Summary: Buffy makes Christmas cookies with a little Spike-shaped distraction.
Author's Note: Just a bit of X-mas fluff for all you Spuffy lovers out there.
A light snow fell gently to the ground, slowly but surely blanketing the ground in white. Children rushed out of their homes, despite the cold weather, laughing and shouting, calling to each other through the frosty air. Their breath turned to steam that drifted up toward the gray sky. Parents followed quickly, many carrying a hat, or gloves that their thrilled child had ignored in their excitement. One especially adorable little boy smiled up at the heavens, as his father came quietly up behind and wrapped him into a tight and warm embrace.
"Buffy, I'm going shopping!"
"Okay, Mom!" Buffy shouted over the swelling soundtrack of the rather sappy Christmas movie. She clicked the volume down a few notches, and listened hard. She waited until she heard the car engine revving, then the crunch of gravel as the car pulled out of the driveway before turning off the TV and hopping off her bed.
Quickly she stripped out of her clothes and put on an old pair of novelty pajama pants with smiley faces wearing Santa hats or reindeer antlers, and a spaghetti-strap top picturing an adorable puppy dog sticking it's head out of a gift box.. This was a special outfit she wore only once a year. These were her baking clothes.
She smiled as she ran out of her bedroom and jumped down the stairs, feeling like a little kid again. This tradition had started the year she had become old enough to stay at home un-chaperoned. After her mother had left to go shopping, she had decided to surprise her with a fresh batch of Christmas cookies. True, those cookies hadn't turned out exactly as planned, and the Summers women had ended up cleaning the kitchen together, but it became tradition. Buffy had quickly become better at making cookies, and each year there seemed to be more. Joyce had taken to giving them away to patrons of the gallery--those customers almost always came back.
She strode into the living room and flipped on the stereo. Entering the kitchen, she smiled as the opening notes of "Silver Bells" rang through the empty house. Buffy pulled out the drawer that contained cookbooks and recipes, and unearthed her "famous" sugar cookie recipe. She smoothed the crinkled paper, already getting white dust on her fingers from the flour that had accumulated over the years. She knew the whole thing by heart now, but she took out the recipe anyway. It was part of her own personal tradition. She always did everything the same way. That included fetching ingredients in the proper order.
Flour, sugar, vanilla. Eggs, butter, milk. Brown sugar and baking powder. She smiled at the various bags and cartons sitting on the kitchen counter. Walking over to the closet in the hallway, she opened it, and produced her special, Christmas-cookie-baking apron. It was a cheerful red, with the image of holly berries embroidered over her chest, surrounded by a gold border. This too was worn only for this single day. She pulled her hair back and quickly used the ponytail holder around her wrist to fasten it in place. She didn't want any hair in the cookies.
Returning the cabinets, she got out a pair of bowls, some cookie sheets, a rolling pin and cutting board, measuring cups, plus a nice big spoon that would--paired up with good old Slayer strength--easily stir the batter. She surveyed the vast array of things piled onto the counter and sighed happily. It was so seldom that she was able to just let go and do something so wonderfully normal as make cookies. For a few short hours she was not the Slayer, vampires and demons did not threaten to overcome the world, her friends and family were not in constant danger. She was just Buffy Anne Summers, girl, and cookie maker extraordinaire.
The back door swung open and she looked up in surprise as a small gust of wind made her recipe flutter around on the table.
"What's all this?" Spike squinted at the packed countertop, a lit cigarette dangling out of his mouth, forgotten. Buffy sighed and felt her body tense up again.
"What are you doing here, Spike?"
"Thought I'd drop by for a cuppa with Joyce."
"Well, she's not here, so feel free to make with the going away." Not surprisingly, he ignored her, taking another step inside her house. He leaned in for a closer look at her ingredients.
"Really, what is this stuff for?"
"I'm making Christmas cookies." Her tone was already becoming clipped and pointed. He always seemed to have that effect on her. If Spike would just go away, her life would be a hell of a lot easier. He glanced up in surprise and gave her an appraising look.
"No, really? You don't seem like the Betty Crocker type, Slayer."
"Well, I am, so you can just turn around and be elsewhere."
"Oh no," He pulled a stool away from the counter and sat down. "I'm gonna see this show. Could be bloody entertaining. Besides, I've got nothing better to do." Buffy's jaw worked, but she refrained from snapping his head off with her bare hands. It was Christmastime. And keeping with the holiday spirit…
"Fine. Stay. But put that disgusting thing out," she gestured at his cigarette with a scowl. Shockingly, he did not protest, but rose, walked to the door and tossed it out into the relative cold. Silently, he resumed his spectator position. Growling slightly under her breath, Buffy tried to pretend he did not exist. Perhaps if she could convince herself he was only a figment of her imagination, he would disappear and never give her headaches again.
First, she turned the dial on the oven to preheat it. She unwrapped the sticks of butter carefully and dropped them into the bowl. Next she used her measuring cup and painstakingly measured out 1 cup of brown sugar. She had discovered through her years of cookie making that the secret to perfect cookies was to use the exact amount listed for the best taste. Picking up the spoon, she began to mix, holding back quite a bit. Slayer strength was good to make the job go faster, but she didn't want to be robbed of all the fun.
Spike, meanwhile, was watching in disbelief. This was definitely a side to the Slayer he had never glimpsed before. Violent, aggressive, foolish, sometimes even attractive, definitely. But sweet? Homey? Never. He smiled a bit to himself at the way she bit her lower lip in her concentration. A few strands of hair had escaped her ponytail and were falling gently around her face. And her shirt really let him admire the soft curve of her arms. He knew it was strange, and not usually the part of a woman's body a man was captivated by. Especially a vampire like himself--they were generally more concerned with the neck area. But for some reason, his eyes just kept getting drawn back to her bare arms. The curve of them was so deliciously perfect he couldn't stop looking. Perfectly tanned of course, she was a California girl. He wondered briefly what it would be like to look tanned. He supposed that he could go to a tanning salon, or use self-tanner, but he had an image to keep. Part of that image was the eerie paleness. But it could be interesting to change it, at least for a while.
Buffy had added the egg and some milk before noticing that Spike was staring at her arms. She wrinkled her nose and shot him a disturbed look, but he didn't notice.
"Yeah?" His eyes jerked quickly to meet her own.
"What are you looking at?"
"Your arms," he answered truthfully before he could stop himself. He winced internally but kept a straight face. Buffy nodded slowly.
"I was, just, ah, thinking about how wonderful it would be to tear them off," he lied smoothly, looking away. He glanced back at her to see if she had bought his fib. From the way she was shaking her head, looking completely disgusted, he guessed she had. For now.
Buffy put in her vanilla and started on the flour mixture. As she sifted the flour, salt and baking soda, she let her mind wander. What was up with Spike? It had been disconcerting to discover the intensity with which he had been watching her. She had felt vaguely like a hamburger being drooled over before eaten. Tearing her arms off? That was gross…but for some reason she doubted it. She wasn't sure why. It was a very "Spike" thing to say, but, it wasn't true. She just knew.
"Um, Slayer? Love? Buffy? I think it's sifted."
"Huh?" She stopped abruptly. A bad plan, since it sent a small cloud of flour billowing up toward her face, "Spike!"
"Just hold on a minute, love, hold on." She stood, eyes closed to protect them from the dust, and pursed her lips impatiently.
Spike pulled a paper towel off the roll and wet it slightly in the sink. He came and gently turned Buffy towards him.
"Now hold still," he tilted her chin up towards him and stuck his tongue out in concentration. Very gently, he wiped the dust from her forehead and her cheeks. Carefully he ran it over her eyes, clearing the flour from there as well. Which left him staring at her lips. Slowly he pressed it against her lips and wiped it away, tracing all the curves and contours of her mouth, and wishing with all his dead heart he could replace that towel with his own lips. I could do it, he thought, she would never know the difference. I could kiss her now, and get all these bloody thoughts out of my head. He leaned in slowly, removing the towel. He was so close he could feel her warm breath on his face.
"Well? Are you done?" The spell was broken. He jerked back up to his standing position and dabbed at her forehead.
"Reckon so." Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled slightly.
"Thanks, Spike." Their eyes locked for moment, but Buffy quickly looked away, breaking the connection. Spike sighed and hopped back onto the stool he had been sitting on. Buffy combined her two mixtures, doing her best to ignore him. What was that? The look he had in his eyes…it looked almost like he wanted to kiss me? That was insane. He was Spike. Violent, vicious vampire. He didn't kiss Slayers. Except in the metaphorical gross blood-sucky way.
The batter was ready. She gathered out of the bowl and slapped it down on the flour covered board. She lifted the rolling pin and glanced at Spike.
"If you want to be helpful, go get the cookie-cutters. They're in the cupboard over the fridge."
Spike started to make a smart-ass comment, but changed his mind halfway through. Obediently, he went to fetch the cookie-cutters, berating himself all the way. Why am I listening to her? She's the sodding Slayer! I should be eating her right now…if it weren't for the bleeding chip I'd-but he wouldn't. He knew he wouldn't. He didn't want to believe it, but it was clear as day. Maybe a few years ago he would have been willing to kill her, when they first met. When he was the Big Bad and she was just another Slayer. But neither of them were who they used to be. He couldn't be bad anymore…and she was so much more than the Slayer.
"It's all rolled. If you want to…" she trailed off and looked down. What am I thinking? Why would he want to make cookies with me? He hates me! I hate him. I do. She dared a glance at him. Spike searched her face for mockery or malice, but there was none. He smiled at her and walked over.
"I've never done this before," he confessed, selecting an angel shaped cutter from the bag.
"Oh, it's not hard. You just, press it in and kind of push it so it severs all the way. And then you take the cookie-cutter out and kind of separate it from the rest of the dough and put it on the cookie-sheet and I'm babbling like Willow, aren't I?"
"I think Red still has some prowess over you, pet." He had called her that hundreds of times before, but for some reason, this time it made her blush. Hurrying to hide it from him, she grabbed a bell shaped cookie cutter and set to work.
The two worked in silence for a while, carefully setting their creations on the cookie sheet until it was full. Buffy put it in the oven and they started on a second batch. After a while, all the dough was gone, and the last sheet was baking. They sat awkwardly, not looking at each other.
"So…what're you doing for Christmas?" Spike asked hesitantly.
"Oh, well, Mom and I will probably have a little dinner, nothing special. Just the usual. You?"
"I don't really do anything for Christmas. We used to have the most extravagant Christmases," he stared outside where the wind was still blowing. He didn't have to say anymore…Buffy knew who he was talking about. Now she thought about it, she had never asked Angel how he used to spend Christmas when he was, well, evil.
"Tell me about it." He looked at her in surprise.
"What? You mean-"
"Yeah. I mean, if you don't mind. It's not like we have anything else to do while we wait."
Spike stared at her, but nodded slowly.
"Well, lots of vampires don't celebrate Christmas, but Angelus and Darla always loved holding Christmas parties." Buffy got up quietly and put some water on the stove to warm up for cocoa. She poured them both a cup when it was ready and set it down. Spike continued, pausing sometimes to take a sip of coca (with little marshmallows).
"I don't know if it was to keep Dru happy, but we had Christmas every year, and each year it got more extravagant than the last. Angelus and Darla would pick a nice, big house they liked and well," he blushed slightly, a touch of pink rising in his pale cheeks, "killed the owners around the beginning of November. Then they would just plan, and plan. They'd order food, exotic entertainment, anything they could think of. They'd spread rumors about how the previous owners had moved, and invite everyone in a ten-mile radius to come to their Christmas celebration.
"The entire month of December would be mad. Deliveries everyday, constant decorating. I became pretty good with garlands," he smiled at Buffy's giggle, "and Dru was just an ornament hanging fiend. She loved the shiny ones best, the ones she could see her reflection in. Darla would take her shopping every year and go buy the most expensive, gorgeous dresses they could find. It was the one time of year when they actually paid for things instead of just killing whoever had what they wanted. Angelus insisted that I wear the most fashionable suits and I just hated it. But I must admit, it was fun to pretend on the actual day.
"Sometimes they had different themes. They always enjoyed having masquerades. We had many of those. One year they went all-out and bought about twenty trees and decorated all of them. Another year absolutely everything was covered in white and silver. Darla would have an army of chefs cooking the week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, people would start showing up. They would all gasp at the extravagance of it. Darla and Angelus would just float around, listening to all the compliments they got.
"Drusilla would make me dance the entire night. Sometimes we danced until both our feet bled. After a while, Angelus usually got bored and would latch onto some pretty, young thing and lure her off and-" he stopped and looked worriedly at Buffy.
"It's okay. I've heard all about his exploits."
"Well, if it makes you feel better, she would usually keep him entertained for the entire night. That was one of the things that made Christmas special. We didn't kill everyone who came. A few, yeah, who could expect different? But it wasn't like sometimes where we would just hold a huge party so we could lock the doors and just-" The beeping oven timer startled both of them. Buffy hurried over and, slipping on an oven mitt, pulled out the last batch of cookies. They were a delicious looking golden brown.
"I think," she said hesitantly, "I think the other ones are cool enough that we can decorate them. If you want to, I mean." Spike smiled.
They decorated together, side by side, not talking much, just listening to the classic Christmas songs that still played.
Buffy glanced over at Spike's progress. He had made many Santas with fangs dripping blood which were, as she kept reminding herself, not funny and she would not laugh at them. But now he was working on one of the angel cookies. It had yellow hair, and greenish eyes, a small pink smile and…were those leather pants?
"Spike," she squinted at the cookie, "who is that supposed to be?"
"What? Nobody," he said a little too quickly.
"What? No, of course not. Are you off your bird, Slayer? I happen to know thousands of gorgeous blonde women. Was just shagging one the other day." Buffy wrinkled her nose.
"Ugh, Spike you're a…" she trailed off and looked at him, annoyed. He glanced up at her and cocked his head.
"A pig?" He asked innocently. Her annoyance just melted away and she laughed.
"Well, looks like the cookies are done," he said, looking uncomfortably around him.
"Yeah. Looks like."
"So, guess I should shove off," he moved toward the door, pushing his hands into his pockets firmly. Buffy watched his departing back and looked at her flour-y hands, then back up at him.
"Spike?" He turned around. "Would you like to come spend Christmas with us?" He stared at her, wondering if he could really believe what she had just said. Then a huge grin spread across his face.
"Yeah. I'd like that a lot." Still grinning, he turned and walked out into the chilly air. She watched his coat blowing around him until he was no longer in her sight. She leaned back against the counter, cheeks flushed pink.
"I'd like it a lot too." She murmured.