Good evening, All,

Well, this is it. At least for book six. The epilogue to The One is complete. I'm amazed I got it done at all between Cleveland and Chicago. But here it is and I do hope it was worth the wait.

Before I leave this part of the Peacemaker tale, I do want to thank some folks. To my three *wonderful* betas, PSUBrat, Meko and Cindy, I would be lost without you. I'm horrid about sending a chapter just before I want to release it and you never let me down. I'm a pretty good speller, and not bad at making a complete sentence, but I'm one of the world's worst typists, so it's amazing you guys hung with me throughout this story. You *rock* and I am grateful for all of your hard work.

To those of you who gave me feedback on ff.net, Always and other sites, *thank you*. I only write this story because you tell me you want to hear what I have to say. If you stopped, so would I. Even after all of this, I'm not very confident, so I am grateful for every comment, praise and even criticism that you send my way.

Many of you have written that you would like to see the story go on. If you want it, I will write it, but you need to be sure. It's *so* AU at this point (I'm not too keen on the Buffy on the show right now, although I'm standing by her), and my characters are growing up differently than those on the show. I plan to let them grow organically, so if you want exactly what you're getting on the telly, the story is not going there. If you want to see more of the path on which I have sent them, then I have endless stories to tell. Just let me know.

Thank you all for reading. Thank you for writing me notes. Thanks to people on Always, as I get *so* excited every time there is a new member. And thanks to my friends for getting me through this horrible time in my life and helping me believe in myself enough to bring this story to you. I love you all.

Without further ado...

*Cheery Vibes*, Nimue

"As sick as it sounds, in my little head, there's a little Sunnydale, and a widdle Spike and a widdle Buffy and Spike wubs Buffy." James Marsters 14 July 2002
Title: Pinks and Blues(Epilogue of The One)

Author: Nimue

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Buffy/Spike. Most major characters included.

Feedback: Yes, please

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Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, Fox... Just Borrowing. (With, of course, the exception of Emma and William, who belong to Buffy and Spike).

Summary: It's nine months later. Buffy and Spike get an emergency call in the middle of the night. Spike finds out news that he is not prepared for. And Team Sunnydale ends up with a new player. Or more.

~~~~~

Pinks and Blues ~~~~~

~~~~~

The sound of the phone shrilly ringing was like fingernails against a chalkboard. Buffy groaned, trying to roll away from it, as if it were some annoying plastic demon. Spike rolled with her, never wanting to be out of touch with her soft, golden skin. The rolling didn't help. The phone kept ringing.

A hand grabbed at the nightstand, groping the surface until it found the offending receiver. Part of her wanted to toss it across the room. The Hellmouth and all its three thousand parts could wait until morning. Or night. It could just wait.

But part of her knew that it was her duty to answer these calls. To not just stay tucked against Spike when the world needed her. Even if that was the only place she could ever want to be.

"Hello?" Her sleepy voice muttered into the receiver. Spike inched closer, tossing his arm over her waist and pressing himself against her back.

"Buffy, it's Giles," the soft, English tones were nowhere near as jarring as the incessant ringing.

Her eyes fluttered open. The digital display next to the bed read 4:07 AM. "Giles, it's four AM and Spike and I were out dusting a nest until 2:30. Is this, like, an emergency demon slaughter, or can we wait until.?"

"It's Willow," Giles interrupted, his voice nervous and tight.

That woke Buffy up. She sat up in bed, Spike's hand flopping to the side as he groaned at the lack of contact. "What about Willow?" Buffy asked, her heart fluttering with nervousness. "She okay? Is the baby okay?"

"She's fine," Giles answered, realizing that the seriousness of his tone was sure to set off alarms in a girl who was constantly being told dire news. "Oz called from the hospital. She's apparently having the baby."

"Ohmigod," Buffy gushed, running a hand through her hair and hopping out of bed. "Um. I'll be right there, I just need to. UGH! Spike should be there with me, but Emma and."

"Our nanny would be happy to mind them. Just drop by my house on the way," Giles replied, smiling into the receiver. "It will be several hours by all accounts.."

"Tara," Buffy sighed. "Where is she? Did Oz.?"

"Oz brought her with them." There was a long pause as Buffy pulled open drawers, trying to find anything to wear. "The only one I haven't called is Dawn."

"We'll take care of it. Be there in an hour," Buffy gushed, clicking off the phone and tossing it onto the bed.

"Owww," came from beneath the comforter. "Could think of a nicer way to wake a bloke up," Spike muttered, pushing himself up in bed.

Buffy smirked, grabbing him blue jeans and a white T-Shirt. He'd have to find his own button down. "Get dressed," she ordered.

Spike looked at her, cocking an eyebrow. "Bossy little chit this morning. Woke up on the wrong side of the. Hey! It's four ten! What in bloody."

"Willow," Buffy answered, scooping up her clothes and heading towards the bathroom.

His tone changed in an instant. "She all right, Pet?"

"In labour," Buffy answered shortly, pushing open the door with her foot. "Can you call Dawn? I'll get dressed and get the kids ready."

"Right," Spike answered all business. "We taking them to Rupert's?"

"Nanny said she'd watch them. Probably finish sleeping there." With that, she shut the door behind her.

~~~~~~

Spike pulled on his jeans, digging through the tangle of blankets for the phone. It was buried towards the end of the bed, caught up in the tailing end of a sheet. He pushed the digits to Dawn's new off campus apartment from memory. They talked quite often. She was his Niblet, after all.

"Hello?" A groggy male voice said.

The hair on the back of Spike's neck went up and he felt a growl forming in his throat. "Dawn there?"

"One minute," the voice answered. Spike felt his blood boil and his jaw tighten as he heard the rustle of bed linens and a soft sigh.

"Hello?" Her voice. Dawn.

"What in bloody hell are you doing, Dawn?" Spike exploded as soon as his mind registered her voice through the anger.

"Hunh?" Dawn's sleep addled mind wasn't allowing her to process the situation. "Spike?"

"Glad you've got your head on straight enough to remember that," Spike snarked, pulling on his shoes. "What is that stupid git doing at your house at four A.M.?"

Dawn giggled nervously. "Don't suppose you'd believe we were up late studying?"

"No," Spike answered, not sharing her sense of humour this morning.

"Spike, I.."

He heard Buffy rustle around in the bathroom and realized they were on a time schedule. "We *will* talk about this later, Pet. But I'm calling because Red."

"Ohmigodissheokay?" Dawn's now awake voice blurted into the phone. Spike winced at the shriek, thinking how much the Summers sisters could be alike.

"Fine," Spike snapped. "Having the tot at the moment."

"In the hospital?"

"No, in the circus tent cross the road, of course in the hospital," Spike replied, still annoyed with a man answering Dawn's phone.

"Emma wasn't born in a hospital," Dawn countered.

Spike sighed, clenching his teeth. "Just thought you might want to be there and all, Nibs."

Dawn sighed equally deeply. "I know. Thanks. Be there in a few."

"Right then." Spike paused for a moment. "And Nibs?"

"Yeah?"

"I'd suggest leaving lover boy behind this morning."

~~~~~

It seemed like an eternity between the time that Spike made the call, brushed his teeth, got Emma sorted while Buffy got Will, loaded them all in the car, dropped the tots at Giles' and made it to the hospital. All in all, they did it in forty-five minutes flat. A new record with two kids under six. But all of the random thoughts running through Spike's head made it seem so much longer.

Willow. Having a baby. Possibly a baby werewolf. There was a thought.

Dawn. Sleeping with Brian. Possibly living with him. She'd been avoiding having Spike visit the flat.

Buffy, all flushed and nervous and excited as if it were her own child coming into this Earth. She didn't get much of that either time. What with the mystical rights of the first and the dire circumstances of the second.

And himself. Wondering how all of this came to be. Even if he helped orchestrate it all. How did they go from a ragtag team of demon fighters to an extended family of half of Sunnydale?

Didn't matter at this point. He loved his life. Even if he drove an SUV, was teaching a little girl how to write in the Queen's English and showing a little boy what real football looked like. Oh, and loving the hell out of his wife.

His wife that was currently running full throttle up a flight of stairs at least a furlong in front of him.

He'd caught her by the time they'd reached the maternity ward. Buffy burst through the door with her customary subtley, followed by her faithful Vampire to a full house. Giles stood chewing on his thumbnail against the wall, Anya napping quietly in a chair next to him. Xander paced nervously, gesturing wildly at Takina who just giggled at his display. Oz sat in a chair, his face haggard and tired, staring blankly at the wall with a vague look of surprise. Tara sat uncomfortably next to him, looking like she might burst at any moment.

It took Buffy a second to determine which nervous wreck to approach first. One would think that, with the number of times they had collectively been through this, they'd be old hat. But it was never that way. The same nervous excitement coursed through every new member of the throng.

"Xander?" Buffy asked, approaching the pacing man with extreme caution.

Xander spun as if poked with an electric cattle prod. "Hunh? What?"

"S'ok," Buffy said, softly smiling and stroking his arm.

He smiled nervously. "Yeah, I just. I'm worried about."

"I know," she answered. Buffy shifted her gaze to Takina. "Everything okay?"

"She's fine," Takina answered. "Regular old gut wrenching, screaming labour."

"Remember that," Buffy mused, crossing her arms against the chill of the waiting room. As if on cue, Spike draped his jacket over her shoulders, kissing her neck before retreating back to his fellow countryman. "How's Oz?"

"Spooked," Takina answered, smiling over at the stunned man. "He's been in there with her for a few hours. They're running some tests and then he and Tara can go back in."

"About that," Xander contributed. "I mean. it. they both. it happened on the same night, right? So how come Willow's in there and . Tara."

Takina smiled. "Not an exact science, baby."

"You put a cake in an oven and set the timer for nine minutes, it goes off in nine minutes. I don't get why babies don't work the same way," Xander griped, resuming his pacing. "It's not logical."

Buffy chuckled. "Babies. Logic. Non mixy."

A smiling nurse came out into the waiting room and walked over to Oz. "You can come back in now, if you like. "

Oz nodded, never saying a word and stood, leaning down and helping to lift Tara from her seat. Tara smiled, obviously feeling horribly ungainly, but managing to look absolutely radiant, and pushed herself up with all her strength. Without a word, they disappeared behind the door.

~~~~~

Spike could hear the deep breathing, as if someone was steeling their resolve, from behind the waiting room doors before they opened just a crack. He waited, watched, as they opened a bit more and Dawn poked her head through.

"Dawnie!" Buffy chirped, oblivious to the conversation her sister had with her other half this morning.

"Hi, Buffy," Dawn said meekly, cowering in the doorway. "Willow all right?"

"Just, having a baby," Buffy answered, still smiling. She cocked an eyebrow, watching her sister. "Why aren't you coming in?"

Dawn paused a moment. "Spike here?"

"Right here, Dawn," Spike answered from the other side of the door in his most paternal of voices. Dawn's shoulders dropped at the sound and she gave in, walking into the waiting room.

Followed by Brian.

Spike felt his whole body tense at the sight of the tall, muscular, baby- faced boy. Not much of a gentleman, though, despite his decent manners. Stealing away his Niblet's innocence like that. Should pound his head into the cement. Poke his eyes out with.

He hadn't even realized that he was approaching the couple at mock speed, his features changing to Vampire, until Buffy stepped in front of him, stopping him in his tracks. "Now wait a minute, oh possessive one. What's got you all fangy grr..?"

Spike shook his head, his face returning to human. Brian was as white as a sheet, Dawn between him and Buffy. The Vampire shifted his gaze to his wife. "Bloke answered the phone at four A.M. at Niblet's place. Don't think they were up watching the Monty Python marathon on the telly."

Buffy sighed, turning towards Dawn. "You didn't tell him?"

Spike's face grew still and he stared slack jaw at the sisters. Then the anger bubbled anew. "You. you knew?" His voice was a mixture of fury and hurt as he stared at Buffy with wild eyes.

Again, Buffy sighed. "Only yesterday. And I told Dawn she had to talk to you herself."

"You knew," Spike repeated, his voice now more hurt than anger. Buffy reached up to touch his face and he flinched away. "No, Buffy. I thought we shared everything."

The rest of the crowd stared at them as if watching a soap opera. Even the wait station nurses were riveted to the scene. "Now wait," Dawn interrupted. "I.I told Buffy that I'd moved in with Brian but I told her not..."

"You moved *in*! Niblet, you're a tot yourself, for God's sake," Spike boiled. Brian had backed himself towards the door, not leaving his girlfriend alone, but making way for a hasty retreat.

"I'm twenty, Spike," Dawn answered, crossing her arms across her chest. "I'm old enough to make my own choices."

"You approved of this?" Spike asked Buffy incredulously.

"Don't have that option, Spike," Buffy answered, matter-of-factly. "She's an adult. If you want my opinion, I think she's too young to be living with any guy, but it's not my choice anymore. I'm not her guardian.."

Spike looked from one girl to the other and back again, and then surveyed the staring crowd. "Can't believe the lot of you. Letting a young girl live with an older man before they."

"I'd stop there, "Xander interrupted. "I mean, since you're kind of over a century and Buffy. well, Emma wasn't exactly conceived in the whole marital bed."

"That's a wholly different situation," Spike defended, his Victorian sensibilities and manners kicking in. Then, his more conventional attitude made an appearance. "Don't have to defend myself to you, whelp and I don't remember asking your opinion."

"Spike," Buffy and Dawn whined in unison.

Spike shot a look at both of them, then at the offending boy at the door. He felt ganged up on. Overwhelmed. Terrified that the Boy Scout would hurt his Niblet. Furious that Buffy had kept this from him. Hurt that there were secrets he didn't know.

But there was no fighting them. Never had been. He stared Buffy in the eyes for a moment, nearly melting under her emerald gaze. But before he could crumble, he ran.

~~~~~

"Well, that didn't work," Luke complained, standing in front of the raging fireplace in his room. "Can't send a Heavenly soul to do what only a Hell beastie should."

"I don't remember asking for your lack of expertise," Draconius snarked, sipping at his brandy. "You weren't much of a help in the matter anyway."

Luke smiled slyly, leaning up against the mantle in his best GQ pose. "I seem to recall that you were banished from their world. Sought refuge here at La Maison Rouge. Think you should be grateful that you have a roof over your head."

"I could live in any dimension. *Rule* any dimension," Draconius retorted.

"Funny," Luke answered, shifting his back to the wall. "Don't seem to be ruling mine. And you seem to be losing a pretty simple game to a little girl and her bouncy blonde momma and compact, well muscled Vampire of a daddy."

Draconius snorted. "I haven't lost a thing."

"Don't see the Peacemaker on our side, Bubba."

"Ah, but that was just a battle, not the war," the Old One answered. "I have a plan."

~~~~

Spike sat on the edge of the ambulance bay, feet dangling over the concrete wall. He vaguely heard the whoosh of air behind him as the bay doors opened, and the click of boots on the pavement.

She settled down next to him, her hip flush to his. He was beautiful sitting there chewing the inside of his lip in the rosy glow of sunrise. Lit in golds and pinks and oranges and tense with worry and love.

"Spike," Buffy breathed, moving her hand over his and stroking his fingers. "I'm sorry."

"Shoulda told me, Pet," Spike answered, looking at the sun peaking over the horizon. "Not the kind of thing you hide."

"You're right," Buffy agreed, her voice quiet. "But it's not our decision any more." There was a long pause before either of them spoke again. "She grew up. She made a choice. You, me, we don't have to like it. We don't even have to agree, but all that's going to do is push her away from us. It's not going to change her choices. I think I'd rather keep her in our lives and let her make decisions I don't agree with than be right and push her away."

Spike looked up at the sky, a strange mix of dark and light. This was hard. Like letting Will go the first time when he was learning to walk. Or letting go of the side of the bike when Emma could do it on her own.

Letting go.

"Just don't want her to get hurt, Pet," Spike finally said, turning to face his love.

Buffy smiled softly. "Me neither," she answered. "But she's got to make her own mistakes. It doesn't mean we have to love her any less."

"Can't do that," Spike chuckled. "She's a Summers girl. Genetic weakness for that lot."

"For what it's worth," Buffy continued, touching his cheek, "I do think Brian loves her. Anything that happens.. I think he'll try, Spike. I don't think he'll hurt her on purpose."

"Because I'd kill him," Spike snapped.

Buffy chuckled again. "I think he knows. But still he stays with her. Takes a lot when you've seen us in action to want anything to do with us."

Spike returned his gaze to the sun and nodded. "Guess you've got a point. I. I just don't like the thought of Dawn."

"Growing up?" Buffy answered for him. He nodded his reply. "Can't stop it. She's growing up. Emma. Will. River.. We're getting older. Must be pretty new to you."

"I miss when they were babies, Buffy. Knew what they needed then," Spike answered, his heart pouring out from behind blue eyes. She felt her own melt watching.

"I miss that too. Maybe. maybe if we're lucky." she began looking at her knees.

Spike watched her face, knowing what was in her head. That she wished she could do it over. Wished she could have another. But it wasn't up to them. Fate controls everyone's lives to some degree. But when you're the prophesied ones, it controls every moment. "Pet, I love you always no matter what. Love them too. Just. not used to all this . growing up. Responsibility and all that rot."

A tear dribbled down her cheek and he wrapped an arm around her. "You're doing fine," she whispered, resting her head on his shoulder.

Softly, he kissed her head. "Sorry for snapping off."

"Sorry for not telling you."

"Buffy," Spike began. "If it were possible, would you."

"I'd have another baby in an instant with you," she finished. "But you said it. It's not up to us."

"Maybe someone is listening, Pet."

~~~~~

Buffy slept soundly in Spike's lap, his face buried in her hair. Brian held Dawn a few chairs over in almost an identical position. Spike watched them sleep for a while. At peace. Curled around each other like kittens and smiled at his own little feline in his lap. Maybe Buffy was right. Maybe he did love her just enough.

Oz burst through the door, startling them all awake, his eyes wildly happy and a smile spread from ear to ear. Xander nearly fell over himself popping out of his seat and stumbling over to Oz.

"So?" Xander asked, rubbing his hands together.

All eyes turned to the werewolf. "It's a boy," Oz answered, the smiled broadening on his face. "And a girl."

"What?" Buffy asked, shaking her head.

Spike's eyes opened wide. "Twins?"

"No, I mean. Weirdest. Willow was almost. and Tara. I mean kind of." Oz stuttered, his mind racing, his heart pounding in his chest.

"Slow down," Anya interrupted. "Start with Willow."

"Willow was in labour. Towards the end. She was screaming. Tara was with her, helping her breathe and then. And it was like. magic. They took Tara onto a bed and she. she was almost as far into it as Willow but she didn't want to leave her alone. So, they let them stay. "

"And both of them had their kids?" Dawn asked.

"Like, five minutes apart," Oz said, dumfounded wonder in his eyes.

"Who belongs to which?" Spike asked, lifting Buffy to her feet and standing behind her.

"Guess they. they kind of all belong to all of us," Oz answered, furrowing his brow. "Um, but Willow had the little boy first, and then Tara had a little girl right after."

"Everyone all right?" Giles asked.

"Perfect," Oz answered. "Absolutely perfect."

~~~~

It was quiet in the hall in front of the nursery. Oz, Xander and Takina were visiting with Willow and Tara. The babies were in the nursery while the women rested a bit. Dawn and Brian had gone with Giles and Anya to go get some lunch. Spike was .. Somewhere.

Buffy stood alone in front of the plastic cradles staring through the window at the two tiny babies next to each other. Pink and rosy and beautiful. The boy had a shock of red hair and the cheeks of a cherub. The girl was quiet and content, staring up at Buffy with kind and knowing eyes. Beautiful, healthy, non mystical, babies.

She felt arms wrap around her waist from behind. "Remember going to see Will in one of them," the deep voice purred in her ear. "Cept with a few more wires and gadgets."

Buffy closed her eyes and leaned back into him. "They're beautiful babies," she whispered, her fingers tracing the glass.

"They are," Spike agreed. "Not ours, but a close second."

Buffy giggled, reaching her hands around his neck. "Why wasn't it. I don't know. normal like this for us? You know. Hospital. No emergency. Nice, hellaciously painful regular old baby delivering?"

"'Cause we're not normal, Pet. Not supposed to be, you know. Vampire and a Slayer. But it is. Wouldn't have it any other way," Spike answered, brushing her hair away from her cheeks.

"Even if it meant that we could do whatever we wanted whenever? I mean, now it's up to the Fates if we can ever do this again. We could die in battle tomorrow. We could."

"Regular people have the same problems, Pet. Way I see it, you and I have everything. Wouldn't ask for anything more. Got each other. Got the tots. Got our family and friends. Even Xander, when he's not being a git." Buffy giggled, burying her face in his warm chest. "Wouldn't change a thing."

"Nothing?" Buffy asked.

"Nothing," he answered, stroking her hair and kissing the top of her head. "I love you, Pet."

"Always, Spike."

"Everyday, Love."

End Book Six