Yeah, I’m not actually following the events that occur right after Him, cause I’m not. And I’m sentimental. So there. Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I know this is fluff, but it’s grey outside, and Novembery, and the show makes me sad for Spike sometimes, so this is what I had to do.
“It's been a hard year for many of us. Yet, here we all are, together. I'm very happy to be with you all again on this silly American holiday.” Giles grinned when Buffy laughed. “Sharing our lives with our friends and our family is far stronger than anything that world out there can do to us. Our riches are at this table with us today, and they are here in spirit as well. To Joyce. To Tara. To all of us and our loved ones, near and far." Giles lifted his glass. Anya, Willow, Xander, Dawn, and Buffy lifted theirs.
“Isn’t it too early for Christmas movies?” Xander said, glancing at the television as he joined Buffy and Dawn in the living room.
“It’s never to early for It’s A Wonderful Life,” Dawn admonished, laying back on the sofa with her hands resting on her very full stomach.
“You guys want anything from the kitchen? There’s pie left.”
“No more pie. No more food,” Buffy moaned.
“It was excellent, as usual,” Xander said. Thanks, Buffy.”
“Always,” she smiled up at her friend.
Giles came in, sipping a glass of wine. “Buffy, I do believe you’ve outdone yourself. Dinner was excellent.”
“Aw, you’re only saying that because it’s true.”
Giles smiled at her and sat down, stretching his legs out. “Willow and Anya have clean-up duty under control, so I am going to finish my wine and dread going back to England this weekend.”
“I thought you loved going back to the mother country, Giles,” Dawn said.
“I do love England, and I am needed there, more so than here at this point, but I don’t like leaving all of you. And by taking Spike with me, I’m afraid your defenses will be down and I’m not…”
“Wait, what?” Dawn said, looking from Buffy to Giles. Buffy looked at stunned as she did.
“Surely Spike told you…” Giles said, staring at Buffy. She shook her head slowly.
“I haven’t seen him since you’ve been here,” Buffy said. “He hasn’t been patrolling, and I told him to come here today but he… he said no, for some reason.”
Giles frowned. “Oh. Well, he’s agreed to work with us there for the time being. We need to determine whether he’s involved with certain prophesies, and it’s almost impossible to do so without him there, working directly with the Council. And getting him away from the Hellmouth… considering what happened to him in the basement, it does make sense.”
“But you said things are happening everywhere, Giles. Not just here,” Buffy said, standing up abruptly. They all looked at her, confused.
“I just think we need as much strength in Sunnydale as possible,” Buffy offered, rather lamely.
“This sounds crazy, but I’m gonna miss our poker nights, “ Xander sighed. “Good times.”
“Now I feel kinda bad I told him he couldn’t come here for Thanksgiving,” Dawn grumbled.
“You what?” Buffy said, turning sharply toward her sister. “When did you do that? And why? What did he ever do to you except try to help you?”
Dawn swallowed. “I… I’m sorry.”
“Giles, when did you talk to him?” Buffy demanded. Giles looked up.
“Yesterday. It was quite illuminating, as a matter of fact. I think he’s looking forward to getting away.”
“Well, why wouldn’t he? We treated him like dirt when he first came back. All of us. Especially me.”
“What were we supposed to do? Throw a parade?” Dawn said, incredulous.
“No! I mean… I don’t know.” Buffy sank back down onto the sofa. When she spoke it was almost to herself. “I tried to tell myself getting a soul was no big deal. But we all know it is, and I’m tired of trying to act how all of you think I should act. I’m tired of pretending Spike’s the same old Spike because he isn’t. I’m tired of pretending…” Buffy’s voice trailed off.
Xander stood up and walked over to Buffy. He looked at her, then smiled. “Here.” He took a key off his key chain and handed it to her. “In case he won’t let you in. Go talk to him. Go tell him.”
Buffy stood up, his eyes bright with tears. “I don’t know what to say to him.”
Xander gave her a hug. “Tell him you’ll miss his chili.”
Buffy laughed. “Why? Why are you doing this?”
Xander shrugged. “I’m chock full of surprises. Besides, he has changed. I’ve had to live with the guy. Oh, sure, playing kick-the-Spike was fun for a while, but I’ve decided to take up a new hobby. It’s called letting you live your life.”
Buffy hugged Xander fiercely. She looked at Dawn, who was looking down at her hands. Then she looked at Giles, who only smiled at her.
“Food,” Buffy said suddenly. “He needs food. I wanted him to come here for Thanksgiving. I doubt he’s ever had a good Thanksgiving dinner.” Buffy ran into the kitchen, where Willow and Anya were discussing spells.
“Whatcha doin, Buffy?” Willow asked, watching her friend pull out a paper plate and some aluminum foil.
“Making a care package. For Spike.” Buffy looked at Willow and Anya. “Spike, alright! Spike! I’m not letting him go away. We need him here. I need him here. With me. Okay? How do you like that? Huh?” She stood posed, hands on hips, ready for battle.
Willow raised her eyebrows. “Uh, that’s nice, Buffy. Don’t forget to cut him a slice of pie.”
“Yes, the apple is better than the pumpkin,” Anya added. Willow glared at her.
“It is not! I made that pumpkin from scratch!”
“Willow, I saw the bakery box in the trash. You bought it, you know you did. And I think it was stale.”
“You guys don’t think it’s weird that I’m doing this?” Buffy asked.
“Oh, please,” Anya said. “I just wish you would tell him you’re in love with him already and get it over with.”
“You’re such a romantic, Anya,” Willow deadpanned. She looked at Buffy, who was looking at them with shock.
“Buffy, it’s kind of obvious, to everyone with, you know, eyes, that you are crazy about Spike.”
Willow and Anya nodded in unison.
“Well, why the hell didn’t anyone tell me?” Buffy demanded.
With one hand precariously holding the plate of leftovers, Buffy pounded on Xander’s door with the other.
“I know you’re in there!” Buffy shouted. “I have a key and I’m not afraid to use it!” She pounded some more.
Suddenly the door swung open. “It wasn’t locked,” Spike said, drying his hair with a towel.
“Oh.” Buffy said. “I knew that.” After staring at his naked torso for a second, she walked past him into the apartment.
“What’s that?” Spike answered, pointing at the bag she carried.
Buffy spun around and glared at him. “I can’t believe you’d even consider going to freaking England. You can’t go! They have… they have really lousy cable channels, and bad food, and the weather sucks, and they don’t even have Thanksgiving!” With that, Buffy shoved the bag at him. Spike raised his eyebrow quizzically at her, then peeked inside.
“You brought me food?”
“It’s Thanksgiving dinner, not just food. I’m a good cook. You’re not supposed to just sit alone on Thanksgiving and drink warm blood. That’s really untraditional!”
“I watched the Great Pumpkin,” Spike offered. Buffy almost hit him out of habit but managed to restrain herself.
“You want to sit on the sofa and take a few deep breaths or something?” Spike asked.
Buffy ignored him, pacing around the kitchen. “You chose to just sit by yourself here. I invited you into my home to be among friends on a very important American holiday! I don’t care what Dawn said. I pay the mortgage so I get the majority vote. She had no right to tell you not to come.”
“Don’t be mad at her.”
“I’m not. I’m mad at you, you stupid… vampire.”
“No need for name calling,” Spike said, watching her with steady amusement.
“You know, you should go to England. I don’t even think I like you anymore,” she said, crossing her arms.
“When did you like me, pet?” Spike asked quietly, serious now.
Buffy stared at him in shock. “What a stupid question!”
“Is it?” Spike stepped close to her, their faces inches apart. “When the hell did you like me? When I was trying to kill you? Stalk you? Rape you? When I kept trying to tear you away from your friends when you were depressed?”
“Oh, right. You were just my favorite person EVER last year. And now you’re trying to tell me that that’s still you? You’re still that same person that did all those things? You’re telling me having a soul changes nothing?” Buffy’s voice grew louder and angrier, her fists clenched to her sides.
“What did it change? What?” Spike yelled.
“Obviously nothing. You’re still a psycho, and you’re still annoying!”
“Buffy, please, for your sake, go away. It’s useless. Every time we’re together we end up fighting or…”
“Or what?” Buffy prompted when Spike cut himself off. He stared at her, then his eyes drifted to her lips. It pissed her off how much she wanted to touch him. She stepped even closer.
“No, no. I’m going. I’m going to England with Giles.” He pulled back suddenly. He walked away from her but she followed close behind.
“So everything we’ve been through these past months since you’ve been back has meant nothing to you? You’re just going to throw it all away?” she shouted. He turned suddenly and she almost slammed into him.
“Buffy, I’m kidding myself. Being here. Doesn’t help you. Doesn’t really help anyone. We’re nothing but bad for each other.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, bullshit!” She circled him and pushed her index finger into his chest. “We don’t know what we’re like together now. Now that it’s all different. And I am not going to let you leave until I find out. Not again. And I have feelings for you that are confusing and wonderful and you still have feelings for me.”
A long silence stretched between them. Their eyes met and held, until finally Spike looked away.
“I thought I did, but I don’t. I’m sorry.” Spike’s expression was passive.
Buffy pushed him up against the door, her hands on his chest. They stared at each other and Buffy couldn’t breathe, was almost too scared to move for fear he was telling her the truth. Slowly, she leaned in and rested her cheek on his chest, burying her head into the crook of his neck. Her arms wound around him slowly, hesitantly, and she closed her eyes, breathing in the scent of him. It felt like coming home.
“You’re a liar,” she whispered.
When Spike finally put his arms around her, she breathed a sigh of relief. Her heart was pounding and she realized she was shaking a little. Or, rather, a lot.
“Yes, I am,” he finally responded. His hands were in her hair, his lips pressed against the top of her head. “Yes, I am.”
“Mmm?” His fingers ran over her bare skin.
“I have something to tell you,” she whispered into his neck. He drew her closer to him.
“What’s that, love?”
“It’s something I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time.” She felt his body freeze up in anticipation.
“You don’t have to say it. Don’t say it.”
She kissed his shoulder. “You don’t even know what it is I’m going to say.”
“I’m afraid of what it is.”
“No need to be afraid. Not anymore.” She traced the outline of his features with her finger.
“Go on, then,” he sighed, but she heard the hope and anticipation in his voice. “Say it.”
God, she loved this man, she thought to herself.
“I just wanted to tell you how much… how much I love… Thanksgiving.”
And then she couldn’t help it. She started laughing.
“You are in deep, deep trouble,” he announced, rolling on top of her. She squealed with laughter and he stopped her with a kiss.