This final chapter is dedicated to RedStalkingDeath, and with special thanks is dedicated to RAGAnne, Rinso, and Taste Like Special, my most dedicated readers/reviewers who have been so sweet and really encouraged me to go for it with this story.
All y'all who take the time to read Make the Clock Reverse and Counting Down From 7-3-0 are the bomb dot com.
Buffy had not felt right for the month since they fought Glory. It'd taken Spike a couple of days to recover fully. All of Buffy's bruises and whatever had healed by the time Spike told Buffy about his crazy dream where her mother had claimed he was human and he'd turned it down. He cringed as he told her. Buffy's guess was that Spike was scared of her reaction. If it was real and not just crazy dream crap, he'd turned down their only chance at normal. But Buffy knew what Spike knew: they'd never have normal. What she wanted was him, and her sister, and her Scoobies, weird and vamp-y, witchy, former mystic key/vengeance demon-ness and all. The weird was part of them just as much as being the Slayer was a part of her, and she wouldn't have it any other way, not unless it was what they wanted for themselves.
Really, she was just tired and laggy and a little seasick sometimes minus the sea. Each of the Scoobies had pestered Buffy to go to the doctor. She'd told Giles Slayers don't get sick, not really, that even if she was it'd pass; she'd told Xander and Willow that it was probably just allergies; she'd told Anya she was just having major stress after-effects; and Tara that it'd might've just been a major lack of sun-age. It wasn't until Dawn and Spike cleaned out Buffy's closet and hid all of her clothing and shoes somewhere she'd "never bloody find it" that Buffy finally, begrudgingly, agreed to go to the hospital.
The three of them had spent hours in the waiting room. Buffy had hated hospitals before this year, but especially after this year, after Joyce and Ben and every other connection, it was torture. The doctor had taken lots of blood and made her pee in a jar and done a couple of reflex tests and whatever. Now the Summers sisters and Spike were in a room waiting on the doctor to move his butt and tell Buffy there was nothing wrong. Buffy sat on the edge of the examination table, her legs crossed, majorly needing to use the bathroom and wishing the doctor would light a fire under it and get in here. Spike was pacing on Buffy's left, huffing and puffing and being the worried Big Bad. Dawn, on Buffy's right, came to her sister's side, squeezing hands with her.
"We'll do this," Dawn whispered. "It'll be fine. I know it will."
Buffy drew Dawnie close, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pressing her cheek to her sister's. "Nothing knocks us down, right?" Buffy whispered.
"Sod it," Spike grumbled, thickening up his accent the way he did when he wanted to play up the bad boy vibe. It made Buffy's insides hum. And it sort of made her giggle, too, not that she'd ever tell Spike that. "I'm goin' and grabbin' him by the collar and draggin' his sorry arse..." Spike started charging for the door. Buffy grabbed him by the sleeve of his duster, yanking him toward her. Spike glanced down at her, the anger melting away from his eyes. They smiled at one another.
The door to the room opened, and the doctor came in, slamming it shut behind him. Buffy freed her hand from Spike's duster and her other from Dawn's warm grasp. "Miss Summers?" the doctor asked.
"Missus," Spike growled. He took a possessive step closer to Buffy. "I'm her husband," he elaborated.
Buffy twirled her pearl ring around her finger, needing to fidget.
"Yes, well." The doctor cleared his throat. "Mrs. Summers, it seems the results are conclusive."
"Is there a cure?" Dawn demanded. Her back straightened to emphasize her full height and her chin stuck out. "What does she need? Medication? Bed rest? Vitamins? Surgery? Don't worry about the money." Dawn shared a conspiratorial look with Spike, like the pair of them would take on the world for Buffy. Buffy felt her lip tremble. "Anything she needs," Dawnie continued, "you get her the best and we'll figure the rest out."
The doctor half-smiled, probably amused by the fifteen-year-old who he didn't realize could kick his ass while blindfolded. "No, it's not that bad." He turned his attention to Buffy, then Spike, then Buffy again. "In fact, it's not bad news at all. Mrs. Summers, I'm happy to inform you that you're pregnant."
"What?" Buffy, Spike, and Dawn said at once.
Here endeth the story... for now.
I was excited by the idea of giving Faith a clear redemption arc. I'm sad to see her go because I think she's fun and interesting, but she never really got the moment that Spike did in canon in "Chosen," so this story all worked toward that. Certain things felt so integral to the show and to Buffy's character (like losing her mother, which was a hard choice for me to make but it was all a matter of natural causes that Spike couldn't prevent) and I didn't want this to be a fix-it fic that fell flat. And, of course, it's been great getting to play with strengthening some of Buffy's relationships (with Dawn, for instance) at a time when, in canon, she felt herself starting to pull away and get worn out. Plus, ya know, getting to write things like a Spuffy wedding set on Buffy's birthday with a touch of dramatic interruption or Dawn training with Spike and Faith to kick ass (I liked getting to be more of a Scooby in late S6/early S7 and wanted to explore that more) or Scooby research where everyone is relatively friendly and joke-y or any Spike and Tara friendship moments (they're my favorites in case you couldn't tell) or Spike, Faith, Xander, and Clem playing pool at The Bronze has all been just lovely.
This trilogy has one more story left in it. It is going to be months before I start posting it. The goal is to get as much written as possible before I start posting, because once I start I prefer to post chapters often (at least 2-3 times a week, if not every day!). But now you know one of its main components: Thanks to Buffy and Spike's post-apocalypse fun times ritual and a Powers That Be wish-granting that lasted all of two hours, Buffy is pregnant with Spike's baby! Obviously, this paired with Spike and Buffy being married and Buffy not having died/been brought back from heaven and Willow not at (too much) risk of going dark and no active Warren to worry about... this next story is going to be one seriously off-canon S6 AU! But there may be an element or two that's familiar to you...
But Ginger! What possible Big Bad could be at play here, what with the lack of Warren and Dark Willow and First Evil? Oh, there's a Big Bad a'comin' to Sunnydale, gentle readers, don't you worry. In fact, if you look in places like the post-Adam Slayer dream from Make the Clock Reverse, Drusilla's visit to Sunnydale in Counting Down From 7-3-0, and a key conversation or two in this fic, the Big Bad may come to light. Or you could just way until the next installment and see what happens, if that's more your cuppa.
In the meantime, thank you for reading. Bonus thank you for reviewing, favoriting, and following. I really hope you've enjoyed these past two stories and I'm excited to get this last one started. Now I've got some writing to do...