Chapter One: It Came Upon A Morning Clear
The Return of the Son of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons Author:
Buffy, s3: "Amends". Except Dawn is in it.Word Count:
~1500 (this chapter)Characters:
Buffy, Faith, Joyce, Dawn. Canon pairings and crushes alluded to.Disclaimer:
: The characters belong to Joss, yada yada. Also, apologies to Bill Watterson.Warnings:
Non-sexual use of "unclean" bodily fluids; violence; irreverence; silliness; national stereotyping; re-gifting; grand theft toboggan; snow.Summary:
It's Christmas in Sunnydale, Angel has been talked down from the hill and awww, isn't all that snow pretty. That can't be a bad thing, can it? I mean, this is Sunnydale, where the supernatural is always helpful and it's not like magical snow instantly covering the entire town could possibly herald the arrival of... FLESH-EATING ZOMBIE SNOWMEN?!?Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say
He was made of snow
But the children know
How he came to life one day. Chapter 1: It Came Upon A Morning Clear
There was a broken neon sign outside Faith's motel window that blinked all through the night, every night. Off, on, off, on, dark, bright, dark, bright. She'd gotten used to it, the way she'd gotten used to the lumpy mattress and that mysterious don't-ask stain in the bathroom.
So this morning, when she drifted up through REM sleep, she was puzzled by the way the light in the room was steady and... warm? Neon isn't warm. And her bed wasn't this comfortable. And there was the distinct feel of someone watching her. Where the hell -
She opened her eyes and found herself face to face with a fat, bearded man, covered in red and grinning insanely.
Santa. A plastic Santa standing on the coffee table. And the light was from the large Christmas tree in the corner. Right. Summers house. Christmas eve. Promised B to stick around and keep an eye on Joyce and the brat. Had nog. Watched cartoons. Promised to stay up until B got back. Fell asleep on the couch. Probably should get up.
She yawned and burrowed deeper into the couch. Yeah. Getting up any minute now. She was just going to lie here on this warm couch in this warm light under this warm quilt until she was fully awake...
She never noticed when she fell asleep again.
She did, however, notice the scream that woke her up about half an hour later.* * *"MOOOOM!"
The gleeful scream jolted Joyce awake, groaning and blinking at the alarm clock. Well, it was technically Christmas day. Why couldn't Dawn get up this early on school days? It wasn't even light outside. She pulled the cover back over her head – the bedroom felt oddly cold – but gave up all thoughts of going back to sleep when she heard the pitter-patter (or rather clompety-clompety) of 12-year-old feet running down the hall at top speed. Dawn crashed inside her bedroom in a flurry of pajama'd limbs and giddy over-excitement. "Mom! Seriously! You'll never believe this!"
"I'm glad you like your presents, sweetheart."
"What?" Dawn lost track for a second, then quickly flipped back to squee mode. "Oh, right. Haven't opened them yet. This is way bigger than -"
"What's going on?" Faith was in the doorway, with a bad case of bed hair but looking ready for a fight if need be. "Something wrong?"
"I don't think so." Joyce stifled a yawn. "What time did Buffy get back?"
"She's been out all night?" Mother instincts kicking in, Joyce sat up with a concerned look on her face. "Faith, do you know what this is all about? I mean, with Angel and..."
"She said she'd fill me in on everything when she got back." Faith didn't sound too convinced. "I'm sure she's cool. B can take care of herself. Uh... thanks for letting me crash on the couch, by the way."
Dawn, bored with this line of discussion, decided to interfere. "OK, you guys are both completely missing the point."
"Sorry, honey. So what is it you're so excited about?"
Dawn ran over to the window and pulled the curtain. "Ta-daa! It's snowing
!"* * *
Let's say there’s a kid who's grown up in Southern California. Whose only exposure to snow has been TV, movies and that one time they went to see her big sister compete in that stupid ice-skating competition in LA five years ago and Dawn was able to scoop up enough loose ice shavings from the side of the rink to form a decent-sized snowball and throw at Buffy; she missed, but still.
Then let's say she wakes up to an oddly dark Christmas morning and finds the world covered in fresh white virgin snow, and a girl from Boston who's way cooler than her sister and has got to be, like, an expert on snow is eating her sister's breakfast while their mom paces back and forth in worry.
There's really only one way that can end.
Faith hadn't ever built a snowman before, but figured she knew the technique: just make a couple of big-ass snowballs (hold the gravel) and stick them on top of each other. Turned out to be real easy – it was almost like the snowman wanted to be built, even though the snow was completely fresh and really should have been way too loose. Chalk one up for Slayer powers. Plus, it kept Joyce from asking her to go look for B, which might have been ten sorts of awkward, and the kid was having a blast... hell, Faith was too.
After about an hour of hot-cocoa-fueled work, the three women – two of them in winter clothes, one in a miniskirt - stepped back to admire their niveous hominid. He (somehow it looked like a he) stood about six feet tall, with twigs for arms, a broom leaning against his side and a striped scarf around his neck. It was still dark out, so the light from the porch made him sparkle slightly against the grey-black sky. Now all he needed was a face.
"In cartoons they always use coal," Dawn suggested.
"I don't think we have any coal, sweetie."
"Are you sure? I could check Buffy's stocking... Ooo, wait! I've got it!" Dawn turned and ran inside the house.
Joyce watched as Faith did a couple of last-minute adjustments to the snowman. The girl was stomping her feet now and then to keep her circulation going, seemingly without thinking about it. "Are you sure you don't want to borrow a coat? I'm sure Buffy has at least five winter coats she never uses..."
"Nah. I'm used to it. It ain't that cold," Faith shrugged.
"Guess what I've got!" Dawn was back, with a triumphant smile on her face and snowman supplies in her hands: one squeeze-bottle of Heinz ketchup and -
"Is that one of Buffy's stakes? I've asked you to be careful with those things, honey."
' stake? Please. This is the
stake." Dawn handed over the smooth, oddly shaped wooden stake to Faith. "She calls it Mr Pointy. Would make a, um, wicked nose, don't you think?"
Faith gave it a quick inspection. Good balance, sharp, strong yet light... not bad. "She named
her stake? Man. I think I just figured out what I should have gotten her for Christmas."
Joyce did a double take, but Dawn didn't seem to assign any particular meaning to Faith's words. "I know, and I'm
supposed to be the childish one, right? Come on, nose him."
And so the snowman stood there in the gently falling snow, his features drawn in red, and a stake of finest Carpathian wood jutting out where his nose should be.
"So, what do we call him?" Joyce asked.
Dawn thought about it. "How about... Beowulf?"
Joyce raised an eyebrow. "Beowulf the snowman?"
"Or... I dunno, Bob?" Dawn blushed the blush of the outed fantasy nerd and didn't look at Faith.
"Hey, I like that," Faith said. "Baywolf. Sounds badass."
"Very well then," Joyce said, picked up a handfull of snow and solemnly spread it over the shoulders of the snowman. "I dub thee Sir Beowulf, First Snowman of Sunnydale."
They looked at it for another minute before Joyce decided that it was cold out and that Dawn needed another cup of cocoa before she got to go out again. "Faith? Would you like one too?"
Faith hesitated. "I dunno, maybe I should get back..."
"Oh, nonsense. At least come in for a while until Buffy gets back, you two barely had time to talk last night."What the hell.
"Sure. I'll be right in."
Dawn and Joyce went inside and Faith sat down on the porch, fished a cigarette out of her pocket and lit it. The warm light from the kitchen was falling across the glistening snow, the smell of cocoa and christmas cookies from insidee... This was nice. Like, really nice. A girl could get used to -Thumpetty thump thump.
What was that? She looked up from her thoughts, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Well, apart from all the snow and the huge snowman on the lawn and the lack of sun.
Lack of sun. Huh. She checked her watch. Make that wrist; oh right, her watch was still on the coffee table inside -Thumpetty thump thump.
There it was again. What the fuck? She looked up. Nothing there. Just the snowman, who – you know, she could have sworn they built him over by the fence, not right by the porch. What the hell had Joyce put in that cocoa? She leaned over and glanced towards the kitchen window to see if -"Braaaaaaaains."
The voice was like the sound of ice breaking up in spring, coming out of a mouth that was just a gaping hole outlined in blood (ketchup
) red, with snapping and snarling icicles for teeth. Faith didn't scream, but gave a surprised "Oooomph!" as the massive weight of the snowman fell upon her.