PART ONE: 25th December 2003
Chapter Three: The Selfless Sacrifice of a Noble Turkey
Buffy pushed through the swing door with both hands full.
"Are you sure we can't help?" Asked Giles from his place at head of the table.
"Nope. It's all under control." She put down a dish of potatoes and another of beans. "Help yourselves while I get the rest."
She heard plates clattering from the kitchen and Christmas carols suddenly blared to life on the stereo before being quickly turned down.
Grabbing the peas and the cranberry sauce she went through again, plonked them neatly on the table and took her own seat to the left of Giles and the right of Xander. Faith was all the way down the other end. She was still wearing the black leather jacket.
"Giles, would you carve?" She asked.
"Of course." And he did.
Soon everyone had a plateful of the delicious meal Buffy had cooked and the talk was merry and light-hearted. Buffy wondered at it all. No one had mentioned last night, not even Xander. Not even Faith for that matter. It was like yesterday hadn't happened at all. Had it happened? Maybe she had slept through all of Christmas Eve and the Christmas Eve she remembered was just a dream. It seemed unlikely, but you never knew on a Hellmouth.
Perhaps she should mention something to test her theory. But what?
"So where did you end up last night Faith?" Seemed as good as anything, and it was something she desperately wanted to know.
A hush fell over table as everyone stopped talking and eating at the same time. Okay so it all happened. Or something even worse happened while she was doing the Rip Van Winkle. Damn Hellmouths. Some of her friends were looking her way and some were looking Faith's, which at least meant that everyone else was in the dark as to where the other Slayer had stormed off to.
Faith rolled her shoulders like the jacket was suddenly uncomfortable and mumbled something difficult to hear.
"We can't understand when you mumble." Kennedy wasn't one for subtle.
Faith shot her a nasty look. "I said: I was sat down the end of the drive."
Kennedy started laughing. "Why?"
"Weren't you freezing?" Dawn looked horrified by the idea.
Buffy felt she probably had the same expression as her sister. Faith had spent the night in the icy, blizzardy night because of her. She felt terrible.
"The snow was bad and I didn't want to drive in it." Faith shrugged and went back to eating. "I sat down the end there with the heater running until all the lights I could see were off and then I snuck back and broke into the girl's dorm." She looked at Giles. "I'll get that fixed for ya tomorrow."
Giles just nodded.
"But wasn't it still cold in there?" Asked Willow.
The girls' room was empty for the holidays and the heat had been turned off to save money.
"Nah, there's plenty of blankets in there, so I just slept under all of them."
Meeting Faith's eyes was difficult because she really didn't seem to want to look at Buffy, but patience prevailed. "I'm sorry Faith, really. If I hadn't been such a ..."
Annoyingly Faith cut her off before she could get the sentence out. "S'no big, B."
"I thought you'd gone."
Everyone else was sat in some kind of slow motion. Carefully lifting forkfuls of food into their mouths and trying their damnedest to not look at either of them. Right now Buffy loved them for it.
"Where'm I gonna go, B?" Faith's eating hadn't slowed down at all. She finished and stood up. "This is my home, I'm in no hurry to leave it." She looked away from Buffy. "B cooked. I'll do the dishes."
Buffy stood up too. She'd hardly even touched her meal. "I can help."
"Nah, it's okay." She watched Faith head for the swing door. "I got it."
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