"

The odd group continued to chat among themselves.

"Angel and I are together now." Cordelia announced to the Scooby's.

"You're with her?" Dawn squealed. "Eww!"

"Umm…" Angel glanced at Buffy who had turned away.

"Since when?" Willow asked.

"Since two years ago." Cordelia said with a smile.

"You love her?" Anya asked with a disgusted face

"Hey, he loved me." Cordelia said, pointing at Xander.

"What was I thinking." Xander shot back.

"Ok." Buffy said, "Goodbye." She put the phone down with a click.

"He's not there. He's gone away for the weekend. She will meet me on MSN soon." She told them.

"Good. Thanks." Wesley said. Everyone was looking at Buffy to see what her reaction would be to Cordeila.

"Drink anyone?" she asked.

"I'll help you with that." Spike said, taking her arm. They went into the back room where there was a small kitchen.

"What is he doing here?" Cordelia asked.

"He has a soul too, not the only one now Angel." Dawn said, before following her sister. She stopped in the doorway.

"How could you Angel?" she cried, "You left her because you couldn't give her sunshine, babies and you couldn't have sex? What a loud of rubbish." She left the room slamming the door behind her.

"He also has a son." Cordelia added.

"What?" Xander asked.

"Shut up Cordy." Gunn said.

"With Darla." She continued. "And I'm a higher being."

"Glad we're all caught up." Xander said.