Disclaimer: In no way does anything of Joss' belong to me. (Is there even a point in putting this shit here? You know this.)
A/N: Look, a thing with chapters! Yeah, the lack of the Complete sign is not an accident this time, it's for real. What now?
Credit and love to MaireAilbhe for coming up with the title.
"Well," says Spike, peering into the box on Angel's desk, "it's all very…" he seems to search for an adjective for a moment, "shiny," he decides on.
It's an underwhelming but inarguably accurate choice.
"Yeah," says Angel at his side. "Pretty heavy too." He gives the box a light push and it doesn't budge.
They stand in silence for a minute, eyes fixed on the contents of the box. Angel sticks his hand in to fiddle with some of the jewellery. They probably should have asked for the actual jewellery boxes, instead of just having the big shipping box filled with loose rings and necklaces and bracelets and watches, now that he thinks about it, but at least the earrings are grouped together. Speaking of which…
He grabs ones of the larger earrings boxes and opens the lid to find five diamond studs stuck into the velvet. "It is five, right?" he asks. He knows he asked before, when they were deciding what to do with the diamonds in the first place, but now that they're all here, set in the jewellery and waiting to be shipped to the other side of the planet, he feels unsure again.
"Five," agrees Spike. "Three on the right and two on the left. I think."
"No, that sounds right," Angel nods. It does sound right. And just because it probably would have also sounded right if Spike had said it the other way around doesn't mean it isn't. He closes the box and places it back into the stack of other earring boxes, opens one of the smaller ones to confirm that some of them are sorted into twos, and picks out an incredibly flashy bracelet to study instead. "You do think she'll like them, right?"
"Oh, yeah, definitely," Spike says. But he says it a little too quickly and Angel can't help but feel that he's trying to assure himself too. And Spike seems to notice that, if his expression is anything to go on. He grimaces a little and stares harder at the bracelet Angel's holding. "I mean, they're…" he seems to fail to come up with a word to describe what they are and trails off awkwardly.
Angel puts two fingers through the middle of the bracelet and spins it around so that the diamonds catch the very very filtered light and glitter, creating bright reflections across the desk and on Spike's T-shirt and all around the office.
"We picked them out," Spike says suddenly, and a little too loudly.
Slightly startled, but only slightly because Angel doesn't really get fully startled, nope, he turns to Spike and looks attentive.
"We picked them out ourselves," says Spike firmly. "She'll like them."
"Yeah," says Angel. He lets it process for a moment and brightens. "Yeah. She'll like them. We have good taste."
"Damn right we do."
"Well," Angel corrects himself, "you don't—"
"—but we know how to pick out some jewellery. Just because we're, you know, men and all, that doesn't mean we can't notice and understand what women like."
"I've got better taste than you do, pillock."
Really? Spike thinks he can argue this? Spike? Angel tosses the bracelet back into the box and fixes his eyes squarely on Spike. "You've changed clothes, what, once in the last seven years? And how long were you wearing that same outfit before then? Twenty years? Thirty?"
Spike turns away from the desk, though he leaves on hand still resting there, and he turns to face Angel, nose to… about chin. "It's called having a style," he says hotly.
"No," says Angel. He folds his arms. "It's called going out of style and being outdated. And kind of gross."
Spike throws his shoulders back and glares at Angel.
Angel glares back at Spike.
There's about a full thirty-seconds of some really top-notch glaring on the part of both parties, and a little bit of glowering thrown in for good effect, before Spike says, "Let's ask Harmony."
They turn and make it about three steps closer to the door before Angel remembers, "No, wait, she went to lunch."
"Oh," says Spike. "Balls."
Angel backtracks to the desk and leans against it heavily, arms still folded. He sighs.
Spike turns back to face him, hands on his hips, but stays where he is a few feet away.
Angel stares out the window and at the buildings across the street. He never has bothered to learn what goes on in those buildings. He doesn't know if there's more evil over there, and, if there is, whether it's the sort of alternate dimension, eternal evil they've got here, or if it's just the average, run-of-the-mill corporate America evil.
Spike studies the weapons on the wall.
Angel scratches his arm, idly, through his shirt sleeve and then, abruptly, breaks the silence. "But Buffy will definitely like her present?"
"Oh yeah," Spike is quick to agree. "Love it."
"And you don't—" Angel cuts himself of to think his sentence through. He's got to remember to think before he speaks, or the words might come out all wrong or in a weird order and make him not seem very cool. "You don't think it's… you know… too many?"
"No, not at all," says Spike.
"Because there's probably about sixty necklaces in there."
Spike nods, frowns a moment, and then decides, "Well, she can share with Dawn if she wants to."
"Right!" says Angel. "Right."
Spike nods firmly and the silence falls again.
Maybe Buffy could also share with her new Slayer friends. There's a lot of girls out there that she's now in charge of. Maybe she could reward them in some way.
But she wouldn't. She can't. Because it's a present from them. Her true loves and everything and she's their girl, even if she thinks she's The Immortal's girl at the moment. But she'll value their present, and not just because it's very shiny, but because it was sent with love.
"Where the hell did you get all those diamonds anyway?" Spike asks. He didn't wonder before? When they were first deciding what to do with all of them in the first place?
"De Beers is a client."
"Huh," says Spike. He takes the three steps back to the desk to peer into the box once more. Then he lifts his head to look back at Angel, who is in turn looking at him. "That does make a lot of sense, doesn't it?"
"Explains their advertising success."
Spike nods and looks back at all the sparkling jewels and silver chains and gold settings, looks back at them with a somewhat blank expression that slowly turns into one of cautious thought. "We're not, um… We're not… selling Buffy's soul to them or anything, are we?"
"No," says Angel quickly, before he even bothers to let the thought sink in. He then takes a moment to think on it, to think on what they could be doing to their girl. "Well… at least not any more than any woman who's gotten an engagement ring in the last eighty years."
"Good," says Spike. He nods. "Good."
"Yeah," says Angel, a little slowly. "It's real good."