The Twelve Days Of Christmas - Day Two
written by Karen Jephson




She closed the door quietly behind her, breathing a sigh of relief. A successful journey from front entry to suite without incurring the wrath of 'Herr Benedict'. Giles would be proud of her. Her eyes lifted to the Christmas tree, its lights flickering on and off even during the day. None of them had wanted to turn the lights off since the previous night. They seemed to create a welcoming beacon, a homecoming for them all. The silence of the suite finally invaded her senses.

"Hey! Anybody home?" Her voice echoed in the stillness. "I'm back! After all, there's only so much window shopping you can do." Her voice dropped, the comment for herself only. "Buffy? You in there?'" Dawn moved toward her sister's bedroom, knocking on the door before entering. After Willow's one embarrassing encounter with a rather frisky Watcher and Slayer there was a general 'closed door' policy to everyone. No entering without announcing first.

Dawn walked further into the room. Both Buffy's and Giles' coats were missing, so they must have left together. She remembered that Willow was taking Kennedy to meet some of the coven, something about exchanging Solstice presents. Faith and Robin were meeting some demons to follow up a new bad menacing the streets of London, and Xander had wanted to do some shopping on his own. With any luck, she was on her own for at least an hour yet. Her eyes were drawn to the door on the other side of the room. Their suite was more like an apartment, with five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Buffy had seemed to know which was the master suite and commandeered it before anybody else had a chance. Personally, Dawn believed Giles had been there before and had warned Buffy. Either way, they'd gotten the prize. And ever since she'd seen what was on the other side of that door, Dawn had wanted it. Glancing guiltily around once more, she turned toward the living area. Just a few things from her room, and she'd be ready.

* * * * *

The water was finally the right temperature. As the tub filled she 'borrowed' one of her sister's bottles, sniffing appreciatively at the aroma from the opening. Pouring a small amount into the running water to let it start lathering, she rose and removed the terry robe she'd taken from the supply the hotel had given them. Once the water level was high enough, she turned off the taps and settled into the fragrant tub, bubbles surrounding her. Leaning across the other side, she pressed a button, then sighed as she rested back against the porcelain.

Jets pushed through the still water, massaging her skin where they hit her. The movement released the fragrance from the bubble bath more, filling the room with a gentle mixture of lavender and lemon. Dawn closed her eyes, allowing the bubbling water to relax her. She felt as though she was floating on a cloud as the froth rose around her, lifting her slightly. Her nose twitched as some hit it. Blowing slightly, she tried to push some of it away from her face. She screwed her face as she thought how it would affect her hair.

Dawn's eyes flew open and she pulled herself upright as realization hit. Instead of a bubble-topped bath, she was being surrounded by mountains of foam. Some had already fallen over the rim of the bath and onto the floor. She could barely see the taps and faucet. The device for the spa was completely hidden. Bracing her hands against the walls of the tub, she tried to lift herself out, only to slip back into the water.

Panicking slightly now, Dawn did the only thing she could. Break one of the rules and make a lot of noise. Her cries for help were unheeded, and she had a terrifying image of drowning in the white foam. Using both hands she began pushing some of the bubbles out of the bath, not unaware her sister would likely kill her for the mess she was making.

A noise from one of the other rooms caught the edge of her consciousness. "Help! Somebody, help me!"

Heavy footsteps ran through the apartment, only to stop at the doorway of the bathroom. "Dawn? What's happening?"

She sighed at the sound of Xander's voice. Looking down to make sure she was fully covered, she called out to him. "Xander, help! I'm stuck, and this stupid foam is."

The door swung open, Xander's silhouette filling the frame. There was a few moments' silence before he spoke. She may not have seen his lips twitching, but the amusement in his voice was evident. "What did you do? Empty the whole bottle in?"

"Very funny." If she didn't need his help, she'd tell him to go away. "I didn't use that much, but the jets must have frothed it more. I can't get to the pump to make it stop."

Xander stepped forward then leaned over to turn the spa off. Quiet once again filled the room. He brushed off some foam at the end of the tub, then sat down. "Buffy know you're requisitioning her bath and her bubbles?"

"No." She didn't hide her pout. "Think I'd be able to do it if she did? Nobody was here, so I decided to take advantage."

"Has it occurred to you that she and Giles might have made use of this?"

"Eiww!"

"Don't worry, we haven't...yet."

"Xander, why are you sitting there while my sister's taking a bath?"

Xander turned at the new voices, not the least bit concerned about being caught. Dawn slouched further into the water. "Hey Buff, Giles. Seems Dawn got attacked by the bubble making demon."

"Xander, one mustn't even kid about such things."

Dawn looked over at Giles. "You mean there really is a bubble making demon?"

Buffy walked further into the room. "No, but there is an irate sister who's waiting for an explanation. Especially about why you used half of the expensive present her guy just bought her."

"I'm a guy?"

"Well, boyfriend didn't seem right somehow."

"I think guy suits him." Xander stood, winking at the slayer.

"Um, guys," Dawn felt her skin warm with embarrassment, "you think we could have this conversation elsewhere?"

They all looked at her, as if remembering she was there. The men nodded and beat a hasty retreat. Buffy crossed her arms as the sisters did a silent battle of 'looks'. Dawn finally sighed, admitting defeat. "Can you at least help me out before you do the whole lecture thing?"

* * * * *

"So why'd you come back again? And what's with the threads?" Dawn looked across at Xander, admiration in her expression.

He'd changed from jeans and a thick pullover to a full business suit. The navy jacket and trousers was well cut, emphasizing his shape, and contrasting against the white shirt. The stripped two-tone gray tie added a balanced counterpoint to the whole look. He smiled at her appreciative look. "Giles and I have an appointment in an hour."

"And we'll be late if we don't leave soon." The older man exited from his room, a briefcase in his hands. His light gray suit was surprisingly contrasted with a dark shirt and tie. Noticing the others' looks, he explained. "Your sister took me shopping when she realized all my suits were destroyed. Didn't trust me by myself for some reason."

"Can't think why." Dawn's slight sarcasm confirmed the whole gang's opinion of Giles' clothing taste. "So is this Council business?"

The two men exchanged a look. Giles answered. "Not exactly."

Xander explained. "It's Anya's estate. They've finally accepted she died in the 'earthquake' that destroyed Sunnydale, so it's being settled."

"We're off to see the solicitor today. Seems we're the main beneficiaries." Giles turned to gather his coat.

"The whatsitor?"

Xander responded. "He means a lawyer."

"Xander, you are now in England. Please speak English, not bloody American. It's a solicitor."

The two young people exchanged a look. "Right, Giles. Cause you did so well at speaking American all those years."

"As much as I'd like to stand here exchanging quips, we'd best hurry if we want to get a taxi."

"Notice how he always changes the subject when he loses?"

"Never mind. You can out-quip him on the way to the law.... um, solicitor's." Dawn smiled in farewell as the other two left.

"Dawn! About this bathroom."

She sighed as she turned toward her sister's voice. "Coming."

* * * * *

Three hours later Dawn was again alone in the suite. Buffy had joined Faith and Robin to track down a lead on the monster, and Willow had called to say she and Kennedy were having dinner out. Her sister had left specific instructions on how she was to spend the day. Which involved lots and lots of reading, of the not good kind, and several pages of homework, which she was promised 'would be checked by the toughest of them all'. Which meant Giles. Sighing, Dawn picked up a pad and started to answer the questions on the quiz that made part of her home study assignment.

The door to the suite opened at that time, causing her to turn around. A rather wet and somber pair walked into the living area, shaking their damp coat. "Hey. How'd it go?"

Giles looked up. "Remarkable. Where's your sister?"

"She went out. She got a call from Faith. What's remarkable?"

Xander responded as he took the other man's coat. "Anya... She... was... remarkable. I knew she was good with money, but I didn't expect that."

Giles shook his head as he joined Dawn on the sofa. "A financial genius. I would never have thought it."

Dawn was confused. "But - but you guys knew how she was about business."

"Yeah." Xander shrugged. "But not that." he paused. "I think she was almost as rich as Giles."

"Not me, Xander." Giles stood, then walked to the bar. Picking up a decanter he gestured toward Xander. At the affirmative nod he poured two glasses. "The Council. And no, Anya wasn't as rich as that. But then, she hadn't used her centuries of existence to accumulate a vast, global wealth." He paused when struck by a thought. "Dear Lord... If she had..."

Xander shook his head. "She would have made Bill Gates look like the local computer repair man."

Dawn swallowed. "A-and she left it all to the two of you?"

Giles walked over to where Xander was sitting, handing him one of the glasses. The two men exchanged a glance. "Not quite. The bulk of it was willed to us, because we were both 'too busy fighting evil to worry about such mundane things like eating and retirement'." A shared smile. "And Buffy has a trust fund so she doesn't have to 'sling any more burgers'. There were also bequests for some of her demon friends. D'Hoffryn was there, by the way. I think he truly cared for her."

"Those blood-red tears kinda gave it away. I thought he'd break down when he found out what she left him."

"What was it?"

Giles looked uncomfortable. "Something not of this earth. I believe it was a private joke." He sat down next to Dawn. She hadn't realized until that moment how close they were both sitting to her. She felt a moment of unease. Giles cleared his throat. "There was one more, special bequest."

Dawn looked from one to the other. "Guys, you're kinda wigging me out a bit here."

Xander was removing something from his jacket pocket. Dawn then noticed that Giles had a letter in his hand. She hadn't noticed it before, so assumed he'd also been carrying it on him. He cleared his throat. "I have to read this aloud. The request stated with as large an audience as we could manage, but I believe that an audience of one is sufficient."

As he spoke, Dawn felt she could close her eyes and hear Anya state those same words.

'Dear Dawn

'Well, it's been over a year since I found out you were stealing from your family and friends. And even though we've all been busy, what with evil Willow and the First turning up and all, I've been watching you keep your promise. Buffy was very proud to tell me today that you've paid back all the stuff you've stolen. Of course, I didn't tell her that some of the stuff from The Magic Box was irreplaceable. I didn't think you'd want to be grounded for life. Besides, Giles told me not to. He still feels kind of guilty for abandoning us when he did.

'If you're reading this, I guess I'm dead. Not as surprised if you outlive me as I will be with the others, cause you fight less than me. Even though I don't like the idea of dying, I hope you didn't lose too many others. You need somebody to keep an eye on you.

'But I'm wandering. Like I sometimes do when I'm having sex with Xander. Don't tell him that though.'


Giles looked apologetically at Xander. The other man just waived his concern away. "I figured if she only had one orgasm a night, her mind wasn't on the task at hand."

'As I was saying, you've done good. I have noticed some of my clothes on your back. And a few of your tops looked a lot like Buffy's. But I kinda figured it's hard to keep a new wardrobe when all your pocket money is being used to repay your debt, and your sister has a dead end job that doesn't pay decent money.

'I also think that the best way to stop a kleptomaniac is to give them enough money so they don't have to steal anything again. I've organized for you to have these.'


Xander gave Dawn the envelope in his hand. Inside she found two gift certificates for exorbitant amounts of money. One was for Harrods, the other for the most fashionable teen store in London.

'I don't know where you'll be when you read this, so my lawyers have been instructed to buy them at the classiest places where you are. Paris would be nice, but as long as its not Las Vegas. Great place for making money and vengeance, but 'Street Walker Are Us' is not the best look for you.

'So have fun, spend, don't steal, and think of me.

'Anya

P.S. If you decided to cash them in and invest the money, I won't be upset. I've left a list of good investment advisers and some safe businesses that'll make money for you.'


The three of them paused, then looked up at each other. Three sets of lips twitched, before one by one, they began to giggle. "S-so, Dawn? Do you need the list?"

"Are you kidding? After two weeks of window shopping, I'm ready to do the real thing!"

One the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two Gift Certificates
And a Star On a Christmas Tree.


Proceed To Day Three