A/N : Well, it's been 30 chapters, around 90,000 words and over 900 reviews, but we've finally reached the end of 'Our Little Secret'. As some of you will know, this story was originally supposed to be 10-12 chapters and completely AU Season 4, the baby was going to be Parkers, Riley was not going to die, Faith was going to leave right after the body swap and not come back, and Joyce was not going to support her daughter. Well, it turned out a little, or a lot different in fact, but it seems that's a good thing since you all say such nice things about it!
Thanx to; kargrif, electricgurl, libraflyter, freezyboncoolipants, Moluvsnumber17, spuffyfan-1, spikeswife1, Amandamanda3, Brittany, rubi-elektra, Kim, Spuffyfan4eva, MikiBaby, Carol, Cady Monroe, Screeching Dragon, Lady Savage, Shania Maxwell, Eurika, Slayergirl1212, Bridge, MaidenRo, Digital Damita, Zanet, SSWBA, le faye storyteller, wigi, theoneandonlygurl, katie, Jem, Chanida, Kari Mouke, dawn2004, for the reviews on the previous chapter, and to everyone who has reveiwed any or all of the chapters from one onwards. I've loved writing this but it's time to say, here endeth the story...
(For disclaimer, etc. - see chapter 1)
Chapter 30Faith and the Scoobies were making a valiant effort to escape the Initiative. Adam had been defeated but a war raged on beneath the college, with many casualties on both the demon and human sides. As awful as it was to know they were leaving so many behind to suffer and die, the gang could not worry too much about it. Their priority was getting themselves out of there and they were so close now, just one more corridor and they would be back in the room they'd started from, and the plan was for Willow to activate there nearest exit on a timed system so it'd close and lock behind them before anyone or anything could follow them out.
The problem was two rather nasty demons were taking down four soldiers with ease right by the door they needed entrance to. They waited around the corner, glancing out every so often to see what was happening.
"I think I can take them out but, element of surprise would be kinda crucial" Faith told the other three.
"You need them distracted?" Xander checked he understood and the Slayer nodded, "One distraction, coming up" he said and before anyone could react he bolted around the corner, waving a piece of broken pipe he'd been using for a weapon before.
"Stupid son of a..." Faith cursed at his stupidity, though she wondered at how brave he was too. Just an ordinary boy throwing himself into all kinds of danger and for what? Because he knew it was right.
As the Slayer followed on into battle, Giles and Willow fell in behind to back her up. The first demon was soon dead, the battle axe slicing it's head clean in two as the second monster was still busy dealing with the diversion, aka Xander. Willow shrieked in panic when she noticed the demon, which was a good two feet taller than any of them, lift her friend clean off the ground by his throat. Faith literally leapt into action, using the dead body of the first demon as a step up to head height of the other. She swung the axe at his head, but the large beast moved and the blade got embedded in it's shoulder.
"Faith!" Giles yelled below her, throwing a sword upward. She caught it with ease, still balancing on the carcass of the demon's ally. She took a well-timed swing, completely decapitating the beast. Xander fell to the floor and Willow ran to him as Faith climbed down and followed. He was unconscious but breathing and that was something to be thankful for.
"Get that exit open" the Slayer told Willow, gesturing towards the door to the room that held the computer systems they needed, "I'll bring Xander"
For a moment the witch was unsure but decided it was for the best. Giles covered her as they ran into the room and she frantically hit at the keys of the computer. Faith got Xander in a fireman's lift and followed, finding the run to the exit after that was a little much for even her.
"We have just two minutes left until it locks behind us" Giles informed them as he got the three younger people through the door and up onto the stairs. It was awkward with Xander unable to help and the important bag of magic supplies and weapons also to be transported. The Watcher scrambled through the door a moment before it closed and bolted itself shut again, the heavy steel muffling the pained cries and shouts within.
"We did it" Willow said breathlessly as they paused for a moment on the staircase. The three looked at each other and their unconscious friend in wonder - they really had managed to pull it off, and without Buffy.
- - - - - - -
"The hospital's in the opposite direction to Sunnydale!" Buffy complained as Spike told her to hold on because he was going to get her there, "We'll never make it!"
"We don't have a choice, luv" he told her, trying to stay calm but finding it almost impossible, "What other option is there? You can't give birth in the car"
Buffy's only response was to scream as the pain of another contraction shot through her. It had gotten much worse since her water broke and she knew that despite all the books she read telling her labour could take many hours, this kid was eager to be out in the world.
Spike wanted to scream himself only his would be out of pure frustration. He wanted to help her, but he didn't know where to begin. Pregnant women these days belonged in hospitals, with doctors and nurses and medical facilities. Back in the day when he was human it was true that many children were born quite healthily in the mother's own home with just a doctor and a maid present and no pain-killing drugs or sterilised instruments, but there was a lot of death back then too. Both mothers and babies perished through people's ignorance or lack of resources, he couldn't stand anything like that happening to Buffy or their child.
As the Slayer let out another cry of pain, Spike almost crushed the steering wheel, his grip was so tight on it. These contractions were getting longer and closer together much quicker than they could have anticipated. Whilst there was the upside that the labour should be shorter and therefore contain less pain in total, it meant there was no chance of making it to the hospital on time.
"Buffy, luv, I think you're right" he said worriedly, "Even pushing the car to the max and breaking every speed limit from here on out, I don't think we're gonna make it to the hospital before..."
The rest of his sentence was drowned out by another painful cry and he couldn't take it anymore. Whilst he was driving he was useless to her, unable to give her very much of his attention at all. He was going to have to pull over, get her into the back seat if he could and work out how one was supposed to deliver a baby! There was no-one else to do it after all.
- - - - - - -
"Take small sips" Willow told Xander as she sat down beside him on Giles' couch and handed her friend a glass of water. His throat was very sore, made evident by the bruising all around his neck. Still, both he and his friends were very well aware it could've been so much worse if that demon hadn't have let go of him when it did, and that was all thanks to Faith.
"Hey, buddy" the same brunette half-smiled as she perched herself on the arm of the sofa beside Xander, "You feelin' better?" she'd hidden in the bathroom from when they'd arrived until now. She felt completely wiped after the battle, terribly sick ever since that spell ended, and strangely disappointed to know that this was it. Buffy would be back soon, and despite the fact she'd been the one to help defeat the big bad, the one that saved Xander's life, it didn't really make a different. Everyone would still se her as the bitch she really was, or so she thought.
"Better" Xander croaked out his reply to her question, a slight nod accompanying the sound, "Not dead" he smiled and she nodded back at him. It was true, if the demon had tightened it's grip, Xander could either have choked to death, or been killed instantly if his neck snapped.
"Thankyou" he said solemnly, looking up into Faith's eyes.
"Hey, it's all part of the job" she shrugged, trying to make light of it. she made to get off the couch but Xander grabbed her hand, "Really, thankyou" he repeated in a hoarse voice, wanting to say so much more but unable to right now. Faith nodded once again, lost for words for one of the first times in her life. She never did anything to gain real gratitude from a person. She'd saved lives, sure, but never on such a personal level, never someone she, and here was the really weird part, someone she cared about. Spending so much time with the Scoobies had certainly changed her. Without Buffy around she was depended on and needed, and she was happy in her role. She decided to make the most of these friends she'd managed to acquire, because when the real Slayer returned to Sunnydale there would be no place for her.
"Indeed Faith, you did a splendid job in defeating Adam and in saving Xander" Giles told her as he polished his glasses and she kept her eyes averted from everyone. She hadn't cried in years, not counting that little moment in LA with Angel, but no-one really knew about that except him, her, and Wes. People being kind to her seemed to upset her more than abuse - that she'd learnt to deal with at least.
"Yeah Faith, you did real good" Willow agreed, standing up and walking over to her, "I know we never got along. I'm too smart for you and you're too skanky for me" she smiled to show she was at least half-joking, "but I think we've both kinda changed since the whole killing thing and I'm not saying I wanna be your best friend but...non-enemies at least?" she tried holding a hand.
Faith eyed it suspiciously before taking hold of it and shaking on the obscure deal.
"Sounds good" she nodded once, keeping words to a minimum in case her voice cracked. A moment later she swallowed hard and Willow went to sit with Xander again, the emotional moment over.
"Er, Giles, you got anything I can eat?" Faith asked, turning to the Watcher, "I dunno about you guys but I am starved" she announced, beginning to rifle through Giles' kitchen cupboards.
"I must confess I could quite happily partake of a cup of tea" he told her as he pulled himself up from the armchair and joined her, leaving Willow and Xander alone.
"You too, huh?" he croaked, sipping at his water some more straight after.
"What?" Willow didn't understand.
"Buffy" was all he need to say and his friend nodded.
"Yeah, I just can't help wondering what's happening with her" the red-head sighed, "Wherever she is, I hope she's happy right now"
- - - - - - -
"Oh my...!" Buffy screamed as another contraction ripped through her body, "I swear to God this baby is trying to kill me" she declared a minute or so later when the pain subsided and Spike leapt from the car, running round to the other side. He opened the passenger door and carefully tried to get Buffy out without causing her any more pain or making her anymore uncomfortable than was necessary. He'd explained to her before, it would be easier if she were in the back of the car, that way she could spread out and hopefully he would be able to help get their child out of her. Spike had to admit this was not quite how he'd imagined his next visit to the space between the Slayers legs but to see his child come into the world, it was worth it.
Buffy was just so glad she'd worn a skirt today and not her maternity pants, it would only have made things more complicated in the long run. As it was her skirt meant much less awkward manoeuvring was needed and she was soon propped up along the back seat of Spike's car, with the vampire at the end, checking what was going on down there. If she were not too busy concentrating on breathing and battling against pain, the kind of which she'd never experienced before, she would probably be highly embarrassed or possibly calling Spike a pervert by now.
"Oh God" she groaned, "Dying was easier than this"
Spike had to smile at that one. His own passing hadn't really been so much unbearable suffering as it had been a thrilling sort of rush, but this was no time for reminiscing he realised as Buffy seemed to be constantly yelling about the pain and he glanced down, only to realise there was a small child's head visibly emerging from the woman he loved!
"Bloody hell" he cursed, before realising he had to try to help somehow, "Er, Buffy, luv, I'm no expert, but I think this is the part where you start pushing, pet"
"I don't think I can" she said, finding breathing to be hard work even when the agonising contractions weren't trying to cut her in half.
"No choice, sweetheart" Spike shook his head, though she couldn't see that, "This kid wants out and, much like it's father, lack of patience is a factor" he told her with a smirk, his hand rubbing her ankle, trying to comfort her somehow.
A further shout erupted as the next contraction hit and for once doing as she was told Buffy pushed as hard as she could. The exertion was so much that when the pain finally subsided a minute later she fell back against the seats and cried.
"Spike, you bastard!" she yelled, "How could you do this to me?!"
Far from being angered by her words, he just rolled his eyes. Trust the woman to find a way to make all this his fault.
"Will Be Done spell, remember?" he muttered mostly to himself, "Weren't exactly fighting me off either..."
"I think I have to push again" the Slayer realised as the pain started again, Spike immediately snapped back to the task in hand.
For almost half an hour the Buffy attempted to push her child out into the world and Spike did his best to encourage and help her. He found the sight and smell of blood did nothing for him in this instance, he was just so thrilled to be there, watching his baby come into the world, the whole time willing the Powers That Be to let both his woman and his baby be okay.
He knew it was ridiculous but every time Buffy screamed he could hear his mother doing the same over a century ago. Her labour went on for hours and all to no good end since the baby was lost after just a few hours. Spike was determined not to lose his own child.
"Come on, Buffy" he urged her, "Just one more push, I think the job's done"
"I can't" she whined, suddenly wondering how she ever had the strength to do anything. She was supposed to be the Slayer with incredible stamina and endurance, but this was like nothing she'd ever been through before and if she didn't know better she'd think it was trying to kill her.
"Slayer...Buffy, I know you can do this" Spike told her much more calmly than he felt, "You are the strongest woman I have ever met, and you can do anything, luv. I believe that and you need to believe it too" when she gave no response he added one final thing, "and I love you" he reminded her.
Closing her eyes and concentrating hard, Buffy waited for the next contraction and pushed as if her life depended on it. The final effort was just what was needed as the baby slipped out and into Spike's waiting arms.
As Buffy collapsed back onto the seat in exhaustion, the baby made it's presence known, mouth wide open with enough high pitched squealing coming out to deafen the average person. Spike couldn't help the grin that covered his face. Here was his child, his daughter it seemed.
"Buffy" he said, completey stunned by what he'd just experienced, "We've got a little girl" he told her as he grabbed his previously discarded red shirt, wiped the baby off and wrapped her up in the material.
A few moments later, Spike managed to get himself into the car, sitting along the floor by the backseat where Buffy lay, the baby in his arms.
"Hey, little pet" he said to the now quiet child, "Say hello to Mummy"
"Oh God" Buffy gasped, tears streaming down her face as she managed to pull herself up a little and take the baby from Spike, "She's beautiful"
"Course she is" he agreed with a smile that wouldn't shift, "She looks just like her mother"
Their eyes met briefly before they both turned their attention back to their tiny daughter.
"With those eyes there's no mistaking who her Daddy is" the Slayer commented as the little girl's bright blue orbs shone up at her, "She's so perfect" she added breathlessly almost unable to believe she and Spike had created this wonderful, tiny, fragile little person.
"She can't just be called she, pet" the vampire frowned slightly, "S'not right for such a special little one to not have a name"
Buffy smiled as she looked over at him, she'd had an idea a few days ago but hadn't dared ask yet, now seemed like the perfect time.
"I was thinking maybe Rebecca Joyce Summers-Blackwell" she suggested, watching his face carefully for some kind of reaction. He looked at her wide-eyed for a moment, completely speechless for he first time in a long time. Eventually his voice cracked slightly as he answered.
"I think it's perfect" he told her, looking down at the newly named Rebecca, "But I have to ask why?" he said, not wanting to ruin this moment but really needing the truth here, "Why would my sister matter to you?"
"Because you matter to me" she told him, immediately gaining his attention as his eyes locked onto hers, "Spike, I was about to tell you before" she confessed, "I love you"
For a second the vampire could not believe it was all real. This night, this woman, his own child, and the love he felt. Careful not to crush the baby, he leaned over and put his lips to Buffy, kissing her tenderly.
"Y'know as crazy as it is" he whispered not far from her ear, "I don't even care that you probably don't mean that" he told her, before kissing her again. When they pulled apart for a second time, and Spike took another moment to marvel at the sight of his daughter. Buffy was close to tears. After all she'd put him through, she did sort of deserve for Spike not to believe her, but she really did love him so much, she just had to prove it.
Cradling the baby carefully against her chest with one arm for just a second, she reached the fingers of her left hand up to her throat and pulled the chain that rested around her neck, til her pendant was visible. Spike wondered what she was doing until he realised it wasn't a pendant she was wearing at all.
"My ring?" at least that's what he thought it seemed to be. It hadn't occurred to him before but when he'd proposed marriage under that spell and slipped his silver skull ring onto Buffy's finger, even when the magicks had ceased their hold he'd never gotten his ring back.
Buffy could only nod he was correct as more tears sprang from her eyes. She'd not had it in her to throw the ring away, even after the spell was over. It seemed like such a waste of jewellery, even if it wasn't the prettiest piece in the world. It had resided in her trinket box for weeks and when she travelled to Santa Monica it had gone with her, still in that box. Later when she and Spike had started getting closer she'd threaded it on her favourite chain and fastened it round her neck, grateful that in some small way he'd always be with her.
"I wanted it close to my heart" she whispered, fatigue and emotion over coming her, "because that's where you are, Spike...I don't know how we're going to make it work, but we have to try" she told him, glancing between his face and their baby "I love you, and I love our little girl. We can do this, I know we can"
"I'm not going anywhere, pet" he smiled first pressing his lips to hers and then gently to Rebecca's head "You just said everything I ever wanted to hear"
A/N2 : If any of the giving birth stuff was innaccurate then I apologise, but I never had a baby and you only learn so much from skim reading a web-page on the subject...
Although there will be a sequel to this fic it won't be immediate, so please don't expect to see it tomorrow or anything. I have to figure out some ideas before I start and see if it looks like it's going to work before I start posting anyway.
In the meantime, I really hope you liked the ending to this, my longest and most popular story ever! I thank you all so much for your support of this fic and hope you will all leave a final review for me.
Keep the Spuffy love alive gang, and if you're reading my other WIP, look out for the final chapter very soon!