Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Can't Buy Me Love

Chapter Title:


God Gave Me You

Chapter Summary:


How will the nightmare that is sometimes known as 'Christmas' go without money to fund ‘Santa wishes’ this year? Will Santa-Spike be able to keep the Grinch away? Spike wants it to be a memorable day for his family; be careful what you wish for... 


Time line:

December 2010



MacKenzie Verity Weckerly born October 9th, 2010

Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010

Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880 1890; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.

The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.



Music Referenced:

God Gave Me You, Blake Shelton


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:



Thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter. Any mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling ...

Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.

(Christmas Eve / early morning hours of Christmas Day)  Saturday, December 25th, 2010, 2:00am, Sunnydale:


Spike crept upstairs and silently checked on Buffy and the kids – everyone was sleeping soundly – perfect.  He’d ‘called’ her earlier to tell her not to wait up, he was involved in a poker game and would be very late – probably wouldn’t make it home much before dawn.  She’d moaned and told him he was just trying to get out of helping wrap the ‘Santa gifts’, which he didn’t exactly deny. She ended their conversation with her typical admonishment – ‘be careful’, and had gone to bed not long afterwards, completely exhausted mentally and physically.  She’d managed to get a couple of video games for the kids, not the ones they asked for, but ones she knew they didn’t have, they were used ones she found at the pawn shop really cheap. She had also gotten the clothing they needed, and those items now waited under the tree, wrapped in pretty paper and tied up with bows, from Santa.


There were other presents under there, too – from Clem, Lorne, Faith, Wes, Giles, the Harris’, and Willow and Tara.  It really wasn’t as dire as it seemed, to be honest, but Buffy still felt bad that most of the items on their Santa wish list would go unfilled this Christmas.  The adults had agreed to not exchange gifts this year – only the children would be getting presents.  Buffy had picked up a couple of small things for JJ and Edmond while she was shopping – MacKenzie got diapers … well, they were in a big box and wrapped, maybe the baby would like playing with the colorful, sparkly paper, at least.


Spike made his way back downstairs and went to the garage where Raj was waiting and he signaled the ‘all clear’.  The clean-up boy helped Spike carry in the packages, all wrapped haphazardly with waaay too much scotch tape and bows stuck in strange places, none of which quite matched the paper they were adorning.  Some of the larger boxes had two or three different papers on them because the ‘elves’ had run out of one roll and had to piece it together or the paper just wasn’t big enough. The ends of large presents were especially prone to being wrapped in unmatched paper when they were left barren because one roll of paper wasn’t wide enough to cover it.


Spike had managed to get nearly everything on the kids’ list: A pretty cheap, refurbished laptop computer for Annie – he didn’t know if it had everything she needed and he wished he could’ve consulted Red about it, but … if it wouldn’t work properly, he could get her a different one after he won the tournament, a Kindle Fire for Billy, the two Wii games they’d asked for and instead of Guitar Hero, he got Band Hero, which had a lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals and addressed it to Annie, Dani, Billy, and JJ.  He also got the Rollerblades Dani wanted – he knew Buffy got her the soccer cleats as part of the ‘new shoes’ Christmas tradition since her old ones were getting too small anyway, he refused, however, to buy her a David Beckham poster, but instead got her a new ManU poster – a mosaic made up of hundreds of smaller photos.


He didn’t get the iPad, that was just beyond his ability to do, and he didn’t get the Stormtrooper outfit because the only ones he could afford were cheap knock-offs and looked like cheap knock-offs.  He thought overall he’d done pretty well considering the time and money had had to work with.  He’d also gotten a little something for Buffy … despite the ‘no adult gifts’ rule.


Of course, there were things on the list which were beyond his control: The trillion dollars, the Gem of Amarra, the new car for Buffy, bringing Bess home … The Blue Bomber was out of the shop and back in the driveway, that was the best he could do on those requests, at least for now; the half million prize money for winning the fighting championship was as close to a ‘trillion’ as he could get – that would arrive a little late … he hoped.


When they’d gotten everything situated under and around the tree, Spike offered Raj some of the cookies and milk that the kids had left out. They’d taken to making both chocolate chip and candy cane cookies for Santa, and Santa was happy to oblige them by eating them all. Finally, when the cookies and milk were gone, Spike took the large bundle of carrots they’d left for the reindeer and gave them to his ‘elf’ and drove Raj home.  Raj and his two sisters lived with their mother and father, neither of whom spoke any English, in a depressingly rundown apartment building not far from the ‘fight palace’. 


Spike hadn’t really thought about it before he asked Raj to help him with the wrapping and delivery of the gifts … all that stuff must’ve looked like a million dollars worth of goodies to the boy.  But Raj never complained or lamented his fate, he always had a quick smile and was eager to help his Kiwi friend.  Spike vowed again to remember his little helper when he got the big prize … for once, the underdog was going to win, and the ones who had helped along the way would not be forgotten.




Christmas Morning, Saturday, December 25th, 2010, 7:00am, Sunnydale:


Just as they’d done when Annie was younger, Buffy and Spike had forbidden the kids to go downstairs without the adults on Christmas morning and they’d forbidden them to leave their rooms before 7am – period. And, just as Annie had done when she was a believer, Dani and Billy were banging on Buffy and Spike’s door at 7am on the dot this morning.  They’d been up for almost an hour already and had ventured a peek downstairs (but didn’t actually descend the steps, as instructed, even though they had left their rooms. What the heck, they had a whole year to make up for that small indiscretion with Santa) and were giddy with excitement – Santa had come! Colorful presents peeked out from under the bows of the tree, overflowed the tree skirt, and beckoned from the floor all around the evergreen.


Annie was out in the hallway waiting for her parents to rise, also, but her excitement was tempered by the knowledge that Santa didn’t exist and the money woes that had been building all year hadn’t gotten any better.  She’d begged Dani and Billy to not write the letter to Santa this year, but couldn’t come up with a valid reason why not without divulging the truth, which she knew her mom and dad wouldn’t want her to do.  Billy had been the most adamant and dictated most of the letter with Dani filling in here and there, and it had been him that had given the letter to his mom to mail after adding his own ‘PS’ to the bottom, unbeknownst to Annie.  They’d all worked on the cutouts and getting the collage done, just so there was no mistaking what it was they were asking for.


When the bleary-eyed parents emerged from their room, Dani and Billy were like Mexican jumping beans on speed … it was a total excitement overload.  Billy in his dinosaur PJ’s and Dani in her oversized Man-U t-shirt which fell nearly to her knees, were like two blond Tasmanian devils, urging their parents forward by pulling on their hands and jumping up and down at the same time.


“Santa came! Santa came!” they chorused for Buffy and Spike with glee as they tried to guide them quickly towards the stairs.


“Ok! Ok! Hold your horses a minute!” Buffy objected. “I need to pee and we need to get your little sister and I need to talk to you a minute before we go see what Santa brought,” she explained, thwarting their best efforts to get her downstairs.


Their giddy chorus turned into a cacophony of baleful moans and groans, as if they’d just been given a death sentence.


Buffy sighed and shook her head as she went down the hall to the bathroom. She sympathized with them, she could remember the dizzying excitement of Christmas morning herself … her stomach churned slightly with the knowledge that their excitement would be short-lived when they saw the meager offerings she managed to scrape together from ‘Santa’.


Spike gave them a stern look. “Don’t move and no peeking, either,” he informed them as he went to the nursery to get MacKenzie up, changed, and dressed.


When Buffy came back out, she knelt down and made Dani and Billy stand still in front of her, which was no small feat. “I need to talk to you a minute,” she began, looking up at Annie as well, who was leaning against the wall behind the twins.


“Santa called late last night and said that he was sorry, but he couldn’t fit everything on his sleigh,” Buffy began and the twin’s faces fell from deliriously happy to morbidly depressed in an instant.


“But … he’ll bring it later, right?” Billy questioned hopefully.


“Well … that’s the thing, Santa’s magic only works once a year, so anything he couldn’t bring will have to wait until next year. He’s really, really sorry … he just got so many requests for really big things that he ran out of room…” Buffy explained.


The twin pouts that appeared in unison on the blonde’s faces made Buffy’s heart ache and her stomach knot. She fought the tears that threatened her eyes, blinking them back and putting on a false, too bright smile. “It’ll be ok – you wouldn’t want to get everything you wanted for Christmas, then we wouldn’t have anything to get you for your birthday …” she pointed out hopefully. It wasn’t really working…


“Ok, who’s for seeing what ole St. Nick brought you bits?!” Spike called cheerfully as he joined them with the baby. “What’s the matter? Do ya think he brought ya a sack full o’ coal?” he asked when he saw their forlorn faces.


Billy and Dani looked at him, the deadly pouts still on their faces. “Mama says Santa called and said he couldn’t bring everything …” Billy explained sadly.


“Did he now?” Spike asked, cocking a brow and looking at Buffy.


“Right then … I reckon that tank of an SUV woulda been a bit hard for the reindeer to manage, probably woulda gave Rudolph a hernia … and I’d lay odds on Buttercup if ole St. Nick tried to snag ‘er off the bloody street,” Spike agreed. “But I reckon them little computer games and whatnot weren’t too big for that oversized sleigh.”


Buffy glared daggers at him. She was trying to get their hopes down, not up!


Spike ignored her deadly look and shrugged. “Let’s go see, yeah? Only sure way to tell what he missed.”


Buffy stood up, still glaring at her husband, as Dani and Billy’s frowns turned upside down again and they nodded eagerly.


“Last one down’s a rotten egg!” Spike challenged and the kids turned and sprinted down the hall and were downstairs in a flash.


“Spike! Have you lost your mind!? What are you doing?!” Buffy hissed as they followed the children down the hall.


“No worries, pet … trust me,” he replied with a confident smirk as they started down the stairs.


Buffy looked down and her brows furrowed in confusion – there were way more presents under the tree than there had been last night when she went to bed.  She looked back at Spike. “What did you do?”


“Nothing …” he asserted giving her an innocent look. “Santa musta come…”


“Yeah, a peroxide blond Santa with six pack abs and a stubborn streak a mile wide…” she murmured quietly as they reached the bottom of the stairs.


Spike and Buffy sat down on the couch as the kids picked out gifts and began tearing into them, Buffy recording the events with her digital camera as Spike held the baby.  The kids, including Annie, shrieked with joy as they opened every gift. Well, almost every gift elicited joy – the underwear, socks, and jackets were met with lukewarm indifference and the shoes were little better, except the cleats for Dani, which she loved.  There was no mention of the haphazard wrapping or the overabundance of Scotch tape or the mismatched, lopsided ribbons that adorned some of the packages … obviously Santa had a new elf in training assigned to wrap those…


Dani and Billy helped MacKenzie unwrap her presents, which, in addition to diapers, also included a new, colorful plush butterfly that had lots of different little compartments and rings and fabric designs to hold the baby’s interest, and also a soft, redheaded Raggedy Ann doll for their little redhead.


Although the toys held the baby’s interest for a short while, eliciting coos and smiles, the colorful paper and ribbons that were strewn all over the floor was much more enthralling for the eleven week old. Of course, what she really wanted to do was put all that paper in her mouth, since anything that looked that good must taste good … but the older kids were dutiful in keeping most of the gift wrapping out of their little sister’s reach.


“LOOK!” Billy enthused as they got to the presents at the very back. “It’s for Bess! Santa must’ve found her! She must be on her way, just like we wished for!”


Spike bit down on his bottom lip – he hadn’t intended on giving that impression when he bought some things for Bess – he just wanted to have something here for when she did return, whenever that was. He wanted her to know she hadn’t been forgotten.  Buffy looked at Spike and immediately knew he’d fucked up.


“Oh, honey,” Buffy cajoled her son softly. “It could be that Santa couldn’t find her because of the magic blocking amulet she has, so he left her stuff here for us to keep for her. He just didn’t know where else to deliver it.  His locator spell probably didn’t work any better than ours…” Buffy explained.


“Oh…” Billy replied sadly, setting the presents marked for Bess off to one side.  He shrugged lightly and pursed his lips together in a perfect imitation of his father. “We’ll just hold on to them for her then. Maybe if I tell her they’re here, she’ll come get them,” he suggested hopefully.


Buffy gave him a reassuring smile and nodded. “Maybe she will…”


“Look, Mom! Here’s one for you!” Annie exclaimed in surprise – it was the first thing they’d come to that was for either of the adults.


Buffy furrowed her brow again and frowned, giving Spike a disapproving look. She hadn’t gotten him anything – they had agreed. Spike just smiled at her with that self-satisfied smirk he had.  Damn obstinate, pig-headed, stubborn male …


It was a small box, like a jewelry box and Buffy’s frown deepened. Where had he gotten the money for all this?  That was worrisome…


There was a card attached to the package, which was, at least, all wrapped in the same paper, but would likely require Slayer strength to rip through the clear tape that it was laminated with.  Buffy opened the card first…


Inside, in Spike’s elegant Victorian script, it read:


My darling Buffy,


Don’t be mad – I can feel your anger even as I write this.  I know this isn’t fair and we agreed no gifts, but what can I say? Vampire. Evil, remember?


Buffy snorted and looked up at him, rolling her eyes. Was he gonna use that as an excuse for the rest of eternity? He still had that smirk on his face … he was enjoying this too much. She dropped her eyes back down and continued reading…


This isn’t the most romantic gift I’ve ever given you, and is by far not the most expensive, but I hope it will make your heart soar all the same, just as you do mine every time you walk into the room.


Oh boy, he was laying it on thick now, and she’d forgotten to wear her wading boots.


Always know that everything I do, I do for you. You have brought me the world, you make me whole, you light my way through the darkness and fill me with hope for the future … for forever at your side. I know that nothing less than a divine conspiracy has brought you to me. You'll always be love's great martyr, I'll always be the flattered fool; I need you. I know we can weather any storm, face any challenge, and overcome any threat – together. 

You are my angel from heaven; you cannot fathom how much I love you.  I know this because I have yet to find the depths of my love for you, which at times threatens to drown me in euphoric bliss. I wish only to give you a small taste of that delight today …

Merry Christmas.

With all my love,





Damn him. Damn evil vampire! Damn evil, romantic, sappy vampire!  Coming from anyone else, that would seem an unveiled attempt to simply keep her from being mad at him for getting a gift when they’d agreed not to; coming from Spike … from William, from the poet, Buffy knew that it was nothing but heartfelt veracity.


Buffy blew out a breath and blinked her misty eyes as she put the card back in the envelope and tucked it under her leg where she sat on the couch. Then turned her attention to the Slayer-proof box…


After some struggle to find an opening in the tape to actually get to the paper, Buffy finally held a small box, about the size of the box her charm bracelet had come in, in her palm. 


“You really are evil…” Buffy reminded Spike as he watched with hopeful anticipation.


“Can’t help it, luv … you bring it out in me,” he asserted.


Buffy ‘humphed’ as she pulled the lid off – but it wasn’t jewelry in the box, it was … money and a business card.  Buffy furrowed her brow and picked up the card. ‘Samuel J. Liston, Attorney at Law,’ the card read, ‘Specializing in International Patent, Trademark, and Copyright practices.’  It then gave an address in Los Angeles and one in Huntington Beach, not far from Sunnydale.


“You have an appointment Monday in Huntington,” Spike informed her. “Money’ll cover his fees. We’ll have to get more for the patent filing fee, but maybe next week I’ll get a good spot o’ luck…”


Buffy bit her bottom lip as she turned the card over in her hand, seeing the time and date of her appointment written on the back, and let it sink in – of course he would give it to her like this, this way she couldn’t justify using the money to pay bills with, she’d feel obligated to go see the attorney and get started on the process of patenting the Scrunchies.


“You’re a creep,” she informed him, putting the business card and the money in the envelope with the Christmas card and stuffing it all down into the back pocket of her jeans.


“In a lovable way?” he asked hopefully.


“In a creepy, cheesy, evil vampire way …” Buffy contended. “So, yeah … it’s a love-fest, a creepy, cheesy, evil vampire love-fest.”


Buffy finally smiled at him and leaned over and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I love you. Thank you – it’s really the best gift I’ve ever gotten,” she told him sincerely. 


Not that she didn’t love all the jewelry and other so-called ‘romantic’ gifts, but there was more to this – there was belief; belief in her idea, belief in her ability to contribute, belief in her. That really meant a lot, and inside she felt her heart expand a little more for this creepy, evil vampire who knew her so well and loved her so deeply.  She never thought her heart could hold more love for him … but he always seemed to inspire her to find room to squeeze in a little more.


Spike smiled brightly and pulled her back against him, deepening the kiss as he trailed one hand down the side of her body and settled it gently on her hip while the other tangled in the soft hair at the nape of her neck.  He was worried that she’d be mad at him for interfering in her project … he was glad she took the gift as it was offered, as a token of his love and faith in her. Everything William had written in the card was true … she was the one that led him out of the darkness and gave him hope for the future - he would always be the flattered fool and that feeling of drowning in her threatened to overwhelm him even now … right up until three children who were sitting on the floor by the tree starting coughing and gagging loudly.


Buffy laughed against Spike’s lips as the kiss broke, leaning her forehead against his. “I think we grossed them out…” she observed with a smile.


“It’s m’ mission in life, luv,” Spike teased with a smile of his own.


“Well, you’re doing an excellent job … should we see how long it takes before they have to run for cover?” Buffy suggested.


“Sounds like a brilliant idea, pet,” Spike agreed, capturing her lips again in another passionate kiss.


Unfortunately, they’d underestimated their Scooby-pups and, instead of running for cover, they attacked – jumping on the couch and on top of their parent’s backs and beginning a round of ‘Tickle-me-Spike’ which, if the demon world ever realized was so effective against Big Bad, would be the end of him. He could take pain, he could handle torment and agony, blackened eyes and broken noses … but tickling in the ribs was too much for him to withstand for long.


Spike roared and laughed and growled and tried to get the small army away from him, but they hung on, even as he fell off the couch onto the floor.  He wiggled and writhed as tears welled in his eyes and he fought off his attackers until finally, thankfully, they’d all laughed themselves into oblivion and stopped.  Even MacKenzie seemed to enjoy the free-for-all in her place by the tree as she smiled and cooed and squealed in delight.


Buffy had been released when Spike fell to the floor and all the children descended on their downed prey like a pack of hyenas that smelled blood.  She thought about helping him momentarily, but instead went and retrieved the baby, just in case the ruckus got more out of hand … plus, MacKenzie had probably eaten her quota of wrapping paper for the day.


“Oh, bloody hell…” Spike moaned as small giggles continued to trickle from the throats of his children as they lay atop him, arms and legs scattered every-which-way while they tried to catch their breath.


“And you two!” he exclaimed accusingly, looking up at Buffy and the baby. “No bloody help at all! I bloody well hope St. Nick’s keeping track o’ all this bollocks! Coal all ‘round next year, I’d wager!”


“Nun-uh!” Billy objected, sitting up finally. “Santa loves us!” he proclaimed as Dani and Annie followed suit and let their father up.


Spike sat up and ruffled his son’s unruly curls. “I reckon he does at that…”




“Spike … can I talk to you in here?” Buffy requested, heading for the training room, as the kids started gathering up all the paper scattered over the living room floor.


“Need to help the bits get these games hooked up…” he tried, but Buffy’s look told him that wasn’t gonna fly.  He sighed and joined her in the training room and she closed the door behind them.


“Where did you get the money for all that?” she questioned, shifting the baby to her other arm.


“Santa …” he began.


“Spike. Don’t patronize me,” Buffy warned. “Where did the money come from?”


Spike rolled his eyes, his hands going to his hips. “I won it – bettin’,” he answered truthfully.


“In one night?” she wondered doubtfully.


“Yeah – one night,” he answered truthfully again, if not actually clarifying that it wasn’t last night. “I’m sorry pet, I woulda told ya, but … well, I just didn’t really have time. I know we coulda used it for other things, but the bits … I just couldn’t bear to see them … crushed this mornin’.”


Buffy blew out a long sigh, then confusion furrowed her brows. “What stores were open late enough for you to get all that stuff … and just how did you manage to get that appointment for Monday with that attorney in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve?”


Uht-oh … busted. “I had a plan …” Spike explained. “I might’ve actually won the money a few days ago..." he admitted.


“Buffy … luv – wasn’t it worth one more bill collector callin’ to see the look on their faces this mornin’?  We can handle the tossers on the phone and their threatenin’ letters, ain’t gonna really change a bloody thing one way or another, but this …” he waved his hand at the door, indicating all the presents under the tree and the kids, “… this they’ll remember forever.”


Buffy sighed again and shook her head slowly. “You’re a good father, Spike … I just wish you would’ve told me…”


“I’m sorry, luv,” he offered. “I … well, I sorta wanted to surprise you too … wanted you to remember it forever too…”


Buffy nodded. “Well, there’s no doubt that will happen … I’ll probably have nightmares about being wrapped in mismatched Christmas paper while being chased by giant demony wads of Scotch tape for years…”


Spike laughed and shrugged, dipping his head and rubbing a hand on the back of his neck. “So, you’re saying I shouldn’t apply for a job wrapping gifts at the mall next year…”


“Not unless you just enjoy being humiliated and fired…”




By mid-afternoon all their friends were once again gathered at the mansion, as had become the tradition over the years.  The house was filled with the joyful laughter of children as they played with their new toys and games, a fire crackled and glowed in the hearth, Christmas carols played on the iPod speaker dock, and the wonderful aroma of turkey roasting in the oven filled the whole of the large house.  Spike once again thought that the scene could’ve been plucked from a Norman Rockwell painting, with some allowances for Lorne and Clem, of course.


Spike was pulled out of his musings by glass shattering and deep growling coming from the other side of the great room, when he looked up, four Fyarl demons had crashed through the garden doors. 


“Oh, bloody hell!” Spike exclaimed as he moved forward towards the uninvited guests just as one of the demons began smashing the antique, rosewood armoire that was near the door.


Clem, Lorne, Buffy, and Tara came out of the kitchen to see what the ruckus was. As soon as they saw the intruders, Buffy instructed Tara to get Willow and get all the kids upstairs and signaled to Lorne and Clem to stay in the kitchen.


“Don’t let anything burn!” she instructed the two demons before turning to Xander. “Break out some weapons … get my scythe!” she barked as the intruders started moving further into the room, leaving a path of demolished furniture in their wake. Spike was moving forward quickly, trying to cut off their advance just as Buffy reached his side.


“What do they want?” she asked him, sizing up the Fyarls.


“What any Fyarl wants, to crush stuff into little bits … apparently, they’ve decided they want to crush our stuff,” Spike informed her as the demons grunted and growled at them in their native tongue.


“Why?” Buffy questioned, turning to make sure Willow and Tara had gotten all the children upstairs … Anya apparently joined them, as well.


“Duuno, luv … they aren’t big talkers … more the strong, silent type…” Spike provided. “Watch out for the mucus…”


“Mucus? What mucus?” Buffy questioned as she looked behind her for Xander and the weapons.


“Paralyzing mucus. Shoots out through the nose. Sets on fast. Hard as a rock,” Spike explained.


“Oh gross! Can’t I have one fucking holiday without uninvited guests!?” Buffy exclaimed, her agitation growing.


“Hey, stupid!” she called to the demons. “Do you have any idea who I am?”


The demons growled in response. “They say ‘Crush fun. Crush now,’” Spike interpreted as the demons started moving towards them again.


“Where the fuck is Xander!?” Buffy questioned, chancing a glance at the training room door just as Xander appeared in it – empty handed.


“Xander! Weapons! Now!” Buffy screamed at him as Spike took a swing at the demon closest to him, bruising his fist on the powerful beast’s face.


“Owww! Bloody hell!” he exclaimed, shaking his hand in agony.


Buffy took a shot, aiming for the demon’s torso, but she had just about the same success as Spike had, stopping the demon only momentarily.


“Code! I forgot the code!” Xander called back to Buffy as she twirled and hit one of the demons with a roundhouse kick, sending it stumbling back, but only a couple of steps, and breaking the heel off her boot.


“God damn it!” Buffy screamed in frustration. “These are my favorite boots!  You are soooo gonna die now!” she informed the intruders.


“Buffy! Code! What’s the lock code?” Xander called back frantically from the doorway of the training room.


“It’s her birthday, you berk!” Giles provided as he ran over towards the training room and went with Xander to retrieve the weapons.


Suddenly, the demons attacked en masse, not only Buffy and Spike, but any furniture they came near. The warriors fought, but were no match for the strength of the large demons and were losing badly by the time Xander and Giles got back with the weapons.  The two men jumped into the fray, tossing the scythe to Buffy and a sword to Spike, but the weapons did little more than slow the large demons down.


“What the fuck!?” Buffy questioned as red blood mixed with green from the demons and stained the floor with the festive, yet somehow macabre, Christmas colors.


Suddenly, Lorne appeared from the kitchen, wielding butter knives from Buffy’s good silver set … the one that had been passed down from her mom and her mom’s mom.


“Buffy! Here!” he exclaimed, tossing one of the blunt knives to her when she looked his way.


“What am I supposed to do with this? Butter them up?” Buffy questioned.


“Silver! Silver can kill them!” Lorne explained with a shake of his head and an eye roll.


“Oh … huh,” Buffy muttered as she pulled back and thrust the butter knife into the abdomen of the demon that she’d been fighting.


For the first time, the demon screamed in pain and dropped to his knees … unfortunately, death wasn’t immediate and an enormous, smelly, gooey wad of green and yellow mucus exploded out of the Fyarl’s nose and covered her.


Buffy screamed in utter grossed-out horror. “Get it off! Get it off!” she demanded as she tried to pull the thick, sticky, and stinking substance off her body, but everyone else was busy fighting their own demons with the butter knifes and trying to avoid the same mucus-y fate.


Suddenly magic crackled through the air like a hundred small lightning bolts. “Somnus!!” Willow commanded from the top of the stairs, aiming her magic at the large demons – her eyes were black with ancient power and small flashes of electricity danced over her skin as she cast her spell.


The demons collapsed in heaps on the blood-stained floor, unconscious. The ensuing silence was deafening … except for the oven timer which chimed in the background and the labored breathing from the combatants, not another sound could be heard. 


Buffy looked up at Lorne with near panic in her eyes. “Baste! The turkey needs basting,” she informed him frantically.


Lorne looked at her a moment, her words incongruent with her appearance, their meaning not registering with him, as she tried to get the goo off her body before it hardened. “Lorne! The turkey! Baste!” she repeated, waving a green, slimy hand towards the kitchen.


Lorne shook his head to clear it before turning and heading into the kitchen to baste, as instructed.


As the defenders were picking themselves up off the floor, wiping at the blood, checking themselves for injuries, and trying to help Buffy get the mucus off, a new voice cut the magically charged air.


“I’m sorry to have to interrupt your holiday, Mr. Spike,” the new demon began, his voice low and gravelly, his demeanor calm.  “But I don’t seem to be getting your attention…”


Everyone looked up at the dapper shark demon who now stood just inside the demolished French doors that led to the garden, flanked by two additional Fyarl demons.


Spike pursed his lips together and glared at the new arrival. “This was your doin’?” he asked, waving an arm at the demolished great room. “We had a bloody deal!” he reminded the shark.


“Operative word is ‘had’, Mr. Spike, past tense, but you’ve reneged on your end of the bargain. Nothing personal, it’s just business,” Mr. Shark retorted.


“Spike! What’s going on! What kind of deal?” Buffy questioned as the remaining mucus hardened around her torso and arms, holding her upper body in a rock-like straightjacket.


Spike clenched his jaw and moved forward towards the loan shark, but was stopped short by the two bodyguards. “You’ll get your bloody money t’night! That was the deal!” Spike insisted, his voice low but adamant.


“No, Mr. Spike … our deal was for last night – Nochebuena. I warned you before that this would happen if you were late again, you don’t seem to be getting the message,” Mr. Shark countered.


“Damn it, Spike! What’s going on? What money?” Buffy demanded, moving forward. “Would someone please get this shit off me!” she pleaded, turning her torso this way and that, trying to get her arms free of the prison they were trapped in.


“Mrs. Spike … I am sorry to interrupt your Christmas with these unpleasantries,” the suave shark apologized, with a deep bow. “Please, allow me…”


“Touch ‘er and die,” Spike threatened, stepping between Buffy and the shark.


The loan shark smiled, revealing jagged rows of sharp teeth all canted at odd angles, but stopped moving towards Buffy.  “I’m not an unreasonable man, Mr. Spike – I’ll give you a choice, the brunette or the redhead… either will cover your debt.”


Spike growled angrily. “And I told ya before, you touch m’ family and you’ll pray to fucking Poseidon for a quick death.  I’ll have your money tonight – which was our bloody deal. Noche-bloody-buena … The Good Night – Christmas night.”


“I’m sorry, but that was not the agreement; Nochebuena was last night,” the shark insisted calmly. “Now, you may choose, or I will…the youngest or the oldest.”


“Spike, what the fuck is going on?!” Buffy questioned again. “Youngest or oldest what? We only have one cat … and she’s like … ancient.”


Mr. Shark turned to Buffy. “I don’t deal in kittens any longer, Mrs. Spike … I deal in hard currency … In lieu of that, I will accept human children, which are in high demand in some circles. Your husband owes me one or the other – I’m not leaving without my due.”


“Human …” Buffy murmured looking wide-eyed at Spike.


“You bet our children!?” she accused angrily, still trying to struggle out of the stiff cocoon of mucus.


“No, I bloody well did not!” Spike assured her before looking back at the loan shark. “I borrowed cash and I’ll have your soddin’ cash tonight – which was our fucking agreement!” he informed Mr. Shark again.


“You heard him,” Willow began as she stepped up beside Buffy and Spike near the intruders, her eyes still full of dark, powerful magicks. “Unless you want to end up as breaded fish fingers, I suggest you go back to your fish bowl and wait,” she cautioned the shark as magick crackled the air around her menacingly.


The loan shark looked between all the combatants that stood ready to defend the mansion and its inhabitants and bowed slightly to Willow.


“Very well … The price just went up to fifteen, Mr. Spike. Tonight,” Mr. Shark acquiesced.


“Fifteen?! The fucking deal was for ten tonight! You bloody wanker! I’ll have your ten and not a bloody quid more!” Spike yelled at the shark angrily.


“Fifteen before the sun rises again … or you will discover the length and breadth of my reach, Mr. Spike,” the shark informed him with an easy smile that belied his words.


“Sorry about the mess, Mrs. Spike … I do hope we didn’t interrupt your festivities too terribly,” the loan shark offered amiably before turning on his tail and leaving through the demolished French doors.  The two Fyarl demons that had come in with him moved past Spike and picked up their fallen brethren before following their boss out.


Buffy moved up to where Spike still stood near the doors, watching the demons leave. “You wanna tell me what the hell is going on now?” she insisted. “And get this fucking shit off me!”


Spike could just about feel his teeth grinding down to nubs as he clenched his jaw and turned guilty eyes to her. “I … I borrowed a few quid…”


“Ten thousand quid?” Buffy asked indignantly. “Get this shit off me! Now!” she insisted again, struggling under the binding mucus.


Spike turned to Lorne who was standing in the kitchen doorway watching, turkey baster in hand. “High note …” Spike instructed simply.


Lorne released a long, ear piercing C note, eight octaves above middle C, with perfect pitch and resonance, which seemed to seep into the very walls of the mansion and pulsate the very foundation of the house.  Buffy could feel the hard mucous begin to vibrate and then suddenly, it burst into a million, small yellowish-green pieces and fell in chunks to the floor.


As soon as she was free, she grabbed Spike by the arm and dragged him into the training room. “I think we need to have a little talk, Mr. Spike,” she informed him tersely.


Once in the training room, Buffy slammed the door and slung Spike towards the middle of the room. “You want to tell me what the fuck is going on now?  You borrowed money from a fucking loan shark!? Is that how you came up with the Christmas money? What the hell were you thinking?!


“Ten thousand dollars!? Seriously!? Just what the hell did you do with it, Spike? ‘Cos, Christmas wasn’t that much!” she continued ranting.


Spike caught his balance and turned back around to face her. “You weren’t supposed to find out… We had a bloody deal – he’s welshin’ on it. I woulda had the ten to pay him back tonight – that was the deal,” Spike defended.


“Oh, nice … so, that makes it alright? What I don’t know won’t hurt me, is that it? You borrowed money from a loan shark without consulting me! You went behind my back and put our family in danger and for what?! So the kids would have a nice memory for the rest of their unnaturally short lives?!


“Please explain this so I can understand why my holiday is ruined – again, why my living room is trashed and my doors are demolished and my fucking children are being threatened! Please tell me what was so fucking important!” Buffy demanded angrily, stalking slowly forward towards him.


Spike stood silent, motionless, hands on hips, a grim frown on his face as she screamed at him. He had no real defense … she was right, he should’ve told her before, should’ve talked to her.


“Tell. Me,” Buffy insisted sternly as she came within reach of him. He met her eyes and he could feel her anger and hurt boring painfully into him – he hadn’t meant to hurt her or lie to her. When he took out the loan, he never thought it would go this far or take so long for him to get the money paid back.


“Bess…” he sighed, looking up at the ceiling, unable to stand her scrutiny any longer.


“Bess?” Buffy repeated, shaking her head in confusion. “What … when … what…” she stammered, her brows narrowed in confusion.


Spike blew out a loud breath of air and forced his eyes back to hers. “The motorbike broke down, back in July, just after she ran off … I … I sent money to ‘ave it repaired,” he admitted.


Buffy was still shaking hr head, her brows furrowed. “How …”


“I called every bloody garage in Renaldo … which, granted, was only three …” he admitted, rolling his eyes and dropping his hands from his hips as he started to pace in front of her, running a hand back through his locks nervously.


“Needed a new engine … I wired the money for it,” he explained.


“But Spike … for ten thousand dollars, she could’ve bought a new bike!” Buffy pointed out, moving into his line of vision.


“That wasn’t all … she was … nicked,” Spike continued.


“Nicked? Someone … stole Bess?” Buffy asked, even more confused.


“No … nicked … arrested,” he clarified. “Prostitution. Needed a solicitor.”


“Spike! You knew all this and didn’t tell me?! What the fuck is wrong with you!?” Buffy exclaimed, her agitation growing by leaps and bounds.


Spike blew out another breath and dropped his chin to his chest. “I’m sorry …” he offered, slowly lifting his eyes back to hers. “I knew if I told you, you’d want to go to her and … I couldn’t very well tell ya not to help her when I was helping her … but going there would’ve just been a bad idea, pet.  I thought … I thought I could help from a distance and … not worry ya about it. You had enough worries at the time … you didn’t need more,” Spike tried to explain.


“I paid for her solicitor; paid for the repairs to the bike … that’s all … the rest I owe is … interest. I hoped she’d …” Spike shrugged despondently. “Thought maybe she’d come ‘ome when she got out of jail, but …” he shook his head sadly. “… didn’t work.”


“Oh, Spike,” Buffy moaned, her shoulders sagging with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief.  “You, of all people, should know you can’t buy her love. You said it yourself – she has to find it on her own, within herself. She has to let us into her heart, we can’t force ourselves in … and you were right about that.”


Buffy sighed heavily and rubbed tiredly at her eyes before plopping down on a pile of mats in the corner of the room.


Spike walked over and sat down next to her. “I’m sorry, Buffy. I swear I didn’t mean for it to go this far … I thought … thought she’d be back and I’d tell ya then, but … the longer it went, the harder it was for me to find a way to tell ya what I’d done.”


“Spike, how are we going to come up with fifteen thousand dollars by sunrise?” Buffy wondered, her voice filled with hopelessness.


Spike blew out a long, defeated breath. “There’s one other thing I haven’t told ya …”


Buffy looked at him sideways, her eyes narrowed with a mixture of hurt and anger.


“I … I been fightin’ on Saturday nights … it’s a demon league, kinda UFC style bouts … that’s where I been gettin’ the extra money; that’s why…”


“…Why you’ve been so beat up on Saturdays…” Buffy finished his thought, dropping her forehead into her hands tiredly.


“Yeah…” Spike confirmed. “I had it all planned, woulda been fine if the bloody shark hadn’t changed the soddin’ deal we had. I win t’night and I’ll have the ten we agreed on.”


“That’s … you know … that’s just really great, Spike. What are you, secret agent man? You have another wife and family somewhere, too? Is ‘William’ even your real name? I feel like one of those idiots on that show ‘Who the Bleep Did I Marry?’ … I feel like I don’t even know you!” Buffy spat, her despair morphing into anger and growing by leaps and bounds.


“Buffy … don’t…” Spike begged.


Buffy jumped up from her seat and began pacing back and forth across the room. “Don’t!? Don’t what? Don’t feel betrayed and lied to … ‘cos … pretty much been betrayed and lied to. Don’t be mad … ok fine – how’s angry and hurt and humiliated? Don’t ruin Christmas? Too late for that! You wanted us all to remember this Christmas forever … well, congratulations, you got your wish!


“You’re a piece of work! You’ve been lying to me for months! MONTHS! I stood there on Thanksgiving and threw my father out of this house and swore to him in front of all our friends that we didn’t have secrets, that you didn’t have ‘dalliances’ … but I was wrong, wasn’t I, Mr. Spike?”


“Buffy, I never meant to hurt you …” Spike pleaded with her, his head hung down in shame.


Buffy took a deep breath as tears of pain and frustration stung her eyes and she willed them not to fall. “I really thought … I thought you respected me enough to be honest with me, Spike. Did you think I wouldn’t be able to understand your logic? Do you think I’m so stupid that I couldn’t get what you were trying to do for her?”


“Buffy, don’t,” Spike begged, standing up next to her. “You’re not stupid … I’m the daft one.”


“Then why, Spike … I … I thought all this was behind us. I thought we … I thought we promised … I thought your word meant something …” Buffy beseeched him, her voice quivering with unshed tears.


“It does … we did. I swear … I’m so bloody sorry, pet. I just wanted to fix everything, for you, for her … I know I was wrong to not tell you … I didn’t do it to hurt you, you haveta know, I’d never...”


“I’m gonna get the money from Willow to pay Mr. Shark,” Buffy interrupted him, silencing him with a deadly glare when he opened his mouth to protest. Her hurt morphed again and she pushed her injured heart back and let the Slayer take over – just fix it, that’s what matters now.


“We can pay her back later – I’m fairly certain she won’t hunt us down like shark bait and kidnap our children if we miss a payment,” Buffy pointed out.


Spike pursed his lips together and nodded slightly, dropping his gaze to the floor in disgrace.


“Don’t lie to me again, Spike. Don’t turn into Hank Summers,” Buffy implored him, blinking back tears. “I need to be able to count on you through everything – ups and downs, good and bad. I can’t do that if I can’t trust your word…”


“I’m sorry… I know I’ve made a bloody mess,” he apologized again, dropping down to his knees in front of her – throwing himself at her mercy. “Buffy, I need you – I love you…”


“You’ve got a funny way of showing it sometimes,” Buffy whispered, her voice resigned and containing more than a hint of the betrayal and hurt she felt. She turned and strode out of the training room, slamming the door behind her and leaving him alone, still kneeling …still silently begging for her to understand and forgive him.


“Buffy … please… I’m so bloody sorry ... I need you …” Spike pleaded to the empty room, but he was met with only the sound of her footsteps walking away from the other side of the door. 




God Gave Me You, Blake Shelton


I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm goes through
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

There’s more here than what we’re seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
I’ll be the flattered fool
and I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you
Gave me you




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