Part 6: The Angel and the Demon

"Oww," Dylan said in a whimper as she tried to brush out a rat's nest entangled in her hair.  Stupid curly hair.  Why couldn't she have straight hair like Jessie?  It had to be easier to take care of.

"Hey," a voice said from her doorway. 

The young girl turned around in her seat to find Buffy was leaning there, her arms crossed and a small smile on her face.  She had been back for about a month now, and things had actually started to seem almost normal again.  Dylan's suspension had been lifted and she was back in school, Dawn and Connor had just goten through midterms, and Giles was still knee deep in research thanks to the new shipment the Magic Box had just received last week.  Yup, everything was right with the world once more.

The only thing that had changed that Dylan could see was that her parents-geez that sounded strange to say-were actually happy and together.  Her Aunt Dawn had practically squealed in delight when she found out, and Gram had just smiled.  The others, well…some took it better than others.

Oz had just said "Oh" and that was the end of it with him.

Willow started to stutter on about how if 'Buffy thought this was a good idea' and then proceeded to back track in favor of being the supportive friend because 'If it made her happy, she'd be cool with it.' 

Grandpa Giles had pretty much looked at the two, shook his head, and muttered something about 'Her taste in men is going to be the death of me yet.' 

Anya just shrugged and said 'About time.' 

And Xander, well…

Dylan knew that the English language was full of obscenities, she had heard her father use most of them on more then one occasion, but she had no idea that it would be possible to fit all of them into one sentence.  Well, she thought he had used all of them; she missed some of it when Willow had wrapped her hands around her ears to try and keep her from hearing.  Not that it worked that well. 

He only shut up when Anya had started to yell at him for using that kind of language in front of the children.  It was kind of funny though, that look on Jessie's face and when Cash had looked up at his mother and asked, 'Mommy, what's a no good, shit for brains, mother fu-?'  That was all he had been able to get out before Andrew had wrapped his hand around the boy's mouth.  The shop keep might be a bit clueless, but he knew that was not something Anya would want her three-year-old son repeating.  Dylan had actually been surprised Xander had lived to see another day after that.

Things were pretty cool between them now, but she could tell Xander didn't like the idea of her parents together.  Not that she was exactly thrilled about it either.  It was just too weird.  She was still trying to get used to the idea that this was Buffy and her mother, but, at the same time, she kept feeling like her mother was still dead and her dad was cheating on her with someone who just looked like her.  Ugh, all that thinking was making her head hurt.

"Need some help?" the blonde woman asked, pushing away from the doorframe and walking up behind the child.

Dylan watched her reflection in the mirror as Buffy stood behind her, then sighed as she handed her the brush.  Buffy smiled sweetly like Gram often did, then proceeded to comb the child's hair.

"Dad still yelling about how he hates this 'soddin' holiday?'" she asked, causing her mother to look up from her hair and at her face in the mirror.

"Yeah," she said with a tightly controlled smile on her face.  "And don't use that kind of language."

Halloween, the undead's favorite holiday.  Dylan still wasn't clear on why they didn't like it, but she sure did.  It was the only night a year she could get dressed up as anything she wanted and stock pile up on sugary goodness.  Well, according to Anya, they were actually extorting candy out of people, but she didn't care.  She was going to have enough sugar running through her veins that for the next couple of days she would probably bleed syrup.

This year, she had decided to go as an angel.  Hey, all those boring prophecies her Grandpa Giles had called her that anyway, might as well see what she would look like as one.  Besides, she had learned long ago that people, especially the older ones, gave more generous candy portions to children that went as cute things instead of scary or gross.  That was also the reason Jessie had told her that she would be going as a ballerina this year.  The only one they hadn't convinced of their plan had been Van, who just rolled his eyes at the two.  She wasn't sure what he'd go as this year, but she was sure that it would probably gross them out and scare old people.  Well, he wasn't getting any more of her candy, that was for sure.

"Why does Dad hate Halloween?" Dylan asked innocently, her face eyebrows scrunched together in true confusion.

Buffy looked for a second time to her daughter's reflected face.  She had asked him that once herself, back when they were trotting around Europe while she was still pregnant with the girl in front of her.  He had snorted at her then went on about how would she feel if all the undead and demons decided one day that on Arbor Day they would all get dressed up like humans and go from door to door demanding blood and kittens.

"You'll have to ask him," the blonde answered, pulling the child's hair back into a pony tail to get it out of her face.  Dylan was such a pretty girl; she shouldn't try and hide her face.  And when had she started to channel her Grandma Rose?

"I did once," Dylan confessed.  "But he just kept talking about Arbor Day for some reason."  Buffy bit down on the inside of her cheek.  So the illustration lives on.  "Buffy, can I ask you something?" the seven-year-old went on, not noticing her mother's reaction.

The slayer's heart sank a little.  Why couldn't she call her Mom?  Hell, she would even settle for slayer right now.  "Yeah," she said quietly.  "Go ahead."

The child shifted around in her seat to where she was looking up at Buffy's face.  She had that look on her face that Spike sometimes got that said 'This is important, please don't lie to me because I can tell if you are.'  "Do you love my Dad?"

The slayer pondered the question for a moment, but not because she didn't know the answer.  She loved Spike, she told him that and the others, besides Xander, seemed to have known before her.  Telling Dylan would actually be the first time that she admitted to someone else that she did love him, which felt kind of strange, but right that it should be their daughter.

Kneeling down in front of the child that was dressed like an angelic being, Buffy slowly nodded her head and said, "I love your dad.  I have for long time."

"Did you before I was born?" the child asked.  There really wasn't any hint of hopefulness in the question, just childish curiosity, but Buffy knew if she answered honestly that it would probably just hurt Dylan.

"Does it really matter?" the slayer asked instead, hoping that would answer the question by not answering the question.

"No," Dylan shrugged slightly.  Shyly, the seven-year-old got to the heart of what had been on her mind lately.  "So, if you love him and he loves you, then I guess you're not goin' anywhere for awhile?"

Buffy blinked at the child.  Is that what she thought?  That she was just going to get up and leave her again someday?  No wonder she had been so distant to her. 

"No!" she assured her almost furiously in an attempt to make the girl believe.  "Dylan, even if me and your dad…Honey, I promise you, I'm not going anywhere.  I'm not going to leave you."

The child gave a humorless snort as she turned away from her mother's eyes.  "Gram say's you shouldn't make promises you can't keep," she said barely above a whispered.

Buffy shook her head, desperately trying to think of a way to reassure what she had said.  They'd never get anywhere if Dylan didn't believe her.  There had to be a way. 

Her hazel eyes lit up for a moment as an idea popped into her head.  "Stay right here," she ordered, jumping up from her spot in front of the little girl and heading out of the room.  When she returned a moment later, she had something hidden in her hand and ordered, "Turn around."

Giving her mother a confused look, Dylan shifted around in her seat to where she was looking at their reflections again.  A rather large cross necklace slipped from between Buffy's fingers, and hung in front of the seven-year-old before the older blonde began to put it on her. 

"This was given to me a very long time ago by an old friend of mine. He gave it to me to let me know that he'd always be there watching over me even if I didn't see him," Buffy informed the child as she fastened the chain's lock.  Placing her hands on the child's shoulders, the mother looked up at her daughter's face that was reflecting in the mirror.  "I want you to have it."

Dylan's fingers lightly traced over the piece of jewelry that hung around her neck.  It really was a bit to large for a child, and the chain was too long, but it somehow seemed to look right on the little blonde girl.  Buffy smiled as Dylan grinned her approval of the gift. 

"Buffy!  Dylan!" Dawn called from below.  "Xander and the others are here!"

Buffy's smile almost turned mischievous as she looked into the mirror and said, "Come on.  Let's go get you hyped up on sugary goodness until Thanksgiving."

**********

Sebastian stood across the street, watching the house that sat on what looked like a typical street in what was thought to be typical town in California.  But he knew the town and the house were anything but.  The Hellmouth coursed though this city, devouring every part of it like a cancer, and the only possible treatment lived right inside that two story house.  So much for being typical.

He had been standing there for most of the afternoon, going unnoticed or ignored by the people who lived on the street that was now over run with children in costumes.  The boy himself had on a red demon mask, with a black shirt and jeans to complete the look.  He felt kind of silly dressed like this, but it helped him fit in on Halloween.  Not to mention that if they saw him they wouldn't know what he actually looked like.

He watched as the carpenter and his family arrived, then left with the slayer's younger sister and her boyfriend for some party that he had seen was being held at the Bronze.

The slayer and her vampire were next to go; unlike the others they were not dressed up.  Grandfather had said that they might do this, go on a quick patrol instead of going out.  Something about the undead hating this holiday, but they really weren't his concern.  He had someone else in mind at the moment than that sorry excuse for a slayer and her pet vampire.

Finally, the children came out of the house with the Watcher and the Slayer's mother.  There were four children with them, two girls and two boys, and Sebastian didn't even have to think to know which one of the girls was the one he wanted.  She was speaking with the ballerina, showing her something that hung around the angel's neck.  While the brown-haired girl inspected the jewelry, the blonde girl lifted her eyes towards Sebastian and looked him dead in the face as they walked by. 

For a moment, the boy panicked, wondering if she knew why he was there and what was about to happen to her.  Part of him hoped she did; hoped she would grab the Watcher's arm, point him out and put a stop to this before it started.  If she did, so much pain could be speared all around.  But she didn't.  Instead, she smiled at him, then turned back to her friend. 

She didn't know.  Why couldn't she know?  Why couldn't she stop this?

Sighing, Sebastian followed them into night, praying for forgiveness for what he was about to do.

**********

Dylan stood off to the side, watching as Gram and Grandpa Giles tended to Cash.  The little boy had tripped over his own feet and scrapped both knees and palms.  Like all children his age, he had begun to cry and it was taking both adults, and lots of bribing with candy, for the child to calm down.  She knew she shouldn't have let him come with them.  He had been slowing them down all night, and now had made them stop completely.  At this rate, they'd never hit all the houses she and Jessie and Van had so careful chosen for them to go to.  Or, if they did, all the good candy would be gone.  Man, she couldn't wait until they would be old enough to go alone.

"Jess, can't you do something?" Dylan pleaded to her friend. 

"I already told him to shut up and quit being such a baby," the dark haired girl said, crossing her arms in her own aggravation of the child.  "Even threatened to microwave his army men if he didn't stop.  Which I'm goin' to do the second we get home if he doesn't shut up!"

But hearing his sister's threat caused him to cry harder, causing more work for Joyce and Giles. 

"Yeah, that worked well," Van put in dryly.

Dylan frowned at the fresh batch of tears that her friend had caused.  Great, there goes the Jenson's house on Fifth Street.  Man, and they were going to be handing out full size Hershey bars this year too.

"Jessie, if you are not going to help, please remain quiet," Giles told the girl in a very controlled voice, but the anger behind it was not lost on Dylan.

Jessie, however, was choosing to ignore it like her father, and opting not to keep her mouth shut like her mother.  "He's the one that won't be quiet."

Dylan chose to zone her friend out right about then.  And they called her a smart mouth.  Shaking her head slightly, she began to look around at the other children in costumes that had taken over the downtown area of Sunnydale.  Most had chosen to dress up in traditional costumes of demons and vampires, which Dylan found really amusing considering that she had never actually seen a demon or vampire that looked anything like the ones that were out tonight.  Really, with all the demons and vampires running around Sunnydale you'd think that people would actually know what they looked like.

As she scanned the street, she saw him again, the boy who had been outside their home when they left.  She had actually seen him a couple of times that night already, first across the street from her house, then down on Maple Street, and again at the Mathis house.  Was he following them?  That's kind of strange.  Why would a kid be following them?

Dylan glanced back over at her group, which was now alternating between trying to calm Cash down and a semi argument going on between Jessie and Giles.  They were far too busy to notice what she would be doing, so, silently, she slipped away from them to find out what this kid in the red demon mask was up to.  She'd only be gone a minute, they probably wouldn't even notice that she was gone.  Besides, he was just a kid.  What could he do to her?

When he saw her coming, the kid slipped down the alley between two of the stores.  A part of Dylan suddenly felt alive as she began to 'hunt' down the boy for answers.  Her dad had always said there was nothing like the hunt.  Even if she wasn't going to hurt him, that was exactly how this felt at the moment.  A hunt, a game, it was all the same, and she was going to be the winner either way.

She slid down the dark alley, wondering momentarily if her white dress would give her away before the fun was over with.  But she pushed that thought into the back of her mind as she searched for the boy.  He was here, she could feel he was.  That was another reason she had to find him.  There was something familiar about the boy, something…kindred. 

Dylan stopped halfway down the alley and began to look around.  Where was he?  He couldn't have just disappeared.  Well, this was Sunnydale, he very well could have just disappeared, but it didn't seem likely.  He was watching her from somewhere and the seven-year-old suddenly became very aware that she might not actually be the hunter in all this, but the prey.

She turned to go back and found that the boy she had been looking for was standing right behind her.  A scream began in the back of her throat, but all that was able to escape from her was a sharp intake of breath before he backhanded her with his fist.  Dylan spun once from the force, then fell to the ground unconscious.

**********

Buffy groaned as she walked in through the back door with Spike close behind.  Tonight was an utter bust for demon activity, not that she had actually expected any, but still, this was the Hellmouth after all.  Now they were home and apparently the first ones back for the night.

"Anyone home?" the slayer called into the dark house, just to be sure that her instincts were right.  When no answer came, she shrugged and pulled off her light weight jacket.  "Mom and Giles must still be out with the kids."

Spike raised an eyebrow at her as his trademark smirk crossed his lips.  "So, we have the house to ourselves then, eh?"

Buffy smiled at him, knowing this was probably the real reason he had flat out refused to be talked into going to the party at the Bronze and insisted that they go on patrol instead.  Hell, he probably even told her mom to keep Dylan away for a good long while tonight.  Really, what was she going to do with him?

"Looks that way," she said, going into innocent school girl mode.  She knew that look on his face.  He so had planned this.

He moved quickly across the kitchen, having Buffy pinned against the counter before she knew it.  The slayer smiled innocently at him as she gently draped her arms over his shoulders and said, "No Mom, no kids.  What on earth shall we ever do?"

"Can't imagine, love," he answered before pressing his lips to hers. 

Even now, she didn't know how his cool touch could burn her the way it did.  When he kissed her, pouring all his passion and love into it, she would swear he was alive from the heat he gave off.  Right now, she would swear she was even hearing bells.  Wait a minute, not bells, a ringing.  A continuous ringing.  Like a telephone.

She broke the kiss, drawing a deep breath into her tight lungs.  He was still the only one who could ever do that.  "Phone's ringing," she said scolding herself for stopping the kiss for something so stupid.

"Machine 'll catch it," he said, probably not really having heard what she had told him before moving in to continue what he had started. 

Yeah, the machine will get it any second now.  Just concentrate on him.  Kissing down her cheek and moving to her neck. Doing that nipping thing she liked while continuing to kiss her…just like that damn phone was continuing to ring.  Why hasn't that stupid machine picked up yet?!

"Just…hold that thought," she said, moving out from under the pin he had her in. 

She heard him groaning loudly as she started to grab for the phone.  "Someone had bloody well better be dead," he snapped while she finally was able to make the phone stop ringing.

Buffy shot him a look, before placing the receiver up to her ear.  "Hello?"

"Oh, Buffy, thank God I finally found you."

"Giles?  What's up?  Why are you calling?" 

The blonde slayer felt herself tense up.  Giles wasn't supposed to be calling her.  He was supposed to be out with her Mom and the kids Trick Or Treating.  She glanced up at Spike and watched as he also became more ridged at hearing that it was the Watcher calling.  Oh, that couldn't be good.

"It's Dylan, I'm afraid." He paused for a moment, allowing a thousand different thoughts to go through Buffy's mind.  What about Dylan?  What about her daughter?  "She's gone."

**********

The End of the Interlude

**********

AN:  Apparently I'm taking a note from ME, making you all happy thinking that their together and everything is going to be okay, and then, BAM, I make things bad again.  But, hey, at least Buffy and Spike are together and alive-um, well, you know what I mean.  So, what's on the horizon now for our little family?  Hum, I foresee lots of travel, a little history, and…oh, that's interesting.  Didn't see that coming.  What do I mean?  Find out in the final story in the Weathered Series, Sweet Child.