Thank you to Slaymesoftly for beta'ing

Boys And Their Toys

William ripped the paper, peeling it back to reveal the bright picture adorning the box beneath, before turning a huge gap-toothed smile and his mother’s large doe-like eyes on Spike. “It’s brilliant,” the boy announced excitedly. He turned to show his latest acquisition to his dad. “It even has a working pump,” he announced in awe.

“Yep, an’ sirens, flashing lights and moving ladder,” Spike told the excited seven-year-old.

“Why does William get a fire engine and I don’t?” Elizabeth asked, tugging urgently on her uncle’s hand.

Spike scooped her up, settling her comfortably on his hip. “Cause, Princess, it’s William’s birthday.”

The little girl pouted, then scrunched her face up in concentration. Holding out one chubby little hand, fingers splayed, and then carefully holding up one finger on the other she announced, “It will be my birthday in this many.”

Spike glanced over the small brunette head; capturing Buffy’s eye, he gave her a conspiratorial wink. Buffy leaned in to press a soft kiss to Elizabeth’s brow, trying not to laugh as she agreed, “That’s right, in six weeks you’ll be five.”

Elizabeth squirmed, and Spike quickly acceded to her wish, lowering her back to her feet. “Then I can have a fire engine too,” she announced earnestly, looking hopefully at her aunt and uncle.

“Or maybe even something better,” Buffy suggested.

“Yes, something better,” the little imp agreed and with a satisfied nod she skipped off to snag a brownie from the sideboard.

Spike shook his head, wondering, not for the first time, how he’d managed to wind up with so many bloody bossy women in his life. He lifted his arm automatically as Buffy cuddled in to his side, wrapping it snugly around her before stealing a quick kiss while the children were occupied.

“She’s adorable,” Buffy whispered.

“That she is, love. An’ I pity the poor bloke that marries her.”

At the sound of their laughter Giles looked up from where he was helping his eldest install the batteries in his new toy. He gently ruffled William’s hair, murmuring something to the boy before getting up and pouring two tumblers of scotch.

“Can I get you anything, my dear?” he asked Buffy.

The slayer held up the still half-full bottle of diet soda by way of answer.

“You spoil them shamelessly,” he announced, handing the vampire a glass and sipping his own.

Spike and Buffy shrugged simultaneously. “Nah,” Spike disagreed.

“Now that Dawn’s all grown up Spike needs some excuse to visit Toy R Us and test all the toys,” Buffy explained.

“Dinner,” Jenny announced, coming into the room and offering her guests a happy, if somewhat frazzled, smile as she intercepted her son and told him that he couldn’t take his new fire engine to the dinner table.

His protests were quickly silenced by one finely arched eyebrow and William returned the toy to the floor with a wistful sigh.

“How ‘bout after dinner we take it outside an’ put it through its paces?” Spike offered as he shepherded the boy into the dining room. “Get the sirens going, give the neighbours a scare.”

William looked from his uncle to his father and at Giles’ nod his face broke once more into a happy grin. They walked in to dinner, the three ‘boys’ eyes shining with expectation.