It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Day That Isn't Christmas

It was Valentine's Day, they'd just foiled more of the Initiative's shenanigans, and Willow and Spike were standing in Giles's kitchen.

"Cupid's obviously paid a visit. You've got yourself a girlfriend." Spike pointed to his nose as he spoke. At least he'd waited until they were alone to drop his bombshell, but Willow winced all the same, terrified someone would hear.

"Tara's not my girlfriend." That was true. Yeah, okay, they'd fooled around a little bit, but it had pretty much stayed above the waist, and anyway, was it anybody's business but hers? "She's a girl from my Wicca group. We do spells together."

Spike snorted. "Spells? So that's what the kids are calling it these days." He shook his head as she was about to deny everything completely again. "Vampire, luv. I can smell her on ya." He sounded… disappointed? If he was, well, a part of her was too. But they'd agreed at Christmas that even friendship was out of the question, so what was she supposed to do? Be a nun? Did they have Jewish/Wiccan nuns?

"She's really not my girlfriend. I mean, she might be, someday, but right now it's just kind of… Yeah, she's a beautiful girl and I like her … in a not totally platonic kind of way, it's just…" 'She's not you' was what Willow wanted to say, but how could she? It hurt even thinking it. "Good thing I was able to neutralize the signal from that tracking device in time, huh?" She was nothing if not a gifted subject-changer, though even she had whiplash from the force of it this time.

A rueful smile was her first answer, followed by, "Yeah, you and your mojo are pretty impressive." Magic – it wasn't really the best subject to emphasize, especially not after their conversation on Christmas Day. She still remembered the look on his face when he'd told her it was too bad she hadn't wished for different things; she'd been wishing for them ever since.

Even last night when she'd been making out with Tara. Boy did she ever feel guilty about that.

"Are you freaked out or weird or anything? I mean, about me maybe being with a girl?" Of course what she meant was 'Are you sorry I'm with someone who isn't you?', but she couldn't exactly say that, could she?

He hesitated for a moment and Willow realized he was making sure no one was within earshot. "Not a problem. Never seen much in all this fuss about gender, m'self. Whatever gets ya off…" He waggled his eyebrows at her and she suddenly realized something.

"You and Angel, huh?"

The look on his face was pure horror and for a moment she was confused, but then he explained, "Angelus, please, never Angel. I wouldn't let that souled poof suck my cock if I'd been without for ten years. Wouldn't want that 'woe is me' nonsense anywhere near my best bits."

Willow giggled. "He does sort of brood, doesn't he?"

"All I can say is that your Slayer's a pretty strange bird if all that angst and torment gets her juices goin'."

Okay, Willow had to admit that Spike kind of had a point, but Buffy was her best friend and she wasn't going to come right out and say that her taste in men sucked, even if it… well, did. Parker, anyone? Oh, and like Initiative-Boy Riley was such a prize. Willow was going to have to buy a shovel, wasn't she?

Taking the conversation back to her new almost-maybe-a-relationship, she said, "I'm glad me being with Tara doesn't bother you." The look on Spike's face – again she wondered if she'd gotten it wrong.

"Didn't say it doesn't bother me. Just said you being bisexual doesn't make me think less of you."

Oh. "Oh." Was it wrong that she was almost happy he'd said it? Because at least she wasn't the only one wishing things could be different. "You know, it would bother me, if you…"

Was it her imagination or was Spike's face getting closer? Then his lips touched hers for a brief moment and she realized that, no, it hadn't been her imagination. She hated him. Because that barely-a-second kiss affected her more powerfully than all last night with Tara. "I thought we decided…"

"Yeah. Bad idea, this." But then he kissed her again. This time she kissed him back. It was still over too soon.

"What about what we said? Not like Buffy's gonna be okay with this or anything." She couldn't believe she was trying to talk them both out of this, but… Face it, Buffy might not stake her, but she would definitely stake Spike.

"Not sure I care much anymore. Thought I was gonna be able to handle it, y'know, but when you walked in, reeking of your little girly-pal… I wanted to rip her bloody throat out." Willow was about to speak when Spike put his finger to her lips and forestalled her from interrupting him. "I know those idiots you call friends are gonna kick up no end of fuss and this is the part where I'm s'posed to say it's up to you, but I'm not that kind. All these weeks since I realized… And every day it just gets harder. Seein' ya. Knowing you could be with someone else. I can't do it. Not anymore."

Now that she had a chance to speak, she didn't know what to say. More than anything, she wanted to throw herself into Spike's arms and agree that what everyone else thought didn't matter, but it did, didn't it? They were her family, the only real family she had, and it mattered to her – them not hating her – and then, too, there was the whole safety thing. Sure, Buffy wouldn't stake her– no, she'd just lecture Willow forever and ever and conveniently forget that she was still pining after a vampire of her own – but what about Spike? "I don't want you to get hurt."

"Hurts worse not havin' ya."

It was hard to argue with that. "I know. But I'd never get over it if you got staked because of me." He leaned in to kiss her again, but then suddenly pulled away. She figured out why a second later.

Giles started as he walked into the kitchen. "I thought you'd left."

"I was about to. Just talking to Spike for a minute."

"It's finally dark. I was gonna walk Red home."

His eyebrow rose, and there was a shrewd look on his face for a moment. It occurred to her that while Buffy and Xander had pretty much forgotten about Christmas, Giles might remember. "I hardly think that's wise. What if the commandos spot you again?"

"Witchiepoo here'll keep me safe, right?"

Another raised eyebrow, which Willow decided to ignore. She did sort of agree about it being risky for Spike to go roaming around Sunnydale though. "I…" She was about to urge him to stay behind, but then his eyes locked with hers. "I can totally keep the soldiers at bay. I'm Magic Girl," she chirped confidently.

Naturally, Giles looked skeptical. It hurt. It always hurt when he doubted her. Yeah, okay, maybe sometimes – many times – her reach exceeded her grasp, but Giles… he was the closest thing she had to a father figure, what with her parents being out of her life far more than they were in it, and it was painful to see how little faith he had in her. Maybe her parents felt the same way. Maybe they saw the same lack Giles always seemed to see. Maybe that's why they were always gone.

Spike grabbed her hand. "We're outta here," he growled, dragging her out the door before Giles could say another word. Willow knew she was never going to hear the end of this later.

"What was that about?" she asked when they were a block away.

"Saw the way the Watcher looked when you mentioned your magic. Thought you might need a break from his nonsense. Jealous Miss Nancy that he is. Chides you something awful, but I didn't see him keeping the soldiers from crashing through the door."

That stopped Willow short. It had never occurred to her that Giles might be… No, she didn't think he was jealous, but the fact that Spike seemed to think so cheered her up a little. It was better than him confirming that she was a screw-up and a failure. She didn't say anything for a few minutes, until she realized they weren't headed toward campus. "Where are we going?"

"My place."

Oh. That was… sudden, maybe? Except, how sudden was it, really, because after all, he'd spent the night at her house. "Okay." She let him keep leading her along, choosing a route that seemed designed to allow him to know if anyone was following them. It was no wonder he'd lived so long… well, unlived, but it was kinda the same thing, wasn't it?

Another few minutes and here they were – at a crypt. "Be it ever so humble," he said, opening the door.

It was dark and dirty and the smell of decay might have been off-putting to anyone who wasn't a vampire… or who hadn't spent her teen years hanging around graveyards. He lived here? She plastered a smile on her face, though, and tried to find a sincere compliment. "You know, every goth kid in town would envy you."

She guessed she was sort of glad she couldn't see his face very well; at least this way she could pretend he bought it… at least until he spoke. "It's a dump, pet, no need to whitewash it. But it's mine and it's a safe haven and… well, the bedroom's pretty nice."

Bedroom? She'd almost forgotten that dim light wasn't the same barrier to his vision that it was to hers. "You didn't think I slept in a coffin, did ya?"

"No, no, it's just… I guess I didn't think that anyone had designed a crypt with a bedroom." Could she have said anything stupider?

"I'm not the first vamp who's made a home in this place." Guess that explained things. "Wanna see it?"

Okay, that was kind of forward, wasn't it? "Do you have etchings in there?"

Luckily, Spike got the joke and guffawed. "Bit clumsy there, wasn't I? Guess I'm… I dunno. Nervous, I guess. Never known a girl like you. Sure as hell never cared for one. Can't deny that I do now. I want you, pet. I know you want me too." No denying for her either, but… Spike had more to say. "Not just tonight. This is for keeps. Ever since Christmas I've been cursing myself for a coward, but not anymore. We're gonna see this through. No excuses, no subterfuge. It's gonna be you and me and they're gonna live with it. I know you're worried and you're scared of losin' 'em, but let me tell you something. I've been watching you lot for a long time, and what I know is this – they need you a hell of a lot more than you need them. You stand up to them and they'll cave. They will."

Could he be right? Could she really matter that much to Buffy and Xander and Giles? She wanted to believe that so much, but… "What if you're wrong?"

"I'm not wrong." Boy would it be nice to be that confident.

She let Spike lead her to a ladder, though, and she followed him down. He lit some candles and she looked around. "Silk sheets?"

"I'm no peasant. I leave the self-denial to Captain Forehead." Willow giggled. Come to think of it, Angel was pretty big with the brow-furrowing. "C'mere." Following his orders, she found herself pulled into Spike's arms and kissed. This time there was no reticence, nothing but passion. She gave as good as she got… and wow was that good.

It was almost bizarre how quickly she went from awkward to joking to incredibly turned-on and ready to rip Spike's clothes off, but then again, maybe not. She'd wanted him for what felt like eternity. Guess he felt the same way.

She pulled her shirt over her head and Spike did the same. How the rest of their clothes came off, she had no idea, because the kissing had gotten way more intense and she couldn't even think anymore, let alone pay attention to stupid stuff like who-did-what-when. Brains were very overrated. Bodies, however? Bodies were good. Very good. Especially Spike's body.

Seconds later, that very body was on top of hers on the bed.

Seconds after that, he was inside her.

Oh god.

This was the most amazing, awe-inspiring sex two people had ever had, Willow was absolutely sure of it. Spike touched her as if she were the most beautiful, sexy woman on Earth and she sure felt like it right now. Her hands moved over his body as they made love; she tried to use each finger to write the same story his told on her skin – that he was wonderful.

Soon, though, all the sensation became too much to even understand. It was bigger than her body, bigger than this room, and she became lost in it – crying out her pleasure and drowning in the echo as it crashed into the walls. Spike's cries were there too, all blended with hers, and it was like some sort of metaphor for being one.

She let the waves sweep her up and then… "Oh God! Spike!" There were colours and stars and all that stuff from Buffy's cheesy romance novels and she couldn't stop tears from coming to her eyes as Spike cried out her name. She'd never had a man come inside her without a condom and it was… strange, but okay strange.

"You alright, love?" he asked a moment later.

"Yeah, great." She nodded along with her words and he pulled out of her and dragged a blanket over the two of them. "Really. Very great."

"That you were," he agreed, and she blushed.

"That wasn't what I meant."

"It's what I meant."

"You're the one who was great." Never had she been more sincere. "It was amazing. I never knew…" she stopped, feeling guilty for a moment because of the people she was about to sort of insult, even though they wouldn't know. "I never knew it could be like that."

He put his hand under her chin as she lay beside him, staring into her eyes for a long moment before saying, "I never knew it could be like that either."

Willow couldn't help it. The tears came back. Could she let herself believe that? Because she wasn't Buffy or Cordelia or even Anya. She was just Willow, Captain of the Nerd Squad. The girl who couldn't hang on to Oz. She hadn't been enough for a werewolf. How could she possibly be enough for a vampire?

"I know you don't half think bad of yourself, but you're wrong. Don't look in the mirror, look in my eyes. That's where you'll see who you are."

Those words did it and the tears turned into sobs as Spike held her close. "Happy Valentine's Day," he murmured after time had passed and she'd grown quiet

Huh. She'd almost forgotten. "Happy Valentine's Day." Their relationship seemed marked by holidays, didn't it? "You know, Cupid is a whole lot better than Santa," she opined.

Spike nodded. "That he is, love, that he is."

Maybe St Patrick's Day would be the right time to break the news to her friends. Get them all drunk… Somehow, she and Spike would figure this out. But right now, she was tired. Mind-blowing sex was kind of exhausting. "Mmmm…" she mumbled as she fell asleep cuddled against him.

In her dreams there was a large cherub… driving a sleigh with a red-nosed reindeer.

The End.