The Gift.

Personally, Spike thought the whole thing was stupid. Wes wanted Fred- was batshit insane over Fred, if you asked him. And Fred obviously didn't want to say anything, but she wanted Wes too. And the two of them just circled around each other and flirted, and Wes pretended that Fred didn't mean it and Fred didn't know how to make a move that he'd actually get.

It was just… stupid.

With this in mind, he decided to do a good deed, and get the two of them together. He owed Fred for her faith in him when he was still a ghost, and he owed Wes for several late-night drinking sessions that had reassured him that he had a genuine friend her at Wolfram and bloody Hart. He figured that he could settle both debts with one move, if he played his cards right.

Also, he was bored.

It was a busy day down in the lab, which meant that it was almost noon before Fred actually made it into her office. She opened the door, absently looking through a pile of papers in her hands, and was considering going to get lunch when she hear a faint… whimpering. Coming from her desk.

She glanced up from her papers, adrenaline kicking into overdrive as she prepared to run from whatever hell beast she was about to face, only to find a puppy sitting on her desk, a bright red ribbon tied around its neck.

This was definitely an unusual occurrence, and Fred had had enough surprises to know to be wary. She approached it cautiously, making sure to leave the door open, and setting her papers on a side table so that her hands would be free if it suddenly attacked. It showed no sign of wanting to eat her, or even just maim her, and just wagged its tail when she got close enough to be in range of its jaws. Deciding that it probably wasn't a ploy to kill her, she then wondered who on Earth had put a puppy on her desk, and why. Maybe it was a ritual sacrifice from one of the lab techs- the last couple of times it had been goats, but they might have moved on to something smaller, cuter, and less likely to eat all her papers.

She noticed a card attached to the ribbon, and curious, she picked up the puppy so that she could read it. The puppy gave tiny little yip of pleasure and collapsed in her hands, gnawing on her fingers with small but sharp teeth. Fred had to take a minute to cuddle it- him, actually, she could tell- and then carefully detached the tag and brought it close to her face to read the small, slanting writing.

He made me think of you, the note said. Hope you like him. Wes.

Her face broke out into a sunny smile. Wes had really just bought a puppy? For her? This must be his way of finally making a move. Took him long enough- she'd been hinting at him for weeks, now.

Clutching the puppy carefully against her chest, she decided to go pay the man a visit and thank him in person. She didn't even notice the odd looks that her staff gave her, or the way that a certain blonde vampire lurked in the shadows and grinned as she hurried past.

It had been a very long day for Wes, and it was only noon. He wasn't looking forward to the rest, and was even briefly toying with the idea of just giving up and going home early. Angel probably wouldn't be too upset, even with the translation that was due at closing today… He could probably foist that off on one of his assistants, and that would mostly satisfy Angel. Of course, Angel really did prefer that he did the important work himself, didn't trust most Wolfram and Hart employees. Then again, Angel could probably use a dose of Not Getting What He Wants.

Decision made, Wesley gathered up the papers with all the notes he'd already made and the scrolls that were being translated, and tried to page his secretary. She didn't answer- what a surprise!- so he headed for the door, intent on tracking her down. If he had to do this one more time, he was getting another secretary. Again.

He was so intent on his anger at Jane that he almost didn't notice Fred standing in his doorway. Only almost, though, because he'd been very aware of Fred for two years now, and it wasn't a habit that was going to change just because he was angry at someone. He stopped before he could run into her, and his automatic up-and-down glance catalogued a cheerful flush on her cheeks, mussed hair, and… a puppy?

"Oh, Wes, I love him so much," she said, and Wes could only blink. He was assuming she meant the puppy, but she looked just disheveled enough that she could actually be talking about a new lover. The thought didn't sit well with him, and he couldn't help his expression closing down.

"Is that so?" Obviously. "I'm glad." He wasn't.

She apparently didn't notice his inner chill, because she was still smiling at him, a smile of puppies and rainbows. Well, puppies, anyway, and if she wanted he could probably get one of the Mystics to conjure up a rainbow. And he would, for her.

"He's so cute!" she exclaimed, holding up the puppy for his inspection. Ah, the puppy. Not a lover then. He managed to hide his fierce satisfaction, and just smiled at the puppy, who was indeed cute.

"He is," Wes agreed. "Does he have a name?"

"I don't know, I was going to ask you," she said cheerfully. Her expression was expectant- why was he supposed to know the name of her new puppy?- but he managed to hide his confusion and just said, "Since he's your puppy, it's your place to give him his name."

"Oh!" she said, like he'd given her a fantastic gift. "Alright." Her brown furrowed as she concentrated, and then she shot him another sunny grin. "Spike."

Wes could have sworn he heard a choked laugh, but when he glanced in the direction of the sound, he heard nothing. "Spike? You named him after our resident ex-ghost?"

"Well, he kinda looks like him. He's got that pale fur that kinda sticks up on top, and he's got those sharp teeth… See?"

No, Wesley didn't. The puppy looked sweet, cute, and absolutely nothing like the vampire. But this was Fred, so he just said, "It's a good name." Though not for the puppy. Maybe he'd grow into it?

"Thank you, Wes," she said, and her expression melted a little as she looked at him. "He really is a wonderful gift, and I have been a little lonely lately."

Sometimes, Wes just didn't understand women. Well, he didn't understand Fred. He'd never had trouble understanding Cordy… But that was a thought for another time.

"I'm glad I could help with his name, Fred," he said cautiously. One thing that he had learned- Fred was very easygoing, but sometimes, when her emotions were running high as they so clearly were right now, she could be sensitive to the slightest thing.

Her eyes shone with… Jesus, tears? What did he do wrong? Why were there tears? Christ, Angel was going to kill him for upsetting Fred. Right after he killed himself.

"I meant thank you so much for giving me the puppy," she said sweetly. "I don't know how you managed to sneak into my office to leave him on my desk, but I'm really glad you did. I thought you were never going to make a move."

What now? She though that he had given her the puppy… Wait. Move? She was waiting for him to-

His thought process was cut off by her lips pressed against his. He could feel the puppy squirming between them, and Fred's hands pressed against his chest, and the pressure of her lips against his, and it was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to him.


She pulled back and looked at him with sparkling eyes, and said, "I've been wanting to do that for weeks, Wes. I've been trying to tell you, but you never showed any sign… I was starting to think that you didn't notice that I was looking at you differently. But then you gave me the puppy, and that note was so sweet, and I knew that you understood. I'm just so glad that you did, is all." And then she kissed him again.

Wes gave brief thought to denial, then realized that it would require him to stop kissing her. And that was something that he never, ever wanted to do. He'd just have to tell her later.

Much later.

Spike straightened away from the wall outside of Wes' office. His evil… er, cunning… er, extremely nice plan had worked. Project Get the Clueless Lovers Together had been a success. He figured that Wes would eventually get around to telling her that he hadn't been the one to give her the puppy, and then he'd get gloating rights, but until then…

Well, Angel would want to know about this new development, wouldn't he?

Spike walked off whistling.