Twelve and Thirteen
Last two chapters all togehter in one post.
After the two minor villains had been turned over to the Sunnydale Police, who were happy to have a semi-normal crime to deal with – they blithely ignored any of the magical explanations for anything, blaming it all on the “evil computer guy” – and Trina had been hustled off to the Victims Advocate for counseling and support, the Scoobies turned towards home. Buffy winced as her back reminded her that she’d been on her feet for a long time.
“Are you alright?” Spike was beside her immediately, his hand rubbing the small of her back.
“Could probably use a backrub when we get home,” she said with a grateful smile. “And possibly a stiff drink.”
“You can’t have a drink,” he said at the same time as Willow’s “Buffy!”
“I know, I know,” she sighed. “But I’ve got to call Giles, and I thought it would be useful if I was, you know, even less coherent than usual.”
“Do you want me to do it?”
“Oh yeah, that’ll go well,” Buffy said, her mouth twisting into a grimace. Willow agreed quickly. “You’ll say something mean about me and my spells, and—”
“Look at it this way, he’ll be so busy being brassed off at me, he won’t even think about either one of you or how it could have been avoided.”
“As tempting as that is... this is something I need to do. I probably should have done it a couple of weeks ago. I guess I can put it off till morning. He might take it better if I’m not waking him up too early.”
“Good morning, Watcher.”
“Spike? What is it? Is something wrong?”
“Well, depends on your point of view, I reckon. The good news is, we found the wannabes, and two of them are in jail.” Spike quickly filled Giles in on what they’d found and how they’d dealt with it. “So, he got away last night, but they’re after him for kidnapping, rape, wrongful imprisonment, and don’t know what else they’ll have when the two minions get through spilling their guts. He can’t stay hidden too long.”
“And the bad news...?
“Um... Yeah...” Spike cleared his throat. “Well, Buffy was planning to tell you herself later today, but I thought I’d give you a heads up so you can get all the swearing and ranting out of your system before she calls you.”
“And I’m going to be ranting and swearing because...?”
“Well, there was this portal, and...” In short, clipped sentences, Spike gave Giles a bare-bones version of what had happened to him and Buffy. Interrupting only to growl, “Willow?” Giles listened until Spike got to where he and Buffy had returned to Sunnydale after living as man and wife for what had seemed to them like several months.
“And, once you were back?” Spike could hear the underlying tension in the Watcher’s voice, and he sighed before speaking.
“Long story short, Rupert, the Slayer and I are... she’s pregnant. Neither one of us were thinking about my little swimmers, and... Anyway, she’s—we’re—going to have a baby in a few months. Girl needs another adult in her life and I’m asking you to quit playing around in the Council of Wankers’ library and get your arse back here to give her some support.”
There was dead silence on the other end for some time, then Spike could hear Giles begin to breathe again.
“You got my slayer pregnant? And you want me to come back now? Do you have a death wish?”
“Yeah, yeah. I know. But I figure maybe by the time you get back, you’ll have calmed down enough not to try to dust the father of her child... and the man she seems right content to have in her life just now.”
There was incoherent sputtering on the other end, punctuated by the occasional rude word and reference to Spike’s obvious parentage. When Giles ran down, he paused to pant, giving Spike the opportunity to say, “I’ll have you know my parents were lawfully wed and very much in love. It remains to be seen if the same can be said about this baby – but it is loved and wanted. If you can’t be supportive of that, then I guess you’d best stay where you are. I’m sure Buffy can get along without you.”
“I need to speak to Buffy.”
“She’s planning on ringing you when she wakes up. I just wanted to keep her from having to listen to what I just did. Girl needs support, not some wanker yelling at her for something she had no control over. You be thinking that over.” Without saying good-bye, Spike hung up the phone and glared at it.
“Hi, Giles.” Buffy fought to keep her voice from trembling and to make it perky. “We got the bad guys last night – or two out of three anyway.” She paused and when there was no response, she rushed on, “But that’s not really why I’m calling. See, there was this portal — but it totally wasn’t Willow’s fault. I mean, she didn’t mean for it to open where we were standing, and she didn’t know... But it was a nice place, you know? The other dimension we went to... oh, we means Spike and me, by the way. We got sent to this other dimension, and here’s the funny part... we were just normal humans there. Both of us. Isn’t that crazy? And we were married – to each other. Isn’t that funny? I mean with us being engaged a couple of years ago and Spike being all in love with me, and stuff... Anyway, we were there a long time. Not a long time here, or I’m sure Willow would have called you for help bringing us back, but a long time there. And we... and then we came back... and I wasn’t... I didn’t know what to do, so I didn’t talk to Spike and he got all mad and left town, but he came back when I told him I needed him, and then he was all mad again when he saw me, until he remembered who I’d been living with... and now we...” She paused to gasp for air.
“Buffy,” Giles said quietly. “Spike already rang me.”
“Oh... He did? But I told him I’d do it.”
“He seemed concerned that I may have needed some time to... adjust... to the information before I spoke with you.”
“And did you? Need time?” Concern and hostility played equal roles in Buffy’s tone of voice.
“I think it is probably just as well that I had some prior warning.” He sighed heavily, and Buffy pictured him pinching his nose with his free hand. “I cannot in good conscience say that I am happy about this turn of affairs. However, I do seem to have got over my initial dismay and desire to plunge a stake through his heart.”
“It wasn’t his fault, Giles. We were married in that dimension. And he didn’t even try anything then. It was me. Without all the vampire/slayer stuff... we were just us. And we... we fell in love. Well, I did. I guess Spike was already there, but he... he didn’t push me. I was me. And birth control just wasn’t... maybe one of us should have realized... but we didn’t. So I’m having a baby, and her father is a vampire. A really old vampire. So this baby isn’t going to have any grandparents unless.... I mean, I haven’t even thought about trying to find my dad to tell him, and—”
“I will be ‘Uncle Rupert’, but I refuse to be labeled ‘granddad’,” Giles said somewhat stiffly.
“So you’ll come back? You’ll be here when the baby’s born?”
“Yes, of course. I’m almost through with my work here. I’m sure you would be able to cope just fine without me, but if you want me there—”
“I do! We do!” She stopped and bit her lip. “You’ve got to promise not to yell at Willow, though. She’s really, really sorry. And she hasn’t been doing any magic – well not until last night, anyway. She’s totally saving it for emergencies. Fighting evil type emergencies.”
“I will endeavor not to ‘yell at’ her, but I cannot promise not have a conversation about the reckless use of magic.”
“Okay. So, you’ll be here soon?”
“As soon as I can wrap things up here. I will let you know when to expect me.”
“’K, thanks, Giles. I... I’ll be glad to see you again.”
“And I you, Buffy. Good-bye.”
“Do you think he left town?”
Buffy lay across Spike’s lap, her eyes shut in contentment as he rubbed her bulging belly. In spite of her rapidly-advancing pregnancy, she’d kept up with patrolling until even she had to admit that she’d become more of a hindrance than an asset. Now, she napped in their basement bedroom until he returned from patrolling and joined her in the big bed he and Xander had wrestled down the stairs shortly after the destruction of Warren’s lair.
In spite of everyone’s best efforts, Warren had yet to be found or brought to trial. – unlike Andrew and Jonathan, who had been guests of the Sunnydale police department since their first appearance before a judge. They were remaining in the Sunnydale jail until there was space for them in the state prison. The hope was that Warren would be located before that happened, and his two rueful cohorts would be readily available to testify against him.
“Dunno, love. Haven’t been able to find him anywhere. The wannabes pretty much spilled their guts about what they’d been doin’ and what they’d planned to do. Wouldn’t be very smart of him to hang around Sunnydale. He’ll go away for a long time if and when they catch him.”
“Just doesn’t seem like him to disappear like that. Without trying for some kind of revenge.”
“Boy’s not totally stupid. Got to know his minions ratted him out. And that ex-girlfriend still isn’t sure if she hopes the cops find him before she does.” He nuzzled her neck and sucked the skin into his mouth briefly. “And I haven’t forgotten that he was thinking about adding you to his list of kidnapped women.” His eyes flashed briefly. “Could do the world a favor and just make him disappear forever.” He suddenly sat up straighter and patted her stomach. “Hey! That’s a new kind of kick!” Glancing at Buffy’s face he amended, “Or not?”
“Not,” she said, smiling as the contraction faded. “I think baby Summers-Pratt is getting ready to make her appearance.”
“Let’s go!” He stood up, depositing her on her feet and staring around the room. “What do we need?”
“Nothing yet. Relax. The bag is already packed, it’s at the door, and everybody knows their job. After a few more contractions, I’ll call the doctor and see when she wants me to go to the hospital.”
“Now! Now is when you should go to the hospital.” Spike was taking rapid, unnecessary breaths as he paced around the room.
“Spike! Relax. It was only one contraction. It could be false labor, or something I ate, or— Ok, or you should probably hand me a towel and call the doctor....”
“My water just broke. Go call the doctor while I change clothes.” She stared at his panicked face. “Go on. I’m fine. It’s not like the baby’s going to fall out as soon as I stand up.”
Frowning dubiously, he followed his instructions, throwing her a bath towel before going up to the kitchen to call the doctor. After a short, terse conversation in which the doctor assured him she would meet them at the hospital and that Buffy would be fine, he hung up and ran back to find Buffy coming slowly up the stairs, one hand on her belly.
“Okay, maybe we need to hurry... just a little bit,” she said with grimace. “Things seem to be going faster than I expected.”
Not bothering to take the time to leave a note for anyone, Spike grabbed Buffy’s bag from beside the door and, supporting her with one hand, helped her out to the car. He drove to the hospital in the rapidly lightening morning sky, one eye on Buffy and one on the light traffic at that hour. He roared up to the emergency entrance, stopped with a screech, and was around to her side in less than a second. He helped her down and into the wheelchair that a nurse was wheeling out the door.
“Doctor Parada called,” she explained to the surprised couple. “She said you’d probably just drive right into the ER, so I figured....”
“Good call,” Buffy said, biting her lip and falling gratefully into the chair. “He’s not very patient.” She exchanged an “aren’t they silly” smile with the nurse, ignoring Spike’s muttered “Jus’ worried about my family”.
“You’ll need to move the car,” the nurse said kindly. “Don’t worry, I’m not taking her very far away, just inside to check in.”
Spike started to argue, but Buffy’s glare sent him back into Joyce’s SUV to move it to a legitimate parking place. He ran back to the building just as the sun began to peek over the trees at the end of the street, running his hand over his head to hide the trace of smoke drifting up.
He caught up with Buffy and the nurse just as they were leaving the check-in desk and rolling toward the elevators.
“Now what?” he asked, one hand resting on Buffy’s shoulder.
“Now we get her prepped and into the birthing suite, and you get into a set of scrubs.”
The nurse shrugged and met his glare calmly. “If you want to be there, you’ll do what you’re told... and don’t even think about trying that,” she added when his eyes flared gold and his fangs started to drop. “I’m in charge here, and don’t you forget it.”
Growling at Buffy’s barely muffled giggle, he followed them from the elevator and meekly took the green scrubs the nurse handled him. She’d made a quick appraisal and gave him the size he needed, guessing correctly that he probably wouldn’t be willing to take off his tee shirt or jeans to wear them.
By time Spike had put on the green scrubs and Buffy had been settled onto the birthing bed, Doctor Parada had arrived. She gave Buffy a quick exam and smiled. “I should have guessed the child of a slayer and a hyperactive vampire would be too impatient to take her time being born.”
Spike tried to look insulted, but the doctor had spent too much time with Buffy to worry about his feelings, and he ended up smiling proudly as she assured Buffy things were progressing just fine.
“If you change your mind about wanting anything to take the edge off the pain, you’ll let me know, won’t you?”
Buffy took a few seconds to ride out another contraction before she answered. “I’ll let you know, but my pain threshold is pretty high. I’ve survived a lot worse with not nearly as much to show for it.”
“I thought as much, but I want you to know the option is there.” She pointed to the IV that the nurse had started. “We can just slip something in there. It won’t interfere with your ability to participate, but it could make you more comfortable.”
“I’m fine,” Buffy said through her teeth. “I’m just going to hang on to Spike’s hand when I need something.”
“That would be a lot more appealing, love, if I didn’t think you meant breaking all my bones would make you feel better....” He winced and tried to flex the fingers Buffy had a death grip on.
“This is all your fault,” she said. “Suck it up and do your part to make it better.”
“All my fault?” He looked stricken. “I thought you were happy about this? Are you sorry we—”
Doctor Parada broke in with a smile. “We’ve talked about this, Spike. She doesn’t mean it—” When Buffy snarled, she amended quickly, “Well, she does mean it right now, but it’s perfectly normal. Remember? I gave you things to read about the different stages of childbirth?” She looked at Buffy. “You’re going through the stages pretty quickly. Do you remember what you read about transition?”
Buffy grimaced and relaxed her grip on Spike’s hand. “That I would get really cranky and probably want to kill somebody. You do understand that killing vampires is kind of a normal thing for me, right?” She gave Spike, who was rubbing his hand and trying to check for broken bones, a glare. “How is this not his fault? He seduced me, and he knew he was alive. He should have thought about what could happen. It’s all his fault,” she concluded. “If I kill him, I mean.”
Spike gave the doctor a worried look. “Is there a way to speed up this stage? I’m not liking it very much.”
“You don’t have to like it, you moron. You just have to try to keep me soothed and calm until I’m ready to push! Didn’t you read any of those brochures? Ooooooh!” Buffy’s gasp, rather than frightening the doctor, made her smile again as she got into position at Buffy’s feet.
“I suggest you take her hand again, Spike. And stand up there by her head where you can help her through the rest of this. Okay, Buffy, you can start pushing any time you feel the urge.”
“Oh thank God,” Buffy breathed, relaxing for a few seconds before another strong contraction wracked her body. The nurse was quietly arranging things the doctor might need quickly on a tray by the end of the birthing bed and making sure she had towels and blankets ready on the edge of the bassinette. There was already a pink card on it reading “Baby Summers”.
Seemingly having forgotten that she hated Spike, Buffy clung to the strong arms he’d put around her shoulders as she sat up and began to push. With his voice murmuring support and endearments in her ear, she followed the doctor’s quietly
encouraging directions as to when and how hard to push. It wasn’t long before the doctor’s voice took on an excited tone as she said, “Here we go! She’s crowning. Let’s see that slayer strength now – push down. Push hard, that’s it. You’ve got it, here she comes....” With a gush of fluid and blood, the baby popped out into the doctor’s sure hands. As soon as the baby let out an angry cry, she was placed on Buffy’s stomach while Doctor Parada attended to the cord and the afterbirth.
Spike and Buffy stared in wonder and not a little bit of fear at the squirming, crying being now being checked over and dried off by the nurse. As soon as the cord had been cut, the nurse gave them an apologetic smile and took the baby across the room to weigh, measure, and clean her up. Buffy relaxed back against Spike, sighing her relief.
“She looks perfect,” she said, gazing up at him with a soft smile.
“What else could she be?” he replied, brushing a kiss across her forehead. “She’s yours, isn’t she?”
“She’s ours Buffy corrected, smiling when he tightened his hold on her shoulders.
“Do you want to hold her for a minute?” The nurse brought the now clean, dry and swaddled baby over and held her out to Spike.
His expression flashing back and forth between stark terror and need, he straightened up and very tentatively stretched out his arms. The nurse smiled and placed the baby in his arms, guiding him until he was holding the baby securely and smiling down with wonder and affection.
“Hello there, baby Summers,” he whispered. “I’m your daddy, and I love you very much.”
“Joy.” Buffy’s voice was tired, but firm. “We need to start calling her Joy.” She looked at the nurse and said, “We decided to name her after my mother, but Joyce seems like mouthful for a baby, so...”
“Joy it is,” the nurse said, taking a Sharpie and crossing out baby girl on the card. She wrote “Joy” above it and smiled at the two beaming parents. “Now it’s momma’s turn to hold her.”
She took the baby from Spike and nestled her next to Buffy, who looked almost as frightened as Spike had at first. “Just for a few minutes. When the doctor is through with you and you’re all cleaned up, we’ll take you to your room and bring her right down to you. One of the nursery nurses will be there to help you get started with your breast feeding.”
Buffy nodded and cuddled the baby to her chest, studying her face for any sign of either parent.
“Her eyes are blue, like yours.”
“And she’s beautiful, like you,” Spike replied, leaning over the bed and beaming at them. “You did good, Slayer.”
“We did good,” she corrected. “We did real good.”
When the nurse had whisked the baby off to the nursery, and the doctor was massaging Buffy’s uterus and making sure that there was no more bleeding than would be normal, Spike kissed Buffy’s forehead again, then stepped away.
“Guess I’d best go spread the word before Red magics herself in here, or Dawn breaks down the door.”
Buffy waved a permissive hand weakly. “Go on. I’ll see you in a little while. I’m just going to rest here.”
“You did great, Buffy,” the doctor said. “It helps that you’re young and strong and very fit, but even allowing for that, this was a very easy birth.”
“Go Slayer strength and healing,” Buffy said. “Too bad I can’t have more kids.”
“Why not? If it happened once...”
Buffy shook her head. “Nah, Willow accidentally sent us to another dimension where we were just regular people. Spike was a normal human man, and I wasn’t a slayer. That’s where we were when I got pregnant. It can’t happen here.”
“Ah,” the doctor said. “Well, that’s a shame, I guess. I’m sure you two will make wonderful parents.”
“Are you kidding?” Buffy said. “If I don’t accidentally break her because I’m so strong or miss all her school stuff because I’m in the middle of an apocalypse, Spike will see to it that she never has a date because he’ll scare the crap out of every boy she ever brings home. She’s going to hate us both.”
With a laugh, Doctor Parada indicated that Buffy was ready to be rolled to her room in another section of the birthing area. “I doubt that very seriously,” she said. “She will love you both just as much as you love her.”
Spike dodged the sunlight coming in the windows as he made his way to the waiting room at the entrance of the maternity ward, aptly named “The Birthing Inn”. As he expected, when Dawn and the witches had woken up to find Spike and Buffy gone, they’d called the hospital and then rushed down. Once there, they’d remembered to call Giles and Xander, so by the time Spike entered the room everyone was waiting anxiously for news.
“Well?” Dawn pounced, daring him not to answer her.
“She’s here, she’s beautiful, Buffy’s fine, the baby’s fine, I’m fine, and it’s all fine.”
“When can we see her?” Willow demanded. “Tell them we’re her family.”
“Later today. Doc says Buffy needs to rest and get to know her baby. She can have visitors later this afternoon.”
“What about you?”
“I’m the dad. I can come and go as I please. And since it’s not my favorite time of day out there...” he gestured at the sun beams lighting up the tiles on the floor, “I’ll just be keeping Buffy company until I can go out.”
Giles nodded and tried to encourage everyone to leave. “Very well. Please give Buffy our congratulations and tell her we will return later.” He met Spike’s eyes and sighed. “I suppose congratulations to you are also in order.”
“Don’t strain anything there, Rupert,” Spike smirked. “She’s my daughter whether you congratulate me or not.”
“Yes. That is quite true.” He put out his hand. “Please accept my congratulations, Spike. You and Buffy have, once again, rewritten the book on slayers and vampires.”
“Thank you,” Spike replied, shaking the hand extended to him. “I appreciate it.”
“Yeah, Deadboy Jr, congratulations to you and the Buffster.” Xander thumped Spike on the back and herded Anya toward the door. “Tell her we’ll be back later.”
“With appropriate welcoming gifts,” Anya said over her shoulder. “I’ve been reading about baby gifts online and I know just what to get.”
Adding their own congratulations, Willow and Tara followed Anya and Xander out of the room. With an exchange of nods with Spike, Giles joined them, leaving Spike to work his way back to Buffy through the lethal rays striping the hallway.
By the time the Scoobies starting drifting in, and Dawn arrived directly from school, Spike had nodded off beside the bed, one hand in Buffy’s and one hand resting on the portable bassinette in which Joy was sleeping. Buffy raised her free hand to her lips and signaled for quiet, but he stirred and sat up as soon as he sensed the other heartbeats.
“Ah, there they are.” He smiled at Dawn and nodded at Willow and Tara. He was already up and stretching when Giles, Xander and Anya came in together. Anya was clutching a teddy bear the size of a four-year-old.
“I’ve been informed that this is a most appropriate gift, even though it is bigger than the baby and probably not very interesting to her.”
“Thanks, Anya. She’ll be old enough for teddy bears in no time, and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to have it.”
Xander peered over at the snoozing baby. “So, we know she’s not a vamp, but do you think she’s a slayer?”
“I have no idea. She passed all her new baby tests with flying colors according to the nurses, but other than that...”
“That just means she’s a healthy normal baby,” Tara said softly. “No visible problems or issues. She’s beautiful,” she added, smiling at first Buffy, then Spike. “Really beautiful.”
Spike and Buffy beamed proudly. With his hair in messy curls and without his ubiquitous leather coat, there was nothing to indicate that Spike was anything but a good-looking man who was a little pale and maybe bleached his otherwise normal hair. And nothing to distinguish Buffy from any other happy new mother. Giles gazed at the picture they made, Spike’s hand on Buffy’s shoulder, her head leaning against his side and shook his head, wishing briefly that they really were the normal human couple that they appeared to be.
Dawn had brought a small camera with her and proceeded to start snapping pictures of everyone, including the baby who woke up to complain about the flashing lights and noise. Already looking like an old hand, Spike picked her up and murmured to her, then deposited the baby in Buffy’s waiting arms where she immediately quieted and went back to sleep on Buffy’s chest.
Dawn snapped one more quick photo of the little family, then put the camera away, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m an aunt! Just wait till I show everybody that my sister isn’t really a freak – she had a baby just like anybody else.”
“Excuse me? A freak?”
“Oops? Well, you know, to anybody who doesn’t know who you really are, you do seem kinda weird... And I’m just going to stop talking now....”
Taking advantage of Dawn’s embarrassment, Spike leaned down and whispered, “Think I’ll go out for a bit now that you’ve got company. I’m a little hungry and I should probably patrol. I’ll be back later when the horde has gone home. Do you want me to bring you anything?”
Buffy shook her head. “No, I’m good. The doctor said we can probably take her home tomorrow morning, so I can wait till then for real food.” She pushed at the table holding what was left of her dinner and made a face.
With a kiss on her forehead, he nodded and began working his way toward the door. He paused to ask Giles if he could pick Buffy and the baby up in the morning, as the SUV didn’t have dark enough windows to allow him to drive it safely. “I’ll be here, don’t want them to think I’ve got no interest in my child, but I’ll have to work my own way back to the house underground.”
Giles nodded his agreement and walked over to get a closer look at the baby. Xander followed Spike outside and began to walk down the hall with him.
“So, evil undead, what’s the plan for the nursery?”
Spike shrugged. “We’ve got the cradle set up downstairs right now, but I don’t want my child living in a basement. Got to work something out. The crib is up in Buffy’s room, but it’s a little crowded for it there.”
“Have you thought about asking Willow and Tara to change rooms with Buffy? There’d be plenty of room in the master bedroom, plus, no sun until late in the day.”
“I’d ask ‘em in a heartbeat, but Buffy doesn’t want them to feel like they aren’t welcome there anymore.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. We’ll work something out, I guess.”
Xander nodded and turned to go back to Buffy’s room. “Yeah. We’ll think of something. I’ll work on it.” Leaving Spike staring after him with his mouth open, Xander walked back down the hall smiling to himself and already mentally planning an extension to the house that included an outside door to the basement.
Spike had staked several fledglings and wrestled with a Fyarl demon until they were both exhausted and agreed to call it a draw, chugged the packets of expired blood that he’d snatched on his way out of the hospital, and was feeling pretty good about life when he heard the sirens. He watched curiously as the first police car sped past him, then noticed that the noise of the sirens seemed to be converging on one place. He started jogging toward the hospital, increasing his speed as he got closer and realized that he hadn’t imagined where all the squad cars were going.
“What’s going on?” he demanded of the first uniformed man who tried to stop him from crossing the yellow tape.
“You can’t go in there right now. The place is on lockdown – some guy is shooting up the fourth floor and—”
“Fuck that! My wife and baby are in there!” Spike shoved the cop aside, ignoring his, “Hey, you can’t—” as he ran past the other men guarding the perimeter so quickly they weren’t sure they’d actually seen anything. He sprinted up the fire stairs, repeating over and over, “It’s a coincidence. Could be on any part of the fourth floor. It’s a big hospital...” He burst out the door and turned to see a SWAT team lined up facing the maternity area.
Fighting back his demon, he ran up to them and demanded to know what was happening. They stared at him, clearly not sure how he’d managed to get in. The leader finally said, “Some nut with a gun has taken hostages. He was trying to steal a baby, but apparently one of the nurses hit the alarm and now he’s trapped in there.”
“Has he shot anybody?”
The man shrugged. “We’re not sure. There were gunshots, but he’s holding hostages, so we can’t go in. No way to know if he’s actually injured anyone yet.” He studied the man facing him. “Do you know who he is?”
Without answering his question, Spike said, “My wife and baby are in there. I’m going in.”
“Look, I understand how you feel, Buddy, but I can’t let you go in there.”
Spike turned to him, now in full vampire mode. “You can’t stop me,” he said with deadly calm. “And neither can he.” The cop reeled back from the demon now facing him, and shook his head.
Contrary to what the SWAT members had expected, Spike did not rush into the nursery area, but instead moved up to look through the small windows in the swinging doors. He could see Buffy, holding Joy to her chest and bleeding from one arm. Warren was facing her, holding a gun to Tara’s head as he dragged her with him toward the doors. His eyes were on the angry and frightened people in front of him, so he never saw Spike’s golden eyes peering through the window. Willow did, however, and the witch and the vampire exchanged silent messages.
Spike made just enough noise to cause Warren to flick his eyes in the direction of the doors. The instant of distraction was all Willow needed. With a curse, Warren dropped the suddenly white hot metal he’d been holding. Spike was through the door before Warren could reach the stake protruding from his waistband, pulling Tara out of reach and pushing her toward Willow. He spared one glance for Buffy and Joy, assuring himself that Buffy’s wound was only minor before turning a devil’s face back to Warren, who had now found both another gun and the stake.
“Nice try, Spike, but you can’t hurt me, and since you aren’t faster than a bullet, I can still shoot your girlfriend or the baby before you can stop me.”
“Wrong on both counts,” Spike snarled. His hand snaked out, crushing the one holding the gun until Warren’s fingers began to bleed. The stake forgotten, Warren struggled to pull his hand away. His face paled as he realized Spike was not getting even the slightest twinge from the chip, in spite of the pain he was inflicting. Tossing the gun away, Spike picked Warren up by his neck and proceeded to shake him. The SWAT team, which had come in the door behind Spike, raised their guns uncertainly.
“Don’t shoot him!” Buffy screamed, somewhat unnecessarily as the men were already following orders to “stand down”. Spike pulled a gibbering Warren close to his face and snarled, “Chip’s gone, wanker. And I’m feeling more than a mite peckish and vengeful. Did you really think you could try to steal my daughter, and shoot my wife and not pay for it?” His snarls grew louder the longer he spoke, and by the time he was done, his teeth were on Warren’s neck. There was complete silence in the room except for the sound of Warren’s sobbing.
Buffy’s quiet, “Spike...” was audible only to his vampire hearing. He turned toward her, wearing the face of an angry demon. The amber glare faded as Buffy met his gaze and waited calmly to see what he would do.
“He deserves it, Slayer.” Spike’s voice was more of a plea than a defiant growl.
“He does. But the police are here now and they’ll see to it that he never gets a chance to hurt anyone again.”
“I want to kill him.” The plea was turning into a pout as his visage began to soften. He still hadn’t released his grip on Warren, but he raised his head away from the other man’s throat. “You’re not going to let me, are you?”
“Actually,” she said, her voice trembling. “I want you to do what you want. Just keep in mind that your daughter probably isn’t going to be happy to know that her father ripped out an unarmed man’s throat right in front of her when she was less than twenty-four hours old. And I won’t have her growing up knowing that he’s capable of it.”
Mother and father exchanged stubborn glares, then Spike shook himself back to his human mien. “Fine,” he growled. “I’m not giving up my family just for the pleasure of killing this bastard.” He shoved Warren toward the SWAT team, watching closely until they had him handcuffed, before he relaxed.
With the crisis over, nurses immediately began fussing over Buffy’s flesh wound, one taking the baby away for a few minutes while the other cleaned and bandaged the arm. Buffy submitted to their ministrations, but shook her head at the idea of antibiotics. “It’ll be half-healed by tomorrow,” she assured them, not bothering to explain how she knew that.
It was quite a while later before things had calmed down enough for Spike and Buffy to have some alone time with their daughter. While the baby nursed and Buffy scolded Spike for ogling her temporarily larger breasts, the nursing staff and the Scoobies went to the waiting room where detectives were waiting to take their statements.
“So, he was trying to take Joy?”
“Yeah. He thought he could just wave a gun around and walk right out of here with her. He only grabbed Tara because he was afraid of what Willow might do. He forgot that I was just resting, not incapacitated. When he told Willow to bring Joy to him, I threw the tray at him and he shot at me. I was afraid he’d kill Tara, so I stopped trying to get to him.” She looked up at him with great seriousness. “If he’d hurt Joy, I think I would have killed him.”
“I see how it is. It’s okay for you to kill scumbags like that, but not for me? Not fair, love.” He smiled at her. “And you probably wouldn’t have. You may have made him wish he was dead, but I doubt you’d have killed him. Not my warrior for Good.”
“Would you have killed him if I hadn’t said anything?”
He sighed. “I’d like to tell you no, love, but I’m not sure. I was feeling a real strong need to make him bleed. Maybe I would have stopped before I killed him. I could have, I guess. But that would’ve been too late, wouldn’t it? You’d have already seen me make the bite.”
“But you stopped.”
“Did. Always will when it matters to you. You need to understand that, Buffy. You and Joy are the most important things I’ve ever had in my life. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you in it. Anything.”
“Whatever it takes, huh?” She leaned into him, moving the now-sleeping baby to the side while she covered up her breast. “I kind of like the sound of that. I foresee lots of nice jewelry and expensive shoes in my future....”
He chuckled and put his arm around her and the baby. “Guess I’d better get busy finding that job I was plannin’ to get.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~ The End
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