It was entirely possible that fifteen hours in the cramped quarters of a cargo hold on a flight from Los Angeles could have something to do with his mood. Or maybe the memorable trip from the airport with a sullen cab driver who ranted at a radio turned to some appalling talkback channel that appeared to be obsessed with football had gotten him off on the wrong foot with the city. It was certain that walking into 40ºC temperates only a couple of days shy of Christmas certainly wasn't helping to put him in a peaceful frame of mind. Neither was the broken air conditioner in his nondescript hotel room.
The last time he'd been forced to endure heat this bad was in Spain, but that had been during the running of the bulls and there had been sport to be made of drunken tourists.
Drusilla had been in her element. There had been many pretty boys and girls willing to dance with a dark-haired stranger. A beautiful goddess who would touch them and kiss them, who would whirl them into Spike's arms where they would be crushed in the embrace of two feeding vampires.
It never got old. Seeing that look of lust and surprise turn to fear and confusion before the life faded from their eyes. He may be fighting for the other side now, but the pure joy of the kill was an intoxicating thrill that he could never forget.
Angelus had always liked a good hunt, but he preferred to hunt small and timid things, where the outcome was assured. Spike, on the other hand, liked the uncertainty of a good brawl. Knowing you were going to win took the fun out of a fight.
It was the same every time Angelus had gone off on one of his nun torturing jaunts. The planning was both excruciatingly complex and mind-numbingly dull. Spike never had a high tolerance for boredom, so he'd leave Angelus to his details and slip off to the nearest watering hole for a pint and tussle with the natives. It was more for the fun than the food; taking your life in your hands, feeling blood on your fists and the burn of cuts and bruises. It made him feel alive.
That was something he hadn't felt in a long time.
He'd been on the road for far too long, touching base with Giles occasionally before heading off again. Tracking down obscure texts from less than human sellers, fighting the odd demon and generally doing the Council's dirty work kept him busy. It stopped him from thinking about how long it had been since he'd bloodied his knuckles for the pure hell of it or laughed with his friends.
Usually it didn't bother him, but being confined to the four walls of a steaming beige box until his contacts surfaced from their heat induced sabbatical made him miss those things he would have thought were beneath him a few years ago. If the heat wasn't making him feel so lethargic he might have actually gone out looking for trouble for the hell of it. The thought of future mayhem cheered him up a little, maybe he would take that walk after all. Once it cooled off.
There was a grinding sound followed by a thump and the air came back on. The system wheezed as if it was going to cut out again, but with a brief stutter it quietened down and ran smoothly. As the air started to drop to a more bearably temperature his mobile rang.
Spike fished the phone out of his pocket. "'Lo."
"Bit!" It was good to hear her voice, to have the chance to catch up on what was happening in her life. With his feet up on a coffee table, he settled back on the sofa and listened as Dawn filled him in.
Buffy was still training junior Slayers in Rome. Willow was more involved with the coven in England. Faith had taken to the road to bring as yet undiscovered Slayers under the wing of the Watchers, she was happier away from the insanity of Slayer central. Xander had come back from his sabbatical with a new love in tow, it seems she was the dead spit of Anya.
"Can't imagine Willow's too happy about that." Spike could almost see the witch bristling in her usual what's best for Xander way.
Dawn laughed, a rich, throaty sound that made Spike miss her more. "She did try to interfere, but Xander's girl shot her down. But it could have been her accent that did it. She sounds exactly like you, sarky and full of front." She didn't need to add that Xander had some issues of his own to clear up, some growing up to do, but it sounded like this poor girl was going to get stuck in the middle again.
As Dawn continued, Spike felt a pang of homesickness. He missed these people, admittedly he could only stand some for short periods of time without wanting to throttle the life out of them, but that's what you got in families. He suddenly realised that these people he'd tried to kill, had fought with and fought beside had become his family. But it was Dawn he missed most of all.
He remembered that Dru used to call her the Queen of Cups. He'd always assumed it was in reference to her cards until one day Dawn told him of the night she first met Dru.
Buffy had been off patrolling and Joyce had been called out to help a colleague, so Dawn had been left alone. She didn't yet know about vampires, but Joyce had threatened her with a future confined to her bedroom if she let any strangers in the house.
And then somebody had come to the door. If she'd knocked at the front door, Dawn probably would have let her in without a thought, but Drusilla had seen Dawn in the kitchen and called at the back door instead.
It was enough to set Dawn on edge, but she was still polite and offered her guest tea.
They'd had a tea party at the back door, sitting cross-legged on the floor and chatting quietly until Dru had gotten bored and hungry. Dawn had jumped up and ran for her room leaving Dru cursing the barrier that kept her from her meal. She'd been shocked when Dawn came running back, more so when she'd had a bag of jelly babies thrust into her hand. Dawn had confused Drusilla's desire for blood as low blood sugar and gotten the sweets to help her.
Spike had returned after hunting and found Drusilla entranced at an array of carefully dismembered jelly babies. Dru loved her colourful little men, especially the way you could twist their heads off.
That was his Dawn, standing up for herself, but still thinking of others. Always bringing joy into his life. It was much duller without her around.
There was a knock at his door. "Sounds like maintenance is here to check the air conditioning. Sorry, love, I'll have to let you get back to it."
"See you soon, Spike." Dawn rang off and Spike felt the loss of contact like a physical blow. He sighed loudly and got up to answer the door. His plan to rip the insistent knocker's arms from their body died the moment he flung open the door and saw Dawn with her hand raised to knock again.
"Surprise!" She threw herself into his arms. "I didn't want you to be alone at Christmas."
Spike hugged her fiercely. He was started to love being in Melbourne, ridiculously hot Christmas weather and all. It had brought him Dawn and he couldn't have wished for anything more.
willshenilshe — xmas fic challenge: something a bit angsty, spike alone at christmas, remembering holidays past with dru and/or angelus, trying to get up the courage to go and see if [insert person of your choice] wants to spend the evening with them
Part of the Melbourne!verse