Rating:  Oh, we'll say PG to be safe, but it's probably just G 

Feedback:  Thank you kindly.

Spoilers:  Brief mention of Angel's little curse problem.

Distribution: Here.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  Two highly unlikely friends meet for an evening and trade a few tales.

Author's Note:  Takes place sometime during season five. Just assume you-know-who (no, not Voldemort) arrived a little early in Sunnydale.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Tea and Company

"More tea?" asked the prim voice in a delicate English accent.

"No, thank you.  I'm near full up," came the low and rather grunty response.

The little lady sighed quietly, not wishing to be impolite.  After all, her guest had already eaten his way through at least a dozen of her strawberry tarts and was busy finishing off a particularly succulent lemon pound cake.  When he had finally slurped down the rest of the tea dainties, he gave a stifled belch and smiled at her.  There was chocolate smeared across his prominent nose.

"Now that's what I call a good meal.  So, why did you invite me over?  I don't think I've ever been so surprised in my life… except possibly that time when Buffy threw me across the room."  He gave a little snort of laughter.

"Yes, well, I'm glad you came.  I just thought that we might have a little chat considering we have quite a bit in common.  How do you find life with the Slayer?"

"Oh, I don't have it so bad.  She's a good sort.  Picks me up and gives me a look outside from time to time, lets me sleep on her pillow…. She still talks to me quite a bit, especially since Riley left her," he said with a look of pride.  He was important to her and he knew it.  "How about you?  Yours is rather, um, different, isn't she?"

The petite woman sighed once again and got a faraway look in her eyes.  Yes, one could hardly call Drusilla normal.  "Oh, she tries.  I'm actually one of the few things she does care about.  Still, if she brews one more teapot of AB negative, sometimes I feel like I'll go mad myself." 

She looked at the pig sitting across from her and gave him a half-smile.  She was glad she'd decided to invite Mr. Gordo over for a cuppa.  After all, how many other toys understood what it was like to be the confidante of someone who was up to their eyeballs in the supernatural? 

"So tell me, Miss Edith, what's the tightest spot you've ever been in with Drusilla?" asked the pig.

"Well, I'd have to say that would be when she left me behind when she went to Brazil."

"She forgot to bring you?  That's not very nice," the pig said huffily.

"It wasn't really her fault.  She was unconscious at the time, you see.  When she realized I was still in Sunnydale, she sent a few minions to collect me.  Sort of like a guard of honor.  Still, I was dreadfully worried," she said, her voice becoming distant.

"That you'd be stuck here forever?"

"No, about Drusilla.  She may be a very naughty girl, but at times I think I'm the only thing in her life that really gives her comfort.  She still cries herself to sleep some days.  That Angelus was quite horrid to her before she was turned.  She's told me all about it hundreds of times."

"Now that's too bad.  Angel and I have been introduced.  He picked me up once when he was visiting.  Gave me a nice smile and a pat.  Seems like a decent enough guy when he's got a soul.  Still, he made my Buffy awfully sad a lot of times.  She used to hug me and cry something fierce after he turned into Angelus.  Saw him then, too.  Sat at the end of the bed and drew her while she was sleeping.  Wanted to bite him, and I might have, too, if he'd tried anything.  Poor girl."

"It is difficult, isn't it, always trying to make them feel better and knowing we can't do much but provide a sympathetic ear?"  The doll looked a bit more wistful than usual as she smoothed her silken ruffles.

"We do what we can.  There's been more than one time I've wanted to give Buffy a little snuggle back or at least nod at her to show I'm listening when she's pouring her heart out, but I suppose that would give her a wiggins.  She'd think I was possessed or something."

The doll's china face looked at him questioningly.  "What is a wiggins?"

The pig snorted in laughter.  "Sorry.  That's her word for when she's feeling something's wrong in the ghosts-and-goblins-and-vampires way."

"Then I'm afraid Drusilla has probably given me a permanent wiggins.  It's not easy being a vampire's companion.  I've seen some things that would make my hair curl even if it wasn't already.  Sometimes I think she knows I'm listening to her.  She knows more than anybody thinks she does.  Of course, if she ever said anything about it, they'd just think she was insane.  Which she is.  Still, there are times I've wanted to give her a little reassuring pat on the back or a kind word, and it simply isn't possible."

"It is difficult," the hog said gently.  "We don't exactly have an easy calling in life either."

"No, I suppose we don't," Miss Edith said with a smile.  "Still, they both need someone to love them, whether they know it or not."

"Have you ever, you know," the pig said in a secretive whisper, "used today to meddle with things?"

"Honestly?  I know we're not supposed to, but I did once, yes.  My Drusilla had lost her favorite hair ribbon.  It was a lovely deep green velvet one with little pink satin rosebuds embroidered on it.  I'd seen it fall underneath the bed, and I knew she'd never think to look for it there.  It happened to be the feast, and after she left for the night, I rooted around in the dust bunnies until I found it, then put it back on her dresser.  I didn't think she'd notice, but I happened to get just a teensy bit dirty.  It really puzzled her, but then she decided that Spike must have used me to knock the ribbon out from under the bed.  Thank goodness he never set her straight!"  Of course, she blushingly recalled, Drusilla's rather vigorous expression of gratitude towards the other vampire probably didn't encourage him to admit he'd had nothing to do with it.  "How about you, Mr. Gordo?  Have you ever interfered on the day of the feast?"

"Yup," he said with a dopey grin.  "It was just after my Buffy's seventeenth birthday, right after Angel went bad.  Her mother knew something was upsetting her, and I saw her searching the room for Buffy's diary so she could read what she'd been up to.  I knew there was a lot of very top-secret, Slayer's-eyes-only type information in there.  Back then, she didn't even know her daughter was one.  Anyway, just as she was about to look under the mattress where Buffy hid it, the doorbell rang and she left to answer it.  I took the opportunity to grab the book and hide it in a place she'd already looked.  When she came back, she looked around a little more and gave up.  Then I put it back under the mattress."

"I don't think anyone can blame you for that."  The pretty little doll looked up at the clock and made a pouty face that was almost worthy of her mistress.  "Oh dear, it's already 11:00!  I suppose you must be going.   It will take you a while to go all the way back across town, won't it?"

"'Fraid so, Miss Edith.  Thanks again for the grub.  I'm glad we finally got a chance to meet."

"Me, too.  Perhaps, if we're both still in town next year, we can do this again?"

"Sounds good to me.  Next time, you can come over to Buffy's and I'll make some double fudge brownies.  Deal?"

"Deal," the doll laughed.

With that, the pink plush piggy wiggled out the door of the abandoned factory and made his way quickly back to Buffy's bedroom.

"Well, now, this is odd," Giles said in a bemused voice.  "I've never heard of this before."

"Is that 'We're All Gonna Die' odd or just 'Some Demons Bleed Plaid' odd?" asked Xander from the other side of Giles's living room.

"Today… yesterday, actually, as it's 1:00 a.m. now, was a rather unusual holiday."

"Was it a holiday where I needed to stick pointy stakes into something?" Buffy asked warily.  "'Cause you shouldn't refer to that as a holiday."

"No, actually.  It was the Feast of Ludus Motis.  According to the legend, this is the one day in the year when playthings can move about of their own free will.  Quite extraordinary."

"Let me get this straight.  You're saying that all the toys in the world can just go out and party tonight?"  Buffy asked.

"It's only a legend, but certainly a more pleasant one than most we run across.  Besides, according to this, they can do no harm and are only animated until midnight.  Pretty little tale.  Too bad it appears to be based in nothing but fantasy."

Later that night, Buffy trudged up to her room and flopped down on her bed.  It had been a long research session, and she was completely exhausted.  Still, the silly story that Giles had come up with brought a smile to her face.

"Well," she said, picking up Mr. Gordo from the floor.  "It looks like this little piggy stayed home."  She gave him a squeeze and tucked him into bed next to her, settling in for the night.

Suddenly, she sat bolt upright.

"I left you on the bed!  How did you get down on the floor?"

The pig just continued to smile at her.  After eating all of Miss Edith's tarts, he hadn't been able to jump quite that high.

"I'm home, Miss Edith.  Did you miss your mummy?"  Drusilla sang out in her usual childish tones.

The doll sat just where Drusilla had left her, nestled among countless lacy pillows on her bed.  She picked her up and gave her a little kiss on the cheek.  Then, her eyes widened.

"Miss Edith, why do you smell like strawberry tarts?" she asked in amazement.

The doll just returned her gaze silently, a twinkle in her eyes.