full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
If That's What it Takes by slaymesoftly
<<     >>
Chapter Six  
Buffy was able to get an evening appointment with Tara’s doctor for later that week. By the night of the appointment, they had whittled Sunnydale’s vampire population down to the occasional fledgling, working out a system where Buffy did the actual slaying with Spike acting as a lookout and occasional backup. If he thought he saw her slowing down or tiring, he would silently step in and take over.  The looks she gave him were a mixture of resentment, gratitude, and frustration, but she mumbled her thanks often enough that he knew she really didn’t mind.
She allowed Spike to come with her to the initial appointment, leaving him to sit in the waiting room while the doctor examined her and talked to her about the pregnancy.  She was immediately comfortable with Doctor Parada – an older woman who projected an aura of calm competence and empathy.
“Well, obviously, as a physician, I would have liked to see you as soon as you suspected you might be pregnant…” She held her hand up when Buffy opened her mouth to protest.  “But, given your menstrual history, I do understand why it took you so long to realize your condition.  Fortunately, your body is strong and healthy, and I think we can get you back on track quickly.”
She gave Buffy a prescription for a pre-natal vitamin and a suggested diet plan. When Buffy protested that she was already “getting fat”, the doctor scowled at her.
“On the contrary, you are more than a bit on the thin side.  The old adage “eating for two” still applies, even for slayers.  You need to eat healthful foods, but more of them. More protein, more complex carbohydrates, more dairy, and as many fruits and vegetables as you want.”  She smiled at Buffy’s pout. “Trust me, a body like yours will bounce back to its pre-pregnancy state in no time. Right now, you need to be thinking more about producing a healthy baby than you do about your figure.  Now, do you have any questions for me?”
Buffy nodded and asked a few routine questions about exercise, carefully avoiding any mention of her job at the Doublemeat Palace or her more dangerous slaying duties. The doctor, however, seemed well aware of what it was a slayer did with her free time.
“Your normal exercise isn’t going to be a problem until you get closer to giving birth.  Your own body will be your best judge of when to slow down and when you need to take a break.  Please remember that your center of gravity is going to be off and that you may not be able to do many of the things you could before.” She gave Buffy a shrewd glance. “It might be better to allow the baby’s father to handle some of your more… vigorous duties for the next few months. I suspect he is quite up to it.”
Buffy laughed and nodded. “Yeah, fighting and killing things is kinda Spike’s favorite thing to do.  Second favorite, anyway,” she said, blushing as she remembered the other question she’d wanted to ask. “Uh, there’s another thing…”
The doctor smiled. “Your body will be your guide there too.  When it becomes too uncomfortable, or you are no longer interested, then it will be time to stop.  I don’t recommend anything particularly athletic or… violent… but normal love-making should be perfectly safe—”
A loud “Yes!” from the waiting room made Buffy blush and the doctor smile.  “Had you not been having intercourse once you discovered your condition?”
Buffy shrugged her embarrassment. “He’s been… away… for awhile.  This happened when we were living… somewhere else.” She fumbled for words, not sure how much even a Sunnydale witch Witch doctor? I’m going to a witch doctor? would know about alternate dimensions where vampires and slayers were just normal humans. Doctor Parada studied her flushed face, then nodded.
“Well, then. I guess the most important question has been answered.  Yes, you may have relations while you are pregnant. Just be careful.  Perhaps, after we’ve come to know each other better, you will be able to explain to me just how a vampire was able to fertilize an egg without having live sperm.”
“Uh. Sure. Later, maybe.” Buffy made a mental note to ask Tara exactly how much her doctor knew about Sunnydale and its idiosyncrasies.  “So, it’s okay if I keep working then?  I mean my day job – except it’s not always daytime, sometimes it’s… never mind. Beside the point. Can I keep working?”
The doctor glanced down at the information sheet Buffy had filled out and frowned.
“The Doublemeat Palace? You’re not eating there, are you?”
“Sometimes,” Buffy said. “It’s not like I can afford… okay, another thing that’s beside the point. I just need to know how long I can keep working there.”
“If you’re on your feet a lot, I’d say only another month or so.  Your back will tell you when you’re standing too much; and your feet and ankles will swell….”
“Wonderful.” Buffy grimaced and stood up. “Okay, thank you very much, Doctor Parada. How often should I plan to come back?”
“After the sonogram we need to schedule for next week, I’d like to see you again in another month; and I’d like to see you with better color in your cheeks and about fifteen pounds heavier—” She paused and smiled when Buffy blanched. “Trust me. Your baby needs you to be well-fed enough to meet both your needs and his or hers. And that’s not where you are right now.”
She walked Buffy to the door, not flinching when Spike rose to his feet and moved to Buffy’s side.  She met his gaze calmly, shaking her head with a smile when he experimented with letting her see his true face.
“Spike!” Buffy colored with embarrassment, but the doctor just laughed softly.
“And this, I presume, is the baby’s father?” she said, holding out her hand. “Congratulations, Mr…?”
“Just call me Spike,” he said, dropping both his eyes and his vampire mien. He took her hand. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s all right,” she said. “You just wanted to know how I’d handle what you are. I understand that.”  She spoke with such complete confidence and lack of fear that Spike and Buffy both stared at her.  He recovered first.
“If I’d tried to bite, I’da been dust before my fangs got all the way out, wouldn’t I?”
“Very likely.” She smiled her placid smile and released his hand. “But I’m sure it will never be necessary for us to find out.  Just take good care of Buffy and see that she eats well and gets plenty of rest. You may have to be quite firm about it.”
Spike’s eyes widened. “You don’t know her very well yet, do you, Doc?”
“Spike!” Buffy elbowed him in the side.
“’S true,” he mumbled, rubbing his rib cage. “You know it is.”
The doctor gave him a sympathetic smile, saying, “Well, do your best. She needs more food and more rest than she’s been getting— Ah, and here is my next patient.  I’ll see you next week, Buffy, and we’ll talk then about how you feel about curtailing some of your activities.”
Nodding and smiling at the young couple who had just come in, Buffy and Spike left the office and without discussion began to walk back the way they’d come. Buffy linked her arm with his and said, “She said it was okay, you know.”
Spike gave a surprised start. Buffy’s question to the doctor about sexual activity was the first indication he’d seen that she might be interested in taking their still-experimental relationship to another level, and he’d assumed the question was for his benefit.
“I heard her. She also said to be careful.” 
“So, we aren’t the puny little things we were before. What if I hurt you? What if we forget how strong we are and…”
“Are you saying you don’t want to make—have—do— Do you expect me to coax you?”  Her voice dripped with disbelief.
“Don’t be daft.” He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to his body, pivoting in front of her so they were touching from knees to shoulders. He dipped his head and brushed a kiss across her lips.  “Want you so much I can’t see straight. That’s what scares me. Don’t want to hurt you – or the little one.” He rubbed one hand across her belly, laughing with delight when he felt a little thump against his palm.  “He kicked me!”
She kicked you,” Buffy said proudly. “She does it all the time now. She’s got a lot of energy.”
“Just like his mum and dad.”
Her mommy and daddy.”
“Are we fighting again already?” He grinned at her, his happiness and excitement contagious.
“We might be. Would a girl be a deal-breaker for you?”  She gave him a mock-glare and put her hands on her hips.
Immediately sobered, he cupped her cheek. “There is no such thing as a deal-breaker – nothing on this earth or off it could make me walk away from this. Nothing. I don’t care what it is as long as it’s alive and healthy and looks like one of us.” He held her gaze. “Even if all you want is a bodyguard and a babysitter, you’re stuck with me, Buffy.”
“I can think of worse places to be stuck,” she whispered back, leaning into his hand. 
“Well, there you go then. Being stuck with me is better than some places you could be.”
She giggled apologetically. “That sounded more… appreciative… in my head.”
“Knew what you meant, love.”  He took her hand and started walking again. “Let’s get you fed, yeah?”
“Um… you do know that my home is in that direction, right?” She pointed away from the direction he’d started to go and toward Revello Drive.
“Sorry, pet, but you heard the doctor telling me to see that you rest and eat more. Let’s get you some dinner and then I’ll take you home.”  He steered her toward a small Italian restaurant and held the door until she went in. Smiling at the hostess, who, Buffy noticed, seemed to recognize him, he led her to a table and held out her chair.  Buffy’s head swam with confusion as the waitress came up, greeted Spike by name and handed them menus.
“Is this a demon restaurant?” Buffy hissed after the girl had left.
“No,” he said. “Just order yourself something good to eat.”
“Spike, I don’t have any money,” she said, still whispering.
“I do. I’ve been working every night since right after I moved. Got more than enough to fatten you up… and I’ll get more. Soon’s I find a job here—”
“A job? You’re going to get a job?”
He looked hurt, but visibly shook off his anger, and said, “As soon as I can find something I can do at night and still have time to patrol for you.”
“Patrol with me,” she corrected.  “I didn’t bring you back here to do my job, just to help me out.”
“Vampire hearing, pet.” He pointed to his ears.
“Heard the good doctor tell you that you weren’t going to be able to do things the way you have been an’ that you’d have to stop at some point. Heard her say you might be better off letting me do the heavy lifting. I’ll let you patrol until the first time I see you in trouble, and then you’re staying in until after you have this baby.”
“You’ll let me?  You’ll let me!!!”
“Shhhh, pet. People are staring.”
“Let them stare! Who died and made you boss?  All I asked you to do was come back and help me.  Not tell me what to do.”
“If you want my help, dammit, you’re going to get it. And if that means you spend the next three months brassed off because I’m stepping on your slaying toes… too bloody bad!”
They glared at each other across the table, Buffy’s nostrils flaring and Spike’s eyes flashing amber.  Only when the owner came over to ask if everything was okay, did Buffy notice that the other customers were staring at them.  She blushed and dropped her head, mumbling her apology. Spike appeared equally contrite and apologized more audibly and profusely.  He tapped the menu Buffy was holding, saying, “Let’s thrash this out later, Slayer. Get yourself some food now, yeah?”
“You’re not the boss of me,” she muttered, studying the menu never the less. She quickly decided on lasagna and a salad, ignoring Spike’s equally quiet, “Nobody knows that better than I do.”
The meal was delicious, and she was soon looking at her empty plate. She fished a last piece of lettuce out of the salad bowl and watched with wistful eyes as the dessert cart went by.
“Buffy?” Spike nodded toward the cart, but she shook her head.
“No. My brain wants something, but my stomach is already telling me if I have to move fast right now, I’ll probably throw up.”
“On that cheerful note… “ He signaled for the check and pulled out his wallet. Laying the folded bills on top of the check, he stood and pulled out her chair. “Alright, love. Let’s get you home and into bed.”
The couple at the next table snickered, causing Buffy to blush and glare at Spike. “You couldn’t have worded that some way less… innuendo-y?”
“Let ‘em think what they want, pet. We know better, don’t we?”  He waved his good-bye to the waitress and the owner, steering Buffy out the door as he did so.
“We do?” Buffy tried not to sound disappointed, but she could hear the uncertainty in her voice. In spite of her words to Spike about needing to get to know each other again, she’d been just as happy as he was to hear the doctor give them permission to sleep together. It hadn’t taken more than a few days of spending time together to rekindle the comfortable relationship they’d enjoyed in the other world. And along with the relaxed tension had come reminders of the more exciting aspects of that relationship.
He grinned, turning his head so she wouldn’t see it, as he said, “Still getting to know each other, aren’t we?  Anyway, you said you wanted to go home tonight.”
“I did, didn’t I? And I should. Go home, get right into bed and get some sleep. That’s a great idea. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. Thanks, Spike.”  Two could play at that game, and Buffy knew her vampire too well to believe he really meant it.
A muffled growl was his only response to her giggle as she took his arm and began to walk beside him. By the time they reached her house, they had both relaxed and were holding hands, their shoulders brushing occasionally.
They reached the front porch and stopped just outside the door.  “Want to walk you in and check the whole house for danger before I leave, but I’m guessing that bit of overkill wouldn’t be appreciated.”
Buffy snorted. “Ya think?”  She smiled up at him. “It’s my home Spike – ‘safe as houses’ isn’t that what you always say? I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine,” she added, rubbing her belly.
“Alright, love. In you go, then. I’ll do a short patrol before I….”
“Before you come back and stand under your tree all night?” The warm smile she gave him took the sting from her words.
“You’ve noticed that, huh?”
“Me, Dawn, Willow, Tara, Xander….”
“Long as the evil doers notice it, I don’t care who else sees me.”
“It can’t be a very comfortable way to spend the night.”
She flushed, remembering that she used to get so angry when she found him lurking outside her house before. It had never crossed her mind that he might be watching over her—and Dawn. He promised to take care of Dawn for me and he’s never stopped—rather than spying on her.
As if remembering the same thing, he shrugged and smiled at her. “Done it before, with a lot less reason, haven’t I? I’ll be fine. Can sleep all day when I can’t go out anyway.”
“Maybe…” Buffy stopped and took a deep breath.  “Maybe you should start thinking about doing your guard dog act from… from inside the house.  You could still see your tree from my room, so it would be just like—”
He cocked his head at her, studying her face for a few seconds.
“You inviting me into your bed or just giving the old watchdog a more comfy place to keep watch from?”
She glared at him for making her spell it out.
“I think that’s up to the watchdog. Some dogs like to sleep on the furniture, some don’t.”
He nodded. “I’ll think about it, Buffy.” He brushed his lips over hers.  “Thank you.”
She grabbed his head, fastening her lips on his and kissing him for the first time since they’d left the other dimension. His lips were not as warm, but just as full and talented as she remembered. His tongue joined hers, caressing her mouth and making her whimper before she pulled away. He rested his forehead on hers, both of them breathing hard.
“Were you afraid I was going to need some persuasion?”
“I wasn’t sure. Thought I’d cover all my bases. Just in case.”
“I think your bases are covered, love.” He stood up straighter and blatantly adjusted himself.  “You let me know when you’re ready for me to move in.”
“Kinda thought that’s what I was doing….” she said with a trace of a pout. 
“You said I should think about it,” he smirked. “I was going to think.”
“Hmmph!” She sniffed and opened the front door. “Do you want to come in now? Just so you know there aren’t any boogiemen lurking in a closet.”
He stepped inside and looked around, using his acute hearing and nose to search for anything that didn’t belong there.
“I was kidding about the boogieman, you know.” Buffy was glaring at him and tapping her foot. He smirked back, unrepentant.
“Long as I’m in here, I thought I’d check it out.”
“And do what? What if there was somebody here? You do remember that the current wannabe Big Bad and his... minions are human, right? In fact, I think he’s an old friend of yours….”
Spike winced. “Have I ever told you how very, very sorry I am about—”
“Only about a gazillion times,” she said with a twisted grin. “It’s ancient history. And anyway, the bot came in pretty handy for softening Glory up while you were rescuing Dawn and I was lurking with the troll hammer. Not that it took Glory long to turn her into a rag doll, but it bought us some time.”  She shrugged.“And according to Willow, she–it–was useful when I got stuck in England and couldn’t get home before things started heating up this fall. And you would never have worked out it was Warren and his minions causing all the trouble if you hadn’t met them last year.” She smiled at him. “So you’re forgiven… mostly…. It was still gross and disgusting….” “And not even close to the real thing.” He pulled her against his body and inhaled her scent. “Not even close,” he whispered.
Buffy blushed and pushed him away. She gestured around the quiet house, the only sounds the faint music coming from Dawn’s bedroom.
“Nobody here but Dawn, is there?”
“No.” He frowned. “Where are the witches? Shouldn’t they be here?”
“Spike, I’m pregnant, not disabled.  They have classes at night, and Wicca stuff. I don’t need a babysitter.”
“All right, love. Backing off now.” He held up his hands and moved away. “I’m going to go clean out a couple of places we probably should have hit tonight. I’ll be back before you get to sleep… unless you’re tired,” he said quickly. “If you’re tired, just go to sleep. I’ll be fine.”
“If I go to sleep, I’ll leave the window unlocked. Just come on in, ‘k?”
He shuffled his feet for few seconds.  “If you’re sure….”
“I’m not asking you to creep into my room and have hot monkey sex with me tonight. I’m just asking you to be here. With me.”  Her eyes widened. “Unless you don’t want to. Am I already too fa—”
“Don’t even finish that bloody stupid thought.”  He brushed his lips over hers and reached for the doorknob. “I’ll try not to wake you if you’re already asleep,” he said over his shoulder.  “But I’ll be back.”
She watched him leave, then went upstairs to get ready for bed.  She was already tucked in and half-asleep when she remembered about the window and threw herself out of bed to unlock it. Shaken by the knowledge that coming back and finding it still locked would probably have sent Spike back to his crypt to wallow in his insecurity, she took deep breaths until she had calmed down enough to drift off to sleep again.
When the bed dipped slightly under Spike’s weight, she didn’t wake up any longer than it took to identify him. She just rolled over and cuddled into his side as she’d done so often before when he’d worked late at the bar and come home after she was asleep. It wasn’t until morning, when the sun began to make its way around the curtains, that she remembered where and who they were now.  Smothering some disappointment that Spike was lying atop the covers, still fully clothed, she moved out of his arms and ran to adjust the curtains.  She did the best she could with them, vowing to buy larger, heavier, drapes for the bedroom windows as soon as the stores opened.
Before she left the room, she made sure to throw the bedspread over him, taking no chance that a stray beam of sunlight might hit unprotected skin.  His mumbled “Ta, love” was the only sign that he wasn’t completely unconscious – that and the way he rolled over and buried his face in the pillow she’d been using.
<<     >>