And here it is. The last chapter! Made it by 8:30. I hope you’ve had a good time with it. Many thanks to the mods for continuing to keep this community going. So many great things come out of it every season – and it makes me want to write something special every time.
Spike dodged the sunlight coming in the windows as he made his way to the waiting room at the entrance of the maternity ward, aptly named “The Birthing Inn”. As he expected, when Dawn and the witches had woken up to find Spike and Buffy gone, they’d called the hospital and then rushed down. Once there, they’d remembered to call Giles and Xander, so by the time Spike entered the room everyone was waiting anxiously for news.
“Well?” Dawn pounced, daring him not to answer her.
“She’s here, she’s beautiful, Buffy’s fine, the baby’s fine, I’m fine, and it’s all fine.”
“When can we see her?” Willow demanded. “Tell them we’re her family.”
“Later today. Doc says Buffy needs to rest and get to know her baby. She can have visitors later this afternoon.”
“What about you?”
“I’m the dad. I can come and go as I please. And since it’s not my favorite time of day out there…” he gestured at the sun beams lighting up the tiles on the floor, “I’ll just be keeping Buffy company until I can go out.”
Giles nodded and tried to encourage everyone to leave. “Very well. Please give Buffy our congratulations and tell her we will return later.” He met Spike’s eyes and sighed. “I suppose congratulations to you are also in order.”
“Don’t strain anything there, Rupert,” Spike smirked. “She’s my daughter whether you congratulate me or not.”
“Yes. That is quite true.” He put out his hand. “Please accept my congratulations, Spike. You and Buffy have, once again, rewritten the book on slayers and vampires.”
“Thank you,” Spike replied, shaking the hand extended to him. “I appreciate it.”
“Yeah, Deadboy Jr, congratulations to you and the Buffster.” Xander thumped Spike on the back and herded Anya toward the door. “Tell her we’ll be back later.”
“With appropriate welcoming gifts,” Anya said over her shoulder. “I’ve been reading about baby gifts online and I know just what to get.”
Adding their own congratulations, Willow and Tara followed Anya and Xander out of the room. With an exchange of nods with Spike, Giles joined them, leaving Spike to work his way back to Buffy through the lethal rays striping the hallway.
By the time the Scoobies starting drifting in, and Dawn arrived directly from school, Spike had nodded off beside the bed, one hand in Buffy’s and one hand resting on the portable bassinette in which Joy was sleeping. Buffy raised her free hand to her lips and signaled for quiet, but he stirred and sat up as soon as he sensed the other heartbeats.
“Ah, there they are.” He smiled at Dawn and nodded at Willow and Tara. He was already up and stretching when Giles, Xander and Anya came in together. Anya was clutching a teddy bear the size of a four-year-old.
“I’ve been informed that this is a most appropriate gift, even though it is bigger than the baby and probably not very interesting to her.”
“Thanks, Anya. She’ll be old enough for teddy bears in no time, and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to have it.”
Xander peered over at the snoozing baby. “So, we know she’s not a vamp, but do you think she’s a slayer?”
“I have no idea. She passed all her new baby tests with flying colors according to the nurses, but other than that…”
“That just means she’s a healthy normal baby,” Tara said softly. “No visible problems or issues. She’s beautiful,” she added, smiling at first Buffy, then Spike. “Really beautiful.”
Spike and Buffy beamed proudly. With his hair in messy curls and without his ubiquitous leather coat, there was nothing to indicate that Spike was anything but a good-looking man who was a little pale and maybe bleached his otherwise normal hair. And nothing to distinguish Buffy from any other happy new mother. Giles gazed at the picture they made, Spike’s hand on Buffy’s shoulder, her head leaning against his side and shook his head, wishing briefly that they really were the normal human couple that they appeared to be.
Dawn had brought a small camera with her and proceeded to start snapping pictures of everyone, including the baby who woke up to complain about the flashing lights and noise. Already looking like an old hand, Spike picked her up and murmured to her, then deposited the baby in Buffy’s waiting arms where she immediately quieted and went back to sleep on Buffy’s chest.
Dawn snapped one more quick photo of the little family, then put the camera away, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m an aunt! Just wait till I show everybody that my sister isn’t really a freak – she had a baby just like anybody else.”
“Excuse me? A freak?”
“Oops? Well, you know, to anybody who doesn’t know who you really are, you do seem kinda weird… And I’m just going to stop talking now….”
Taking advantage of Dawn’s embarrassment, Spike leaned down and whispered, “Think I’ll go out for a bit now that you’ve got company. I’m a little hungry and I should probably patrol. I’ll be back later when the horde has gone home. Do you want me to bring you anything?”
Buffy shook her head. “No, I’m good. The doctor said we can probably take her home tomorrow morning, so I can wait till then for real food.” She pushed at the table holding what was left of her dinner and made a face.
With a kiss on her forehead, he nodded and began working his way toward the door. He paused to ask Giles if he could pick Buffy and the baby up in the morning, as the SUV didn’t have dark enough windows to allow him to drive it safely. “I’ll be here, don’t want them to think I’ve got no interest in my child, but I’ll have to work my own way back to the house underground.”
Giles nodded his agreement and walked over to get a closer look at the baby. Xander followed Spike outside and began to walk down the hall with him.
“So, evil undead, what’s the plan for the nursery?”
Spike shrugged. “We’ve got the cradle set up downstairs right now, but I don’t want my child living in a basement. Got to work something out. The crib is up in Buffy’s room, but it’s a little crowded for it there.”
“Have you thought about asking Willow and Tara to change rooms with Buffy? There’d be plenty of room in the master bedroom, plus, no sun until late in the day.”
“I’d ask ‘em in a heartbeat, but Buffy doesn’t want them to feel like they aren’t welcome there anymore.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. We’ll work something out, I guess.”
Xander nodded and turned to go back to Buffy’s room. “Yeah. We’ll think of something. I’ll work on it.” Leaving Spike staring after him with his mouth open, Xander walked back down the hall smiling to himself and already mentally planning an extension to the house that included an outside door to the basement.
Spike had staked several fledglings and wrestled with a Fyarl demon until they were both exhausted and agreed to call it a draw, chugged the packets of expired blood that he’d snatched on his way out of the hospital, and was feeling pretty good about life when he heard the sirens. He watched curiously as the first police car sped past him, then noticed that the noise of the sirens seemed to be converging on one place. He started jogging toward the hospital, increasing his speed as he got closer and realized that he hadn’t imagined where all the squad cars were going.
“What’s going on?” he demanded of the first uniformed man who tried to stop him from crossing the yellow tape.
“You can’t go in there right now. The place is on lockdown – some guy is shooting up the fourth floor and—”
“Fuck that! My wife and baby are in there!” Spike shoved the cop aside, ignoring his, “Hey, you can’t—” as he ran past the other men guarding the perimeter so quickly they weren’t sure they’d actually seen anything. He sprinted up the fire stairs, repeating over and over, “It’s a coincidence. Could be on any part of the fourth floor. It’s a big hospital…” He burst out the door and turned to see a SWAT team lined up facing the maternity area.
Fighting back his demon, he ran up to them and demanded to know what was happening. They stared at him, clearly not sure how he’d managed to get in. The leader finally said, “Some nut with a gun has taken hostages. He was trying to steal a baby, but apparently one of the nurses hit the alarm and now he’s trapped in there.”
“Has he shot anybody?”
The man shrugged. “We’re not sure. There were gunshots, but he’s holding hostages, so we can’t go in. No way to know if he’s actually injured anyone yet.” He studied the man facing him. “Do you know who he is?”
Without answering his question, Spike said, “My wife and baby are in there. I’m going in.”
“Look, I understand how you feel, Buddy, but I can’t let you go in there.”
Spike turned to him, now in full vampire mode. “You can’t stop me,” he said with deadly calm. “And neither can he.” The cop reeled back from the demon now facing him, and shook his head.
Contrary to what the SWAT members had expected, Spike did not rush into the nursery area, but instead moved up to look through the small windows in the swinging doors. He could see Buffy, holding Joy to her chest and bleeding from one arm. Warren was facing her, holding a gun to Tara’s head as he dragged her with him toward the doors. His eyes were on the angry and frightened people in front of him, so he never saw Spike’s golden eyes peering through the window. Willow did, however, and the witch and the vampire exchanged silent messages.
With a yell, Warren dropped the suddenly white hot metal he’d been holding and began shaking his hand. Spike was through the door before Warren could use the stake protruding from his waistband, pulling Tara out of reach and pushing her toward Willow. He spared one glance for Buffy and Joy, assuring himself that Buffy’s wound was only minor before turning a devil’s face back to Warren, who had now found both another gun and the stake.
“Nice try, Spike, but you can’t hurt me, and since you aren’t faster than a bullet, I can still shoot your girlfriend or the baby before you can stop me.”
“Wrong on both counts,” Spike snarled. His hand snaked out, crushing the one holding the gun until Warren’s fingers began to bleed. The stake forgotten, Warren struggled to pull his hand away. His face paled as he realized Spike was not getting even the slightest twinge from the chip, in spite of the pain he was inflicting. Tossing the gun away, Spike picked Warren up by his neck and proceeded to shake him. The SWAT team, which had come in the door behind Spike, raised their guns uncertainly.
“Don’t shoot him!” Buffy screamed, somewhat unnecessarily as the men were already following orders to “stand down”. Spike pulled a gibbering Warren close to his face and snarled, “Chip’s gone, wanker. And I’m feeling more than a mite peckish and vengeful. Did you really think you could try to steal my daughter, and shoot my wife and not pay for it?” His snarls grew louder the longer he spoke, and by the time he was done, his teeth were on Warren’s neck. There was complete silence in the room except for the sound of Warren’s sobbing.
Buffy’s quiet, “Spike…” was audible only to his vampire hearing. He turned toward her, wearing the face of an angry demon. The amber glare faded as Buffy met his gaze and waited calmly to see what he would do.
“He deserves it, Slayer.” Spike’s voice was more of a plea than a defiant growl.
“He does. But the police are here now and they’ll see to it that he never gets a chance to hurt anyone again.”
“I want to kill him.” The plea was turning into a pout as his visage began to soften. He still hadn’t released his grip on Warren, but he raised his head away from the other man’s throat. “You’re not going to let me, are you?”
“Actually,” she said, her voice trembling. “I want you to do what you want. Just keep in mind that your daughter probably isn’t going to be happy to know that her father ripped out an unarmed man’s throat right in front of her when she was less than twenty-four hours old. And I won’t have her growing up knowing that he’s capable of it.”
Mother and father exchanged stubborn glares, then Spike shook himself back to his human mien. “Fine,” he growled. “I’m not giving up my family just for the pleasure of killing this bastard.” He shoved Warren toward the SWAT team, watching closely until they had him handcuffed, before he relaxed.
With the crisis over, nurses immediately began fussing over Buffy’s flesh wound, one taking the baby away for a few minutes while the other cleaned and bandaged the arm. Buffy submitted to their ministrations, but shook her head at the idea of antibiotics. “It’ll be half-healed by tomorrow,” she assured them, not bothering to explain how she knew that.
It was quite a while later that things had calmed down enough for Spike and Buffy to have some alone time with their daughter. While the baby nursed and Buffy scolded Spike for ogling her temporarily larger breasts, the nursing staff and the Scoobies went to the waiting room where detectives were waiting to take their statements.
“So, he was trying to take Joy?”
“Yeah. He thought he could just wave a gun around and walk right out of here with her. He only grabbed Tara because he was afraid of what Willow might do. He forgot that I was just resting, not incapacitated. When he told Willow to bring Joy to him, I threw the tray at him and he shot at me. I was afraid he’d kill Tara, so I stopped trying to get to him.” She looked up at him with great seriousness. “If he’d hurt Joy, I think I would have killed him.”
“I see how it is. It’s okay for you to kill scumbags like that, but not for me? Not fair, love.” He smiled at her. “And you probably wouldn’t have. You may have made him wish he was dead, but I doubt you’d have killed him. Not my warrior for Good.”
“Would you have killed him if I hadn’t said anything?”
He sighed. “I’d like to tell you no, love, but I’m not sure. I was feeling a real strong need to make him bleed. Maybe I would have stopped before I killed him. I could have, I guess. But that would’ve been too late, wouldn’t it? You’d have already seen me make the bite.”
“But you stopped.”
“Did. Always will when it matters to you. You need to understand that, Buffy. You and Joy are the most important things I’ve ever had in my life. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you in it. Anything.”
“Whatever it takes, huh?” She leaned into him, moving the now-sleeping baby to the side while she covered up her breast. “I kind of like the sound of that. I foresee lots of nice jewelry and expensive shoes in my future….”
He chuckled and put his arm around her and the baby. “Guess I’d better get busy finding that job I was plannin’ to get.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/800342.html