by Irishrose

Disclaimer: I don't own a thing, just borrow them!

Rating: "R" for language and sexual situations

General Info: General BTVS season seven, and AtS season four spoilers. Overall a very angsty Spuffy fic, but happy ending. Or is it beginning? This is part one. Part two is a WIP. Just for reference, the AI team has dealt with their big bad and The First is in remission for the duration of this particular fic.

Distribution: Sure!! Please do. Just let me know.

Feedback: Very welcome, but my ego is fragile.


Four Weeks.

It had been four weeks since they had received the call from Spike. "Red,'s..."

"Spike? Did you find her? Spike what is it?" There had been silence for what seemed like forever on the other end.

"The hospital,'s bad Red."

Willow and Giles had made it to the hospital in record time, but that had been four weeks ago. Now Willow stood outside Buffy's room watching the blond vampire who had refused to leave the room while Buffy slept. She knew that eventually Buffy would wake up. After all, Faith's head injury had been much worse and she had come out of her coma. Willow seriously hoped it wouldn't take Buffy as long as Faith to wake up because she didn't think that Spike would last that long.

Giles strolled up next to Willow and stared through the window with her.

"I'm calling Ang..."

"Angel" Giles finished for her. "Yes, I had thought of it myself."

"We have to do something Giles. I don't think he will last much longer, we've tried everything else, and he is the only other souled vampire there is."

" I agree. I must say, I knew Spike had a..a thing for Buffy, but I had no idea. I still don't understand what it is that he blames himself for. What makes you think Angel will help him though? Last time I checked they were quite at odds with each other."

"He'll do it for Buffy." It was the truth. She would tell him about Buffy and he would come. Then she would get him to help Spike. Boy was there a lot she was going to have to tell Angel. But how? When? How much? Oh boy.

"You're not going to tell him are you?" Giles asked.

"Nope" Willow replied.


Angel was driving so fast he was certain he wouldn't get a ticket. In fact he was certain that the highway patrol wouldn't even see his car fly by he was driving so fast. Willow had said there was no hurry, but she hadn't really told him more than that Buffy was in the ICU before he had grabbed his keys and hit the door. Wesley had called on the cell and given him what for about leaving like that without telling anyone what was going on and scaring poor Fred senseless. He told Angel that Willow had called back to the hotel and told Fred what was going on, and her and Gunn had called Wesley unsure what to think. Wesley assured Angel that perhaps it wasn't too bad, and slayer healing would help her. Angel simply responded that Willow wouldn't have called him unless she was dying.

"I wasn't there last time Wes. I have to be there."

"Yes well, keep us posted. Things seem to have quieted a bit, but Angel we need you here as soon as things are stabilized."

That was 20 minutes ago. Angel had slowed down when he hit the city limit. She would be really angry if he ran over some pedestrian in "her" city. He wheeled the car into the nearest parking spot and quickly found the ICU. Willow saw him coming and practically sprinted towards him. God, this had to be worse that he thought. She looked almost terrified. He grabbed her arms, "Is she...?" He swallowed hard, he couldn't even say the words. He'd already faced this twice before and he still couldn't say the words.

"No, Angel she's fine. Well, not fine but...Angel, we need to talk."

Much to his objection Willow pulled Angel back down the hallway away from Buffy's room.

"What is it?" Angel urgently requested

"Angel, there is a lot you need to know before you go in there" Willow started. Angel began to protest that he had seen it before but Willow cut him off. "It's not about Buffy."

"OK, I'm confused. Willow, I thought you said something was wrong with Buffy? Don't tell me I just broke the land speed record because of..who..Xander?" Because if it is, I'll just finish him myself, Angel thought idly to himself. Never had really like him.

Willow almost (almost!) laughed, as she could almost see what Angel was thinking to himself. "She's in a coma Angel. We don't know the whole story, but apparently she was fighting a, a, I think he said a Mowrok demon, and she ended up with some pretty bad head trauma. It's been four weeks now." She saw the look of understanding and, (was it fear?) cross his face. "I'm sure she'll come out of it eventually, that's not what we're worried about so much as....." She stopped. Oh goddess what if he stormed out once she told him? What if he just staked Spike outright? What if..

"Willow?" When she didn't respond, Angel just pushed around her and went to the room she had been standing in front of, and froze.

Willow heard a very loud and very angry growl echo down the hall, drawing her back from her own thoughts. She ran the few steps back to the room and stepped in front of Angel.

"What is HE doing here?" Angel growled.

"That is what I called you here for. Angel, please...let's go outside." Oh, this was bad. He looked very confused and angry, and he wasn't moving. "Angel, he's..he's.. guarding her, now please..."she touched his arm gently but had a very fiery look in her eyes. He snatched his arm out of her hand and walked the short distance to the nearby door.

"What do you want from me Willow? What the hell could I possibly do for Spike other than stake him, and why is he 'guarding' her?"

"He has a soul Angel." Willow blurted out.

Surely he had heard her wrong, Angel thought. She couldn't have said what he thought she said. "Wha..what did you say?" he managed to stammer out.

"He has a soul. He went through some trial thing and now he has a soul." How much should she tell him, she wondered. Best to tell the truth, but not too much "Look Angel you need to know, he's the one who saved her." Shocked. Angel looked shocked. Good. Shocked was better than angry. She continued, "after we brought Buffy back from what we thought was hell and turned out to be heaven, she started seeing Spike. He's in love with her Angel. He's the one who found her the night she was hurt and since then he's been in that chair."

", no, no, no, you're joking right? This is some kind of joke." God it had to be a joke.

"Angel," Willow tentatively began, "there's more. I'm pretty sure she's in love with him too. I mean, not that she'd admit it to anyone else, but yeah." Oh boy, that did it. He looks like he's gonna blow, or maybe vomit she thought.

Angel turned his head up and stared at the stars. He was sure that if he had fed, he would be puking it all up right about now. God, how could this be. His Buffy (HIS Buffy!) was lying in a coma, and she and Spike were in love? And Spike had a soul? And Willow had called him because she wanted him to console Spike? This had to be some cosmic joke from the Powers.

Angel clenched his teeth and looked at Willow, barely controlling his anger. "Tell me what you want from me."

Willow had seen his anger before, but it still scared her. But she had to do this for Buffy. "I want you to help Spike. The rest of us have run out of ideas. He won't move, he doesn't speak except to say that it's all his fault, and he hasn't eaten at all since she's been in here. You're the only other vampire with a soul so...."

"So you thought I would just jump right in and wet nurse the guy who tortured me the last time we met?" he was almost shouting.

"Angel, if you don't help him I don't know how much longer he will last. I don't think she could take someone else she loves leaving her. Everyone has left her Angel. You, Parker-OK good he left but, Riley, Giles, her mom, me. We've all abandoned her but him. You may not like it but she needs him and apparently he needs her."

Angel flinched. Willows words rang deeply. He knew deep down that she was right, but this was not the way things were supposed to go.

"Willow, I left so she could move on, have a normal life with a normal guy. I didn't leave so she could shack up with Spike." No, I definitely didn't leave so THAT could happen he thought to himself.

"Angel, she will never be normal. Never have normal. Spike has a soul now, he changed. He, he makes her happy now Angel. No one will say it even on their death bed, but it's true. Please, I know this is hard, but please? For Buffy?"

Angel had been staring through the glass into the room for almost four hours. How could he even be thinking of doing this? He should just stake Spike and sweep up the dust. The vampire he hated more than any other vamps was in love with Buffy. And looked like hell too, he smirked. Willow had told him that Spike hadn't moved from that chair, not even to feed in the four weeks since he had found Buffy. What had happened? He needed to know more.

"I need some blood." He told Willow, but didn't turn to look at her. She had been sitting in the chair behind him.

"The thermos on the table is fresh, but we can't get him to take it. It's even human, we bought it from Willy's old place." Good, he was going to help. Hopefully.

"I'm not promising anything. I just...need to know what happened." He was still staring at Spike through the window.

Angel walked into the room slowly, he stopped right in between Spike's chair and Buffy's bedside. She looked like she always did one of the hundreds of times he had watched her sleeping. Like she would wake any second. He silently begged her to wake and tell him that Willow was wrong. After a few minutes, he turned and his right hand shot out a met with Spike's left eye sending him out of the chair and a few feet across the room.

Spike stood up and without looking at Angel slowly sat back down in the chair that Angel had righted and stared again at the floor. Angel watched this in curious fascination. Spike had never been one to back down from a fight, and that was what Angel wanted right now. He wanted to beat Spike until his brain leaked out. He gave Spike another right, but Spike just sat there. Angel turned and stared out the window. The sun would be up soon. Maybe he could just throw him outside.

"I'm not leaving them."

It was soft whisper Angel didn't think he'd heard. He glanced warily at Spike.

"Do what you like, I'm not leaving them." Spike said flatly.

Angel looked hard at Spike. He was definitely in the land of the insane. Them who?

"It's my fault you know. I shouldn't have let her patrol. Not like that. My..fault..." Spike was still looking at the same spot on the floor.

Angel sucked in a sharp breath in anger. Spike had hurt Buffy somehow. He needed to know. Angel picked up the thermos and threw it in Spike's lap. "What happened Spike?" Angel bit out, "What did you do to her?" Spike didn't touch the thermos and for several seconds Spike didn't answer.

"Pentain....for her birthday" Spike finally uttered.

"The Spell? " Angel asked. "You did the Pentain Spell? That doesn't make sense, she's already human Spike, that spell only works on vampires." Angel shook his head, Spike wasn't responding and was looking decidedly less sane than usual, and besides Buffy's birthday was a few months ago. "SPIKE! It's a 1 day spell for vamps, there's got to be something else Spike. What. did. you. do?" Still no reply. Angel turned and stared back at Buffy.

"Do you hear them?" Spike had finally spoken.

"Hear what Spike?"

"Like little drums pounding away. Beating in my head. Reminding me of what I did to her. It's my fault, my" Spike had trailed off and was now what could best be called weeping.

"Spike you're not making any sense. You're starting to sound like Drusilla...on a GOOD day!" Yep, Spike was definitely in la-la-land. What the heck was he talking about? Drums? OK, he needed a break. He would talk to the doctor and find out what Buffy's condition was. He didn't have a lot of faith in doctors, but at least maybe he would make sense unlike everyone else tonight.

Willow had fallen asleep in the chair outside the room. Angel wandered down the hallway and found a doctor at the nurses station. Writing on some charts. Angel cleared his throat, "Excuse me, are you Buffy's doctor? Can you tell me how she is?"

"Ms. Summers? Yes, yes, I'm one of her doctors. Are you family?" the doctor asked

"She's my wife." OK, it wasn't really a pure lie he thought. At the doctors shocked look he quickly added, "uh, we've been separated. I just found out today she was here."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps you can talk some sense into her brother? My nurses have given up trying to get him to leave the room. I fear he is taking this rather hard" The doctor looked hopefully at Angel.

"Brother? Oh....yeah, well... I'm not holding my breath. Now, Buffy?" Angel hoped the doctor didn't catch that slip.

"Well, she seems to be doing remarkably well actually. She is still in a coma, but at the rate she has healed I'm still hoping she will come out of it. She had a skull fracture which is healing remarkably, and most all of the rest of her wounds are all but gone. There is some residual swelling around the brain, which is why we are monitoring her more closely than most coma patients. Oh, and her pregnancy seems to progressing normally despite her wounds." He stated very matter of factly.

Angel's stared at the doctor like he had just grown an extra head and just blinked. Then before the doctor could blink twice he was gone.

Angel ran back into Buffy's room and came to a stop just inside the room. He looked back and forth between Spike and Buffy taking giant gulps of air his lungs didn't even need. This couldn't be right. The doctor must have been thinking of someone else. Then Spike's words echoed through his mind. "Drums...." Angel thought. He stilled himself and willed his lungs to stop. He closed his eyes and listened.

There were a million sounds. Hospital sounds. Machines. People. Focus, damn it. OK, he thought. Buffy...Buffy's heart beating....Buffy beathing....and then he heard it. There were three heart beats in the room. One strong, slow, and loud...and two very fast and much softer ones.....


10 weeks earlier.....

"No" Spike had calmly denied.

"But Spike, her birthday is in a few days. We have to do something!" Dawn was using her best hurt little girl voice.

"Look Bit, she already said she didn't want anything. In fact, she wants you and all the girls out of the house on Friday. I'm not inclined to argue with her on this." Spike was busying himself trying to make some breakfast for all the girls now living there. Someone had to cook after all, and they couldn't live on Buffy's pancakes and toast.

"Dawn, I'm not one to agree with Spike on anything," Willow had said as she walked in the kitchen, "but he's right. Every party we try to throw for Buffy ends in chaos and destruction. Heavy on the destruction."

Dawn simply stuck her bottom lip out and tried to pout. Maybe that would get them to do it. Couldn't hurt.

"Bit, you can stop giving me that look. Not gonna work this time." He had seen her display from the corner of his eye.

"Oooohhhh, you guys are impossible!" Dawn had shouted as she stormed out.

"Red, since you're feeling agreeable, I need a favor." He spared a glance at a wary Willow. "I want to do a spell for Buffy, for when everyone is gone." Willow was just staring at him as though he had spoken Swahili. "Look, I know I don't usually go for the magicks, but she deserves a decent birthday for once. Maybe a protection spell or something"

Willow thought on what he had said. She didn't want to say it but she knew Spike was holding on to hope for Buffy. She also knew Buffy was holding on to Spike. Of coarse neither one would admit it, but they were. And the rest of the gang? Well, there was a whole fleet of ships sailing up the river Denial. A virtual armada.

She watched Spike as he finished the omlets for the girls. She had thought a lot about Spike and Buffy since his rescue from the First. She almost thought she could even hear Tara whispering in her ear sometimes, telling her to watch them together. She had seen the laughs. The little touches they didn't even seem to notice. The way her and Tara had been once. Maybe they just needed a little something to push them in the right direction.

Oh my gosh, why am I even thinking this? She thought to herself. Then she heard Tara's soft voice chiding her. Ah yes, fleet of ships. And she was sailing the flag ship. OK, maybe Buffy was sailing the flag ship, but she was close.

"I have a better idea Spike. Have you heard of the Pentain Spell?"

"Um, yeah, vampire here. I don't get it Red, that spell only works on vampires and it's not that effective. Most times, it works for less than a day." Spike was now staring at Willow. What was she up to?

"What are you up to?" He asked

"I want to do the spell for you. a birthday gift for Buffy. You could do all the stuff normal guys would. You know, dinner, maybe some girly movies. Veg on the couch. Something normal for Buffy."

"Something normal." Spike thought to himself that it sounded a lot simpler than it was. No, he best stop this before it started.

"Look Red, I'm not holding out anything for us, I just..."

Willow read his expression. She had to move in for the perverbial kill or he was going to bail on her. But, can't be too eager, she thought.

"Spike, I want to give her what she deserves." Willow tossed her hand through the air as if lecturing a class. "Maybe then she can move on, see what she's missing with a normal guy. You can't tell me you don't think she should." Willow really hoped she wasn't pushing him too hard, but she was certain this last reason would get the desired response.

Spike looked really hard at Willow. He was sure she was up to something, but Buffy did deserve to move on and find what she deserved. "OK. But you better not mess up the mojo....turn me into a Parvo demon or anything like that."

Willow beamed her happiness. "OK then. Friday afternoon before she gets home. That way you can surprise her."

"Bloody hell, do you really have to do all those symbols?" Spike asked. She had painted a half dozen strange symbols on his back and chest.

"I think that I can stretch the spell out to a full 24 hours or more. I'm almost done." She finished the last symbol and started lighting the candles. She handed Spike a jar as she started lighting the candles. "Circle" she instructed him. He gave her a very annoyed glare and then did as he was told. "Now, sit." He did as he was told, albeit still glaring at her and Willow took her seat in front of him.

The witch was now chanting in what he recognized as Latin. She said about six lines and then started to take on a strange white glow. Spike nervously watched her. Then all but the candle in front of him suddenly blew out and the basement was filled with a wind that seemed to be burning every inch on Spikes body and he started involuntarily shaking.

The next thing Willow knew, Spike was screaming and thrashing around on the floor. His back arched up in pain. This went on for several seconds and then with a loud gasp from Spike it was over and he lay there unmoving and not responding.

"Spike? SPIKE?" She was shaking him. Suddenly his eyes flew open and he started taking huge gasping breaths of air. Willow quickly felt his wrist for a pulse. It was there. It had worked. He was alive!

"What...did it.." Spike was trying to speak between gasps.

"Spike, it's OK. Just breath slowly. In and out. In and out. That's it. How do you feel?" Willow asked cautiously.

"Like I'm Bloody dying. God, what's that pounding?" He asked.

Willow laughed. "It's your heart beating Spike."

"Oh. Right then. It worked?" Spike sat up slowly. He felt rather odd, but also pleased. The witch had done it right after all.

"Now, on to phase two." Willow said as she helped him stand.

Xander had dropped Buffy off at the curb when she had refused to let him come in. And with any luck, Giles will have already got the girls over to the mansion on Crawford. She didn't want any of them around when the next disaster disguised as her birthday rolled around at midnight. I'll take myself a nice bath and then couch potato it, she thought absently. It would be really nice not to have to share her bedroom with some strange girl. Aahh, I might even get to have hot water, she thought more excitedly.

"Hello?" She called as she opened the front door. No answer. That was good. She glanced around and did a double take as she saw Spike holding open the drapes in the dining room bathing in the sun, his eyes closed. Without thinking she tackled him from the side and they landed in a heap with Buffy on top.

"What the hell were you thinking?" She asked angrily

"Well pet, I was enjoying the warmth until you decided I needed a tumble. Not that I'm objecting mind you." Spike cocked on playful brow at Buffy and smirked.

Buffy quickly jumped up and off of him. "You suddenly forget your extreme allergy to sunlight?" She fumed while helping him to stand.

She was upset. Spike felt his now beating heart almost stop. She had thought he was going to dust himself and she was angry with him. "Got over it, love" Spike smirked.

"What do you mean you got over it? Vampires don't get over spontaneous combustion in sunlight." Maybe he was insane again she silently added. Spike was just standing there smiling at her. Yes, he was probably insane again.

Spike slowly reached out and placed a hand on Buffy's shoulder, still grinning, and slid it down her arm in a very tender motion that made Buffy's heart skip a beat. She almost (almost) pulled away but decided to see where he was going with this. He took her hand and pulled it to his lips. His kissed her palm lightly and then placed her hand on his chest. Thump, Thump....Thump, thump.....thump, thump...

Buffy simply stared at her hand as if it belonged to some other body. His heart. It's beating. His chest was moving in and out, Oh GOD he was breathing. He's.. "alive?" she said aloud without even realizing it.

"Yes love. Happy birthday." He said, his voice catching a bit.

"Spike how? When?" She couldn't even form complete sentences, she was so shocked.

"It's just a 24 hour spell, pet. Red thought you might like something 'normal' for your birthday." Spike said, while glancing down at the floor rather sheepishly.

Buffy took his chin in her hand and tilted his face up to hers and looked in his eyes. Those deep blue pools that she loved to look into when no one was looking. He had changed everything about himself for her. He doesn't understand that I don't want normal, not anymore. "Thank you. I love it." She said and tears started rolling down her cheeks.

Spike flinched. A part of him had hoped she wouldn't be happy about the spell. That would mean she wanted normal, and part of him hoped she still wanted the monster that he really was. He quickly pushed back the thoughts and lifted a hand to sweep away the tears on her face. "Hey now, none of that." Then he quickly dropped his hands and took her hand in his. "Got a surprise for you." he said as he lead her through the house and out the back door.

Spike had surprised her with a very elegant dinner on the back porch and then they had gone decidedly inelegant on the couch watching several very "girlish" movies, before they had both unwittingly fallen asleep on the couch.

Buffy slowly woke the next morning with the wonderful feeling of something warm underneath her, but holding her. She opened her eyes slowly and realized she was in her living room and the previous night came back to her. She pulled back a little and looked over to see Spike sleeping soundly. They were cuddled together, and it felt good. Buffy felt her breath catch as she looked in awe at Spike's sleeping face. He looked so peaceful, so beautiful. Before she caught herself, Buffy leaned in and place a light kiss on Spike's soft lips.

A dream. It's another one of my dreams, Spike thought to himself. She wouldn't be kissing me if this were real. Oh well, best to go with it he thought and started returning the kiss. Slowly at first, then deeper. Gently pulling on her shoulders he sought entrance to her warm mouth, gently sliding his tongue over her soft warm lips. It felt different than usual. More real. His eyes opened as he pulled back from Buffy and blinked several times. "Buffy?"

Buffy looked at Spike's questioning eyes and answered with another kiss. Gentle, yet more demanding than the first. She wants this, god she want this. Months of need and desire cought up with them in the blink of an eye. Before either had another conscious thought, their own urgency had taken both of their bodies to the edge.

They both lay there motionless for what seemed like eternity, staring at each other, neither one fully believing what had just happened. Spike finally broke the silence.

"I'm sorry..." he said, as he started to try an move away from her.

"Shhh." Buffy placed one finger on his lips. "Don't. I wanted this. Still want it. Spike, I want you. I didn't want to get it before, but I get it now. I lo..."

Spike leaned up and kissed her before she could finish the sentence. He didn't think he could bare it if she said those words now, knowing he would be back to the monster she didn't love in a few short hours.

Why wouldn't he let me say it? she wondered. All those times of trying to get her to admit something she wasn't ready to, and now he wouldn't let her do it. She would just have to show him. She was done hiding, and pretending. She stood up and took his hand, leading him up the stairs and into her bedroom. They had spent the rest of the day there, until both had collapsed into sleep, completely spent.

Neither heard Willow return to the house the Sunday morning despite her calling several times loudly when she came in.

I wonder where they ran off to? Willow thought idly to herself. Probably went to the mansion to give the all clear. I wonder how the day went. Willow hummed happily to herself. Hopefully everything went well and she had managed to set right the world that was Spike and Buffy. Suddenly she heard a pain filled scream come from Buffy's bedroom.

Spike felt like he was being ripped open. His lungs were wildly gasping and he felt his heart skipping and slowing. He felt the heat leaving his body. Cold. He was so cold. "Oh god no, not here." He fumbled around, managing to get out of the bed and get his jeans pulled on. He took a few panicked steps before falling to his knees. Buffy was saying something, but he couldn't make it out. He had to get out of there. Couldn't let her see this, see him dead again.

Spike crawled the rest of the distance to the door before Buffy had reached him looking very terrified.

"Spike? SPIKE? Oh, no, no, no, no, not again. I'm sorry Spike. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Buffy had reached Spike where he had collapsed on the floor and she had pulled his lifeless body to her as a flood of tears rained down her face. He had done it all for her. How could he love her after this? After everything she had done to him?

Willow burst through the door and found Buffy in a heap on the floor with Spike cradled in her lap. She realized immediately that the spell must have worn off while they were together. She quickly pulled Spikes limp arm up and checked for his pulse. It was gone. "He'll be OK Buffy. He's just back to himself now." Willow gave Buffy a very sympathetic look as Buffy just held Spike and cried.

Spikes eyes fluttered open to see Buffy crying over him and Willow staring at the floor. Buffy was wailing for the human he thought quickly to himself. She had wanted him human, and now was mourning for the live man he had been. He weakly managed to push Buffy back and stand up, and somehow stumble down the stairs. He grabbed the blanket off the couch and ran through the door into the early morning. He was gone before Willow could catch up to him.
Buffy had been coldly going around the house ever since her birthday. Buffy was sleeping late, hadn't eaten hardly a thing and seemed to vomit everything she did eat. Willow could almost kick herself for what had happened. Neither she nor Buffy had told the others what had happened that morning when Willow got home. She had simply contented the others that Buffy's usual birthday disaster had hit while they were all gone. No one had seen Spike since that morning and Willow hadn't seen Buffy look so bad since right after they resurrected her. She almost looked like she had died, again.

"Willow, I was wondering if I might have a word with you." Giles said. He was filling his cup from the tea kettle on the stove.

Oh, this was bad Willow thought. But, hey, maybe he knows how to bring her out of this.

"I've noticed Buffy isn't herself lately and I was wondering if YOU would tell me what was going on?" He was staring at Willow rather pointedly.

"I don't know what you mean Giles." Willow stammered and suddenly looked rather flushed.

"Well, lets see. Spike has disappeared. Buffy is a shadow who sleeps endlessly, won't eat, and has been vomiting ceasingly. All since her birthday. And you've been avoiding all of our questions since then. Not that I mind not seeing Spike moon over Buffy, but I am terribly worried about her. Did something happen to Spike?"

"Not so much TO as with." Willow mumbled out before catching herself. "Oh boy" Giles looks really shocked and now he was doing that glasses thing.

"Ah yes, well I had rather hoped she had staked him. Well I guess if I didn't want to know I shouldn't have asked." Giles said, replacing his glasses. "Well, we all knew there would be repercussions if this happened. I just didn't expect her to be so, so, sickly about it. I should go talk with her. It has been 2 months since it happened.

"And the girls are all complaining about the staying out of Buffy's bathroom thing. I mean, how long can a dozen girls with, um, ...needs..., share one bathroom." I really should just put a lock on my mouth Willow thought. I wonder if there is a spell for putting a lock on your own, OH. MY. GOD.... "needs.." And with word, Giles was staring through the kitchen door that Willow had just run through.

Willow practically broke the bathroom door she came through so fast. "Buffy!!!" She practically shouted, then quieter, "Buffy. I know you don't want to talk about this and you have every right to be upset that Spike hasn't come back and all. But I think there's more to you being sick than just 'being sick' over Spike."

Buffy was sitting on the floor, her head held up by an arm propped up on the toilet. "Huh?" Buffy replied with a confused look. "Speak English Will. I'm not exactly all here at the moment"

"No Buffy, I think you're all there all right, even more of you is there." Willow bit her lip. She didn't want to really come out and say it. Especially with lots of ears around the house that might overhear.

"Look Will, I really don't feel like a guessing game today, and you're not making much sense in any kind of way here." Buffy felt a new wave of nausea hit her and she clutched the toilet until it she had emptied her stomach, yet again. So much for breakfast.

"Buffy," Willow had sat in the floor next to Buffy and was whispering now. "Do you remember when you last cycle was?" She was biting her lip again.

"Don't be silly, of coarse. It was, um. Well, it was..."Buffy was blankly looking towards the sink.

"Was is a couple weeks before your birthday?" Willow shyly asked.

Realization dawned on Buffy as she finally understood what Willow had been trying to say. "No. Can't be. I mean, I can't, er rather Spike can't...cause he's a vampire and they can' know..."

"Buffy, Spike was human on your birthday." Willow interrupted.

"Oh my gosh Will." Buffy looked extremely panicked, especially for Buffy. "No. No. No, we'll just, we'll...get one of those home things and...and I'll show you you're wrong."

Two hours later Willow and Buffy were once again sitting on the bathroom floor. But now they were staring at two lines on both tests Willow had bought.

"God Willow, how could I have been so stupid?" Buffy said as she brought her hands up to hug around herself. "I mean, I was always so careful with Riley, and..and Parker. What the hell was I thinking?"

"Um, I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of thinking going on at the time." Willow offered consolingly. "Besides, you were both used to not having to think about that stuff with...each...other..." Willow trailed of a little, suddenly feeling a little shy about discussing Buffy's sex life.

"You can't tell anyone Willow." Buffy was now staring straight at Willow and had that very determined look on her face.

"But Buffy, at least Giles should know. I mean we need to change you're training and..."

"Thats exactly why you can't tell him." Buffy reiterated. "Nothing is going to change." Willow had begun to protest again and added that everyone would figure out soon anyway when Buffy had cut her off with a look that shot daggers.

"OK, ok, I won't tell anyone. But Buffy, you need to tell Spike. I mean, obviously it's your choice and all, but...he deserves to know."

Buffy just looked down at the floor tiles and whispered, "I know"

Two months. It had been over two months since that nightmare. Spike tipped up the bottle and finished off the last of the tequila. He tossed it across the room sending it crashing into the wall.

"Hey!" Clem jumped up. "Spike, you know, I don't mind you staying here but you gotta respect the crypt!"

"Sorry mate." Spike mumbled as he drunkenly nodded half conscious.

Just then the door crashed open and in the entrance stood a very angry looking Buffy.

"Well, I've got some shopping to do. Good seeing you Buffy." Clem managed before he hastily left the crypt.

"Do you know how hard you are to find?" Buffy said, stepping in to the dark room.

"Apparently not hard enough." Spike said then half laughed thinking he'd said something funny.

Buffy had closed the distance and was standing in front of Spike. She had spent a good week trying to track down Spike. She had found out he was still alive, er, well undead easy enough. But finding out where he was hiding out had been another story.

She eyed the blond vampire in front of her. She had thought a lot about him, about the baby in the last week. All these years, she had always thought that children weren't possible. Didn't matter. That wasn't some a slayer could have, or maybe even should have. But now that it was fact and not fiction, things had looked a little different. She was going to make this all right. If she could just fix everything. And Spike looked like he needed a lot of fixing at the moment. "You're drunk."

"Well, yeah." Spike said looking up at her his head still bobbing a bit. "Bloody hell Slayer, you look like....well, hell."

"Thanks to you Spike. OK, us, but mostly you." Buffy had that annoyed look she did so well.

"Don't think I caught that one slayer, you wanna try again? I'll try harder to understand you this time." He snickered.

"Spike, look. You remember my birthday right? well" Buffy started pacing back and forth in front of Spike. "you were human, and I was human, and sometimes things happen when two humans, you know, get together."

Bloody bitch had come here to rub it in his face that she wanted a human guy. Well, he wasn't going to listen to this. Suddenly he needed more alcohol he thought to himself.

"Look slayer, I know you go for the live crowd now. I get it, so just clear out and leave me the hell alone!" Spike was now standing in Buffy's path and she was staring at him like he had grown another head.

"What? huh? God Spike, could you be any less stupid? I came here to tell you I'm pregnant you moron!" Oh, hell. I really didn't mean to tell him like that Buffy thought. Oh well, cats out. Lets see how he takes it.

Spike just stood there looking at her. Buffy took one hand and pushed up on his chin until his mouth closed, snapping Spike back from whatever land his mind had escaped to.

She didn't say what I thought she just said. Has to be the tequila. Must of got a bad batch, he thought.

"Come again Slayer?" He asked, his eyes squinted and searching her face.

"I said......I'm pregnant." She quietly finished.

Spike just sat down in the chair he had been in earlier and stared into space for what felt to Buffy like an eternity.

"Spike, please. Say something."

He finally looked up at Buffy and she thought her heart would melt away. He had that look. The one that she had seen on the stairs the night Willow had resurrected her. His eyes traveled down to look at her stomach. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and then they flew open again and he looked up at her face with what looked like..awe? God, could he hear it? His expression told her he could. She almost felt jealous. Spike reached a hand up and grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him as he buried his head in her shirt, "oh God, what have I done?" he mumbled and then quietly wept.

They had stayed like that forever it seemed. Buffy gently stroking Spikes hair as tears fell from both of them. Finally she felt him collect himself and push her back a little as he stood up. He quickly wiped his face with the back of his hand and looked down at her.

"We should get you back home pet, you look like hell." He gave her that sad smile of his.

"Uh, uh. I was so busy trying to find you, I haven't had a chance to patrol yet." Buffy stated very matter of factly.

"And you're not going to either. I can't believe Giles is letting you patrol. We'll get you home and then I'll do it. No more patrolling, too dangerous now pet." Spike said as he took her by the shoulders forcing her to see his expression.

"He doesn't know" Buffy said quietly, then quickly added "no one does, and you're not going to tell them either. I am the slayer and I will patrol. I'm not dropping everything just because of this." Buffy said with more anger than she ment to.

"Oh, so the dead man is back to being the mystery guy eh?" Spike said and let out a bitter laugh. "Well slayer, they'll all catch on to your little game soon enough, and I don't care what you say, you are not to patrol alone. Every demon in this town will be gunning for you as soon as word gets out, and believe me it will. Those that can't hear it, can sense it, or smell it."

Spike had practically run her through her patrol. Buffy couldn't remember when she had taken less time on a patrol. They didn't even hit one of the cemeteries. Spike had quickly staked two fledglings before Buffy could even get close and then insisted they go home. Home. Buffy thought smugly to herself. That ment he was coming home. The thought made Buffy absently glide a hand over her stomach. But no sooner had they gotten home (to the startled looks of everyone but Willow) than Spike had all but handed her off to Willow with instructions to make sure she got to bed and he headed for the basement.

The next day Spike had spent in the basement. He hadn't come up to see her, or even looked in the refrigerator. Well, it was dark and Buffy wasn't going to take it any more. She wasn't some child who needed looked after. She grabbed her jacket and informed Giles she was going to patrol. Alone. He had asked if she was feeling better, and she had lied. She was just as nauseated, and tired, but she was going anyway! She wasn't going to be a captive in her own home. No sooner had she opened the back door, than she noticed Spike sitting on the porch steps. He had been waiting for her.

"Nice try slayer." He was looking at Buffy and looked anything but happy. Spike handed Buffy a jacket and extended a hand toward the yard.

Each night Buffy had tried to sneak out to patrol. She had tried the doors and the bedroom window. Heck, she had even tried to sneak out Dawn's window, and each time Spike had been patiently waiting at the end of her escape route. Last night Buffy had actually smiled when she got to the ground and saw Spike waiting for her. She could have sworn he had been smiling too for a half second.

Their patrols had become more comfortable. They now talked a lot while making the rounds. Of coarse, each night it seemed to Buffy that the patrols were getting busier as well. Last night had been the worst. They had been laughing about Dawns latest scheme to get out of doing the dishes when they had been surrounded by 7 vampires. Spike had let out a line of curses that Buffy didn't recognize most of, but knew enough to feel herself blush.

Spike had reluctantly "allowed" her to take out three of the vamps as he took on the other four. Somehow the last vamp had managed to get her off balance and she had fallen back against a large tombstone. The vamp was about to pounce when he had burst into dust as Buffy thrust upward with her stake right into his chest. Buffy was begining to feel good about the slayage again when Spike had gone and ruined it.

"That does it pet. No more Slaying for you." Spike had proclaimed extending a hand to Buffy.

"What do you mean no more. I'm the Slayer Spike, that's what I do." Buffy answered defiantly.

"Not anymore." Spike firmly grabbed ahold of her arm and forced her to look in his eyes. "It's getting too dangerous pet, and it's only going to get worse. We have to worry about more than just you now."

"You think I don't know that? Have you forgotten exactly who's the pregnant one here?" She was really angry now.

"Slayer, this isn't up for debate here. I will do the patrols from now on." He was staring into her eyes hoping that she would somehow understand how dangerous this really was for her. When she dropped it and shook her head, Spike said a silent thank you to whatever deity had been listening to his silent prayer.

They had made it home with only two more vampire run ins. Spike had actually hung around and talked a little with the girls and Giles. He almost seemed happy. Relaxed even. Then seeing the yawn she had unsuccesfully tried to hide, he had excused them and ushered her to the stairs telling her she should get to bed. She had obediently gone up and showered quickly. When she got to her room, she saw on the bed a tray with a bowl of chicken soup and some crackers, and a cup of what smelled like chamomile tea.

"Spike wanted me to make sure you ate and then went straight to bed." Willow said, teasingly shaking her finger at her.

Buffys demeanor suddenly became dark. She had taken enough of this babying. Sure she still couldn't keep anything down and she was certain she had never felt this tired in her life, but she wasn't a baby. This was going to end.

"Spike said that huh?" Buffy picked up the tray and shoved it toward a very confused Willow. "I will eat and sleep when I feel like it." Buffy announced loud enough for the whole house to hear and slammed the door hard enough to shake the house. She was fairly certain she heard a faint "Bloody Hell" before she flipped on the radio and sat down with a magazine on the bed. Which is how she found herself the next morning. Still wrapped in her towel with the magazine on her lap.

Buffy had stayed extra late at school. She had called Giles and told him she had lots of paperwork to finish. She didn't want to go home and have Spike treat her like she was some child. When she got home she found the girls had already eaten dinner which saved her to effort of trying to and not make a mad dash for the bathroom. Giles told her Spike had already left to Patrol reasoning that Buffy needed the rest, which Giles seemed to agree with. Buffy had simply announced she was going to join him for the patrol and left. She was a grown woman, she could patrol alone. She didn't need Spike to do it for her!

Buffy had almost finished her patrol without incident when a very large Mowrok demon rounded the corner. Buffy had never seen one in person but she had read about it in their research. Practically invincible. Scales that made getting to sensitive areas hard. Buffy fought it for 15 minutes before she felt her leg snap under the crushing foot of the 600 pound demon when it had beat her to the ground. Then the other foot caught her temple. But then it was gone and all she could hear were high pitched screams before everything faded to blackness.

Spike came in and hung his jacket over the back of the chair. He wandered about the house looking to see if Buffy had made it in yet. He didn't want her being out after dark. Her hormones were begining to draw in every vampire for miles around.

"Spike?!" Willow nearly ran into him as he searched the house for Buffy. "Spike, she went out. She's patrolling." Willow added, quickly assuming he was looking for Buffy.

"You let her patrol?" Spike bit out through clenched teeth.

"She was already gone when I got home. Spike, what's wrong?" Willow asked at Spikes panicked look.

Giles had wandered in the living room and watched the display with curiosity as Spike grabbed Willows arms and asked, "How long."

"I don't know Spike" Willow had looked imploringly at Giles.

"About an hour or so." Giles had supplied and then added, "Spike, is something wrong?" but Spike was already half way out the door.

Spike quickly remembered Buffy's patrol routine and decided to work backward. He had barely reached the first cemetery when he saw Buffy fighting the huge Mowrok. He broke into a run again as he saw Buffy hit the ground. God, he wasn't going to reach her in time. Spike reached it just as the demon brought it's foot down on Buffy's skull. Spike's rage burst every dam in him as he ripped the throat out of it, scales and all. The demon sputtered and collapsed.

Spike turned back to Buffy. She was bleeding from everywhere it seemed. There was an odd gash on her head and he could see bone. It was bleeding badly.

"Buffy? Buffy, love come on. Open your eyes for me pet." Spike picked her up, carefully cradling her head and felt the crunch of the broken bones in her leg. Spike was never so glad that this cemetery was the closest to the hospital as he ran with Buffy. He could hear her heart growing irregular. Her breathing erratic. "Come on love, stay with me. You can't leave me again pet. Not like this, come on now love."


Angel ran back into Buffy's room and came to a stop just inside the room. He looked back and forth between Spike and Buffy taking giant gulps of air his lungs didn't even need. This couldn't be right. The doctor must have been thinking of someone else. Then Spike's words echoed through his mind. "Drums...." Angel thought. He stilled himself and willed his lungs to stop. He closed his eyes and listened.

There were a million sounds. Hospital sounds. Machines. People. Focus, damn it. OK, he thought. Buffy...Buffy's heart beating...Buffy breathing....and then he heard it. There were three heart beats in the room. One strong, slow, and loud...and two very fast and much softer ones.....

Angels eyes flew open and he looked at Buffy. Hard. He closed the distance to the bed in two steps and placed a hand on Buffy's abdomen. He felt the pulsing there. His mind raced. Why hadn't he sensed it? God how could this be? His head whipped around to look at Spike. Angel easily stepped around the bed and with a loud angry growl he picked up Spike.

Willow came suddenly awake with the fierce growl that echoed from Buffy's room. Just then the hall window to Buffy's room shattered as Spike came flying through it. He hit the wall opposite and fell to the floor in a heap. Before Willlow could blink Angel was there, straddling Spike and pounding his face relentlessly.

"YOU BASTARD!" Angel ground out as he continued to mercilessly beat Spike. "I should've killed you YEARS ago."

Willow thought quickly. She had to separate those two before Angel did kill Spike, but getting in between an angry Angel and Spike wasn't a thought she relished.

"Separate." Willow shouted, and Angel flew backwards down the hall 20 feet. Angel quickly got up and started striding back towards Spike. Willow quickly threw up a barrier wall in the hall. Angel simply started pounding on it and growling his objection. Willow realized the crashing glass had brought an audience of panicked and curious hospital staff who were quickly noticing Angels game face. Willow pushed a fold in the barrier and walked through and grabbed Angel by the arm pulling him to turn around as he snarled and looked down at her.

"Angel, LOOK, you have something on your face making it all bumpy looking, here let me get that for you." Will practically shouted as she brought a hand up and pretended to wipe his face with the bell of her sleeve. It must have registered somewhat with Angel what she was trying to do, because he shifted back to his human face, but then he yanked his arm back from her and turned back to the barrier between him and a very unconscious looking Spike. Willow quickly put up a glamour to Spike's face and assured the gathered staff that everything was fine now and the window would be paid for, then turned back to Angel.

"Let me back in Willow." Angel very seethingly demand without even looking at her.

"You can't kill him Angel." Willow was whispering. "Buffy needs him."

Angel faced back to Willow now, eyes yellow as his demon begged freedom. "He has killed her as sure as if he had fed from her and ripped her throat out." Willow had flinched at his words. "Do you know what he did to her? Why he keeps mumbling it's all his fault? Because it is Willow. She. Will. Die." Willow was now backing away from Angel and shaking her head.

"No, Angel she was happy." Willow began pleading with him. "Spike made her happy. Angel, you can't kill him. Buffy needs him Angel. She's..."

Angel spun away from Willow and was staring at Buffy's room "You should have told me damn it."

"Angel, I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd take it well. And besides, Buffy made me promise not to tell anyone. She was very specific. 'Not Giles, not Xander, and none of the LA gang." Willow listed off. "She was pretty certain no one would let her continue slaying if they knew."

Angel let out a laugh that sounded very bitter and cynical. "She's right. You want to know why no one would let her?" Willow thought and shook her head no. All week her and Buffy had searched and found nothing about slayers being pregnant.
"Have you ever heard of a pregnant slayer?" Angel asked pointedly. Willow confirmed she hadn't. "That's because they all died Willow. The pregnancy makes them slower, throws them off. Not to mention draws in a hoard of extra demons looking for a easy shot at a weak slayer."

Willow fell into the nearest chair. It all made sense now. Spikes panic that Buffy had gone patrolling. Buffy's insistence that no one know. Spikes near catatonia and mumbling that it was all his fault. Willow felt her heart sinking. It wasn't his fault at all, it was hers. It had been her idea to do the spell. She had been the one to push them back together. She hadn't thought love would wind up killing Buffy again and sending Spike off the deep end.

"No, there must be more Angel. Something we're missing, about all this. The soul, the pregnancy. We're missing something. I feel it Angel." Willow said with quiet assurance she that she didn't know had existed anymore. "If there was just someone who knew about all this."

Suddenly Willow heard a voice in her head calling her, and somehow she knew what to do. She called forth the text she had heard wispered in her head. Finding the passage she was looking for Willow quickly recited the spell. Willow glanced up and found she and Angel were no longer in the hospital. They were in a cave filled with hundreds of candles. And in front of them stood a young boy. He was dressed very plainly in a suit Willow was sure she had seen in some very old history books.

The boy looked at her and in a very deep booming voice said, "You seek answers to that which your heart already knows."

"You're an oracle" Angel mumbled in amazement at the boy.

"What can you tell us?" Willow questioned. "Is there more we don't see?"

The boy looked at the two in front of him and simply grinned. "The one you love has been expected for a long time. We thought she would fulfill her destiny long before now. This was foretold long ago. It is written, 'Of two souled ones and a slayer, the lines will begin. A Champion and a Slayer'. As it was foretold, so it shall be. She will need your love" the boy was now staring hard at Angel, "and his."

The room spun and Angel and Willow found themselves back in the hospital hallway. Spike had come around and was weakly attempting to crawl back to Buffy's room. Willow took down the barrier and ran over to Spike and tried to help him stand up. She glanced back at Angel who was now sitting in a chair and staring at the floor. Great, now she had two vampires to take care of.

Willow managed to get Spike back in the room and into a chair. She found a washcloth and filled the basin with warm water and began tending to the miriad of gashes and bruises covering Spikes face. His eyes were almost swollen shut already. He didn't even flinch when she cleaned a particularly nasty gash on his left cheek.

"He's right you know." Spike had barely managed to whisper.

"No, he's not." Willow continued to clean his wounds. "Seems that baby of yours is going to start a whole line. Can't very well start a whole line unless everything turns out OK, so see, everything will be fine. Apparently it was foretold." Willow said in the most comforting voice she could find.

Spike looked up at her, and Willow was certain that if his eyes weren't so swollen she could see all the pain in them. Why did he look so pained? Her words should have cheered him up at least some.

"" He managed through his still swelling lips.

"One, what?" OK, he must be back to insane vampire Willow thought. The answer came from behind her.

"Child. He means which child." Angel quietly stated. He was standing next to the bed with his hands in his pockets.

"I, I, huh? I don't understand Angel, what do you mean?" Willow was now considering that maybe both vamps were insane.

"Twins." was Angels quiet response. He was still staring very intently at Buffy. "She's having twins."

"Twins?" Willow had asked as if he had misspoken. Then she thought a second. "Twins." She repeated and seemed a little pleased with the knowledge. Buffy would be happy. She had confided to Willow that she was actually beginning to like the idea of having Spikes child.

"Well, now that oracle's words makes a little more sense." Willow pointed out.

"No, it doesn't. He said 'of two souled ones and a slayer'. It still doesn't make any sense." Angel said.

"Well, it doesn't matter right now. We still have to get Spike here back to not insane land. And I'm figuring he's not gonna heal too well if he doesn't feed soon." Willow said, shooting eye daggers at Angel.

" I don't know what to do for him. He's punishing himself and he has to want to stop. I don't see that happening until she wakes up." Angel and Willow both seemed to be pondering that statement when Buffy's heart monitor alarmed for a few seconds but then stopped. Angel saw Spikes head snap up and Angel looked at Willow with concern apparent on his face.

"It does that every so often." Willow quickly supplied, but noticed Angel didn't relax for several seconds. That was when the alarm sounded again. This time it kept alarming.


Buffy was sitting on a blanket on the grass in the meadow down by Creighton Park. It's so beautiful here, she thought to herself. She was watching two small children chasing each other around in circles. They were playing tag. There was a little boy with sandy blond hair and a little girl with dark brown hair. Buffy felt so content to watch them laugh and play. Everything was so wonderful here. So peaceful. No pain, no monsters, no worries. Just always the same beautiful children playing happily without any care. She wished she could stay here forever.

"If you stay, they will never be."

Buffy looked up to see a small boy standing next to her. "You're new." She said cheerfully.

"No, I am very old." The boy said rather sheepishly. "and it is time for you to go back." Now he looked very serious. "If you don't go, they will never be and one souled one will be lost to eternity."

"But I want to watch them." Buffy said reluctantly.

"You will. But only if you go back now. It is time for you to choose. You have been there before, and you will be again, but you must choose when now. Which journey will you make?" The boy said extending his hand out to Buffy. She stood and took it, casting one last glance at the two children before walking away.

Several nurses came rushing in the room and quickly began checking wires and grabbing equipment. Spike had somehow stood up and was backing up toward the wall shaking his head and mumbling "no" over and over. Angel had grabbed Willow and pulled her out of the way as best he could to let the nurses work. A doctor had come in the room and was giving orders. A mask had been placed on her face and was pushing air into her lungs. Angel tried to listen through he noise, but couldn't hear Buffy's heart at all and the two faint ones were slowing and were now irregular.

Just as the doctor had put the paddles on Buffy's chest the room filled with a gasp and everyone stopped. It was from Buffy. Everyone in the room was holding their breath as the monitors proclaimed that there was indeed a pulse now. Then another breath. Angel could hear the faint fast beating hearts speeding up. Buffy's eyelids fluttered a bit and there was a faint groan.

The doctor had quickly run some checks and looked at the three people huddled in a corner of the room and smiled. "She's coming out of it." He proclaimed. "Scared us for a second there, but she's back with us." He had issued several orders and it had been almost an hour but the room had finally cleared out again.

Willow finally glanced around to see Spike huddled on the floor, and staring into space. She bent down and shook him gently, then firmly. Willow looked into his face and saw that he wasn't really there.

"Angel" Willow called. He had moved and was now sitting on the edge of the bed. Buffy was still moaning a bit and hadn't really opened her eyes. Angel glanced over at Willow. She looked concerned.

"I think we lost Spike." She motioned down at the unmoving, unspeaking vampire. Angel took one look at him and knew that they had.

Angel moaned and rubbed a hand over his face. "Must have been during all the commotion."

"Spike" The whisper was so tiny, only Angels ear had picked it up.

"Buffy?" Angel nervously glanced around again at Spike then back to Buffy and he reached a hand to push back a strand of hair in her face. "He's here baby. Willow is here too."

"Where am I?" Buffy's eyes slowly opened and blinked a few times as her brow creased. "Angel?"

"Yeah." Angel gave her his patented half smile. "You're in the hospital. Do you remember what happened?"

Buffy thought for a second. Why would she be in a hospital? Her brain tried to recall exactly what happened. Demon. There had been a demon. No, the last thing she remembered were two children in a park. Had the demon attacked the children? No, that didn't seem right. The demon had attacked her. A Mowrok had attacked her. Children...

"Oh god, the....." Buffy's eyes grew wide with terror as her hand instinctively covered her abdomen.

"They're fine Buffy." Angel had placed his hand over hers.

"They?" Buffy looked at him with confusion until it registered. They as in more than one. The children. The boy and girl she had been watching. They were hers. She didn't know how she knew now, but she did. She smiled faintly at the memory of watching them and tears began to fill her eyes. She glanced back up at Angel and saw that he looked almost pained even though he was still smiling at her, and she pulled him down and threw her arms around his neck.

They sat there like that for a long time. Long enough that Willow had left the room and come back. Willow was glad to see them, but also a little worried. What were they going to do with Spike now? She cleared her throat and Angel pulled back from Buffy.

"Giles should be here soon. Angel, maybe you and him could get Spike back to the house, or at least out of the floor maybe." Willow asked tentatively.

"Spike is here?" Buffy asked trying to sit up a little. "Where's he been? Floor, what floor?"

"Um, that floor." Willow pointed to the corner Spike was still sitting in. He still hadn't moved at all or spoken.

"Spike?" Buffy called over to him, looking around Angel to see him sitting there.

"Buffy, I don't think he hears you." Angel was trying to catch her eyes.

"What do you mean he can't hear me, he's right there." Buffy pointed at Spike's form.

"Buffy, there was an incident earlier. Your heart stopped. I guess Spike couldn't handle it" Willow offered. "You should have seen him Buffy. He's been a wreck since you've been here."

"I can see that. Boy, something sure beat the heck out of him. Looks like Glory all over again." Buffy off handedly remarked.

Angel shifted nervously and glanced down at the floor. "Yeah, um, sorry about that."

"You did that to him? Angel, you can't keep coming here and beating up my boyfriends!" Buffy let slip before she caught herself. Boyfriend. She had called him her boyfriend. She saw Angel flinch and decided best to change the subject. "So how long have I been in here anyway?"

Buffy still couldn't believe she had been in a coma for four weeks. A month. Well, that didn't matter anymore, she was going home today. After the last three days spent in that horrid hospital Buffy had insisted, over the very angry protests of the doctors and nurses, that she was leaving. Even Angel and Giles had tried to talk her into staying a little longer. She had finally signed all those "against medical advice" papers and promised she would return on two days for a check up. Unfortunately she hadn't been able to convince them to take the darn cast off her leg. She was certain it was well healed by now, but they hadn't even considered it. Well, she would fix that as soon as she got home.

Giles pulled the car up the driveway as far as possible and Angel's car had pulled in behind them. Buffy started to fumble with the crutches the hospital had given her when they were pulled out of her hands. Buffy started to protest when Angel leaned in the car and scooped her up in his arms.

"I can walk you know. They gave me some nifty crutches and everything so I would." Buffy said very annoyed. This babying stuff was getting old before she had even been attacked.

"I know." Angel responded dryly as he carried her through the door right behind Giles. He carried her over to the couch and set her down as the whole flock of potentials converged in the living room. Each one seemingly excited about having Buffy back, and talking over each other asking her "how she was", "had she killed the demon" and what her coma "was like", and several obviously eyeing Angel in a very non threatening way.

Buffy had let out a small chuckle as Angel had backed up a bit and was shaking his head rather annoyed at the potentials. Giles chose that moment to try to disperse the girls insisting that Buffy would have time for questions later, but right now needed time to rest and get settled back in. Buffy was secretly grateful, as she was still exhausted.
Giles covered her with a blanket as Angel rearranged the pillows so Buffy could lean back a little.

"Buffy, I know I told the girls to wait, but I think we need to have a talk. I feel the sooner the better." Giles said as he sat on the end of couch.

"Um, Giles. Is Spike staying in Angel's car tonight? Cause, I'm thinking the basement might be more comfortable." Buffy said as if actually debating which would indeed be more comfortable.

"Ah, Spike. Yes, I'd forgotten. Angel, would you mind?" Giles looked at Angel who simply rolled his eyes before heading back out the door.

"Now, would you like to start or shall I?" Giles pointedly looked at Buffy.

Buffy really didn't want either to start. She had hoped to find some way to tell Giles about the pregnancy without him getting too angry with her and then insisting like everyone else that she had to stop slaying.

Giles took her silence to mean she wasn't going to start so he decided he would. "Very well then, I think I have a fairly good guess as to some things that may be occurring, but I really need you to tell me everything. I can't help you or the girls if you don't talk to me Buffy."

Buffy just bit her lip and watched Angel deposit Spike in one of the chairs in the living room. He still looked horrible. He wasn't healing at all and despite her, Willow, and Angel trying, he hadn't fed, talked or really moved. He just sat there and occasionally his eyes closed for a few hours. They had tried everything they could think of to pull him out of it.

"Do you think he'll come back to us?" Buffy questioned Giles.

"I really don't know. There's no precedent for this sort of thing. I mean, there's no shortage of vampires with sanity issues, but I've never heard of one in his state of catatonia." Giles looked at Spike and flinched. He had thought Spike had looked bad before Angel had arrived, but the beating Angel had issued the blond vampire was truly frightening. Especially since no one had told him why Angel had done it in the first place.

"Buffy, you need to tell Giles. Everything." Angel was now sitting on the coffee table and staring at her pointedly.

Buffy just stared at the two and then turned her head defiantly to the window.

Angel let out a hiss and stood up. "Look Buffy, you want to be stubborn and get yourself killed? Because that's what is going to happen here. The first time you go back out patrolling alone again you WILL die. I'm not even sure that I could protect you, and Spike here isn't exactly in any position to either. If you want to die, then why the hell did you come back?" Angel said clenching his jaw tight.

Buffy looked at Spike, and then to Angel. He was right. She knew in her heart that he was right. But what would she do? She had always had a place. She had lived her calling for years now. If that was gone, what would she do? Who would she be? As tears began to burst forth, she began telling Giles what had happened.

Giles had patiently listened as she went from Spike's humanity to the Mowrok demon. When she had finished he sat there silent for several minutes staring at his glasses dangling in his hands. "You should have told me Buffy." He finally said. It all made sense now. Buffys recent illness and fatigue. Spike's over protectiveness when he had returned. Spike look of terror when Buffy had gone out alone.

Buffys tears were now stopping as she quietly voiced her fears. "Who am I now? If I can't slay Giles, what do I do. What do I become? How do I help those girls Giles?" She was now staring out the window again.

"Our first priority right now is your safety. Buffy, you know how inherently dangerous being a slayer is. This pregnancy only increases the danger. Buffy, you should know that this is not unprecedented. There have been several instances of pregnant slayers. Unfortunately, none of them survived very long. I believe you may have already surpassed all the others in your gestation, but that doesn't mean you will survive to bring them to term."

"I've defeated the odds lots of times before Giles, I can do it this time too." Buffy said quietly, stroking her abdomen. "Besides"she added absently, "that boy told me I would get to see them if I came back."

"Boy? What boy?" Giles asked.

"While I was in the coma. I saw them." She said smiling absently. "He told me if I didn't come back they would never be. That I would see them if I came back. He also said "my souled one" needed me. He was right about that, though I don't know what to do for him." Buffy glanced sadly at Spike.

"Buffy, was the boy dressed funny? Kind of old fashioned?" Angel asked.

"Yeah, way old fashioned. Why?" How had Angel known about the boy, she wondered.

Angel looked at Giles. "Oracle. The boy is an Oracle. He spoke to Willow and I. Told us that Buffy and the children had been foretold."

"Fascinating. What did he say exactly?" Giles inquired again polishing his glasses.

Angel paused a moment considering what to say. He was getting tired of all these prophesies.

"He said 'Of two souled ones and a slayer, the lines will begin. A Champion and a Slayer.' Then he told me that she would need my love, and his." Angel spat out the his like it had been burned his tongue.

Giles pondered the statement a moment. "Have you any idea what it means?"

"No. I thought at first maybe he was talking about Connor. But Buffy didn't have anything to do with Connor. Oracles are usually kind of cryptic, but I can't figure that 'two souled ones' part." Angel said thoughtfully.

"Yes, well that part does seem a bit strange. But the prophecy does bode well for the children." Giles was having some hope for the first time since hearing Buffy say she was pregnant.

"Can we worry about prophecies later guys. Giles, we have to get him back. I want to go in and get him." Buffy said squeezing Giles arm with her urgency to have Spike back.

"No." Angel had flatly stated.

"That is extraordinarily dangerous to attempt on humans Buffy, much less a vampire. I'm not even sure it would be possible." Giles said.

"Giles, I have to try. We've tried everything else." Buffy pleaded.

"No." Angel echoed his early comment. "Buffy, you have no idea what it's like inside his mind. There's more than a hundred years of killing and torture. Add a soul to the mix, and the fact he blamed himself for your assumed death....I'm not sure even I would go in there. I won't let you do it."

"Angel there is no 'letting me' do anything. You heard that oracle boy. I need him. They need him." Buffy looked back to Giles, "Giles get Willow. I'm doing this."

"Buffy, I do wish you would reconsider." Giles started

"Giles!" I'm doing this. With or without you." Buffy had that very determined look on her face.

Willow had set up everything. They had rearranged the living room so that Spike was sitting opposite Buffy with Angel sitting next to her. Angel had that angry look on his face and Willow was certain he was going to put a damper on the spell. He had demanded that Buffy was not to go into Spike's mind alone. He would be there at all times. Willow had instructed them that they must keep "contact" at all times or one of them could be pulled out without the other. Angel had pulled Willow aside and made her promise that if he signaled she would pull them out.

They had been in the mediation for a hour before anything happened. Buffy now found herself and Angel in a dark void. Angel quipped "I always knew Spike didn't have a brain in his head." Buffy simply gave him an annoyed look. "We have to find him" She said. Suddenly they found themselves in a room full of people. Men, women and children. Hundreds of them, all looking decidedly dead to Buffy. Some mangled, some simply bleeding from their necks or arms. All of them staring at Buffy.

Angel pulled on her hand. guiding her through the masses as they continued to stare at her. They walked on for what seemed like days. Suddenly everyone started shouting at her. High pitched horrible screams that burned in Buffy's head like a hot poker. Buffy went to cover her ears, but Angel held firm to one of her hands and continued pulling her.

Then they were in an alley. Buffy recognized it. The one by the Bronze. There was Spike. Buffy started to run to him, but Angel held her away. Buffy saw herself standing in the alley. She remembered this seen. It was the first time she had met Spike. "What happens Saturday?" He other self asked him. "Thats when I kill you." Spike said and smiled.

Now they were in the old high school. Spike was taunting her to come out. That he would make it quick. Buffy could have sworn she saw Spike looking at her and his face seemed to regard her a moment. Then he was gone. They seemed to be going through every time Spike had tried to kill her. Angel's grip seemed to be getting tighter and tighter each memory they came to.

Now they were standing on Glory's tower. Dawn was directly in front of them and they were all looking at Spike. Spike was being held by the strange little man who had bled Dawn. The little man drove the knife into Spike's back and as Spikes face showed his fear that he had failed, the man threw them him off the tower.

"Spike!" Buffy had yelled and started to lunge, but suddenly they were on the ground.

Spike was rousing and turned to look up and started shouting, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Buffy follow her eyes to see herself falling into the portal. She watched with sick fascination as she watched her other self convulse and finally cease moving. As her lifeless body fell to the ground she felt Angel stepping backward. Buffy looked at him and saw the tears streaming down his face. His eyes closed as he could no longer watch the nightmare Spike was reliving.

Buffy glanced around to see Giles, Willow holding up Tara, Xander carrying Anya, Dawn coming down the stairs, all crying and staring at her broken body on the ground. Then she saw Spike. He was weeping into his hands.

"Oh god." Buffy whispered to no one, watching the weeping vampire in front of her. "I wouldn't believe then, but it was true. He loved me."

Buffy had blocked out the next scene from her mind, so it almost shocked her when it came. The bathroom, they were in the hall bathroom. She watched as that fated night played out again. She heard an angry growl from Angel and she felt him step forward, but Buffy held firm to his hand. He turned and stared at her in disbelief. His eyes went wide with realization at Buffy's soft expression.

"You forgave him? You want him back after he....." Angel couldn't even bring himself to say the word.

"Angel, you of all people can ask me how I forgave him?" Buffy softly chided.

Angel looked up into the darkness above for several moments. "Point taken." He mumbled. "But I can't watch this" he added turning to gaze behind Buffy. She saw the pain in his face and started to say something but the scene changed again.

Now they were in her bedroom and Buffy blushed at the sight before her as Angel quickly hissed in a breath and glanced away. It was her and Spike. Their bodies moved together in an ancient rhythm, their mouths tenderly mimicking the movements of their bodies. It must be her birthday. It was the only time they had been in her bedroom. But the tender scene in front of her didn't make sense. It didn't fit with the other things she had seen in Spikes mind.

"I don't understand, why this?" Buffy asked aloud

"In his mind, this is when he killed you ." Angel said looking into Buffy's eyes. His other hand came up to gently sweep across her abdomen. Buffy immediately understood. And then they were back in the room filled with people screaming. Buffy waited patiently as the scenes all flew past her again and again. Buffy started trying to talk to Spike each time she saw him in the scenes, but he never responded.

Finally Angel said, "This isn't going to work Buffy. We need to go. The longer we stay here, the harder it will be to get out."

"No." Buffy answered firmly. "I'm not giving up on him." She looked up at the darkness above them. "Spike! Spike I know you can hear me. Damn it face me. If you killed me then come face me you spineless, peroxided coward!" Buffy shouted. Suddenly they were back in the dark void. Buffy and Angel stood there for a few moments and then Spike was there in front of them.

"I'm sorry Slayer." Spike quietly spoke. "I only wanted to love you, but all I ever did was hurt you. I know you can't forgive me, but I am sorry" His voice trailed off as he turned around and started to walk away.

"Spike, don't. You didn't kill me. Spike I'm alive." Buffy pleaded that he would hear her and turn around.

He stopped. After a moment he turned around and looked hard at Buffy. Then he looked at Angel. He hadn't seemed to notice him before. After a long time of staring down he looked back up at Buffy and gave her his sad little smile.

"You shouldn't have come here Pet." He looked over at Angel. "Take her back. Take care of her. All I can do is hurt her." He said

Angel stared at Spike and then gave a slight nod. Buffy saw it.

"No! I'm not going unless you come with me!" Buffy pleaded with Spike.

"Angel, get her out of here. Now." Spike bit out. And Buffy felt Angel begin to pull her hand and step backward.

Buffy turned and faced Angel. "Wait." She said. She reached her free hand up and stroked Angel's face.

"I will always love you." Buffy smiled at Angel. "I'm sorry." Buffy said and then she let go of his hand.

Angel sank back into the couch for a second as he realized what had happened.

"Send me back in!" Angel shouted at Willow.

Willow sat there in shock. Buffy had let go. She stared at Angel and nodded. "I can't" Tears were clouding her eyes. "If I interrupt the link to put you back in, we could loose Buffy forever."

"Do you know what you just did?" Spike seethed. He was staring at her, incredulous that she had let go. "He was your best way out of this world."

Buffy walked up to Spike and looked in his eyes. She smiled.

"I don't want to leave. I want to be with you." She said.

Spike just stared at her in shock for a minute. "You don't want to be in here with me Pet. You haven't even seen most of this place. Not a pretty picture love. I don't want you lost in here with me." Spike said reaching up and cupping her cheek with his hand.

"Then come back with me. You promised me once you wouldn't leave me. Well, I won't leave you either. The only way I am getting out of this if you come with me." Buffy returned his gesture and cupped his cheek.

"Buffy..." Spike started to protest

"No. I will be with you forever, where ever you are. If you stay here. So will I. I won't go Spike. I love you." Buffy said firmly.

"Forever's a long time Pet." Spike said as tear began to fill his eyes.

"Then I'm glad I'll be with you." Buffy smiled and felt her own tears coming.

Spike leaned his head into her hand and stared at her with every bit of love he had for her in his undead heart. She loved him. She. Loved. Him. He let his hand slide down to hers and took it in his own.

"Let's get you back love." He said as he led her through the darkness. Suddenly Spike found they were in a park. It was day. Everything was so bright and colorful. They were standing there in the sun. Spike saw two small children running through the park, laughing and shouting. A little dark haired girl and a little boy with much lighter hair.

"I don't understand." Spike said looking around. He didn't remember any of this. This wasn't part of his world.

"It will be." Buffy said, guessing his thoughts. "I wanted to show you. That's them Spike" Buffy beamed. "That's our children. I wanted you to see them." Spike stared at the children and didn't even try to stop the tears falling down his face.

"I will, love." He said as he leaned down and gently brushed Buffy's lips with his own. A bright flash of white filled the world around them.

Buffy looked around to find herself back in her living room. Angel was sitting next to her with his head in his hands. Willow was watching her and nodded her head towards Spike. Buffy quickly looked at Spike. He was staring at her. That same look of love she had seen moments before on his face. His eyes were spilling rivers of tears. Buffy launched herself off the couch into his arms.

She spared a quick glance to Angel and saw his head come up and the marks of his own tears were there. She quietly mouthed a thank you to him before he got up and left the room.

Angel leaned on the counter. He thought his heart was going to break again. But he would do this for Buffy. He reminded himself the oracle had said she would need his love. He quickly swiped at his face to dry it. Then pulled open the refrigerator and grabbed a blood bag. He heated a cup of water in the microwave and then the blood as the tea infused in the cup. He carried both cups into the living room. The sight that greeted him froze him to his spot for a moment.

Buffy was still on Spikes lap and both were sleeping. Their arms protectively curled around each other. Angel quietly set down the mugs and untwined the sleeping lovers arms. He carefully picked up Buffy and set her back on the couch and covered her. She snuggled a bit into the blanket as he did so. He turned back to Spike and shook him lightly. Spikes eyes opened to see Angel with his finger held to his lips. Spike glanced at the sleeping Buffy and nodded that he understood. Angel handed him a mug of blood. Spike looked at it and realized it had been 5 weeks since he had fed last. He spared a quick glance back at Buffy then tipped up the mug and emptied it.

Spike glanced around the room. It was almost done now. He had managed to convince Angel to let them move into the mansion. It was definitely more suited to housing a dozen girls, a witch, an ex-demon, a watcher, and two poncy whelps. "And a partridge in a pear tree." Spike added out loud.

Of coarse the mansion had needed extensive work to make it suitable for humans to live in. Spike had spent most of his time there fixing it. Xander was even helping him in his spare time. Of coarse he hadn't trusted the whelp with anything wooden for a while, especially after he had found out about Spike and Buffy's little secret. He had spent the better part of a month avoiding the boy's stakes, while Buffy laughed it up.

Spike smiled to himself. She was so beautiful when she laughed. A few more days and the whole thing would be ready. Good thing too. Buffy was due in four weeks. Suddenly his pocket started ringing. Spike pulled out the screeching piece of technology and stared at it a moment before remembering which button to push. He swore under his breath as he answered it. "Yeah."

"Spike, you'd better get home." It was Dawn, and she sounded annoyed and angry. "Oh, and I'd bring ice cream if I were you."

"I'm on my way Bit." Spike answered then turned off the phone. Then he turned it back on and put it on standby. If he lived another hundred years he was sure these phones would be his downfall. Willow had insisted he carry it in case Buffy needed him. He thought at the time that the idea sounded good. He locked the door and headed for the car. There was a Quick Mart on the way home. They knew him well there and the little man who owned it kept a carton of Ben & Jerry's "Phish Food" held back for him.

Spike walked in the door at home and Dawn came running, quickly followed by several of the potentials. Giles entered the hall from the dining room. Spike saw their expressions and looked down at the floor. She must have really done it this time.

"What happened this time." He said as he tossed his keys on the little table by the door.

"The TV Spike." Dawn proclaimed as she crossed her arms. "She trashed the TV. And that was after she screamed at half the girls, punched Andrew, and threw a book at Giles. They were lucky to get out before she pulled their heads off. You have got to do something Spike."

Spike couldn't help but grin. He glanced around into the living room and saw that the room was indeed trashed. He saw two of the girls sporting ice packs and guessed some had been quicker to scramble than others. He has actually let out a little laugh before Dawn had smacked his arm.

"All right Bit, sorry. Sorry girls. I'll go talk to her." Spike brought his hands up to his face and rubbed it steeling himself for the task at hand. Buffy had grown more and more emotional as the pregnancy progressed. If she wasn't crying she was screaming. If she wasn't screaming or crying she was dragging him off to the bedroom, not that he was complaining about that part.

"Right, I'm off to the gallows then." Spike said as he started toward the stairs. He turned to face Dawn, "you want to tell me what set her off this time Bit?" Spike asked.

"Beer commercial." Dawn said.

"Beer commercial?" Spike echoed, frowning. "How did that....?"

"You know, the one with the girls mom with the big butt and hips in the red leather pants?" Dawn clarified.

"Bloody hell..." Spike muttered as he started back up the stairs. Dawn called after him and held up a spoon to him. He glanced at the ice cream in his hand and took the spoon. He wasn't sure even Ben & Jerry would work this time.

Spike stopped in front of the bedroom. He could hear her inside and she was crying. He clenched his jaw and stretched himself up his full height. Then knocked on the door. "Buffy" He softly called.

"Go. Away. Spike." Buffy screamed out.

"Buffy, sweetheart, I have 'Phish Food'" Spike cooed sweetly through the door. God I've turned into a poof. Spike thought to himself. No sound came from the room. Well, at least she wasn't crying anymore. "Buffy love.." He started again. Suddenly the door flew open and Buffy's hands shot out and grabbed the ice cream and spoon in the blink of an eye and slammed the door shut again before Spike could even react.

Spike rolled his eyes and gently pushed open the door. At least she hadn't locked it back when she had slammed it. He cautiously stepped through the door and took in the sight before him. Buffy was sitting on the bed cross legged with her hand on her very large abdomen. The ice cream was sitting on the bed in front of her untouched and she was starting to cry again. Her red leather pants were lying in cut up shreds all over the room, as were several of her other more alluring clothes. Spike closed and locked the door and crossed the room. He sat on the bed next to Buffy and tentatively pulled her into an embrace, tucking her head under his chin. Buffy was wailing loudly now and Spike was rubbing his hands up and down her back and rocking her slowly back and forth.

"Sssshhh. It's OK Pet." Spike tried to reassure her. He felt her tense and leaned back to look at her better. He brought her chin up to look at him. "What is it Pet?" Spike said, his brow creased with concern. Her saw her chin tremble and he tucked he head back under.

"I feel (sniffle) just (sniffle) awful Spike. (sniffle, sniffle)" Buffy managed to get out. "I didn't mean to (sniffle) hurt them. (sniffle). They hate me. (sob) I'm as big as a house (sob) and they hate me."

Spike was fairly certain he was going to have to wring out his shirt if she didn't stop soon.

"Hey now. You and I both know you aren't as big as a house. The doctor even said you could stand to put on a little more, remember?" Spike said still rocking her. She had nodded her head a little and wasn't crying nearly as hard. "You've only four weeks left Pet, and then you won't get any chance at that ice cream, what with the rugrats and all, so you'd better get it now." Spike said as he took off the lid of the carton and scooped up a bit of the not so frozen stuff. He waved it in front of Buffy a bit and he felt her wavering, but she shook her head. "Your loss, love" Spike said as he took the spoonful and then turned it over and licked it.

He felt Buffy tense again. Not the same this time though. This was his favorite part, Spike thought to himself. Buffy reached up and wrapped her hand around the spoon and brought it to her mouth. She started licking it, cleaning every last bit of ice cream off of it. Buffy pulled the spoon free and tossed it over her shoulder. Buffy pushed Spike back into the pillows and placed a hungry kiss on his mouth.

Spike reached to set the Ben & Jerry's on the night stand, but missed. As the half melted concoction hit the ground it sputtered everywhere. Spike and Buffy both laughed at the sight of each other covered in melted ice cream.

Spike leaned up and lightly licked a dab off of Buffy's cheek. She moaned her appreciation and returned the favor to his neck. Yes, this was definitely his favorite part.

Spike was lying on his side and Buffy was snuggled into his arms. Spike had felt her breathing become deep and rhythmic and knew she was now sleeping. He gently smoothed her hair. Studying her face. She was beautiful when she slept. So innocent and relaxed. He smiled to himself thinking that in a few weeks, they wouldn't be getting any sleep at all. In a few minutes, Spike had fallen asleep as well.

Buffy woke after only a little while. She felt really uncomfortable and couldn't seem to get back to sleep. She moved to get out of the bed. A shower would probably help, and with all the girls in the house, early morning was the only time she was going to get any hot water. Spike mumbled something unintelligible and pulled her back against him. Buffy pried his arm from around her waist and slipped out of the bed.

"Just taking a shower." She whispered. She padded as quietly as possible to the bathroom and slipped into the shower. Letting the warm water run over her. She stood there like that forever letting the water wash away all her tension and cares. When she felt the water growing cold she turned it off and stepped out. She quickly dried off and made her way back to the room. She found one of her night shirts and slipped it on before sliding back to bed. She was back to sleep in no time.


Spike had slipped out before sunrise again. This was getting old. No one would tell her where he was going and he would only tell her it was a surprise for her. Not even Xander would rat him out. She couldn't even follow him out. Spike had the whole house keeping tabs on her and she knew it would be too dangerous anyway. She could barely make it down the stairs without help, much less slay something.

At least she could move around outside a little during the day. The demons had quit testing the barrier Willow had erected and now pretty much stayed away. The gang didn't even bother with the barrier anymore as long as Willow was home. She had started back at school, but Spike had insisted she start her maternity leave this week. She had begrudgingly done so. Still, she was glad she didn't have to work today. She hadn't slept well last night and couldn't seem to find a right position on the couch today.

Around lunch time she began feeling really uncomfortable. Her abdomen would get so tight. False pains again, Buffy thought to herself. Spike had almost come unglued the first time, Buffy giggled to herself at the memory. Twice since they had gotten like this. They would pass. She had a few more weeks left. She smiled as one of the babies squirmed and kicked her lower ribs. "No more room left little one." Buffy mused and rubbed her hand in circles on her stomach. That always seemed to help. Of coarse Spike was usually the one doing it.

Spike stood and addressed the gathered group. Giles, Angel, and Wesley sat facing him. He had shown them around the mansion and they had all been impressed with the work he had done.

"This is all great Spike, but why did Wes and I have to come up now?" Angel asked "Buffy's due in a few weeks and I was going to be back then."

"Because," Spike paused for suspense, "I have an idea."again he paused to make sure everyone was listening to him. "I want to start an academy. Watchers and Slayers. Make them the way they should be." Everyone seemed shocked and glanced around at each other before turning back to stare at Spike.

"Seems to me, we have a bunch of slayers with no watchers. Giles, you and Wesley here, are the only ones left. We can split the groups between here and Angel's place. There's enough in both places to teach them different things. A few years here, a few years there. Both places have a slayer, a watcher, and a souled vampire." Spike glanced at everyone. At least they weren't shooting him down yet.

"Angel could continue his little hobby down there. Give them all a bit more of the investigative stuff. Buffy and I can do more of the fighting stuff. I'm sure the council still has it's sizable assets sitting somewhere. With some planning, we can build on them and everyone gets a little kick back. Buffy can focus on slayer stuff and we can watch out for the twins." OK. Now it was their turn.

"Spike, I must say you sound like you've thought this out a good bit." Giles commented.

After a little more discussion, they had concluded the plan was not only workable, but desirable. Spike gave himself a satisfied smile. Now, he just had to bring Buffy in on it. She still didn't even know that he had fixed the mansion up for them all. Spike's pocket began ringing again. "Bloody..."

"Hello?...Buffy?...Yes Pet, I'll stop and get some on the way home" Spike noticed everyone was grinning at each other knowingly. "Don't you think Bit could get it a bit quicker?" Spike paused and his face grew hard. "What about Red?" Spike clenched his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut. "Slayer, listen to me. You sit tight and do not, DO NOT, go outside the house. I'll be there in a minute." Spike hung up the phone.

"Spike what's wrong?" Giles asked with concern as Spike started toward the door.

"She's at home. Alone. As in no one there but her." Spike quickly clarified.

You picked a hell of a day to send everyone off, Buffy thought to herself. She had managed to send half the girls to the movies with Willow and convinced Xander to take the others to patrol and that she would send Willow and the others to find them when she got home. When they had protested she had exploded until all had scattered to the winds and Buffy finally had the house to herself.

Problem was, Buffy was fairly certain these pains were not only regular, but strong enough to make her have to stop everything and wait for it to pass. Well, they still had some time. Spike would be home soon and he had said he would bring ice cream. Right after he told you to stay put like some child, a little voice in Buffy's head said. Well, she wasn't a child and she would do what she felt like. OK, she wouldn't patrol, but she could sit on the porch. He would be hopping mad when he got home and she could care less, she told herself.

She had just opened the door and stepped out on the porch when she felt her head explode and saw stars. The last thing she remembered seeing was the porch light.

Spike wheeled up the drive and was out of the car as the others pulled up in Angel's car. This wasn't right. The front door standing open. As the others got out of the car they noticed Spike sitting on his knees in front of the open door. Angel stopped dead in his tracks. Wesley nearly ran into him. "Angel, what's wrong?" He asked

"Blood" Angel said. "Buffy's"

A loud howl came from Spike and he jumped up in full game face and walked down the sidewalk, his nose smelling the air. He started barking orders at them. "I'm going after them. Angel, I know you can track her as well as I can and I'll need help with her. Giles, find the girls and make sure they are OK. Then get them home. And find Red, we may need a locator spell. Wes, you're with us. I may need you to get Buffy out while Angel and I here have a go with these guys."

Everyone had looked at each other and began as they were told. Spike and Angel took the lead with Wes trailing behind. Giles took Angels car and sped off down the road. Spike and Angel were moving at a fevered pace and Wes was doing his best just to keep them in view. He was glad he remembered so much of Sunnydale's landmarks.

Caves. Why did they always have to end up at these caves? Spike wondered. He should bloody well bomb them and then they wouldn't have to worry about them anymore. He silently cursed to himself as he thought how extensive and winding these caves were. It could take them all night to get the right tunnel and that could be too late. He pushed himself on with renewed urgency.

They had just entered the cave when Wesley came running up. He stopped behind them and bent over placing his hands on his knees and gasping in huge breaths. Spike quickly eyed him, "You OK Wes?" He asked. Wes just nodded his head and they started into the caves. Wesley was glad he had grabbed the flashlight when they headed out.

Spike didn't like this. These vamps were clever buggers. They had gone down two tunnels with Buffy's scent only to find a shoe and her headband. Spike felt like he was running out of time. It had been over two hours since he had talked to Buffy and the headband they found had a large blood stain on it. They had come to a divergence in the tunnel again and Buffy's scent seemed to be coming from all three directions. Spike started down one, but Angel's hand shot out and grabbed his arm stopping him.

"Smell that?" Angel lifted his head a little and stood there.

"Yeah. Buffy's scent, it's everywhere." Spike said, sounding dangerously frazzled.

"No, well yeah, but something else. Different. I've smelled it before. If I could just place it." Angel put a hand up to silence Spike before he could protest.

"Darla. That's it. Last time I smelled it was when Connor was born. When Darla's water...."

"Broke?"Wesley finished.

"No, oh no. God no. They can't have..." Spike was sputtering out with a very terrified look on his face.

"Angel, can you track it?" Wesley asked.

Angel nodded his head and paused looking down each tunnel before starting down the one to the far right.

This vamp is so going to die, Buffy thought to herself. He was sitting in a chair in front of her watching her. Buffy felt another pain and had to bite her tongue to keep from screaming. They were close now. Very close now. Buffy was practically panting between them, and her water had broken an hour ago. The very old looking vampire sitting in front of her seemed to be enjoying the show. His fledglings were arguing over the unconscious guy in shackles across from her.

Buffy's arms tickled where the blood was running down from her trying to free herself from her own shackles. Buffy silently grinned as she noted that she almost had one of them worked loose. A few more distractions from the brain squad across the way and she would have one hand free. Buffy felt another pain and let a small scream escape before she caught it.

"Tisk, tisk, slayer. I would have thought a girl like you could control her pain. You know, I heard that breathing thing helps." The vampire quipped. "I am so going to enjoy this. Those little ones will be so sweet and delectable. Of coarse, not sure how much room I'll have after I drain you. But I bet I'll manage. I just hope this show gets on the road before your lapdog of a vampire gets here." He stuck his lip out in a mock pout. Buffy let out another scream and he smiled his appreciation. "That's more like it."

Spike heard the first scream and had taken off running. He heard the vampires last comments. He knew that voice.

"Too late Martou." Spike said as he sauntered in, hands in his pockets. "Lapdog is here."

"Well, I was beginning to think you wouldn't come Spike." The vampire said moving around to stand behind Buffy. "Glad you could join us. Now you can watch me finish off the slayer here." He said and nodded to his fledglings.

"Don't think so boys." Angel said coming from an opening on the other side of the cave. He stopped between Spike and the fledglings and crossed his arm, no bothering to hide the smirk on his face.

Martou just sputtered some meaningless sounds as he glanced back and forth between Spike and Angel. He hadn't planned on facing Angelus. He decided to play this out as far as he could. He still had the slayer after all. "Doesn't matter if he's here Spike. I'll kill her before you can cross the room. A little payback for feeding me to that mob in Prague" He grinned broadly as he shifted to game face. He yanked Buffy's head to the side and sank his fangs in, sparing a glance to Spike, who was just grinning at him. Martou had barely taken a sip when he felt the stake pierce his back. "How the hell...." he managed before bursting into dust.

Buffy bit out another scream and her face scrunched up as the pain hit her and she tried to double over. Buffy managed to pull her hand free in doing so. She tried to free the other hand from its shackle, but couldn't get it. Buffy felt someone trying to hold her up and she could hear lots of commotion going on around her. The pain finally subsided and Buffy looked up to see Angel dispatch the last fledgling. Spike was pulling on the chain hooked to her remaining shackle. She looked over to see it was Wesley who was holding her up.

"Buffy how close are the contractions?" Wesley asked her. Spike was still trying to break the chain and Angel was now trying to help him.

"Too close" Buffy bit out as yet another hit her. The chain finally gave and Buffy started to sink down to the floor. Spike swept her up in his arms and Buffy grabbed his shirt, and ripped it almost in two as she yelled for him to stop.

"Slayer, we need to get you to the hospital." Spike said firmly and started back toward the entrance.

"No. Time." Buffy managed to say scrunching her face again.

Spike felt her whole body tense up and she had started making a humming noise. Almost like Dru when the visions came, Spike thought to himself. He silently implored Angel and Wes to help him but both were simply staring at each other.

"Buffy, what are you...?" His eyes widened in realization, "you're pushing! No, baby, not here. You can't push here." Spike told Buffy as if she had control over it.

"Tell...them....that." Buffy panted out.

Wesley quickly took charge of the situation.

"Angel, given me your jacket. I'll need your shirt as well." Wesley took off the jacket he had been wearing and spread it out on the ground next to one wall then put his own shirt over it. "Spike put her here." Wesley indicated to the shirt. Spike looked a Wesley as if he had suddenly sprouted horns. "Spike! I said put her here." Spike looked at Wesley another moment before he nodded and set Buffy gently down. Wesley waited until her face relaxed again and looked her in the eyes. "Buffy, dear, I'm going to have to look." Buffy didn't hesitate a second before nodding.

"Over my dead..." Spike shouted in protest.

"Look Spike," Wesley cut him off, "Like it or not, Buffy is going to deliver the first baby here. We don't have time for arguments. I can't help her without looking. Perhaps you would like to deliver her?" Spike shook his head. "No? I thought not. Then let me do this. With any luck we can get her to the hospital before the other one delivers." Wesley said as he draped Angel's coat across Buffy's knees. Another contraction hit Buffy and she started humming again.

"Oh dear." Wesley stated glancing up at Buffy. "Buffy, I need you to focus. I assume Rupert has been working with you on some techniques?" Buffy nodded her head. "Good. I need you to breathe now. You're too strong Buffy, I can't control this if you completely push. Spike, you need to get her to focus." Spike nodded and looked at Buffy, turned her face to his.

"OK love, you can do this. Remember what the watcher taught you? You have to do it now, Pet." Spike said in his most soothing voice. He started talking her through each contraction. Soon he found he had Buffy focusing on his voice. "That's my girl. Just keep listening to me. Wes, what do we need to do?" Spike asked without breaking eye contact with Buffy.

"I need small pushes. Nothing big." Wesley instructed.

"All right then. This is it love. Little pushes. Just like he said." Spike told her. Buffy nodded her head and complied. In a matter of moments it was all over.

"Its a girl." Wesley announced. He quickly cleaned and wrapped her and she started crying.

Spike broke eye contact and turned his head at the wondrous sound of the baby girl. Tears clouded his vision and soon started streaming down his face as he gazed in awe at her. So tiny. "Is she OK?" Spike asked through a broken voice.

"I think she'll be fine, but we should get them to the hospital. Now." Wesley said as he stood. Still holding the bundled infant. Buffy suddenly let out another cry as Spike picked her up and Wesley turned to see she had resumed her vigorous pushing. He had hoped she wouldn't progress this fast. Then again, a slayer had never delivered before. He supposed they were lucky to have arrived when they had.

"Or we could be not so lucky." Wesley ruefully added. He handed the infant to Angel and knelt back down to check on Buffy. His suspicion was confirmed as Buffy began pushing again. "Spike, I'm afraid it's time for round two."

Spike nodded his head and turned to Buffy but was interrupted as he began to speak.

"Oh dear Lord" Giles had come around one of the entrances and spun around with his back to the group. "Terribly sorry. I didn't realize....." just then Willow came running in, "Oh my!" she said and blushed deeply before joining Giles staring at the cave wall.

"Bloody hell...."Spike muttered staring at the backs of the two. Buffy started her humming again and pushed.

"Spike!" Wesley yelled.

Spike returned his attention to Buffy and soon had her back in her semi-hypnotized state.

"Rupert," Wesley called "I'm afraid I'm going to need your shirt."

"Yes, yes of coarse." He said as he shed the shirt and handed it to Willow. She eyed it with horror and shook her head at Giles. They quickly passed it back and forth as if it would burn their hands.

"Oh for the love of..."Angel muttered and rolled his eyes then he walked over and took the shirt from them. He handed the shirt to Wesley and returned his attention to the little girl he was holding.

Soon the cave was filled with another cry as Wesley wrapped the small boy and handed him off to Spike and returned his attention to Buffy. Angel handed her the little girl and stood back to watch the new parents. He saw Spikes expression and recalled his son's not so distant arrival and the joy he had felt as he had picked up the small infant still covered in Darla's ashes. Wesley proclaimed they were ready and Angel took the girl back and Spike handed his son back to Wesley, then wrapped Buffy up in the jacket and scooped her up in his arms.

Buffy was sitting up in her bed as she watched her two vampires each holding a tiny bundle. Giles, Wesley, and some of the girls were admiring little William, as Dawn, Xander and the rest cooed over little Bella. She couldn't help feeling at the moment the everything was right with the world. The doctor had assured her that the babies were fine and healthy. They had even seemed to buy the whole home birth story they had concocted on the way to the hospital. Her head had been patched up and her doctor had assured her everything else was normal.

"All right everyone. You're going to have those babies sick and spoiled." Willow had come in and was shooing everyone out the door. "Besides, mom needs her rest." She said as she pushed the highly protesting group through the doors. Buffy still couldn't believe they were at the mansion. Angel and the others had moved the whole house while she had been in the hospital. They hadn't even told her until she saw them turn on to Crawford and questioned Spike about it. She had cried when she walked into the room and saw the nursery off to the side. He had put a door in between the two rooms so they could easily access the nursery.

Angel handed little Bella to Buffy and placed a small kiss on her forehead and one on Buffy's cheek before he too left the room, closing the door behind him. Spike came and sat on the bed next to Buffy, bringing William with him. He sat there for long minutes just staring at the sleeping child.

"I didn't get you anything." Spike finally said quietly.

Buffy looked at him, confused by his statement.

"You gave me three incredible gifts and I didn't get you anything." He clarified, looking up at Buffy with that look of love that always seemed to melt her heart. "And I have nothing to say that could thank you enough for them."

Buffy felt her heart swell. Spike always seemed to know what to say to make her feel this way. Wait a minute, three. He had said three gifts.

"What's the third gift Spike?" She asked.

"You, love." He said, leaning in to place a soft kiss, but stopped just shy of her lips.

"Marry me." Spike whispered, staring into her gaze.

"I thought you'd never ask." Buffy answered with a smile.