***Part Eight***
Word Count: 1,438

Slowly, pieces fell into place, allowing Buffy to stay. A home. A life. A future. There was more than one slayer Giles felt was capable and competent enough to conduct the seminars Buffy did. Faith was willing to a point, but like Buffy she wanted stability.

Fortunately, New York was large and close to other areas that she could train Allison without having to travel much. An overnight here and there, but rarely. She hated being gone, swore once Allison was trained she never wanted to see a hotel room again.

By Matthew's second birthday, Buffy was out. Giles knew he could count on her if she was needed. The slayer based out of New York trained with Buffy and she did research.

Slayer turned watcher. It had never been done before. Obviously. It was weird for her, but she found she liked it. The Council paid to finish Mike's basement so that she could have an office and vast amounts of storage space. Books. Research. Potions. Scrolls. She was accumulating so much stuff. She liked it, though.

She was able to be home with Matt, which was important to her. She went to the gym when Mike was home or one of the neighbor girls was able to watch him after school. She'd taken on the role of trainer there. The women enjoyed having a woman to work with. It didn't pay much, but it got her out of the house and flexing her muscles regularly.

Tonight, one of the neighbor girls was babysitting because Mike and Buffy were going out for a rare date night. They preferred to stay home for the most part. Getting dressed up was fun, though. She was meeting him downtown so they could start their night out at the hotel with the revolving restaurant. It was one of the places she'd never been during her time here.

"You have our numbers, right, Sam?"

"Yes, Mrs. Logan."

"Okay, thanks again."

"Sure, I love babysitting for Matt."

"Well, we appreciate it."

She wasn't sure why the neighbor kids called her Mrs. Logan. She'd told Mike the first time it had happened and he'd laughed. She guessed it was a logical assumption and as she never bothered to correct anyone it continued. She supposed, too, that parents of young kids didn't want to explain why Buffy and Mike had a child but weren't married.

She got there with plenty of time to spare. Mike had taken the subway into work so they could ride home together later. She didn't mind driving before it got dark, but after dark was another story downtown.

"Wow," he said. "You look great."

"As opposed to usually?"

"No, as opposed to me."

"You look good. You always do."

"Well, thanks, but you look good enough to ravish."

"I do my share of ravishing, too, so you're not alone there."

"So, Sammie is all set?"

"Sam," she corrected.

"Sorry. Habit."

"Yes, she's all set."

"And Matt?"

"Was chowing down on mac and cheese when I left."

"And Mom?"

"Ready for a night out as Buffy."

"Let's go."

"It's beautiful," she said once they'd sat down and ordered.

"I was surprised you'd never been here."

"I guess it slipped my mind."

"It would seem so."

"Besides, it's not nearly as fun coming to a place like this by yourself."

Their server came toward them with two glasses of champagne and her heart dropped a little.

"Mike."

"I know," he said. "Just take a sip."

"You know?"

He chuckled a little as the flutes were set down in front of them.

"Hmm. Yes. You don't think I wouldn't notice you're not drinking your wine. Not to mention you're late."

"How did you?"

"Know that? I'm a cop. I remember things like it's been at least a month. I may not be the most sensitive guy around, but I know how to tell time and to count to thirty."

She set a fingertip at the mouth of the flute, running it along there.

"One sip isn't going to hurt you or the baby."

"I know," she said. Her doctor had told her that much during the first pregnancy. She lifted the glass, noticing then that there was something in the glass. Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of the ring.

"Mike," she whispered.

"I wasn't expecting you to tell me yet. Figured you'd probably just found out or suspected recently yourself."

"Well, I didn't drink with Matthew."

"I know. You do great."

"So, do I have to drink it to get the prize?"

He chuckled, taking the glass from her. He drank the champagne down, emptying the glass fast.

"I don't expect."

"Me to marry you? I'm not asking for the baby. It just made me realize it was time I asked you to let me make an honest woman out of you."

"Really?"

"God, yes. My upbringing aside, I want it to be legal."

"Til death do us part."

"If you'll have me."

"I think you already know the answer to that."

"Do I?" He held the ring up. "I had to save up or I would have asked sooner honestly. It's a good thing I know a jeweler who was willing to work with me so I could get you the perfect ring."

"Mike. You didn't have to."

"Sure I did. The baby may not come first but I believe in tradition."

"It's beautiful."

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes."

"Yeah?"

"Yes. Yes."

"Good," he said, slipping the ring onto her finger. "It looks good on you. I knew when I saw it that it would."

"It's beautiful. Really."

"Beautiful ring for a beautiful woman. Now about this baby."

"Yes."

"You're sure."

"Positive."

"I'd like to be married this time."

"Well, we have a few months."

"I was thinking sooner than that."

"Okay. What? Are you ashamed or something?"

"No, but it occurs to me that we love each other and one of our children should know you as Mrs. Logan from day one."

"I like the sound of it."

"You know what I like the sound of?"

"Hmm," she said, lacing her fingers through his. "Celebrating later?"

"That goes without saying, especially since Sam should be getting relieved of babysitting duties about now."

"What?"

"Faith is taking him for the night."

"Oh, Mike, I'm not sure."

"With Robin's help."

"Okay," she said, feeling better about that.

He chuckled. "I'm not that dumb."

"I know you're not. So, celebrating?"

"That wasn't it. No. I like the sound of making good memories with my Mrs. Logan. For years, there's only just been the one. You know. My mother. Kind of haunting me and preventing me from moving forward. Committing. What kind of father would I make after everything I've been through? I know what kind of cop I am and what kind of man I am, and I'll do everything until my last breath to ensure our son and this one don't have any of that garbage to deal with. I know you may get called to do things from time to time, but our children won't know about that world until you're ready to tell them."

Tears filled her eyes at the statement. They'd both agreed they would have to tell Matt the truth. One day baddies might find out the Slayer had a son and go after him just for that. He would learn how to defend himself. Both Buffy and Mike agreed on that, though she wasn't altogether convinced Mike knew just how relished offing her would be to the baddies.

"I understand."

She knew that she had a lot of negativity to make up for, but she looked forward to it. "Ask the priest at your church when he can marry us. I know you haven't been to one in years and had no plans on going into one until you die, but you'd feel guilty later if we went to the courthouse. I won't have that on my conscious. We'll have Lennie and Claire stand for us."

"You sure?"

"Positive. I don't have many people to invite anyway."

"Just do me one favor?"

"I'll try. What?"

"Don't ever buy a terrycloth bathrobe."

She smiled a little. "I promise never to do that."

"Thank you. Even if it means we'll need a bigger house and I have to moonlight as a security guard because I can't keep my hands off of you."

"I love your hands on me."

"I love it, too."

"So, house to ourselves?"

"Yup."

"Wanna grab takeout and celebrate in bed?"

"Absolutely," he said, signaling for their server to bring the check.

~The End~