Summary: Sequel to "Out of the Blue". As Spike gets acquainted with
the newest addition to his family, questions about the miracle child
resonate all around them. Does doom and gloom await them on the horizon?
A/N: Since you asked so nicely, continuing on from "Out of the Blue". Must read that if you want to know what in the world is going on in "Eden". I'll try to update weekly if RL doesn't have me running to and fro. Thank yous to all who read the first part and for all the beautiful reviews. I feel like I am doing something right when I get such wonderful reviews! Thanks again.
Disclaimer: I have to say this cause I can't afford a lawsuit but all my characters in this story? They're not really mine. They belong to some genius mind by the name of Joss Whedon and all the companies that had a part of bringing us 2 terrific shows. I'll miss watching them. Thank God for DVD's!
Oh also, I'm reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle to my 10 yr old. Thanks Ms. L'Engle for sharing part of your astounding piece of literature with us. (I used a name from that book! ;) )
He sat on the edge of the bed, peering intensely into the bassinet, and knew if given the opportunity, he'd pour himself into it right alongside the fascinating creature he had just only met. His fingers itched with want to stroke creamy pink skin left uncovered, but something was holding him back. His eyes wandered over smooth, miniature features to the light honey-hued fluff that seemed to softly twirl into delicate curls on top of her perfectly shaped head. Stubby pink digits (all ten, he mentally checked) poked out from under the blanket lying casually over her.
Funny he didn't realize he had leaned even closer, his chin amusingly resting on the edge of the wicker cradle in what would look like a seemingly uncomfortable position to any onlooker.
"Any closer and you'll be falling right in there with her."
Spike sat up quickly at the sound of the familiar voice, never taking his eyes off of the precious package sleeping soundly before him.
"You know, you can touch her...and pick her up...and hold her. She won't break. I promise." Spike allowed his gaze to travel slowly over to the nibblet standing in the doorway of the sisters' suite.
"She's sleeping so deeply. I didn't want to disturb the little...piece of joy." Spike noticed an odd look crossed over Dawn's face as he finished his sentence.
"What is it, bit? Is something wrong with her?" Spike protectively reached out and placed his hand lightly on his daughter's chest, feeling the soft, quick beats of her tiny heart while her lungs filled and emptied rhythmically. The hum and warmth from her tiny frame traveled like an electrical current through his fingers and up his arm to spread invitingly across his own chest.
'Well, that definitely didn't take very long', he thought to himself. The love for this new addition to his family rooted itself and bloomed in every crack and crevice of his body. He had known her for less than an hour.
'Must be something in the Summers' genes.' he silently chuckled at the play on words before realizing Dawn had not answered his question.
"Dawnie?" he pleaded for a response.
Dawn shook her head. "No, no. Of course not. Nothing is wrong with her. It just caught me off guard. The...affectionate nickname you gave her. It's...perfect."
Spike smiled softly at his nibblet as it hit him that he didn't even know the name of his own child yet.
"Speaking of names...uh, she has one, don't she?"
"Naturally. But I think joy suits her. Everyone has been calling her AJ, drives Buffy crazy." the teen leaned against the doorframe and giggled merrily.
"And if it drives the sis crazy, what does she call her?" Spike was extremely curious at the moment.
"Well, I suppose, since you are the father and everything, you do have a right to know your own child's name. Don't you think Buffy should be the one to tell you, though?
Spike sighed and rolled his eyes, irritated beyond any scope of reaction. Gritting his teeth, he slowly answered, "I don't rightly believe it really matters, bit."
Dawn stood up straight with a slight laugh in her tone. "Calm down. Buffy calls her AnJoy. It's a combination of her first and middle names. Ananda Joy. Not only did she want a name that meant what she was feeling, she wanted to use portions of our mother's and your mother's names as well."
Spike smiled slightly, bouncing the name around in his head before saying it out loud. "Ananda Joy.""Yep. I think she did her own little baby name research, trying to find the perfect one. She said it means, 'That joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse'. It's Sanskrit and I've got it memorized now." Spike stared at her. "People ask, it's such an unusual name. I think Buffy came across it in a book she had either read or was reading, I don't know. You'll have to ask her."
Dawn walked over to the bed and sat down next to the vampire who was listening to every word even though he kept his attention on the babe. The shift of the bed brought him out of his reverie and he peered back at his nibblet.
"Buffy never expected to ever, ever have a child of her own, Spike. The last 9 months were ubër hard on her. Even harder than slaying I presume. We didn't find out she was pregnant until her fourth or fifth month. She wasn't able to hide it then. I thought she was just getting fat, moping around the home and eating constantly. I gave her some space because I knew how torn up she was about losing...well, of losing you."
Spike's shoulders sagged with the weight of guilt as he looked back into the crib again. Dawn continued. "We, the gang, decided that if after six more weeks she was still acting all mopey, we had to intervene and remedy the mopiness she was carrying around on her own shoulders. So go figure, she beat us to it and spilled the whole can of beans. Everything about the two of you, the night before the battle, the amulet that Angel gave to her and that you wore, the feelings of deep loss over your "suppos-ed" second death and finally the surprise bun in the oven. She poured her heart and soul out before breaking down and crying for a good 15, 20 minutes. Funny though how all of us were tremendously excited about the prospects of a little one running around, but we, especially me, knew she was terrified."
Spike heaved a heavy sigh. "I wish I had been there to help. Wish I could have seen her transformation as the baby grew inside."
Dawn laid a warm, comforting hand on his back. "If you ask me, I think I know why you didn't try to contact her. In a way you were with her through the whole thing."
"How do you figure?" Spike looked at the girl sitting next to him. In the year since he had last been in her company, she had blossomed into quite an intelligent young woman.
"Well, there were times when she thought she was alone that I overheard her talking to the baby, telling her about everyone, the past, present and future, but more so of you. "Daddy was a brave man with a big heart and even bigger soul". She'd get quiet for a little bit and then start talking to you. Telling you everything that happened throughout the day and whatever seemed important for her to confide in you about. I believe it lessened her anxiety over the whole outlook of bringing the baby into the world without the kid's daddy around."
"I'm happy she found that peace of mind. It doesn't really make me feel better. I wasn't there. Flat out missed the whole soddin' miracle of it all. Didn't get to see her belly expand, didn't get to feel the baby move...bloody hell, wasn't there to see her born, hear her first cry, hold her, both of them, in my arms. All because of my fears of...."
Dawn heard his voice crack and wanted desperately to fix things. "You know, it's hard, I'm sure, that you missed a very big thing. But it's done and over with. You have to move forward, step on up and take the reins so to say. You've got a kid now. You! A vampire with a soul. Besides, in the morning?...If you fix me breakfast, I'll show you all the pictures I've taken over the past year. I've got three photo albums just brimming with."
A weight seemed to be lifted as he sat up straighter and turned his gaze back to her. "Really?"
Dawn grinned from ear to ear as she nodded her affirmation.
"How 'bout I buy you a breakfast fit for a queen. The building has a nice restaurant with a grand buffet. They have these little sausages...."
"Okay, okay, you've won me over. Breakfast buffet it is...at your expense, mind you." She winked and smiled at him mischievously. "I'll bring the pictures and delightful conversation. Maybe Buffy would like an invitation? You know, when you get a chance to ask her that is."
"Maybe. If I get a chance, I'll ask." His voice softened as he leaned back over the bassinet.
Dawn stood unexpectedly. "Here. Allow me."
She scooped the baby up gently and placed her tenderly into her father's arms, planting a kiss on the infant's forehead and then quickly one on his cheek before slipping out of the room.
He was holding her....He was alone and holding her....He was petrified being alone and holding her. What if she woke up screaming and crying? What should he do? He began to panic. Making a move to stand up, his plan to run over to the doorway to call Dawn back seemed futile as he sat back down. Eyes restlessly darting around the room to find some level of comfort backfired on him as well. He promptly leaned over to place her back in the crib, but fear of dropping her in or jostling her around too much crept through his head. She sighed and squirmed in his arms.
"Bugger it all," he whispered. "Please don't cry, please...don't...cry."
He turned slightly to the side, and leaning back onto the bed, he placed the baby in the center of the mattress while he rested on his side, head propped up on his fisted hand. The other hand busily made sure all exposed skin was recovered with the soft blanket that was wrapped about her.
"There, there sweet joy. Daddy's here, right here beside you. Nothing to worry about, not anymore." He liked his new title as he quietly observed, drinking in every tiny detail of her from head to toe, the sound of her breathing, the soft sighs and the quick beats of her heart, the smell of baby powder and shampoo, a clean, soft distinct smell. He failed to notice the warm body that had joined them in their solitude until she spoke.
"I knew it." Spike slowly shifted to a sitting position to stare at the petite blonde that now stood in the doorway.
"And what is it exactly that you knew, pet?" Spike questioned the amused slayer.
Buffy waved a hand through the air as she walked towards the bed and its precious contents. "Oh, just that you'd fall head over heals in love with this itty bitty angel and forget all about the one who carried her for nine months, birthed her with a labor from hell, and considering my lack of care giving for an infant, doing whatever I can to be the best mom I can be."
Spike remained speechless even as she finished her speech. It made Buffy nervous that she may have sounded too brutal without meaning to.
"Don't mind me, I'm just blabbering on and being quite selfish. It's been hard, I won't lie to you about it. But I've loved every second of it. Being a mother...it's a job I don't mind, not one bit. I cherish each and every day."
"Buffy, I'm...I'm really happy that you get to do something, be something you never thought you would ever be. And pet?" Spike looked at her, really looked at her since she had stepped through those office doors. "I could never forget about you. I just had to shift you all around and make some more room."
He smiled genuinely at her while he placed his hand over his unbeating heart. "All the Summers still residing here. It's a permanent dwelling, I'm afraid."
Buffy returned his affectionate smile as she gently sat near the top of the bed, close enough to stroke Ananda's plump cheek.
"Nibblet told me what you named her....Thank you for thinking of my mum. I wish she...well, never mind. Seems quite absurd to wish she were here." Spike rolled off the foot of the bed and kneeled on the floor instead, watching mother and daughter.
Buffy brushed her finger over the soft curls adorning the wee bits head. "No, no not really. I wish the same. But I am absolutely, positively sure they are looking down on her. Her guardian angels maybe?"
"Sounds...good," Spike replied followed by a brief silence. "Ananda. Where did you come up with such a name though?"
Buffy sat up and smiled softly. "Funny, I was reading a book I found in the doctor's office while waiting for my examination. They let me keep it so I could take it home to read. I know what you're thinking and yes I do read from time to time." Spike chuckled at her humor.
"Anway, the book had a name in it that just seemed to pop out at me while I was reading it. It just seemed to fit, I don't know why. Maybe I'll never know. Did Dawnie tell you what it means?"
Spike nodded his head.
Another round of silence fell between them as they shared in the peaceful moment. "Buffy, I need you to know...I need to tell you...I'm so very sorry. I've been such a git, not trying to get in contact with you, not telling you about coming back, being here, even though I still to this day don't know why I'm here."
"Oh, I know why you're here, why you're back." He looked up at her with puzzlement in his eyes. She continued, "You weren't finished. Like me, the reason I came back. You had more to accomplish here. And, honestly, I understand now why you didn't tell me. I'm not angry, well, not anymore. Just disappointed we didn't get to share...but hey, it's over and done with. We need to live in the here and now. And I'd really like to find out if there are any more surprises in store for us."
Spike growled softly. "It's that bloody amulet."
Buffy nodded. "I do believe it has a lot to do with just about everything going on here. We didn't get to do much research and what we did come up with...well, it seems irrelevant. Granted we didn't have very good sources to look through. Giles is trying his best to rebuild the Watcher's library that got destroyed in the explosion. It's a slow process. But you know Giles and books, he's just delighted to do the job."
"Sounds like Rupert. Speaking of which...uh, what was his reaction to the pregnancy news?"
"I'm not quite sure. He was all with the happy when he knew I was happy about it. I think it just fascinated him that a vampire could procreate. Wait til I tell him about Angel and Darla. That'll unravel his tweed."
Spike smiled, something Buffy was growing more anxious to see more often. He sighed as he stood. "Mental note, ask Angel to share his reproduction story. Well, the rated PG version at any rate. See if there were any mystical charms hanging about or whatnot."
Buffy stood as well and she crossed her arms across her chest with a tilt of her head. "I'd like to hear about this odd "relationship" you two have. Last time, the both of you were close to ripping each other's throats out."
"Still are...to an extent. Just learning to deal with one another, long enough to get things done. I still love the thrill of annoying the poofter. Long, bloody boring story anyway, pet. Long history. So now, I should be going and letting you get your rest."
"You're not running away?" Buffy's voice held a bit a fear in it.
Spike turned before crossing the threshold. "Not running, not in a million years. I'm taking the bit out for breakfast in the morning. Join us?"
She nodded once. "I think I can arrange that in my busy schedule."
"Good. Goodnight then....And sweet dreams, Buffy. To both of you."
"I think they will be now. Goodnight."
To be continued...