Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer I merely use them for my own purposes when it suits me. I also don't own Christmas- just in case you were wondering.

Author's note: This is me trying to be cheerful. If you've read any of my other stories you'll know I tend to lean more on the depressing-verging-on-suicidal type of writing but seeing as it's nearly Christmas I thought I would try to break through and write something warm & fuzzy. Please let me know how it turns out.

Merry Christmas everyone!

All I want for Christmas.

"RUDOLPH THE RED NOSE RAINDEER HAD A VERY SHINY NOSE. AND IF YOU EVER SAW IT YOU WOULD EVEN SAY IT GLOWED." Buffy took a deep breath and began counting slowly to ten. "Buuuuuuuuuuuuuffy you're not singing. Buffy... Buffy... BUFFY! SING WITH ME!"

Very slowly Buffy lowered the magazine she had been attempting to read for the past hour and stared at the small bouncing blonde girl who was jumping on the sofa in front of her.

"Annie I've all ready sang with you for hours. I'm tired now so can we just sit and watch cartoons for one minute?" The small girl stopped for a moment and cocked her head to one side to consider this proposition.

"Urm... NO WAY! It's Christmas eve Buffy. Tomorrow is Christmas! It's so exciting we're going to get presents and sing songs and watch films and stay up late and... JINGLE BELLS JINGLE BELLS JINGLE ALL THE WAY!" She started bouncing again. Buffy tried to smile at her but to be honest her Christmas spirit was a bit thin on the ground to start with and after nearly 3 hours of singing that verged on shouting in a very abrasive Scottish accent she was actively willing a demon to jump through the window so she could take out her pent up rage on it. But of course it wouldn't. There were ten other slayers out there protecting the world from any monsters that may be lurking,

Why me? Buffy questioned herself sadly. She'd got one tiny, little, insignificant stab wound and been locked in the house for days on end. As much as she pleaded slayer strength and that she'd be back on her feet in no time her friends had just smiled and nodded and tucked her up on the sofa with the awful pre-Christmas television to keep her company. And then today, to add insult to the literal injury, she'd been left behind while the gang patrolled. Babysitting Alice- one of the newbie's little sisters who seriously rivalled Dawn in the annoying-younger-sibling department. Buffy felt old, worn-out and unwanted. After years of wanting to be a normal girl the reality of just how replaceable she had now become hit home a few days ago and it was making her feel amazingly crappy. Before she'd been a failure as a girlfriend, unsupportive as a big sister and distant as a friend but she'd been the slayer and that was why but now...

"Buff!" Alice jumped onto her lap and broke her out of her self-pity cycle. "I'm bored. Bored, bored, bored! Can we do something fun?"

"Urm sure..." Buffy said uncertainly. What was fun for a 6 year old these days? "Wanna watch tv?"

"Sure put on channel 350." Said the little girl as she flopped down on to the sofa next to Buffy.

"What's that channel? Cartoon network or something?"

"No duh. It's MTV." The little girl raised her eyebrows at how un-cool her babysitter was.

"And your sister definitely lets you watch this stuff?" Buffy double-checked.

"Yeah I'm, like, 6 now not 4." Buffy smirked for the first time all day. This kid was too cute for her own good. Amazingly annoying and far too full of energy but cute none the less. She clicked the tv onto the requested channel and was assaulted with jingling bells, santa suits and Christmas trees as Miarah Carey bellowed:

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
(and I) Don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you...

Buffy sighed and turned the TV off again quickly. She felt slightly sick and had tears swimming in her eyes that threatened to betray her inner most feelings to all the world.

"What's wrong Buffy, don't you like her singing? Why are you sad Buffy?" Alice looked at her so innocently and with so much concern that Buffy thought her heart might melt.

"It's nothing Alice." Buffy smiled weakly at her. "I just urm... I'm sad because I don't think I'm going to get what I want for Christmas." Who I want she added to herself.

"Why not? Have you been naughty?"

"What? No! I'm a good girl. Definitely with all the saving the world and sacrificing-" Buffy cut herself off quickly at the puzzled look on Alice's face. So not a conversation to have with a 6 year old. "Anyway to recap- me, good, yep."

"Well then why are you sad? Father Christmas will bring you anything you want."

"Huh? Who?" Buffy was only half listening as she was caught up in the old memory of flaming hands and breaking hearts.

"Geez Buffy you're so silly! Father Christmas... Santa? Brings presents every year?"

"Oh yeah of course. But I don't think he's got what I want I'm afraid."

"Why not? He can do anything. Right you're taking me to see him. He's at the shopping centre. We need to go now." She jumped up and began to pull Buffy to her feet despite her spluttering protests.

"Alice it's freezing outside. It's been snowing there is no way-"

"Please Buffy. Please... don't you want to get what you want for Christmas? It's your last chance!" Buffy sighed. There was no way she could win against the level of pouting this girl could do.


"Yaaaaaaaaay! I love you you're the best!" She jumped up and down hugging Buffy at the news.

"BUT Alice, but, we're only going for a few minutes & I'm not promising that we'll even be able to see him because he's very busy today."

"Ok ok let's go!"

The shopping centre was crowded and full of angry-looking harassed women barging past one another with bags of shopping hanging off one arm and a small child generally latched onto the other screaming very loudly and for no apparent reason. The twinkling lights and blare of music was all a bit much for Buffy she felt like all her senses had suddenly kicked into overload after being turned off for days. She gripped Alice's hand very tightly as she was pulled through the crowd. The last thing she needed was to lose the kid left in her care. Her side still ached from the attack a few days ago and she was acutely aware that she wasn't in the best shape to take on anyone who tried to hurt her or Alice- not that she expected to be attacked while waiting for Santa but in her life you could never be sure of these things.

Alice found her way quickly to the dingy little grotto where bored looking elf stood outside chomping on some gum.

"Welcome to Father Christmas's grotto where all your dreams come true" she recited in a monotone. "It's £7.50 per child and £4 for every accompanying adult. You get a photo and a present." She stood with her hand outstretched as Buffy fumbled in her purse for the correct money silently cursing the fact she still hadn't completely got to grips with this new currency. "Thank you. Go straight through, Father Christmas is waiting for you."

The elf pulled back a tatty curtain to reveal the inside of the grotto. Buffy was glad to see they'd gone to a bit more effort in here at least. Twinkling lights scaled the walls and every bit of floor was covered with presents of glitter. In the centre of the room sat a jolly looking man in a Santa suit with the most realistic beard Buffy had ever seen.

"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas little girl what can I do for you?" He looked down at Alice who was shaking with excitement at on being this close to him.

"It's not me actually Father Christmas I've brought my friend to see you." She whispered breathlessly. Buffy rolled her eyes and forced a smile as she looked at the jolly man sitting on his throne.

"Well do come and sit on my lap and tell me all about what you want." He chortled. Buffy looked mortified as she lent down to whisper to him.

"Look I know this is stupid and you're just some guy in a suit but can we please just do this quickly for Alice's sake?" She stood back up and was shocked to see he looked genuinely hurt. When he spoke again his voice was much older, quieter.

"Buffy Anne Summers after all the things you've seen, all the evil you're rid from the world you're telling me you can't stretch your imagination to believe in old Saint Nick?"

"But..." Buffy stared at him in disbelief. Of all the Santas in all the world she had to get the crazy one who thought he really was magic.

"Ok I get it you still don't believe. How can I convince you? Urm let me see. You got a red bicycle when you were seven. When you were 4 you broke your brand new doll before Christmas day was up. All you asked for when you were 13 was to kiss a boy like all your friends had." Buffy's mouth fell open in surprise as Alice did a little dance beside her.

"All right. I give up. You're real and you deliver presents every year to children all around the world but I still don't see how you could give me what I want. It's not a thing even you could get for me. Tell you what I'll settle for a really nice pair of shoes."

"I know what you want Buffy."

"You... You do? Then you'll know it's impossible. He's gone." Buffy looked away quickly. Must not cry in front of Santa.

"He's not gone." Father Christmas said quietly.

"You obviously don't know what you're talking about then!" Buffy shouted angrily "You're just an old fraud! HHe's gone and nothing can bring him back!" The old man sighed and shook his head.

"Spike. Otherwise known as William the Bloody or William Pratt is all you want for Christmas. All his mortal life he resided on my good list. When he was turned he moved to the naughty list where he stayed for the longest time until a few years ago when he moved back to his original place and he is still there now. The man you want is very much with us still only he now resided in LA. If you believe in my I can bring him to you." Buffy didn't know what to say to that. She just stared at him blankly for a few moments before scooping Alice up and marching out.

She tuned out Alice's constant babble as she drove them both home so quickly she almost skidded in the snow more than once. When they were home Buffy stuck MTV on for Alice who was more than happy to dance around the room talking about Father Christmas and all the presents she was going to receive in the morning. Buffy curled up on the sofa and zoned out as she gazed with unfocused eyes at the lights on the tree. Was it true? Was Spike really back? If so why hadn't she heard about it before now? Could she really trust this man who claimed to be Santa or was it another cruel trick some demon played on her?

These questions raced around and around in her head for the rest of the evening. The gang returned to report what had been researched and what had been slayed. Buffy nodded in all the right places and hoped no one would notice she was understanding even less than usual. They all sat around watching trashy movies and drinking hot chocolate until the dark had truly set in and they all began stretching and yawning. Buffy made her excuses and headed up the stairs as quickly as she could leaving Giles and Willow in charge of calming Alice and Dawn down and getting them to bed. The two had been eating sweets and giggling all night and Buffy was so not going to be the one in charge of breaking up that slumber party.

As Buffy got into her pyjamas and turned off the light she tried to remember what it felt like to believe. In anything really. She could hear the noise and commotion going on beneath her and it suddenly felt like they really were this big dysfunctional family just like any other who tomorrow would be busy arguing over what to watch on the TV and who gets to carve the turkey. Buffy closed her eyes and tried to remember how she had felt as a child on Christmas eve. Waiting to hear those slay bells on the roof and awake to a pile of presents under the tree. She wished for that childlike innocence to come back to her once more and for those butterflies of anticipation to fill her stomach. That night, for the first time in a long time, Buffy Summers went to sleep with a smile on her face. Tomorrow she would see her Spike.

As the first faint sunbeams broke through Buffy's thick curtains she awoke suddenly unable to remember why she was so excited. Then it all came rushing back to her in flashes and she began to tremble with anticipation. She tried to steady her breathing as summoned the courage to open her eyes and see if he was there. Every second felt like a life-time as she lay there heart beating rapidly as she knew that any second she would be looking into those piercing blue eyes and kissing the lips she had thought she'd never see again. After a few moments couldn't face it any more and her eyes flew open ready to see... Nothing. Her heart sank and she didn't even try to conceal the trail of tears that flowed onto her pillow as she saw the other side of her bed flat and cold and lonely like every other morning. No twinkling eyes and no raised eyebrow to greet her. Just nothing.

Wiping her tears away with her sleeve she slowly got up and wandered down the stairs thinking vaguely of putting some coffee on and defrosting the turkey. Maybe she'd have those shoes after all she thought bitterly. Better than nothing. She walked in a dream-like state not taking in any of her surroundings until she got into the lounge. As she opened the door she walked straight into a present that sat beside the tree. It was beside the tree rather than beneath it because it was almost as big as Buffy and nearly towered above the tree. Buffy stared at it for a moment before curiosity got the better of her and she began examining it to see who it was addressed to. Eventually, right on the top, she saw a label that she turned over. It read 'Buffy'. Although she knew she really should wait for the others Buffy decided that a little peek wouldn't hurt and plus, she rationalised, it was probably some kind of trap. She gently ripped open a corner of the parcel and as her hand touched the cold metal underneath it melted completely and something sprang at her. A small knife held to her throat they tumbled backwards in a blur of leather and pink pjs.

"Told you- trap." Buffy muttered to herself as she punched blindly at the thing above her. It was dark and the bang to the head she'd just received was not helping her ability to judge what she was fighting. All she new was her slayer senses were jingling and something else deep inside her what quivering.

"What the bloody hell is going on? I wake up in a sodding cage God only knows where-"

"SPIKE?" Buffy shrieked as she scrambled out from his grip to stare at the man who had materialised in the middle of her rom. Could it really be?

"Buffy? That you pet? What the hell is going on? Where's the demon that put me in a friggin box?" He swung round wildly looking for something to punch. Buffy suppressed a giggle. "Not quite so sure you'd find it funny if you'd been locked in a box you couldn't even stand in for hours on-" he broke off as Buffy ran towards him and her lips crashed against his. She devoured him hungrily as tears steadily began to fall down her face again. This time tears of pure joy.

Spike pulled himself back with a groan of despair. He looked at her with such complete adoration that Buffy couldn't be mad at him for breaking off their long awaited reunion. He held her face tenderly in his hands as his thumbs brushed away her tears.

"Now don't take this the wrong way pet I'm so happy to see you but I think we might want to wait till we've got rid of whatever demon is in this room before we-" Buffy giggled again and Spike cocked his head to one side. "Something I said?" he enquired.

"Not a demon. Santa." Buffy laughed properly now as she leaned in to hug Spike. Laughed a deep laugh that spread right through to her heart as she looked at the confusion on the face of her beloved vamp. "I'll explain later. Let's go upstairs we've got a good few hours before the others are up." Spike raised an eyebrow and stared for a few seconds at his Slayer.

"Santa?... Ok that's good enough for me. Let's go." He scooped the still giggling blonde up and carried her upstairs. As he reached her bedroom he set her down gently on the bed and gazed into her eyes. "Merry Christmas love." And as he kissed her gently Buffy knew this was going to be the best Christmas ever.