The Magic Shop was almost empty; only Giles, Anya, Xander, Buffy and Dawn were present, accomplishing various pursuits in companionable silence. It was early evening, and Anya was preparing to close the store while Xander sat down to wait for her, an old comic book in front of him. Dawn had pulled out her homework and Buffy was sharpening more stakes for her stash. Giles was looking through an old book, and Willow and Tara were at home, enjoying a quiet night off.

Spike came in from taking a smoke in the alleyway behind the shop.

Buffy glanced up from the nearly finished stake she was shaving and smiled. The vampire's undead heart surged as her eyes sparkled with humor and affection.

"How many times have I told you, silly beast, those cancer sticks will kill you."

He grinned, trying to act cocky even as his love for her swelled at her use of the pet name she'd given him.

"S'okay, what with me bein' dead and all.

He shrugged his duster off and threw it onto the back of a chair, then turned to her with an anticipatory grin.

Wanna fight?"

Buffy tossed the stake into her completed pile and sheathed the knife before shoving it into her gear bag. She then leapt up out of her chair and bounded over to him, eager to get in more sparring, especially with somebody who could dish it out as well has he took it.

Anya and Xander just shook their heads as the blonde pair headed off into the training room, and Dawn smiled at them happily. Giles was too immersed in his book to notice their departure to the back room.

Apparently, today's sparring weapons of choice were swords, by the metallic clangs that echoed out from the back of the store.

During a lull, they heard Buffy's deeply intoned, "None shall pass."

Xander's head bobbed up from his comic book.

"They watched The Grail again without me???"

Anya shuddered, thankful that she hadn't had to sit through that particularly horrifying scene at the Cave of Caer Bannon again.

Dawn shrugged apologetically at him and went back to her Geometry homework.
Disgruntled, Xander stuck his nose back in his copy of Nightwing'.

After the swordplay started up again, they heard Spike's falsetto exclamation of "Right! I'll do you for that!!!"

Buffy replied somewhat derisively, "What are you goin' t'do, bleed on me?"

After about a half hour of banter intermingled with actual sparring, the two blondes emerged, hair ruffled and Buffy's golden skin covered in a sheen of perspiration. Wiping her face with the towel slung around her neck, she flopped into a seat next to Dawn.

Xander glared at her. "I thought the rule was, you watched The Grail with me."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "God, Xand. This neat thing about VCRs is, they have this nifty little button that rewinds the tape so you can watch a movie...again!" She widened her eyes and gasped in mock disbelief.

The brunette pouted at her and she finally stuck her tongue out at him and blew him a raspberry.

"You suck." Xander muttered under his breath as he began to sullenly thumb through his comic book.

Spike snickered as he took a seat next to Buffy and slung a casual arm around her shoulders.

Giles came over, immersed in the book of prophecies he was reading.

"Um, Buffy. I've found some information that leads me to believe that--"

She groaned, leaning back into Spike's arm and covering her face with the towel.

"Oh, wait, I got this one. Big evil looming on the horizon, Chosen One saves the world...yadda yadda yadda."

Barely concealing his grin, Spike touched Buffy's knee. "Now, listen to your Watcher, luv. It may be important."

Giles, taken aback at Spike's calling Buffy to attention, and shocked that she removed the towel and turned that attention on him, set the book down and removed his glasses. As he reached for the edge of his shirt, Buffy frowned, then turned to Dawn.

"Uh oh. He's making with the cleaning of the glasses. We must be in for another apocalypse. We really should keep a tally of those." Dawn and Buffy both giggled until they caught the looks they were receiving.

Giles quickly put his spectacles back on.

"Remind me to get contacts," he muttered as he picked the book up again.

"Now, as I was saying, our only hope may be--"

"Help me, Ben Kenobi, you're our only hope." Buffy quoted in a high, girly voice. Dawn bit her lip and Spike, smothering a grin, smacked her thigh.

Xander looked at her suspiciously but remained silent. Giles glared at her but continued.

"As I was saying, it looks--"

"Luke." Buffy intoned deeply, with a hand cupping her mouth as she made a
hissing static sound. "I...am your father!"

Dawn burst into another fit of giggles and Spike laid his forehead on the table, shaking in silent mirth.

Xander jumped up from his seat and knocking his chair over, staring at the three incredulously.

"You watched STAR WARS without me?! Buffy, how could you?"

"Sorry, Xand. It was movie night at the Summers' house and nobody else was around."

Xander folded his arms across his chest and stalked over to Anya.

"We are starting a movie night at the Harris apartment."

Anya stared at him. "I am not watching the killer bunny movie."

Xander and Anya began to argue over which movies were allowed at the newly-established Harris Apartment Movie Night. Rolling her eyes, Buffy turned her attention back to Spike, reaching up to kiss him sweetly before snuggling into his chest.

Giles gave up and decided to try again later when he had his Slayer's attention; he was merely going to caution her to be looking for certain portents while patrolling, and he could do that before she left.

Dawn leaned over to whisper conspiratorially to Buffy and Spike, "I guess we shouldn't
mention that we also watched X-Men--"

A strangled cry came from across the room.


The End

--Author's Note: I want to thank all the readers who have made this story such a pleasure to post, and I especially want to thank my friend Elle, who has helped me with Family Ties' from conception to final edit. Without her, this story never would have been what it is! Thanks, pet!