The dining room was spacious, with white linens and flickering candle centerpieces at each table. Buffy and Spike were seated in a quiet corner, as the vampire had requested when he made the reservations. His ‘tip' to the maitre de insured those arrangements when they arrived.
"What would you like to have, luv?" Spike asked, looking at Buffy over the top of the embroidered menu.
"Everything," Buffy replied. "It all looks delicious."
"Not as delicious as you look," he mumbled, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He never realized how sexy pregnant women could be until he saw the Slayer in the violet dress she was wearing. Her hair was pulled up in a way that made him want to take all the pins out and run his hands through it. He silently groaned.
"Are you going to have something?" Buffy asked.
"You," he muttered. Then he answered more loudly, "Yes, I'm going to have something, pet. And you can have whatever you want."
"Never say that to a pregnant woman, Spike," she said, a grin crossing her face.
The waiter came and took their orders under Spike's glare each time the man tried to look down Buffy's dress at her ample bosom.
"Geez, Spike, what bit you in the butt?" Buffy asked as soon as the waiter left. "He was just taking our order."
"He was trying to see down your dress!" Spike hissed. "Bloody prick. I ought to rip his eyeballs out of the sockets and..."
"I don't want to know," she interrupted, holding up her hand with a scowl. Then she smiled at him. "But thank you for ‘protecting my virtue,' as Giles would put it."
"Well, uh, you're welcome," Spike replied, ducking his head. He saw his tie and scowled at it. He hated the thing.
"So, what have you been doing since you left?" Buffy asked after a few minutes of awkward silence.
"Killing, maiming, torturing -- the usual," he answered with a wry smile. She rolled her eyes. "Actually, I've mostly been arguing with Dru. And losing."
"You probably would have gotten better results arguing with a tree," Buffy told him.
"Leave Drusilla alone," Spike scowled. "Or I'll start on poofy."
"Fine," she replied.
"Good," he said.
They stared at each other for a few moments, then they both looked away as another uncomfortable silence descended between them.
Their drinks and salads came, and Spike slammed down the liquor before the waiter even set the plates down. He gestured for another, then started poking at the plate in front of him. He looked up to see Buffy happily munching away. "How can you eat this?"
"It's good for you," she replied, then frowned. "Well, it's good for me, anyway."
"I'd rather eat the rabbit," Spike commented, pushing a cherry tomato around with his fork.
Buffy burst out laughing and the tomato shot across the table when he jerked in surprise. It hit her right in the chest, then bounced back and landed perfectly on top of her salad. This only made the Slayer laugh harder, and Spike couldn't help but join in.
"Cor, Sla-Buffy," he amended between laughs. "I'm sorry."
"I can't take you anywhere, can I?" Buffy giggled. "By the way, good shot."
"I was aiming a little higher," he replied with a lewd wink.
Buffy looked down at the top of her dress, where her ample cleavage was exposed. "If it fell down there, I'd never be able to find it."
"But it would be fun to search for," he told her, a purely male grin crossing his face.
She picked up the tomato and threw it back at him. It hit his tie, then rolled down into his lap. "Now, Slayer, no need to get violent," he said. "My tie did nothing to you."
"Except hurt my eyes," she retorted.
"Does that mean I can take the bloody thing off?" he asked, a hopeful expression on his face.
"No," she answered, then winked. "I like to see you suffer."
Spike stuck his lower lip out and folded his arms across his chest. "You're no fun."
"Would you like me to stand on the table and dance for you?" Buffy asked.
The blond vampire perked up. "Really?"
"In your dreams," she replied.
"Already happened," he said. A horrified look crossed his face when he realized he said it aloud. Luckily, the waiter came back with his drink and he occupied himself with the glass, hoping Buffy would forget what he said. Too bad it didn't work.
"So, you dream about me dancing on the table?" Buffy said with a grin hovering on her lips after the waiter had left. "Do I do anything else in these dreams of yours?"
"I plead the..., er..., sixth!" Spike replied.
"It's the fifth and you're not an American," Buffy said.
"How do you know I'm not?" he said.
"Um, accent, language, superior attitude," she listed.
"I could have a yellow card," he stated smugly.
Buffy giggled. "That's a green card, and I don't think they give them out to someone who's been dead for two hundred years."
"Undead," he corrected. "And that's only for 166 years."
"Which made you how old when you undied?" she asked.
"Twenty-six," he answered. He leaned forward and said in a hushed voice, "I was turned on my birthday, you know."
Buffy blinked in shock. "Oh my god."
"Actually, it was Angelus, but he has a tendency to think he's a god," Spike said conversationally.
"How can you be so...not caring about something like that?" Buffy asked.
"Luv, I'm a vampire. I don't care about much," he replied.
"But it was your birthday."
"An' iffin I remembers right, I was pissed as a rat an' this bog-trotting ponce fancied a bit, an' seein' as ‘e was a bit of alright, I thought, what the ‘ell, why not give it a go? Then the bloody tosser went an' turned me. After that, it didn't matter."
Buffy stared at Spike. "Was a single word of what you just said in English?"
To anyone listening in on the conversation the two were having, they would have thought one of two things: either they were movie stars - or they were just plain nuts.
"You were eaten?" Spike said, staring at her over the rim of his glass.
"Yup," Buffy said, stabbing a piece of her steak with her fork. "Same day I met the Gorches. Lyle came back, you know. Just the other week. He had a wife named Candy. Cordelia dusted her with a spatula."
"Did being eaten hurt?" he asked, curiously.
"Not really," she replied. "It was kinda slimy. A little prickly, maybe, but I wasn't in her long enough to do any real damage — to me, that is." She grinned.
Their dinner had come -- steak and shrimp for Buffy and a stake so rare it still mooed for Spike - and any awkward silences disappeared as they shared stories and ate. Cordelia had stopped by to see how they were doing and they both agreed to do something for the cheerleader for saving what otherwise could have been a disastrous evening.
"Let me see if I have them all so far," Spike said after taking another bite of his dinner. "You've been eaten, shot at, stabbed, almost sacrificed, almost offed by magick, and you've died. Am I forgetting anything?"
"I was buried alive once," she said. "I was also turned into a vampire that same week."
"No, not a real vampire," Buffy amended, taking in his horrified expression. "This kid was making people's nightmares come true. I was still Buffy, not demon-spawn. And why do you look like someone stole your car? I thought you'd love it if I were vamped."
"No," Spike said firmly. "I like you just the way you are — all warm and fiery and alive."
Buffy smiled. "Has anyone ever told you that you're a vampire?"
He frowned at her in confusion. "What?"
"You're suppose to be trying to kill me," Buffy told him. "Not liking my living status."
"Since when have I done what I'm suppose to, luv?" Spike replied.
"True," she said. She eyed his plate in a predatory fashion. "Are you going to eat that?"
"Yes," Spike said, pulling his plate closer to him. "If you want some more, order it. This is mine."
"But then I'll look like a pig," Buffy pouted.
"Order dessert, then," he told her.
"Fine," she said.
He eyed her warily as he took another bite of his food. "You're not going to stake me for the rest of my steak, are you?"
Buffy giggled. "Maybe."
"Then can you make sure that you take this stupid tie off me first?" Spike said. "If I'm going to die, I'd rather not go looking like a nancyboy."
"I think you look good," she said, then blushed. "I mean, all I ever see you in are black jeans and a black t-shirt with that duster. Sometimes you wear that red shirt, but other than that..."
He gave her a rakish grin. "You've noticed what I've been wearing? I thought Slayers were suppose to slay and move on, not analyze their opponent's fashions."
Buffy didn't say anything, she only became redder.
"Slayer, you're blushing," Spike said, his grin growing. "I think someone liked me before we made our little deal."
"Did not," Buffy replied.
"Liar," he stated.
"What about you?" she said, trying to turn the tables.
"I've always liked me," Spike answered. He chuckled at her scowl. "If I told you that I did, would that make you happy?"
"If it's the truth," Buffy replied, pushing shrimp tails around on her otherwise empty plate.
"The night I fought you for the first time, you were in blue sweater with white flowers over a green shirt. You smelled like vanilla and sweat, femininity and power. I wanted to kill you, but I had also wondered if you would be as passionate in bed as you were fighting me. And that thought crossed my mind each time I saw you fight. So, you could say I fancied you a bit."
"Oh," she breathed, her heart pounding.
"Yeah," he said quietly, picking up his drink and finishing it off. He cleared his throat and gave her a half-smile. "Now, how about that dessert, pet?"
"Well, um, goodnight," Buffy said nervously. She and Spike were on her front porch, him having escorted her to the door. It was the traditional time for the daters to kiss, and butterflies were fluttering in her stomach. She didn't know if she wanted a kiss or not.
"Goodnight," Spike replied, a smile hovering on his lips.
She shot him a glance, then put her hand on the doorknob, hoping to escape inside. However, he had other ideas. His larger hand covered hers and pulled lightly until she turned and fully faced him. "I'm going to kiss you, Buffy. If you don't want me to, you'd better say so now," he told her as he leaned closer to her.
When she didn't say anything, Spike's eyes darkened just before he claimed her lips with his own. Sparks of chemistry shot between them, pulling them back in time to the day they laid together, loving each other hour after hour. Desire coursed through them, until it became a palpable thing, hanging over them, waiting to strike.
Reluctantly, Spike managed to break away and take a step back from her. He was panting as heavily as she was, and was surprised he hadn't burst from his pants. "Uh, I have to...go...now...and do....uh,....something," he stammered. Then he focused on her swollen lips and the quick rise and fall of her breasts under the unbuttoned jacket.
He abruptly grabbed her again and plunged his hands into her hair, scattering the pins that held it up. His mouth captured hers in a hard, fiery kiss, brutally punishing it with his teeth. He plunged his tongue into mouth, forcefully dragging hers into a fight. Her hands latched onto the front of his shirt, clutching the soft, black material, trying to pull him as close to her as she could get.
Buffy stopped the kiss this time, but not because she wanted to. She pushed him away from her, her face red with arousal and embarrassment. "Spike, I have to go..."
"What? Wait, I mean," Spike was flustered, and he shook his head and tried to get his bearings. "Why?"
"Spike, just go, I have to...," she trailed of and reached back for the doorknob. "Goodnight." With that, she threw open the door and scurried inside.
Spike turned and sat down on the top step and rested his head in his hands. He didn't hear the door reopen behind him, or the woman who joined him until she spoke.
"Spike, are you alright?" Joyce asked, stepping onto the front porch.
He looked back over his shoulder at her. "Did she say anything?" he asked.
Joyce frowned. "About?"
"Never mind," he said, looking depressed.
It dawned on Joyce what had happened and she was forced to hide her smile. "Do you want me to send Buffy back out once she gets out of the bathroom?"
"What wrong? Is she sick? Is something the matter? I didn't hurt her, did I? Or the baby?" Spike asked in a rush, getting to his feet.
"Spike, she just had to go to the bathroom," Joyce replied with a small laugh. She'd been right. A slightly amorous dalliance on the front porch was interrupted by mother nature's effect on a pregnant woman.
"Oh," he said. Then he almost smacked himself on the head as he realized what happened. He looked up at Joyce, who was smiling at him in a slightly mocking way. "Tell the Slayer I'll ring her soon."
"I will," she replied. "Goodnight, Spike."
"‘Night, Joyce," he said, then headed back to his car. On the way, he went to rip the tie off and throw it away, but at the last minute changed his mind. Instead, he dug out a piece of paper and pen from the glove compartment in the car, jotted a quick note, then stuck it and the tie in the Summers' mailbox.
With a happy whistle, he got into his car and drove away.
"There was something in the mailbox for you," Joyce said as Buffy entered the house after a day over at Willow's. "I put it on your bed."
"Thanks," Buffy replied, setting her slaying bag down and moving to the refrigerator. "Do we have any apples? And mayonnaise?"
"Drawer, door," Joyce answered.
Buffy thanked her Mom again, picked up her bag, and headed up the stairs. Along the way, she unscrewed the mayonnaise lid and dipped the apple in it, then took a large bite.
She paused mid-chew when she saw the tie on the bed. With a giggle, she set her stuff down and picked up the note sitting on the tie.
Buffy (see, I didn't call you Slayer) ~
Remember, you're not suppose to care about what your mortal enemy wears.
Mushy stuff (because women like that sort of thing),
Buffy rolled her eyes, chuckling. She went over to her mirror and tacked it up just as the phone rang. "Hello?" she said upon picking up the receiver.
"Hello, pet," Spike said on the other end of the line.
"Got your note," Buffy told him. "Has anyone ever told you that you're weird?"
"And lived? Just you, ducks," he answered. "What are you doing?"
"Eating," she replied, taking another bite of apple.
"Well, finish up and change," Spike said. "I'll be over in about ten minutes to take you out."
"Is that an order?" Buffy asked sarcastically.
"No," he replied. "A polite request."
"You are so full of it," she told him.
"True," he said. "I'll see you shortly, luv."
"I'll be waiting," Buffy said, then disconnected. She scowled at herself in the mirror for giving in so easily, then she rushed about the room, changing her clothes. The doorbell rang just as she was giving her hair a final brush.
"Buffy, Spike's here!" Joyce called from downstairs.
"Coming!" Buffy yelled back. She set the brush down and grabbed her purse. At the door, she paused, looking back at the bed. With a grin, she grabbed the tie and slipped it on before going on her second date with Spike.
As days continued to pass, that second date turned into four, four into eight, and eight into sixteen until they were basically seeing each other every night. And leaving each other with unfulfilled desires after passionate kisses, because Spike was too worried about hurting the baby. Buffy was well into her eighth month, feeling as big as a house, but her mood swings were less volatile because Spike seemed to have a knack for keeping her happy.
It seemed as though everyone else was happy, too. Cordelia and Xander, Willow and Oz, and Faith and Angel, although they weren't anything more than friends. Spike had been good, not killing anyone unless he really, really wanted to and thought the world would be better off without the person -- or they ticked him off. Things seemed to be going wonderfully.
Which, of course, meant that things were bound to go wrong.
"Excuse me," a tall, blond man said, stepping into Spike's path as the vampire was heading up the Summers' front walk. "Are you Spike?"
Spike frowned, wary of a stranger knowing his name. "Yeah, and you are?"
"Hank Summers," Hank said, extending his hand. "I'm Buffy's father."
"Hello," Spike said, shaking the man's hand. "Buffy didn't say that you were coming up."
"Actually, I came to meet you," Hank said.
Spike mentally groaned. "Is this the part where you run me and the Sl-Buffy to the church with a shotgun?"
"No," Hank replied. "This is the part where you're arrested."
"What?" Spike started in shock. Suddenly, he was surrounded by six men in suits, all pointing weapons at him.
"Hands on your head," one of the men ordered. "Now."
Spike had a choice. Kill them all and get shot in the process or go with them and kill them when the chances of getting shot were less. He hated being shot, so he chose the second and put his hands on his head.
Twenty minutes later, he was in a small room with a one-way mirror, a tape recorder, a table and chairs, his hands cuffed behind him. Hank had ridden in the front seat of the vehicle he in which was taken to the police station, preventing him from breaking free. Although he was sorely tempted, he couldn't kill Buffy's dad. She'd be really ticked at him if he did that.
Staying as far away from the mirror as he could, Spike surveyed his temporary prison. The walls were cement and the door was steel. Deciding he would have to play his escape by ear, he turned his thoughts on why he was apprehended to begin with. So far, they told him nothing, but for Buffy's dad to be involved, he was pretty sure it had something to do with the lack of background on him. After all, he had been technically dead for 166 years.
One of the suits that had brought him in entered the room, followed by a uniformed police officer. The officer went up to Spike, holding a set of handcuff keys. Spike turned and allowed him to remove the metal, then returned to his position leaning against the wall opposite the door. He pulled a cigarette out from the pack that had been left on the table, which he'd palmed, and lit it with a similarly provided match.
"Well, let's get started, shall we?" the suit said. "I'm Special Agent Foster with the FBI and you are?"
Spike stared at him with a quirked brow, the cigarette dangling from his lips.
"I can see we're getting off to a great start," Foster said. He pulled out a chair and took a seat, then gestured across the table. "We're going to be awhile. You might as well get comfortable."
"I am," Spike replied, inhaling on the cigarette. He took it out of his mouth and lazily blew the smoke into the air.
"I see," Foster commented. He opened a file that he had brought in with him. "Do you know why we brought you in, Spike?"
"Couldn't find a whore in your price range?" Spike replied.
"Cute," Foster said. "Real cute. I'm sure that attitude will go over real well at the federal penitentiary."
"Don't bother to threaten me, mate," Spike said. "I've been scarier places than a prison. Ohio, for one."
"Why don't we cut with the polite chit-chat and get right down to it," Foster said, tossing the file on the table. "You don't exist and we want to know why."
Spike was right, it was because of his background, or lack thereof. "I'm standing right in front of you, so I must bloody well exist."
"There are two ways we can do this," Foster stated, rising. "You can answer my questions now, or we can lock you up until you do. Your choice."
"Don't I get a phone call?" Spike asked. "Or my own Ally McBeal?"
"This is a federal investigation," Foster told him. "You don't get anything unless the government says so."
"Hey, B!" Faith greeted as the pregnant blond Slayer entered the cemetery. "What'cha doin' out here?"
"Taking Mr. Pointy for a walk," Buffy said.
"Sneaky," Faith commented. "Getting around the whole ‘no slayage while your preggers.'"
"So what's up?" Buffy asked, falling into step beside the brunette.
"Not much," she answered. "Soulboy's suppose to meet up with me at Fairfield, then we're picking up the Colonel."
"The Colonel?" Buffy said, giving her sister-in-arms a confused look.
"You know, KFC, chicken-man?" Faith clarified. "Pops up in Japanese Anime?"
"Got it," she replied. "You know, chicken sounds really good. With tartar sauce."
"Girl, I ain't never gonna get pregnant if I'm gonna want to eat like that," Faith said, making a disgusted face.
"Hey, it's really good," Buffy defended, then burst into giggles. "Ok, it's not. But I'm hungry."
"You're always hungry," Faith said. "Why don't you get your man to take you out?"
"Don't know where he is," Buffy replied.
"I thought you two were joined at the hip or somethin'," Faith said.
"We are not," Buffy scowled. "I have a life outside of him."
"And I can fly," the brunette replied.
"How about ducking instead?" Buffy said, then punched the vampire who'd come up behind Faith.
Spike actually had no clue what to do to get himself out of the situation he was in. Since they wouldn't let him use the phone, he couldn't call Buffy, and it wasn't as if he could show them what he really was. He'd be shot and he hated being shot. It hurt. And he couldn't kill them, unless he wanted to endanger Buffy. They'd end up using her to get to him. There were also just too many cops around to be able to kill them all.
They'd stuck him in a holding cell that was similar to the interrogation room, with cement walls and a steel door he couldn't wrench open. He also couldn't get through the window set high on the wall, covered with thick, iron bars on the inside of the glass for one simple reason -- he was too short. There was a cot bolted to the floor in the room, along with a toilet in the corner, but nothing that would help him. He was effectively stuck.
He sat on the cot and leaned back against the hard wall. After a brief mental conversation with himself, he decided to try giving the Feds his real name in hopes that someone else out there would have it...and not be wanted for anything.
"Dad!" Buffy exclaimed as she entered the house and saw her father in the living room with her mom. "What are you doing here? Is everything ok?"
Hank stood and embraced her. "Everything is fine, princess. I was on my way north on a business trip and thought I'd stop by and say hello, see how you were."
"I'm fine," Buffy said, smiling. "It's so good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too," Hank replied. They both sat down and Joyce left the living room to give them some privacy. "So, honey, how are you feeling."
"Great," Buffy replied. She laid a hand on her protruding stomach. "Junior here has been good, especially since Spike came back. Oh, I should call him. You probably want to meet him, but you have to promise not to yell at him for my getting pregnant."
"That's ok, Buffy," Hank said. "I don't need to meet him."
Buffy looked at her father in confusion. "Why not? I thought you'd want to."
"Oh, well, I...uh...already did," Hank said. "I met Spike when I arrived. He didn't seem like a very good man for you, Buffy."
"What? You met Spike already?" Buffy said. "When was this? Why isn't he here?"
"I don't know, dear," Hank lied. "After we met, he left. I think you can do much better."
"Dad, can you excuse me a minute?" Buffy asked, rising. She went into the kitchen to where her mother was sitting. "Mom, did Spike call or come by?"
"No," Joyce replied. "I haven't seen him since yesterday. Why?"
"Dad said he met Spike when he arrived," Buffy told her. "So why isn't he here?"
"Maybe he decided to give you and your dad some time alone together," Joyce suggested.
"Maybe," Buffy said. "I think I'll call him, though. He and dad really should get to know one another while Dad's here."
She picked up the phone and quickly dialed Spike's motel room. When she got no answer, she frowned. "Not home," she commented to her mom, then dialed another number.
"Angel's Sex Line. How do you like them hung?" Faith said over the line.
"Faith, it's Buffy," Buffy said. "What are you doing with Angel's cell phone?"
"I filched it," Faith answered. "So, what's the what?"
"You wouldn't know if Angel saw Spike recently?"
"I'll ask," Faith said. Then Buffy heard yelling. "Yo, soul-butt! You seen your kid?"
There was muffled talking, then Angel answered the line. "I haven't seen him, Buffy. Is there a problem?" he asked.
"I don't know," Buffy replied. "He met my dad, but didn't stick around."
"Maybe he wanted to give you two time alone," Angel suggested.
"That's what Mom said," she replied. "Oh well. Keep an eye out for him, will you? I wouldn't mind my dad getting to know him."
"Ok," Angel said. "Faith and I will see if we can scrounge him up for you."
"Thanks, Angel," Buffy said. "Bye."
An hour later, Hank left and there was no sign of Spike. Buffy was starting to worry. Despite her protests earlier to Faith, they were normally together all the time, getting to know one another and preparing for the baby. For Spike to not even call was strange.
By one in the morning, Buffy was very worried.
By dawn, she was in full-blown panic mode.
Spike felt awful. He was sweating and extremely weak. He was sitting on the dirty floor as close to the wall under the window as he could get, the same window that the sun was streaming through, bathing almost the entire holding cell with its killing light.
He'd watched the sun creep into the room since dawn, the rays advancing on him until he had to take refuge under the window. He had tried to get the attention of the guards, to tell them he was allergic to the sun, but no one came. The blanket he'd attempted to cover the window with was wrapped around his body over his duster, as if that would protect him from the deadly effects of something as simple as the daylight.
The FBI agent seemed to have forgotten about him, because he'd never returned to the cell to see if Spike would ‘give up' his real name. Right then, he'd admit to anything they wanted if that would get him a windowless room.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he fought down the overwhelming fear that was engulfing him. His hand pulled on the cord around his neck until the small woven satchel was free, then he clutched it tightly, trying to center his thoughts on Buffy and his baby.
"He's missing, Dad," Buffy said over the phone, fear easily heard in her voice. "I need to know what way he went after you talked to him."
"I'm not sure, honey," Hank said. "He was rather rude..."
"Dad, think! It's important," she cried. "He could be hurt, or need help, or-"
"He could be in jail," Hank suggested.
"What?" Buffy gasped.
"That Spike seemed to be a bad fellow," he replied. "Perhaps he got into trouble with the law."
"But he wouldn't let himself get arrested," Buffy said, not realizing that she was thinking aloud. "He'd be trying not to kill them."
"Not to kill them!" Hank exclaimed. "I knew there was something not right when there was no record of him."
Buffy's eyes widened. "Dad, what did you do?"
"Nothing that any concerned parent wouldn't do," he answered.
"Where is he?" Buffy growled.
"Princess, that doesn't-"
"WHERE IS HE?!" Buffy screamed into the phone.
"The FBI have him," Hank said. "They took him to the Sunnydale Police Station. But he could be-"
Buffy hung up on her father and quickly dialed another number. "Cordy, I need a ride to the police station - now! My dad had Spike arrested!"
"On my way," Cordelia replied over the line.
Xander, who'd been with Cordelia when her cell phone rang, put a restraining hand on Buffy's arm. "You have to be calm, Buff," he told her. "If you yell, they aren't going to tell you anything."
"What if I bash their faces in?" Buffy growled, storming as fast as she could into the police station.
"That would probably not work, either," Xander said. He looked at his girlfriend for help.
"Buffy, let me talk to them," Cordelia said.
"No," Buffy replied. She stopped in front of the clerk's desk, which was the same height as her, and glared up at the uniformed officer. "I need to know if you've arrested someone and are holding him."
"Name?" the officer said.
"Spike," Buffy replied. "He would have been arrested last night because of my stupid father."
"Hold on," the officer replied. He turned to a sheaf of papers and flipped through them. His brow went up when he found the entry and looked down at her. "Can you hold on a minute, Miss?"
Without waiting for an answer, he walked away from the desk to the phone. Xander exchanged a look with Cordelia. "Why do I think this isn't a good sign?"
The officer returned and looked down at the trio. "Special Agent Foster would like to speak with you," he said. "Down that hall, first door on your left."
"Cordy, call Giles," Buffy instructed as they walked down the hall. The brunette hit her speed- dial.
The room they were instructed to go to held nothing more than a table and a few chairs. As Cordelia spoke with Giles, Buffy paced back and forth and Xander watched her with his eyes. "Buffy, you're making me dizzy," he said.
"Shut up, Xander," Buffy said.
"Hello, I'm Special Agent Foster of the FBI," Foster said, entering the room and closing the door behind him, a file in his hand. "I understand you're asking about Spike?"
"Where is he?" Buffy demanded. "Did you arrest him? Is he in jail?"
"He is currently incarcerated, yes," Foster replied. "Now then-"
"Does the cell have a window?!" Buffy said in a high-panicky voice, grabbing the man by the lapels of his suit. "Does it?!"
"Buff-" Xander warned.
"I don't know, but if you don't release me, I'll have you right in there along with him for assaulting a federal agent," Foster said.
Buffy let go of his jacket, tears starting to stream down her face. "Please, he's allergic to the sun. If wherever you have him has a window, he could die."
Foster looked surprised. "I'll go check right now."
"Let me see him," she half-begged, half-sobbed. "Whatever my dad told you is not true. I'll cooperate, I'll do anything, just let me see him."
The special agent relented. "Ok. You two wait here," he told Cordelia and Xander. When the nodded, he led Buffy down a series of halls until they reached the back of the police station. There, he checked his gun and Buffy had to leave her purse before they were let into the holding cells.
"He's in this one," Foster said, motioning for the guard to unlock the heavy steel door. There was a small window in the door, clearly showing that there was sunlight in the room.
The second the door was open, Buffy pushed around Foster and rushed into the room. She saw Spike curled up in a ball directly under the window, the edges of the light streaming in the room mere inches from his form. "Oh god, Spike," she gasped, going over to him and kneeling down at his side.
Spike could barely open his eyes. "Slayer?" he croaked, his throat dry.
"Yeah, it's me," she replied. She turned her head and glared at Foster and the guard. "Someone cover this window, now!" When the guard nodded and hurried away, she turned back to Spike and ran her hand over his wet brow. "You'll be ok. I told them you were allergic to the sun."
"Shouldn't we get him to a hospital?" Foster asked.
Buffy's steely eyes met the special agent's. "No. And this shouldn't have happened. Why didn't anyone notice this?"
The guard bustled back into the room, carrying a heavy tarp and a step ladder, preventing Foster from replying. Buffy stood and grabbed the tarp from him as he set up the ladder, then climbed up herself and hooked it on the two metal rods sticking out of the cement above the window. She climbed back down, glad to see that the sun was effectively blocked, then put her hands on her hips and stared murderously at Foster.
"He could have died," Buffy spat, knowing that it would have looked like he'd escaped if Spike had indeed died. "And it would have been your fault. I'm going to have your badge so fast, you won't even have time to blink."
"No need to get hasty," Foster protested, raising his hands in defense. "If you can answer a few, simple questions, we can let him go."
"Such as?" Buffy asked in a deadly tone.
"We need his name," Foster replied. "His real one. Birthdate and place of birth. Social Security number or passport if he's not from the US."
"Fine," she growled. "I need to call someone for his medication, then your questions will get answered." Foster nodded and gestured to the door. She shook her head. "I'm not leaving. Bring me a phone or bring Cordelia back here with her phone."
Foster went to protest again, but Buffy's icy stare caused him to change his mind. The heavy door was closed behind him as he left.
Buffy knelt beside Spike again and reached out to gently brush his cheek. His eyes cracked open and she gave him a small smile. "Hey, do you think you can sit up?"
Spike slowly started to push himself into a sitting position with Buffy's help. Once he was leaning against the wall, she noticed that he was clutching something in one of his hands. His eyes were half-slits, as if the lids weighed too much, and he seemed to be looking through her. "We'll have you out of here as soon as we can," she told him.
"Slayer?" Spike repeated, reaching out with his free hand.
Buffy took it and squeezed. "I'm here."
"I'm sorry," he said in a dry, hoarse voice. "I don't want to leave the baby."
"You're going to be ok, Spike," she said. "I covered the window."
"I don't want to leave you," he continued. Buffy realized he wasn't hearing her, not even focusing on her. She brushed his cheek, her heart swelling, as he repeated, "I don't want to leave you."
Cordelia and Foster entered the cell at that moment, breaking her gaze away from the vampire. "Here, Buffy," the brunette cheerleader said, handing her the phone. "God, he looks terrible."
"Uh, thanks," Buffy said. She looked down at the cell phone, then shook her head to clear it and dialed. "First thing was first," she muttered to herself. "Help Spike, then give into mushy feelings."
"Yeah," a groggy voice answered.
"Angel, we have a problem," Buffy said. She lowered her voice. "Spike's been arrested and we're at the police station."
"Is he ok?" Angel asked, waking up quickly.
"He's been stuck in a sun-filled room for hours," she told him. "He needs blood."
"I'll send some over," he said.
"Angel, the FBI wants his name and stuff," Buffy said.
"Don't worry, I have it covered," Angel told her. "I won't be able to get there until after sunset..."
"I know," she said. "We won't be going anywhere until then."
"Tell the officer that his brother will bring everything later, and that I'm allergic to the sun, too," Angel instructed. "Spike's real name is William Joseph Tavert."
"‘K," she sniffed, the tears coming again.
"Hey, everything will be fine," Angel said.
"Yeah," Buffy said. "Thanks."
"Ok, I'll see you later."
Buffy disconnected and handed the phone back to Cordelia, then wiped her face with her sleeve. She looked up at Foster and said, "Angel will be here as soon as the sun goes down. He's Spike's brother. He's allergic to the sun, too. It's...uh...hereditary. Someone is bringing his medicine."
"Angel?" Foster said. Then he muttered, "Spike and Angel. Now why am I thinking their parents were on something."
"Do you need anything else?" Buffy said, turning to sit on the floor next to Spike.
"His full name, if it isn't too much trouble," Foster replied.
"William Joseph Tavert," Buffy said, then realized it was the first time she'd ever heard Spike's real name.
Foster nodded. "You can stay back here with him," he said, then turned to Cordelia. "However..."
"Like I want to stay back here with the winos anyway," Cordelia said. She looked down at Buffy. "We'll be waiting if you need us. Giles, Willow and Oz are here, too. And your Mom said she'd take care of your Dad."
"Thanks, Cordy," Buffy said.
Foster and Cordelia left, shutting the door behind them, effectively locking her in with Spike. He'd been quiet since they'd come in, and she saw that his eyes were closed. "Spike, are you awake?" When he didn't answer, she reached out and took his free hand, interweaving their fingers. Then she laid her head on his shoulder and shut her own eyes, allowing herself to relax somewhat as she waited.
Faith arrived less than half-an-hour later with some ‘medicine' for Spike. It was enough to take the edge off the sun-sickness the vampire had, but not enough for him to really function. By the time the sun went down and Angel showed up at the police station, both Buffy and Spike were sleeping on the cot, where Buffy had managed to move the blond vampire to after she fed him the blood.
"Most of the records were destroyed," Angel was telling Agent Foster, handing him a folder. "I saved what I could -- birth certificate, a few trust account records. Spike's a little hot-headed, but he's never been in trouble. And from what I gather, Buffy's dad is the one who set you on Spike's tail. I don't think I need to bring up father's and their daughters, especially when they're eighteen and pregnant."
"No," Foster said, checking over the documents. "I have a daughter myself, which is why I got involved in this case when we had no record of Mr. Tavert what-so-ever." Angel nodded, but said nothing. "Well, everything looks in order. Let me do a quick check, and then you can take your brother home."
"Thanks," Angel said. He left the office the agent had commandeered and rejoined the others.
"They gonna spring the stiff?" Faith asked.
"Yes," Angel answered, giving her a pointed look at her slur.
"It's a good thing you had that stuff on Spike," Willow said. "Why do you have that stuff on Spike, anyway?"
"I put it together when Spike came back to town," Angel replied. "Eventually he'll need it, especially with a child on the way."
They gang fell into general talk as they waited, until Foster finally returned with the file. "Everything's in order," he said, handing the folder to Angel. "Your brother and Miss Summers are on their way up."
"Thanks," Angel said. Foster nodded and walked away. A few minutes later, Buffy and a very tired looking Spike joined them.
"Hey guys," Buffy said. "You didn't have to wait."
"What are friends for?" Willow replied with a smile.
"I'll bring the van around," Oz said, taking Willow's hand.
"If everything is ok, I suppose we'd best go on patrol. Faith?" Giles said.
"Aye, aye, Watcher-man," Faith said, giving him a salute. "Check ya later, B. Get better, Spikey." Faith and Giles left, followed shortly by Xander and Cordelia, leaving Angel, Buffy and Spike alone.
Spike raised his weary eyes to meet Angel's. "Thanks, mate."
"What are sire's for?" Angel replied with a dry smile. "Come on, let's get you to the mansion. I just tapped a cow with your name on it."
Buffy paused outside the old, wooden door, her hand laying on the coarse material. She bit her lower lip, then pushed the it open and stepped back in time.
It was just how she remembered it. The small double bed was against the left wall near the opposite corner of the room. A single dresser stood opposite it. There was a simple night stand with a small lamp next to the bed.
And in the far right corner of the room was the wheelchair.
She knew that Angel had cleaned the mansion once he'd started getting his strength back, which was why the chair was in here and not in the main room. She noticed that there were clean sheets on the bed, and that the room was free from dust. "He must have done that this afternoon," she murmured, walking over to the bed.
"Remembering, luv?" Spike's voice drifted over to her from the doorway. She turned and saw him leaning against the open doorjamb, towel in hand, wearing only a pair of jeans and something around his neck.
"Yeah," Buffy replied, resting a hand on her swollen abdomen. "It seems like so long ago."
"Less than a year," he said, entering the room and closing the door behind him.
"But a lifetime of pain," she commented quietly, after turning back towards the bed. She didn't know that Spike had moved again until she felt his hands on her shoulders.
"Are you alright?" Spike asked, concern lacing his voice.
"I should be asking you that," Buffy replied. She turned to face him, and his hands returned to her shoulders. "You could have died."
"But I didn't," he said, giving her a half-smile. "And Angel's blood stash put me back to my lovable, demon self."
Buffy's own lips quirked up. "That's an oxymoron, you know."
"Are you calling me an ox and a moron?" Spike asked, giving her a wink.
She winked back. "I plead the sixth." Spike laughed and Buffy felt a wave of relief wash over her. He really was ok. She fought back the urge to throw her arms around her and instead looked at the woven satchel that was attached to a cord around his neck. "What's this?" she asked, lifting it off his bare chest to examine it more closely.
"It's...er,...something," Spike mumbled.
"Vague much?" Buffy said. "It must be important, you were clutching it at the police station like a lifeline."
"Do you really want to know, Buffy?"
Buffy looked up and met his eyes at the soft, serious question. She knew at that moment, if she said yes, there'd be no turning back. She knew she would fall in love with him.
Spike lifted the cord over his head, his eyes never leaving hers. "Hold out your hand," he said. Buffy turned her hand palm up in between them, finally tearing her gaze from his when something fell into her hand.
"Oh," she gasped, her eyes widening at the sight of the gold, cross necklace she thought she'd lost. Her mind flashed back to that fateful day, and she saw him take that very necklace from her hand and set it on the night stand. Tears filled her eyes as she looked up at him. "You kept it?"
He nodded in reply. With her other hand, she took the small, woven bag from him and replaced the necklace inside. She lifted the cord over his head, so it lay once again around his neck. She then met his beautiful blue eyes, and whispered, "Make love to me."
Spike's hand started to shake as he brushed her cheek with his fingertips. "Won't I ‘urt the baby?" he asked, his accent thickening.
Buffy shook her head. "We won't. I'll show you how."
He swallowed heavily, then lowered his head and placed his lips against hers. Slowly, they began to explore each other's mouths, tasting each other as if it were for the first time. Spike's hands wove into Buffy's hair, holding her to him as he caressed her tongue with his, sending tendrils of longing through both of them.
Past blended with the present, old memories fading into new as the vampire and the Slayer gently loved each other.
His hand was curled around her, holding her flush against him, as they slowly came down. With a whisper light kiss on the side of her neck, he told her what was in his heart. "I love you, Buffy."
Tears fell freely from Buffy's eyes, tears of happiness and of love. "I love you, too, Spike," she said, her fingers twining with his, holding him close. "I love you, too."
"That's it, one more time," Dr. Reynolds instructed. "And push!"
"Aaaaaahhhhhh! I hate you! Get this thing out of meeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Outside the private maternity room doors, eight people exchanged grins when they heard the distinctive wail of a new life being born into the world. A few minutes later, the doors burst open and a blue-gowned figure slid into the room.
"It's a girl!" Angel exclaimed, grinning like mad.
"Congratulations, old man," Spike said, hugging his sire with one arm, the other holding a sleeping five-year-old girl against him. "Took you bloody long enough."
"What's that crying, Mommy?"
"That's the new baby, Anna," Cordelia told her three-year-old daughter.
"Sounds like your sister, Chrissy, doesn't it?" Xander said to Anna, holding a baby in his arms.
"Does this mean Auntie Faith isn't gonna be fat no more?" a redheaded six-year-old asked.
"Anymore, Michael," Willow corrected. "And Auntie Faith will be back to normal in a few weeks."
"And out slaying," Oz added, giving his wife a small smile. He looked at the redheaded one-year- old on his knee. "Isn't that right, Jake?"
"Not if I can help it," Giles commented from his seat next to Oz. "Although having two pregnant Slayers at once is taking things a bit far."
"You forgot to add ‘by vampires,' dear," Joyce said, patting her husband's knee. "You're forgetting things in your old age."
"Dad's not that old, Mom," a seven-year-old girl told Joyce.
"That's right, Robin," Giles said. He patted Joyce's swelled stomach. "I still have a-a little pluck left in me."
"Hey Mom, can we bloody go now?" a dark-haired, ten-year-old asked.
"William Joseph Tavert, I told you not to use that word," Buffy scolded. She looked over at Spike, who was cheerfully ribbing Angel. "Spike, I'd like to talk to you."
"Ut-oh," Spike said, giving his very pregnant wife an innocent smile. "Are you sure you're ready, Angel? Once you had one, they just keep coming." He looked down at the two-year-old boy attached to his leg. "Right, John?"
John smiled up at him, then bounced on Spike's foot. The blond vampire shot a final grin at Angel, adjusted his sleeping daughter, Jenny, in his arms, then shuffled over to Buffy.
Angel smiled at his large, unconventional family, then disappeared back into the maternity room. Faith glared at him when he came through the door. "Where'd you go, Soulboy?"
"To spread the good news," Angel replied, going to her side and kissing her on the forehead. He looked down at the small, newborn in her arms. "Have you decided on her name?"
"Yeah," Faith said, smiling down at her daughter. "I think we should name her Kendra. Because if it wasn't for her dyin', I never would have met you."
Angel chuckled. "Have I told you I loved you recently, wife?"
"Not since I threatened to castrate you," Faith said. She glanced up at Angel. "And don't think I wasn't serious ‘bout that."
"Never," Angel said. Then he leaned forward and kissed her, the baby sleeping peacefully in her arms.