(A title suggestion would be greatly appreciated...)
SUMMARY: Just some fun in the snow in Sunnydale... B/S, fluffy, vaguely amusing.. What more do you need?
RATING: PG, I suppose. Those two throw too many innuendoes around for it ever to be G.
DISCLAIMER: They're not mine. I'm just giving them a break.
SETTING: It's technically post-Season 6 AU, and set after my long epic, "Cradle", which can be found somewhere on this list. All this basically implies is that Buffy and Spike are together, and Spike has moved in; Willow is still living with them, and Dawn's still at home; Clem has moved into Spike's crypt; Giles is back in England (it takes too long to explain why) and everything else is pretty much as usual.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This came to me during, of all months, August, in the middle of probably the hottest day of the year. It was going to be a nice friendly diversion while I finished "Cradle" (there were, um, updating issues... :S) but since this isn't finished either... what the heck, I'll share it. Feedback would be nice.
It was surprisingly cold for April; in fact, it was surprisingly cold, period. A light frost had settled over the whole of Sunnydale, giving an entirely new meaning to the phrase "when Hell freezes over".
Buffy was patrolling, somewhat grudgingly, wearing approximately four layers of clothing. Frost wasn't exactly the best condition to be patrolling in - the slightest foot wrong meant she'd go flying, and her heavy woollen hat, pulled firmly down over her ears, meant that her Slayer hearing was thrown off. Patrolling was also proving ultimately pointless; the weather was so cold, most of the vampire and demon community seemed to have gone into temporary hibernation.
She wandered somewhat aimlessly between the headstones, idly twirling the stake around in her hand. It was far too chilly to be outdoors. This, she had decreed immediately on leaving the warmth of her house. Right now, she would have much preferred to be back there, curled up on the sofa with a nice, warm mug of hot chocolate. I'll give it another five minutes, she thought.
Typically, it was just at that moment that a fledgling leapt out of nowhere. It was fast, taking Buffy by surprise, and the fact that she couldn't feel her feet wasn't helping matters. The vampire threw her before she could punch him, sending her flying into a nearby headstone, then grabbed the front of her shirt to bring her to her feet. She tried to stake him, but he easily wrestled the weapon from her numb fingers. Before she knew what was happening, the vamp - and a pathetic excuse for one, at that - was preparing to bite her.
"You know," she said, buying for time, "you really don't want to eat me."
He looked briefly confused. "I don't?"
"No. I'll be all cold and yucky. And it's completely the wrong time of year for a Slay-sicle."
The fledgling shrugged. "So?"
Buffy wasn't fast enough with a retort, and the vampire got ready to sink his fangs into her neck. She found herself completely unable to move, and preparing to die in the most pathetic, mundane - at least, for her - manner imaginable.
Suddenly, the vampire's grip on her shirt front let up, and he dissolved into dusty smithereens all around her. She looked across to see a much more appreciated vampire, in the form of Spike, wielding her felled stake. He threw it back to her with a small flourish, wearing a smug grin to disguise his obvious relief to find her alive when the dust cleared.
"Thanks," she said, pocketing it, and making a conscious decision to go home.
"You ought to be careful, love," he said. "The cold makes vamps antsy. Less people around for the killin', see?"
"I'll remember that." She rubbed her arms to get some heat circulating through her veins again. "What are you doing out here, anyway? It's freezing."
He shrugged, implying that the cold didn't bother him. "I figured you'd be slowed down, what with the cold, an' all, so I thought I'd patrol the other side of town." She gave him a grateful nod, and rubbed her hands together in an attempt to feel her fingers again. "Plus, I wanted some fresh air. I forgot how claustrophobic that bloody crypt was." He'd been spending the day with Clem, as it was the demon's birthday (or possibly some random other holiday that mortals didn't know about; Buffy couldn't remember the details, exactly,) and most of it seemed to have been spent drinking copious amounts of alcohol and playing poker. Which meant it was pretty much exactly the same as all the other days Spike spent with Clem.
Buffy looked slightly incredulous at his 'fresh air' comment. "Oh, God," she groaned. "Don't tell me you're one of those irritating people who goes out on the coldest night of the year and calls it 'crisp'. It was bad enough when Giles did it."
Spike smiled. "I take it you're not, then."
She gave a derisive snort. "I live in California, dammit. I don't do cold. Plus, a Slayer is a tropical creature."
He sniffed the air a little curiously. "I admit, actually, this is odd."
"Yeah. And I've definitely had enough for one night. See ya." With that, she began to walk in the direction of home. She slowed only slightly when Spike started running after her.
Continuing to walk, she asked, "What?"
Spike, having caught up with her, looked vaguely sheepish. "Was going to offer to walk home with you… I'm done patrolling the other cemeteries, so..."
She sighed. "Fine..." He smiled and fell into step beside her, and they walked the rest of the way in amicable silence. Half an hour later, they'd arrived. Spike hovered expectantly on the threshold, and, when he didn't follow her in, Buffy turned to face him, confused. "What's your problem?"
He looked suddenly embarrassed. "Nibblet. She... she de-invited me."
Considering Spike had been living with them for nearly a year, he must have done something truly evil to cause Dawn to revoke his invitation. "Why?"
"She was annoyed because I made fun of her teddy bear..." he muttered. Buffy adopted an expression of mock horror.
"You made fun of Miss Bearina? I'm surprised you're still alive!"
"What?! The girl's sixteen, and her bear has a bloody tutu!"
"Oh, and I bet you never had a teddy bear..."
He sighed. "All right, so maybe I did. But only until I was ten. And it didn't have a tutu, either." Buffy smirked. "You gonna invite me in, then, or what?"
"I'm thinkin' about it."
Spike looked incredulous. "What? I bloody live here, too, y'know."
"I know that," she said. "Okay, you can come in" - he started to move, and she held him back with one hand - "but only if you tell me what your teddy bear was called."
He sighed heavily. "I don't remember."
She knew he was lying. "Oh, come on. I know it was a long time ago, but everyone remembers what their teddy bear was called."
"It was over a hundred years ago," he clarified, "and my memory isn't that good. Besides, we didn't name them when I was a kid."
"I can tell when you're lying, you know. Just tell me. You're only making this harder on yourself." There was a long, deathly pause, and then, he muttered something under his breath. "What was that?"
"Wilfred, all right? It was called Wilfred."
Buffy snorted, but quickly stifled the rest of her laughter at the look on his face. "That's... cute."
"Named after my grandfather, if you must know," he added, defensively.
"No, I mean it, it's cute!"
He raised an eyebrow, irritated. "Well?"
"Come in," she said. Spike stepped gratefully over the doorstep into the warm house, closing the door after him. Buffy removed her two separate coats, hat, and gloves, placing them over the banister to take upstairs later, then headed immediately for the kitchen. Spike made himself more comfortable in the lounge, and waited for her, looking absently around the room even though he'd practically memorised it. If asked, he could probably name which ornament adorned which particular shelf, and where it had originally come from.
After a few minutes, Buffy re-emerged from the kitchen with two mugs. She handed him one, then sat herself down next to him on the couch. They both took quiet sips from their drinks while they sat in silence, seemingly at a loss as to what to do next. The silence was only broken when Buffy suddenly sneezed.
"Bless you," said Spike, amused.
"Ugh. I so don't do cold..."
Never one to miss out on an opportunity, Spike set down his hot chocolate on the coffee table. "Well, maybe I could keep you warm."
She smiled. "Coming from you, that's almost ironic. But thank you for the offer." Setting down her own chocolate, she scooted across the couch to sit in his lap, and snuggled into his arms. Spike was quite surprised his offer had worked, but didn't say anything of it. Eventually, she did, in fact, start to warm up, but it was probably more due to Spike absorbing body heat than anything else. Nevertheless, it had the same effect. A few minutes passed in silence as they just enjoyed each other's presence. Buffy's breathing was the only sound in the room; Dawn was in, but she was being surprisingly quiet, for some reason. The Slayer sighed, contentedly. "We should do this more often."
"Do what, love?"
"This. You and me, just sitting quietly. It's nice." The house was surprisingly quiet, for once, despite every current member being present. Willow was studying in her room for the latest in a long line of exams, and Dawn was... well, none of them really knew what Dawn was doing, but it didn't seem to involve her usual level of raucousness, so nobody was complaining.
"Oh," he said. "I'd have to agree with you on that one."
They fell into silence again, their mugs of hot chocolate by now completely forgotten. Their moment of serenity was broken only a few seconds later, however, by Dawn giving up on whatever it was she was doing, pounding down the staircase and flinging open the front door. She vanished into the night, leaving it open. Buffy and Spike shared a confused glance.
"Don't look at me," she said. "She's only my sister; it doesn't mean I know what goes on in that weird brain of hers."
Seconds later, the prodigal sister returned with a huge grin on her face. Apparently, she'd been expecting them to follow her. "What are you two waiting for?!"
Buffy, extracting herself from Spike's arms, raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Gee, let's think... an explanation?"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "It's snowing, guys! Come on!" She walked over to them, took them both by the hand, and forcibly dragged them to the front door.
"All right, Nibblet. Calm down!"
The teenager giggled happily, having apparently forgiven Spike for making fun of her teddy bear. "I'll be waiting outside." With that, she ran out again into the night. Buffy grudgingly put her coat back on, to Spike's mild dismay.
"So, you're gonna humour her, then?"
"For an easy life? Yes." Seeing his disappointed expression, she reassured him, "Just a few minutes, Spike... do you know how long it's been since Dawn and I had a real snowball fight? In fact, how long has it been since you've had one?"
"Decades," he admitted.
"It'll be fun..." She put on her most charming smile, and instantly won him over. He conceded defeat with a sigh, retrieving his duster from the back of a chair and putting it on as they headed out to join Dawn.
As soon as they stepped out of the front door, Buffy was ambushed by her sister throwing a snowball at her. It had apparently been snowing for quite a while and she'd only just noticed. Although, in Sunnydale, it was entirely likely that the snow had just appeared when nobody was watching. Buffy looked momentarily incredulous as she brushed the snow and ice from her front. "Dawn!" There was no reply except for a short giggle, and the younger brunette was nowhere to be seen. Buffy frowned, already beginning to wish she'd never agreed to this.
"You want me to take her down for you?" asked Spike.
"No... besides, it's her against us with our combined Spidey-senses..."
"Good point," he said, positively gleefully.
Buffy knelt down to gather a handful of snow, with Spike following suit, and then straightened, getting into Slayer stance. "Oh, Dawnie..." she called. "Come out, come out, wherever you are..."
"Yeah, because that always works," muttered Spike. Buffy shot him a petulant glance and indicated for him to follow her, making her way around to the back of the house, ammunition in hand. They peered into the darkness and waited for movement. As expected, Dawn hadn't heard them coming, and started to head towards them. Buffy, commando-style, indicated 'one-two-three', and then, they launched a full-blown Slayer and vampire attack on the teenager.
Dawn squealed and cowered as the snow hit her, then gathered some for herself to fight back. Within seconds, battle had commenced, all three of them running around the garden in a snow-flinging, laughing warfare. Buffy and Spike had forgotten their initial partnership against the Evil of Dawn, and were now fighting each other as well.
For the moment, Buffy was winning, being the smallest and fastest of the three. It lasted right up until the moment when she managed to shove snow down the back of Spike's collar, attacking from behind while he was busy dumping snow on Dawn's head. He yelped, gave up on his previous attack on Dawn, and proceeded to chase his Slayer around the garden. Dawn, ever the dutiful sister, helped, blocking Buffy's path, and causing her to divert... straight into Spike. They both went flying and hit the ground with a soft thud.
Dawn fell about in a fit of giggles as her sister rammed into Spike and knocked him to the floor, then rolled her eyes exasperatedly at the expressions on both of their faces. She'd seen those looks before. It was going to take drastic measures to get through to either of them, now.
Buffy made herself more comfortable and snuggled closer to Spike. "Suddenly, liking the cold," she said.
"With you on that one, pet," he agreed.
"Hey, guys?" interrupted Dawn. "If you could stop with the googly eyes for, like, a second, I thought we were having a fight..."
Buffy struggled to her feet. "You'll excuse me, Spike, but I have a Key to murder..." Satisfied that her distraction had worked, Dawn squealed and ran into the kitchen before her sister could catch her. Buffy shrugged, muttered something about her being a wuss, and went over to help Spike up. "Now. Where were we?"
Seconds later, the pair were otherwise occupied, and the snow was forgotten... which is why they didn't see Dawn sneaking up behind them with a bucket of water. She watched them for a few seconds, grinned, then poured the entire contents of the bucket over their heads.
Buffy screamed and was on her feet at a speed only she was capable of; Dawn dropped the bucket and started trying to sweet-talk her way out of it. Being confronted by a cold, soaked, and incredibly pissed off Slayer suddenly wasn't as fun as she'd envisaged it to be. She began to back towards the open kitchen door.
"Dawn," said Buffy, keeping her gaze level and as menacing as possible as she approached, "there was nothing in the rules about water."
"I... I know, but..." She tried for a mischievous smile. "You guys shoulda seen your faces..." The smile fell. Buffy was still approaching, and Spike had also gotten up. He moved past them both and got to the kitchen door before Dawn, closing it. She was trapped between them both.
"So," said Buffy, addressing Spike. "What should we do with her?"
"Personally," he said, "I'm one for the do-as-you-would-be-done-by approach, but that's too easy... Your call."
Dawn was starting to panic. "Okay, guys, joke's over... I mean, come on, two against one? How unfair is that? And anyway, you're both older than me and you should know bet- ARGH!"
The brunette's rambling was cut off by her sister and Spike launching a double-handed tickle-attack on her from either side. She didn't stand a chance, and went down in seconds, both of them pinning her to the floor and tickling mercilessly. Her arms flailed as she tried to hit them off, but it only provided more access, and eventually, she gave up and squirmed helplessly, squealing her head off.
"Ow! Get off! Ack!"
"Give in yet?" asked Buffy.
"I - ah! - I g-give - get off! - I-"
"What was that, Bit? Couldn't hear you over the giggling."
"Well - [giggle] - what do you - ow! - expect!"
The words-to-hysterics ratio was starting to dwindle, and Buffy was giggling about as much as her sister. She risked a glance at Spike, and could tell immediately that any minute now he was going to change sides and give Dawn a chance to get her breath back. Considering she was close to hyperventilating, it was probably a good plan, but Buffy was determined to get to Spike before he got to her.
Just as both of them were about to attack, one of the upstairs windows opened, and a voice said, "Would you three keep it down out there? Some of us have a test tomorrow."
Buffy and Spike finally released Dawn and let her crawl away, holding her stomach and still giggling, and looked up. "Aw, come on, Will. You've been study-gal all week. Aren't you even remotely tempted by all this snow?" She gestured to indicate the white garden.
Willow looked to be about to give in, then shook her head at herself. "No, Buffy. I really have to study. This one's important."
"Red," said Spike, "they're all soddin' important according to you." He cast a glance at Dawn, who was in the process of raising an eyebrow, so he hastily added, "And I'm all for academic acheivement as much as the next... evil vampire, but... I've never known you to fail at anything." As an afterthought, remembering certain spells, he added, "Well, anything academic, anyway."
She sighed, heavily, making it quite obvious that she was only conceding out of loyalty to her friends. "All right. Ten minutes, and that's it." Her head disappeared from the window, and she emerged a few minutes later wrapped in a scarf and gloves. Literally a second after that, she was glowering at the assembled personages in the garden from beneath a healthy coating of snow.
Buffy and Dawn high-fived and whooped, and Spike sniggered. "Nice shot, girls."
"No fair," muttered Willow, brushing ice off herself. "I wasn't ready."
"All's fair in love and snowball fights, Will," pointed out Buffy. "But... okay, I admit that was cruel." She leaned forwards and stage-whispered conspiratorially, "It was all Spike's idea."
"Hey!" he said, implying it was nothing of the sort. He rambled, trying to remove the blame from himself. "I was all for teaming up, me. Me and Buffy 'gainst you and Dawn." All three women raised a single eyebrow, simultaneously; the effect was rather frightening. Spike continued to dig himself into a hole. "All right, just to prove I'm a good sport, I'll let you have a head start..."
Willow thought for a moment, and then said, "Hm. That sounds fair to me."
Buffy turned to Spike. "A head start? Did you keep count of how many we threw?" He shrugged. "Also, hello? Big Bad?"
The two exchanged some friendly banter for a while, waiting for Willow's first snowball to hit someone. They didn't notice, however, the twenty-odd globes of rising out of the snow-covered ground (leaving little, round holes as they did so) that surrounded Willow on both sides. A very slight breeze picked up around her, catching her scarf, and the snowballs hovered just above her head, as more came out of the ground.
Dawn began to tug on Buffy's sleeve. "Um. Guys?"
"What is it, D-"
Approximately thirty snowballs went whizzing through the air and pelted Buffy and Spike like a machine-gun round. Spike instinctively sheltered her with his own body until the tirade ended; meanwhile, Dawn had managed to throw herself out of the line of fire, and was currently laughing her pretty little head off along with their attacker.
and here's the awful illustration. ;) you were warned...
and that, my friends, is as far as i got. if anyone wants to try and finish it off, be my guest. i picture snuggling under a blanket with more forgotten cocoa. ;)