Copyright- Hi Joss *waves* I know, I told them that the characters all belong to you and Mutant Enemy. Joss, why are there cops behind you? With their billy clubs out.... You get the picture ;)

: The Child From A Lotus Blossom : Chapter Three : What's In A Name?



Spike sat on the couch, with Aleda resting in his arms, still dead to the world. He was pleased to notice that they were very quiet in this house, quiet enough that if he closed his eyes very tight they would go away. But another thing was threatening to unnerve him. Across the room, the eyes of Buffy and Xander were bearing into him. They watched his soul, naked and torn, and it made him want to scream, or explain his situation, or hurt them.

"No, not hurt them. Won't hurt them. Never hurt the girl, she burns. Or her boy." He mumbled loudly, just getting more stares from the two scoobies in the room.

Xander opened his mouth to protest, when Buffy put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. They had talked about this. No one was going to talk to Spike until Willow came downtairs from Dawn's room. Since Xander had his history with Spike and Buffy could barely get him to look her in the eye, Willow seemed like the only chance they had to get him talking. And, they didn't want Dawn to find out about Spike's return if they could help it. So he settled back into his chair and they waited for Will.

Finally, Willow emerged alone at the base of the steps. Sighing, she pushed stray locks out of her face and leaned against the door frame. She smiled tiredly in Buffy's direction.

"She's asleep again, Buff. I finally calmed her down." Willow stated, then looked a little frightened. "Not with magic. No mojo-makin' involved, it was calming of the non-magical, hugs and kisses variety." Then she made her *I'll stop talking* face and fell silent.

"So they finally stopped, I take it?" Xander asked Willow, rubbing his hand across his head. First this, then Spike showing up. Someone liked inflicting Xan-Man mirgaines. He put his head back to stare at the ceiling, since giving Spike the evil eye hadn't made the bloodsucker leave, he might as well focus on something else.

"They?" Spike asked, looking around worridly. Had they left him to bother Dawn? Or tara maybe?He scrunched his forehead in confusion. Willow sighed again, here came the hard part. They had pinned the job of talking to loco Spike-o on her. Even though they seemed logical, she was worried none the less. He had a child, which was never good, and looked about as clueless as the rest of the room. She sat down cautiously next to Spike and turned to face him.

"Not your 'they'." She said softly, using air quotes to acknowledge the voices he was suffering from. "It's um, Dawn. She's been having these really bad nightmares ever since,"she paused and took a gulp of air."ever since she found Tara's body." Spike looked at her with remorse, an expression full of sympathy she couldn't deal with right now.

Willow looked over at Buffy, who urged her to press on. She sighed again, here comes the fun part.

"Spike. We need to know everything you know about this little girl." She feigned a smile at him but he just shook his head roughly. All he knew was what he had told them, and that was not near enough for them to figure out who/what she was. Or why she was with Spike.

"Well, why don't we wake her up?" Buffy suggested, Spike's gaze not meeting her's. She stood up and moved over to where Aleda lay on Spike's lap. She saw him visably stiffen as she neared him, but she reached down to lightly shake the little girl out of her slumber.

She mumbled incoherently at first, stretching her little arms in front of her. But as she opened her purple eyes, and saw that the blurry figure over her wasn't familiar, she did the first thing that came to her almost three year old mind, she wailed.

Before Buffy could even think to react, the child was flailing in Spike's arms, reddened cheeks puffed out with tears streaming down them, and her hands balled up into angry fists. The Scoobies watched in awe at the fiery tantrum that continued until Spike began to stroke a hand through her hair. His touched soothed her, and soon her breath was regular again and the fire in her cheeks paled to a rosy glow. She turned to face Spike, and smiling, placed a small hand on his face.

"Will-yum." She sighed happily, making him grin. But at the same time, he had to wonder, how in the world this girl knew him, why he didn't scare her the way he scared everyone else.

"Poppet, this is Buffy, " he said, motioning to the person standing in front of them. "She's a nice girl, and she just needs to talk to you. So be a good girl, and don't fuss." Aleda shot a weary glance at Buffy and turned back to Spike with a pout.

"Lee no like Buffy." she whispered, bottom lip jutting forward. She looked at him, with those large eyes and his heart melted.

"Just a few words, Lee," he said, adjusting to her self given nick name. "then she'll leave you be." he turned the little girl around so she was facing Buffy, who beamed down at her. Lee just pulled a few tiny fingers into her mouth and sucked on them, glowering at Buffy the entire time.

"What's your name, sweetie?" Buffy smiled at her. Aleda replied, her voice muffled because of her fingers held securly in her mouth.

Buffy continued with the questions, and no one noticed as Spike mumbled "Pretty dead word." again. Except Willow. The slightly inanse sounding phrase flicked a switch in the witch's head. She stood up and got her laptop from her bag, before sitting back down. Logging onto the World Wide Web, the ex-hacker typed through dozens of search engines looking for a certain something. Since Buffy was interrogating their tiny house guest and all of the action seemed to have lulled Xander to sleep, no one bothered to wonder what she was up to.

"Where's your mommy, Leda?" Buffy asked sweetly. Aleda looked up her, pulling her fingers from her mouth slowly. Her eyes welled up with tears, and Buffy couldn't help but wonder if she had set of another temper tantrum. She cringed, and waited for the wailing to start. Instead, the tears fell down her face silently, as she answered.

"I dunno where mummy is." she answered with a hushed voice, lifting her hand back to her mouth. As she did, Buffy noticed a bracelet around her tiny wrist. It seemed to be made of flowers, with a wooden locket on it. But before she could inspect it further, she was interrupted.

"Ah-Ha!" she heard from across the room, and turned to see Willow smiling at her sheepishly.

"Ah-Ha?" Buffy asked, confused.

"Yes. It was an 'I found something' ah-ha. You see, when you asked Aleda her name, I heard Spike mumbled something. He said 'Pretty dead word', which wouldn't make sense to someone who hasn't studied linguistics." She paused to glance at Buffy, her facial expression confirming that she had no idea what her best friend was talking about. "Well, 'dead word' got me thinking. Latin is considered a dead language, since it is rarely used in conversing in the modern day. So I figured I might as well search for a latin word orgin for the name Aleda. And..." she trailed off and looked at the computer screen.

"What didja find, Will?" Buffy tried to read Willow's face.

"Small and winged. That's exactly what the name means. Which leads be to believe-" she was cut off by Xander's nap time rambling.

"Dwarf pyterodactils" was the only thing they could make out from the jibberish.

"Wow. I never thought about that." Willow laughed, pausing thoughtfully until she felt Buffy's slightly irrated gaze on her. "Oh right. Which leads me to think 'faerie'. It explains the eye color and the flower. Well, sorta."

Both girls looked over at Aleda, who was now laughing happily at a varied array of funny faces that Spike was showing off.

"Great work, really Will. But that doesn't explain why or how she showed up in the cemetary. Or why she chose a psycho ex-killer to cling to." Buffy's head was throbbing, so she sat down in the nearest chair and watched as Willow got back to typing, mumbling to herself about chants and Heather, Whoever Heather was. Buffy rubbed at her temples and yawned. She had a feeling things were about to get interesting.



A/N- Ook. I KNOW that didn't explian much, haha. but I tried! It was too long for one chapter, so the next chapter will be more interesting. As always, please R&R!

Next Chappie- We see faeries! (ok, Willow sees faeries!)