A Birthday to Remember (Epilogue)

Blowing out the match he'd been using to light all the candles littering every possible surface in their bedroom Spike admired his handiwork then turned to collect his wife from her bubble bath.

"Five more minutes," Buffy moaned from their large clawfooted bathtub, not even opening her eyes to speak as she sensed his presence in the doorway.

"Water's getting cold already, luv," he whispered as he knelt next to her and dipped a hand into the water. "You'll like this next part just as much," he promised with a trail of slow kisses down the side of her neck.

"Mmm," she sighed happily and cracked one eye open just a bit. "Will there be more of that?"

"Possibly," he smiled seductively and she raised a wet hand from the bath water to bring those smiling lips to hers.

With her feet she dislodged the stopper and started the water draining as he helped her stand to step from the tub.

She stood stretching her warm and relaxed muscles as he grabbed one of their big fluffy bath towels from the rack then rose to start wiping the moisture from her skin. He began at her shoulders working his way slowly down her arms then her torso, drying front and back in just a minute.

When he knelt before her to begin working his way up her legs she braced her hands on his strong shoulders and slowly opened her eyes to admire his lightly tanned skin under her fingers. As he finished he leant forward to gently kiss the barely visible silvery little stretch marks around her stomach.

"Stop that," she pouted a bit as his actions reminded her she still had five pounds she wanted to shed before she considered herself to be back to her old physique.

"Can't," his tongue darted out to trace one tiny little line at her side causing her to squirm a bit as the light touch tickled her. "They're just so cute."

"They are not," she argued just for the sake of arguing as he stood to scoop her up in his arms and carry her into the bedroom.

"Yes," he shifted her closer in his arms for a quick kiss before laying her on the bed, "they are. Everything about you," he stood there in nothing but boxer shorts admiring her nude body against the black satin of their bed sheets, "is cute and sexy," he braced his hands on the edge of the mattress and leaned down to kiss her stomach, "and so bloody beautiful you take my breath away every time I look I you."

"Still?" she asked with a touch of uncertainty as they had been married four years now.

"Always," he said with quiet conviction while looking straight into her eyes to put all her doubts to rest.

"For me, too," she whispered with the same conviction while reaching out to take his left hand into hers and mesh their fingers together so their wedding bands were side by side.

"On to your tummy now," he ordered after a quick kiss and straightening to stand next to the bed.

Without hesitation she rolled until she was lying face down on the bed then turned her head to watch him as he slid his boxers off, grabbed a bottle of baby oil and joined her on the mattress.

"We're gonna ruin the sheets again," she smiled as she remembered how their massages always messed the satin material up.

"It'll wash out," he knelt beside her and poured some oil into his hands to warm it with his skin.

Smiling she folded her arms up under her chin, closed her eyes and relaxed as he brushed aside the few strands of hair that had escaped the clip she had them fastened up with then began massaging the nape of her neck and on down to her shoulders firmly.

She always marveled at his hands when he touched her like this. They were pure magic at easing away pain from muscles strained in fighting or slowly bringing her body to arousal as he was doing now.

His oil slicked hands skimmed down her spine then began kneading their way up her back to loosen every muscle there. When he again reached her shoulders he spread his fingers out wide with the thumbs pressed together in the dip of her spine and while applying a moan inducing pressure he dragged his hands down to her hips.

One hand left her to pour more oil in his palm before he resumed the massage. She stretched toward him like a cat when he slowly worked the liquid into the taut skin of her butt then slowly made his way to her thighs.

"Patience, pet," he paused to whisper into her ear when she wiggled her hips to try deepening the contact between his roaming fingers and her core.

"Phooey on patience," she said with a smile as she opened an eye just enough to see him smiling back at her.

Their smiles quickly changed from teasing to wanting and Buffy opened both eyes while rolling on to her back.

"Wasn't finished with that side," he stated even though his hands willingly went to massaging the oil on her chest.

"You can finish it later," she managed to get out before moaning as his hands gently massaged her sensitive and slightly swollen breasts.

"Too much," he asked with a bit of concern at her moan.

Green eyes growing dark and hazy with desire looked up into his as she gave a slight shake of her head to indicate that it the sound had been one of pleasure not discomfort.

Spike bent to tenderly press a closed mouth kiss to her lips as his hands moved slowly down her ribs to her stomach.

Both of them opened their mouths and deepened the kiss as his fingers began kneading her abdomen and prepared to go lower only to be stopped by a loud wail from the baby monitor on the bedside table.

They both froze completely at the sound and turned their heads to stare at the device. Then with a groan from him and a disappointed whimper from her they both sprang into action.

"Knew we should have let Red take her tonight," Spike sighed as he stepped back into his shorts.

"It's way too soon for us to start handing her off to our friends to take care just so we can … do things," Buffy pulled on and belted her robe with a slight blush toward the bed then the baby monitor.

He chuckled at her heightened color, loving how becoming a mother had made his wife all soft and ever mindful of the language she used anywhere around their daughter or when thinking of their child.

"I'll go heat her bottle," he gave her a quick kiss then left the room to head for the kitchen.

Buffy quickly moved to the nursery the bedroom next to theirs had been converted into and gently lifted her crying infant from it's crib.

"Shh, mommy's here," she cradled little Joyce in her arms and, after checking to make sure it wasn't need for a diaper change causing the upset, moved to sit in the rocking chair set next to the big bay window in the room.

Making soothing little noises she pushed aside her robe and urged her daughter to begin feeding as she started the chair rocking gently back and forth.

"Never get tired of seeing that," Spike sighed quietly from the doorway a minute later as he stood watching his wife and child bathed in the soft glow of the nightlight that was always left on in the room.

"She's getting to where all she wants is the bottle," Buffy looked up from the head against her chest with its soft brown hair to smile at her husband.

"Better enjoy these moments while they last then," he entered the room and carefully lifted them both into his arms without disturbing the nursing baby then sat down in the chair with them on his lap.

Taking the bottle from him she offered it to Joyce who eagerly latched onto the rubber nipple and began suckling hungrily. As he set the chair to rocking again, Buffy sank back against his chest and nestled her head in the crook of his shoulder as their little girl devoured the formula.

These were the moments they'd saved the world for. For people to have this kind of happiness, never really imagining that they'd have the chance to experience it for themselves.

Sitting in Spike's arms, feeling his warmth and heartbeat against her back, with their five month old baby girl Joyce Marie nursing in her arms, Buffy felt more love and joy and serenity than she ever would have thought possible.

Two years ago she's started to think the world would conspire against them having moments like this.

Angel and Giles had both come running to tell her they were facing another Apocalypse thanks to some nimrod who was trying to bring hell onto Earth via the Hellmouth in Cleveland, Ohio. The hardest decision of her life had been to leave Spike, who was bound to Los Angeles, to go stop the event from happening. He'd given the strength and faith to get it done, though. With a few simple words said during a long night of loving he'd shown her yet again that with or without him she could conquer anything and this world would make it through whatever evil was thrown it's way because there was too much good in it for failure to be an option.

Rona and three other young women, who had been turned into slayers from Willow's spell at the end of Sunnydale and trained by Giles to use their skills, had been lost in the battle, but their side had won. Buffy, Faith, Kennedy, Rupert and Wesley had all sustained more than a few broken bones to get it done. Spike had counted every bruise, break, cut and scrape he found on her the second she returned to LA and held each little injury against Angel, who had sworn to take care of her in his absence.

They were still reaping the benefits from the major guilt trips her husband laid on the vampire whenever he was reminded of his allowing her to get harmed. This townhouse they now lived in was one of those benefits. When they'd found out she was pregnant they had put the word out that they were looking for a home to raise their growing family in and Angel had used the real estate division of Wolfram & Hart to secure them a beautiful little two story in a decent part of the city.

Their protection business had been thriving almost from the very first job they took on and, thanks to paranoid celebrities and studio execs trying to weasel themselves out of deals made with demons to get ahead in Hollywood, they'd been able to buy and furnish the house without even blinking at the costs. They were even managing to put Dawn through college, though the young woman had no idea what she wanted her major to be. Art was always a constant theme in the classes she signed up for so Spike had been urging her to get a degree in that area and go into the gallery business like their mother had.

Thinking of her mother always brought a twinge of pain, but it was always a bit more poignant a pain at moments like this. Moments when she held her daughter in her arms and wondered how Joyce would have spoiled her first grandchild. How much her mother would have teasingly bemoaned her grandmother status as vehemently denied that she was anywhere near old enough to have a granddaughter. How much Joyce would have approved of this marriage, because even though the evil vampire thing had always worried her, Buffy knew her mother had always liked Spike.

Buffy watched as baby Joyce drifted off to sleep and slowly stopped nursing on the bottle and wondered tearfully if her mother would be proud of how she was doing.

"She would be, luv," Spike whispered quietly behind her, as always sensing that something was bothering his wife and somehow knowing exactly what it was.

"I wish she could see this," a tear rolled down her cheek as she pressed a kiss to her daughter's head then gently shifted the baby and rubbed at her back until she gave a little burp.

"I'm sure somewhere she's got a front seat view of it," he assured his wife as she got to her feet to return their daughter to her crib.

"Have I told you today that I love you," she asked him as he came to stand behind her and watch their girl sleep for a moment.

"Been a few hours," he smiled and slid his arms around her waist.

"Hours, you say?" she turned in his embrace and draped her arms around his neck. "I'll have to make up for those."

"That you will," he gave her a quick kiss then stepped away to drop a loving little kiss on his sleeping child's head before once again scooping his wife up to carry her back to their bedroom.

"I am capable of walking a few steps without injury, you know," she chided even as she snuggled into his hold.

"I know," he put her down on their bed with a leer. "I like carrying you, though. Makes me feel all manly," he ran his hand down his bare chest and under the elastic waistband of his boxers then pushed the fabric down.

"Mmm, I love it when you're all manly," she rose to kneel facing him while slipped the robe from her shoulders with an inviting smile.

With a slight growl rumbling through his chest he moved quickly onto the bed to claim her lips hungrily and press her back to the mattress.

"Um …. Spike," she squirmed under him as she felt a spreading wetness under her shoulder and back, "did you leave the baby oil on the bed?"

~*~*~

Buffy laid next to Spike under the cotton bedspread they'd gotten to replaced the oil soaked satin sheets with her right leg nestled between both of his and her head resting on his shoulder watching her right hand absently stroking his chest.

"Looks like we made it this year," he yawned and took her roaming hand in his free one to raise it and kiss her fingers.

She looked past him to the clock on the bedside table next to the amulet they always kept nearby and wasn't surprised to find it well past two am.

Smiling she turned back to watch him suck her middle finger into his mouth and did an inner happy dance. He was right. They'd made it through her 26th birthday without an Apocalypse or any other kind of imminent doom facing them, the world or their loved ones.

"Maybe they finally got the memo that I've retired from the whole Slayer gig," she grinned up at him then resisted the urge to mention how adorable he looked getting all sleepy after their day and with his hair all mussed from her fingers.

"I am not cute," he gave her a bit of a glare to try looking intimidating.

"I didn't say anything," she kissed his shoulder and strived for an innocent look.

"You were bloody thinking it and I'm not cute," he nipped at her pinky.

"Your mind reading abilities are slightly off tonight," she moved to lie on top of him with a gleam in her eyes. "I was thinking you looked adorable, not cute," she laughed when he smacked her bottom for that then rolled to pin her beneath him.

"Take that back," he ordered with her wrists held in his hands above her head.

"Nope, it's true," she grinned up at him. "You're getting all sleepy and yawning and you're hair's all a mess. It's adorable. My blondie bear."

"I'll divorce you," he threatened with a reluctant grin curling his lips.

"On what grounds?"

"Mental cruelty. 'Blondie bear,'" he rolled his eyes at the phrase and gave an over exaggerated shudder of revulsion. "Take it back," he insisted.

"All right," she rolled her eyes up at him. "I take it back. You're so not adorable. You're manly and sexy and hot and absolute salty goodness that I wanna lick and nibble on for hours on end."

"Haven't you grown past that whole 'salty goodness' terminology phase?" he rolled on to his back to let her begin some of that licking.

"Mmm, how could I when it's so apt?" she ran the flat of her tongue up the middle of his chest until it reached the Adam's apple in his throat which bobbed as he swallowed convulsively and began responding to her touch. "Salty," she licked at his skin a few more times before he urged her to straddle him again.

"God, I do love you," he groaned when she ground against his renewed arousal and nipped at his jugular.

"Name's Buffy, baby, not God, but I know it's easy to confuse the two," she quipped with a smacking kiss to his lips.

"Oh, hardy har har har," he said when her words filtered through the haze of desire he'd been sinking under. "You're a bloody riot tonight."

"It was just too good an opening to resist," she said without remorse and a very self-satisfied grin on her face.

"If you weren't such a loud screamer I'd turn you over my knee and tan your little hide, brat," he threatened with a grin that showed the lack of any real intent behind the words. "Although, we should still have a gag around here somewhere …"

"No bondage with a baby in the house," Buffy declared.

"Didn't seem to mind doing it when Dawn shared the apartment with us," he reminded her with a lascivious grin.

"Oh God, I've married a pervert," she groaned and slumped against his chest.

"Can't say you weren't aware of that before the wedding, pet. And need I remind you you're the one that bought the first pay of handcuffs this time?"

"Our kids are gonna be such screwed up adults."

"'Kids' plural? Thought you said no more after Joyce's labor. In fact, I recall you threatening my bits with unimaginable tortures if I ever put another bun in your oven."

"I was in labor at the time and you wouldn't let them give me drugs," she pouted then grinned at the memory. "Changed your tune when I started threatening Willy Jr, didn't ya?"

"That's not it's bloody name," he rolled her onto her back and rose above her with a grin. "It's called the spike of Spike and I'm about to drive it into you."

She looked up into his smiling face then down at this infamous spike pressed between her legs then returned her gaze to his face. She tried to keep it in. She really really tried, but the corner of her lip started twitching upward no matter how hard she bit the inside of her cheek and then the laughter started pouring out.

"Figured you'd like that one," he moved to lean back against the headboard and watch her double over laughing.

A few minutes later when her mirth showed no signs of easing he was no longer smiling at his own joke.

"Wasn't that bleeding funny," he pouted as she finally stopped due to the soreness of her throat and the tears pouring from her eyes.

Holding up her hand to indicate she needed a moment, she slid from the bed to go to the bathroom and get a drink of water.

"With a delivery like that, it was that funny," she argued when she'd regained her composure.

"Just for that, no more spiking for you tonight," he continued to sulk and tucked the blankets firmly around him.

"Oh, it's your own fault for making a funny at 'the spike of Spike's expense," she grinned and slid back into bed.

"Why do I stay married to you?"

"Because I'm irresistible and you totally love me," she snuggled up against him.

"That must be it," he smiled and pulled her closer.

"I love you, too," she tipped her head back for a kiss.

"That's what I like to hear."

"So," she began trailing her fingers over his chest, "can I have another spiking tonight?"

"Don't you ever get tired?" he groaned as he urged her on top of him again.

"Of this?" she moaned at finding him still hard and took his length inside her. "Never."

She'd never get tired of this man, this love, this family or this life she now had.

And as they gazed in to each others eyes with their bodies moving toward simultaneous climaxes, she knew he never would either for as long as they lived this time around.

~*~

The End