Spike stood in the shadow of the oak tree outside Buffy's house watching as she and Dawn decorated the Christmas tree standing in their front window. He sighed as he threw down another half-smoked cigarette, adding to the pile already at his feet.
Reaching into the pocket of his leather duster, Spike touched the small package that he had painstakingly wrapped in tinfoil and red ribbon, then dashed to the porch and dropped his offering to the slayer inside the mailbox.
A tear ran down his face as he hurried away, cursing himself. He was a monster, but she treated him like a man.