RATING: PG 13
DISCLAIMER: Only the kids are mind. BTW, when I named them, I did NOT know about Tara from the show ...
COUPLES: B/A, C/D, X/A, W/O
DISTRIBUTION: Tarina, Land of Denial, Isa, Sabreil, Gabby, Daala, my site. All others lmk.
SERIES: The third story in my futuristic holiday fluff series. Read the other two (A Perfect Holiday - Thanksgiving - and Christmas Chaos - Christmas/Hannukah - at http://members.dencity.com/Megg/holidayfluff.html). This one is St. Patrick's Day.
DEDICATION: To Samantha, just 'cause.
THANKS: To Tarina, for the great, quick beta job.
"Anya ... baby, wake up," Xander murmured, gently shaking his wife.
She opened her eyes slowly, yawning. "Mmm .. what?"
He brushed a strand of blond hair out of her eyes. "Do you know what day today is?"
She yawned again and hoisted herself into a sitting position. "March sixteenth?"
Xander frowned. "Actually, it's the seventeenth. St. Patrick's Day!"
Anya groaned, flopping back against the pillows. "You woke me up to tell me *that*?! We're not even Irish!"
Xander pulled off his shirt, revealing a stomach of hard muscle. "Doyle and Angel are."
"So?" Anya questioned. "I was up *all* night with Daniel, he's finally asleep, let me do the same!"
Xander reached for a button on her pajamas. "How about if I ... wake you up in style?"
A smile curved onto Anya's lips as Xander slowly unfastened the buttons. "Well ... when you put it *that* way ..."
"Oh, oh, OH ... Angel ... right there, right there," Buffy babbled breathlessly, holding Angel's mouth to her neck.
Angel grinned, biting down gently on her juglar. Though he was human now, years of being a vampire sometimes came in handy.
Like now. Buffy shrieked and writhed beneath him, a small bead of sweat trailing down her forehead.
Angel lifted his head from her neck, wincing when he realized a hickey was going to form. He gently kissed her lips. "Happy St. Patrick's Day."
"Is that today? Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, you're the Irish one." She leaned up to kiss him again, plunging her tongue into his mouth. "I love you."
"I love you," he whispered, holding her face in his hands. He kissed her closed eyelids. "More than anything."
She rolled over so she was on top of him, straddling him. "I -"
The door burst open.
"Ahhhhhh!" Lucia shrieked, covering her eyes. "Casey, make them stop!"
Casey shut her eyes and then opened them again. "God, don't you two have ANY control? You're supposed to be our *parents* for crying out loud!"
Buffy quickly rolled off her husband and smiled at her daughters, brushing her mussed hair out of her face with her fingers. "Better?"
"No!" Casey denied. "Your ... your ... c-clothes ... they're not even *clothes* ... they're ... we're going now ..." She grabbed her sister's hand and pulled her out of the room.
Buffy looked down at her outfit, wincing when she realized she was in very skimpy blue lingerie. She looked at Angel, and sighed, as he was only in black silk boxers. "They're going to have a story to tell at the parade today," she muttered, standing up and reaching for her robe.
"Nah," Angel shook his head, also grabbing a robe and tying the belt loosely around his waist. "They'll be too embarassed."
"I guess. We need to start locking the door." She stood on tip-toe to give him a quick kiss.
Angel ran his fingers through her hair affectionately. "We really do."
"What do you say we go downstairs, apologize, cook some breakfast, and get ready to go watch the parade?"
He took her hand in his. "It's a plan."
They hurried down the stairs, finding their daughters in kitchen.
"Luci, Case," Buffy began, "We're really sor - oh my gosh, CASEY!"
"Yes, Mom?" Casey said sweetly, as though she was unaware of the fact that her black hair was streaked in green.
"Your hair ... it's streaked green!"
"Oh. Yeah," she smiled, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
Buffy sighed. "I'd tell you not to dye your hair, but then I'd be a hypocrite."
Casey nodded in agreement, still smiling. "Are Tara and Kelley dancing in the parade?"
Buffy nodded, opening the cabinet and grabbing a box of cereal. "Yeah, they're really excited. Bundle up, it's cold out."
"When do we leave, Mommy?" Lucia asked.
"An hour, so hurry and get ready, you two."
"I am ready," Casey announced.
Buffy sighed, taking in her dark attire. "I should have known." She glanced at Angel, who shrugged. "Okay, Case ... whatever you want. We're going to Aunt Cordelia and Uncle Doyle's after the parade, don't forget, for a nice Irish meal."
Lucia wrinkled her nose. "Are we having potatoes again?"
"Christopher ... do you have the camera?" Willow asked her son, putting a bag of apples into her backpack.
"No ... why would I have it?" Christopher asked, trying to sound logical.
"Because I *gave* it to you?" Willow suggested snappily as she filled a thermos with hot chocolate. "I do not *believe* it is *this cold*," she muttered.
"I have it, Mom," Quinn announced, entering the room. "Sorry."
Willow ruffled her son's hair. "No apologies necessary. C'mon, into the car."
"Where's Daddy?" Kelley wanted to know, bouncing up and down in her leggings and sweatshirt.
"Oh, Baby, he can't come ... Gregory's got the flu, you know that, he has to stay and take care of him."
Kelley jutted out her lower lip. "But he's getting better! 'Sides, he'd just sleep at the parade, anyway."
Willow kissed the top of her daughter's head. "I know, Sweetie, but it's too cold. Unseasonably cold."
"Figures," Christopher muttered.
"Casey's going to be there," Willow enticed, smiling.
Christopher scowled. "Who says I like Casey?"
"That candid picture Aunt Buffy has does."
"I'm going to burn it," Christopher vowed.
"Stop being hostile," Willow ordered, then grinned again. "C'mon, now, into the car. We'll stop at McDonald's and get coffee."
"I don't like coffee!" Quinn protested.
"Too bad," Willow chuckled.
"Maybe I should stay in," Cordelia suggested. "You're Irish, anyways, I'll stay home and cook."
Doyle guffawed. "Cook? *You*?!"
Cordelia glared at him. "I can make a mean pie!"
"Define mean," Doyle drawled, slipping the black sweatshirt emblazoned with the dance-school logo over Tara's head. "There ya are, lass. All ready to go?"
"Ready, Daddy!" Tara agreed, smiling and displaying a row of pearly baby-teeth.
"That's my girl." He scooped her up, kissing her cheek. "We're going to get Mommy to come to the parade, aren't we, Tara?"
"Yeah!" Tara agreed happily, clapping her hands together. "Pweeeeeeeeze, Mommy?"
Cordelia shook her head, laughing. "Oh, all right. I was going to order from that little Irish restaurant and throw out the boxes, anyways."
"Next year, we'll cook our own Irish dinner. I'll teach you how."
"Just like you taught me how to make smoothies and ruined my white skirt?"
"Delia, love, you have so many white skirts that one less won't make a difference. Besides, that one was too short. I didn't like the looks the other man gave ya."
"Yeah, but I did!" Cordelia smirked, shaking her hips alluringly.
Doyle tugged her braid affectionately. "Too late now."
"You haven't seen the dragon dress I got at Macy's ..."
"Y'know, it's really cold," Casey announced when the finally reached the Los Angeles area where the St. Patrick's Day parade was being held.
Buffy snuggled up to Angel, wrapped not only in her jacket but his own as well, though he was wearing it too. "I know. But we have to support Kelley and Tara."
"Why? We'll see them later ... they're not even related!"
"I know you love them dearly," Buffy declared in a stern voice.
"Yeah, yeah," Casey agreed, hugging her arms around herself and shivering. "I'm not exactly into the whole Irish thing, you know."
"We know," Buffy agreed whole-heartedly, and smiled. "But, your hair is green, your father is Irish, and Christopher is going to be here."
Casey glared at her mother as Lucia giggled. "Stop bringing him up!"
"Why, Casey, he's just your friend," Buffy said innocently.
Casey made a face, and Lucia jumped up and down excitedly, pointing. "I see them! I see them!"
"Who do you see, Lucia?" Angel asked her.
"Tara! And Doyle and Aunt Cordelia!" Lucia nearly sprinted down the sidewalk -the only thing stopping her was the puffiness of her marshmallow coat.
Casey, Buffy, and Angel remained where they were, though all three did wave as the other family approached, Cordelia in stilleto heels.
"Do you know how *impossible* these things are to walk in? And my legs are *cold*," she whined.
"Mommy BAD," Tara announced, patting her mother's leg. "No pants!"
"I have on panty hose!" Cordelia defended herself to the four-year-old, and then shook her head, mumbling, "I don't believe I'm arguing with a toddler."
"I do," Doyle put in, wrapping his arm around his wife's shoulders. He turned to Tara, smiling down at her. "Do you see your dance teacher, love? What's her name, Bridget?"
"Bridget!" Tara agreed, jumping up and down. She stopped and frowned. "I don't see!"
Cordelia removed a flier from her pocket. "Black balloons."
"I love that song!" Buffy burst in, then bit her lip. "Uh, sorry."
"Thank you for that fact, Buffy," Cordelia chirped through clenched teeth. "What I *meant* was that we're supposed to *find* a car with black balloons!"
"It's waaaaay down the road," a voice cut in from behind them.
The entire group whirled around to see Xander, one hand laced with Anya's, the other pushing a stroller in which was a sleeping Daniel.
"Xander!" Buffy cried, removing herself from Angel's embrace - and coat - to launch herself at him, hugging him tightly. She kissed his cheek. "How are you?"
Xander tugged her ponytail fondly, a smile on his face. "Good. Very good. In fact, I'm not even cold." He shared a private smile with Anya that made Buffy giggle and Casey wince.
"So, are we going to head down to the car, then?" Anya questioned, swinging their joined arms.
"I guess so ..." Buffy looked from Angel to Cordelia. "Or should we wait for Willow and her family here? They might get lost."
"Oh we will not," a female voice giggled, hugging Xander from behind. "Ye of little faith!"
Xander turned around, his smile widening. "Will! You look great! How've you been? And where are Gregory and the Oz-meister?"
"Gregory's getting over the flu," Willow explained, keeping a straight face as she watched Casey and Christopher glance at each other while pretending they weren't.
"Yeah, so they won't come," Kelley elaborated bitterly.
"Kelley, Kelley, Kelley, whatever will we do with you?" Xander asked, kneeling down to her size. "Imagine if Gregory and your father came ... and Gregory made everyone else sick ... and the quarentined the whole city of Los Angeles ... and when the news reporters came to question, they said "It was Kelley Osbourne's fault!"
Kelley's mouth dropped open. "But they wouldn't!"
"But they would," Xander chuckled. "Now, you and Tara have a little ditty to dance to, so I suggest you go line up. It looks like they're passing out Mardi Gras beads."
"It's not Mardi Gras," Casey announced flatly.
"We know that, Casey," Christopher returned in an equally level voice.
Casey glared at him but said nothing. "It's noon already. I thought the parade was supposed to start at 11:30."
"Well it's damn good it didn't!" Xander exclaimed, looking at the chaotic mess of dancers, musicians, and dogs. "This looks like a three-ring circus!"
"What's that, Daddy?" Tara asked, looking up at her father.
"A carnival. With elephants."
Tara's eyes got wide. "REALLY?"
"Yes, really, now come on," Cordelia cut in, taking her daughter's hand and leading her as quickly as possible towards the rest of the dance clique. Both moved at about the same pace, what with Tara's small legs and Cordelia's shoes.
The parade didn't actually get under way until past one, by which point Kelley's cheeks were red and she was begging her mother to take her home.
"I'm sorry, Kel, but it's too late for that," Willow denied, though she felt sorry for her daughter who couldn't even put a coat over top so as not to break the uniform code.
Tara, on the other hand, was happily practicing her jig and reel steps, looking to her proud father for the approval she always received.
Once the parade started, it moved along quickly, and the dancers warmed up (though mostly from walking). Kelley and Tara put on their best-actress smiles, tossing the colorful beads to the spectators in between dance steps and curtsying during the applause.
"That was a pretty short parade considering how long we waited!" Buffy whispered to Angel, running her fingers through his short hair.
"No kidding, but don't mention that to the kids," Angel recommended, smiling down at her.
Buffy chortled. "Like I'd ever mention something they could use against me!"
"What are we using against you?" asked a confused Lucia, pulling away from her sister and friends to come over to her parents.
"Nothing at all, darling," Buffy assured her. "C'mon, you all ready to go?"
Lucia nodded quickly. "Ready! Time for food?" she asked hopefully.
"Time for food," Buffy confirmed. "Go get your sister. I want to congratulate Tara and Kelley and then we'll follow Aunt Cordy and Uncle Doyle home."
"Okay!" Lucia agreed cheerfully, running back to her sister, at the same time Tara and Kelley ran over to the group of adults.
"How'd I do?" Kelley asked, a proud look on her face.
"Magnificent," Willow cried, hugging her daughter tightly. "I'm so proud of you, Baby."
"I can't breathe," Kelley choked out, and her mother released her.
As the adults sang their praise to the two dancers, the remaining children skipped ... well, sidled was a more appropriate term ... off in search of their cars.
"Where'd they go?" Xander asked, frowning when he saw no children.
"Cars, I think." Cordelia shrugged. "These girls have to have their pictures taken with the rest of the school, don't they?"
Tara and Kelley each nodded vigerously, linking hands.
"I'm going to get my driver's license next month," Christopher boasted as he walked alongside Casey.
"Are you really," Casey drawled, not asking a question but repeating a statement. She ran a hand through her hair, distributing the location of the streaks more evenly.
"Yeah ... Dad might let me get a car, if I help pay," Christopher continued.
"He will not!" Quinn called from the back of the pack where he was talking quietly with Lucia.
Christopher ignored Quinn, intent on Casey. "You want to come for a ride with me sometime then?"
Casey smiled, one of the few genuine smiles she ever graced the human race with. "I'd like that."
Christopher grinned, tentatively taking her hand. "Good."
Buffy tossed her coat onto the couch before sliding onto Angel's lap and stretching her legs out on the cushions. "So, what are we eating, Cordelia?"
"Um ... well ... nothing yet."
Xander coughed. "NOTHING?"
"I was at the parade all day, IN the freezing cold, JUST like you," Cordelia snapped. "When did I have time to cook? Or get carry-out, for that matter?"
"Look, we'll just call up the Irish restaurant and get some delivery," Buffy intervened, picking up a cordless phone from the table. She quickly dialed in a number and waited as the phone rang. "Hi ... I'd like to place an order for ..." she quickly counted, "Thirteen." She paused. "But ... we need food! Yes, I know it's busy. Yes, I know it's St. Patrick's Day. But we need food! NO ... you don't understand ... we're HUNGRY ... we just saw a PARADE ... we want FOOD ... IRISH food ... yeah, same to you!" she snapped, slamming down the phone. She glanced at her friends and then mimicked, "I'm sorry, we're too busy on this Irish holiday, if your order was not placed in advanced you'll have to try elsewhere."
"Well I never!" Cordelia huffed.
"It's the luck o' the Irish," Doyle explained, and Angel nodded in agreement.
"Pizza?" Tara suggested.
"Yeah!" Kelley chimed in. "I don't like that fruity bread anyway."
"Hey, that's very good bread!" Doyle protested, though a smile was teasing at the corner of his mouth.
"But we can't have *pizza* on St Patrick's Day!" Cordelia cried in disbelief.
"We'll have beer with it," Doyle promised her, patting her on the back.
"Pizza and *beer*? This is a holiday, not the Superbowl!"
"Well I think we have some leftover cabbage and celery in the refrigerator ..." Doyle started to offer.
"Pizza Hut sounds delicious," Cordelia cut in. "I'll go pick it up. And some beer," she added at Doyle's look. "AND some soda," she continued off the look of the children. "Jeez, what am I, a servant?" she muttered good-naturedly.
"YES!" came the chorused reply.
Cordelia laughed and grabbed her handbag. "Happy St. Patrick's Day, you guys."
"Happy St. Patrick's Day," were the in-synch responses.
Back to Megg's fic