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A Christmas Gift

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“Wait. This is for me?”

“Yes, for you, silly. Did you think I’d let you sit down here all alone, chained up and present-less on a Christmas morning?”

Oh. Judging from the look on his face, that is exactly what he did.

She sighs. For being a brave and smart guy, Spike is really such an insecure baby. He has absolutely no clue just how… special he is to her. Not even now, when he shouldn’t have any doubts at all with him getting his soul back, and having resisted the First’s brainwash, starvation, and torture.

But even now, he sees himself as unworthy.

She wants to reach out and hug him. She knows he craves it. She knows it and because of that, she just can’t.

Hugging Spike would be a major breach of careful laid out comfort zones and she can’t deal with that right now. Instead she gestures with her head towards the small present she has placed in his lap.

“Well, aren’t ya gonna open it?”

His chains rattle a little as he adjust in his seat on the thin cot in order to take a closer look at the small gift. His hands are shaking a bit as he touches the box. Crap, it's just a journal. Now, she wishes it was something special.

“But I haven’t gotten you anything,” he says, knuckles white as they clutch the unwrapped gift.

“That’s not true. You got me you.”

Did she really just say that? And in that too sweet voice? The one she reserves only for people who she… cares about? Back again to walking the thin lines of the zones. Her throat hurts.

But Spike snorts and looks away. He looks alone and terribly sad.

Before she realizes it, her hand leaves the tight place between her legs where it’s been wedged. Now it’s cupping his face very lightly and that’s not what she wanted and she should let go again, but Spike’s skin is so cold and soft and she just can’t. Using her thumb, she strokes his cheek softly, and guides his face and eyes back on her.

“I need you in this fight, Spike. You know that. Maybe you didn’t get your soul back for that, but I don’t care. Now that you’re here, you’re the best ally I could dream of. I’d say that’s a pretty big Christmas gift.”

His gaze becomes soft. She can tell he doesn’t really believe her, but he takes her words in as they are meant to be. As comfort. He smiles a bit and his smiles always transform his face completely. Make him beautiful. And his eyes are so kind. She has to smile back at him. He leans slightly into her touch and she lets him. A strange, joyous sensation runs through her. It's been a long time since she's felt anything like it.

And she realizes just how big a gift, he has given her.