Early Closing

Xander looked from Giles to Spike and smirked. "They've had a row," he said to Anya as she dusted a display. "Haven't spoken a word all afternoon. Giles won't even look at him."

Anya spared a glance. Giles was reading in the loft, his face stern, Spike sitting at the table, moodily shredding a piece of paper.

The clock chimed and Spike stood up. "About bloody time," he muttered.

Three strides took him to the foot of the ladder leading up to the loft and he climbed up quickly. Xander was open mouthed, Anya dispassionate, as they watched Spike go to Giles, take the book from his hand, toss it -carefully – aside, and say,” Time’s up, Giles. Two hours, you said."

Giles looked up at him, smiled slowly and nodded. "Yes, I did. I trust you've learned a lesson here, Spike -"

"Oh, yeah, whatever. Giles, can't we -" His voice was full of appeal.

Giles sighed and stood up. "Anya," he called, "I'm going home now. Can you close up the shop?"

Xander watched them leave and turned to Anya. "But! They were! What was all that?"

Anya smiled and patted his cheek. "They're playing," she said indulgently. "Like when you pretend you're a gladiator and I'm a -"


She sighed and moved a little closer. "I had the lion costume dry cleaned," she confided.

"That's - really?"

She nodded.

Xander glanced around. "Seems pretty quiet," he said. "Why don't we close early?"

Anya hit him with her duster. "Xander," she scolded, "that's just plain sick!"

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