For [info]karenbear


Lady Cat

The great thing about studying in the Magic Box? So many distractions! Buffy looked up from her book, eyes immediately tracking the way Spike was shifting and muttering on the sofa, inching closer and closer to a deeply engrossed Xander. Well, maybe not deeply engrossed, since as soon as Spike was close enough, Xander reached out and began toying with the hair at the nape of Spike’s neck. Almost immediately Spike fell still, finally actually reading the book on his lap.

A low giggle made Buffy frantically shush the girl sitting next to her. Eyes dancing, Tara smiled at her and tilted her head back to Spike and Xander—who didn’t seem to notice their audience. “He looks like Miss Kitty,” Tara confided, her voice barely above a whisper.

Buffy eyed the two boys again, noting how Xander had turned slightly, ankle tucked under his knee, so his other knee could bump Spike’s book. His eyes were moving, but Buffy was pretty sure he wasn’t actually comprehending anything. He looked. . . blissful. “Which he?” she asked.

It’d been wiggy at first. Buffy was fully prepared to admit that she had wigged. Xander was her bestest guy friend and him being chummy with the evil undead? That was wig-worthy. But Spike no longer making goo-goo eyes at her was a really, really good thing. It meant Riley dialed down the jealousy act, for one. It let them have more uninterrupted time together, for two. And for three. . . Buffy thought he really meant it, this time. There were none of the declarations Spike had laid at her feet, like they were puppies that would make her like him. If anything, neither of the two guys seemed to realize that they were panting after each other.

For a moment, Buffy knew her thoughts could turn maudlin. It was really nice not to have to worry about anything but when Spike and Xander would wise up and realize that they were both doing the weird pattern-y thing on each other’s thighs. No Big Bads to fight—well, other than normal patrol—Mom was fine, Dawn was behaving as well as Dawn’s could ever behave, Buffy’s whole family was there and happy and it was just good.

“Both,” Tara answered, unaware of the turn in Buffy’s thoughts. “They groom each other, when they aren’t paying attention. Like big, bristling, cats.”

“I don’t think they’re bristly,” Willow put in. Giving her honey a kiss and her friend a smile—Buffy wondered sometimes if she’d ever mix those up—Willow plunked herself into the seat between the two of them and smiled at the Xander!Spike tangle. “They look kinda cuddly, when they’re like that.”

Buffy gave them both a quelling look. “Vampire hearing,” she hissed. Smiling, though, because they were cuddly. “We decided we didn’t want to, um, help them, remember?”

Willow pouted. It made her look four years old and adorable and it was only Buffy’s Slayer strength that kept her from melting as quickly as Tara was. “But they’d be so good together!”

“And they will be.” Buffy blinked at Tara’s firm pronouncement. Was Tara finally building up an immunity to Willow’s big green eyes? “But when they’re ready.”

“So why aren’t they ready now?” Buffy blinked again, surprised to realize that the statement had come out of her mouth, not Willow’s. “I mean, look at them!”

Asleep. Both of them were asleep, Spike’s head on Xander’s shoulder, with Xander’s nestled on top of messy, ungeled curls. Ungeled, she’d discovered, to a rather jumbled, rambling explanation that Buffy had parsed down to ‘Xander doesn’t like it’, even though none of those words had ever been actually said. Both of Xander’s arms were around Spike, holding him protectively close, while Spike curled one hand up to grip Xander’s collar, holding it underneath his chin like a child. They looked peaceful, curled up like that. Well, okay, Spike’s free hand was dangerously close to between Xander’s legs, but that was kind of cute too, actually.

Three girls awwwed simultaneously.

“So we’re gonna start hinting?” Willow asked. “Hi, Giles.”

“Hello.” Setting down the jar he’d just retrieved from the store room, Giles watched the sleeping boys with the fondest expression Buffy had ever seen on her Watcher’s face. “And you’re not to do a thing, Willow.”

Buffy grinned. “Aw, Giles! Are you on board with the Spike and Xander smoochies as well?”

“Well, I wouldn’t call them smoochies, I dare say, but yes. Spike has managed to convince me that he’s reformed and Xander. . .” A hint of amusement crept through the fondness of Giles’ smile. “Anyway, Willow, there’s no need for you to anything.”

“But!” Willow looked between Giles and the boys, torn between ‘awww’ face and pouting. “Cute! Smoochies! Happiness!”

“Look!” Tara’s soft comment brought all attention back to the sofa, just in time to see Xander press a second, then a third kiss on the crown of Spike’s head, and then snuggle closer. “See? They already figured it out, Willow.”

Buffy wasn’t so sure, continuing to watch as Giles and Tara calmed a rebellious Willow. Sleep kisses were adorable, sure, but that was when they were asleep. She wanted to see that kind of affection when they were awake. And paying attention, instead of the subconscious touching they usually indulged in. She wanted to see—Spike smile. Exactly the way he was right then, as if he wasn’t as asleep as they thought and had heard their conversation and felt Xander’s sleepy reassurance.

Buffy grinned. “Ah, Wills? Really. They’ve got it. Or at least, Spike does, and we all know how stubborn he can be. . .”

Spike’s grin only got wider.

The End

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