Rating: FRT/PG-13
Chapter: 1 of 1
Time Period: Mid Season 6
Pairing: Spike/Xander, mentions of past Xander/Anya and slightly current Buffy/Spike
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I just play.
Summary: Xander's crushing on someone, but doesn't think he's got a chance. Maybe the perfect Valentine's gift will prove just what he wants to say? If he can think of one in time...



The Perfect Gift


by
Authoress Nebula



“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Dawn yelled as she ran into the shop.

“It’s not Valentine’s yet,” Buffy grumbled. “Stop sounding so damn cheerful.”

Dawn rolled her eyes and plopped down next to Willow at the table. Buffy rolled her eyes and picked up another book. “Sorry, Miss Grumpy, if you don’t have a Valentine for the holiday, but I do,” Dawn sing-songed.

Willow grinned. “You gonna share his name? Or her name, if that’s what it comes down to?”

“His name, and no, not yet,” Dawn said, glaring at Buffy. “I don’t want her to head out and try to slay him.”

“Would I do that?” Buffy asked sweetly.

Dawn’s glare deepened, and Tara chuckled from where she was sitting next to Willow. “I think it’s sweet that you have someone to share Valentine’s with,” she said softly. “It’s always good to be able to spend it with someone you like…or love,” she added, glancing over at Willow, whose grin widened even further.

“What about you, Xan?” Dawn asked, turning around to glance at Xander, who was sitting on the bottom of the stairs up to the loft. “What’s your plans for the holiday?” Xander shrugged. “You okay?” she asked a little softer.

Xander glanced up and glared at all four women, who suddenly had other places to look besides him. “I’m fine. I told you guys yesterday that I was fine. I told you the day before yesterday that I was fine. The day before that, I was fine. So Anya and I separated. It was a mutual agreement. You know that. So stop staring at me.”

“We’re not staring,” Willow said, her eyes moving from where they’d once again landed on him to gaze up at the ceiling. Xander rolled his eyes.

The door flew open, and Spike hurried in, stomping on the burning blanket that had covered him. “’Ello, all,” he said, closing the door with a swift kick of his foot.

Various greetings were tossed out to him, and Buffy gave a little smile as she glanced at him. “We were discussing Valentine plans,” she asked. “What are yours?”

Spike blinked, raising his head to take them all in. “Um, probably sittin’ in my crypt watchin’ somethin’. Or slayin’ somethin’. Wouldn’t mind tryin’ to find a new handle for my axe; the other one snapped last night. Again,” he muttered. “It’s gettin’ bloody annoyin’.”

“So…no plans to go out, find a young girl and seduce her for the holiday?” Buffy asked him.

The two of them shared a grin, and Xander slumped over even further in his perch on the stairs. Unfortunately, Dawn chose that moment to glance at him, sighing heavily at what she saw. “You are not fine, Xander. You’re still upset about Anya, whether you think you are or not. I haven’t seen you smile in days!” Her voice softened, a concerned gaze aimed at him. “I miss my Xander-shaped friend,” she said. “Know where he is?”

Xander sighed, then gazed up at her. He blinked when he realized that everyone was staring at him now, and quickly stood. “No,” Xander said shortly, his face flaming as he headed for the door. “I really don’t know what the hell happened to him.”

He quickly stepped past Spike, then all but ran through the door and out into the fresh air, where people wouldn’t be staring at him.

Where Spike wouldn’t be staring at him.

He began walking aimlessly, getting even more miserable with each step. He’d seen the look on Buffy’s face when Spike had come in. She’d been happy to see him. And Spike had obviously been happy to see her. Dawn said they’d been sort of seeing each other for awhile, and Xander had been surprised when Tara had backed her up, saying their ‘secret relationship’, if they could call it that, had started a few months back.

Lovely. Just lovely.

When he and Anya had split, they’d both wanted other people, other things. Anya had wanted to see the world from a human perspective, and Xander had wanted a demony companion. When Anya had figured out who it was, she’d given him a sad look and a tiny ‘good luck’. She must’ve known about Spike and Buffy, too.

It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t like he wanted to lov…like the stupid vampire. He just did. The way his coat billowed out around him as he strode down the streets, the way he effortlessly staked vampires, the way his t-shirt clung to his chest, the way he smiled at Willow and treated Dawn like his own little sister, the way he laughed, the look in his eyes when a demon managed to get through to one of them, the way he managed to rip said demon apart…

All right, he didn’t just like the stupid vampire. He was in love, big hearts with their names in the middle, whatever. It wasn’t like Spike was interested in him in the slightest. And that just sucked.

He sighed, hanging his head and staring forlornly at the ground. It just wasn’t fair, that was all. He wanted Spike all to himself, but all he was to Spike was a major annoyance and someone in the way of the person the vampire loved and wanted: Buffy.

Still, it wasn’t like their relationship was declared or anything. It was still all a ‘secret’ that everyone just happened to know. They were probably with each other right now, supposed to be sparring in the back room and instead kissing, touching, going at it on the mats…

Xander growled softly and started moving again. He hated this. It wasn’t as if Buffy had put a huge claim on Spike. She hadn’t even declared their relationship, which meant that maybe things were not so perfect, right? Right. One of them had to be uncomfortable with it, or they would’ve told everyone about their couple status ages ago.

And Buffy had acted like she didn’t have someone to spend Valentine’s Day with when Dawn had come bursting in. Maybe they weren’t together anymore.

Then why had they smiled at each other?

He kicked at a few stones as he walked by. He should be able to have a chance at Spike himself, dammit! Buffy didn’t have her name on Spike.

He paused, slowly letting that thought through his mind. Buffy didn’t have her name on Spike. No mention of a relationship, nothing. Maybe he did have a chance, after all.

Which meant that Spike was really…well…open to anyone. Anyone had a chance with Spike.

Which meant that Xander could at least tell him how he felt. Spike was never going to guess on his own in a million years.

With renewed energy and conviction Xander headed for home.


~*~*~*~*~


All throughout the week Xander tried to think of something to give Spike to prove just how much he really cared. Little heart candies? Not gonna work. Chocolate heart? Nope. Real heart? Um…probably, but eww. Xander wasn’t going there.

Dawn mentioned something the next day about her getting Spike a little bar of chocolate and shaping it into a railroad spike. Way better idea then anything Xander could think of. Something like that would take time, would show the person being gifted it that they were seriously thought of.

Why couldn’t he come up with anything like that?

He sighed, absently whittling the long wood spear in his hand. Buffy was in need of a new one to practice with, and it didn't take very long to sand down. The wood was decent wood; it would hold under a lot of attacks, which was what Buffy needed.

Xander frowned, pushing down on the wood a little harder than he’d intended. He still had no idea of what to get Spike, of how to show him that he really cared. That he thought the vampire had some good points and a sharp mind. That he had a sexy smirk and a sweet smile. That he had…

Xander yelped when the wood snapped in two. He glared at the tiny broken off piece, then sighed and tossed it away. The remaining wood was too short for a spear now; it’d be better off as a…

His eyes widened. A handle. Didn’t Spike say he needed a new handle for his axe? It didn’t scream ‘I love you’, but it would be something useful. Something he could give along with his gift.

Whatever the gift ended up being.

He began carving again, this time with a new purpose in mind.


~*~*~*~*~


Valentine’s Day finally rolled around. The gang was gathered in the Magic Box, laughing and hyped on holiday sugar. Spike hadn’t arrived yet, but Xander was still in a good mood: the girls had finally stopped asking him if he was okay. That in itself made the day great.

Leaning against the chair, covered by his coat, was the handle for Spike’s axe. He still hadn’t figured out what to get the vampire, so he’d settled for a small box of chocolates. It was stupid, and it was corny, but Spike might appreciate it: they were Cadbury’s, and apparently were Spike’s favorite kind. He’d heard Giles and Spike commiserating over the ‘horrible fake chocolate’ that the Americans had. He’d probably appreciate some stuff from home.

The door flew open, and Spike bounded in on fire. Again. “Soddin’ sun,” he muttered.

“Care for us to turn it off?” Xander teased.

Spike ignored him, and Xander’s smile faded. Of course. Xander was just being an annoyance.

Again.

Spike glanced up, and he smiled slightly as he caught sight of Buffy. Xander sighed and backed away from Buffy. He didn’t want to even have a hope that Spike could be looking at him. That just led to embarrassment.

Of course, what he was going to do today was going to lead to that, too. But that kind he could handle.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Dawn greeted him.

Spike grinned at her. “Happy V-Day to you too, Nibblet. Find any cute guys yet?”

“Plenty, but there's only one worth my time,” Dawn said.

Spike’s grin broadened. “Atta girl,” he praised. “Now, what the hell are the rest of you doin’?”

“Just having some Valentine’s-y fun,” Willow said, pulling something out from her bag. A plate of cookies emerged, and Xander could smell the chocolate from here. “Cookies for all,” she said cheerfully.

Everyone took one, and Xander wanted so badly to reach in at the same time that Spike did. To just have their fingers brush for an instant. Of course, what would follow after was sure to be recoiling on Spike’s part, and it just wasn’t worth it.

He snagged a cookie last, munching thoughtfully as Spike began chatting with Tara. A hand covered his, and Xander blinked, glancing up at a worried Dawn. “You’re getting quiet again,” she said softly. “You sure you’re okay?”

Xander nodded and gave a tiny smile. “I’m fine. I promise. I’ll have that sugar high going any minute now.”

Dawn gave a smile of her own, then turned to Spike. “I have something else for you,” she said, grinning and pulling out the chocolate spike from behind her back. “Ta-da! I carved it myself.”

It didn’t look like a spike; not really. Railroad spikes didn’t bend that much, and weren’t thinner towards the top. The chocolate looked a little melted, too.

Xander knew that Spike wouldn’t care, though. And he was right: Spike accepted the gift reverently, and looking genuinely touched. “Thanks Bit,” he said softly, smiling as he looking at the chocolate in his hands. Dawn bounced, pleased, and turned back for another cookie.

Buffy stood suddenly, heading for the back room. “If you’re interested in sparring, I’ll be back here,” she said, giving Spike a look before closing the training room door behind her. Spike’s eyes widened slightly, and Xander knew just what Buffy’s Valentine gift would be.

Exactly what Spike wanted.

Suddenly Xander wanted to be anywhere but at the shop. Away from the girls, away from the laughing and the sugar, away from Spike. He stood, grabbing his coat, and the wood handle clattered to the ground.

“What’s that?” Willow asked, peering over the table for a better look.

Xander sighed and bent down, snagging the handle and turning back to Spike. He wasn’t going to give Spike the chocolates. Not when he knew what Spike really wanted; still, the handle he could give. He’d carved it up beautifully, smoothed it to perfection, and had even gotten bored and had carved Spike’s name into it. It hadn’t been hard to do.

“It's just for the axe,” he said, aiming for casual and failing miserably. He handed the wood to Spike, then quickly stepped aside and headed for the door as fast as he could. He didn’t want to see the look on Spike’s face.

He only made it a little ways before he ducked into a nearby alley. The buildings offered him slight darkness and shade, and he slumped against the wall, feeling tears of frustration rising. He was an idiot. To think that he had a chance with Spike. Like a little box of chocolates was going to tell Spike that he cared.

Spike wouldn’t even notice: not when his real ‘sweet surprise’ would be waiting for him in the back room. She’d probably gotten something special on for him. Beautiful, golden Buffy who was a woman

Xander let himself sink to the ground, staring miserably at the concrete beneath him. It just…just wasn’t fair. Not when he wanted Spike so much. Needed him.

Loved him.

“Xander?”

Xander blinked, glancing up at the mouth of the alley. Spike tossed down the blanket, completely shaded by the buildings now. “Wondered where you’d taken off to,” he said, walking forward.

Xander frowned slightly. “Isn’t Buffy waiting for you in the training room? Probably got your ‘Valentine’ ready and waiting,” he muttered.

To his surprise, Spike cringed. “Was hopin’ you didn’t know about that,” he said softly.

“Why would I care? I mean, you’re happy.” His eyes widened at what he’d just said, and he stumbled, trying to recover. “I-I just meant you guys. You know. The two of you. Happy and whatever. So I’m not, you know, gonna stand in the way of that. You don’t need to worry about Xander being ‘annoying’ or standing between you and what you really want,” he said, sighing and looking at the ground.

Silence hung between them, until Xander couldn’t take it anymore. “Why did you follow me out here, Spike?” he asked in a resigned tone. “And please don’t tell me the girls sent you, because I’m fine. Okay?”

“No, you’re not,” Spike said immediately, and Xander wanted to roll his eyes. “Just by lookin’ at you, I can tell somethin’s wrong. And no, the girls didn’t send me. Like I’d listen to ‘em anyways if they did. I came out to make sure you were all right. And to give you these; they fell out of your pocket when you ran out.”

Too many things to process at once. The girls hadn’t sent Spike; Spike had been…concerned himself? And…and dropped? Xander glanced up at the item in Spike’s hand and stared.

The box of Cadbury chocolates. A quick search confirmed that they were no longer in Xander’s pocket. Great. Just great.

But if Spike had been concerned enough to come after him…he was confused. Seriously confused. “Why did you come after me?” he asked.

Spike shrugged, looking sheepish. “You’d been quiet the entire time I was there, and that was…I don’t know. Not you. Hate that this thing with Anya’s made you so quiet.”

“I figured you’d enjoy the peace,” Xander asked, getting more bewildered by the moment.

Spike cringed, cringed, and moved to sit down next to Xander. “Not really. Not anymore. Been a long time since you were an ‘annoyance’, as you put it.” He handed the box of chocolates over to Xander.

Xander flushed and glanced away. “They were, um….theywereforyou.” He said it in a soft, rushed tone, and Spike still understood it, from the widening of his eyes.

“Got the decent kind; this isn’t the fake chocolate,” Spike told him.

Xander did roll his eyes then. “I know; you and Giles have both told us repeatedly about the horror that is Hershey’s chocolate.”

Spike grinned at him, just him, and Xander felt his insides flop. “Good to see you were payin’ attention,” he said, his grin softening into a smile, and Xander’s insides turned to mush. “Thanks though. For the axe handle, too. That’s a bloody beautiful work.”

Xander gave a tiny, pleased smile, ducking his head. “You like it?”

“Almost as much as I like the maker.”

Xander froze. “Buffy didn’t, uh, make it,” he stammered.

There was a soft chuckle from beside him, and cool fingers reached around, making him turn and look at Spike. “’Course she didn’t. And frankly, don’t care even if she did. Not the person I’m interested in. She hasn’t been for a long time. Found my thoughts driftin’ to short, dark hair and a goofy smile as of lately, though I haven’t seen that smile in too long.”

“I didn’t think I even had a chance,” Xander found himself saying.

Spike stared at him incredulously, then slowly began to smile. “This what these were about?” he asked, raising the box of chocolates slightly.

Xander slumped, eyes back on the ground again. “It sounds even stupider when you say it out loud,” he mumbled.

“Not stupid; just not, you know, really thought out,” Spike said. Xander glanced his way, and any hurt he’d felt over the comment faded at Spike’s soft smile. “You didn’t need a ‘chance’,” he whispered, leaning in closer. “Not when you already had me.”

Then Spike kissed him, and Xander had to kiss him back, because those wet, cool lips were just too good to leave by themselves, and by the time the girls found them half an hour later, they were still kissing.




The End





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