Dashing through the snow,
In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
Bells on bob tails ring,
Making spirits bright,
What fun it is to laugh and sing,
A Slaying song tonight.
Jingle Bells: Traditional Slayer Yule-tide song.
Seattle Slayer House (YSWA).
Christmas Eve Morning.
Willow was dreaming, she was standing in the kitchen working on a new spell but someone was hammering somewhere and kept distracting her. Why did they have to do that now, she wondered, didn’t they know she was trying to work? No, this was just too bad; she needed to get this spell finished…no, no, no…
“NO!” Willow woke up with a start to the sound of frantic knocking on her bedroom door.
“Wha?” She demanded sleepily as Kennedy stirred beside her.
“Miss Willow?” Alice stopped knocking, “There’s a woman on the phone…she claims to be Miss Kennedy’s mom…she says it’s really important that she talks to Miss Kennedy.”
Willow exchanged a look with the now wide awake Kennedy.
“You better see what she wants.” Willow picked up her alarm clock and looked at the time. “Half past six!” Falling back on her pillow she moaned in despair.
“Tell her I’ll call back!” Kennedy made no attempt to get out of bed.
“Sorry Miss!” Alice yelled through the door. “I’ve already tried that one. She says it’s real urgent.”
“Could you go?” Kennedy looked pleadingly at Willow, “It’ll take me forever to get up and get down stairs…and why don’t we have an extension in the bedroom?”
Willow sighed and snapped her fingers; with a ‘Zing!’ the telephone materialised balanced on Kennedy’s tummy.
“That’s why.” Willow rolled out of bed. She headed for the bathroom while Kennedy picked up the receiver.
“Hello Mother,” Kennedy said testily.
Athena was holding one of her ‘Coffee Mornings’, not that there was much coffee in evidence. True some of the Central and South American Goddesses sipped at steaming skulls of the dark brew, but in general the other Goddesses preferred wine or beer. Athena moved through the throng exchanging gossip and pleasantries with deities she would not normally be seen dead with.
She laughed brittly with some minor North German Goddess who had made a rather vulgar joke about one of her cousins. Athena glanced across the room and caught the eye of Morrigan who had just arrived with her two sisters. She nodded towards a side door on the far side of the room, and then excused herself and made her escape.
“You’re late!” Athena graced at the three Irish war Goddesses giving them a withering look.
“Schools don’t run themselves you know,” replied Morrigan. Badb nodded her head in agreement with her elder sister.
The two Goddesses ran the private girls school in Seattle attended by Alice the Vampire Slayer.
“And bar fights don’t just happen!” Nemain, war Goddess and sometime Goddess of bar fights added.
“Yes they do!” Everyone in the room chorused without thinking.
Nemain started to sulk. “Well, someone has to do it.”
“Who’s the newbie?” Morrigan walked up to Athena and pointed to the large matronly Goddess who sat in the corner of the room sipping from a small glass of sherry.
“That’s Ilithyia,” Athena walked over to the Goddess and clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention. “Everyone, this is Ilithyia Goddess of childbirth.”
The Goddess stood up as everybody called out, ‘Hi Ilithyia’.
A little over five feet tall, Ilithyia’s dark curly hair was pilled on top of her head in a style that had been popular with Greek Goddesses for millennia. She had sharp sparkling dark eyes, an impressive bust and wide child bearing hips. The whole Greek Goddess ‘look’ was spoilt, however, by the modern nurses ‘scrubs’ that she wore.
“Hello everyone,” Ilithyia said in a no nonsense voice that managed to imply that there better not be any silly behaviour or comments in her presence.
“When I hear her voice,” whispered Athena to Morrigan, “I always want to salute and say, ‘dib, dib, dib’, and promise to do my best!”
Morrigan stifled a giggle behind her hand.
“Now ladies,” began Athena, she was interrupted by a male cough from the back of the room, “Sorry…and gentleman,” Hermes smiled his thanks, “Ilithyia has something to tell us all.”
Ilithyia stepped forward and waited for quiet.
“As I’m sure you all know Kennedy the Vampire Slayer is about due. In fact she is due over the next couple of days.” Ilithyia watched her audience for any sign of inattention, there was none. “I’m not expecting any problems, she is after all a healthy young Slayer and the Witch has been taking care of her and making sure she’s been eating all the correct things, so I’m not expecting any trouble with the birth. However…”
“However, indeed,” interrupted Athena with a forced smile. “I’ll take over here.” Why did Ilithyia make her feel about nine? “As you all know certain denizens from the infernal regions have an interest in our Slayer and her Witch. My sources suggest that they may try to interfere with the actual birth or shortly afterwards…so I want everyone to be on their guard.”
The assembled God and Goddesses murmured their acknowledgement.
“Hermes,” Athena glanced at the one God in the room. “Can you look after communications?”
“It’s what I do best,” agreed the God with a smile.
“Morrigan,” Athena turned to the elder red haired Goddess, “Can you and your sisters be our rapid reaction force? I’ll be with Ilithyia but I’d like to know you’re there as back up.”
The Irish Goddesses nodded their red manes and smiled at the prospect of a fight with demonic hordes.
“Right then it’s all settled.” Athena looked around at the gathering, ‘They’ll do’ she smiled to herself, and then aloud she cried, “HASSELDORF!” She punched the air, “Kick his scaly ass!”
Tina helped Kennedy pack a couple of suitcases for herself, Willow and Tara. Alice was bathing Tara in preparation for the trip to New Jersey, while Willow was in the kitchen working on the spell to get the three of them to the Slayer House in Philadelphia.
“Is it really bad?” Tina held up a blouse for Kennedy’s inspection, the older slayer nodded her head in agreement and Tina folded the blouse and put it in the case.
“Yes,” Kennedy replied shortly. “The bitch waited ‘till it was nearly too late before telling me.” Kennedy selected some underwear out of Willow’s drawer and put it in her case. “If we had to go by scheduled flights we’d likely get there just after my father has died…” Kennedy stopped what she was doing and fumed for a moment. “How could she still be holding a grudge? She must realise by now that Will an’ I are permanent!”
“I take it she didn’t like you an’ Miss Willow being a couple then?” Tina folded a pair of jeans into the suitcase.
Tina was fairly certain that had her parents still been alive, they would be happy for her, whoever she chose to live with. Granny Doris and Auntie Rose seemed happy that Tina had found Alice; at least that was what they had said in their letters. Tina watched in concern as Kennedy sat down heavily on the bed and buried her face in her hands, she walked around the bed and sat down next to her friend.
“She stopped Daddy from coming to our wedding you know?” Kennedy wiped at her eyes with a screwed up tissue.
Tina put her arm around Kennedy’s shoulder.
“And now she wants me on the other side of the country when he dies.” Kennedy sniffed and turned to look at Tina, she forced a smile. “But I’m gonna screw over her wicked step-mother plans. She doesn’t know I’ve got the world’s best witch to get me there!” Kennedy’s smile grew wider. “Come on, help me up we’ve got bags to pack!”
Willow tried to study her spell book while Tara banged her spoon on the table top.
“Stop that sweetie.” Willow reached across the table and took the spoon from the little girl’s hand.
Tara’s eyebrows drew together, she did not like changes to her routine and this was definitely a change. Not that she minded Auntie Alice washing and dressing her. She got to wear cooler clothes and play about more than when either of her mommies dressed her.
Now Mommy was going to do magic, Tara did not know how she knew this but that did not change the fact that Mommy was going to do something big…and that meant that Tara got left behind! Tara huffed and thought about crying and making a fuss until she was distracted by Auntie Alice putting her breakfast in front of her.
“’Ank-que.” She said as she had been taught and because she was a polite little girl.
“Found it!” Willow punched the air and looked up at her daughter who was looking at her, an egg covered piece of toast halfway to her mouth, as if she was mad. “Mommies and Tara are going on a trip.” Willow explained triumphally.
“Trip?” Tara brightened maybe she wasn’t going to be left behind…again.
“Yes, we’re going to see Ma’Ken’s daddy.” explained Willow.
Tara pondered this new information for a moment.
“What’s a daddy?” She asked through a mouthful of egg and toast.
“Ah!” Good point thought Willow, “It’s like a mommy who’s a man.”
All things being equal Tara did not actually come into contact with that many ‘men’, and she was a little hazy on the whole concept of ‘daddies’. She would file those questions away until later. For now the idea that she and both her mommies were going on a trip and there was going to be magic filled her mind with excitement. And maybe, just maybe, she would get to see that little brother she had been promised, he had been growing inside Ma’Ken for so long. He must really like it in there and not want to come out. Maybe he didn’t know she was waiting for him, they would have so much fun!
Slayer School, Cleveland, Ohio.
Vi walked along the corridor of the Cleveland school listening with half an ear as Robin Wood droned on about what needed to be done over the holiday period. Vi, now one of the senior Slayers, had drawn the short straw and was having to spend the holiday with the six trainee Slayers who could not, or did not have homes to go to. She also had to put up with Robin who had become a real pain in the ass since he had broken up with Faith.
It had been his own fault; it was an object lesson for everybody. If you are going to screw someone who was not your partner don’t do it in your own home, especially when your partner was due back any minute. Vi was amazed that Faith hadn’t killed Robin or the Slayer he had been screwing. The screwed Slayer, luckily one of the older trainees, told everyone that would listen to her that Wood had told her he had broken up with Faith, but that didn’t stop Buffy from sending her to Europe to finish her training.
Then there had been all the mix up about Violet and herself. Everyone had thought that she, Vi, had been killed in the big battle up in Washington State. When in fact it was ‘Violet’ a young Slayer who had just completed her training, she had bravely taken the bullet meant for Buffy. Vi had come home one night only to be set upon and almost staked by a gang of enthusiastic young Slayers. They claimed that they thought she’d been turned into some sort of zombie. Now on top it all she had to play Den Mother to half a dozen waifs and strays.
Robin was just outlining his plan of action for cooking the Christmas dinner when Vi felt the familiar tickle as her Spider Sense started to pick up on an approaching danger. She stopped and held up her hand.
“What’s wrong?” Robin looked around in confusion.
“Sssh!” Ordered Vi, she looked up and down the corridor.
She could just hear something; a squealing, screaming noise like a troupe of monkeys getting closer…and something else. Vi strained her ears while Robin looked around himself in bewilderment. It sounded like someone was shaking a big blanket…a lot of blankets, and they were getting nearer. Vi looked behind her down the corridor to see the first of the Demon Flying Monkeys flap around the corner of the passage.
“RUN!” She screamed, pushing Robin down the corridor ahead of her.
“What I’m going to do is form a wormhole between here and Philly,” explained Willow to a room full of Slayers. “It’s quite simple really,” she grinned enthusiastically at the bewildered faces around her. “It’s like a mixture of magic an’ physics! Nifty or what?”
Kennedy did not like the sound of this, the last time Willow had tried to mix science and magic they had ended up on a different planet. To make matters worse it had been a primitive area of the planet. Kennedy wanted to arrive where there were clean, modern hospitals full of well trained doctors and nurses and machines that went ‘Ping!’ She didn’t want to end up somewhere where the height of medical technology was a Witch-Doctor with a poor grasp of hygiene and a mud hut.
“What’s wrong with a good old fashioned Teleportation spell?” Kennedy wanted to know; you knew where you were with a simple spell (or at least where you’d end up).
“Well,” Willow paused for a moment. “To move you, me, Tara our luggage, plus the complications caused by the baby…simply put, it would drain me and leave us susceptible to magical attack.”
“Okay then,” anybody who wasn’t Willow could tell Kennedy wasn’t at all happy about the rationality of all this.
Trouble was when Willow was being ‘clever’ it was like trying to stop an avalanche, and maybe it would work. Kennedy looked at the two Slayers who were staying behind. Tina and Alice had no real family. Their family were their sister Slayers and the two women who looked after them.
“You be careful while we’re gone.” Kennedy gave each girl a quick hug. “We’ll be back as soon as we can, okay?”
The teenagers nodded their heads.
“Be careful on patrol,” Kennedy added, “don’t get bitten, and don’t get pregnant!”
Kennedy waited until the indignant cries of her Slayers had decreased in volume before continuing.
“I know you’re gay an’ all. But look what happened to me! Let this be a warning to you.” Kennedy pointed to her belly before walking over and joining Willow by the kitchen table.
All their goodbyes said, suitcases packed and ready, small red haired girls held firmly in their mom’s arms, Willow began the spell. She chanted in a mixture of Latin and Techno-speak while she threw handfuls of herbs and minerals into the centre of a magic symbol drawn on the kitchen floor. After a minute or two the wormhole started to form.
At first it was just a tiny point of light about four feet above the floor, but it rapidly grew until it was around eight feet across. It looked for all the world like water going down a plug hole. If your water looked like kitchen tiles as they stretched and elongated into the hole and mixed with the reality that flowed into it from the other side.
Kennedy peered into the hole to see the figure of a worried Slayer looking back at her. A thought crossed her mind. “You did phone to say we were coming didn’t you?”
Willow looked guiltily at her partner.
“Ooops!” She said as she took Kennedy by the hand and walked through the wormhole, a second later their luggage flew through the wormhole after them.
There was a loud gurgling, slurping sound as the wormhole started to shrink, and then with a final ‘Pop!’ it closed and vanished leaving Tina and Alice standing alone in the kitchen. Silence reigned for several minutes until Tina felt something warm and furry brush passed her legs. She looked down to see Sylvester doing ‘figure of eights’ between her legs. The cat stopped and looked at her pleadingly.
“I suppose you want to be fed?” She asked the cat as he tried to look both starved and pathetic. “Come on then.” She walked across the kitchen to where the cat food was kept leaving Alice to stare at the place where the wormhole had been.
Slayer School, Cleveland, Ohio.
Vi shoved Wood through the opening in front of her before slamming the heavy metal door behind them. She gasped for breath as she rested her back against the cold metal and listened to the sound of the Flying Demon Monkeys trying to claw their way in. She looked down at Wood where he lay fighting for breath on the floor. Blood leaked from several cuts made when a Demon Monkey had got passed Vi. Odd thing was that the Monkey’s had ignored Vi completely unless she got in their path, they seemed totally fixated on Wood.
“I think they’re out to get you, Woody.” Gasped Vi as she started to get her breath back.
“You think?” Robin rolled over and looked up at Vi, he was still breathing heavily after their head long retreat.
“You don’t think Faith’s behind this, do you?” Vi moved away from the door and inspected their surroundings.
“No,” panted Wood, “she wouldn’t…would she?” He started to pull himself to his feet using the racks that lined the walls to help him.
“Oh I don’t know,” Vi picked up a Car 15 that lay in a rack set into the armoury wall and pulled back the working parts to check that it was unloaded.
Thank all the Gods that Kennedy had insisted that the Slayers learnt about guns all those years ago. Vi could still remember the blazing arguments between Buffy and the younger Slayer.
“Ammo?” Asked Vi.
Wood pulled a bunch of keys from his pocket and staggered over to a locked safe. Unlocking the door he started to hand out boxes of cartridges while Vi collected empty clips from a shelf. The sound of the monkey’s claws on the door increased in volume as they grew more frantic in their efforts to get at their prey.
Philadelphia Slayer House
The young Slayer was obviously confused to see a heavily pregnant woman, another woman holding a small child and a pile of luggage suddenly appear through a wormhole into her kitchen.
“Hiiii!” Squealed Tara to the stunned Slayer.
She wriggled in her mom’s arms, she wanted to get down and meet what was obviously a new auntie!
“You didn’t call did you?” Kennedy looked crossly over at Willow who was struggling with Tara.
“Sorry,” Willow let Tara down, “I completely forgot.”
Tara rushed towards the new Slayer who immediately took a couple of steps back from the tiny tornado at her feet.
“It’s alright,” called Willow, “she doesn’t bite…much. Can we speak to your Guardian please?”
Words & Music: James Lord Pierpont.
Music vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMnTRx_vPGI