Christmas is a time for visitors and Agnes Pringle has her fair share in Sunnydale.
Agnes had many complaints about being a vampire – never seeing the sun, having to drink blood – she’d been allergic to liver as a child – and, of course, being forced to mix with people whom she would normally have crossed over the road to avoid.
There were advantages as well, of course. Seeing and hearing better, cold hands for making pastry, never growing any older – all were pluses in her eyes.
However, as she struggled to put the fairy on the top of her Christmas tree, she did wish she could have been brought back to life a foot taller! Would it have made a lot of difference in the great scheme of things? She had managed to decorate the lower branches quite easily, but the top branch was just out of reach unless she stood on a chair.
Agnes eyed the seats in the tea-room. It wasn’t that she was fat – goodness, she didn’t even think she could call herself plump! – but perhaps she was just a tiny bit heavy to stand on one of the rather frail chairs. Still, a Christmas tree was not properly dressed without its fairy, so she had no choice. Personally, she preferred a star, but she was never quite sure as to the various gods and deities the demon world of Sunnydale worshipped and it would not be good for business to alienate anyone.
She was about to haul herself upwards, wobbling violently as she did so, when she was grasped firmly round her waist and lifted that extra foot into the air.
Guessing that struggling would only make matters worse – Agnes had the nasty feeling that her skirt was rucked up way too high – she pushed the fairy down ontop of the tree and, gratefully, was lowered to the ground.
She turned round, expecting Spike and then squeaked. A tall, dark, extremely good-looking man was standing there, wrapped in a long black cloak, his eyes sparkling.
“Oh, thank you so much! How very kind. You’ve saved me from a nasty fall. I’m not actually open for business at the moment, but do let me make you a nice cup of tea. Or would you prefer coffee? And a slice of cake? The carrot is particularly nice today, very – moist.” She could tell immediately that the man was a vampire: he would probably appreciate the blood she’d added to the mixture.
The vampire sat down, resting his head on his hand in a theatrical fashion. “Tea – yes, do you have Oolong? That would be exquisite, with just a touch of lemon.”
“I have English Breakfast,” Agnes said firmly. “You are welcome to that without milk.”
The vampire sighed. “Thank you, dear lady. I am sure it will be most refreshing.” He raised his head and Agnes got the strong impression that the theatrical attitude was just that – theatrical. His eyes were far too intense and intelligent. “This is a welcome oasis in the midst of California.”
Agnes busied herself with her best cup and saucer. “Just passing through town?”
The vampire stared absentmindedly around the tea-rooms. “No, I am here because I heard that an old – protagonist – of mine had died. I thought I would pay my respects at her grave, remember the good old days, how we fought, how we laughed, how we – ”
“Bloody hell, you’re still the best liar this side of Hell!”
Agnes splashed hot water all over the carrot cake as Spike appeared up the basement steps. He stood, glaring down at the dark haired vamp.
Agnes squeaked again. “Drac – oh dear, do you mean.”
Spike sighed and flung himself down in a chair opposite the vampire. “Count Dracula, may I introduce Miss Agnes Pringle?”
The Count stood and taking Agnes’ hand, kissed it.
“Oh come off it, Drac. There’s no need for all the poncy attitude. What the hell are you doing in Sunnydale again?”
Agnes was still staring at the Prince of Darkness, her hand tingling where his lips had touched it. “He said he was visiting a grave.”
“I heard of Miss Summers unfortunate demise. I thought it only seemly, seeing as I was in the vicinity, to pay my respects.”
“Rot!” Spike glared at him. “You heard Buffy was dead and decided to see if the town was wide open or not?”
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