Rating: R, mostly for swearing and violence
Summary: Begins at the start of Season 7, but immediately goes AU. Buffy gets pregnant with Spike’s baby, and it fixes everything that’s wrong in their relationship. Don’t try to figure out any timelines, because they won’t fit.
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to Joss Whedon. The prose and plot are my own.
Word Count: Around the 37,450 mark
WARNING(S): There’s not much violence in this fic, but what’s there involves a baby. That’s right, a baby. Also, don’t expect too much happy mushiness. This is Pregnancy-With-Minimal-Plot and does involve consensual non-sex, naughty words and the author’s rather sick sense of humor. Uh, enjoy? Oh, and none of this is beta’d. So reedz at you’re own wrist.
Buffy rolled her eyes when she entered the clinic, only to find Spike already sitting in the waiting room. “Did Giles tell you where I was going?”
“Hardly,” the vampire snorted. “But figured you wouldn’t take your demonic parasite to Planned Parenthood, and there’s only the one demon pregnancy clinic.” His brow furrowed. “Think there’d be more, but then again a lot of species lay eggs or eat their young, so –.”
“Okay! Geez.” Buffy held up her hand to stop him. “There will be no talking of eating anything at all, Mister.” She looked at where her toes should be (the spawn-bump obscured them) not wanting to see Spike’s concerned expression or the all-you-can-drink buffet between his jaw and shoulder. “I can barely eat bagels right now.” She took a deep breath, crossing her arms over her chest. “And I don’t want you here, Spike.”
“Well, tough.” Spike reached out, palming her stomach, and Buffy gasped, startled by the bold contact. She stepped back, wincing as the spawn churned inside her. Spike lifted an eyebrow. “Think I can’t feel that, Buffy? Think I don’t hear its heart speed up whenever I’m near?” His voice dropped a register. “Demon or not, it knows its daddy.”
“Don’t,” said Buffy.
“And I think I get to know what’s going on with it,” he said. “Since, out of the two of us, I’m the only one preparing to raise the damn thing.”
Buffy met his eyes, then, not knowing if she wanted to tell him – if she could explain – what this felt like to her. The spawn had invaded her body, manipulated it to its own ends. She could feel it changing her – and the craving – how it could it possibly be good? Be human? And there was another danger, too. If she let herself think, for even a moment, that she was carrying a real baby, a human baby, as bad as that was – if she let herself, and then birthed a monster –
“I have to check in,” she choked out, turning her back to him so that she could walk to the nurse’s desk and sign her name with a shaking hand.
She turned around and sat back down, in the seat farthest away from Spike, and picked up a magazine. It was full of pictures of smiling, blue-eyed babies in onesies. Buffy shoved it aside and picked at her nail polish, refusing to speak when Spike moved to sit next to her.
At least he seemed uncomfortable, too – instead of sprawling in his seat, he sat rigidly, legs and arms squeezed into his body, as if he were afraid to accidentally brush her limbs with his own.
Buffy stood up when the nurse called her name. So did Spike. “I don’t want you coming with me,” she hissed under her breath, so the nurse wouldn’t hear.
“Tough luck, love,” Spike replied, just as softly. “Don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I’ve got questions for the doc.” He sounded apologetic, and a little sad, and maybe that’s what made Buffy soften.
She stepped forward, “That’s me. And this is the father.”
The nurse eyed Spike skeptically, but evidently decided it was none of her business if nice, human girls decided to raise their babies with the walking dead. “Follow me.”
“Buffy, I’d like a word with you.” Dr. Finch stopped Buffy from following Spike through the exam room door. The vampire had been strangely quiet through the exam and ultrasound, only speaking once, and only then to ask if the baby really looked normal. So much for having questions for the doc.
But his expression – awed and wondering and fearful. Buffy had watched Spike more than she had the ultrasound, and that was good, because the slick of the probe against her skin made her queasy. She hadn’t chosen this, and listening to Dr. Finch point out hands and fingers as the gel warmed on her swollen midsection felt obscene. Like a horror-movie parody of what was – she had heard – supposed to be a happy time.
But Spike’s reactions were all the right ones, and focusing on his worry and barely-contained euphoria helped her disconnect, helped her see the spawn the way he saw it – like something that might-possibly-maybe-could be a baby. The new perspective itched.
“Your pregnancy has moved a month forward in development after months in stasis – I have to ask if your environment has changed,” said Dr. Finch. “If you’ve done anything differently.”
Buffy averted her eyes. “Spike showed up. Does that count?”
“It could.” Dr. Finch’s fingers twitched. “Mystical impregnations can be very sensitive, and we still don’t know what we’re dealing with, here. It’s possible that the parasite needs both parents in close proximity to proceed in its development.” The doctor’s mouth became a thin line. “But I don’t think that’s the whole story.”
Buffy blushed and looked away. “I can’t –”
“And I can’t help you unless you’re honest with me.”
Buffy bit her lip and blinked hard. “I’m sorry. I just – saying it makes it real, you know?”
Dr. Finch frowned. “It can’t be that bad. Buffy, whatever happened, it made the parasite grow. That’s a good thing. There’s no way to remove it – the only way that parasite’s coming out is the normal way. And that means that it needs to develop further. Whatever it is you did, I suggest you keep on doing it.”
Buffy drew in a sharp breath. “I can’t. It’s Spike’s blood, okay? I – I couldn’t help myself and I –”
Dr. Finch looked surprised, but recovered herself quickly. “You bit him?”
Buffy shook her head. “No. I was patching him up, and I got some on my hands, and I licked it off.”
The doctor nodded slowly. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that the parasite’s evil, Buffy. This isn’t a normal pregnancy – it’s very possible that you’re incubating an absolutely normal human baby, but that the magic creating the pregnancy needs a catalyst. Blood is life, after all. My original advice stands.”
Geez, and how was Buffy supposed to make that work? Should she kindly ask Spike if he would mind being drained into a husk? Contrive to play nurse as often as possible? Not to mention – ew. “Thanks,” said Buffy in a strained voice as she opened the door to the hall. “I’ll let you know if anything changes.”
She entered the lobby, only to see Spike’s pale face looking so haggard that she had to stifle a gasp. He didn’t have to say a word. His eyes told her that he had heard it all.
And suddenly she couldn’t stand it any longer. Buffy pushed through Spike and rushed through the room without checking out, needing to feel sunlight on her skin – needing to have a barrier between herself and what she wanted.
Spike paced across the length of the boiler room, which was, admittedly, not that long – he could only get in about four strides before he was forced to stop, turn and walk to the opposite wall.
Blood – the baby made Buffy crave blood. His blood. Not exactly a check in the “not evil” column. But the doc had said that the baby looked perfectly normal on the ultrasound, and the shape of it didn’t look too different from the ultrasound scenes on the telly. It could be that the mystical pregnancy required blood, that the baby was human, with all the normal human things – ten fingers and ten toes, a shining baby-sized soul.
What did it mean, that the baby wouldn’t grow without his blood? If he didn’t – if Buffy couldn’t – would she remain pregnant indefinitely? Spike winced at the thought. Bloody hell, but she’d become a Big Bad! And Buffy draining him didn’t sound like a thrill ride, either. How would the Scoobies react? If they knew, would they kill it at birth, no questions asked?
Spike stopped and surveyed his surroundings. He really did need to get off the Hellmouth, he knew that. But hell if he’d live with Harris. He could take care of himself, especially now that he knew to watch out for a medieval vampire cult. Something about that still bothered him, besides the torture. But other worries pressed harder.
He shook his head and resumed pacing. If the babe craved blood – if it were evil – well, it wasn’t likely to have inherited those qualities from its mum.
But as much as it was his, it was also Buffy’s, and nothing evil could come from Buffy, could it? The Slayer had made him a new man, and not through any effort on her part. Just her presence, her righteousness, her fire – hell, all she’d done was kick his arse in truly spectacular fashion, and he’d hollowed himself out for the love of her. Surely anything growing inside her, cradled by her goodness, couldn’t help but be touched by it?
The blood, though. The blood was a problem, and one he wasn’t quite willing to wrap his head around.
With a low growl, Spike stormed out the doors, into the cooler air of the school basement proper. He felt exhausted and restless, and he wanted to fight and to fuck and to drink himself unconscious. He considered heading to the cemetery but then thought better of it. He wasn’t quite up to full strength, and while he could more than hold his own, he couldn’t risk incapacitating himself – not while that cult was gunning for Buffy.
With no conscious effort on his part, Spike found himself in the Summers’ yard, his back against a very familiar tree. But instead of chain-smoking and peering into Buffy’s bedroom window, the vampire stared anywhere but, hating the thing he had been and his inability to leave it behind.
He smiled ruefully at Buffy, who looked a vision even in an oversized nightie and with a belly that crossed time-zones. “Gonna tell me where you’re hiding a stake in that get-up, love?”
Buffy frowned, hands fisting and unfisting at her sides, almost as if she were hoping for a stake to manifest in one of her palms. “I figured you came here to talk. Still so sure you want to go to Giles?”
Spike suddenly found the laces of his boots all too captivating. “Want to? No. But holding back information’s not gonna help us get answers.” He craned his neck to look back up at her, frowning at the alien look in her eyes. Bloodlust. And not quite the same way she looked before she took on a demon. “Slayer?”
Buffy shook herself, taking a faltering step back. “Maybe you shouldn’t be here. Alone with me, I mean.”
Spike lurched to his feet. “But that’s exactly what we need to figure out. If it needs my blood to grow, it won’t come out unless it gets it.” He itched for a cigarette, something to crush beneath his heel. “‘Course, not feeding it could buy us some time to look into things a bit more. Talk to Giles and hope he doesn’t stake me just to keep me away.”
Buffy groaned, “I don’t know how much longer I can carry this thing. And telling Giles? I’m not sure I can face him. What can I possibly say? ‘Hi, Giles! By the way, your Slayer’s craving blood!’ Buffy’s eyes widened, and her hand clamped over her mouth. “Oh God, I really am. Like really, really.”
“All blood?” asked Spike, carefully.
“Just yours,” Buffy said. “I can almost feel it in you. It doesn’t flow in the normal way – it pools in your veins, just sitting there, like it’s waiting for something to move it.” She stepped forward, backing Spike into the tree. Bark scraped his back, reminding him of better-worse times. “What’s it waiting for, Spike? Is it – touch?” Her fingers stretched out, tracing the line of his jugular.
Then Buffy’s hand dropped lower, cupping him through his jeans. “It comes when I call it, doesn’t it? Like you do.”
“Yes,” breathed Spike, though part of him knew – knew! – that she wouldn’t touch him like this in her right mind, that something was forcing her hand, making her touch the thing that had tried –
He shoved her away, harder than he’d intended, and got a good zap from the chip for all of his nobility. “You don’t want me, Buffy,” he gasped, bowled over, a hand clenched to his temple.
“You’re right,” said Buffy, unfocused with a sort of unseeing desperation. Spike wanted to close his eyes against it, this expression so like the one she had worn after rising from the grave. “I’m sorry. I just – I can’t control it.” She stepped away from him. “Is this how it is? For you?”
Spike honestly didn’t know. “Don’t want to bite you, Buffy. Haven’t in a long while.”
“But you did, once,” Buffy insisted. “Was it like this thing, kinda apart from you, but not, that told you you’d never be satisfied unless you took it?”
Spike stared at her, aghast, worried what it would do to her to, well, take him. “Not really. The hunger was me.” His fingers trembled as he combed them through his hair. “Christ, it still is. And satisfaction? Can count the times I’ve been close to peace on one hand.”
“Close to?” Buffy stepped towards him again, and he ducked his head, moving away from her.
“Nature of the beast,” he said, bitterly. “Can’t wreak enough destruction to sate a demon.”
Buffy laughed. “I’ve only been at peace once that I can remember. So what does that make me?”
“Can’t say that humans are ever happy with their lot, either.”
“That’s for sure.” Buffy bit her lip – Spike couldn’t look away from that tiny bit of tooth, the indentation it made in her lip gloss. “What are we going to do, Spike?”
The vampire came to a decision. “Don’t want to tell Giles quite yet, yeah? I’ll check into some other sources first. If I don’t find something there, we’re gonna have to tell him. As for the blood –” Spike paused, gathering himself. “Up to you, love. Can put off feeding it ‘til we know a bit more.”
“I want it out,” said Buffy. “If it’s good, it won’t matter. If it’s bad, better out than in. Of course, mom said that when I had food poisoning, so not quite the same sitch.”
Spike was sure that Buffy didn’t want to sink her teeth in him. “We’ll use a syringe,” he decided. “Or an IV bag. Can squirt a bit in your Hawaiian punch.”
Buffy made a disgusted face, even as she nodded in agreement. “But how am I going to get all this blood from you without hurting you? And won’t it need to be, well, fresh? Other people will go for the punch, too, even if I tell them not to. And if I bag it and only add it to my own food, they’re going to wonder why there’s blood and how come someone seems to be drinking it.”
“You’re keeping it for me?” Spike suggested. “Not like I can store O-neg in the school cafeteria.”
“But you can put some in Xander’s fridge,” said Buffy. “You know, where you’re going to be living? Because the school is about as safe as a pit of snakes. Evil, demony snakes.”
“Not fighting about this with you,” said Spike. “Lived with him before, remember? Didn’t work out, and he’s less reason to like me now. And by ‘like,’ I mean ‘not inclined to stake me in my sleep.’”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “If it were a choice between Xander and crazy vampire monks, I think I’m going to place my tent in the Xander camp.”
“Not exactly a Boy Scout, Buffy. Camping’s right out.”
“Then you’ll stay here.” Buffy tone didn’t allow for argument.
Spike argued anyway. “You want to drink my blood. Think it’s better I not stay in your larder, so to speak.”
“If I can deal with you being in the same house after you attacked me, you can deal with the blood-thing,” said Buffy, her words rushing together, though not so quickly that Spike couldn’t register their blow. “And it will explain the blood in the fridge. Besides, there’s three of us already in the house, and you’ll be in the basement, and you work and I work – chances are we’re not going to get much in the way of alone time.”
“You don’t need a thing like me in your home.” Spike’s voice was hoarse, his head swimming with flashes of white, Buffy’s face contorted in pain.
“Survey says, I kinda do.” Buffy’s hand brushed his arm, drawing Spike’s focus from his memories. “You say you have a soul, now. Prove it to me. Help me with this.” She cupped his cheek with her hand, and Spike’s world narrowed to the soft swipe of her thumb against his skin. “I need you, Spike. I can’t be alone in this. I can’t –”
“Alright,” Spike whispered. “But anything happens and I’m gone.”
“Okay,” said Buffy. And to Spike’s surprise, she took him by the hand and led him inside.
“Well, that went rather well, wouldn’t you say?” asked Giles as they stepped out onto the Davis’ front porch.
Spike scowled, gingerly touching the cross-shaped burn on his cheek, courtesy of little cousin Lichelle. “Not sure I should be doing this job anymore,” he said. “Get the herd too informed, and they’ll start staking vamps without checking for souls, first.”
“And what a pity that would be,” muttered Giles. “I imagine the herd, as you say, will nevertheless insist on falling prey to any number of unsoulled vampires.
“Could show a little respect for your business partner, since he was maimed in the name of duty, and it’s not like you offer workvamp’s comp.” Spike lit a cigarette, his cheeks hollowing as he took a deep draw. Buffy’d have his head if he smoked around her, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. And it was safe to say she’d never know the least bit ‘bout any of his nightly activities.
Buffy had been right when she’d said they’d rarely see each other. Although they now lived in the same house, Spike saw less of the Slayer than he had when he lived in the crypt, before their abusive parody of a relationship began.
He knew Buffy was avoiding him – even the Doublemeat wouldn’t give a pregnant girl that many double shifts starting at 5 a.m., and she always finished her patrol before he finished with Giles – but it wasn’t like he could blame the girl.
Wasn’t right that she avoided her own home, but Buffy wouldn’t hear of him returning to the school or the crypt. Though, truth be told, he could probably pick up and leave without her noticing, if it wasn’t for the steady supply of blood he added to her “prenatal vitamin drink” via a handy, pilfered syringe.
“If my ‘business partner’ deserved any respect, I might be more inclined to demonstrate it.” Giles hit his key fob as they walked toward his car, unlocking the doors. “But as he seems more interested in charming the women of the family than demonstrating necessary survival skills …”
“Charming women is a survival skill, for a vampire,” said Spike, crushing his cigarette beneath his heel before opening the passenger side door. “Last I checked, I was supposed to act like a vampire. Get an invite. Which I did, if you’ll recall. And then I put the fear of God in them, also a part of my job.”
“And one that I fear you enjoy too well,” said Giles, sliding into his own seat. He started the car.
Spike stared out the window. “Don’t enjoy it,” he said, flatly. “Least, most of me doesn’t.” He pressed his fingers to the glass, watching neat bungalows and tidy lawns slide into darkness.
“Buffy seems to be doing well,” said Giles.
Spike felt a brief surge of gratitude at the change of subject, then remembered that Giles had no reason or inclination to spare his feelings. Hadn’t offered him the job out of the goodness of his heart, had he? Done it for Buffy. To keep an eye on him. Provide a good cover for an accidental staking. “Haven’t seen much of her.”
“But surely you’ve noticed that the pregnancy has resumed development?”
There was no use denying it. “Course I have,” he said. “Not really something you can miss.”
“I only wish I knew the catalyst,” said Giles. “It could change the direction of my research.”
Spike rolled his eyes, annoyed. He didn’t know why Giles thought he’d know – wasn’t like he and the Slayer were behaving like old chums. Then again, maybe Giles trusted that he would spy and eavesdrop ‘til he got his answers, which was, of course, a spot-on assessment.
“Yeah? Well seems to me you’d be better off asking Buffy. She’s the one carrying the damn thing.”
“Exactly. Buffy is far too close to the situation, and it’s causing her to hide things. We still don’t know the true nature of the parasite. Many demons find ways to manipulate their human hosts. We simply cannot trust that Buffy’s actions are entirely her own.”
“Right,” said Spike. “And Buffy’s never kept anything to herself before? She’s not possessed, Watcher. She’s pregnant and unhappy, and she has to deal with it on her own, cause none of us can understand what she feels. Sorry if she’s not gushing forth with details.”
“Details that could rectify the situation? Buffy’s withholding of information could put us all in peril –”
“It’s the Hellmouth,” said Spike. “Going bowling could put us all in peril.”
“ – And if you truly cared for Buffy, as you claim to do, you would act in her best interest, and not simply to merit her approval.”
Spike snorted. Didn’t matter if he tried or not, Buffy disapproved of everything he did and was. Didn’t like that he was preparing in case of kid, or that he’d gotten a job scaring women, or that he neglected to use coasters and his Weetabix took up cabinet space.
And who was the Watcher to lecture him? Seemed Giles always acted in Buffy’s best interest, and Buffy never much benefited.
“Like you did when you left?” snapped Spike. “Couldn’t have done better by the girl, really.”
“You won’t distract me by putting me on the defensive,” said Giles. “You fought for and reclaimed your soul, Spike. But you’ll never be a man if you allow Buffy to remain your moral arbiter.”
“You suggesting I go by your lead instead? ‘Cause I’ve been trying to do right by Buffy far longer than I’ve had a soul.” He rushed on, before Giles reminded him just how badly he had failed. “Just – didn’t have the best idea what that meant, then. Now I do. And I’m not doing anything I don’t think is right.”
“I have noticed your efforts,” said Giles, softly. “But you can’t help but be unobjective. And if the pregnancy proceeds at its current rate, the birth will be short in coming. Don’t you think we should be prepared for any eventuality?”
“I’ll put an axe in Buffy’s overnight bag.”
Giles raised an eyebrow. “And if you’re planning a hospital birth, it’s especially important that we have some idea of what to expect.”
“Doc says too much could go wrong,” said Spike. “Wants surgeons there in case something happens to Buffy.” Yet another thing Spike didn’t want to think about – what could go wrong with a perfectly human birth. Wrapped umbilical cords, breech births, internal bleeding, birth defects –
Giles must’ve been thinking the same. They lapsed into silence as the Watcher pulled the car into the Summers’ driveway. Giles parked. Turned the engine off.
“I do respect your unwillingness to betray Buffy’s confidence,” said Giles. “But withholding information for any length of time could put her life in danger. I presume you’d rather have her angry than dead?”
“Told her I’d look into it first without informing you lot,” Spike finally admitted. “Said if I failed, I’d tell you.”
“And have you failed?”
“So far,” said Spike, with a frustrated sigh.
“Then you won’t be going back on your word.”
“Think Buffy will see it like that?” asked Spike. His point made, he opened the car door and made to move outside. He was stopped by Giles’ hand, which clutched his wrist with a grip that, while firm, couldn’t hardly hold a vampire. Startled, Spike didn’t jerk away until Giles had already pushed his sleeve up.
His frequent donations didn’t quite give him time to heal, especially if he forgot to feed, as he had that evening. There was no mistaking the needle marks, nor the cuts he’d made when he’d felt too impatient for the syringe.
“You might be some sort of man, now,” said Giles, with irritable steel. “Might I suggest that you endeavor to become a better one?”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/386555.html