Well, since I'm leaving to Italy this week for my brother's wedding, and only come back next week, I thought I would post the last installement of Home now, so you don't have to wait two weeks for the last chapters. First, Martine and I want to send a huge thanks to Heather and Panthea for the beta'ing of this fic. It wouldn't have been the same without their help ;) I also want to thank Norah Jones for her wonderful CD 'Come away with me' which inspired me a lot. And last but not least, thanks to all of you who took the time to send feedbacks, nice comments, some of you even did it faithfully every week. We are so glad you enjoyed this fic, and that you took as much pleasure at reading it that we had at writing it. If you want to send feedback directly to Martine, do it at lewis_martine@yahoo.ca Thank You !! Sophie & Martine PS: The song used in this chapter is 'I will love you' by Fisher. We don't own it.

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~*~ Chapter 20 - Where the Heart is ~*~

They were all gathered in Buffy and Spike's small living room. Dawn had arrived a few days earlier. Willow was celebrating Chanukah with her parents but would join them later, and Xander had made the trip from San Francisco. Giles and Anya had just arrived.

Drinks were served, while Dawn was telling everyone about her Seattle adventure with Connor.

"How does Angel react to the fact that Connor and you are sharing a room?" Spike asked with a knowing smile. Dawn looked at him ironically. "Probably better than you would," she retorted.

Anya followed Buffy in the kitchen, willing to help, but also with something on her mind.

"How's life in England?" Buffy asked her.

"Oh, you know.lot of rain.lot of British people."

"Obviously," Buffy laughed.

"My work is interesting, and I met a lot of nice people."

Buffy noticed Anya was casting nervous glances towards Xander who was talking with Dawn and Spike. "Anya.is there something you want to tell me?"

"Well, yes. Rup.I mean, Giles wanted to tell you on the phone, but I preferred to wait and tell you in person.also it's kind of delicate, because Xander's here and I'm not sure how he will react."

"You mean Giles and you are a couple?"

Anya smiled. "Yes!" Her smiled vanished. "You're ok with it, right? Because I'll never let him, even if you're not."

Buffy let out a little laugh. "Anya, I would lie if I said I didn't expect something like that. Since you arrived with Giles, you never stopped throwing glances at each other or 'accidentally' brush hands.I think it's cute, actually. If you and Giles are happy, then it's all that matters. But please, I don't want to know anything about Giles and.you know."

Anya laughed, relieved. "I won't. In fact, Rupert already made the same request when we started dating. I learned to keep the private things.private."

"Don't worry about Xander. He told me he had met someone, in San Francisco. It looks serious, because he wants to ask her to move back with him when he returns here in a few months."

"Oh. Well, I'm glad for him. But why didn't he bring her for Christmas?"

Buffy shrugged. "She has her own family obligations, I suppose. Like Connor had to stay with his parents."

"Well, whoever she is she must be good. Xander has never looked so great. And he's even acting civilized towards Spike!"

"Well, I had a good talk with him.and with Spike. And now that Spike is human, he doesn't really have any reason to be against him. And talking about that, how does Giles cope with the vengeance demon thing?"

"I gave up. I didn't want to do it anymore. D'Hoffryn didn't accept it easily, but with the help of the Council, some arrangements were made.I don't want to know which ones, but the thing is I became human again, and intend to stay that way now." Buffy put her hand on Anya's arm with a smile.

"I'm glad for you and Giles. He deserves to be happy, and you're probably the right person for that."

They went back to the living room with more refreshments and mingled with the small crowd.

They exchanged presents after dinner. Dawn had been delighted to find a gift from Connor in her bag. She had had the same idea and had given a gift for him to Cordelia. When she opened it, she discovered a lovely bracelet, with a small note telling her she would get a 'bigger' present when she would come back. Dawn had a slight idea of what the 'present' would be and shivered in anticipation.

It was now Spike's turn, and his last gift was for Buffy. She had absolutely no idea what he had got her, but she trusted him. And the baby she was carrying was already the most wonderful thing she could have hoped for.

But with Spike, life was full of surprises.

He took a very small package from his pocket and gave it to Buffy. Her heart raced when she unwrapped it to discover a small velvet box.

At that moment, Spike took it back from her and knelt in front of her. Opening the box and presenting it to her, he said, "Buffy Summers, will you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?"

Buffy's eyes grew as wide as saucers when she saw the beautiful solitaire.

"Oh my God!" Dawn squealed.

"Oh my God!" Xander squealed even higher.

For a moment, Buffy stayed speechless. Then she started to nod, before realizing Spike was waiting for a verbal answer. A huge smile spread on her face.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, and everybody cheered. Spike put the ring on her finger before taking her in his arms and kissing her passionately.

"I love you, I love you so much," she whispered for his ears only.

"You haven't seen everything yet," he told her with a mysterious look.

"But can you get legally married?" Dawn asked, thinking practically - she had got used to that over the last few months. "I mean, no offence Spike but you don't really exist. Or, you didn't."

"He does now," Giles intervened, taking an envelope from his briefcase. "It wasn't done easily, but I managed to convince the Council to help Spike regaining his identity. So here," he said, handing the envelope to Spike, "You have an ID card, a social security number and all the legal papers making you an American citizen. I know you would probably prefer to be English, but then there would be too many complications to obtain a green card and a visa. The Council is powerful but they have their limits."

"You thought about everything, Giles, as usual," Willow said with a smile.

"Well, I must admit I'm rather proud of myself. And it's not over. Wesley told me about your family background, Spike. Like him, I know some of the actual Atherton-Jones. With some help, I think we could find a way to re- integrate you in the family. Like a long-distance cousin, or something like that. We'll find something."

He smiled tenderly to Buffy. "This is my Christmas gift to both of you."

Buffy smiled back and left Spike's arms to jump into Giles'. This was a little too much for her, especially in her condition, and she cried softly against the shoulder of the man she considered like her father. Pressing her against him, Giles himself had some trouble to stay dry-eyed.

A little bit after midnight, everybody took their leave. Xander was staying with Willow and Giles and Anya were at a small hotel. Just before leaving, Giles gave another envelope to Spike and they exchanged some words. Then, after some more effusions and congratulations, Spike, Buffy and Dawn were left alone. Very intrigued, Buffy couldn't refrain her curiosity much longer.

"What's in the envelope?"

He gave her a mysterious smile. "Something that concerns you and Dawn."

"Oh! Me too? Another present?" the younger Summers asked excitedly.

"I suppose you could call it that way."

The two sisters seated on the couch. Spike opened the envelope and retrieved some papers. He gave a quick look to it and smiled, before handing them to Buffy.

She read the first lines and paled.

It was the abstract of sale of a house. A house situated on 1630, Revello Drive.

"What is it?" Dawn asked, confused.

Buffy had understood. "You.you bought it back? But.how?"

"Giles helped me. To be honest, he's the one who bought it. I gave him the money and he did it for me. So the house is currently under his name, but he's going to leave it to you as an inheritance. And then it will definitely be yours." Buffy's shocked gaze went from the papers to Spike, than back to the papers.

"You bought back our house?" Dawn asked, a huge smile spreading on her face. "This is so cool!"

"Well, this was a little bit interesting, since I'll live there too, and."

He was cut off by Dawn throwing herself into his arms. "Thank you, thank you!" she told him, hugging him fiercely. Dawn was mostly happy for her sister. She knew what the house meant to her. And she was happy to know that when she would come back to see Buffy, it would be in the house where they had so many cherished memories. Especially with their mom.

Buffy still hadn't uttered a word, and Spike knelt down in front of her. "Sweetheart? You're glad, right?"

She finally laughed, snapping out of her stupor. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him softly. "Spike, thanks to you, this is the most wonderful, incredible Christmas ever. Thank you. This." she showed him the papers, "This means the world to me. You mean the world to me. As our baby."

Dawn gasped. "Your what?"

Spike and Buffy looked at each other and laughed.

"Does becoming an aunt suit you, Dawnie?" Spike asked with a delighted smile.

"Oh my God! Why didn't you guys say anything?"

"I wanted to have confirmation," Buffy explained, "which I had yesterday. We just wanted to wait a little longer to tell the others.keep the news to ourselves for a moment. But we were planning on telling you tomorrow."

"I understand. This is so amazing!"

She embraced both Buffy and Spike. "This is crazy! The good news keeps on coming! What's next?"

Spike laughed. "I'm afraid it's all we've got for now."

"And I don't think I could stand any more intense emotions. I just have one question for Spike. And it's just out of curiosity, I'm not implying anything, but.with what money did you buy the house?"

He smiled, having expected that question. "Remember those demon eggs of last year? The one we talked about just a few days ago? Well, originally, I had accepted to keep them to earn some money in order to help you and Nibblet. I had been doing that for a while, actually, and had earned a pretty sum. Then Captain Cardboard blew them up, you broke up with me.you know the rest. I kept the money, though, and after getting my soul I travelled a little bit, working here and there, not always legally, I admit, but it never hurt anyone. And there was all that money I didn't know how to spend. That's when I came back to Sunnydale and learned about the house. I could have help you then, but you probably wouldn't have accepted the money, right?"

"Probably not," she recognized softly.

"So, I contacted Giles. I wasn't sure he would help me, but since it was for your own sake, he didn't hesitate. He also opened a bank account for me to put the rest of the money. And I kept on working since I arrived in Sunnydale. So the account is there. I want you and Dawn safe, with a roof over your head. It's all that matters to me."

He kissed the top of their heads. They hugged again, and half of the Kleenex box was emptied.

Spike finally felt Buffy drifting off slowly against his shoulder. "Ok, beddy time for my girls," he said, lifting Buffy in his arms.

Dawn was sleeping on the couch. She kissed him on the cheek. "Good night Spike. See you tomorrow."

"Have sweet dreams, Bit."

A slight smile appeared on Dawn's face. "Oh, I will," she murmured, closing her eyes and picturing Connor's face in her mind.

There would be sweet dreams indeed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Buffy was spooned against Spike in the bed, engulfed in his warmth and love. He had put his hand on her stomach in a protective and possessive gesture. Buffy was resting there peacefully, in the arms of her soon-to-be husband, the father of her child. The most wonderful man in the universe, and he was hers. And soon, they would go home.

"Looks like we finally made it," Spike whispered against her neck, and she shivered.

"Yeah, we did. And somehow, I knew we would. I have faith in us," she said, turning her head slightly to meet his eyes.

"Me too, pet," he answered, brushing her lips with his. "Whatever happens now, I know we'll make it. The three of us," he added with a smile.

"I love you, William Atherton-Jones, and my God that's really a pompous name!"

And they both laughed together, something they fully intend to do a lot for the rest of their lives.

When my body is dust When my soul is no more I will love you, love you

Dawn was lying on the couch, playing with the little bracelet now locked on her wrist. As much as she loved being here with her sister and Spike, she missed Connor terribly. And even if she was immensely happy that they got their house back, the only place she really belonged to now were Connor's arms. And she couldn't wait to be back there.

Feeling for the first time the luckiest girl in the world, Dawn fell asleep with a smile on her face.

Till the sun starts to cry And the moon turns to rust I will love you, love you

In their room in LA, Connor wasn't sleeping either. He had really enjoyed his first Christmas with his family, even if a little part of him wasn't feeling complete. After going to bed, he had light a candle and its flickering light gave a beautiful softness to Dawn's face on the picture next to it. A softness he knew was there in reality. And he couldn't wait to see those sweet eyes directed at him with so much love. Couldn't wait to see her bright smile, to hear her laugh.

He closed his eyes, Dawn's face very vivid in his mind.

Feeling for the first time the luckiest guy in the world, Connor fell asleep with a smile on his face.

But I need to know Will you stay for all time Forever and a day And I'll give my heart Till the end of our time

Forever and a day
A little further down the hall, in Angel's room, Cordelia woke up to find the bed empty. She saw his figure standing at the window, watching the starry night. She got up, came to put her arms around his waist. He pulled her against him and kissed the top of her head.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked softly.

"You.us. Connor's happy face tonight, even if it was obvious he missed Dawn. He seemed happy to be with us," he said in a tone that betrayed his amazement - and his joy.

Cordelia stroke his back lovingly. "He has every reasons to be now. I told you things would be ok. You should always listen to me," she added with a teasing look.

He smiled. "Yeah, I know that."

"Good. Back to bed?"

"Lead the way."

They crawled back under the covers. They still couldn't do anything, but the intimacy they were sharing by resting in each other's arms was already very fulfilling. And full of love, confidence and hope.

Till the stars fill my eyes And we touch the last time I will love you, love you

I will love you, love you

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

~*~ Epilogue ~*~

One year later - Christmas day. Summers-Atherton-Jones' residence

Spike walked in the kitchen and went straight to the fridge, from where he retrieved a baby's bottle. Connor, who was already there, tensed a little bit. He had grown up in a hell dimension, had fought countless demons and beasties, and his father was a vampire. Connor could confidently say he was pretty much afraid of nothing.

Except Spike.

The way the former vampire looked sometimes at him, with that 'touch my Nibblet and I'll tear your guts out' glare always made Connor wanting to run very far away. Although at the same time he completely understood, and even shared Spike's point of view.

Nobody touched what was theirs.

And right now, Spike was testing on his wrist the temperature of the milk he had just put in the microwave. That was making him a little less scary, a little more daddy.

"I take good care of her, you know," Connor said defensively. He just couldn't help it.

Spike raised an eyebrow. "I didn't say anything."

"You're thinking too loudly," Connor mumbled.

Spike smiled and put his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Connor, if I thought for one micro-second that Dawn wasn't happy, you'd be pushing up the daisies right now."

Connor paled slightly. Spike's smile grew wider. "That was meant as a comforting thought, mate."

"Gee, thanks then," Connor replied, but smiled back nonetheless.

Buffy arrived, holding her baby girl. Connor smiled to her and went back to the living room.

Spike gave her the baby's bottle.

"Here you are, sweetheart," Buffy cooed at the baby who opened her little mouth to catch the teat.

Spike put his arms around Buffy's shoulder and she leaned against him, closing her eyes for a brief moment while he kissed the top of her head and caressed the little head of his daughter. They had named her Emma.

"Do you think all our Christmases will be as perfect as this?"

"There will be ups and downs, but we'll try our best to make them perfect, that I can promise you."

After spending Christmas' eve at the Hyperion, Dawn and Connor had come to Sunnydale to stay a few days. Willow was there also, as well as Xander and his girlfriend Cristina, whom he had convinced to move back with him. Apparently, things looked serious between them, and Cristina was a really sweet and pretty girl. Only Giles and Anya couldn't make it, but for a good reason: Anya was due to give birth at any moment.

Soon after discovering her pregnancy, Buffy had decided to quit slaying full time. The Council had sent two Potentials and were working on a way to find out how to transmit them the powers of the Slayer. In the meantime, Spike was training them and helping, therefore working for the Council. Buffy was helping occasionally, but Spike didn't want her near any baddies, and for Emma's sake (and hopefully the next to come) she had accepted.

Even Xander and Willow were still there for the researches when needed, and they were often in contact with the Fang Gang in LA.

Slowly but surely, the core of the Scoobies had been rebuild. After being drifted apart by life, fate had found a way to reunite them. And the new additions only made their relationships stronger.

Buffy and Spike went back to the main room. Xander, Cristina and Willow were talking and joking. Dawn and Connor were sitting next to the Christmas tree, whispering sweet nothings to each other. Buffy smiled, touched by the way Connor was always looking at her sister, like she was the seven wonder. And that's what she probably was for him.

Buffy raised her head and met her husband's gaze. He was watching her with the exact same expression on his face.

"Merry Christmas, Spike," she told him softly.

"Merry Christmas, my love," he answered and pressed his mouth to hers in a sweet kiss.

No matter what the future would bring them, they were ready for it.

They had found their way home.

THE END