Moving right along – I see that the community rules say not to link to elsewhere, so I’ll try to get it all up tonight. Maybe I can do three chapters at a time? Might try that. I know many readers like to get one chapter at a time, spread out so they have time to read, but you don’t get that if you buy a book, so… I’ll try to find time this weekend to go back and link the chapters to make it easier on everyone. Meanwhile, behind the cut…
Spike opened one bleary eye to see Dawn peering in the door.
“Mornin’, Bit,” he yawned.
“It’s almost four in the afternoon,” she replied, opening the door a little more. “So, does this mean I need to buy earplugs?”
He tossed the spread off, allowing her to see that he was still dressed except for his boots and coat.
“Don’t know why,” he said, getting up and stretching. “Buffy here?”
“No. She’s working the early shift at the Doublemeat. She said she wanted to go with you tonight when you patrol.” Dawn came into the room and sat down on a clothes-covered chair. “So, dish. What’s going on between you two? Are you going to be my brother-in-law for real?”
He shot her a sharp look. “For real?”
“Buffy told us about being married when you were gone.”
“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t be countin’ on that here, pet. I don’t think marriage is on the Slayer’s short list… or her long one…” he added softly.
“Would you? If it was on her list? Would you marry her?”
“You know,” he said, sitting down to put his boots on, “that’d be something I’d prob’ly talk about with her before I told you about it.” He stood and picked up his coat. “Don’t suppose there’s any blood in that kitchen anymore, is there?”
Dawn followed him out of the room and down the stairs. “There’s probably some yucky old frozen stuff in the bottom of the freezer, but I think Buffy bought you some before she went to work today.” She opened the refrigerator and pulled out a new container. “Here it is.” She handed it to him, and watched with interest as he took down a mug, poured the blood in it and set it in the microwave.
“I see you haven’t forgotten how to feed yourself in our kitchen.”
“Don’t you have somewhere to be? School or something?”
“School’s over for the day. I’m home already. Just waiting for Tara and Willow. Tara’s going to teach me how to cook.” She looked at his dubious expression and frowned. “I can learn to cook,” she said. “I don’t think the ‘I can’t cook’ thing is genetic. I think it’s just Buffy.”
Spike thought back to some of the meals they’d had in the other world and laughed. “Could be, pet. Could be. In all fairness to your sister, she’s been a mite busy most of her life – what with stopping apocalypses and keeping you from being Hellgod Helper.”
“You saved me from Glory! If you hadn’t taken Doc with you when you fell off the tower—”
“While your sister was fighting a god down on the ground. Don’t forget that. I was just the emergency services guy; it was Buffy doing the SWAT team work.” He took his warmed blood from the microwave and sat down at the counter. “So, Red actually cooks food – she doesn’t just wave her magic wand over it?” He raised a skeptical eyebrow.
Dawn shrugged. “I think Tara’s upset about how much magic Willow uses. They had a pretty big fight while you and Buffy were gone about using magic without knowing what might happen. I thought Tara was going to leave her, but Willow got all sad and said she’d stop using magic all the time if Tara would stay with her. So she doesn’t do it anymore. Not when Tara’s watching, anyway….”
“But she does use it when the good witch isn’t around?” he asked, pretending to be uninterested in the answer.
“Yeah. I think she does. She’s determined to de-rat Amy, and I think she works on that when Tara isn’t around. I don’t know why Tara would object to that, though. I mean, poor Amy. She’s a rat!”
“I’m sure there are a few things that Red could do – magically – that would do more good than harm,” Spike said, draining his mug and walking to the sink. “I can think of one or two…”
Dawn frowned at him, but didn’t ask what they were. The witches in question came in just then and the conversation turned to teaching Dawn to cook. Spike did his best to defend Buffy’s culinary skills, but in the face of three disbelieving faces, he had to admit that he’d had to choke down more than one meal when his status in the other dimension meant he had to eat what was put in front of him. Buffy came in with a bag of Doublemeat sandwiches before he got around to admitting that he’d learned to do some cooking himself.
“’lo, Buffy,” he said, somewhat uncertainly. Except for Dawn, he had no idea who else might have known he spent the night and most of the day in Buffy’s bed.
“Hi,” she replied, giving him a smile. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Considering that he just got up a little while ago… I’d say he slept like the dead.” Dawn seemed oblivious to the expressions on Willow’s and Tara’s faces, watching only to see what Buffy would do. After a quick glare at her sister, Buffy sighed and turned to her housemates.
“I would have told you guys before this, but it was kinda a last second decision and it was really late… or early, depending… when he got in, so…”
“So, he spent the night?” Willow shrugged. “Does this mean he’s going to live here?”
“I… we haven’t…” Buffy looked helplessly at Spike who was waiting for her response, his expression giving no sign of his own preferences. “I guess that’s up to him… and to you guys,” she hastened to add. “I mean, how would you feel about having Spike in the house?”
The witches exchanged looks while Dawn just sighed, explaining, “Buffy, you do know that he slept here a lot while you were over there pub-crawling with Giles, right? He was my…” her mouth curled in disgust, “babysitter… when Willow and Tara or Xander and Anya couldn’t be here.”
“Uh… no. I guess I didn’t… I mean, I know he was patrolling for me, and I know he was protecting everybody, but I didn’t know—Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked, turning on the vampire. “Why didn’t you tell me you were living here while I was gone?”
“Wasn’t sure how you’d take it, love,” he said. “And I wasn’t so much ‘living here’ as just sleeping here from time to time. Made myself a little place downstairs where I could hide from the sun during the day, and just snoozed there until it was safe for me to go outside.”
“What else went on while I was gone that I should know about?” Buffy glared around the room. Except for Dawn, everyone looked mildly ashamed and glanced away. Dawn, however, just grinned and said, “Well, let’s see, Spike taught me how to cheat at poker, and we went out barhopping with Willow and Tara, and we almost got arrested but Willow magicked up a glamour and we stole a car and got away, and then we—”
It was the snicker from Spike, and the muffled giggles from Willow and Tara that clued Buffy in before she could explode. “Very funny,” she growled. “And there was no crawling…pub or otherwise… while I was in England, I’ll have you know. It was all rest and research.” She shook her head. “Apparently, R and R means something different in England than it does here. It does to Giles, anyway.”
“So back to the question. Is Spike going to live here?”
“Whatever he wants, I guess,” Buffy said, looking at him. “Maybe he won’t want to live with a bunch of girls… Never mind,” she added when he gave her an incredulous stare. “Silly me.”
Moving closer to her, but carefully not touching her in any way that could be construed as being possessive or too overtly affectionate, he said, “Let’s play it by ear, Slayer. I’ve got to go back where I was stayin’ at some point, pick up my last paycheck and get my stuff from the apartment there. Was thinking maybe I’d do that tonight.”
“Do you want company?” Buffy’s question put a delighted smile on his face.
“I’d love company. If you’re alright with a long car ride.”
“Oh, crap.” She sighed and gave him an apologetic smile. “I kinda forgot for a minute there. That’s probably one of those things I shouldn’t do. Remind me to ask Dr. Parada when we go in for the ultrasound next week.”
He nodded. Neither of them noticed the looks on the faces of the other girls as Buffy blithely talked about the two of them going in for the untrasound as a couple. The three girls exchanged looks and Dawn said, “Xander’s head is going to explode.”
Spike gave a low growl, subsiding when Buffy nudged him. “You knew it wouldn’t be that easy,” she said. “You’re going to have to play nice for awhile.”
“As long as the other people who live here are okay with it, don’t know why he’s even entitled to an opinion,” he groused. “I hope his soddin’ head does explode. Would serve him right.”
“Okaaay, so I’m guessing we need to break this to him while you’re off packing up your other home?”
“Where the hell would he think the father of your baby would be living?” Spike looked at Buffy’s face and his expression darkened. “Unless, of course, he doesn’t know who it is…” When there was no response, he said, “Buffy?”
She refused to meet his gaze, waving her hands around and addressing the refrigerator. “There just hasn’t been an… opportunity… yet. It hasn’t been the right time, and—”
“I’ve been here for almost a week, Buffy. You said yourself he’s seen me standin’ outside. What the bloody hell did he think I was here for?”
“Just to help with the patrolling?” she said meekly, then hastened on when his expression hardened. ‘Not that I told him that. I didn’t! He just assumed and I didn’t feel like… I let him think it. I shouldn’t have, I guess. Now he’ll be all offended ‘you were keeping things from me’ guy, and—”
“Uh, Buffy?” Dawn waved her hand for attention. “I think Anya knows. She’s not dumb, you know. I heard her say something the other day about Spike probably being the father.”
“Really? What did Xander say?”
“Oh, he blew her off. You know how he is: ‘Oh, Anya, you don’t know anything’. But at least he’s had to think about it. Maybe he won’t be as surprised as you think.”
“Don’t give a flying fuck how surprised he is,” Spike growled. “But if he’s goin’ to be a wanker about it, he’d better get it out of his system before I get back.” He walked to the door, peered out at the gathering dusk, and said, “I’ll be back before morning, Slayer. Don’t go out without me.”
“You’re not the boss of me!” Buffy shouted at the closed door. “What?” She turned her glare on the other girls. “He’s not. I can patrol without him one night. It’s not like I haven’t been doing it up till this week.”
Tara frowned in concern, but a nudge from Willow kept her from pointing out that Buffy had been on her feet working all day and a good dinner and early to bed might be a better option. She sighed and said instead, “How about if you sit down with your feet up while I fix dinner, and then after you’ve eaten a good meal, you can go out to kill things.”
“Yeah, okay. That makes sense…” Buffy’s willingness to agree was evidence of how much of her anger at Spike’s demand was put on. “I’ll just go change and then… sit.”
While Tara was trying to fix a quick meal and answer all Dawn’s questions about what she was doing at the same time, Willow made a quiet phone call to Xander to suggest that they accompany Buffy on patrol that night.
“Where’s fangface? What happened? Did he get the message that Buffy isn’t interested in anything but the extra help? Did he leave again?”
“No. But he went back to wherever he was before to get his stuff and pick up his last paycheck. He won’t be back till sometime close to morning and Buffy’s too stubborn to admit that she needs him.”
“Paycheck? Spike has paychecks?”
“Apparently. And an apartment and… stuff… to bring back here.”
“So he is going to be around? I wonder what Buffy’s paying him to help out?”
“Xander! Are you really that dense? Spike is just as much in love with Buffy as he has been since… well, since at least last year. He’s here because he wants to take care of her and keep her safe. Please tell me you aren’t that blind.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay,” he admitted. “So the evil undead has his own reasons for helping. I get it. I just don’t understand it.”
“You don’t have to understand it, you just have to admit it’s true,” Willow said, her “resolve face” coming through the phone line loud and clear. “Can you come and help tonight or not?”
“Yeah, sure. We’ll be there in an hour or so. See ya later.”
“See ya. And thanks.”
Willow put the phone down to see Tara and Dawn staring at her. Dawn shook her head.
“I thought for a minute there you were going to tell him yourself.”
“I did kinda think about it,” Willow admitted. “But it’s really Buffy’s decision what to tell and when.”
“What’s Buffy’s decision to tell who, when?” Buffy walked in the kitchen, frowning when all three girls gave guilty starts. “What are you talking about?”
“Just Xander. He and Anya are coming over in a little while and I thought maybe the three of us could patrol tonight. It’ll be like old times. Just us and the vampires.” Willow gave Buffy a tentative smile, sighing with relief when Buffy smiled back.
“Yeah, okay, that’ll be fun.” She crossed her arms across her chest and cocked her head at Willow. “But that’s not what you were talking about, is it?”
“Well, I just thought… it might be a good opportunity to tell Xander about… the baby’s father. Now. While Spike isn’t around to get mad at him if Xander is a—”
“An ass?” Dawn snapped. “You know he’s going to be.”
The older girls all rolled their eyes, but didn’t contradict her. Tara gestured for Dawn to help her with the salad, saying, “I don’t really get it. Xander and Spike got along pretty well while you were in England. I mean they insulted each other all the time, but they worked together pretty well. And I know Spike has saved Xander’s life more than once. I don’t understand why he hates him so much.”
“I don’t really think it’s Spike,” Willow said with a sad smile. “Not that he can’t be really annoying…”
She glanced at Buffy who just snorted, “You have no idea.”
“But, the thing is, Xander really hates Angel. And since he can’t pick on him, he picks on Spike. And he can’t understand how Angel and Spike can be willing to help us – especially Spike who doesn’t have a soul. And how they can both be in love with Buffy, when Jesse, who was his best friend, tried to kill us when he was a vamp. I think he resents that Spike can have feelings for humans,” she pointed at Dawn and Buffy, “and Jesse couldn’t stay his friend.”
“Wow. I never made that connection.” Buffy stared at Willow with renewed admiration. “I’ll bet you’re right. I mean Angel has a soul, but Spike… yeah, he just likes some humans. Not just us, but he liked Mom too, and he knows—” She stopped herself. “Maybe Spike’s just not an ordinary vamp? If we can get Xander to understand that, it might help him stop comparing Spike to Jesse.”
“Time to eat!” Dawn proudly carried her salad to the table ahead of Tara and the rest of the meal.
“It’s just like old times, isn’t it?” Willow walked along, chattering even as she glanced around for trouble. Buffy seemed unperturbed, so Willow decided to relax and trust in Slayer senses to keep them safe. She walked closer to Xander, who had an axe dangling from his hand. He smiled at Willow and switched hands so the axe wasn’t swinging close to her legs.
“It does feel like old times. If by ‘old times’ you mean you were a lesbian, I was dating an ex-vengeance demon and Buffy was pregnant.”
“Way to spoil the mood, Xander,” Buffy scolded. “What’s so different? Willow is still with somebody – just, it’s a girlfriend, not a boyfriend. You still have a girlfriend who cuts men down to size…. literally, in Anya’s case. And I’m… okay, losing the theme here… but….”
“Well, okay, you’ve got a bun in the oven, so that’s new. But on the plus side, your boyfriend isn’t a vampire that’s going to lose his soul and try to end the world, so that’s an improvement. All things considered, seems like a win to me. All we need now is to locate the baby’s father so that my trusty axe and I can convince him to do the right thing.”
Xander waved his axe for emphasis, letting it drop to his side when the expressions on the girls’ faces went from amused to grim.
“Okay. Or not. You don’t want him to be involved. I can deal with that.” When their expressions didn’t change he sighed. “Okay. What don’t I know?”
Buffy bit her lip and took a deep breath. “What you don’t know—and it’s totally my fault for not telling you and Anya when I told Willow and Tara—is that the baby’s fatheris doing the right thing. Or, he will be as soon as we figure out exactly what the right thing is. Anyway, he’s going to be around, and involved, and….”
“Well, that’s great. So, where is he? Or does he not know about your night-job?” Xander stopped speaking to swing the axe at the neck of a vampire just struggling out of a near-by grave. As the dust from the headless vamp drifted back onto the disturbed soil, he continued. “’Cause, you know, it would be nice if he could be helpful out here. Like Riley or somebody who knows how to kill vamps and demons. Not that Spike can’t take up a lot of slack,” he said, almost as if musing to himself. “But I don’t really see old fangface going out slaying for you while you cuddle up with your honey and a baby.”
“Xander… Spike’s going to handle it. That’s why he’s here… or, not here right this minute, but will be as soon as he gets back.”
“Huh. Well, that’s… disturbingly nice of him. So, he’s going to what? Patrol for you and then go stand under his tree and stalk you the rest of the night?”
Losing her patience at Xander’s blatant refusal to consider anything outside his own view of the vampire that, in her opinion, he should know well enough by now to understand, Buffy snapped, “He’s going to patrol with me until I can’t do it anymore, and then he’ll do it for me until I’m back on my feet. And, no, he won’t be guarding the house from the tree, he’ll be doing it from where he belongs. Inside, with the mother of his child.”
There was a crashing silence as Buffy stopped speaking and stood staring at her best male friend. Her expression went from angry to pleading as she watched her words sink in. Leaving both Buffy and Willow to gape at him, Xander nodded and began to walk away, saying, “Damn! I’m going to owe Anya a really nice piece of jewelry now.”
“Wait – what?” Buffy hurried after him.
“She’s been saying Spike had to be the father – from when you were away together, and human – but you weren’t even talking to him, and then he went away, and… anyway, we had a bet. Looks like I lost, huh?”
“You knew?” Willow glared at him as if she’d been personally insulted.
“Nope. No, not me. Anya knew. I’ve been swimming really hard in an Egyptian river. Guess it’s time to climb out and dry off.”
“Are you okay with this?” Buffy’s belligerence had faded in the face of Xander’s seemingly calm acceptance of the situation.
“Define ‘okay’,” he said with a twisted grin. “Do I think my Buffster should be hooking up with another member of the undead? Hell no. But what’s done is done, and I know this vampire isn’t going to lose the soul he doesn’t have and try to kill us all or send the world to hell.” He sighed and gave Buffy a genuine smile. “And I know that nothing and nobody is going to get into or out of that house in one piece if he doesn’t want them there. Chip or no chip.”
Buffy surprised them all by throwing her arms around Xander and hugging him so tightly he began to wheeze. “I love you,” she said, releasing him with an apologetic smile.
“And I love you too. I can’t believe you were worried about how I’d take—okay, maybe I can see how I might have given the impression that… Can I just go on record as saying if you had to have a baby with a vampire, I’m really glad it’s Spike and not Angel?”
When Buffy and Willow stared at him with their mouths open, he quickly added, “But if you tell him I said that, I’ll never to speak to either one of you again!”
They were almost back to the house on Revello Drive when a black van went past them, slowing down as it neared the house. From the shadows in the front yard, someone ran out and jumped into the slow-moving vehicle, which then took off and disappeared down the street.
Without comment, all three took off running toward the house, Buffy far outdistancing Willow and Xander. By the time they caught up, she was poking around in the bushes, trying to see if there was anyone else hiding there.
“Who do you think it was?”
“I think we all know who it was – the only question is, which one of Warren’s minions was it?” Buffy’s human growl would have sounded more appropriate coming from Spike. “Of course they do this when Spike isn’t here to chase them down.”
“How would they know if he was here or not? He was gone for months.”
Buffy frowned. “Well, he’s been standing under the tree every night since he got back – up until last night anyway. And it’s not like we’ve been sneaking around. We go out to patrol every night, we ate in a restaurant last night… I guess they’ve seen him—us—somewhere. I don’t know how they would know he wasn’t going to be here tonight, though….”
“Why would they care if he’s here or not?” Xander mused. “They know about the chip. They know they’ve got no reason to be afraid of him. He can’t hurt them.”
“He’d try,” Willow said, thoughtfully. “He’d try it if he had to. Even if it killed him.”
“There’s a cheery thought,” Buffy said with a wince. “I’ve got to get these guys before something like that happens. Or before they remember that he can’t hurt them and….”
“We’ll find them, Buffy,” Willow said firmly. “They may think they’re all computer guy this and science guy that, but they can’t beat Willow Rosenberg. I’m going to find out what they’re doing and hack them like they’ve never been hacked.”
Xander hefted the axe. “Maybe Spike can’t hit them, but I don’t have any problem with it.”
“Thanks, guys.” Buffy yawned. “Oops! Sorry. It’s getting to be past my bedtime.”
“Yep, baby momma needs her sleep. I’ll just get Anya and we’ll get out of your hair.”
“Don’t forget to get her whatever it is she won by telling you Spike was the father,” Willow teased. “You should have listened to her.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot,” he said, holding the door for the two girls. “Mostly from her.”
In the back of the bushy plantings in front of the house, a small recording device sent its data to a receiver where three humans listened with varying degrees of surprise and wonder.
“She’s pregnant? The Slayer is pregnant? And Spike is the father? How is that even possible?”
“I don’t know,” Warren said slowly, thinking the whole time. “But there’s got to be a way we can use that. If nothing else, she won’t be able to do as much slaying pretty soon. If we can summon enough demons to keep her busy in one place, we should be able to do whatever we want somewhere else. I think the important thing now is to find out more about this Willow Rosenberg. Who is she? And why does she think she can hack us? Delusional, obviously, but just in case… Andrew, you get on that.”
Jonathan looked somewhat disturbed and cleared his throat.
“If it’s the Willow I think it is, she’s pretty… scary smart. She was teaching the computer classes when she was just a junior in high school. Plus she… she’s kind of a witch, I think.”
“Are you saying she’s smarter than I am?” Warren waved his hand around. “Smarter than all three of us? Give me a break. You are such a coward.”
“I’m just saying… don’t underestimate her.”
Warren rolled his eyes and went back to playing with his freeze gun. “Get on that, Andrew. If it turns out she’s too smart for you, your buddy Jon-Jon will help you out.” He stroked the strange looking gun. “We’ve got a diamond to steal…”
With no idea where the van had been going, or where Warren and his “minions” – as Dawn insisted on calling them – might be, Buffy left Willow to her laptop and decided to call it a night. She fell asleep quickly, her body grateful for the early night. The sound of light tapping on the window brought her awake with a jerk, automatically reaching for a weapon before she woke up enough to know who was probably tapping. She jumped out of bed and ran to unlock the window and let Spike in.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I forgot to unlock it. You could have just walked in the front door, you know. I think Willow’s probably still up.”
“It’s gone four a.m., Buffy. Nobody’s awake in the house.”
“Oh. Wow. I guess I really needed that sleep. I feel like it’s only been a couple of hours. Glad I’m not working the morning shift today,” she added, retreating to the bed and snuggling back under the covers. Her eyes flew open and she sat up. “Where’s your stuff?”
“Some of it’s in the crypt, the rest is in the trunk of the car. Didn’t want to be seen dragging all my worldly possessions onto your roof.”
“Speaking of being seen….” He stopped in the act of taking off his coat, giving her a cold look.
“Afraid Harris might have seen me sneaking in?”
“What? Oh, no. He and Anya had a bet that you were the father. She won.” Buffy sighed and poked him to get the glower off his face. “And he’s fine with it, by the way.”
He visibly relaxed. “What then?”
Buffy briefly described coming home to find Warren’s van picking up someone running from the house. He stopped in the act of taking off his boots and began to retie them.
“What are you doing?”
“Going to go around the house and see if I can tell who was here, or what they might have been doin’. We know they weren’t up to anything good.” He started toward the window, but Buffy quickly pointed out it would be easier to go downstairs and use a door. “Right. Door. Use the bloody door, Spike,” he muttered, changing direction and growling at her muffled giggle.
He was still growling when he returned thirty minutes later. After having circled the house twice, sniffing and using his enhanced night sight, he had some idea of what had happened. He tossed the small transmitter he’d found outside the front of the house onto the bed.
“Have to ask Red what this is exactly, but I’m guessing it’s sending some kind of signal or recording to the wankers that put it here. Might be more, his scent was all around the house. You can search for them when it gets light out.”
Buffy picked up the small device and stared at it. “Do you think it’s transmitting now?” He shrugged and watched her with one eyebrow raised.
“Planning to give them a treat, Slayer?” He licked his lips lasciviously, laughing at her “Ewwww, Spike!”
“I was thinking more along the lines of talking about how I’m seriously re-considering the whole ‘slayers don’t kill humans’ thing,” she growled at the offending piece of hardware. The device didn’t appear to be intimidated, so she threw it back to Spike. “Put it downstairs. Willow can look at it tomorrow.”
“Got a better idea, love.” He dropped it on the floor and brought one booted foot
down on it hard enough to get a very satisfactory crunching sound. “Just in case,” he said, putting it in the hallway and closing the door.
“I think you killed it.” Buffy gave him mock-glare. “I guess the chip can’t protect spy equipment.”
Spike mumbled something she didn’t catch and began to pull off his boots off again, hesitating before dropping them on the floor. “Unless you’d rather I slept down—”
In response, Buffy moved over and made space on the bed, holding up the covers in case he didn’t get the hint. With a smile and a nod, he pulled off his shirt and pants and slid into the space still warm from her body. As if the past several months had never happened, she curled into his side, throwing one leg over his and sighing when his arms went around her.
The now approaching dawn and Buffy’s still-tired body conspired to put them both to sleep before the cuddling could go beyond sleepy murmurs and gentle caresses.
“It’s off.” Andrew played with the dials on the receiver, but got nothing but static from the transmitter that had given them so much insight the night before. When he played back the tape, the reason became only too apparent. Following closely upon the furious snarling that had followed Spike’s discovery, and the colorful language when his demon had calmed enough for him to speak, was the short conversation in Buffy’s room that ended with her lightly veiled threat to kill them and Spike’s subsequent smashing of the machine.
“They know it’s us! They know what we did!” Jonathan’s voice held just a trace of panic.
“Calm down, brainiac. Of course they know it’s us. Who else could it have been? We’re the Slayer’s only enemies right now. The only ones in a position to take her out of the equation. It’s no big deal, we ‘ve still got—” He broke off as static began coming from the two other receivers. “That bitch! That’s it. She’s going down. Her and her devil’s spawn.” Warren paced around the room, ranting about Buffy and her interference and what he wanted to do to her. When he finally ran out of air, he noticed that Andrew was trying to speak.
“If we hurt Buffy, Spike will kill us. Slowly and painfully.” They were so accustomed to ignoring Andrew that it took a few seconds for his words to sink in.
“He can’t. He’s got that chip, remember? All he can do is get really mad.”
Jonathan shook his head. “I don’t think you’ve ever seen a vampire when it’s really, really mad,” he said. “I wouldn’t count on that chip if I were you. Not to mention, no slayer means nothing to keep the vampires and demons in check. Won’t do us much good to take over the city if we can’t go out safely.”
“I didn’t say we were going to kill her. I’m just thinking ahead, that’s all. What’s going to be in our best interests?” He looked thoughtful for a minute. “Actually, what might be in our best interest is to keep her alive – and with us. We’d have control over her and over Spike. He’d have to do whatever we say to keep his family safe. Once the baby’s born…” Warren walked away, muttering to himself about how to capture and control a slayer.
“I want to go on record as saying this is a really bad idea,” Jonathan said to Warren’s back.
“An idiot and a coward. I’m surrounded by incompetence!” Warren sat down at his computer and began to research slayers, vampires and electronic control devices.
Buffy awoke to a familiar object poking her in the ass. She smiled and wriggled against it for a moment, then realized that Spike wasn’t even awake. Only that one body part was aware that he was sleeping next to her for the first time in months. Moving slowly, she rolled over to her other side, letting his cock brush against the skin on her stomach while she ran her hand over his chest and reacquainted herself with his body.
The warmth she’d been used to had been replaced by smoother, cooler skin, but the body under it was almost identical to the one she knew so well. Although she knew this body was much stronger than the human one she’d made love with so many times before, it still felt wonderfully familiar. She hadn’t allowed herself to realize how much she missed Spike until he was back in her life and in her bed. With a sudden need that surprised her, she wrapped her arm around him and held on tightly.
Spike struggled against his body’s need to sleep through the early morning hours, waking to find Buffy pressed against him, her tears moistening his chest. His arms pulled her in even more tightly as he whispered, “What is it, love? What’s wrong?”
“N…nothing,” she hiccupped. “I just missed you so much, and it’s my own stupid fault, and now you’re here and I’m h…happy.”
“Ah,” he said, for lack of anything more coherent. “So, happy tears then, not sad ones?”
Buffy sniffled and giggled softly. “Probably more like hormonal tears, according to Willow, but the sentiments are real.”
“Missed you too, pet,” he said, stroking her back with one hand. “Wanted you back in my arms so bad…” He tightened his grip even more. “Never let you go, Slayer. Never.”
“Never works for me,” she said, hiding her face against him. Without thinking, she began kissing his chest, flicking her tongue over his nipples and smiling at his groans of pleasure. He pulled her over on top of him and tugged her up to his mouth. “Morning breath,” Buffy demurred turning her head away.
“I’ll deal,” he growled. “Been waiting too long for this, Slayer.” In spite of his words, he didn’t insist on kissing her on the mouth, but began to run his lips over her face and neck, working his way down to her breasts. By the time he had suckled each one to a rosy peak, Buffy was whimpering and squirming against him, rubbing her leg over his thigh.
“Ah, love, missed this so much.” Pushing her onto her back, he began to kiss his way down her torso, pausing over her abdomen to listen to the extra heartbeat and whisper into it. “Your father loves you, baby Summers. Almost as much as he loves your mother. Can’t wait to meet you. Never thought I’d…” Remembering that Buffy was listening to every word, he swallowed the rest of his thought and nuzzled her silky skin. “Sorry, love, got a bit sidetracked. Didn’t forget where I was going though. Promise you that.” Leaving a final kiss on her belly, he slid down until his head was between her thighs and she was moaning in anticipation.
“Lesson number one in why vampires make good lovers, coming up,” he said, grinning up at her briefly before beginning the lesson. Buffy put the pillow over her mouth to muffle her cries as Spike lived up to his words. When she’d come down from her orgasm and was lying bonelessly on the bed, he crawled back up to lie on her inert body, his cock between her thighs. “You’re sure this is okay?”
“The doctor said it was,” she gasped, pulling him into her and locking her ankles behind his back. “She said it was fine as long as we don’t get too rough.”
“I can do not rough,” he said, beginning to move slowly and gently. “I can do that.”
In spite of his words, it wasn’t long before he was moving faster and Buffy was biting his shoulder to muffle her voice again. When he came with a shout, there was a thump on their door and Dawn said, “I asked you if I was going to need earplugs!”
Buffy’s embarrassed laugh was joined by Spike’s as they lay together, happy and temporarily satisfied. He rolled off to the side, pulling her with him so that she rested against his body.
“Guess I’d better finish fixing up the crypt, yeah?”
“I guess so. If Dawn’s going to be so nosy, we might have to spend some time there after patrol instead of coming straight home. Or…” she said, tracing a path on his chest with her finger. “Or we could fix up the basement here. Make it into a real bedroom and we could sleep down there. That way, she can’t hear anything, and I don’t have to worry about you going up in smoke while I’m gone during the day.” As she spoke, she pulled the sheet up over his legs so the sunbeam peeking through the gap in the curtain couldn’t reach him.
“Want to be wherever you are,” he said. “I’d rather have an aching dick and you sleepin’ in my arms than be satisfied and alone.”
“That’s a very sweet, if gross, sentiment,” she said, with a small wrinkle of her nose. “I was kind of thinking if you were downstairs, I’d be sleeping there too.”
“I’ll do whatever you want, sweetheart. Upstairs, downstairs, back to sleeping on the couch. Whatever works.”
“I think we should fix up the basement,” she said. “We need to get used to living together again.”
He shot her a startled look. “We do?”
Buffy’s face fell. “Don’t you think so? Don’t you want to be a… a…”
“Family?” The intensity of his gaze made her squirm. “You need to be clear, Buffy. Not making that mistake again – thinkin’ you mean… then finding out you don’t mean what I thought you meant.”
Buffy sighed and closed her eyes for a second. “I’m not sure what I mean,” she admitted. “You haven’t been back very long and we haven’t lived together for a long ti—” When she felt him stiffen, she hastened on. “—not that I don’t know that’s my fault. Totally. It is. But that doesn’t change anything. We still haven’t been part of each other’s lives for months. Not until this week, anyway.” She opened her eyes and met his. “Can we just play this by ear for awhile? You’ll move in here, I’ll move downstairs with you… We’ll figure it out before the baby comes.”
“Baby shouldn’t live in a basement,” he mumbled. “Neither should you, if I’m being truthful.”
“The baby shouldn’t have to watch its father go up in flames because he got too near the window, either,” she snapped. “I’m not saying I plan to put the baby down there too. I’m just trying to give us time to get used to living in the same house. The us that we are here, a vampire and a slayer. That other Spike and Buffy wouldn’t have had any problem having a baby and making a little family. You might have had to add another room to the house, but—”
Spike grabbed her chin and forced her to meet his eyes. “This Spike loves you every bit as much as that one did. And he’s going to love this baby and do his best to be a good father to it. You and the baby will be my family no matter what you decide about where I live. Nothing about me being a vamp or you being a slayer can change that. You can shut me out of your life, but you can’t change how I feel about you or the little one.”
“Don’t want to change it,” she whispered, holding his gaze. “I’m counting on it.”
They each looked away, embarrassed by the emotions still roiling the atmosphere. Buffy finally broke the silence, getting up and pulling out some sweats. “I’m going to go look for more of those transmitter things.”
“Be down in a few minutes,” he said, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling. He didn’t look at her when she left the room.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/799813.html