Buffy walked out of the bedroom, a small smile on her face. Joyce came out of her own bedroom at almost the same time, glancing over at her daughter quickly with a look of nervousness Buffy didn't quite understand.
That is, until Giles walked out right behind her.
Buffy gaped. "What were you two doing?" she asked before her brain could tell her mouth that she really didn't want to know the answer to that particular question.
Joyce gave Buffy a smug grin. "Taking a Christmas nap."
"Oh my god! I can't…ew!"
Spike came out of the bedroom then, noticing the look of absolute horror on Buffy's face. "What's wrong, luv?"
She pointed to Joyce and Giles. "They were 'napping,'" she hissed.
Spike chuckled, kissing the top of her head. "Come on, lamb. Let's just go to the kitchen."
"But…but…emotionally scared for life here!"
"Buffy, what's that on your neck?"
As soon as the question was out of Joyce's mouth, Giles strode across the living room, pushing Buffy's hair to the side. His eyes flashed with anger, and he started towards Spike, only to have Buffy hold him back. "Giles, calm down!" Buffy said.
"Calm down! I know what those marks on your neck are. He bit you."
Buffy couldn't help but blush. "It was just a little bite. And it didn't hurt…"
"How can you be so bloody irresponsible about this! If he's biting you—which is in of itself a bad thing—then his chip isn't working. He's a killer again, Buffy!"
"Okay, first, I haven't killed a bloody thing since I got this chip." Spike frowned. "Well, expect some demons, but I didn't hear anyone complaining about that. And second…" He punched Giles in the face, clutching his head in pain right afterwards.
"What the bloody hell did you do that for?" Giles yelled, rubbing his face.
"Wanted to show the chip was still working," he said, his hand pressed against his temple.
Giles glared. "You could've been faking."
"Yes. And now I'm enjoying my nice, fake migraine. Berk."
Giles tensed, moving towards Spike but stopping when Joyce grabbed his shoulder. "Rupert, can I speak to you a moment. Alone?"
Giles glanced between Spike and Joyce. "Yes," he said with a sigh, following her back into the bedroom.
"I think we should just let them be."
"What!" Giles stared at her in disbelief. "Do you realize what just happened? A vampire sank his fangs into your daughter's neck and drank her blood. How can you just dismiss that?"
"I'm not dismissing it, I just… I think it's something I'd rather not stick my nose in."
"And when Buffy's dead—or worse, turned—then what?"
Joyce rolled her eyes. "Rupert, really. For one thing, even if Spike did want to hurt Buffy he couldn't."
"He bit her! That's hurting her, Joyce. That punch proved nothing."
"Buffy said the bite didn't hurt her. Being her mother, I really don't want to think about what it did do, but that isn't the issue. I've seen him with her. I've seen him fight to protect her, risking his own life in the processes. I'll be honest. I really don't understand souls or demons or any of that, but I know the look of someone in love—and that's the look Spike has every time he sees Buffy. She's safe with him, Rupert. I can feel it. And if I want to try to ignore what my daughter and her vampire boyfriend are doing behind close doors, please, just let me. For the sake of my sanity."
"I just don't want to end up saying 'I told you so.'"
"I know. I don't want that either, but I also don't see that happening." She ran her thumb over the spot on his cheek where Spike had hit him, noticing that it hadn't bruised. "Let's just go back out and enjoy the rest of Christmas."
Giles sighed, knowing there was nothing he could do to convince either one of the Summers women that he was right about Spike. And as much as he hated to admit it, he was having a harder and harder time convincing himself. He'd seen Spike fight by Buffy's side, effectively making everything Giles had ever thought he knew about vampires blow up in his face.
Although when he thought about it, wasn't that just Spike in a nutshell? Giles had never seen the vampire play by any of the rules. Why would he start now?
"Yes, well, I believe I can do that."
Joyce kissed him softly. "Thank you."
Buffy sat on the couch with her head on Spike's shoulder and his arm around her, blissfully ignoring the fact that her mother and Giles were in much the same position on the other side of the sofa. She smiled at Spike's quiet toleration of Mickey's Christmas Carol despite his muttered comment of "and they say I'm evil" when she'd suggested it.
Just because she didn't hate him anymore didn't mean she had to pass up every opportunity that came her way to annoy him.
Spike pressed an almost absent-minded kiss into her hair, giving her arm a gentle squeeze as he did, and Buffy smiled, managing to move even closer to him. Despite his cool body, his touch sent a warmth through her, giving her a sense of peace and comfort. Right then, in that moment, she felt like she could belong there, in this man's arms.
Yes, Buffy decided with a smile, this had definitely been a good Christmas.
That's the end, folks. Hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks to everyone who read, and to all you wonderful reviewers. And an extra special thanks to GoldenAngl99 who nominated it in the Love Is Blood Awards!