They were in Germany. Of course they were – Council assignments always sent them to the cold countries in the winter and the blazing hot ones in the summer. Spike was not amused. Nor was he amused to be woken up an hour after he'd fallen asleep by Xander.
“Are. You. Bloody. Joking.”
“Joking? Why would I be joking! Come on Spike, I can finally open it up! It's been making me insane for weeks, ever since we got it at the Christkindlmarkt!”
“It's a bit of cardboard. With doors.”
“It's an Advent Calendar, and it's finally December, and I can open it up and see the picture!”
“The picture. I'll tell you what, you let me go back to sleep, and I'll find you half-a-dozen pictures like the one that'll be behind that little flap. You do know it's going to be a reindeer, or a wrapped box, or somethin', right? Not porn?”
“Of course it's not going to be porn! Porn would be very traumatic for the Baby Jesus! I mean...even his parents didn't get busy!”
“Right. Of course. Bloody hell, go and get it, and we'll open it up.”
Xander hared off after the calendar that had been stuck on their fridge for the better part of November, and was back in the bed just slowly enough to have made his feet cold, a fact with which Spike became unhappily acquainted when Xander nestled them under his arse.
“Ah! Xander, bloody hell! What is the rule about socks?”
“...don't put the red ones in with our whites, because everything will turn pink, and “Big Bad” does not wear pink?”
“...what is the other rule about socks?”
“...put them on so my feet don't get cold, and don't warm them up on your ass if they do?”
“Yes. Now...open the bloody door, now that we've all suffered for it!”
Xander hunted excitedly around the page, looking for the door marked “1”. With a yelp of triumph, he found it and carefully pried it open.
“It's...meat. Is it meat? This one looks like a ham, but...what is this one?
“That's....sausages? Xander, did you secretly get a meat-lover's advent calendar? I know you like the pizza, but...”
The next morning brought no explanation as to the strange contents of the calendar.
“Alright then, let's see it. Maybe it'll be gravy.”
“I'm telling you, Spike, I didn't get a meat-lover's advent calendar”
Xander opened the door marked “2”.
“Oh. It's a...rat? Rats do not feel very festive, Spike”
“Rats are festive, they have those rats in the Nutcracker, don't they?”
“And if this were a rat in a wacky soldier's uniform, I might agree, but this is just...a rat.”
“Could be a mouse. “Not a creature was stirring,” and all.”
Day three. By now Xander was beginning to be concerned. He opened the door marked “3” with a definite sense of trepidation.
“Oh! Okay! It's a gingerbread house! Much better.” Spike took the calendar from him.
“If by “gingerbread house” you mean “ploy used by witches to eat children,” sure. See, there's the witch peeking around the edge of the house”
Xander was definitely getting nervous now.
“It's a...hmm. It's a...thingy? With a...different thingy?”
Spike leaned over.
“Oh, come on, it's obviously...a...girl? Face down...in...a laundry basket?”
They looked at each other in confusion. Spike looked again.
“Hang on. That's...a person being abducted. Xander, why does your advent calendar have a person being abducted in it?”
Xander had no answer for him, mainly because he was already on the phone to Willow.
“Hey, Wills, yeah, Happy Hanukkah. Got a question for you. How do you slay an advent calendar?” There was a pause, and then Spike heard Willow explode into laughter on the other end of the phone. “Wills...seriously, Willow, I think my advent calendar has bad juju. It's had pictures of meat of dubious origin, a rat, the witch from Hansel and Gretel, and now something that we can only determine to be a girl being kidnapped. It's wigging me out!” Xander paused. He listened for a while, and then, with a, “Thanks, Will!” he hung up.
“So? What did the Not-So-Wicked Witch of the West of Here say? Throw it in a fire? Sprinkle it with glitter?”
“She said that one was meant to be yours, and she doesn't know why Hans, the guy at the market, didn't give me the one with the chocolates behind each door, but that she's going to have some very strong words with him later on.”
Spike quickly attempted to smother the guilty look on his face. Xander, from long years of close companionship, was not fooled.
“Spike...did you take a chocolate calendar from that nice man's stall?”
“What? No, pet, why would I do that?”
“Is...is that where the chocolate that you had me lick off you two weeks ago came from?”
Spike smiled hopefully. “Only part of it! I kept the rest here in the bedside table, for deployment at a later date. How's about now? Merry Christmas?”
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