As I Lay Me Down chapter 23--At Seventeen

'Happy birthday to me.', Buffy thought staring up at the ceiling.

It was five in the morning and she had been up for the last half hour thinking about all that was going to happen today and all of the things that she had to do to prepare for it.
Buffy got out of bed and walked over to her mirror. She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and placed her hands
'This is it.' She thought to herself, 'This is the last day of my teenage life.'
"Good morning." Spike said groggily from bed.
"Morning." She said walking back over to bed.
"What's wrong?"
She crawled back under the covers, "I'm just tired." She said. "I'm so tired."

Spike took her in his arms and she fell back to sleep breathing in the sent of her lover.

(Sunnydale High, Later)
Buffy walked up the steps of the school with a large grin on her face.
"It's my birthday, it's my birthday." She sang walking up to the gang.
"Did I hear someone say birthday?" Xander asked," I feel a birthday spanking coming on."
"You try it you'll loose an arm."

The first bell rang and everyone groaned in unison.
"I really don't want to go to class today." Cordelia said picking up her bag.
"No one wants to go to class." Xander said putting his arm around her shoulders

Buffy followed behind taking one last look at the hall. She had spent so much time in this school; it surprised her that she was going to miss it. She was going to miss everything about being a teenager: going to the Bronze, slaying with the gang, having a relationship that she didn't have to hide.
"Buffy!" Giles called out bringing her back to reality.
"Yeah." She said turning around to face him.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"Yeah, you just caught me in the process of actually missing this place. So, what's up?"
"I need to make sure that you're okay with what is about to happen."
"Yeah. I am."
"Have you talked to Willow or Xander about what they're planning?"
"They're throwing me a surprise party. Am I right?
"Thought as much."

(Buffy's House, Later)
Buffy sat at the dinner table eating a salad and flipping through a magazine that she had picked up at the doctors office during her last visit when Joyce walked through the front door, shutting it behind her.
"Hi sweetie."
"Hi mom. How was work?"
"Long. How was school?"
"So you're all dressed up. Where are you going?"
"The gang's throwing me a party for my birthday."
"Is Spike going with you?"
"Yep. Why?"
"Just curious."
"No, that sounded more that curious. What's up?"
"I just want to talk to him about something."

Buffy shut her magazine and looked at her mother.
"You want to talk to him about he and I don't you?" she asked
"I don't want you to get hurt."
"He isn't going to hurt me."
"You don't know that. It's just..."
"Mom, look. Spike loves me and he loves Dawn and he won't leave us."

Buffy thought back to a time when she and Spike were not as close as they now were.
"The robot is gone." She had told him, "The robot was gross and obscene."

"It wasn't supposed ..."Spike started but Buffy interrupted him.
"Don't!" She said, "That thing ... it wasn't even real. What you did, for me and Dawn ... that was real. I won't forget it."

"Dawn?" Joyce asked bringing Buffy to the real world.
"It's just a name that I'm trying out. Now look mom, I know you're worried, but he can be a good man mom. I can feel it. But he's never going to get there if we don't give him the chance. Okay?"
"Okay. "

(Angel's Apartment)
"How does this dress look for the party?" Cordelia asked walking out of her room in a pink shirt with quarter length sleeves and a black skirt.
"Just like the other six you showed me; it's fine."
"Ugh." Cordelia grunted, going to try on another dress.
"Here's something that you need to learn okay." Cordelia said poking her head out of the door way, "Fine is just fine. 'Do you like this fish that I made for dinner?' 'Yeah it's fine'. Now let's replace the word fine with great okay? 'Do you like this fish I made for dinner?' 'Yeah it's great'. See the difference?"
"Of course."
"Now how about this one?" Cordelia came out wearing a red sleeveless dress that stopped mid calf.
"It looks great." Angel said, and something inside of Cordelia knew he meant it.

(Outside of the bronze, Later)
Buffy got out of Giles' car and shut the door behind her.
"Remember, "Giles said, "When you get inside try and act surprised."
Buffy rolled her eyes and put a large grin on her face, "Let's do this."

(Inside the Bronze)
"Surprise!" Everyone yelled as Buffy and Giles walked through the door.
"Oh my god!" Buffy exclaimed overly enthusiastically. "You guys!"
"You knew didn't you?" Willow asked
"Little bit yeah."
"Happy Birthday."

Cordelia sat drinking her diet coke and watched everyone dance to overly peppy music. It was hard to believe that life was never going to be like this again. She was never going to be young and immature again.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Angel asked coming up behind to the table with Connor on his hip.
"Take a seat." Cordelia said motioning to an empty chair across the table.
"What's the problem?"
"What are things going to be like when we get home?"
"Well, it will be the same. We'll go back to running Angel Investigations. You'll get the visions, I'll kill them..."
"No. That's not what I mean. I mean, is our relationship going to change?"
"Why does anything need to change?"
"Because it already has, Angel. You can't deny it."

Buffy sat around a table as the few remaining guests made their way out of the club.
"Some night huh?" Willow asked coming up to the table.
"Yep. But it was great. It's definitely going down as my best birthday ever."
"Well, I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah." Buffy lied, feeling guilt in the pit of her stomach.
Willow turned and started walking towards the door.
"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed, "Wait."
"What is it?"
"We're best friends. You know that right?"
"Yeah. The best of friends. Of course."

(Sunnydale High Library, later)
Buffy, Spike, Angel, Cordelia and Connor all sat on a table, while Giles and Jenny began to set the spell up.
"Here we go." Spike whispered clutching Buffy's hand.
"Spike." Buffy said looking at him, "When we get back, I want you to move in with me."
"I know you think this is crazy, but think about it okay? I mean Dawn already loves having you around, and Willow can get used to it."
"You're serious about this?"

"Okay, we're ready to begin." Giles said sitting a jar of herbs on the table.
"I have a little question." Cordelia said slightly raising her hand, "Now when we get back, how will the whole time aspect work?"
"I'll answer that one." Jenny said stepping forward. "We've worked it out so that you four will get back before Buffy made her wish."
"Now I'm the one with the question." Buffy said, "Will we remember anything?"
Now it was Giles' turn to answer a question, "Yes. You will remember everything."

"Well, then. Let's get this show on the road." Cordelia exclaimed hoping off of the table.
"Okay, you have to gather around this nice circle that Rupert and I have drawn on the floor." Jenny said
The group did so and waited for the rest of the instructions.
"Now while Rupert and I are reading the spell, you need to click you're heels together and repeat three times, 'There's no place like home'."
"Are you serious? 'There's no place like home'? Like in The Wizard of Oz?" Spike asked.
"What did you think that they just made it up?"
"Are you ready?" Giles asked.
"Yeah." the group responded timidly.

As Giles and Jenny Calendar began to read the spell in Latin the four clicked there heels together and said, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

And then in the blink of an eye Buffy was back in Dr. Monroe's office.
"Ms. Summers?" Dr. Monroe asked.
"Yes?" Buffy said coming back to reality.
"I asked what your biggest wish is."
"That's simple."

As I Lay Me Down---Epilogue
Authors note: This takes place seven months later.

Cordelia pushed open the doors to Buffy's hospital room and a huge smile spread over her face.

"Hey, you're looking good for just having a baby." she said
"Thank you Cordelia. Where's Connor?" Buffy asked.
"At the park with Wesley and Gunn. Gunn's trying to help him get a date."
"Is Angel with you?"
"Yeah, he's back at the mansion sleeping. By the way did you get the e-mail that Wes sent?"
"About Hailee and Connor having a child that stops the end of the word? Yep. And let me tell you, Spike sure found the irony in the fact that his daughter is going to have a child with his worst enemy."
"You named her Hailee?"
"Yeah. Hailee Dawn Summers."
"Wow. It's so hard to believe that if all that has happened to us hadn't have happened we would never be here. You might not have realized that you love Spike."
"And you might not have realized that you love Angel."
"Yeah. And that was one of the best moments of my life watching him at your birthday party. That was when I realized that I don't want to spend another moment with out him in my life.and it is weird telling this to his ex girlfriend. "
"And you don't think that it's weird to be listening to my ex boyfriends girlfriend talk about it? Come on now Cor."
"Actually, I'm not just his girlfriend anymore."
"We found this spell in a book when we were looking for something about Hailee and it basically is a wedding ceremony for vampires, with souls, who want to marry humans."
"So the two of you are going to get married?"
"Thank you. So, I heard about this shaman in Africa."
"Cordelia, stop. I know where this is going and I've talked to you about this before. I have finally become okay with the fact that Spike doesn't have a soul. And secondly I don't want to marry him, because if you're not married then you can never get divorced. I remember how horrible that was for me and I don't want to put Hailee in that same place."
"You really have grown up haven't you?"
"What can I say; having a baby does that to a person."

****THE END****
Sucky ending I know, but it couldn't go on forever. I just want to thank everyone who has read this from the beginning, and also those who have just recently joined. I also want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To my drama teacher Ms. Casey. Please reply and tell me what you think. -Kristi