White lights twinkled around the windows, garland and ribbon were wrapped around the staircase banister, holiday wreaths pinned to the doors, and the noise level continued to rise in the Summer’s household. Loud holiday music blared through the speakers of the stereo, accompanied by the talkative potential slayers and scoobies gathered around the decorated tree in the living room.
It was too much holiday cheer for Spike, though. No real reason for him to be celebrating this year that he knew of. Heading out of the room, he bumped into Willow carrying a plate of cookies through the arch way between the kitchen and dining room.
“Oh! Sorry, Spike.”
“It’s all right. Tis the season and all that right?”
“That’s what they say.” Willow grinned.
About to pass each other, Dawn stopped them, taking the plate from Willow.
“Not so fast guys. You’ll be breaking like one of the oldest traditions if you don’t lay one on each other,” the teen said with a grin as she glanced above them to a piece of mistletoe.
They both looked up at the piece of plant hanging above them before bringing their gaze back to one another.
“How ‘bout it, Red?” He smiled. “Give an old bloke a little kiss, for tradition’s sake?”
Her face flushed as she nodded, reminding him much of the inhibited girl he had kidnapped a few years ago. So much has changed since then, though. She grew up, and as much as he hated to admit it, so had he. He fell in love with a vampire slayer, following in his sire’s footsteps all the way. Even got himself a soul for her when he realized that he wouldn’t be good enough without one. Was he yet good enough? He kept asking himself that same question, day after day.
Willow’s soft voice broke him out of his thoughts.
“I’m not one for breaking traditions,” she said with a warm smile.
His smile broadened as she leaned up, placing her palms flat against his chest. Cupping her cheek, he met her half way. Her eyes fluttered shut when their lips met, lightly at first, an innocent brush of skin that did more for him than an unemotional tryst with anyone else. His fingers found their way into her hair as their lips moved together in a slow, passionate dance.
Just as he was about to pull her closer, she pulled away from the kiss and looked up at him, locking eyes. He couldn’t find one ounce of disappointment in those emerald orbs, only conflicting emotions, which he was sure he was mirroring.
With a small smile, she gradually stepped away from him, lowering her hands. “Merry Christmas, Spike.”
“Merry Christmas, Willow,” he replied softly, watching as she raised her fingertips to her lips while she walked into the other room where the others were opening presents.
Passing a hand through his hair, he forced out a sigh as he turned around to go to his room when he saw Buffy standing in the kitchen, staring at him. She looked hurt, other than the bruises from the other night. Even though she was trying to hold it in, the water glistening in her eyes told him that much.
“I see you and Willow are making nice for the holidays.”
“We are. I take it you saw the kiss,” he said, walking toward her.
She nodded, “Yeah. I saw. When were you going to tell me?”
Raising a brow, confused, he didn’t understand. Tell her what? He hadn’t done anything wrong in his mind. Sure, he just shared one of the most incredible lip-lock sessions of his un-life with her best friend but she had told him time and again that nothing would come of them being together.
“That you had feelings for Willow.” Her statement answered his unasked question. Was he really that readable?
“News to me, too,” he said honestly. He never imagined sharing something like that with the redhead. Except, maybe a good shag a few times in the past. Willow was smart though. She was also understanding, caring, always thinking of others, and not to mention she made him feel like he wasn’t alone in his darkness.
Lost in his thoughts, he made his way down to the basement, leaving Buffy with her own thoughts. He didn’t feel that he owed her an apology. If Buffy wanted to be with him, she hadn’t said it. Though, he had to admit she had been nice to him lately.
Sighing, he sat down on his tattered cot and shrugged off his duster, laying it out on the mattress. Leaning against the wall, he thought back to all the times Willow helped him out when he was soulless. When he threatened her and made her fear him, sure, she’d helped him then, yet she still was kind enough to not turn against him afterward. She tried to cheer him up when he was chipped and couldn’t perform in the dorm room, and the year before that, she even attempted to comfort him when Dru left him, even though she was scared out of her wits with thoughts of what he might do to her. Then there was that whole wanting to stake himself fiasco. Willow was the only one who treated him the same through out the years. Treated him as if he mattered.
Running a hand over his face, he wondered why he had never seen it before. Seen her before.
He wasn’t sure exactly, how long he was down there before he heard the door open, softly, just after he lit a cigarette. The soft scent that was purely Willow wafted to his nose. He sat up from off the wall and raised a brow in curiosity at what she wanted.
She had a package in her hands as she came down the steps. It was a small rectangle box, wrapped in, ironically enough, mistletoe decorated paper.
“Those are bad for you, you know,” she said as she came off the last step and walked towards him.
“Not really worried ‘bout that, pet.” Stuffing out the barely smoked fag, he nodded at the thing she was holding. “What’s that?”
“You didn’t come get your gift.” Taking a seat beside him on the cot, she handed him the present and smiled.
Her smiles must be contagious because he found himself smiling back at her. He couldn’t figure out who felt like he deserved a gift because he sure as hell didn’t feel like he did. Hesitant at first, he began to unwrap it. The paper dropped to the floor as he opened it and looked at the contents inside with an anxious Willow worrying her bottom lip beside him.
He reached in and pulled out a leather bound journal with his name etched on the cover.
Tracing his finger tips over the letters, he felt her move closer to him.
“Open it,” she said softly, her voice slightly above a whisper. Without even glancing her way, he did as he was told, opening to the first page, then the next and the next. Inside were his old poems. Writings he thought were lost over a hundred years ago. Even without his soul he remembered some of them, but as the years went by most of them had been forgotten.
He looked over at her and knew she was the one who did it and her alone. Used her magick and heart to give him a gift that he thought was long gone.
“Let’s just say, a little angel gave me a clue.”
“Angel helped you with this?” he asked, closing the book. It didn’t make it any less special. It actually touched him that she went so far as to ask Angel during all that was going on, what he would like as a present.
Willow nodded, “Yeah, I was at a loss… I mean, what do you get a vampire that has everything?”
Spike chuckled lightly, “I don’t ‘ave everything. Far from it actually.”
“This have anything to do with you and Buffy?” Was that disappointment he heard in her voice?
“I get that. I do. Had my share of fatal attractions.” That he had to give to her. She did have quite the track record like he had. “I miss her.”
That came out of no where but he knew who she was talking about.
“I know, pet.” He saw her smile start to fade and he needed to rectify that immediately. He turned his body so he faced her, setting the journal on the bed beside them. “Hey now, none of that,” he said, brushing her hair behind her ear. “Thanks for the gift. I didn’t get anyone anything…” And now he was starting to feel bad, here she went through all this trouble and he didn’t do anything for anyone.
“T-that’s ok. I didn’t give it to you to get something in return, Spike. I just… it’s Christmas and well, you’re just as much part of the group as the rest of us.”
He smiled again at that and couldn’t help but place another soft kiss upon her delicate lips. Pulling away, he rested his forehead against hers gently.
“I ‘ave a few things I’d like to discuss with you after this fight with the First is over.” He felt her nod and lightly kissed the tip of her nose before she got up and moved up the stairs. He watched her figure disappear, until he heard the click of the door. Maybe he did have a reason to celebrate after all.
“Happy Hanukkah, Red.”