Written: December 26, 2008
Summary: Faith waits until the last minute to buy Buffy's Christmas gift and has to suffer the consequences.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, nor do I make any profit from writing about them.
Seriously though, what a way to go, right? I can think of totally worse ways, that's for sure.
But never, ever, did I think I'd die this way, running pantless and bootless through the frozen tundra that is Cleveland in the middle of a snowstorm with a package clutched to my chest and an angry crowd running after me.
"Ah shit, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die," I chant over and over as I skid across a frozen puddle in the middle of a parking lot, sliding and teetering across it until I reach the other side safely.
I'm not sure how I got to this point, running from the angry crowd at nine o'clock at night on Christmas Eve. Hell, I don't even like Christmas. Unless you're one of those uber religious nut jobs, the only thing it's about is presents, and honestly? Most of them suck anyhow. I mean, who the hell needs a red and green sweater with two kittens wearing Santa hats embroidered on the front?
It's tacky I tell ya, and just plain old unnecessary.
Now don't get me wrong, I love getting presents. Sometimes people do the right thing and actually buy something decent. Last year - the gang's first Christmas together after leaving Sunnydale a big dusty hole in the ground - Xander actually got me an Xbox. And the whole gang was in on it cos everyone got me games to go with it. Dawnie got me Grand Theft Auto, Willow and Ken got me some kinda Simpsons driving game, and B got me House of The Dead III with the gun to shoot and everything.
The girl gets me folks; it's as simple as that.
And that's why I made it my mission to make her mine shortly after that. It wasn't an easy job, I'll tell ya that much. We have a lot of the bad kind of history together but I was determined. I stepped up the friendship we were slowly building, making sure to be around her as much as possible, and was totally blown away when I realized she wasn't getting sick of me. In fact, she was trying to be around me as much as I was being around her.
We finally did the whole first kiss thing at the Memorial Day picnic Giles and Andrew arranged and the rest is history. Things have been good. Oh, who am I kidding? Things have been fucking great. We have friends, we have actual lives, we have earth-shattering sex, and we're happy.
It's been a good run. Never thought I'd ever be this happy and I honestly still struggle with whether I deserve it or not, but B always has a way of making me know that I - no, we - deserve it. We've paid our dues and now we get to have the good stuff.
In fact, she started teasing me this morning about all of the good stuff that she bought me for Christmas.
Now, we didn't talk about Christmas; I had no idea that we were doing the big old gift exchange. But evidently I'm some kinda holiday impaired moron cos I didn't get a single thing for B for our first Christmas together as a couple.
And that, my friends, is why I'm Ebenezer Screwed.
I've been too busy being a grump about the holiday parties and the copious amounts of disgusting eggnog that I'm gonna be forced to drink that I totally blanked on the presents front. That's also the reason why I'm runnin' through this parking lot now with a red and green sweater with two kittens wearing Santa hats embroidered on the front, clutched to my chest in a crumpled plastic bag.
Yeah, shut up. I know it's lame.
But yunno what? No one ever told me that trying to find a present for your loved one on Christmas Eve is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE.
The crowds at the mall are like fucking locusts, swarming at the first sight of a decent gift. I actually had a really nice Tommy Girl perfume set that I was gonna get for B, but once I lifted the last box off the shelf, I turned around and saw two huge dudes charging at me like fucking defensive tackles. I put that box under my arm like a football and tried to get away but some old lady with a cane totally tripped me.
Never thought I'd see the day when some old grandma would take me out for my Christmas gift, but it's one of the things I'm quickly learning tonight.
The stores were starting to look like they're going out of business, shelves and racks mostly empty. I finally found a nice pair of black cashmere gloves I thought B might like, but when I picked them up I noticed that both of the gloves were for the left hand.
Who the hell needs two right-handed gloves? There are some freaks in this world, folks, and I don't just mean of the double right-handed variety.
Anyhow, I finally found a rack that was pretty much full. I ran over all excited to find that they were Christmas sweaters. Dammit. How lame am I gonna look giving B a Christmas sweater? I woulda been better off with the two left gloves, but when I went back to find them they were gone. So I hauled ass back to the stupid sweater rack only to find the locusts swarming. I reached my arm into the fray and closed my eyes, hoping to hell that I didn't get bit or stabbed or something. When I felt a sweater I pulled and pulled until it slipped through the crowd and into my grasp.
And that's when the shrieking started.
"Someone stole my sweater!" An old lady started yelling, causing all sorts of commotion.
The crowd split just enough for me to see that it was the same old wench that tripped me. Bitch! I tried to step away all nonchalant like but the old hag's cold eyes met mine and she saw the sweater in my hands with the right sleeve all stretched out from pulling it so hard.
"It's her! She stole my sweater!" Her decrepit old finger pointed in my direction and the crowd turned to look at me. Their eyes were filled with anger and something else I couldn't quite place. I took a closer look and I realized that they weren't pissed at me; they wanted the deformed sweater!
I took a few more steps back, stopping when my back hit the checkout counter.
"Hey, we're square lady. You stole my Tommy Girl. This sweater is going to my girl!"
I discreetly put the sweater on the counter and the clerk started to cash me out, happily accepting the fifty dollar bill I put on the counter with it. The old woman stared on, an evil look on her face. I was really hoping she was some kinda demon cos I woulda been happy to slay her, but the fake tears running down her cheeks let me know that she was all human and TOTALLY going for the pity vote with the crowd.
The crowd fell for it, of course, and started to step toward me. That's when I grabbed the bag the clerk placed on the counter and made a mad dash for it, forgetting to take the change she was holding out for me. Fifty bucks for a deformed sweater with a stretched out right arm and two kittens wearing Santa hats on the front. I turned around just in time to see the old lady waving her hand in the air giving me the one-finger salute. The old bitch popped me the finger!
So of course I did it right back which just pissed the crowd off even more. They chased me out of the mall and through the parking lot, intent on either kicking my ass or stealing the hideous sweater; I'm still not sure. All I know is that you should never run in the snow and try to look behind you cos you'll end up stepping off the parking ramp right into a conveniently placed snow bank.
That's pretty much when I got stuck. I thought the crowd was gonna come and bury me in but apparently they couldn't find me. I sat there and shivered my ass off, buried to my neck in the friggin snow bank for at least twenty minutes. When I heard what I thought was the last of the crowd disappearing I started to unbury myself. Luckily the sweater was still clutched to my chest; no way was I letting that thing get away from me now.
It was easy to get my arms free but I couldn't get my legs out. My boots had sunk into a layer of slush and ice and I couldn't get them out without taking off my boots. Add a little bit of melted snow to my leathers and I was good and stuck. I had exactly two options: toss the sweater to the crowd and hope for mercy or lose the pants and make a run for it.
And there was no way in hell I was giving up the stupid sweater!
That's how I got to where I am. I made it out of the snow bank and paid homage to my boots and pants, giving them a moment of silence, and that's when the crowd spotted me. I took off in my socks and bare legs, cursing B for ever getting me into thongs. The thing about mall parking lots, though, is that they all look the same, and I can't for the life of me remember where the hell I parked my jeep.
So I'm running around like an idiot, Jack Frost nipping at my ass, and I finally spot my jeep off in the distance not any place near where I remember parking it. I see something on the windshield as I run up and . . . is that . . . fuck! It's a parking ticket. Just what I fucking need. Not only did I forget to take my change from the sweater, not only did I lose a pair of leathers and my shit kicker boots, but now I'm gonna have to pay a parking ticket too.
This is turning out to be one hell of an expensive Christmas.
I finally make it to my jeep and hop inside, the ice cold seatbelt buckle burning my ass as I sit down. There's nothing in the jeep that I can slip under me to protect from the cold so I do the only thing I can think of. I grab B's deformed, stupid, holiday sweater and slip it under my frost-burned ass.
I'm pretty sure that when it comes down to it, B would want my ass to be safe. Besides, the sweater has seen enough traumas tonight; a little more can't hurt it. Quickly starting the jeep and tossing it into gear, I rip out of the parking lot and bust through the light that was changing from yellow to red just to see the traffic cam snap my pic as I breeze through.
Oh man. I think the cops are gonna be pretty entertained by that pic. Maybe they'll nix the ticket in exchange for my dignity. If only they knew what I've been through tonight . . .
It doesn't take me long to get home, despite the foot of fresh snow and the fact that the plows haven't been out yet. Good thing the jeep has four-wheel drive. When I see the house we share with the Scoobies through the frosty windshield, I turn off the headlights on the jeep and pull in the long driveway, hoping that no one notices me driving up. I've gotta get into the garage and wrap this bitch up before I get in the house.
So I snag the sweater from under my ass and hop out of the jeep, making fresh sock-prints in the snow all the way to the garage in the back. My legs are pretty numb again but I think B left her snowmobiling pants in the garage last time we took the sleds out. I can squeeze into them just to warm up before heading inside.
The door's unlocked so I let myself in and turn on the light over Xander's tool bench. The wrapping paper is where I stashed it before I left; I snatched it away from Andrew when he turned his back earlier. Pretty sure he thinks aliens or something stole it by now.
It's just as cold inside here so I scout around for B's snowmobile pants, stopping only when I hear a rustling sound.
Shit. Don't demons ever take a holiday?
I grab the closest thing I can find that's weapon-like - one of Dawn's ski poles - and hold it up, ready to strike out at whatever's lurking in the dark. Whatever it is, it's hiding behind the snowmobiles. Taking a few steps closer I rear back, ready to strike out, and that's when it charges me. I try to stand my ground but my socks are wet and when it hits me in a frenzy of fur and claws I fall back onto the ground.
My bare ass hits the cold concrete and I yelp out cos I wasn't prepared for the attack, let alone the icy badness on my ass. I clench my eyes shut and think of B, expecting this to be the end, but instead I feel a warm tongue on my face. I unclench one of my eyes and peek to see the mangy little stray dog that's been around the house slobbering all over me.
Yeah, it disguises itself as a cute little puppy but let me tell ya, it has the worst dragon breath that I've ever smelled and that's saying a lot. This thing's gotta be like, part adorable puppy, part Garboth demon. Whatever it is, B loves it and has been trying to coax it into the house for like three weeks. She even gave him a name - Phantom - but I think I'm gonna re-dub him Stinky.
"What's up, little man?" I ask, scratching behind his ear.
Gotta admit, despite the wicked breath and dirty wet dog smell, this thing's pretty cute. Kinda reminds me of that dog from that stupid show with the guy from Cheers. Frasier, I think it was. Only main difference is that this little guy has a patch of brown over only one of his eyes, kinda like a mask. B kept going on about him, calling him a little mask-wearing superhero.
Yeah, superhero my ass. If he was such a superhero he'd run out and find me a better present for her. He's nibbling on the arm of B's stupid Christmas sweater as we speak, looking all cute and . . . and . . .
. . . holy shit. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
This dog would be the best Christmas gift ever! B already loves him; imagine if she didn't have to appreciate him through the window but curled up on her lap.
Oh man, I'm the smartest woman alive!
I grab the stinky little guy and toss him in the deep sink in the corner, ignoring the weird look he's giving me. I don't even bother to take the stupid sweater from his mouth cos I'm not gonna need it anymore. He just kinda watches me, the sweater hanging all juicy and tattered in his mouth, as I finally find B's snowmobile pants and jump around trying to get them on. They're like three sizes too short and too sizes too small and I feel like Chris Farley wearing the little jacket in Tommy Boy, but if I don't warm up soon I think my ass might drop right the hell off my body.
I finally make it back over to the sink and search around for some kinda soap to wash him with but all I can find is some laundry detergent. It's safe on clothes, why the hell can't I use it on a dog? I run the warm water and start to spray him down, laughing as he immediately starts to shiver like a little wet rat. At least he'll smell better when I'm done. Maybe I can tie a ribbon around his neck, give him some Tic-Tacs too. He'll be all fresh and smelling like the little bear on the Snuggle bottle. No way can a chick like B resist that smell.
Yeah, I know Snuggle is fabric softener but I can't just like, use laundry detergent without the softener too, can I? Feels wrong to me.
So I soap him up and rinse him off, laughing every time he tries to shake the water offa him. I'm wetter than he is but I don't even care anymore; it's totally worth it to see B smile. Can't feel my feet - they coulda fallen off by now and I wouldn't even know - so what harm is a little splashing gonna do?
When all's said and done I carry him over and put him on top of Xander's work bench, drying him off with the stupid sweater that he's still trying to eat. Hey, at least I got some use out of it, right? A nice, $50 dog towel. Once he's mostly dry I grab the spool of ribbon and pull off a huge strand. I try to tie it around his neck but he has other ideas, challenging me to a game of tug-o-war. We both yank on the ribbon, neither of us refusing to back down.
He must realize he's not gonna win though cos he suddenly lets the ribbon go and I go flying backwards, stumbling into the snowmobiles. He sits back and tilts his head to the side, staring at me while I curse and try to get back onto my feet. There's one thing that's certain about this little dog: he's a smart one. He did this little cower when I came back and gave him a death glare, and then he whipped out the puppy dog eyes. Shoulda expected that, him being a puppy dog and all, but one look at that innocent little face and my heart melted again.
Oh man, between his cute little innocent face and B's pouty lip, they're gonna totally own me. Maybe he wasn't such a good idea after all . . . oh, who am I kidding? I can't wait to see B's face light up when she sees him.
We attempt the ribbon one more time and he sits still long enough for me to get a big red bow tied around his neck. We're gonna have to go out tomorrow and get him a collar and all of the dog essentials, but tonight he can have Christmas ham with the rest of us and sleep on the edge of the bed.
Yunno what? Make that the floor. I plan on getting some good use outta the bed tonight.
Finally finished, I sneak out of the garage and peek into the kitchen window, making sure the coast is clear. Seeing nobody around, I creep into the back door with Stinky in my arms and haul ass up the stairs to mine and B's bedroom. He can chill in there 'til we start opening gifts, and besides, I need to change my clothes. I try to be as quiet as possible but the snowmobile pants rustle noisily as I jog along. Hopefully nobody heard me or the bark he made when I tried to take the ribbon he was wearing out of his mouth.
We get in the room and I set him down on the ground, letting him sniff around as I strip down and quickly slip into a pair of jeans and the Red Sox sweatshirt B got me for my birthday. I run a quick brush through my hair and then turn around to look at the dog that's sitting there innocently and watching me. I bend down in front of him and give him a quick pet on the head.
"I'll be back to get ya soon, buddy. Just sit here and be good and be ready to act cute, yeah? We're gonna need the works. I'm talkin' head tilts, cute whimpers, and silly puppy antics. Can ya handle that?"
He actually holds out one of his paws and I smile, shaking it lightly. I give him one more pet on the head and then run outta the room and down the stairs, coming face to face with Buffy when I get into the kitchen.
"Hey," she says with a soft smile, "thought I'd heard you come in. There was peculiar rustling."
"Guilty as charged," I say vaguely and walk up to her, pulling her against me and wrapping my arms around her.
"Have fun doing your last minute shopping?" she asks with a knowing smile but doesn't seem upset.
"Last minute shopping, B? I'm wounded. I've been ready for days. Weeks even."
"Uh-huh," she says doubtfully, both of her hands lightly brushing hair away from my face. She sniffs a few times and quirks an eyebrow at me. "Were you doing laundry?"
I can't help but chuckle. My girl, the keen observer.
"Something like that. Come on, let's go see the gang," I tell her, planting a sweet kiss on her lips before taking her hand and leading her to the living room.
We sit and chat with the Scoobies, doing the whole Christmas cheer thing for an hour or two. I hear a bit of rustling from upstairs but I'm sure that Stinky's just taking some time to get used to his new digs. B keeps eying me suspiciously every time I glance up at the ceiling but there's nothing that a few Faith-kisses can't distract her from. I choke down my second glass of eggnog when Dawnie and Andrew finally win out and convince everyone to open presents.
The big gift exchange starts and I just kinda sit back, hoping to god that no one gets me something really good. I'll feel like a total douche cos I didn't get anything for anyone in return. No one said anything about a big gift exchange!
I'm tellin' ya, next year we're making up rules. No way am I waiting to go to the mall until Christmas Eve to do my shopping ever again. I still can't feel my right ass cheek.
Luckily, everyone kept it pretty simple this year. B got Dawnie an iPod or something and that was the gift that everyone raved about. Yeah, just wait 'til they see Stinky prancing around all handsome with his little bow. I think I really outdid myself this year. Course I didn't do anything at all last year, so anything is a step up from that.
Red's busy tearing into the box that Kennedy got her. Here I thought Kennedy would be worse off than I was cos she saved her shopping for today too, but there she is sitting next to Red looking all smug and proud. I nearly piss myself laughing when Red reaches into the box and pulls out a red and green sweater with two kittens wearing Santa hats on the front. She's squeeing all happy and hugging her girl and Kennedy just looks at me and winks.
"Shoulda seen the lynch mob I had to fight off to get this for you, Wills. Most popular item in the store. Some poor sap got chased through the parking lot trying to keep hold of hers. I just snuck back into the store while everyone else chased her and got the last one on the rack."
"Aww, I love it, baby! Thank you!" Red says, giving her a big, appreciative kiss.
Dude. No wonder I felt tingles in the store. I really thought the old woman was some kinda demon, but it turns out that Kennedy was trawling through the same racks that I was. Classic. But hey, if she got a reaction like that from Red for the stupid sweater, I can't wait to see B's reaction when she sets her eyes on our handsome new man.
I'm gonna get so much sexin' tonight!
Buffy finally looks over at me, an excited look on her face.
"Do you wanna exchange now or later? I have your gift stashed upstairs."
"Now's good. Yours is upstairs too," I tell her, smiling just as excitedly.
We excuse ourselves from the group and run upstairs, me trying to fondle her ass the entire way. We reach our room and stop just outside, her back to the wall and my body pressed against hers keeping her there as we stop to just kiss a while. Her lips are so soft and she's giving me the most delicious kisses ever, but a noise in our room jars us both.
It wasn't some soft rustling; that was the sound of a lamp breaking.
Kicking into slayer mode, we approach the door and pause just for a moment before charging in. Our eyes widen immediately as we take in the scene before us. The room is absolutely trashed, clothes scattered all over, garbage can overturned, makeup half eaten and tossed around the room, and shards of tattered wrapping paper all over the place.
Buffy's mouth is wide open as she stares at the mess, her eyes finally landing on the puppy with a scrap of black material hanging out of his mouth. He's got a pair of panties stuck over his head and around his body and there's pink lip-gloss smeared all over his muzzle.
And then, innocently, he sits back on his haunches and gives her the puppy dog eyes complete with a head tilt, his big red bow obvious under the tangled panties.
"Umm, Merry Christmas, baby," I offer, crossing the room and picking up Stinky, bringing him over to her. I stumble on one of my half-chewed boots on the way back to her, trying my best to keep calm as I walk with the little demon in my hands.
She takes the dog in her arms and looks down at him, trying hard to be angry but failing miserably. After a minute passes she sighs deeply and gives him a big hug, kissing the top of his head as she untangles the panties from around him.
"Do ya like him?" I ask stupidly.
"Of course I do," she answers, smiling as the dog licks the tip of her nose. She frowns and rubs her nose with the back of her sleeve and then grabs the scrap of black material he dropped on her arm. "And I think you're gonna like your present too," she says, handing me the scrap of black material.
I look down at it, pretty confused. It feels familiar. Soft and smooth and . . . oh god, no . . .
"I had your leather jacket restored and cleaned and hid it under the bed. Merry Christmas, baby," she says, trying her best not to laugh.
I quickly look around the room and see about a billion pieces of black leather all over the floor. Cradling the piece of black leather in my hands - the last remaining piece of my favorite leather jacket - I look to Buffy with my bottom lip sticking out in a pout comparable only to hers.
"Oh my god, I SUCK at Christmas!" I say, flopping down onto the floor and gathering up pieces of leather material.
Buffy chuckles and sits down in the mess with me, holding Stinky tight to her.
"You'll get better in time," she says with a simple shrug, not really affected by the situation.
"Are you kidding me?" I ask, looking at her in disbelief. "Cos this is like, worse than that Christmas story where the chick sells her hair to get the guy a watch chain and the guy sells his pocket watch to get her a hairclip."
"This isn't that bad," Buffy says, trying to make me feel better. "We both still have our hair; that's a plus. A-and neither of us even has a watch. I'd say we're ahead of the game."
"Yeah," I say, lightly caressing the scraps of leather in my hand. I'm not even gonna tell her that I still can't feel my left ass cheek.
"Faith?" she asks, trying to get my attention. I look up and see her looking at me with nothing but love in her eyes. "I love my present. He smells like the Snuggle bear and he's all soft and fuzzy. With a few obedience classes I'm sure he'll be perfect."
"Absolutely," she says with a nod, smiling at me.
I smile back and lean in, kissing her softly. Stinky leaps up and tries to get between us, wanting some love too. We laugh and I ruffle his hair, making him pant excitedly. B's eyes drift behind me at the mess and she starts laughing.
"And besides, he's the gift that keeps on giving," she says, trying hard to contain her laughter.
I follow her gaze and look behind me to see that he left me a nice steaming present in my favorite pair of training sneakers.
"Oh, Stinky! Bad dog!" I grumble, watching as he hops off of B's lap and hides under the bed.
I'm thinking that I woulda been better off with the deformed sweater, and just as I'm about to swear off Christmas forever, Buffy leans over and whispers in my ear. She tells me that maybe if I'm good, Santa will bring me something I really love tonight. Then she nods over to the dresser, indicating that I should go and check out what's in it. I get up and stomp over, giving Stinky a glare that sends him cowering back under the bed.
I look back at B who just smiles all impish at me and then turn back, pulling out the top drawer. Inside is a skimpy red and white Naughty Santa outfit, complete with a garter belt and thigh-high black leather boots. My eyes widen and I grin all big, not moving until I feel Buffy's hands wrap around me from behind.
Santa's finally bringing me something I really love: Dirty, naughty sex with B.
Hmm. Maybe this Christmas isn't a total bust after all!
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