Giles was the first to notice. It was what he had been trained for, after all - watching.
Oh, they were very discreet. Amazingly so considering their past exploits, though Xander had managed to keep his relationship with Cordelia under wraps for quite some time. But they still slipped up occasionally. They couldn't seem to pass each other by without making contact. Tiny touches really, just a fingertip or two brushing gently over the slope of shoulder, line of back, curve of denim-clad buttock.
Subtle signs, each one carrying an unmistakeable message - Spike and Xander were enemies no more.
Willow couldn't quite believe what she thought she had just seen.
Spike had patted Xander down like some kind of airport goon, frisking him for scissors, knives or toothpicks. Once done, his hands had lingered on Xander's hips and tugged him close, and Xander hadn't tried to brush him off.
Then Buffy was there beside her, patting her down and checking for wounds.
"Are you hurt at all? You landed with a thump."
A miniature light bulb flickered on in Willow's head. It hadn't been a weapons check at all.
She turned to take another look but they'd already gone.
Buffy was the last of them to recognise the truth and even then she couldn't quite believe.
Spike had spewed some pretty standard vitriolic snark, and she'd moved in to counter with a punch. Xander's hand had landed somewhat heavily on her shoulder, throwing off her balance and her swing.
"Stop it, Buffy. You know he can't hit back, and that's not fair. It's like beating up a kitten... Sorry, Spike."
And suddenly, the moment Xander smiled, Buffy knew. She'd heard that soft, apologetic tone of his before.
"Xander? No, you can't be... Not with..."
"Gay? With Spike? Oh yeah..."