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

A Sunnydale Christmas Eve
By Raaven
For Dariclone

Buffy looked around the room. The little Christmas lights, as incongruous as they were, did cheer the place up a bit. God, what it must be like to live in this place. She was suddenly glad for her mother's insistence that she invite Faith to Christmas Eve dinner. To Faith she said "I like the lights".

Faith smiled; a genuine smile, for a change. "Yeah. Well, 'tis the season. Whatever that means." She shrugged, her smiling fading quickly. Buffy smiled and left.


Several times, on the walk over to Buffy's, Faith almost turned back. But something kept egging her on. It was something she hated in herself...the need to fit in, to have a family, even if just for one crummy dinner. In the end she gave in, and here she was, ringing the doorbell. The look on Buffy's face when she answered the door almost made Faith laugh. She would have, if she hadn't felt so awkward. The thing about Buffy though, is that she always really tried to make Faith feel like she fit in. And so did Joyce. It was like they didn't know about the awful person she was, the things she'd done. It was like, when she was around them, they expected her to be the things that they were; good and brave and strong, and when she was around them, she could almost believe it was possible.

"That would be great, Joyce, thanks", said Faith, in response to the question about nog. As Joyce padded out to the kitchen, she wandered over to the tree and looked at the ornaments hanging there. She imagined, as she looked around at the decorating refuse, that the ornaments had been collected, over the years; used over and over again, and packaged with care to store throughout the year. They were a tradition, a stability that Buffy and her mother shared; a thing that drew them together again and again. She snorted, as she caught herself wondering if she could ever be a part of something like that. Yeah, right.

In moments, Joyce was back, handing her an icy cold glass of egg nog. Faith took a sip of the delicious stuff, and smiled at Joyce. Then Buffy came running down the stairs, breathless. And then she as gone, after extracting a promise from Faith to look after Joyce. She was off to deal with yet another Angel-related crisis. Faith shook her head. She just didn't get how you could be hurt so much by someone, and yet keep them in your life, allowing them to hurt you again. Screw it. All relationships were about pain, that's why she avoided them. She got enough pain just dealing with the whole slayer thing - she sure didn't need any more.

A little later, the decide to have dinner. Clearly, whatever was up with Angel was going to keep Buffy out for a long time; no reason for them to starve. To her surprise, Joyce served wine with dinner. "It just feels more elegant" she had explained, at Faith's questioning look. "And I know you're a minor, but you're not going to get into any trouble tonight, you're staying here with me. Go ahead, if you'd like." Faith did, watching Joyce carefully to see how to drink wine without chugging it, like she'd always done before. The effect wasn't bad. Not the numbing hammer of hard booze, which she knew well, but a simple mellowing; a softening of the edges of self. It was nice, and she felt safe, here with Joyce.


Faith's lips were once again a deep burgundy, the color of Joyce's outfit. The color of the wine Joyce served at dinner; the color of the jellied cranberry spilled on Faith's shirt. "Here, let me get you a different shirt, and we'll soak that one, before the stain sets" she said. Faith followed her up to her room, both of them slightly tipsy on the stairs. At the closet, they paused, Joyce looking over the options. "How about this?" she asked, pulling out a low-cut maroon blouse. "Yeah, sure, okay" said Faith, taking it and pulling off the stained one.

"Oh, wait a minute" said Joyce. "You've got a bit of cranberry on your skin, too". She ducked into the bathroom and came back with a damp washcloth. She proffered it to Faith. Faith looked down at her chest, slightly cross-eyed and said "Um, can you get it for me? I can't really see it from this angle". "Sure", said Joyce as she dabbed the damp cloth at the sticky stuff. When it was gone, Faith slipped Joyce's blouse on. Her blue shirt is rinsed in the sink, and hung to dry on the shower door. Down the stairs they go, to the living room, to lounge together on the couch in front of the fire.


Mesmerized by the lights, and the warmth, and Joyce's efforts to draw her out, she talks about her life. As they sit on the couch together, she talks about losing her mother, and her watcher, and about being called to be a slayer. She talks about how it is the one thing that made her feel strong, when the rest of the world seems determined to make her weak. She talks about slaying as a release for the feelings of helplessness she could never seem to shake. Joyce takes it all in, nodding and encouraging.

It was getting colder, as it got later, and despite the fire, the room took on a bit of a chill. Around midnight, Joyce said "You know, I'm going to get a blanket out, and we can snuggle under it and keep talking. I don't really feel like going to bed until I know that Buffy is home safe". Once they get themselves comfortable under the blanket, Joyce begins to talk about her life, too. She talks about the breakup with Buffy's dad, and how hard it was on Buffy, and how troubled she'd been when Buffy started having problems at her school in LA. How lonely she was sometimes, especially over the past summer when Buffy was gone. How the move to Sunnydale was, despite some obvious drawbacks, one of the best things she'd ever done. How happy she was working at the gallery, and seeing Buffy have friends again. She talks about the shock that she was still trying to get over; that her little girl was out there being a superhero, fighting and putting her life in danger daily. Tears fill her eyes as she says "I'm afraid I just haven't dealt with the whole thing very well, sometimes I feel like I'm a terrible mom". Faith pats her shoulder and said, "Joyce, that's just not true. Any idiot could see how much love you have for your daughter. You've taught her to be strong and compassionate and to trust herself. That's such a great gift. Buffy's really lucky to have you."

"Thank you, Faith." Joyce says with a smile. They both stare into the fire for a long time, thinking their own thoughts. The silence is the warm and comfortable sort. After awhile, Joyce turns to her and says "You know, Faith, I'm so glad you came to Sunnydale. Your being here gives Buffy someone who can relate to her better, and takes a little of the world off her shoulders and I'm really enjoying getting to know you. I'm just amazed at what you girls do. Talking with you tonight has given me a better idea of what it must be like for Buffy."

Faith shrugs, and smiles. "I'm glad to be here, too. In Sunnydale, I mean. And here tonight with you, too. You've really made me feel like I belong." Joyce hugs her. "Of course you belong!"

Faith puts her hands on either side of Joyce's face, and looks into her eyes. Slowly, she draws Joyce's face closer to her own, watching her eyes carefully for reaction. The wine has made her feel bold, but her fears of rejection were still in place. She wants to kiss Joyce, but she doesn't want Joyce to freak out about it.


Joyce smiles as Faith pulls her close for a kiss. The wine and the fire, and the evening of talk, have relaxed her so much that she doesn't think it odd or untoward. Just...right. As their lips meet, she closes her eyes and reaches out to touch Faith.

The kiss goes on and on. Soon, they are caressing each other, kissing all over. Articles of clothing come off as if by magic, but the only magic here is desire. They move to the floor in front of the fire. The flames feel reflected on their skin, the warmth enticing them further and further.


They awake from a warm, snuggling doze near dawn. Faith, embarrassed, hurriedly dresses completely in her original clothes. Joyce, more relaxed, dresses in pajamas, and a robe. They both shiver in the chill morning. Frost has appeared on the windows, and as they look out, they see it begin to snow. In wonder, they open the door and go out into the dim, snowy dawn together. No one in Sunnydale will forget this remarkable Christmas Eve soon.