And here’s the final chapter. I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and thanks to enigmaticblues for hosting this round.
The moonlight shone through their open window. The night breeze, bringing cool relief from the ocean, was a comfort after the unseasonably warm day.
Spike lay propped against the headboard, Buffy sprawled soft and boneless across his chest. She lay on her side, her cheek on his chest and her belly propped against his leg. He stroked her softly, feeling the muscles in her stomach tighten and relax.
Spike had been warned – both by random nosy individuals and by every single baby book he’d poked his nose into – that he’d need to be sensitive to Buffy’s mixed feelings about her changing appearance. He needn’t have bothered. As she grew larger – as her breasts and belly rounded and her cheeks filled out – he caught her watching herself in the mirror with fascination. Her hands would trace her body with a wonder second only to his own.
One day he propped a long mirror at the foot of the bed and sat her naked on his lap in front of it. While she blushed pink, he opened his legs and spread hers over the top of his. He lifted her heavy breasts, gently touching the darkened nipples and areolae. He caressed her belly and moved down between her legs, spreading her open where she was pink and wet. She moved against him in sinuous waves, heavy and timeless as the most ancient fertility symbol, worthy of worship, and together they watched as she shuddered and panted in the mirror under the touch of an invisible lover.
As her pregnancy neared its end, she grew so uncomfortable in the heat and comfortable in her own skin that she would wander the house wearing nothing more that a thin t-shirt over her underwear. Sometimes she wore one of Spike’s shirts, and he would stare in awe at the dark shadow of her breasts beneath the cotton, at the way her belly would strain against the fabric. Her hands would rise often to caress and hold her own stomach, and in the gesture he could see her cradling their baby.
He still had trouble sounding the words out. Our baby. Mine and Buffy’s. My daughter. The words had felt foreign even when he’d been alive, and the long, changeless years as a vampire had done nothing to make them more familiar. He had thought that he’d grow more used the words as Buffy’s time approached. He’d been wrong.
“Mmmm,” Buffy sighed, rolling her head across his chest. He brushed at the sweat beading on her forehead, and she sighed in relief. “Thanks,” she muttered, fanning the space between her breasts where more sweat collected. She wore only an old pair of underwear that sagged below her stomach, as well as a nursing bra – she was too uncomfortable these days to go without one. As he watched in fascination, a small wet spot blossomed on the front of the bra. Buffy grimaced.
“Ugh. Please tell me that’s not the last clean one.” She gave a slight wince, stiffening her back. Spike froze.
“Buffy? Is it…?”
She settled back with a moan. “No, I don’t think so. Just starting to get uncomfortable.”
Spike glanced at the clock out of habit. After the last several nights of discomfort, the doctor had warned them that the baby could come at any time. “You’ll let me know?” he asked.
Buffy chuckled throatily. “Believe me, you’ll be the first to know. I’m not about to forget who’s responsible for this.”
He pressed a kiss to the top of her head in response and let his hands roam down her side and back. She groaned in approval when he began to knead her lower back, and he saw her toes curling as she arched like a cat.
“Yeah,” she said sleepily. “Oh, that’s so much better.”
Her skin glowed in the moonlight, all curves and swells like the tide – rounded heel, rounded knee, rounded belly – and she sighed under his touch. He brought one of his hands around to the front of her stomach and was rewarded with a strong kick to his palm.
“Whoa!” he said, almost pulling his hand away, and she laughed a knowing feminine laugh. She seemed so wise these days, swollen with secrets that no man had ever been privy to.
“Tell me about it,” she said. “Someone’s almost ready to come out.”
She drew his hand back and forth across her stomach, finally pushing it lower so his fingers slipped beneath the waistband of her panties. He touched her gently, just resting his fingers against the wet pearl of her clit as she undulated against him.
“Spike,” she breathed, brushing a kiss against his throat. He held her and helped her to rock gently against him, her breathing quickening until she gave a little cry of relief and softened against him.
“Better?” he asked, cradling the limp weight of her body. She nodded against him.
“Uh huh,” she mumbled. “Release of…what do you call them? Something. Hormones?”
“Pheromones?” he asked, distracted by the fertile salt smell of her body.
“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
It only took him a moment to decipher the mystery of the Buffy Brain. “Endorphins?” he supplied, and she nodded in satisfaction.
“That’s the one.”
“Hmmm,” he mused. “So you’re saying I’m just your drug supplier?”
She raised her head and kissed him on the lips. “Absolutely,” she said with a firm nod. “Plus you’re unbearably sexy, which doesn’t hurt. And…oh!” She hunched her back, clutching her stomach with a moan. He placed his hand over hers and felt her skin harden as her muscles tensed. He rubbed her back again as she gritted her teeth and rode out the spasm.
“Buffy,” he said worriedly, “maybe we should go.”
She glanced at the clock. “I want to wait and see if there’s more. It would really suck if we went to the hospital and it’s a false alarm.”
He nodded and pulled her back against him, rubbing her back slowly as her eyes fell shut. She dozed lightly for another fifteen minutes that seemed to last for several hours. Just as he was thinking that she’d fallen asleep completely, she groaned and opened her eyes, rolling onto her knees and elbows. She whined in pain for a moment before collapsing back onto him.
“Okay,” she panted. “It’s officially getting worse. I can already tell that this is going to be so much worse than getting stabbed with my own stake. I want the good drugs.”
She pushed herself unsteadily to her feet, waddling over to the dresser and collecting the tank top and sweat pants she’d set aside just in case.
“At least baby’s considerate enough to do this at night,” she said, quickly plaiting her hair into a loose braid. “We wouldn’t want daddy to get all dusty driving to the hospital. And hey, I think we should call Giles. He said he’d meet us there and do a security sweep or something. Plus, he said he’d already taken care of getting us a room without windows. I have to say, sometimes the Council sorta rules.” She clutched at her lower back, wincing. “Spike? This is kind of it. Are you ready?”
Spike realized that he was still sitting frozen where she’d left him. Was he ready? He’d never felt less ready for anything in his life. In a sudden flash he knew that Angel was right, all those months ago. He wasn’t sure about anything anymore. He wasn’t sure at all that he could do this, that someone like him could be responsible for an innocent life. What in the hell were the fates playing at, to do this to him? He’d muck it up for sure, the same way he’d mucked up everything else in his sorry existence. He loved Buffy with all his heart, and he loved this baby more than his unlife, but with a sudden clarity borne of utter panic he knew that that love wasn’t enough to make everything right. He didn’t know what he was doing. What arrogance had made him think he could do this in the first place?
Buffy must have seen the panic on his face. Her eyes softened, and she came to sit back down next to him.
“Hey,” she said quietly. “You can do this. Okay? I trust you to take care of us.”
He clutched her hand and bowed his head, pressing a kiss to her wrist. As she rubbed the back of his neck, his panic eased. He realized suddenly that, as usual, he’d been facing the problem completely backwards and upside-down. He didn’t have to be strong. He could let her comfort him, knowing that in doing so she was giving him the power he needed to be strong for her later. Her trust made him a better man than he had any right to be.
He should have known all along – she’d always been the stronger one.
He lifted his head and dropped a grateful kiss on her forehead. “I’m ready,” he said firmly, helping her to her feet and grabbing the bag she’d so carefully packed days ago. I am a father, he thought, tasting the words again, letting them roll around in his brain until, finally, they sounded exactly right. Straightening his shoulders, he led Buffy out of the house and closed the door firmly on the old chapter of their life.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/216267.html