Ouroboros (1/3)

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Well, I guess it’s my day. I have some fic to share. It’s three vignettes centered around a particular event in the life of Buffy and Spike. This is the first part, and I’ll be posting the other two later today.

This is a post-series fic, and there’s an overall R rating. I hope you enjoy it.

Ouroboros (1/3)
November 2012

Los Angeles

Buffy was waiting for him at the kitchen table when he came home, her hands wrapped around a mug of tea. She wrinkled her nose at the sight of him.

“Wow. Are you trying to start a new fashion statement? You know, contrary to what everyone says, demon guts aren’t the new black.”

Spike sighed and leaned his battle-ax against the counter, ignoring Buffy’s moue of disgust at the blood dripping from the blade onto the floor. After all, the old tile had seen plenty worse over the years. He stripped off his coat and sourly fingered the new holes in it.

“At least Angel looks worse,” he muttered. “And speaking of fashion, I wouldn’t say no to the advent of the age of indestructible leather. This is the third coat since August.”

Buffy rose and took the coat from him, inspecting it critically before dumping it over the back of one of the chairs. “Yup, looks like it’s destined to become little leather dust rags or something.” She squinted at the mangled coat. “Can you even dust with leather?”

Spike shrugged, wandering over the refrigerator and peering inside. “Don’t know,” he said absently.

“You’d know the answer to that if you ever dusted,” Buffy said pointedly.

“And yet you’re the one who’s asking,” he pointed out in return. “Can’t say I’ve ever seen you at it yourself.” He stood in the open door and let the cold air wash over him, caught in a sudden pleasant daydream of Buffy in a French maid’s outfit, wielding a feather duster in one hand and a pair of handcuffs in the other.

“Jerk,” he heard her mutter fondly. “And you’re thinking about something porny right now, aren’t you?” He turned his head over his shoulder and waggled his eyebrows at her, showing his tongue. She knew him so well that he couldn’t even pretend to deny it. She rolled her eyes at him.

“You’re so very gross. Bottom shelf, in the crisper.”

“Huh?” He opened the bottom shelf and found a fresh stack of blood bags, neatly packed. “Bless you, woman,” he said fervently, heading for the microwave and collecting a mug along the way. “What would I do without you?”

“You’d probably be living in some cobwebby old crypt somewhere, with only cockroaches to do the dusting.” She settled back into her chair and picked up the remains of his coat, frowning at it. “And these don’t grow on trees, you know.”

The microwave dinged. He grabbed the mug and straddled the chair across the table from her. “So I’ll get the Council to buy another one, just like always,” he said, taking a sip. “What’s the problem?”

She paled. “Oh my God. I’ve turned into my mother.”

He reached across the table and patted her hand. “It’s probably just because you haven’t killed anything in a while,” he soothed. “You want dibs on the next infestation? I don’t suggest wearing any new outfits for it, but you can try out the new ax. It’s very…”

“No,” Buffy said, standing and starting to pace back and forth across the kitchen. “I just…how did she do it? I never really thought about it, but she was such a good mother. She knew how to cook and clean and make Halloween costumes, and she used those little plastic shields in the electrical sockets. And I’ve got knives and stakes laying around everywhere, and as far as cleaning goes I’m really only good at getting blood out of clothes, which I’m hoping isn’t going to be useful in the future, and oh God, what if it’s useful? I should know this stuff already. I should know how to turn leather coats into dust rags or diapers or tea cozies or something, and I don’t even know what a tea cozy is, but I bet Mom did, and….”

Spike shook his head in bewilderment, watching her trace a path back and forth from the table to the refrigerator. “Buffy,” he interrupted. “What are you on about? Since when do we care about rot like tea cozies?”

Buffy paused by the refrigerator, her head down. When she finally turned to face him, he was shocked to see tears in her eyes.

“I have something to tell you,” she whispered.

It shouldn’t be possible for a dead man to feel his heart leap into his throat. No conversation that started with those words ever ended well. It was an unalterable law of the universe.

“Okay,” he said slowly, trying to find his bearings, maybe get some kind of clue as to what she was upset about. He frantically tried to remember everything that had happened between them before he’d left for his little hunting trip, but he couldn’t think of anything out of the ordinary. “Is this about the coat?” he joked weakly. “Because if Giles is complaining about the expense account again, I can just tell him I’m raising my fee.”

Buffy shook her head and wiped at her eyes with a shaking hand, sitting back down at the table across from him. “I’m sorry,” she said with a rueful laugh. “I’m kind of all over the place right now, and I just really wish that Mom was here.”

He nodded and wrapped his hands around the now lukewarm mug of blood. “Do you…do you want to talk about it?” he asked, sounding the words out carefully. He felt supremely out of his depth, trying to chart the depths of the Oceans of Buffy. No matter how well he knew her – no matter how long they were together – she was still in some ways a mystery to him. He half suspected that this was less a matter of her being Buffy and more about her simply being a woman, but he couldn’t think of a way to express that to her that wouldn’t end with him with a bloody nose. And as fun as it was to get caught up in daydreams of foreplay, he had to focus now.

Buffy picked at the wood of the table, and he could see that her hands were still shaking. He moved to cover them with his own, and she latched on gratefully and gave his a squeeze. “God, this is hard,” she said, looking down at their joined hands. “I never thought we’d ever be having this conversation. I don’t know how people usually do this. Maybe Miss Manners has it in a book somewhere.”

He could tell she working herself up to another ramble, and he squeezed her fingers to forestall it. “Come on, out with it,” he said, trying for Forceful and Supportive, afraid that he’d landed instead on Nervous and Pleading.

Buffy exhaled a long breath. “I went to the doctor for my yearly checkup yesterday,” she said, still looking down at the table. “Lots of fun with poking and prodding and needles and speculums. And Dr. Avis said…well, during the exam she thought…and then she had me take a blood test to be sure, even though I told her it was not possible, except that I guess it is.” She looked up at him, and the tears were back. “Do you know what I’m saying?”

He hadn’t the faintest idea, but he’d felt his blood freeze at the mention of the doctor. Whatever this was about, it had made Buffy think of her mother. He remembered the last time he’d seen Joyce Summers, pale and drawn, her hair dry and thinned from her illness, and he closed his eyes.

“Are you sick? Is that it?” He was amazed at how steady his voice was.

Buffy’s eyes widened. “What? Oh! No. No, that’s not it. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to….” She broke off with a sobbing laugh. Her eyes were so big in her face, shining with a mixture of terror and…joy? She squeezed his hands, her thumbs sweeping over his knuckles, and gave him a tremulous smile.

“Spike, I’m having a baby.”

**********
“I guess you heard the news,” Spike said to the night air. He leaned back against the wall that surrounded their apartment complex, the rough stucco scraping his back through the thin t-shirt he wore. “Sorry, I’m fresh out of cigars. I’ll have to owe you one.”

Angel stepped out of the shadows and took up position next to Spike, staring across the street at nothing in particular. “Yeah,” he said tonelessly. “I heard.” There was a long pause. “How’s Buffy doing?” he asked. It was as if the words were torn out of him.

“She’s fine, although I think I may have to get her away from the Council for a while. Entirely for their safety, of course.”

Angel snorted. “Let me guess. They’re a little curious about the whole thing.”

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Spike said fervently. “The medical department and the Ancient Prophecies division have been fighting over her for weeks now. I’m just trying to stay out of it all.”

“Any news about that?” Angel dug his hands into his coat pockets and stared resolutely across the street. “Any prophecies, I mean?”

“Nothing so far,” Spike said. “Personally, I think they’re all chasing the wrong beast. This isn’t about prophecies or portents or apocalypses or anything else.”

“Yeah?” Angel asked, turning to Spike for the first time.

Spike shook his head. “It’s a miracle, plain and simple,” he said softly. “I don’t know how I know, but I’m sure of it.”

“You’re sure?” Angel said incredulously. “Come on, Spike. This isn’t natural, and you know it. Look, I know how you’re feeling. It’s okay if you’re scared. It doesn’t mean….”

“Oh, lay off with the mentoring, would you?” Spike said in exasperation. “If you and the Council want to predict the end of the world, have at it. I’m going to be a father. Do you know how bloody unbelievable this is? You have no clue how I’m feeling!”

Angel’s face contorted for a brief second before smoothing out into an emotionless mask. It was so quick that Spike almost missed it. Almost.

“I guess you’re right,” Angel said. “I wouldn’t know anything about it. It’s all so simple for you, isn’t it?” Without another word, he pushed himself off from the wall and started to walk away. As he reached the edge of the circle of light cast by the street lamp, he paused.

“Congratulations,” he said shortly, never turning around. “Take good care of Buffy. And take my word for it: this is the last time you’ll ever feel sure about anything again.”

Without another word, Angel disappeared into the night. It was many years before Spike saw him again.

Part Two

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/215793.html

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