"What are you getting Spike for Christmas?" Willow was curled up in one corner of the sofa, Buffy in the other. Both were sipping on egg nog and half watching 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.'
"What do you get the vamp who has everything?" Buffy smiled. She looked down at the nutmeg floating around in her glass. "I really want to get him something perfect," she said softly. She looked up at Willow. "After everything he's been through. After everything we've been through...and this is our first Christmas together. Really together, you know?"
Willow nodded sympathetically. "Well, I happen to know that he already thinks he has everything. You don't need to get him some big, fancy gift," she smiled.
"He told you this, did he?"
"Well, yeah. But it sort of falls in the obvious category, don't you think?"
Buffy shook her head. "I know. But I still want to wow him. I want him to realize how much he means to me."
"You don't think he knows?"
She set her glass down on the table. "No, not really. He knows I love him. But somewhere inside him, he still has this nagging little doubt, I think." She sighed. "I did think of this one thing. But it might be a bad idea. Bring up bad memories. And it involves someone else who might not be that cooperative."
Willow sat forward on the sofa. "What is it? Tell me!"
Buffy smiled. "Well...can you keep a secret?"
Spike padded down the stairs in bare feet, rubbing his head sleepily. He stifled a yawn and sat down on a step, just out of sight, when he heard her on the phone.
He tried to stamp down the feelings of rage and jealousy that were rising to the surface. Don't panic, Spike. Maybe she's just calling to wish him a Merry Christmas or something. He listened to their mundane small talk and wished she'd get to the point, already.
"I'm fine. And you? How is Cordelia? And Wesley? Good, good. Everyone's fine here, too. Well, yes, I did call for something specific. I have a favor to ask you, actually."
A favor? What kind of favor? Something only Angel could do for her? Why wasn't she asking him? Didn't she know he'd do anything for her?
"It's about...the Gem of Amarra. I know I gave it to you. But I wondered if I could have it back. Or at least borrow it for awhile."
The Gem of Amarra. He cringed, thinking of the way he had acted towards her the one and only time he'd had that ring on his finger. The things he'd said to her. What a wanker he'd been.
"Well yes, of course it's for Spike. I want to give it to him as a gift. For Christmas."
Oh. My. God.
"Look, Angel, I know you're not happy about me and Spike being together, but we are, and you're just going to have to...you what?"
From the tone of her voice, it was something bad. He wondered what the big poof had done now.
"What do you mean, you destroyed it?!"
"Wrong hands, right. I...I understand."
She sounded so disappointed. Poor baby.
"What did you say?"
Oops, now the poof had pissed the slayer off.
"I suggest you stop making comments about my personal life unless you know what the bloody hell you're talking about!"
"I don't know why I'm bothering to explain this to you, but no, I do not wish he was a nice, normal, human guy. Tried that, didn't work out so well. I do not need him to take me on midday picnics in the park. As a matter of fact, we've had some incredible picnics in the moonlight. Would you like to hear about them? No? Didn't think so."
God, he loved this girl.
"I wanted to give it to him because he misses the sun. He told me that that's the only thing he wishes he could do that he can't, is feel the sun. And I wanted to give that to him, alright? But now that's impossible, so...Merry Christmas, Angel."
He heard her slam down the phone.
"Poofter!" she said. He couldn't help but laugh. "Hey? Spike? Where are you? Were you eavesdropping?"
He stood and walked the rest of the way down the stairs.
"Caught me, Slayer," he said, holding out his hands. "I heard you talking to Peaches, and I just couldn't resist. Sorry."
She looked momentarily angry, then her face crumpled in defeat and she put her head in her hands. He rushed to her side and took her in his arms.
"Now I don't have anything to give you for Christmas!" she sobbed into his chest.
He stroked her hair and then kissed her tears away, lifting her chin to look into her eyes.
"Buffy. My love. Don't you realize? You just gave me the perfect gift."