Buffy Summers, young, blonde, Slayer of Vampires, possessor of skimpy shirts, owner of short skirts, strode into Sunnydale High School. A woman with a mission, to seek out, to explore, to find that cold can of Pepsi and a candy bar and jump-start her brain. Slaying was hard work and sugar and caffeine were the fuel to stoke it.
"Hey Buffy," Cordelia called out. She left the crowd of fashion brigade girls she'd been chatting with and walked over to join Buffy.
"Hi Cordelia, what's up?" Buffy asked. Cordelia hadn't spoken to her much since the incident with Willow, Xander and large piece of metal doing an impromptu pierce job through the girl's large intestine. Some people got upset about the smallest things.
"Well, here," Cordelia shoved a small brightly colored bag towards the Slayer. "Merry Christmas. I got this months ago. No matter what else, I think you should have it."
"Thanks, I didn't get you anything though," Buffy smiled as she took the package. Maybe she and Cordelia could still be friends.
"That's all right, you couldn't afford anything I'd want anyway," Cordelia replied before she went over to talk to somebody much more popular than Buffy.
Buffy walked to her locker and spun the lock to open it. She threw in the book she was carrying and then opened the bag that Cordelia had given her. Reaching into it, her hand pulled out a red Nike sports bra. "Is this a hint?" Eyeing the garment with annoyance, she mumbled to herself, "Good thing I didn't get you anything. Besides, if anybody's going to get saggy it's going to be you."
"Hey Buffmeister," Xander appeared next to her, "what you got there?"
"Uh, nothing. What's up?" Buffy hastily shoved the bra to the back of her locker with the emergency stakes, holy water and tampons.
"Well, I know you're going to be doing the Mom thing tonight so I thought I'd give you this now," he handed her a small package crudely wrapped in the Sunday funnies.
"Thanks, and here's yours," she handed him a very small package which contained a Swiss Army knife.
"And thanks back at you," Xander shot her a grin, "I'll save it for the big day though. You can go ahead and open yours."
"Uh," Buffy hesitated, thinking about the over-the-shoulder never-move-your-boulder-holder that Cordelia had just given her. The Hellmouth only knew what Xander had picked out.
"Please," he whined rather pathetically, staring at her with puppy-dog eyes, "I really want to see you open it."
"Okay," Buffy ripped off the paper and pulled out a small necklace. Holding it up she stared at the pendant, a tear-shaped piece of glass with a miniature blue snowflake embedded in it. "Wow, Xander, it's gorgeous!"
Xander looked incredibly pleased with himself. Who knew that driving his Aunt Loretta to garage sales would have such dividends. Sure, most of the stuff smelled funny and the old ladies would knee you in the groin if you got in their way but you found the best stuff, cheap too. "I'm glad you like it. Here let me put it on for you," he said as he carefully draped the necklace around Buffyıs neck and clasped it.
* * *
"Hey, Will," Buffy called out to her best friend. "Look what Xander gave me. I can't believe he actually picked out something, well tasteful and kind of cool." She held up the pendant for Willow to look at.
"Yeah, he's done a majorly good job in the gift department this year." She peered closer at the blue snowflake. "That is too cool. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a spell involved or something."
"Let's hope for the or somethingı. What did he get you for Hanukkah?"
"A complete set of old Algol and Fortran 77 manuals, plus a HP 41C calculator with memory modules to play Lunar Lander," Willow gushed enthusiastically. Old technology fascinated her.
"Will, sometimes I worry about you," Buffy shook her head at her friend. Reaching in her bag she pulled out a package. "Which is why I got you this!"
"Oh, a present! Can I open it?"
"Yeah, but not here," Buffy said, thinking how embarrassed Willow would be pulling out black lacy lingerie in the middle of a school corridor. Sheıd agonized over getting something like that for her friend, as it wasnıt really the sort of thing one girl gave another, well, not unless they were going steady or something, but Willow wouldnıt get something like that for herself, and now with Oz and all
"Hey, earth to Buffy!" Buffy looked up to see Willow waving a package in front of her face.
"Uh, sorry. Brain fade." She took the package. "Thanks, Willow." She made a pretense of feeling the contents, trying to guess what it was.
"You can open it now," Willow said. "I was going to wait till Christmas, but I might not see you till after, and if youıre going out on patrol tonight you might want to use it."
Buffy stared at her friend in growing suspicion as she felt something in the package that might very well be underwire. "Will, is this some sort of under garment?"
The other girl turned bright red in embarrassment and started to stammer. "Well, uh, itıs a set. And itıs something you wouldnıt get yourself, well, I donıt think you would, but you *really* need it with all that, um, activity you get being the Slayer and all, and uh well, if your best friend canıt help you then what good is she? Uh, oh look, there's Oz!"
Buffy sighed as Willow made her escape. Looking around to ensure no prying eyes were close she ripped open the present to reveal a black Reebok sports bra with matching black panties. "At least she got me the set," grumbled the Slayer as she stuffed the offending garments in her satchel. She decided to head for the library and see if her Watcher had something more exciting for her. Knowing Giles heıd probably found some old musty book that he thought would be a perfect present, but at least she could count on him to stay well away from anything resembling underwear.
* * *
Giles was in the process of wrapping his Christmas gift to Buffy. He hated wrapping presents, invariably the sides never turned out even. This present was no exception, but aesthetics aside he was more worried about giving it to her. But somebody had to do something before permanent damage was done. He heard the library door open.
"Giles, you here?" The Slayer bounced into the room.
"Yes, Buffy," Giles replied as he put on the last piece of tape. "I was just finishing up."
"Here," Buffy handed Giles a long, flat box. It was beautifully wrapped they did it for free in the mall if you spent enough. "And youıd better wear it or Iıll be very hurt," she pretended to pout as she wondered if anyone could convince the Brit to wear a Scooby-Doo tie.
"Ah, likewise," Giles said as he handed her the package and watched his wrapping efforts get destroyed in under ten milliseconds.
Buffy opened the box and pulled out a cream mesh Champion sports bra. She stared at her Watcher for a minute. The man was slowing turning an alarming shade of crimson. "An explanation is in order," she said twirling the garment on her finger.
A look of immense pain passed over Giles' features. His hands shook for a second before he stared at the ground and said, "Gravity kills," before hurrying back into his office.
* * *
Buffy sat on her bed and stared morosely at her Christmas haul. The only cool present had come from Xander, of all people. He obviously didnıt think there was anything the matter with her current mode of, well, support. "Duh," she muttered to herself.
A knock on the front door distracted her. "Buffy, can you get that?" her Mom yelled from the kitchen.
"Got it, Mom," she yelled back, trotting down the stairs. Opening the door she came face to face with Faith. She stared at the other Slayer in puzzlement. "Whatıs up?"
"Faith! Nice to see you," Joyce appeared behind Buffy. "Come in. Merry Christmas," she ushered the girl into the dining room, muttering to Buffy, "I invited her to dinner."
"Oh." Buffy followed them in, feeling a little guilty. She hadnıt even thought to invite Faith over for dinner, even though she knew the girl was alone over the holidays. She resolved to be on her best behavior all evening, no matter what.
* * *
"Thanks for a great evening, you guys," Faith leant back and yawned. "Dinner was great, and that dessert! But I guess I better be heading out soon or I wonıt be able to get off this couch."
"Oh, thatıs all right, Faith. You can always stay here," Joyce offered. "Or do you girls have slaying to do tonight?" she asked worriedly, looking at Buffy.
Buffy shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. Sheıd arranged to meet Angel at midnight but didnıt want to let on. "I was planning to go out for a little while, just to be sure. Itıs been real quiet lately, so Faith can stay here if sheıs tired," she offered, trying to appear generous.
"Nah, Buff," said the other Slayer, "if you go, I go."
Buffyıs Mom nodded. "Iıd feel better if you went together. But before you do I want to give you both something." Bending down she picked out two identically wrapped parcels from under the Christmas tree, and passed one to each Slayer.
"Oh wow! I canıt believe you got me something! Thanks, Mrs Summers!" Faith ripped open her present in one go. "Great! I needed a new one. And you got the set! Awesome!" She held up the pink sports bra. "Hey, Buffy, we match!"
Buffy stared at the present in her lap, convinced there was a new demonic evil in Sunnydale that had everyone conspiring against her. "Gee, Mom, do I really need another bra? I have so many."
"You certainly do," agreed Joyce, "but none that are really practical for Slaying. I thought when you gave up cheerleading that those skimpy things with their little straps would be fine for everyday wear, but with all the running and jumping and flipping through the air you do as the Slayer, something had to be done. And as your mother I feel it is my responsibility. Youıre not fifteen anymore, Buffy."
Faith nodded in agreement. "Think what is was like for Slayers before they invented these things! Ouch! Of course, they never really lasted very long so it wasnıt like gravity had a chance to do much damage." She shrugged. "But now with two of us around weıll live forever, and I donıt wanna be thirty with saggy tits. God, old woman look awful with those things."
"I guess," muttered Buffy, trying to recall if sheıd ever actually seen Faith wearing anything resembling a bra, "but does it have to be pink?"
* * *
"I mean, I can take a hint as well as the next Slayer," Buffy complained loudly to Angel as they looked over the sleeping town of Sunnydale. "What am I going to do with four sports bras?"
Angel contemplated the centuries he had lived. Life was precious, no matter how angst ridden and guilt packed it was. Should he end it now before his atonement was complete? Should he risk all just to prevent some pain and sagging? He looked at Buffy, his soulmate, the love of his unlife. He looked at her chest in the thin shirt she wore. It was a fine thing he was doing. Taking a deep breath he handed her a package from the pocket of his coat. "Five."
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