She was big now, and she kept getting more so. There was no hiding her condition. She might as well wear a flashing neon light that proclaimed ‘I’m having a baby’. To her frustration none of her old clothes fit, and so she had to build an entire new wardrobe. She felt extremely dopey and unattractive.
Buffy began to shop in the infant section of the stores. Once while she was examining strollers a little girl came up. She was darling, probably six years-old, in overalls and pig-tails. She reached out a tiny hand toward Buffy’s bulge.
“Can I feel the baby?” she asked.
The slayer couldn’t help but smile. “Go ahead,” Buffy said, giving consent.
The girl put her palm against her belly. Her eyes danced with glee. She joined her right hand with her left.
“My mommy is bigger than you are,” the child said. “She says she’s going to pop one of these days.”
“My new sister or brother won’t leave mommy alone. He dances around so much. Does yours do that? I don’t feel him doing that now.”
Luckily the baby was taking a rest. She had become overly active after the eventful night with Spike. Buffy had to wonder if she was displaying wrath over Spike’s absence. It had been almost three weeks since then, and the vampire hadn’t shown his face even once. Xander, Giles, and Willow went out patrolling but Buffy knew that their skills were lacking compared to Spike or her ability. The vampire population was flourishing. She’d caught glimpses of the obituary section of the newspaper. She inwardly sighed. Something had to be done.
“She’s taking a nap,” Buffy said.
The girl laughed.
“Sally,” a woman called.
“That’s my mommy. I gotta go,” the little girl said. She pressed a kiss to Buffy’s belly. Then she muttered a ‘goodbye’ to the baby and another to Buffy. She scampered off.
Warmth spread through Buffy. So cute, she thought. I hope my kid is that sweet. But I’m going to teach her not to wander off and talk to strangers.
Buffy went home and wrote in her baby book. She jotted down a normal passage about the little girl she met in the store.
* * *
The past few weeks had been the worst imaginable. Ever since the first moment he saw her a curse befell him. It must be the power’s doing, to make him pay for the torment he dished out to others. The slayer haunted his mind night and day, at least lurking in some corner. At first he was obsessed with ripping her throat out and draining her dry, and then that changed to how he wanted to keep her safe and happy. And now (after he thought it couldn’t get any worse) . . . a baby. A tiny little Buffy. How could he not love her back?
It would have been a dream come true. But yet again it was part of the curse. To be able to create something with the woman he loved but never hold it, the worst kind of punishment.
Why should he anyway? He was a vampire after all. He couldn’t give her what she needed. He couldn’t take her into the light. Slayer was right, Spike thought, I’m not meant for parent teacher night.
Spike sprung up from his lying position on the sarcophagus when he heard the door creak open. Buffy entered. She came to a halt only five feet away. Oh, he had forgotten how radiant she looked. Three weeks without her. It seemed like years. Had she gotten rounder? It was quite becoming. Why wasn’t she wearing a coat? He had no feeling toward temperature but he was sure it was nippy out.
Buffy crossed her arms. “Spike, I haven’t seen you around lately,” she said.
He sat up straighter. Her cold voice made the amazement from her sudden arrival vanish. He felt angry. No, furious! That was his baby inside her and she rebuked him from it. Screw parent teacher night! He could still rock the girl (yes, he had decided it would be female. Another Summers girl to drive him mad) to sleep, kiss her in the morning, sing to her, tell her stories . . . love her damnit. How dare Buffy be so cruel!? He knew she was a bitch but this!
Spike jumped down and got in her face. “Why do you think that is, slayer?” he hissed. “Could be because you made it perfectly clear that you wanted me to stay away.”
Her expression stayed the same. Ice queen, she was.
“I may not need you in my life, Spike, but I can’t patrol without you.”
He snorted. Oh, she wanted him for business and nothing more. Well, that was rich.
“Don’t think so, pet.”
She stared in disbelief, and then shook her head. “This just proofs my theory. Vampires can’t love.”
He felt fire rise up inside his chest. He would have leashed out at her if it weren’t for her condition. Buffy winced and placed a hand on her belly. She seemed unconcerned so he let it go. Was the baby kicking? Hope she gives her mum a right thrashing.
“Buffy, I can’t be around you,” Spike said. He sighed. “Not when you’re carrying my child. I won’t be able to stay away later on.”
“It isn’t your child!” Buffy spat.
“Don’t play games with me! I very well know what Dru’s rant meant. She may . . .” He swallowed. A pang hit his heart. “. . . might have spat out twisted words but there was truth to them.”
Oh, my dark princess. I staked you for her. So that she could love me. Good that did. Hah! Should have let you do her in. No, the baby . . . Still, I would have been better off skipping town with you and doing away with this nonsense.
“The monks might have created her with your blood, but that is all. The night we shared never happened,” Buffy said.
Monks? “What are you off about?”
Buffy lowered her eyes. “She’s a key. She opens portals. These monks created her so that w-I could protect her from Glory. They planted our night together in our memories. It never happened. This baby has your blood, but ‘you’ are ‘not’ really her father.”
Of course. Sunnydale kept getting better and better. Now they had mystical keys . . . and false memories. Figured the slayer wouldn’t really desire him in anyway, even physically. Another part of the curse. Wasn’t the chip enough? What did the powers want from him?
“Do you feel any less her mother?” Spike asked.
Buffy faltered. “That’s different. She’s a part of me. She’s ‘inside’ me.”
“Still, all she has is your blood.”
Buffy looked away. He hit a nerve.
Spike took in an unneeded breath. “Blood isn’t just physical. It’s life.” He gestured to her stomach. “As much as you deny it, a piece of our essence went into her.” He paused. “So, you see why I can’t go patrolling with you?”
He gritted his teeth. “I’ll grow attached.”
She nodded. “You’ll become a stalker outside her window. I understand. Fine.”
Buffy turned away. He watched her walk away.
Damnit! Spike banged his head against the stone wall. His speech hadn’t fazed her at all.
Thanks for reading, people. I hope that answered some of you guys’ question about how Spike is truly the father when the hot night never happened. The monks used his DNA along with Buffy’s. So, yes, he ‘is’ the father, just not in the conventional way.
One of the many downsides to being pregnant was the frequent hospital visits. If anyone knew Buffy at all they knew that she ‘hated’ doctors. Even though her appointments were connected with life, they still reminded her of death. Her beloved cousin, a child, couldn’t be saved no matter how hard the doctors tried to. Buffy couldn’t help but be filled with insecurity for her baby’s safety. It was hard having to deal with supernatural anxiety alongside that of the natural means.
At least Dr. Grant was friendly. He didn’t appease her worry, but she appreciated his willingness to try and soothe her.
This session was pretty basic. He weighed her. She had gained so much. Too much, in her opinion; but Dr. Grant assured her it was normal. He asked her standard questions, took a blood and urine sample, and performed a blood pressure test.
Before leaving, Buffy stopped by the birthing center. She looked upon the infants behind the glass. They were lined up in two rows, wrapped in either a pink blanket or blue. Aw, they were so cute. Buffy pressed a hand against her belly. She wondered what her child would look like. She had to admit Spike had a part in its makeup. That wasn’t actually a bad thing. He was, after all, a sex- handsome ma- vampire. What would he offer? His beautifully sculpted cheekbones? His cobalt eyes? She hoped the baby at least had her nose. She had an adorable nose, if she did say so herself.
Buffy pried herself away from the window. It was getting late. She needed to get back before the otherworldlies prowled. Hmm . . . How sad it was that the vampire slayer avoided said vampires now. She simply couldn’t take the risk, though. Her baby came first above all else. Even Giles backed her up on that one now.
The hall was deserted. It was quiet, and she felt as if she were the only one there. The white walls were getting to her. She needed to get out of this place. Suddenly she heard a commotion. Slayer curiosity got the better of her and she changed direction.
She’d never been in this part of the hospital before. A chill ran through her as the noise became distinguishable as men shouting. She followed it to a room. It was jam-packed with male patients in beds. They all sat up and fought against their bindings.
“So pretty,” one said. “Green and shiny.”
Buffy backed away. She quickly wished she hadn’t entered the room.
Her back hit something hard. There was a loud crash. She spun around to find Ben in green scrubs. A tray of medication had fallen to the marble floor. Should she help him clean it up? That would be the polite thing to do, but her wild heart told her to flee.
“I’m sorry,” Buffy apologized.
“Don’t worry about it.” The nurse bent down to retrieve the medicine cups.
Ben looked up. “Crazy? Yeah. This is where they stash Sunnydale’s brain fried.”
“There are so many,” Buffy whispered.
The nurse forced a laugh. “Seems to be an epidemic as of late.”
“Well, I better get going,” Buffy said. “See you around.”
She began to walk away. She let out a breath, realizing how tense she had been during the conversation. One of the patients moaned behind her. Then others joined in, creating an overpowering sound of loss.
“The key!” a voice called.
Buffy froze. She turned back around against her better judgment. Ben’s eyes met hers widely. He dropped the tray again, this time uncaringly. He pointed at her accusingly.
“You’re the one we’ve been searching for. You have to leave!” Ben advised.
The baby jumped around inside with panic. She sensed the situation. Buffy placed a hand against her belly, trying to calm her down. Ben noticed the gesture. He shook his head.
“Oh no,” Ben said. “Not- Go, now! I can feel-“
The next thing Buffy knew Ben’s head whipped from side to side. He let out a cry of pain. And Glory appeared. The goddess stretched out her lithe body. Then she glanced down in disgust at the hospital wear that covered it.
What had happened to Ben? He was there just a second ago.
Glory surveyed her surroundings. She smirked at the writhing psychos. Her gaze fell on Buffy. Her smirk grew.
“Didn’t think you’d come to me. Thought it’d be the other way around. You have guts, princess,” Glory said.
Run, Buffy’s mind screamed. She spun and fled into the corridor. She didn’t even hear Glory’s footsteps come after her. She was slammed face-first against the wall.
“Don’t run, the fun’s just starting,” the goddess rang out.
+ + +
Spike was the definition of wanker. He had lied to Buffy. He was already attached to BOTH mother and daughter. He couldn’t stand the thought of anything happening to either of his girls. He made a decision then. He had to keep an eye on them. There was no way he was going to let Buffy win this, though. He’d keep his distance, just out of range.
He snatched up his duster and slid into it. It fell around his body as if it were a second skin. He threw open the door and walked out into the night with a purpose. He made it to 1630 Revello in record time. He stood on the sidewalk before the dark structure. No one was home. Bugger. Please don’t tell me she went out on patrol, he silently pleaded. Where could she have gone off to?
Something pulled him. He followed at its mercy.
The next thing he knew he came before the Sunnydale Memorial. He knew it well because he nicked a bag or two of blood now and again. But why was he here now? He didn’t believe in coincidences. He was there for a reason.
Spike entered the building. It was unusually quiet. A woman looked up from the information desk.
“May I help you?”
He shot her a sexy grin. “Just here to see a mate, ducks.”
“Visiting hours are over,” she told him.
Oh, screw it all. He didn’t want any trouble. He let his face shift. She froze, her skin going white. She let out a squeak.
“Don’t much follow the rules,” he said, slipping away.
Spike sniffed the air. He caught the overpowering stench of medicine, disinfectant, and death. Then something hit him. He brought in more oxygen. There it was. Buffy! She was here. . . or had been at least. He briskly followed her scent of vanilla.
Finally it became stronger. The warm pictures disappeared, only meeting blank walls. He turned the corner and came upon a huddled Buffy. Glory wasn’t far away. The hell god clutched her curls with distress.
“Ugh, I can’t . . . Not now, mummy's talking!Wriggling, piling, prowling, crawling, clowning, cavorting, doing it over and over and over and over until someone's gonna sit down on their tuffet and make this birthing stop!” Glory cried.
Spike scrunched up his face in confusion. Then he turned his attention toward Buffy. She was the most important thing. He knelt by her side. She looked up at him, dazed.
“Buffy, luv?” He touched her cheek. “You all right?”
It took a moment, but then recognition lit up in her eyes. She clung to him.
“Something’s wrong,” Buffy whimpered.
“What’s wrong? Tell me and I’ll make it better.”
Buffy moaned and writhed as if in pain. She lifted her hand, coated in blood. Oh, he could smell it now. Blood, taking over the sweet vanilla shampoo she used. Where was she . . .? Oh no!
Redness coated between Buffy’s legs. Not this, please not this! Spike shakily scooped her up.
“Everything will be all right,” he told her.
“We need to get her downstairs. There’s no one up here that takes care of this sort of thing,” a male voice said.
Spike’s head swiveled. A man with brown hair stood there. Glory was nowhere in sight.
“Who are you?” Spike asked.
“Name’s Ben. I know Buffy.”
There was no time for questions. They hurriedly got into the elevator. Nurses wheeled her away. Spike was left empty handed, coldness freezing his heart. For a moment he didn’t know what to do. Then it occurred to him that Joyce needed to know what was going on. Luckily he had recently grabbed a handful of change from someone at the Bronze. He used the payphone to call the house. No one answered. He flipped through the phonebook and found the number for the gallery. The conversation was short and direct. Joyce promised to be there in a matter of minutes.
Spike paced back and forth near the front entrance until Joyce arrived. She called Buffy’s friends first. Then she dragged him off to the waiting room. He reluctantly sat, but his leg twitched. Joyce took his hand and squeezed it. Neither said anything.
After what seemed like hours, a doctor approached them. He looked tired and drained.
“Are you Mrs. Summers?”
Joyce stood. “Yes, I am. How is my daughter?”
“She’s going to be fine.”
“And the baby?” Spike asked. He clutched the arms of the green plastic chair.
“Fine also. Although Buffy is going to have to take it easy from now on. She needs to understand that she can’t exert herself in her condition.”
Joyce let out a sigh.
“Can I see her?” Spike asked.
The doctor eyed Spike. “Are you family?”
Spike opened his mouth to answer but Joyce beat him to it.
“He’s the father.”
Spike’s eyes widened in shock. She knew.
“Then, yes, you can see her right now. I’ll take you to her,” the doctor said.
Spike hesitated. Joyce smiled. “Go on, Spike.”
He nodded and followed the good doc.
+ + +
Xander’s mouth hung open. He had just arrived. Just in time to hear . . . No, he had to have heard wrong. Spike plus father didn’t go together. It was impossible.
+ + +
Buffy sensed him enter the room and opened her eyes. She was surprisingly happy to see him. He came to her side, settling in the visitor chair.
“How you feel?” the vampire questioned.
She didn’t answer his question directly.
“Spike. . .? We could have lost her tonight,” she whispered.
Spike made a move to take her hand but then drew back. “But we didn’t.” He slid his hand under the covers to lie on her stomach instead. “Can’t stand the thought of some nasty getting the best of you or the nibblet. I’ll patrol from now on. No benefits necessary.”
Buffy put her hand over his. He met her gaze with wonder.
“Spike, how did you know where to find me?”
He shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Just an inkling.”
She nodded. The baby pushed up against Spike’s hand. Spike seemed close to tears.
“She’s something. Is she always this active?”
Buffy swallowed. “Mostly when she senses her daddy.”
She knew he would understand. She was letting him in, accepting him. Not as a lover, but as a partner. She wanted him around not only as a fighter, but also as a father.
He must have heard wrong. Maybe his ears were being affected by some kind of spell, like when Willow made Giles go blind. There just wasn’t any way that . . . The whole world would have tilted off its axes if. . . He couldn’t even think it.
Xander watched Spike exit the hospital room. He should have thrown the vampire against the wall and demanded answers. It wasn’t like the bleached menace could fight back. Instead he stayed put, waiting until Spike walked out of sight. He was just in too much stunned shock.
“Oh, Xander, I didn’t know you were here.”
Xander turned to face the pleasant voice. He forced a smile at Mrs. Summers. He had always liked Joyce. She made him feel welcome in her house at all times, unlike his actual residence.
“Why don’t you go visit Buffy? I can wait,” Joyce offered.
He shook his head. “No, I couldn’t possibly.”
“I insist. I’ll be here for hours anyway.”
So that was how Xander ended up in Buffy’s room right after Spike. He could have asked Joyce if what she had said was correct; but why when he could ask his friend directly. He knew that his fears were nonsense fabrications. There just wasn’t any chance that . . . She’d laugh at him for his foolishness. Maybe it was even a joke. Joyce had a sense of humor, same as her daughter. Get back at funny Xander for always doing the teasing.
Buffy lay in bed, small except for the bulge over her stomach. Her hand rested over the blanket covering the rise. He swallowed hard at the sight. Oh God, there could be a demon spawn inside there. How could Buffy possibly . . .? Evil images invaded his brain. Snyder in a tutu, Snyder in a tutu.
A bright grin came to Buffy’s lips. How could she be so cheerful when . . .? No. It wasn’t true, so she could smile. The smile was a good thing, keep smiling, Buffy.
Did she say something? She’s waiting for a reply. Um . . .
“Did you and Spike have sex?” Oh my God! Did he just blurt that out!?
The grin disappeared. The slayer looked around for an escape. There was none, seeing as she was incapacitated.
“Did Spike tell you we . . . ?” Buffy demanded.
“I overheard your mom . . . She said Spike was the . . . “ He still couldn’t get it out.
“No.” She paused. “Spike and I haven’t had sex.”
He let out a sigh of relief. He knew it. This whole thing was some works of his overactive imagination. Joyce must have said something that rhymes with father. What rhymes with father? Lather. Rather. That didn’t make sense.
“I’m sorry, Buffy. I really thought I heard . . .” Buffy spoke at the same time. He stopped when he heard her say the word father followed by Spike.
“We haven’t. . . had sex. But Spike is the father.”
“I know about the birds and the bees. Last time I checked, Buff, sex was a given when a baby is involved.”
Buffy let out a fit of manic laughter. She couldn’t stop. She kept it up until tears accompanied it.
“Gotta get used to it, I guess. Common knowledge goes kablooey on the hellmouth. Some monks decided I’m the perfect vessel for some mystical key thing that opens doors. They combined Spike and my DNA to form a little girl out of it.” This seemed to make Buffy laugh harder.
People often say things make them sick. Xander’s stomach twisted up in knots. He literally felt like tossing his cookies over the situation. He averted his gaze from his best friend. He heard her laughter cease, and all he heard were choking sobs.
“Please don’t be mad at me,” she pleaded. “That’s why I lied about Riley. I knew you’d do this. You can’t even look at me now.”
The thing was he wasn’t mad. Not at her anyway. He forced his eyes back. He stared at her crumpled face and he understood. She hadn’t planned this, she had been thrown into it against her will. Poor Buffy. What she must be going through.
“I’m sorry,” Xander whispered. She probably thought he was apologizing for his actions. But he was sorry for the monks doing this to her. He was sorry for her being pregnant. He was sorry for Riley dying. He was sorry for her having a part of Spike inside her. Mostly he was sorry for the fact that he could look in her eyes, but he couldn’t look down at her baby.
Buffy reached out to him. He hugged her gently.
+ + +
Willow stared from her bed in silence as Xander ranted. She knew he needed to get this out without interruption.
“I can’t believe this! Spike! ‘Spike’! The vampire that tried to kill us is the father of Buffy’s kid! How could God, or whatever is up there, do this to Buffy?”
The witch opened her mouth. Xander continued to pace frantically in front of her seat.
“She’s going to have to look upon the face of a monster every time she kisses her daughter.”
Okay, now that was a little too much. Willow stood up. She took a step toward him. “Xander, I don’t think –“
“No, Will! That is exactly what is going to happen. Buffy saved the world countless times and the damn Holy Spirit is repaying her by impregnating her with evil.”
Oh, Goddess, please give me strength. She had to force herself not to use her powers in order to get him to sit down and calm himself. He was being irrational and overdramatic.
“Xander. . .” She spoke softly and slowly. “The powers only interfere when it is necessary. This must be the best thing for Buffy otherwise they’d do something. Or, maybe Buffy wants this. Ever think of that?”
He didn’t seem to hear her. He turned to face her. “We can do something! ‘You’ can do something. You’re a witch. All you have to do is a spell.”
Willow shook her head. Huh? Where was Tara when you needed her? Tara had a calming affect on people. Or Giles. Giles would be good.
“You could-could take the thing out of her. You don’t have to destroy it. Transform it into something else. If the monks could do it you can.”
He stepped over to stand near the door. “There has to be a book at the Magic Shop. Or-or, on the net. Come on, we need to do research.”
Willow held up her right hand. “Hey. Hey, hold on a minute!” This was getting out of control. “I’m going to go talk to Buffy about this first. We’re not doing anything until we get her permission.”
Nodding, Xander said in a rush, “Yeah, all right.”
“Why don’t you stay here?” Willow gestured to Tara’s and her dorm room. “I’ll-I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
Willow left him, wishing she had a lock on the outside of the door. He was in no state to venture out into the public. She hurried off in the direction of Sunnydale Memorial. Please, Buffy, be the slayer and know how to handle this situation.
Finally she arrived at Buffy’s hospital room. She wished she had a car. It took more time than she wished to get there. She took a deep breath and walked in. Buffy sat on the bed, flipping through daytime television. Apparently soap-operas and talk shows didn’t satisfy her needs. Buffy pushed the power button and the screen went black.
“Will, thank God! I’m so totally bored. The doctors won’t let me leave even though I feel fine. Stupid hospitals,” Buffy said in greeting. “So, tell me about the outside world of the healthy. Where I belong, by the way.” The last part had an edge of bitterness.
Willow fidgeted. She didn’t want to burden Buffy with Xander-troubles. The young woman had just recovered from a traumatic encounter with a Hell God. Buffy might insist that she was fine but Willow knew that doctors knew best.
The slayer sat up straighter. “Willow, you have a ‘something is wrong’ face. Please spit it out.”
“It’s Xander. He’s acting crazy,” Willow spilled.
“Evil possessed crazy? Or Dracula control crazy?”
Shaking her head, the red-head said, “No. ‘Spike is the father of Buffy’s baby, and Buffy needs to be saved’ crazy.”
Buffy banged her bead backwards against the wall. “You know then?”
“Oh yeah, definite yes. Xander repeated it over and over again. Then he pleaded denial, then went off about how the ‘thing’ had to be disposed of for your own good,” Willow explained with a frown.
Before Willow knew it, Buffy moved over to the side of the mattress. She swung her legs over the side and then stood up.
“Where’d they stash my clothes?”
“Hey, Buffy, what are you doing?”
“Leaving,” she said simply. She glanced around in search of her garments. She let out a frustrated sound when she couldn’t find them. “Think you could magic something? Something nice but sill fits?”
The exact spell that was needed popped into Willow’s mind. She felt her fingers tingle with energy. She took in a calming breath to squash the powerful flow.
“This isn’t such a good idea. The doctors told you to stay a little longer,” Willow said. She felt like her high-school self again. The ever faithful and common-sense Willow.
“I feel fine. Slayer recovery, remember. . . I have to leave. I can’t take the chance . . .”
Just then footsteps neared and a moment later a nurse made her presence known. The nurse’ smile vanished as she took in the sight of an empty bed and Buffy standing next to it.
“Miss Summers, you really should lay down and rest.”
Buffy reluctantly did as requested. What else could she do? Knock the woman unconscious? Even though Willow suspected her best friend was tempted to do so.
+ + +
What was taking Willow so long? He couldn’t wait for her. Something needed to be done NOW. He couldn’t let Buffy live with that ‘thing’ inside her any longer.
He went over to the phone and picked it up. He dialed the only one who would understand the urgent need.
“Giles, meet me at the magic shop. It’s concerning Buffy.”
It is well known that vampires have excellent hearing. Spike had better ears than many of his kind, and that was how he could hear Willow and Buffy far before he reached the room. He was originally going to go back to the cemetery but stopped halfway down the sewer system. He knew that he couldn’t stand leaving Buffy in that place. What if Glory suddenly showed up again? No, he had to stay nearby.
“Why didn’t you do some Jedi mind-trick on her?” Spike smiled as the slayer’s voice filtered into the air. He loved her voice even when she was fiery hot with anger.
“I can’t just mess with people’s minds.” Willow, Spike recognized.
“When my baby is concerned YES you can!”
Huh? Wait a tic. Spike increased his pace. Vampires also have great speed.
“I have to get back to Xander,” Willow said.
“And I’m coming with you,” Buffy insisted. “Screw the damn nurses and their hawk-like watchery-ness.”
Spike burst in. “What the bloody hell is going on?” He pointed to the door. “I caught a snippet of things down the hall. What do you mean you’re leaving?”
His jaw set as Buffy got out of bed. She steadily stood up. “See, I’m good to go. Xander’s going to try and change our daughter back into a bright green ball,” Buffy said.
“Actually, no. He said he’d change it into something pretty,” Willow corrected.
“What could he possibly. . . ? I’m not going to have her transform into a bouquet of flowers, Will!”
Without saying a word, Spike scooped Buffy up. She gave a squeak of surprise and then clung to his neck tightly. He carried her out into the vacant hallway. Willow followed.
“I can walk, you know,” Buffy said with a pout. Oh, how he wanted to get that lip. How cute she was in her little hospital gown too. He took in a deep breath to calm himself as she wriggled in his arms.
They almost got to the doors. Almost. But then the receptionist got up from her desk.
“Excuse me . . .” That was as far as the woman got.
The vampire spun around. He let his face shift into the hideous features of a monster. The stunning blue of his eyes became gold. He felt his teeth elongate and he displayed them proudly to the pest standing in their way. She didn’t scream or run away. Instead she just stood there, frozen, gaze straight ahead. The group sneaked out the electronic doors.
“I hope you didn’t break her,” Buffy commented.
They traveled quickly through town toward the Sunnydale University dorms. Spike would have gone faster if Willow hadn’t been with them. She actually had good endurance for a human. Finally the three arrived. Willow swung the door open and peeked in at the unoccupied space.
“Uh oh,” Willow said.
Buffy laid her head back against Spike and closed her eyes. “Why is it, Will, that I see you use your magic all the time when it isn’t needed? But now that it is without a shadow of a doubt, you hold back? Huh?”
Willow was at a loss for words.
Spike tightened his hold on the slayer in his arms. His demon raged within, begging to leash out upon the world. The whelp better reconsider his plan or he would be very sorry. There were ways around the chip that the scoobies hadn’t thought of.
“Exc-cuse me? Could you repeat that? I’m not sure I heard you correctly?”
Giles’s head throbbed. He never wanted to put his glasses back on and face the world. He wished he could fall into a hole somewhere and never have to come out.
“I’ve said it three times. You heard it the first time. Buffy is having Spike’s-“
Giles held up a hand. “Dear lord, all right! That’s bloody enough!”
“And so you know what we must do. We have to get rid of it. She can’t do it the medical way so we have to take magical action,” Xander reasoned.
“You do not understand the repercussions . . . The child is a manifestation of the key.”
A great part of Giles wanted to give into Xander’s plan. The thought of the vary thing they fought against growing inside his slayer was sickening. But he knew that the key was an important energy and the fate of the world depended on its safety. Giles would do anything, allow anything, or sacrifice anything for the greater good. He had been ingrained to do so as a watcher.
Xander became excited. Giles frowned. This was no trifle matter, and the boy acted like he had come up with a way to earn ten million dollars.
“See, that’s where the brilliance of my plan comes in. We transform it into something else. No harm can come from that.”
“And what would you suggest? We change it into a center piece? A great work of art perhaps?” Giles’s voice dripped with sarcasm.
“How about a shiny skeleton key? Glory would never look for an actual key,” Xander said, grinning.
Giles stood up. He thrust his glasses back onto his face. He opened his mouth to decline Xander’s ‘brilliant’ plan. But then he suddenly reconsidered. The idea actually was a good one. Glory wouldn’t come searching for an actual key. If worse came to worse, they could always change its form once again, throwing her off.
“Xander, grab the Book of Mutations and Glamour. I’ll check the Ancient Alterations,” Giles found himself saying.
The expression on Xander resembled that of someone who had one first place in a competition.
The two men were into over a half hour of research when Giles came across something helpful. He scanned the passage. It was exactly what they needed.
He began to read more thoroughly.
Spell of Metamorphism
Blood of the vampire
An item or picture to replicate
To transform an object into an exact duplication of an item (or illustration of such item). All aspects of the original item will be vanquished.
Giles never read on to the actual spell incantation. He lifted his head. Xander was completely engrossed in his own text.
“Stop right now!” Giles demanded.
Xander glanced up, confused.
“I can’t allow this.”
Giles slammed the Ancient Alterations shut. “I can’t believe I was going to go through with this. Xander, think for a minute what this would mean. This child would no longer be anything that it is now.”
“Isn’t that the point?” Xander asked. “To eliminate another bleached one from running rampant upon the land of good?”
“Do you love Buffy?”
Xander’s brown eyes widened. “Of course. That’s why I’m doing this.”
“I’m assuming that you have learned how children are created. Buffy is the key’s mother.”
“Yeah. And Spike is the father.” Xander apparently still didn’t get it. He stared at the older man blankly.
“If we were to obliterate everything this key is now, yes the Spike part would disappear, but we would be doing away with a part of Buffy as well. Could you live with yourself after that?”
It took a moment for that to sink in. His face went white, as if the life had drained out of him. “I-I hadn’t-“
“You didn’t think of that? Of course not. Neither did I at first. We let our loathing of Spike get in the way. “
Just then the bell for the Magic Box tinkled. Buffy flew into the store. She halted dead in the middle of the floor. She surveyed the scene of books fearfully.
“You didn’t . . .? Please tell me you didn’t?” Buffy questioned. It was directed at Giles. He knew it meant ‘Please tell me you weren’t going to agree with Xander’.
Giles got to his feet and faced her. He took in the woman he had come to love like a daughter. She was radiant, hospital gown, unkempt locks and all. How could he have even contemplated preventing a piece of her to spread? This child could only bring goodness and light.
“No,” he softly confirmed.
Buffy sagged with relief. “You-You stopped him?”
There was no way he could confess to almost going through with it. Yet he couldn’t lie. Luckily Xander spoke instead.
Xander stepped forward. “I’m sorry. Giles helped me understand what I was doing. As much as I hate Spike I couldn’t kill anything that is part of you. I love you, Buff.”
Buffy’s gaze fell on Xander. His words did nothing to soften her.
Spike burst in then, followed by Willow. The witch fought to catch her breath.
“Phew, I need to join the gym or something if this keeps up,” Willow remarked. “Oh, are we in time? Please tell me we are in time?”
Spike began to come at Xander with a vengeance. Buffy held out her hand to stop the vampire. She shook her head.
“It’s over,” Buffy said. “It’s over.” The last part was a whisper.
“Buffy-“ Xander began.
“ ‘It’s over’,” Buffy repeated. She turned toward Spike. She glanced down at her half-nakedness. “Take me home so I can change.”
Buffy pouted as she watched Spike spin around, his duster flowing around his form. It looked like he was having fun. If she didn’t look like Moby Dick she’d be having fun as well. She felt lazy and unused. Her Aerobics for Mothers to Be video just didn’t cut it. Slayers were meant for the rush, which leg lifts didn’t provide.
Spike had to go and smirk, reminding her even more what she was missing out on. He back-handed his opponent, making the vamp careen backwards toward where Buffy sat on a tombstone. She stood up. She knew she shouldn’t, but the enticement was so great. He was going to kill her. She whipped out her stake and plunged it into the foe. The vampire crumbled to dust.
“What the bleeding hell do you think you’re doing, slayer?” Spike demanded. “We agreed that all you’d do was watch. You shouldn’t even be out here at all.”
Oh my God, he looked delicious. She licked her lips. He was all bad-ass and fiery. Her kill had filled her with excitement. She itched for more. He seemed like a good source, given her circumstances.
“Come on, Spikey. A tinsy wincey spar? I’m all hot for some action.”
Did that sound like a come-on? It did to her. Was pregnancy making her crazy?
Spike set his jaw. “Not gonna chance it. Not meaning to I could jostle the bite-sized one too much. No.”
She fell back on the best tactic she had: cuteness. She remembered their engagement, when he went for her lip. She gave him some now as temptation.
He shook his head. “Not gonna happen.”
Buffy stopped right in front of him. She was sure he could feel her heightened breath on his sensitive skin. Her heartbeat was hammering inside her chest too.
“What isn’t going to happen?” Buffy whispered.
Spike took a step back. “Uh, Buffy . . . “
She gazed up at him with child-like innocence. “Yes, Spike?”
“I-I think you’re not thinking straight right now. Let’s get you home.”
This must be that sensual arousal she read about in her pregnancy book. Some women just got horny. Rational had simply jumped out the window for the moment. All Buffy could think about was how sexy he looked in the moonlight. His hair glimmered and his shadows cast beautifully over his well-sculpted face.
He took in a deep breath. “I don’t know how much longer I can –“
Buffy reached out and ran her hands over his tight, black t-shirt. She could feel his hard chest underneath. The sensation brought back images of running her fingers down his bare flesh. False memories, she reminded herself. But the thought only made her long to make them real.
“Don’t try to fight it,” Buffy said.
His blue eyes glazed over. “This is a dream. I’ve dreamed this before.”
She smiled. She slipped his duster off his arms. The leather crumpled to the grass. Spike stood rigid. He must be frightened that I’m playing games, Buffy thought.
Buffy took his face in her hands and directed his eyes upon her. “Tell me you want me.”
“I always want you,” he told her heavily.
“Tell me you love me.”
His eyes swam with hope. “I love you.”
She smashed his mouth down on hers. It was hard and powerful. Buffy ground herself into him. For the first time she was actually glad none of her pants fit. She hissed as Spike slipped underneath her skirt. Good vampire, just like that. Keep it up and I’ll give you a treat.
“I don’t think she’s out here. Let’s go home,” Anya begged.
Xander continued on ahead of her. “She’s got to be out here somewhere. Joyce said she went patrolling with Spike.”
Anya sighed, clearly bored. “We could be doing something way more interesting. Like that game we-“ Xander shot her a look that meant ‘Not now’. “Why are we doing this again?”
“I need to talk to Buffy. We’re going through a tough time right now. I thought maybe I could lure into spending time with me with donuts and coffee tomorrow morning.”
Folding her arms, Anya said,” You never take me out.”
Xander grabbed his girlfriend’s hand. “I’ll take you out for a nice meal, I promise. After I settle things with Buffy, okay?”
The ex-demon brightened. “Deal.”
They went on through the cemetery. All of a sudden Anya halted. Xander glanced back in confusion.
“I hear something,” Anya said. “Do you hear. . .? Oh. . . Oh my God! Somebody is having sex.”
“Ahn, I’m sure nobody is having sex. I mean, it’s dark. Who would venture out late at night to do it . . . in the cemetery . . . where no one will see . . . Okay maybe-“
“Oh Spike, you are the big bad!”
Xander’s eyes bugged out in horror. Oh no! Oh, oh no! This thing with Buffy got worse and worse.
Anya took a few steps forward. Xander grabbed her arm. “What are you doing?”
“I want to see,” she said.
“Buffy. Hmm-ugh.” Xander closed his eyes. Spike.
“We are not going to spy on them. We’re going to go get help,” Xander said.
“She doesn’t need help. She’s having a very good time. Look.” Anya pushed Xander forward. He quickly shielded his eyes.
Spike lay on his back in all his naked glory. Buffy appeared fully clothed, but implications spoke against. Her pastel skirt spilled over their hips as they moved. Buffy had to upper-hand, riding him with frenzy. They let out moans and cries of pleasure.
Xander had only taken it in for a second. A second too late.
Buffy came to her senses when she felt the sting. Her pleasure moment hid it from her at first, but as it receded it became known. Buffy scrambled off him, holding the side of her neck.
“You bit me!” she accused.
He stared up at her, dazed. “Well, yeah. Vampire, remember?”
She pointed a finger at him. “You drank from me! How could you?” She searched around for her panties.
“It’s how it’s done.”
“Not how I do it,” she spat.
Spike lifted himself up on his elbows. “Vampires bite. It’s a sign of affection.”
“’I love you. Can I have your hemoglobin?’ ‘Oh, why sure. Take it all’.’”
“I’d never hurt you, Buffy. You know that.”
Buffy found her undergarment. She pulled it on. She spun around, hovering over his sprawled body.
“No, I really don’t. This display actually reinforces it. You are a vampire. Vampires do violent things.”
Spike swiftly rose. He got in her face. “What was this? I thought it was an act of trust.”
“I could never trust a monster.”
His eyes darkened.
Buffy touched her stomach. “You want to know what this was? A mistake. I can’t afford to make anymore.”
She turned around and stomped off.
If someone was going to vote on one thing Buffy did better than anything else it might be running away. During the journey all she had to concentrate on was the pump of her muscles, the inhale and exhale of her breath. But when she reached wherever she was heading, well then everything she had been dissociating from came back.
She ended up at Giles’s apartment. She didn’t know why exactly, maybe to confess her sins. As she came to a halt, her hand came up to touch the mark Spike’s fangs had left. It had almost closed completely. She realized that he had barely nicked her. Actually, looking back on it, the bite had felt like a hickey, pleasurable. And it came to her why she had come to Giles. She needed for him to wipe out her uncertainties. He was good at hammering the slayer code into her brain: vampires bad, slayers good.
Buffy hadn’t expected to find a whole army waiting for her. She froze at their dire and concerned expressions. Except Anya, the ex-demon seemed annoyed.
Xander stood up from his seat in the recliner. “Buff, I uh . . . saw you . . . uh. . . you were . . . with . . .”
Buffy swallowed and found it unable to speak.
“Oh come on,” Anya said. “You were boinking Spike. I don’t see what such the big deal is, though.” She crossed her arms.
Xander shot his girlfriend a look. “It is Spike. Spike is a vampire.”
Shrugging, Anya said,” Well, I’m happy for Buffy. Vampires make wonderful lovers. They have the stamina of more then ten men and the muscles of –“
“Ahn!” He focused back on Buffy. “We don’t want you getting hurt.”
Willow took Tara’s hand. “We’re worried, Buffy. We’ll love you no matter what, but . . . We think you might need help.”
Buffy surveyed the whole gang. Her eyes landed on Giles, the reaction she really cared about. He was clearly uncomfortable, but to her relief not disappointed.
“I need help,” Buffy declared.
“I told you she needed help,” Xander told Anya. Buffy tried to shut out the other voices.
Giles’s wise, warm eyes met hers. “What is the matter? Explain it to me.” His voice soothed her.
“Things used to be so clear. Now everything is . . . gray.” She articulated her point by doing a few hand gestures. “I don’t know what the right thing to do is, or even what the wrong thing is. I’m lost, Giles, and I can’t find my way back.”
Giles opened his mouth, but Buffy continued. “I also feel so . . . nothing. I don’t feel anything. I know I love my daughter. I love my mom. I love you, Giles.” She gazed up at him, as if she was small and he had all the answers. “But I can’t express it the way I know I should.”
“Are you serious?” The statement conveyed total shock.
“Serious to the amount of ten. I need help to find myself again.”
He thought for a moment. “There is a quest . . . in the watchers’s diaries. A journey to find answers. It might take a day or two, and we’d have to drive out to the desert.”
Buffy looked around the room at her friends. Everyone looked back at her, waiting.
“I can’t leave when Glory . . .”
“This might strengthen you, Buffy,” Tara said.
“Yeah,” Willow chimed in. “You can come back all epiphanied and ready to kick her ass.”
“I agree,” Giles said. “If you feel that you need some sort of self discovery or, or enlightenment then I support this a hundred percent.”
So it was settled. Buffy decided to go to the desert. She didn’t know what to expect but Giles seemed to think that it was the solution to everything. She hoped it would clarify all the conflicting thoughts that were battling in her brain, most of them having to do with a certain bleached-blonde.
Hours later, Buffy found herself out in the middle of nowhere. Giles conducted some weird hokey-pokey ritual with gourds that amused her. He then sat in a circle and chanted from a book in Swahili. She sensed movement to her left. She turned her head to see that it was a black mountain lion. Power illuminated from the feline. It held itself with dignity and grace.
“Hello, kitty,” Buffy greeted the cat.
The mountain lion wandered off without glancing back. Buffy felt compelled to follow it. She wondered if this animal was her spirit guide. She remembered that the Native Americans believed in that sort of thing.
They traveled a long distance. There were hardly any landmarks, just the same seldom bush now and then. The sun began to set, chilling the air. The mountain lion went up to a large rock and stopped. Buffy went over and sat down upon it.
“I know this place,” Buffy whispered.
All of a sudden a giant fire burst up in front of her. Buffy watched the flames with great expectation. A form emerged in their depths. Buffy concentrated to make out that it was a dark-skinned woman with a painted face.
“I know you. You’re the first slayer,” Buffy said.
“This is a form. I am the guide,” a ghostly voice answered.
Oh. So the kitty wasn’t the guide. This spirit, or whatever, was.
“I have a few questions. I want to know about my role as the slayer. I feel like I’ve lost my way.”
The First Slayer danced before the current chosen one. “You feel distanced from things. You must connect with your surroundings.”
“How do I do that?”
“This is no fault but your own. You have subconsciously stepped back from fear. Shed this fear: love, forgive, risk the pain. Only then will you be brought to your gift.”
Buffy blinked. A gift?
“Huh?” She paused. “Love will bring me to my gift?”
“I’m getting a gift? Or do you mean I have a gift to give someone else?” Buffy questioned.
The First Slayer stilled in the midst of orange glow. “Death is your gift.”
“Death . . .” Buffy barely breathed.
“Is your gift,” the guide finished.
Buffy shook her head. “No!” she protested. “Death is ‘not’ a gift. I’ve seen people die. I know that it is not a gift to anyone.”
“There is no life without death. Your answer has been answered.”
The First Slayer flickered until she faded away. The fire slowly slipped along after her. Buffy remained on the rock for a long time. She bowed her head, closing her eyes. She was even more confused than before she came.
Buffy snuggled up to her pillow, putting off waking up. She had never felt so comfortable before.
“Buffy, luv, you do know it is after ten.”
Her pillow rumbled with the words. Funny.
“Mmm, don’t wanna,” she mumbled.
The pillow rumbled again and she heard laughter. A hand combed through her hair. She surrendered to the morning and lifted her head. Her eyes met the shocking blues of Spike’s. He smiled at her and she smiled back. Of course, he was her pillow. No wonder it felt so comfy.
“Want some breakfast?” Spike suggested.
“Waffles. Or funny-faced pancakes sound good.”
He kissed the top of her head. “Anything for my girls.”
He threw off the blankets and got up from the bed. She eyed his bare ass with appreciation. He looked back at her with a lifted eyebrow.
“Gonna get up, pet?” Spike playfully scolded.
“I’d rather stay and watch your naked cute butt,” she said.
He chuckled. He grabbed her, forcing her from the mattress. She groaned in protestation. Soon she was dressed in a blue silk robe, and ready to venture downstairs.
They entered the kitchen to find a fifteen year-old at the island. The girl looked up from her bowl of cocoa-puffs.
“Finally,” she huffed.
“Dawn, your father was going to fix yummy pancakes,” Buffy said.
Dawn shoveled in another mouthful of cereal. She spoke with a full mouth. “I’m not waiting until eleven for breakfast. You guys sleep in so late. I don’t get it; you went to bed at like ten last night.”
The adults shared an amused look. Dawn rolled her eyes. She was no longer a child and knew what the look meant.
“Ewww!” the teen shrieked. “I get it. That’s so gross! God, why can’t you be like Janice’s parents and do it when I’m away?”
“Aren’t Janice’s parents going through a divorce?” Spike asked.
“Y-Yeah,” Dawn confessed.
Spike smirked. He grabbed his wife around the waist, tugging her flush against him. “See, that’s where Janice’s parents went wrong. It’s all about the sex.”
“Spike!” Buffy reprimanded.
“Oh, please, I’m not a little girl anymore!” Dawn said. “I know about the sex. Hello, Aunt Anya baby-sat me.”
Spike reached over and ruffled his daughter’s hair. “You’ll always be my nibblet.”
Buffy’s head shot up. She sucked in a breath. Things slowly came into focus. She was back in the desert. She wrapped her arms around herself.
“Are you all right?” Giles asked.
Buffy stood up. “Let’s go.”
“Did you get your answers?”
She paused. “Actually, yes, I think I did.”
The door burst violently open. Spike’s head whipped to the side.
“Oh, you,” he said with little concern.
Xander stalked into the dim crypt, slamming the door behind him. He glared at the vampire. “I saw you . . . in the cemetery with Buffy.”
“Yeah?” Spike dug into his pocket and got out a pack of cigarettes. He tapped a stick out and lit it with his Bic lighter. He took a long drag on the nicotine and blew it in Xander’s direction. “Don’t see how it is any business of yours.”
“It is my business because Buffy's my friend ... She’s pregnant and her hormones are haywire... well, it's affected her, and you're taking advantage of her.”
Spike leaned against the sarcophagus. “I’m the kid’s da. It is natural for the mother and father to-“He narrowed his eyes at the other man. “Get intimate.”
Disgusted, Xander said,” The baby may have your DNA but you are alluding yourself to think that a monster can be a real parent.”
Xander grabbed the front of Spike’s black t-shirt. He tugged threateningly. Spike just chuckled.
“Buffy has lots of friends and we are all willing to protect her in any means necessary. If that means killing you, that’s just a bonus,” Xander warned.
Yet again the door flew open. This time a funny little creature that resembled a hobbit entered. His beady eyes took in Spike and Xander. A whole group of these leprosy demons entered behind the first. Xander immediately let go of Spike.
“Gentleman, I’m sorry to intrude, but I wondered if I could spare a moment of your time.”
Spike turned toward Xander. “Friends of yours?”
The demon punched Xander in the stomach.
“Guess not,” Spike declared. He discarded his cigarette and began to fight the brigade.
It didn’t take long for Xander to fall unconscious. Spike put up a good go but there were too many of them. They were dumb beings but they had tremendous might. They closed in, swarming around him until he hardly had room to move. Spike continued to struggle as a demon prepared to tie his hands and legs.
Buffy remained silent the entire journey home. The baby was unusually calm as she rubbed soothing circles over her bulging belly. Giles occasionally sneaked a glance over at her. She could tell that he was curious to know exactly what went on in the desert. He respected her privacy, however, and wasn’t going to press the information out of her. She was grateful for that.
Her mind was a chaotic mess, waging a war over the new data. Could the dream have been a manifestation from the spirit guide? Could it have been a true vision of the future? Death is your gift. Buffy wasn’t even going to pretend to overlook the most obvious meaning to that, not after the episode she saw.
Spike was a vampire. Spike was therefore dead. Spike was her gift. At least, with what she knew that was what made the most sense. Either that or she was going to die. Or . . . Tears threatened to spill. She would have a stillbirth.
Giles’s voice startled her. She looked around and noticed that they were in her driveway. Somehow she had blocked out the last half hour of their drive.
“Oh.” Buffy reached for the handle to the passenger door. She halted when her mentor laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“Are you alright?” he questioned.
“Oh, yeah. Peachy.” Death is my gift. Why shouldn’t I be okay? Why don’t you throw a party with balloons and streamers? I’m either going to shack up with a vampire, die, or . . . Her throat tightened.
“Did the guide reveal anything to disturb you?”
“I don’t want to talk about it until I have it all figured out,” she said.
He sighed. “Very well.”
Good ol’ Giles. She had the urge to hug him. She probably would have too if her mother hadn’t run out to greet them. It wasn’t a ‘welcome home’ display, Buffy knew at once. Something was wrong. She quickly got out of the car.
“Oh, Buffy, quickly come inside,” her mother said.
Buffy complied, not taking the time to ask questions. Her mother led her into the living room. Xander stood up, a little awkwardly, from the sofa. She noticed that he had a black eye and there were bruises up and down his arms.
“Buff, good thing you’re back. They got Spike,” Xander told her.
She didn’t have to ask who or why. Glory wanted Spike for information. Her eyes became unfocused as she felt the slayer take command.
“Grab some weapons,” she ordered Giles, who had come up behind her. “We have to. . .” Rescue him, Buffy thought.
“Kill him,” soldier slayer said out loud instead.
Would you really? Buffy-Buffy inquired.
If I have to, the slayer replied.
But he is the father of your daughter.
He might endanger so-called daughter by blabbing.
Spike wouldn’t do that.
He’s a vampire.
So? Vampires normally don’t love slayers. They don’t have chips shoved up their brain. They don’t impregnate women.
Slayer Buffy tuned out the girl.
Spike could hardly see his face was so swollen. Glory appeared as a fuzzy mass of glob in front of him (not that there would be much difference if he still had 20/20). She had long ago established that he couldn’t be the key and was now digging for its true identity- with a knife.
“Think I can get you in one long strip?” Glory sang.
The goddess pulled his head back and sliced at his bared chest. He hollered in pain.
In all his vampiric years he had never felt a threat to his existence, not even when he had fought the slayers. He was so wrapped up in the glory of the dance that he never thought about the outcome. It didn’t really matter before. But now, hung from the ceiling by chains, helpless, he had more than enough opportunity to consider the possibility. He very well might not make it out of this one. And it scared him . . . because he had something to loose this time round.
He wondered what she looked like, his daughter. His lips twitched. He could picture her now, bright golden ringlets, just a little bit of a curl from his side of the family. He wondered if she’d have Buffy’s green eyes, or if she’d adopt his blue ones. Either would be right beautiful. He could even hear her childish laughter. Oh how he wanted to experience it for real.
Spike forced his eyes to slit wider, and they stringed with protest. He had to make an attempt to get out of here. He owed it to his daughter.
“Enough. I’ll tell you who the sodding key is,” he choked weakly.
She let him go, grinning. He wanted to smash her face in until she looked worse than he did, to make it so she would never grin like that again. He twisted at the chains that bound his hands.
“Yeah, okay, the key . . .”
Glory leaned forward.
“It’s that guy . . . on the TV.”
“On the television?” Glory stepped back. She frowned, uncertain.
“On the price show. What’s his name?”
“The price is right!” a demon minion shouted in triumph.
“Bob Barker!” Spike had overheard that this demon’s name was Jinx. He seemed to be Glory’s favorite.
“It’s not Bob Barker, you scabby morons. The vampire is lying to me. The key is new to this world, and Bob Barker is as old as grit.”
A chuckle escaped Spike. Okay, he thought, no more laughing; it hurt too much.
“Yeah . . . but it was fun. And guess what, bitch? I’m not telling you jack. You’re never gonna get your sodding key, cause you might be strong, but in our world, you’re an idiot.”
Glory glared. “I am a god.”
“The god of what? Bad home perms?” he threw back.
“Shut up!” She held her head as if his words caused her physically agony.
“Mark my words, the scoobies are going to kick your skanky, lopsided ass back to whatever place would take a cheap, whorish, fashion victim ex-god like you.”
Glory spun kicked him in the chest with tremendous force. His hands suddenly broke free and he tumbled to the floor, sliding into the door. It crashed off its hinges and he ended up in the hallway. Spike groaned as he scrambled up.
“Good plan, Spike,” he mumbled.
Buffy put her high SAT score capability brain to work and figured out the section of town Glory must live in. The snake had been heading back to its master when Spike killed it. She deduced from Glory’s brand named clothing and heels that she considered style to be number one. So, the hell goddess must live in a well-to-do place.
Go Buffy! Those SAT scores weren’t an accident.
Sure enough, Glory ended up being in the largest mansion in Sunnydale. The rotting demons met them at the door. Buffy made good use of her sword, decapitating the morons one by one. Adrenaline pumped through her veins and she reveled in it. It had been so long since she had been in battle. Giles and Xander circled her and she pouted at how they took the majority of assault. Oh come on! These guys weren’t any danger.
The elevator dinged and its door opened. Out spilled Spike. His battered body and ripped clothing made her gawk in horror. She evaded Giles and Xander, and made a path through the demons to get to his side.
“Buffy!” She ignored Giles’s warning.
Buffy knelt down beside Spike and scooped up his head. He groaned. She’d never seen him so messed up.
“Oh God, what did she do to you?” Buffy whispered.
She would have lifted him if Xander hadn’t come and beat her to it. She glanced around to discover that the room was devoid of any moving demon. They hurried out before another band of recruits could replace the fallen. Buffy kept beside Xander, her eyes glued to the beat-up vampire.
As soon as Spike was laid down in his crypt she demanded that the others leave.
“Do you think he told?” Xander questioned.
Buffy shook her head. “I’ll stay and find out.”
“You look tired. One of us could stay in your place,” Giles said.
She shook her head again. “No, it has to be me.”
Her friends reluctantly left her. Buffy kept vigil, intent on any indication that Spike was waking up. Her hands traveled over his bloody and blackened skin. Wetness accumulated when she found the hole in his stomach that looked like two fingers had forced their way inside.
“Buffy?” It was a weak moan.
She ran a thumb gently down his cheek. He let his left eye peer up, the better of the two. They gazed silently at each other. And Buffy knew. He had kept their secret. There was too much love there for anything else. Her lips wobbled.
He would have died for her- for their baby. How could she have doubted that? Maybe she hadn’t, deep inside her core. Maybe she had known.
“What you did was rather heroic,” she said.
Spike forced himself into a sitting position. He stared at her quizzically.
“I won’t forget it,” she added.
“I would never hurt you or the nibs. ‘Ever’. Even if I got this chip –“
She pressed two fingers to his chapped lips. She gently smiled and leaned down to press hers against them. It was sweet and chaste.
He seemed stunned.
“I invite you to be a part of the baby’s life . . . “She took a moment to breathe deeply. “As well . . . as well as mine.”
When he finally moved he wrapped his arms around her waist. Then he pressed his face against her bosom. It took her a moment to process that he was crying. He made no sound but she could tell by the shake of his shoulders. Her heart split open.
“Thank you,” he sobbed. “Thank you.”
Buffy closed her eyes.
“Joan?” Buffy offered.
Spike snorted. “Bloody well not!”
“Why? I think Joan is a nice name.” Buffy pouted.
“Yeah, if you’re normal girl, which the baby is not.” The last part was said with emphasis.
Buffy sighed. She flipped through the book, scanning down the lists of names and their meanings. There were so many, there had to be one Spike and she could agree on.
“Anne?” Buffy suggested.
“Right good for a middle name. But not for a first. No, our kid deserves something special.”
Buffy thrust the book at him with frustration. “Here, you find one that suits your standards!”
He chuckled and began searching through the Baby Names paperback. Buffy watched him for a few moments, soon becoming bored. She leaned back against the headboard of his king-sized bed. She slid her hand over the silken sheets. The sensation brought many naughty thoughts. She squirmed. She looked back over at Spike. He was so engrossed in the book that he didn’t notice. She licked her lips.
“Huh? It can’t be dawn. Last time I checked it was only ten PM,” Buffy said, furrowing her brow.
“No, for a name. Dawn,” Spike enforced.
“Oh. Hmmm, Dawn. I like it,” she said.
He grinned. Oh, he had a cute smile when it was sincere.
“It’s perfect. She fills me with warmth like the sun,” he explained.
On cue, baby Dawn began to kick at Buffy’s ribcage. Buffy pressed her palm against the rhythm. Spike watched the ripples and then put his hand over the spot as well. The kicks grew more intense.
“Do you think she understands what is going on out here?” Buffy asked.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. We’re both pretty smart,” Spike said.
“You think I’m smart?”
She smiled. On impulse, Buffy tilted her head to lie on his shoulder. She moaned in contentment. She felt him stiffen and she wondered why.
“Buffy, what is this between us?” he questioned.
She lifted her head to look at him. “I don’t know.” Then she said more softly, “But I’d like to find out.”
He nodded, accepting the answer for now.
Buffy yawned. “I think I better get home. Would you mind walking me home?”
They both knew that he would have insisted on walking her home for her safety. The fact that she asked for his company meant something.
They were silent for half the walk. She grabbed his hand as they exited the cemetery. He glanced over in amazement.
“Do you want to go shopping with me tomorrow?” Buffy blurted.
“Whot? Why are you asking me to go to the mall with you? Wouldn’t Red be a better choice to gawk at shoes, makeup, and all the other tidbits you bints have far too much of already?”
Buffy laced their fingers. “Not the mall. I was going to shop for baby things. It occurred to me that I don’t have that much longer to get ready. I need to start fixing up a nursery.”
“Oh. All right then. What time were you thinking?”
“How about when the sun goes down tomorrow night? You can meet me at my house. I’m sure my mom would be glad to see you.”
“Sounds all right.”
“Okay,” she said brightly.
They came to a halt at the edge of her driveway. It felt weird yet nice to be this close to Spike. She was trying for the sake of their daughter to see if a relationship could work out. Surprisingly, she found that she actually ‘wanted’ it to. She wasn’t big on the touchy-feely that went with getting to know each other. She squeezed his hand before awkwardly letting go.
She looked down at the pavement. “I’ll, uh, see you tomorrow.”
“Yeah. Right,” he said.
She quickly headed inside. She felt his presence lingering out near his favorite tree. She went up to her room and looked down from the window. He gazed up and smiled before turning away.
Joyce opened the door with a smile. “Why hello, Spike. Come in. I’ll go tell Buffy you’re here.”
Spike stepped into the house. He stuffed his hands into his duster pockets. He waited by the door and watched Mrs. Summers go upstairs to fetch her daughter. After a few moments Joyce returned.
“She’ll be down in a minute,” Joyce said.
“You should come around more often,” she added.
He hated to tell her that Buffy had revoked his invitation. Joyce probably would have asked why, and then that would have started a whole big mess he didn’t want to get into. Better to appreciate the good happenings of the moment and forget the past.
“Buffy told me what happened with Glory. I want to thank you for what you did,” Joyce sincerely said. “How are you feeling?”
He smiled. “Almost all patched up.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Their conversation was halted by footsteps. The vampire looked up to see Buffy at the top of the stairs. For a human the sight of her would have caused their breath to stop, for him it caused his to start. She looked . . . Was their a word to describe it? Ravishing? Glorious? . . . Effulgent? She wore a pastel colored flower skirt and white top that didn’t hide but rather complimented the protruding of her middle. Her makeup was subtle and made her face glow with radiance. Her hair seemed extra golden and laid over her shoulders in waves.
Did she purposely get dressed up for him? Was this a date? Nah, couldn’t be. Could it?
Buffy descended the stairs with a smile. She looped her arm with his. She leaned over and whispered in his ear,” Let’s get out of here before my mom sees your. . . predicament.”
He looked down and his eyes widened. He was hard. He had been so wrapped up in her beauty that he hadn’t felt it. He hid his crotch with the material of his coat. She giggled.
“Bye, Mom,” Buffy called.
“Have fun,” Joyce replied.
And they did. Buffy discovered that they had similar tastes when it came to baby items. They picked out sun and moon crib sheets, cute girly clothes, and even a few toys. Spike made her stop to play the X-Box in Kay B Toys. They battled in some karate combat game. Buffy won the first round. Spike didn’t take defeat well. He demanded on a rematch, where he did win. Buffy then insisted on best out of three. The third turned out to be a tie of all things. They both laughed at the irony.
They stopped at Dairy Queen to get ice-cream. Buffy had the craving for something really chocolately. She ordered this oreo cookie dessert that was delicious. As she eyed Spike eat his own treat she had the urge to have a taste. She got up and went around to sit next to him on his side of the booth. He raised his eyebrow in confusion. She leaned over and kissed him. She delved her tongue in his mouth, swirling it around to every corner.
When she pulled back she said,” Mmm, tasty. I’ve never had a snicker blizzard.”
Their last stop was a furniture store. They went over to the crib section and surveyed them all over.
“How bout this one?” Spike suggested.
Buffy shrugged. “Okay.”
They all seemed the same to her. The one Spike preferred had a changing table that would come in handy, though.
“Oi, miss, do you have one of these boxed up?” he called to a sales clerk.
The clerk retrieved a box and they paid for it with Joyce’s credit card. Spike hoisted the box up into his arms. He offered to take it out and then bring the car around for Buffy.
“You have a sweet husband,” the cashier commented. “I’m lucky if mine puts down the toilet seat.”
“Oh, he’s not my husband.” She paused. “Yet.”
Spike was about to the electronic doors by then. He might not have heard her statement. She hoped with his vampiric hearing that he had.
Anya came up from the cellar with a mummy hand. She turned it over to the customer, looking very pleased with herself. Xander giggled.
“What?” Buffy asked.
“Cellar door,” he mumbled with a mouthful of donut.
He sat up straighter in his seat. “It’s from this movie, Donnie Darko. It’s about this guy who sees weird stuff and . . . Hey, why don’t you come watch it tonight?”
Buffy shifted in her seat. She shut her new mothers magazine. “Uh, not tonight.”
Xander frowned. “Why not?”
“Because I’m going over to Spike’s tonight.”
His eyes bugged out. “You are telling me that you are turning down a movie night in a warm apartment to go see some vampire in a dank hole?”
“-Yeah.” She bit her lip.
He just stared.
“I’m thinking of dating him,” Buffy spilled.
Xander kept staring.
Anya skipped over. “Oh, congratulations. I’m so happy that things are working out for you.”
“Th-Thank you,” Buffy said.
Both women turned their eyes to fall on Xander. His mouth opened and closed like a fish. Buffy took in a deep breath and waited.
“Are you. . .? How . . .? I thought . . .?” Xander sputtered.
Anya frowned at her boyfriend.
Xander sighed. “Okay.”
Now it was Buffy’s turn to do the fish expression. “Okay?”
Xander nodded. “Y-Yeah. Just don’t expect me to do my snoopy dance over it.”
Anya went over and kissed Xander on the nose before going back to stand behind the register. Xander mumbled a goodbye, got up, and left the store. He looked like he was in pain.
Buffy got to her feet and walked over to the counter. “Anya, what was that about?”
The woman grinned. “You owe me. A really good birthday gift maybe. I just saved you a lot of grief.”
“I’m with the huh? How?” Buffy asked.
“I know you and Spike have been spending a lot of time together recently. It was no mystery that you’d end up as a couple. I told Xander but he denied it. I convinced him I was right and he was about ready to go stake Spike. I mean really dust him.”
Buffy felt her heart squeeze. “How’d you stop him?”
“I warned him that if he did do away with Spike that I’d leave him. I also mentioned that you’d never forgive him.”
Buffy gestured to the table. “So back there, before, that was your doing? Xander handled my confession so well because you threatened to break up with him?”
“Pretty much,” Anya said.
The ding of the bell over the door alerted that another customer had entered. Anya perked up. “I have to go help the people with money. Why don’t you leave, be grateful, and ponder over what you can get me for my birthday? Something large and expensive.”
Buffy left the shop, shaking her head. She really did owe Anya one.
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