Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Word count 1075
Prompt: Verucas_Chaos - Buffy meets Krampus
No lies about it - I love good old Krampus and this was a delight to write. My thanks to you, verucas_chaos[Unknown LJ tag] for a fun prompt and to Sparky for her beta.
And in case you don't know what the Krampus looks like...
Okay, so shoot me, but where is it written that you can’t be a demon and still love your job? Granted, it’s not much of a job, but it’s one that I have come to embrace and even relish. My partner just shakes his head. Everyone loves that jolly old fart, but me, not so much. I am Krampus and it’s my job to punish naughty children everywhere, just as Nickie boy, well, you’d call him St. Nick, but I could tell you stories. Anyhow, he rewards the good children and I punish the bad. We make quite the team, we do.
It was early Christmas Eve and I was just killing time while I waited for Fat Boy to finish loading his sleigh. Let’s be real, most parents don’t want to see their kids carted off the Hell, no matter how rotten they’ve been to their kid sister or how lousy their last report card was. These days I hand out birch switches for them to dispense their own justice, at least until Child Protective Services is called.
Graveyards have always fascinated me, even when I was human and that was eons ago, long before I donned the horns and cloaks of The Krampus. In fact, it might have been my habit of desecrating that landed me this job. Who knows? Who can remember?
I heard her before I saw her. She was hunched over in front of a gravestone, weeping, honest-to-Pete weeping. There was a vampire creeping up on her and that would never do. I gave him a choice with my glare, touch her and die, well, again, or go find someone else. Most vampires have at least some scrape of common sense. He skulled away, pissed that he’d had to surrender his prize to me. However, let’s face it. In the demon world, I am the lion and vampires are the hyenas who clean up behind me.
She was so deep in her misery that she did nothing more than just look up at me. There was so much sorrow and pain in those eyes that something in me stirred. Mercy? Something I’d long thought gone.
“Could we not do this now? I promise we can fight later. I just can’t right now.” She didn’t even bother to pull away or cringe, the usual reaction to my visage.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Yeah, the Clampus.” She knuckled away some fresh tears.
“Krampus, but close enough. Don’t you fear me, child?”
“You punish the bad, right?”
“Yes, I am a vengeance demon.”
“I’m a demon slayer, so by rights, you should fear me.”
“Ah, you are Buffy Summers. Then I am honored and you are right, just a bit concerned for my safety.” Never the less, I lowered myself to sit on the dry grass beside her. She had on a white fluffy hat and mittens and looked a bit like a deranged panda. “Is she someone special?”
“My mother.” She reached out to stroke the stone. “She died this past summer.”
“The firsts are tough.”
“What do you know about The First?” she snapped and for just a moment, I was afraid.
“Nothing, I said, the Firsts: your first birthday without her, your first Thanksgiving, etc. Christmas, we all know how miserable that can be even with your parents still living.”
She looked back at the stone. “She made it look so easy, just doing the day-to-day stuff. Dawn, she’s my sister, she’s missing Mom so much and I can’t even make the phone payment, much less a merry Christmas for her.” The tears started again. “Oh, Mommy.”
Now, I’m used to crying children. None of them are happy to see me arrive, but a crying woman, I’ve got nothing. Without meaning to, I reached out for her and was suddenly flying through the air.
I landed on my back with a wuuf and felt the air flee my lungs. I gasped for breath and tried to sit up. Suddenly there was a man standing there. I drew in some air and made a face. Not a man, a vampire.
“Spike, what are you doing?” The Slayer was on her feet and pushing him away from me.
“Saving you from the Klampus.” He pointed at me with a trembling finger. “He’s a demon. He’s evil.”
“Yeah, it takes one to know one,” I muttered and got to my feet. “But she was right. I wasn’t trying to hurt her.” Man, I hated admitting this to anyone, much less a vampire. “I was trying to comfort her.”
“She doesn’t need you for that.” The rage was starting to die in the vampire’s eyes, replaced by something else… Love? Now I’d seen everything. A vampire in love with a vampire slayer. The world had finally taken leave of its senses.
Buffy had returned to the grave and the vampire went with her. “Come on, Slayer, let’s get you home.” He put his long leather jacket around her and glared at me again.
I laughed. It had been a long time since I’d met a vampire with a pair of brass one. He guided her away and I did nothing more than watch.
For five minutes I stood there, then walked to the stone. Joyce Summers it read and I was shocked at how young she was. Far too young to leave two children on their own.
“Compassion? You, my old friend?” St. Nick stood beside me. He fairly glowed in his red and white outfit.
“It’s been known to happen.” I touched the gravestone respectfully. “It’s her first Christmas without her mother and she’s a slayer. To my way of thinking, she’s already been punished enough for a lifetime.”
Nickie boy laughed, deep and soulfully. “Then what say we give her a reason to be jolly?”
And between the two of us, we pulled off a Merry Christmas for her and her sister. There was a brightly lit and decorated tree awaiting them the next morning. There were gifts and money under and in the tree. There were even stockings. He thought of everything, that partner of mine. And she never did figure out who did it. She gave her friends credit and they, being human, took it. I think the vampire knew, though he never let on. And that’s just as it should be. Imagine The Krampus being accused of having a soft spot… no one would believe it.