Ghost of Christmas Present
Written for the TtH ficforall challenge December 2004. Thanks to my mum for betaing!Disclaimer:
Anything Buffy-like belongs to Joss Whedon and his crew. The Anita Blake series belong to Laurell
K. Hamilton. I’m not making any money from this; it’s all just for fun!Pairing:
#210 – Kendra/EdwardMusic:
Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea. Over and over and over again…Summary:
Edward’s being haunted… and his ghost needs a favour.Ghost of Christmas Presentby Waterfall
At first he’d thought that it was him – that he was simply overworked and exhausted. But although his injuries were healing and his strength returning, she was still there. He’d spot a flash of dark skin or a flutter of dark hair, and when he turned around he’d see no-one. Then she started showing up more often and for longer periods and he started wondering if he was going crazy. After a while he realised that it was more complicated than that – he was being haunted.~*~The first time he got a good look at her was at the shooting range. She was standing by the window, arms crossed over her chest and a scowl on her face. “What do you want?” he asked her.Her lips moved and one eyebrow lifted gracefully. He couldn’t hear a thing. Shrugging, he turned back to fire another shot, and when he looked back, she was gone. It didn’t surprise him – he was beginning to get used to it. He’d been catching glimpses of her from the corner of his eye for more than a week now.
She seemed to like the shooting range. He saw her there several times, often more than once a day. After she had appeared beside the target several times in a row, disturbing both his aim and his heart rate, he fired a shot at the ground between her feet. He had thought she’d disappear, but instead she threw up her arms and lowered herself into a fighting stance. The action had been so fast, so fluid and instinctive, that for a moment he wondered if she really was a ghost and not some other type of monster, made for fighting. Then
she disappeared, an angry look on her face.
The day after she returned, this time standing in front of the target. Looking through her to focus on the dark circles he fired.
She looked down at herself, and then turned to look at the target behind her.
He still couldn’t hear her, but interpreting her angry outburst was easy enough.You shot me!
After that incident she disappeared for several days, and he started to think he was rid of her for good. He should have known better than to think that shooting a ghost would be any help at all.
It was snowing. He was sitting inside, reading (or rather, pretending to read) the newspaper. Donna was in the kitchen and the kids were asleep. She was sitting in the chair next to him, looking out the window.“If Donna sees you she’ll either have a heart attack or jump with joy. I’m not sure which.”“…if I…a were…maybe…vampire…”The words drifted through the room in a lilting whisper, but it still startled him to hear her speak. “I can imagine many things that would be worse than a ghost,” he replied dryly, “not just weres or vampires.”“…hear me?”She seemed just as startled as he had been only moments before.
“Apparently.”Her smile transformed her whole appearance, and he realised that she was little more than a girl – fifteen, maybe sixteen years old.Not much older than Peter
thought as she suddenly disappeared again, still smiling.
“I am Kendra,” she told him the next time she turned up. She was occupying the car seat that had just moments ago been filled by an exited Becca on her way to school, and he wondered if she knew when he’d be alone or if it was just plain luck. Edward had never believed in luck.When he didn’t answer she huffed and went on.
“You are supposed to help me you know.”He still didn’t answer, listening to her voice, noting her unusual speech pattern and oddly pronounced words. “You are
,” she insisted. “Dey say you can help me.”That caught his attention and he stepped on the brake, causing the car to slide from side to side on the snow-covered road. When he returned his attention to the car seat, she was gone. He felt like cursing.
It was still snowing later that day. He was shovelling snow in the driveway, having claimed that he needed the exercise. What he really needed was to be alone, to give the little ghost a chance to talk to him again. Even so, he found that being out in the snow like this, not hunting anything, was more relaxing than he remembered.“Still, I’d rather be killing something,” he muttered.“Me too.”Looking up he noticed the hungry smile on her face and the eager tension in her body. She’d reacted to his words with an almost inhuman longing, as if the hunt and the kill was all she lived for. And maybe it was, he realised.
“You were never normal. Not even when you were alive.”She lifted an eyebrow at him.“You are
de right one. Just as dey said.”“Which brings us to my question. Who are ‘they’?”“‘Dey’ are de Powers,” she explained, gesturing towards the sky. For a moment he stared at her upraised, bare arms, noticing the snowflakes that were falling right through them. “God, Allah, de Goddess… whatever you believe in.”
“And what do ‘they’ – and you – need me
for?”“I should not be here. I am lost. And dere is someting I have to pass on. Someting important.” She paused, looking intently at him. “I need to go home, and only you can help me.”Despite her slightly arrogant pose he could see that she was nervous. Just a kid… but already a hunter. Already dead.
“Well,” he conceded. “It is
Christmas, after all.”
Even with all his experience it was difficult to believe. Not the fact that he was talking to a ghost (even though being haunted had so far been much more interesting then he had imagined), but the fact that it – she – needed his help. That some kind of god or some kind of power said he could help. It just wasn’t the kind of thing he did. Charity had never been one of his interests.
So what was he doing in St. Louis?
She stared at him suspiciously.
“What are you doing here?”
Usually he’d banter with her, tease her a little before getting to the point. This time he didn’t feel like delaying.
“I need your help.”
“If it’s another wannabe god, I’ll pass.”
His lips quirked, just a little. “No, nothing like that.”
Anita smiled back at him, mostly in relief, he imagined.
“Then what could be so important that you’ll risk owing me a favour?”
“Let’s just say it’s a Christmas gift – for a friend of mine.”
Behind Anita’s back, he could see Kendra smiling at him.
He couldn’t wait to introduce the two of them.