Technically it's their second Valentine's Day. But last year around this time everything was still new and tentative between them, so Buffy thinks they're allowed a do-over. And as long as they're stuck in L.A. anyway... anything less than a romantic dinner for two would have been a criminal waste of four-star restaurants.
Spike's good at presents. Has an unerring memory for the earrings she gazed at longingly, or the boots she drooled over in the shop window. And a keen eye for the uniquely-suited-to-Buffy. Like for example the black velvet box in its little nest of shredded gold tissue, open upon a pendant cross of blood-red garnet and milky pearls. Buffy holds it up, and the garnets flash in the candlelight, a match for the Bordeaux. Beautiful, and more beautiful still when her fingers find and release the cunning catch, and the cross comes apart to release the perfectly balanced miniature stiletto from its jeweled sheath. He breaks into a grin as she leaps up and leans over the marinara for an impromptu kiss.
Moment of truth time. "I didn't get you a present," she says, pushing the neatly wrapped bundle across the table. And bites her lip as Spike takes it, because her? Not so much with the remembrance of things past. It's not as if she doesn't know what he likes. Unlike certain former vampire boyfriends, Spike's an open book on that account. It's just that video games and punk vinyl aren't exactly what you'd call romantic. OK for a birthday present maybe, but Valentine's Day? That's got to be something special. And she really, really hopes she's got it right.
Spike raises an eyebrow. "What's this, then? High explosives?" Damn. High explosives. Spike would have loved high explosives. Focus, Buffy. You can get him high explosives next year. If there is a next year after he opens that package.
Her demon lover's brow creases as he frees his not-a-present from its prison of wrapping and ribbon. He peels the paper away, revealing a journal, leather-bound, the blank and uncut pages a rich and creamy white. Before he can voice a polite and puzzled thank you, she says, "There's three hundred and sixty-five of them. Pages, I mean. And I thought that maybe - it's just, you said you used to write a lot. And I, um, really liked the poem you did for our anniversary. So I thought that if you felt like ever... writing more, you could write them in there. And next year that could be... well... my present." His mouth is hanging open slightly. "Oh, God. That came out sounding much more sophisticated and romantic and much less weird and selfish in my head."
But he's smiling - not the usual cocky Spike-grin, but that sweet, brilliant smile she startles out of him only every now and again. "Let me get this straight, Slayer. You were on the receiving end of one of my poems and you want me to write you more?" Buffy nods, not trusting her voice to obey her. Spike strokes the supple leather of the binding as if it's her body he's caressing. "You'll have to make allowances, love," he says. Almost shy. Spike. Shy. Whoa. "'m not very good at writing it."
"That's OK," she replies. "I'm not very good at reading it."
She's kicking herself halfway through the sentence, but Spike's still smiling. And somehow, it comes out way more romantic than it sounded in her head.