Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Twelve Steps To Christmas
By Willa
For Kyra Cullinan


Dawn chose to stay in Cleveland. Most days, she doesn't regret it. Today's different.

It's Christmas.

Once, this time of year meant laughter, caroling, and hoping that Santa would bring her a pony. Santa - Mom and Dad - just Mom - never came through on the equine, but each year she made out great, like a bandit, tons of stuff to ooh and ahh over.

Sucks that mostly, it didn't really happen.

She feels so powerless in the face of "holiday spirit". She has no plans. No one's left but her.

And Faith. Faith doesn't count. Except she's alone too.



Dawn paces the confines of her den, strangely irked with herself. She'd forgotten about Faith. Again.

So? She and the ex-rogue Slayer had nothing in common besides - well, slaying, and Dawn was more into the Watcher part of the biz. They didn't cross paths often.

But she knew Faith pretty well. Robin left months ago; what they'd had looked promising but didn't last. Faith had - hadn't she? - been alone since then.

So Faith would be alone this year too.

Now that she remembers, Dawn can't get the thought out of her mind.

Would it be worse to be alone together?



OK, she's decided. She can't leave Faith alone at Christmas.

Dawn repeats that out the door, in the taxi, and walking up to Faith's (smaller, dingier) apartment. It's that stupid white-hat making her do this. Wish she could reach up, take it off and go home to popcorn and George Capra.

Too late, now; she's there. She hesitates, hoping for party noises or some moaning (even if, ew) that'll give her an excuse to retreat.

Nope. Just silence.

She knocks.

Pad-pad-pad of bare feet. Pause. The door opens as far as the security chain.

Faith glares out. "You? What do you want?"



Dawn tells herself she can do this. She's not afraid of Faith. She's not, repeat, not about to wet her pants.

"Since you're alone-"

Faith groans, thumps her head against the door. "Not again. Don't you Summers chicks have anything better to do than pity-Christmas invites?"

Oh. Dawn had forgotten about that - the year it snowed.

She backpedals: "That's not what this-"

"Yeah? So what is it, sunshine?"

"I didn't want to be alone either."

Faith blinks. Is she buying it? People usually don't believe the truth.

Dawn wants to know, so she pushes it, makes a tentative move toward the door. "So can I? Come in, I mean?"



Faith doesn't say anything. Not changing expression, she takes the safety chain off and opens the door wide. Lets Dawn in. Silently.

Dawn doesn't look around at the battered (but clean) surfaces, at the blinky-lights strung up willy-nilly. She launches straight in, because she's sure once Faith gets it together, she'll be out of there, flat on her tush.

"I know I've treated you badly. I get that. But you should get that I'm not here because I pity you. I'm the one with my hand out. I need-" (stops before saying 'you') "-not to be alone." She pauses, hating the instant silence and Faith's flat stare. "OK?



"It bites, you know?" Faith's eyes shut. She closes the door, leans against it. "Help save the world, and what's it get you? Left alone on Christmas."

Dawn deliberately doesn't say: yeah, well, feeling your pain here.

"Then here you come, all doe-eyes, saying you don't want to be alone. Like you're so sure I don't want to be alone either."

Dawn dares: "Do you?"

"Pfft! No. That's not the point." Her eyes open. "You could have gone anywhere - a bar, a movie - but you came here. So tell me honestly: why? If I like your answer, maybe I'll let you stay."



A dam bursts the walls around Dawn's heart, carefully built brick-by-brick as everyone left her one by one; it's smashed by the force in Faith's blunt question, and she lets it all pour out:

"Why? Because I like you. I've always liked you. A lot. You taught me how to dance and cuss when everyone else thought I was just a baby brat. Because no one else cares enough anymore. And if you think no one else needs you, well, at least I need you. Because you know what this is like. You've been there. You are there. And because I'm sorry. And I want to try to at least be friends. With you."

She stops, gasping for breath. Waiting.



Faith's eyes slit like a diamondback rattler's. She moves closer: swaying, sinuous, dangerous. "That supposed to make me come over all happy-fluffy? 'Cause it doesn't. You really think 'sorry's' good enough? Think it'll fix anything? You know it won't. Must just like hearing words come out of your mouth. 'You're lonely'. Boo-hoo, poor Dawn, nobody loves her."

One slim, incredibly strong hand grasps Dawn's jaw hard, forcing their eyes to meet. "Sorry doesn't cut it. Brat."

Dawn's stomach twists. Somewhere between terror and anger, her own hand flies up to wrest Faith's away --

Their fingers meet.

Time stops.



Faith looks irritated and - strange - all at once. Dawn can only guess what expression she herself wears. Something entirely new. The touch of that hand has set off explosions she never even dreamed about. There's a tiny voice in the back of her mind screaming "ewwwww, gross!" but it's drowned out by the feel of Slayer calluses and the brunette's sweetgrass/sandalwood smell.

Faith shakes her head as if she really can't figure this out. "What do you want, kid?" she asks, almost plaintively.

Dawn takes a deep breath and interlaces their fingers. "Let me make things right between us?"



Faith flinches back as if burned.

Oh, crap, that was the wrong way to say it - "No! No," Dawn hastens. "That wasn't -- I mean, gods, I sounded like Spike. Don't think - I didn't - I mean, I shoved you out of my life. It was wrong. I realized that tonight, a few seconds ago. I just want to fix this." She swallows hard. "OK?"

Faith sighs deeply, glances down, glances up. Her look starts Dawn's bizarre internal fireworks again. "Yeah, I get you. But..."


Faith touches Dawn's cheek again. Gently. "Would it be so bad to try this, too?"



Dawn doesn't know what to say. She's just over 18. Has barely been with guys, much less women. This odd blend of sister-figure-warrior-princess with want me, want me for me eyes steals her breath away.

Faith's hand slips down Dawn's body. "Wanna make up?" she murmurs wickedly. "Be best friends? Just for tonight?"

Suddenly, Dawn gets it, the mystery that is Faith. So convinced she's unlovable that she pushes everyone away, friends and lovers.

So she shakes her head. "I don't do one-night stands."

Faith expects that.

She doesn't expect this: Dawn's hand, cupping the first female breast ever beside her own. "I do relationships."

It surprises them both when Faith laughs. But neither is surprised by the kiss that comes next. And next, and...



It's strange, sleeping off the afterglow on Faith's bed, in her arms. When there were SITs coming out of her ears, Dawn swore she'd never share sleeping space again for the rest of her life.

She didn't count on this. But, she decides, she's glad.

She'd realized that she and Faith needed each other. Hadn't really thought they'd want each other but hey, she can roll with life's punches. Togetherness with Faith. Strange, weird, wonderful. And good.

Snuggling closer, she drifts into dreams.

As Faith holds Dawn close, her thoughts aren't so complex, but they're true and real: Love may bite, but it gives you get-better kisses afterwards.

And she's starting to believe that she's not alone. Not anymore.