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Title: Seasonal Stalker
Author: ozma914
characters: Xander, Faith, Dana, Tara, Buffybot, Kara
Rated: PG
Warnings: decoration death (!)
Disclaimer: All characters, except the OC slayer Kara, belong to Joss and co.
Summary: The gang discovers still another danger of dealing with a slightly deranged slayer. 890 words. (Note: This takes place in my "Four Friends" universe, in which two questionable magical spells, one intended to repair Dana's shattered mind, led to the resurrection of the Buffybot and the secret return of Tara to a more or less living body.)

Female shrieks and the sound of a struggle brought Xander and Faith running for the Watcher’s Headquarters day room. Xander froze in the doorway, shocked into silence by the sight before him.

Red was splattered across the entire lounge. It spread in an explosion-like pattern across the carpeting, clung to the walls, settled over the now fallen Christmas tree. Here and there were also bits of white, and on closer inspection Xander realized, to his horror, that the white appeared to be hair.

In the middle of the mess, still plugged into the wall, a small fan lay on its side, covered in dents and making sickly buzzing noises as its blades contacted the plastic housing.

“Whoa,” Xander finally managed to say.

In the middle of the room Dana struggled, unable to break the grips of the Buffybot on one side and the slayer Kara on the other. “He’s evil!” Dana screamed. “Evil!”

Looking around, Xander caught sight of sandal-clad feet and a green skirt with white snowflakes, sticking out from under the Christmas tree like a winter themed version of the Wicked Witch. How appropriate that comparison was became apparent when Faith brushed by him, rushing forward to move the tree and help Tara to her feet. The young witch's hair was a tangled mess, and she was covered in ribbons of red, but otherwise she appeared unharmed.

“What’s going on?” Xander demanded, as a bemused looking Faith brushed pieces of balloon-like material from Tara’s clothes. After a moment Faith stopped, giving Tara’s torso a puzzled look; that’s when Xander realized the front of the witch’s green sweater had been torn off, revealing a white camisole. He gulped and turned away.

“Evil!” Dana screamed. She arched her back, forcing Bottie and Kara to brace themselves.

“It’s not real, Dana,” Bottie assured her in a calming voice. Kara, her eyes wide, couldn’t seem to get any words out.

“This –“ Something fell from the ceiling, landing on Xander’s head. He grabbed at it with a barely stifled scream, and came up with what appeared to be a ball of cotton at the end of a small cone of red cloth. “Um …”

Someone was giggling. Looking around, Xander realized it was Faith, who smirked as she picked a small white cylinder from Tara’s hair. “Hey, Dana gave Tara the finger.”

Tara sent Faith dazed look. “I just walked in the door and she grabbed me by the sweater …”

“Why didn’t you just go all ghost on her?” Faith asked.

“It happened so fast ... guess I’ve been working too hard on interacting with the real world.”

“Sorry,” Dana murmured, sounding contrite but still on the edge of hysteria. “He was trying to feel you up.”

Everyone fell silent. Faith, eyebrows arched, looked at Tara, who defensively crossed her arms over her chest.

“Who?” Kara finally ventured.

“Him!” Dana pointed at the fan, just as it sparked and ground to a stop. “Santa Clause is a pervert!”

Another silence.

“He is?” Bottie asked, confusion plain in her voice.

“He’s a stalker!”

“A stalker?” Kara repeated.

Dana nodded vigorously. “He sees you when you’re sleeping … he knows when you’re awake … he knows when you’ve been bad or good – he’s everywhere! And he wants us to take presents from him!”

Another silence. Generally, Xander reflected, there were a lot of silences during conversations with Dana.

Faith grinned at Tara, whose mouth was gaping open. “You had him on your chest. Santa copped a feel!”

“Well …” Tara’s hands fluttered, until she caught Xander’s gaze and crossed her arms again. “It wasn’t the real Santa …”

“It wasn’t?” Dana asked, sounding flummoxed.

“No,” Xander told her, “and neither was the one by the door.”

“But he said ‘ho ho ho’ when I walked by. That’s not a nice word. It means ‘prostitute’. A prostitute is someone who –“

“We know!” Xander held a hand up. “We know. But he didn’t mean it that way. And he wasn’t a he, he was an it, and it wasn’t alive.”

“He was moving!”

“Yeah, that would be the air being blown up his skirt." Xander motioned to take in the bits of red and white rubber scattered around the room. “So, whose bright idea was it to decorate first, then surprise Dana?”

Very slowly, Bottie and Kara raised their hands.

“The inflatable Santa was on sale,” Kara explained.

Someone made a choking sound. Xander was able to track that to Faith, who had a hand cupped over her mouth.

Well, thought Xander, crisis over -- unless Andrew walked in the door with a pillow strapped to his belly. He flashed a concerned look toward the door. “Say, why don’t you guys take Dana to some non-decorated place and explain to her again the whole fantasy-reality thing?”

Nodding, Kara and Bottie took Dana by the hands and began leading her away. Their friend gave the broken fan a hard stare as they passed. “I’m not sure I killed him enough.”

Tara followed, arms still crossed. “Um, I’m going to change.”

Faith stopped laughing long enough to choke out, “Don’t put on the elf sweater!”

And Xander heard Kara explain, as they moved out of sight, “See, Santa’s not real – sorry for the fright.”

“There was a Saint Nicholas,” Bottie said, nice as she could.

Dana nodded thoughtfully. “Oh yes -- he was good.”


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hee, hee, hee.

Or possibly Ho, ho, ho.
Dec. 5th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Ho Ho Ho is fine, but you might want to make sure Dana's not within earshot. :-)
Dec. 5th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
That was so funny! Laugh-out-loud funny. And I find myself caught between wishing Anya was there and thinking it's probably good she's not, what with her stories about the dimension in which Santa Claus really does exist but he's not very nice.
Dec. 5th, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
I love it when I see the term "laugh out loud"!

Anya has only appeared once in my stories, and then as a spirit, as I sadly elected to leave her dead in my post-Chosen universe. (Of course, I brought Tara back ...) It's too bad, because I can imagine some great scenes between her and Dana, or perhaps between her and the Buffybot ...
Dec. 6th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
Oh dear. I see Dana hasn't quite grown out of that Santa Claus is something to be feared phase. You may want to keep her away from the circus, lives may be lost.
Dec. 6th, 2006 11:02 am (UTC)
Dana and the circus
Yes, and mimes. I doubt mimes would fare well if they passed her on the street.

We have the aforementioned inflatable Santa in my front yard, and I've got a plastic ax from an old Halloween costume ... I can't tell you how tempted I am to put the ax in his hand and wait to see if anyone notices.
Dec. 16th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
You are mean. Making us laugh at poor Dana's delusions.

I like it! I've been tempted to tear a Santa apart a time or two. They can be quite annoying at times. Especially those mechanical 'ho-ho-ho's. Even if you aren't confused about the meaning you can find yourself running around saying 'My ears! My ears!'

But then, I'm a scrooge.

I tried to get to this story at Fanfic.net but wasn't able to find it. Of course, I've been having problems with the net all morning. Wouldn't you know, I finally get some time to surf and I keep getting error messages.

And no. I refuse to believe I'm being punished for being a scrooge!

Dec. 17th, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)
Say it together, now: Bah --
I punched the life-sized, plastic Santa at the entrance to Wal-Mart. That's what he gets, for appearing before Thanksgiving, which should be illegal in America.

You probably already know Dana's victim is based on the Santa in front of my house, but -- blessedly -- mine doesn't make any noise other than the sound of the fan. Just the same, it's always tempting to go running up and tackle him when I'm getting home from work, especially after a bad shift. I talk to him, instead. Not nicely. :-)

There have been problems with ff.net. in fact, I posted the story twice; the first time, story alerts didn't go out and for some reason it refused to add the little prologue I put at the beginning. The second time everything worked, although I've only gotten one review so far, from Keith5X5. It's possible there are still problems on the site, and it's visible only to some people.

Could this be the work of the Grinch?
Dec. 17th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Re: Say it together, now: Bah --
It sounds very grinch-like to me. Of course, it also sounds like fanfic.net, so maybe they are in cahoots!
Dec. 17th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
-- humbug
I'm always hearing about people having trouble with ff.net, but this is the first time I've had any difficulty with the site at all. I guess it was my turn ....
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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