Xander giggled for the third time in as many minutes, and squirmed in Spike's lap.
"That tickles!" he whispered, batting at the fingers that were trying to slip between the buttons of his shirt. "Behave! We're supposed to be researching."
"I don't do research, Pet. Remember? Big Bad, here. Evil, an' all that... What's a demon want with books anyway?"
Xander twisted around to gape at his lover.
"Gee, I dunno, Spike. Why would a demon keep the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and Dickens, and a bunch of poetry books in their bedside... Yeow!"
The other four persons seated around the table all turned to look at the guilty couple perched on one chair as far away from everyone else as it was possible to get.
"Xander, are you quite all right?"
Startled, Xander stopped rubbing the area high on his inner thigh that Spike had just pinched.
"Um... what? No. I mean... yes. I mean... I'm fine, Giles. Just sitting here, doing researchy stuff. Why?"
Giles began to wish he hadn't felt the need to speak up. "You squealed, Xander. I thought something might be the matter."
"Hey! I may, may, have given a manly yelp, but there was no squealing here. I am non-squealing guy."
"Very well. You yelped. Might I ask why?"
"God, Giles, do you have to?" Buffy gave a weary sigh and slammed her 300 year old book shut, pointedly ignoring the older man's wince. "You know why he squealed." A killer glare in his direction stopped Xander's protest before it crossed his lips. "He's sitting on the 'why'! Spike either tickled him, or pinched him or goosed him, or something. And we all know he isn't really hurt because chip dip over there isn't trying to stop whatever passes for his brains from dribbling out of his ears!"
"I think they're cute." Tara blinked at the stunned gazes aimed her way and quickly looked back down at her book, hiding behind the soft curtain of her hair. "Their auras are beautiful..."
"I know, sweetie." Willow absently began to toy with Tara's hair. "But it's been a whole month now and they're still acting like lovesick poodles."
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's true, Spike. You must admit you do appear to have taken every available opportunity to play the romantic fool. Only yesterday you spent two hours feeding Xander chocolates from your mouth to his." He pretended not to hear the gagging noises coming from Buffy. "And the day before that you stole my post-it pad and plastered love notes everywhere you thought Xander might go while he was in the shop. Some of those he missed were found by customers. One in particular cost me a very good sale when I refused to make good on the implied promise!"
He ran a hand through his hair, more than a little frustrated. "Honestly, if this is meant as a punishment for the way we acted when we first discovered about the present... state of affairs, then rest assured we have learnt our lesson. We have listened to you bill and coo at each other, tried to ignore your more highly inappropriate displays of affection... Lord knows we've made allowances for the fact that you won't let Xander get more than six feet away from you while on patrol. We accept the fact that the two of you are together, Spike, so can you please stop rubbing our noses in it."
Everyone watched as the couple communed silently, somehow cramming entire sentences into a raised brow or a quirked lip, and then suddenly a decision was made. Xander stood, groaning as he stretched his back and leg muscles.
"At last! Do you guys have any idea how difficult it is to spend that many hours on someone's lap? I swear my ass was numb all evening after yesterday's session." With lightning-quick reflexes that no one in the room had ever seen before, he spun around and clamped a hand over Spike's mouth.
"They cried 'uncle' already, Spike. I think we can leave the innuendos at home for a while, yeah?" Spike blinked, which Xander took as a yes.
"So, who wants pizza?"