sometimes in my life, we all have pain


Someone strung little flashing colored lights on the liquor store across the street, so that a very, very faint splay of color continually blinks on and off in Spike's crypt.

He isn't much amused by the holiday spirit.

The last Christmas he spent with Angelus, Spike waited an hour and a half tied up in the back of a carriage while the three of them ate a whole Midnight Mass service. Darla always said that religion made people taste better, and she loved to hear them praying when they died.

This year it's only December tenth when he's reminded of the holidays, and it's because he's staring at the little cactus with lights flashing on it that's sitting in the Summers' front room. Fourteen blocks, eleven houses with little flashing lights, even though Spike's wearing his coat just for tradition, not because he needs it. It must be in the seventies, at least, twenty-four degrees Celcius because of a heat wave.

Spike is crouching in front of the big bay window, staring in at a pathetic showing of cheer. He straightens up, and goes inside, opening the door carefully so that if Dawn's awake, she won't hear.

The house is dark except for the cactus, and so Riley's voice is strange, saying, "They're not home."

Spike jerks, startled. "Figured that. Why're you here?"

Might as well be blunt about it. Riley out-blunts him, with, "Same reason you are. They're not."

"She's back from the dead, y'know. Whole miracle-resurrection and everything."

He still can't see Riley, though he can smell him, and Riley says, "I know."

Of course he knows.

Spike never smokes in the house because then someone might know he'd been there. "We gonna fight, then, or observe the more traditional holiday of peace and goodwill?"

Riley stands up, and Spike can finally see him clearly. He says, "C'mere" and Spike goes, of course. They don't kiss, but Riley licks his cheek before Spike gets on his knees.

Riley mutters, "You taste--" and grunts, and Spike's chin hits Riley's holster. Nothing like something new, and Spike hates Christmas lights almost as much as Darla hates Christians.

When Spike starts to suck, suck, suck, he thinks, 'merry fucking Christmas' and gets the Vandals stuck in his head, so that when Riley comes, jerks, Spike can pretend he muttered 'oi' instead of 'fuck.' Whatever else Riley is mumbling gets forgotten because Spike can remember the taste of Angelus, in the back of a carriage, a hundred years ago, and the house falling down. Oi to the world; everybody wins.