Happy Turkey Day


by Saber ShadowKitten
Holidays Series, Story 12







Part One



"Who are you calling, Slayer?" Spike asked Buffy when she picked up the receiver of the phone on the kitchen wall. He was standing at the sink, doing Buffy's dinner dishes, which he still found funny at times. Him, William the Bloody, killer of two Slayers, one time companion to the Scourge of Europe, doing the dishes.

"Mom," Buffy answered. "I need to find out-"

"Hello?"

"Hi, Mom," Buffy said into the receiver.

"Hi, Buffy. How is Spike?" Joyce said from the other end of the line.

"Good," Buffy replied. "Not too much of his brain leaked out the bullet hole in his head-"

"Ha, ha, pet," Spike commented.

"-And he seems to be back to his normal, annoying self," she finished.

"That's good," Joyce said.

"Well, I'm just calling to find out who's having Thanksgiving this year so I can call and lie about having other plans," Buffy said. "I figured since I'm married now, I should do that myself. Unless you want to..." Hint, hint, the blond Slayer added mentally.

"I'm having Thanksgiving this year," Joyce told her. A wry smile was evident in her voice. "And what lie would you like to give me?"

Buffy blushed. "Um..."

"I expect you and Spike to be here -- barring world-saving emergencies -- shortly after the sun sets on Thursday," Joyce said. "Everyone else is getting here around three."

"Yes, Mom," Buffy said with chagrin. "We'll see you then."

"Bye dear."

"Bye." Buffy hung up the phone, then rested her forehead on her hand. "Now that wasn't embarrassing."

"What's that, luv?" Spike asked, drying a plate with a colorful towel.

"We're going to Mom's for Thanksgiving," Buffy said. She groaned. "Oh god, my relatives are going to be there."

"I take it this is a bad thing," he surmised.

Buffy turned to him and said with a serious face, "Maybe we'll get lucky and the apocalypse will come on Thursday."

*****

Spike slowly knotted the tie at his throat, hoping that he was doing it correctly. It had been a very long time since he'd tied one, and he still wasn't fully functioning with all four cylinders. It had been just six days since he'd returned to consciousness after being shot in the head. Six days of feeding from containers of animal's blood like his sire, but only able to keep it down part of the time. Luckily, today was one of those days. It would be uncouth of him to attack one of his relatives.

That thought made him grin. He had relatives. Living relatives. Granted, they were by marriage, but he hadn't been able to say that for two centuries. And he and his wife were about to go to a family function. Unlife had never been stranger.

"Ducks, have I done this right?" Spike asked, walking towards the open bathroom door, his head down as he looked at his tie.

"Move your hands," Buffy told him. He did and watched as her strong, slim fingers straightened the grey-on-grey striped tie over the dark grey oxford shirt he wore tucked into pressed, black chinos. "Looks good. Now shoo and let me finish getting ready."

Spike smiled and kissed the tip of her nose, then turned and headed back over to his side of the Queen-sized bed to put his shoes on. He was so whipped.

Buffy glanced out the bathroom door at her mate and smiled happily to herself. He really did look good when he dressed up. Not that he wasn't yummy just wearing a tee-shirt and jeans, she amended silently. But when he consciously wanted to look better than usual, he certainly did a great job at it.

She returned her eyes to the mirror and finished putting on her makeup. They were due to arrive at her mother's in a half-hour, which would give her enough time to slip her dress on and make sure she had a change of clothing in case she got called for some slayage. Thanksgiving was always a dress-up occasion for her family, and because she hadn't been to a Martin family gathering since she became the Slayer, she'd be under staunch scrutiny.

And so would her husband.

A small frown appeared between Buffy's eyes. She knew that Spike would behave, but it was possible that he'd accidently let slip some story about experiences during a time he wasn't suppose to be born yet. Especially since his brain probably hadn't finished knitting itself back together after the bullet had tore into it on Halloween.

That had been one of the most horrifying times in her life thus far. It surpassed Angel losing his soul on her seventeenth birthday and had come close to equaling what she had felt when she'd sent Angel to hell. She'd honestly thought Spike wasn't going to survive. Even Angel hadn't known if Spike would get well or not. If it hadn't been for the dark-haired vampire and Giles coming up with an "IV" for her mate, he would have faded into dust from not feeding.

But Spike had been up and about for six days now, in good spirits and returning strength. She caught him staring off into space every once in awhile with a blank look in his eyes, which was abnormal for him. Before, Spike had a tendency to always look as though he were planning to do something mischievous -- which he usually was and involved lack of clothing -- however, now...

Buffy pushed her thoughts away. Spike was fine. And they were going to be late if she didn't get moving.



Part Two



Buffy smoothed down the skirt of her lilac slip dress with matching jacket, and took a deep breath. She could hear the voices of her mother's side of the family all the way outside. "Come on, apocalypse," she muttered, earning an arched brow of amusement from her husband. "Oh, shut up."

"I didn't say anything, Slayer," Spike said, trying to prevent his grin.

She faced him, the porch light catching the diamonds and green diopsides on her anklet. "Don't call me Slayer!" she exclaimed in a hushed voice.

"Why not? I thought everyone knew," he said.

"No, not everyone knows," she said. "Just...a lot of people. But not my family."

"Alright, luv, I won't," Spike promised. He held up four fingers, the middle two spread apart. "Scout's honor."

"Um, that's the Vulcan goodbye," Buffy said with a giggle.

He winked at her. "I know."

The front door opened and Faith, who was dressed in an ankle-length, straight black skirt, untucked, burgundy leather shirt and combat boots, glared at them. "Will you two stop making googly-eyes at each other and get in here! I'm dyin' already!"

"Happy Turkey Day to you, too, Faith," Buffy said wryly, entering her mother's home.

"Hello, Faith," Spike greeted. "You look quite fetching."

"Stuff it, blondie," Faith grumbled.

The voices that had been loud outside of the house bombarded them from the living room. Buffy decided to be smart and head down the hallway to the kitchen to say hello to her Mom before she faced the mass of Martin's gathered there. Spike and Faith trailing behind her, she entered the delicious-smelling kitchen and smiled. "We're here!"

"Buffy," Joyce said happily, setting a dish of food down on the counter. "I'm glad you're here. Your grandmother has been complaining non-stop about your absence." She smiled motherly at Spike, who had walked over to her and kissed her cheek. "And you look very handsome, Spike."

"Thanks, Joyce," Spike said. He snatched a black olive of the tray on the island counter and popped it in his mouth. "You look very lovely as well."

Joyce beamed at him while Faith made a gagging face at Buffy, who smothered her laughter. The brunette Slayer had become Joyce's adopted daughter over the summer and now resided in Buffy's old bedroom. The butterflies that had once decorated the room had been covered by gothic art posters and several cows worth of leather hung in the closet. And the window still got more use than the door.

"Come on, B," Faith said, linking arms with her sister-in-slaying. "I've had to put up with your funky relatives for two hours now all by my lonesome. It's time for you to share in my suffering."

Faith pulled Buffy back down the hallway to the living room, leaving Spike in the kitchen with Joyce. The Slayers' mother stepped back and looked critically at the vampire. "How are you feeling, Spike?" she asked with motherly concern.

"Better," Spike told her, a lie, but he didn't want to worry her. He stuck his hands in his pockets and leaned back against the counter. "I don't know if I could beat my sire's ar- er, rear yet or not, but I'll get there again."

"Good," Joyce said. "We were really worried about you. I wouldn't want my daughter to be a widow at nineteen."

"Me neither," Spike said. He grinned. "Of course, from what I've been hearing from the Slayer about your family, I may not make it out of here undead."

Joyce laughed lightly. "Well, you might lose a bit of skin, but I think you could handle it." She gave him a soft push towards the door. "You'd better go in there before Buffy drowns in all the love."

"If you need help, let me know," he told her, then headed out of the kitchen.

The living room was packed with people of various ages and sizes. Every sitting surface was occupied, including the floor by several children, and the conversation was boisterous. Spike saw Buffy talking with a blue-haired, elderly woman who was seated in a rocking chair that must have been dragged out for the company. Faith was standing over at a fold-up table covered with food, stuffing her face while she spoke with an extremely tall, blond man.

He took a single step into the room and a sudden hush descended as everyone stopped speaking to look at him. If he wasn't who he was, he would have felt very uncomfortable about their staring. Instead, he gave everyone a cocky grin and waited silently for Buffy to introduce him.

Buffy swallowed nervously when everyone stopped talking abruptly. Show time, she thought, standing to walk over to Spike. She took the hand that he offered her and smiled forcefully at her family. "Um, everyone, I'd like you to meet m-my husband, William Brody. Spike, this," she took a deep breath and started going around the circle, "Uncle Bob, Uncle Tommy, Uncle Dave, Aunt Lucy, Aunt Jenny, Becky, Sam, Gramma Martin, you know Faith-"

Faith made an obscene gesture, causing Spike's lips to twitch.

"-Matthew, Grampa Martin, Aunt Evie," Buffy continued. "And on the floor is Lindsay, Jordan and Steve."

"Hello," Spike greeted cordially.

Everyone was silent, still staring, which made Buffy wish the Hellmouth would quickly change locations and open up under her feet. Her Gramma Martin was the one to finally break the quiet.

"Well, bring him over here, Buffy. I'm an old woman, you know, and can't see that well," the elderly, blue-haired matron said.

Conversation started up again immediately, and a relieved Buffy led Spike over to her grandmother. "Spike, this is my Gramma Martin," she introduced.

Spike took Gramma Martin's proffered hand and was slightly shocked by the strong handshake he received. "So, you're the one who stole my grand-baby," Gramma Martin said.

"Guilty," Spike answered with a slight smile.

"Hmph." Gramma Martin looked him over from head-to-toe. "You're too pale."

"I'm allergic to the sun," Spike replied without hesitation.

"Then how do you support my Buffy?"

"I'm an investor," he lied smoothly, "and I work at home while she's in school."

Gramma Martin peered at him with shrewd eyes behind her bifocals. "You're not American, either."

"Er, no," Spike replied. "British."

"Did you marry my grand-baby for a green card?" Gramma Martin scowled at him.

"No, I've lived here since the sixties," he replied without thought. He frowned at Buffy, who was making frantic gestures behind Gramma Martin's back. "Except for last year when I was in Brazil...what?"

"Uh, Grampa Martin wants to say hello," Buffy said quickly before her Gramma could say any more. "Excuse us, Gramma." The Slayer grabbed Spike's arm and dragged him away.

"Slayer, what's your problem?" Spike whispered to her, confusion etched on his features.

"You've been living here since the sixties?" Buffy hissed.

"Well, I could have moved to America when I was a boy, couldn't I?" Spike pointed out. His brow knit together as he thought. "Although that would make me a serious cradle-robber," he chuckled softly to himself, "like I'm not one already..."

"Buffy! Come and let me meet your new husband," Aunt Evie called out to them. Evie Holt was Joyce's older sister, and quite resembled her sibling, except she had dark, curly hair. Married to Dave Holt, a tall, black haired business man, she had two children, Becky, who was two years younger than Buffy, and Jordan, who was fifteen.

"Hi, Aunt Evie," Buffy said, as she led Spike over to where her Aunt and Grampa Martin were standing. "Hi, Grampa Martin."

"Hello, Buffy," Grampa Martin said, pulling Buffy away from Spike to engulf her in a bear hug. "How's my little flower?"

"Getting smushed," Buffy replied, bright smile on her face. Her grandfather was a big man, an ex-military Major, with shortly cropped silver hair and a continual twinkle in his bright blue eyes.

"Pshaw," Grampa Martin chided. "You're a tough girl. You can take it."

"That she can," Spike said, shooting a mischievous grin at his mate. She wrinkled her nose at him.

Grampa Martin tucked Buffy under his left arm and extended his right. "Let me get a look at the man who snagged my Tulip Blossom."

Spike shook his hand and was not surprised at the crushing grip. Luckily, he had one of his own and was rewarded with a slight arch of the former Major's brow at the strength of his handshake. "Sir," he said simply. He met Grampa Martin's eyes squarely and did not look away. The only person to have ever intimidated him was his sire long before he got his soul back, so Spike wasn't worried about not measuring up to the ex-military man.

"Oh Dad, he's not one of your grunts," Aunt Evie said, breaking into the battle of wills. She extended her own hand. "I'm Joyce's sister, Evie. Welcome to the family."

Spike waited until Grampa Martin released his hand before moving to shake hers. "Thank you."

"Ooh, cold hands," Aunt Evie said.

"Sorry," Spike said, extracting his hand and sticking both of them into his pockets. "We walked over from our flat."

"Well, you know what they say. 'Cold hands, warm heart,'" Aunt Evie said.

"I thought it was cold hands, dead body," Faith murmured behind Spike as she passed him to head out of the living room.

Matthew joined their small group, and Spike had yet another human's hand to shake. Normally, he'd only be taking their hands to pull them closer in order to sink his fangs into their necks. Of course, nothing had been normal since he'd first come to Sunnydale, and he had the Slayer for a mate and a wife to prove it.

Matthew Martin was Bob, Joyce's brother, and Lucy Martin's seventeen-year-old son. A tall, blond basketball player, he towered over everyone in the room. However, he hadn't quite grown into his impressive stature, which made Matthew seem awkward and gangly. His sister, Lindsay, was quite tall as well, but she had the lithe body of a dancer.

"So, do you play ball?" Matthew asked Spike.

"Ball?" Spike said with a frown.

"Basketball, man," Matthew said. "Basketball."

"Right. Er, no, I don't," Spike answered.

"Baseball?" Matthew asked.

"No," Spike said.

"Football?"

"No," Spike said. "Although I do enjoy watching it on the telly." He turned to Buffy. "One of these days, luv, I'll have to take you to see Man U. I'll threaten one of the box owners and get us some good seats."

"Man U?" Matthew said.

"Threaten?" Grampa Martin said.

"He was joking, Grampa," Buffy said quickly. She looked over up at Matthew. "And Man U is Manchester United. They play soccer."

"Oh," Matthew said. "Soccer."

Buffy grinned at Spike. "And they stink. Go Everton."

"Hey!" Spike scowled at her. "Everton is the bloody worst, and you know that, pet."

"But at least they don't date Spice Girls," Buffy pointed out.

"True," Spike admitted.

"Mrs. S. told me to tell ya-all that the grub's on the table," Faith announced from the living room doorway. "So let's eat. Move it."

Buffy and Spike exchanged an amused look, then the vampire held out his arm. "Shall we?" he asked, as the others in the living room began to make their way across the hall to the dining room.

Buffy smiled up at her Grampa, then moved over to Spike, hooking her hand through his elbow. "Let's go eat that grub."



Part Three



The table had been added onto in order to fit eighteen people at it. The youngest ones, Lindsay, Jordan, and the twins, Steve and Sam, had been relegated to the dreaded "children's table." Even then, it was still a tight fit.

Spike and Buffy found themselves across from Tommy Martin, Joyce's other brother, and his wife, Jenny. Their twins were both seven, and had the matching fine, red hair and freckles of their mother. Joyce was seated on the other side of Spike, nearest to the kitchen entrance, and Faith was on the other side of Buffy, with Matthew beside her. Grampa Martin sat at the head of the table beside Joyce and Gramma Martin was at his other side, across from Buffy's mother. The rest of the table was rounded out by the remainder of Joyce's family, with Bob, the eldest Martin sibling, at the other head of the table.

"Here you go, Spike," Joyce said quietly under the din of the other's voices. She set a slightly larger than normal, black coffee mug down on the table in front of him. "Fresh yesterday from the butcher's."

"You didn't have to do that," Spike told her, surprised by her gesture.

"There's one dish of everyone's favorite food on this table and I didn't want you to feel left out," Joyce said. He went to say more and she held up her hand. "Just let me mother you."

"Very well." Spike smiled at her sincerely. "Thank you."

Buffy looked past Spike's shoulder and met her Mom's eyes. She mouthed "Thank you" as well. Joyce nodded and returned to the kitchen to finish getting the beverages. The blond Slayer leaned closer to Spike to ask, "What do you think you can eat?"

Spike glanced around at the multitude of foodstuffs littering the large dining room table. "I have no bloody clue," he admitted, adjusting the black mug in front of his plate. "Normally, I could eat any of this stuff because of the wonders of vampire physiology, but I'm kind of wary..."

"Well, just take a little turkey and some stuffing, and I'll munch off your plate," Buffy said. "If someone does ask, we can just say that you were sick last week."

Spike nodded as Joyce returned and took her seat beside him. Grampa Martin stood and clinked his wine glass with the edge of a fork. The family quieted down and picked up their glasses, and Spike his mug, as the elderly Martin picked up his own.

"Well, yet another Martin family gathering," Grampa Martin began. "And yet more mouths to feed." Everyone chuckled. "First off, Joyce, thank you for having Thanksgiving this year and taking on the daunting task of letting us invade."

"It's nothing," Joyce said quietly with a pleased smile.

"My Tulip Blossom," Grampa Martin continued, looking over at Buffy. "Not only have you grown to be a beautiful young woman over the past three years, you've gotten married. It was just yesterday I saw you in pigtails and flowered dresses, asking me to marry you." He smiled fondly. "Guess I missed my chance."

"Grampa." Buffy blushed and Spike squeezed her knee under the table.

"Son, welcome to the family," Grampa Martin said to Spike. "I hope you have a large shovel to wade through all the shit that goes on with this group."

"Dad!" Joyce, Evie and Lucy exclaimed. The younger ones laughed, and Bob, Dave and Tommy shook their heads and rolled their eyes.

"And finally, Faith," Grampa said loudly, his voice clear, quieting everyone again. "A brand new flower to add to my ever-growing garden. A beautiful, Dark Rose. Welcome."

Faith blushed deeply, her head down so her hair covered her face. "Oh man, cut it out," she grumbled.

Buffy leaned over and whispered, "At least he didn't name you Stinkweed."

The brunette Slayer socked Buffy on her leg under the table.

"And now that everyone has been properly embarrassed," Grampa Martin said. "A toast. It gets better, then it gets worse, then it gets real, then it gets different, then it gets real different, but all of us keep coming back. Because we're family. And family sticks together. Happy Thanksgiving."

"Happy Thanksgiving," everyone echoed, raising their glasses before taking sips.

Buffy leaned over and kissed Spike on the cheek. "Happy Turkey Day, Spike."

Spike couldn't prevent the happy smile that crossed his lips.

He was so whipped.



End 1