Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Addams Family
Word count: 1526
Prompt: Buffy's looking at Christmas trees and finds a bunch of dying trees. What if she crossed path with any of the Addams, admiring those trees and choosing one for their Christmas?
My thanks to cozycaffe for the prompt and to sparky955 for her beta.
Buffy Summers walked slowly through the snow covered trees, well, not exactly snow covered.
“What is that stuff anyhow?” she asked her mother quietly, as she watched a guy blow white stuff all over a tree. The tree looked a little depressed about the whole affair. She reached out to touch one and the whit material was sort of hard.
“Hey, no poking the trees, lady. You poke it, you bought it.” The lot attendant wasn’t in a very good mood.
Buffy quickly stuffed her hand back into her pocket. Being the Slayer meant she was stronger than most men and that meant she had to be delicate with her touch… most of the time.
“Flock,” Joyce said, definitely.
Buffy looked shocked at her parent. “Mother! Such language! I’m still a child here!”
Her mother giggled and that made Buffy happy. Her mother didn’t laugh much these days, not since she’d divorced Buffy’s dad and it was nice to see a smile on her face. “No, you are being silly. It’s called flocking.”
“But what is it?”
“Well, back in the 1900’s, they would make fake snow out of ammonia and borax flakes. In the 60’s they used asbestos.”
“Ugh, that ended well, not.”
“We just didn’t know back then. We used lead in our paint and asbestos to make our Christmases white. We were our own worst enemy. I’m not sure that much has changed to be honest.” Joyce had led them away from the flock-covered trees to a part of the lot where the trees stood bare of any chemical additives. “What sort of tree should we get?”
“A green piney smelling one?” They all looked the same to her.
“I’m serious, sweetheart. There’s Fraser, Douglas, Turkish, Scots, Blue, Noble, what will it be?”
“Let’s not get anything too full. The ornaments don’t hang right. And it should sort of be even on three sides. The other side--”
“We can stuff in the corner.”
Buffy started walking and studying the trees. There were differences now that she really looked. How many other things passed right under her nose without her seeing them, she wondered as she shook one. A shower of needles covered the ground and she quickly put it back.
Suddenly she stopped and stared. There was a tree that had obviously passed its best by date. A few needles clung desperately to the branches, as if afraid to let go and meet their fate with a dustpan. It was surrounded by other trees in a similar state. Damn, Hellmouth, she thought, it sucks the life out of everything, alive or dead.
“Mom, look at these,” she said, turning. Her mother was nowhere in sight. For a moment, a small coil of fear twisted in her stomach, but her Slayer sense said nothing was wrong. Giles told her that it would keep her and her loved ones alive. She turned back and stopped, stunned.
There was an elegantly dressed man, a small cigar in one hand, as he led a tall, slender woman through the mess of rutted mud, detritus, and garbage with the other. The woman glided over the rough surface, her movements liquid and smooth.
“Tish, look here!”
“California really is a wonderful place! They even have our sort of Christmas trees.” The woman, Tish, reached out a milk-white hand to caress a branch. “This will dress up our hotel room and how happy the children will be. They were worried that Santa wouldn’t find them.”
“The little devils still believe in Santa, you know. I heard them making plans to build a huge fire in the fireplace Christmas Eve.”
“Gomez, our room doesn’t have a fireplace.”
“Those rascals!” Gomez seemed delighted at the thought.
“How wonderful it is that they haven’t grown too old for such simple pleasures and beliefs. We must encourage them to not grow up too quickly.”
“That’s true,” Joyce said and Buffy realized her mother was standing just a couple of feet from them. Tish turned and smiled. “We encourage children to grow up too fast these days. They don’t seem to have time to cherish their childhood, not like us.”
“You are right about that. One day it’s toy soldiers and fire crackers, the next, a guillotine.” The man stuffed his cigar into a pocket and then offered Joyce his hand. “Gomez Addams and my lovely wife, Morticia.”
“Joyce Summers. What an unusual name.” Joyce took each of their hands in turn.
“My nearly departed father chose it.”
Joyce smiled, “I think you mean, dearly.”
“No, nearly, he’s been lingering for years according to Grandmamma.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any offense.”
Gomez laughed. “None taken, I assure you. Do you live here, Joyce?”
“Your town is lovely. So many cemeteries. We had such a lovely time touring them this afternoon.” Morticia smiled at the memory.
“Yes, it’s the Colma of Southern California.”
“When space became a premium in San Francisco, they moved all the cemeteries to Colma. The dead out-number the living 1,000 to one,” Joyce said. “Sunnydale acts as a similar spot for the big cities in the south. It’s not much, but it’s home.”
“Oh, Gomez.” Morticia’s voice grew dreamy. “Just like the catacombs of Paree.”
“Tish, that’s French.” Gomez tossed aside his cigarillo and began kissing his way up her arm. “Say something else. Avant garde, déjà vu, cul-de-sac.”
“Gomez, tree now, cul-de-sac later.”
Gomez took a deep breath and then gestured expansively. “It’s lovely at night here, but a little bright during the day.”
“And expensive. I thought moving out of the city would be cheaper.” She looked at a tag and sighed. “Still, it’s just once a year and it makes the holiday special, but...” She let her gloved fingers play over the needles. She brightened and looked at them.
Gomez winked. “Right. Mustn’t disappoint the children.” He stood between two trees, each one a sad representation of what had once been a healthy pine. “It’s between these two, what do you think, Joyce?”
“Well, I’m… I don’t. There’s very little between those two.”
Buffy realized her mom was stumbling. “Mom, I found a tree!” she shouted. “Come see.”
Joyce looked in her direction. “I’m sorry, duty calls. Buffy’s probably pick the biggest and the most expensive tree in the lot. You know how kids are!”
“Indeed, we do. It was a pleasure meeting you, Joyce Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas. Have a nice stay here.”
Buffy waved to her and ducked between two Douglas firs. Her mother joined her. “Well, that was… different… and a little creepy,” Buffy said. “Who would have thought the Hellmouth would be a tourist attraction?”
“It takes all kinds, my dear. And they were nice. So, did you find something?”
“Yeah, over here.” Buffy led her to a small tree. “How about this one. We can put it on a table.”
“Are you sure? It’s sort of small.”
“What are you telling me, Mom? That size matters, Mom?” Buffy bumped her gently with her shoulder. “After all these years?”
Joyce laughed and gave her a push. “You are so silly. It’s a lovely tree. If you love it, so do I.”
Buffy picked it up and carried it to the cashier. Ahead of them, Gomez and Morticia were watching as a giant hulk of a man tied their denuded tree to the top of a hearse. They waved happily and both Joyce and Buffy waved back, watching as they drove away.
“We’ll take this one.” She placed it on the counter.
“What do you mean, too?”
“As in, also. That couple who just left paid for that tree over there and said it was yours.” It had been the tree Joyce had been admiring earlier.
“What? But it’s so…” At the man’s look, Joyce finished. “Big.”
“Mom, are you kidding, it’s perfect!” Buffy ran over to the tree and the guy held up a hand.
“I’ll help you with that, Miss.”
“It’s okay.” Buffy picked the tree up easily. “I’ll take it to the car, Mom.”
Joyce turned back to the man, who was standing gape-mouth, and resisted the urge to lean forward and close his opened mouth. “She works out. She’s stronger than she looks.”
“Yeah…” the man whispered.
“And we’ll take this one, too,” Joyce said, laughing, her faith in people renewed. “This will be perfect for the kitchen or perhaps for my darling daughter’s room.”
Buffy carried the tree to the car and hefted it up onto the roof, tying it down easily. They hadn’t had a tree this size in years. It would fill the living room, heck, the whole house with a lovely pine scent. She was very happy.
“But I never got to thank them.”
“No worries, Mom. Being the Slayer has it benefits.”
“Invite them to Christmas dinner!” Joyce started making plans. “I know it’s them and their children, I wonder how many they have. And, of course, the tall gentleman. I hope they like turkey…” Joyce started to ramble and Buffy laughed, delighted at how happy her mother suddenly was.
It really was the most wonderful time of the year.