Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is for fun and not profit.
Summary: Spike reflects on twenty-six moments in the life of his daughter. (Series of drabbles)
Author's Note: I mainly wrote this to see if I could. I gave myself two challenges—write a series with titles for every letter of the alphabet and keep each one at exactly 100 words. Why? Because I suck at keeping myself disciplined, and I wanted to be for once. And, yes, I was very, very bored. lol Hopefully, they turned out all right.
Feedback and Archiving: Both are welcome, but if you haven't archived one of my fics in the past, please ask permission before you do.
A. Apple Slices
I remember the day I realized she wasn't really a little girl anymore. Not a true woman yet, but no longer a baby. She walked in from the kitchen with confidence, strength in her step, and sat beside me on the couch. She held an apple in one hand, a knife in the other, and she cut into the fruit with ease. Once, not so long ago, she would've handed the apple to me whole, needing her daddy to make the cut, to protect her small, delicate fingers.
Now, she made the cut herself, and then offered me a slice.
She's such a brave little thing, and I can't help but smile at her expression now, so much like her mum. All stoic determination and strength in the face of pain. She doesn't cry, doesn't give into that almost imperceptible tremble of her lip. I pull the shard from her leg, and she winces, but doesn't cry out. I dab the wound with antiseptic, wrap it with gauze, and I remember when she would fall as a little girl, and come to be for a bandage.
And like those times, she leans forward and hugs me tight when I finish.
I'm a failure as a father. My first night alone with her, and she's crying—screaming—and I can't fix it. I changed her, and I fed her, and I rocked her in the bloody chair. She's still screaming, her face red streaked as she takes shaky gulps of air. Why did I think I could do this on my own?
Desperate, I start to pace, baby over my shoulder, her wails sounding against still-vampiric ears. Over the cries, I sing the first thing I think of.
The crying stops, and I smile, proud.
My baby likes the Sex Pistols.
I never liked the git. Not even when he was still in his fumbling, make nice with the parents stage. He wasn't good enough for my princess, and I knew it with the first glance.
She didn't. She bought the act, let him sweep her off her feet, and now her fourteen-year-old heart is broken.
Wanker. Pathetic, worthless… Didn't realize what he had… I'd like to break his sodding neck.
But I can't, and I know it, so I hold her instead, letting her cry it out on the shoulder of one man she knows isn't going to leave her.
I realize with no small amount of surprise I'm jealous of him. I hadn't been able to put a name to this emotion I've felt since she brought him home, but there it is now. Envy.
I used to be the first man in her heart, but now, as I see the way she looks at him, I know I'm not anymore. She doesn't need the sun to rise and set with Daddy now.
As quickly as it comes, I let it go. He brushes a kiss across her forehead, and I smile.
She's loved the way she should be.
F. First Words
The sound makes me pause completely, and I question if I've even heard it. It's rare that I question my hearing, but with this, with something I want to hear so much, it would be easy to mistake a simple gurgle.
I turn, see her sitting on the floor, her arms outstretched. She smiles at me, brightening up the room, making it so I can't help but smile back.
And then, she says it again, and I know for sure this time, I'm not hearing things.
My smile grows as I scoop her up, pride bursting in my heart.
Grandfather. It seems like such an odd word to me suddenly, and I roll it around in my head, trying to make sense of what it's become.
My baby's grown up, has a baby of her own, and that's what I am now. I never thought I'd be one. But then again, I never thought I'd be a father.
I grip my daughter's hand, and she looks me, smiling as she holds her child in the crook of her arm.
"She has our eyes, Da," she tells me softly.
A lump forming in my throat, I can only nod.
I know panicking doesn't help. I panic anyway. How could I not? She's gone, no trace. I feel more afraid than I thought I could.
I follow the trail of her scent, only to have it dead end again and again, and I could kick myself for teaching her that little trick. It seemed like a good idea at the time…
I stop, breathe deep, listen. I hear it. Soft, but steady.
I throw open the door to a janitor's closet, and she squeals at being found.
I'm not sure if I want to hug her or strangle her.
She's pacing the living room, her body coiled with tension as she goes back and forth. I don't know what she's waiting for, only that she doesn't want to be waiting. Whatever it is, she wants it happening now, not later.
Patience is not a virtue she wants to take the time to gain.
She glances at the clock, makes a small, growling noise at what she sees, and I can't do anything in response but grin.
Looking at her now, one thing stands out in my mind above all else.
She is, without even a single doubt, my child.
I could wring her bloody little neck. That's all I can think as I dress, grab my keys and wallet, and head for the door. Sometimes, I wonder if she's testing me, wanting to see how far she can go before I snap.
If that is the case, she's about found my sodding limit.
She looks pitiful in the cell, but it doesn't soften me this time. I have half a mind to tell them to leave her in there, but I already paid her bail.
She steps out, silent, her gaze going downward.
Why did I have children again?
I've been waiting for hours for the sound of keys in the door. I look at the clock; she's not late.
But I worry anyway…
Beside me, a small, blonde head rests on my shoulder, and I press a kiss against her hair, even as I wonder how she could possibly sleep without them all accounted for.
She tells me I worry too much.
Maybe later, when the other two are old enough to go out on their own, I'll be used to it. But she's the first.
I hear keys jingle outside the door, and I can breathe again.
She thinks she's fat. I think she's gorgeous.
The growing bulge of her stomach that she's come to bemoan fascinates me, and it seems so unreal that a child is really in there.
124 years as a vampire—this was the impossible.
But it's real, she's real, and soon, she'll be in my arms. Tangible proof I can create life, not just take it.
Yet now all I have of her is a sound, proving she's alive. I press my ear against my sleeping wife's belly and listen.
I close my eyes and savor the beat.
I wondered how she'd sound when she started talking. Would her accent be like mine, or would she pick up the speech patterns of her mum?
Mum. The word alone highlights the difference. She gets so cross when I use it, tells me she doesn't want our child calling her something that's all wrapped in bandages.
My eyes roll, but I try to force the round "O" in Mom.
I open a jar of strained peas for my son, and I hear my daughter scoff.
Her accent is mine, but her words…
I shake my head and laugh.
They're asleep, facing each other, one tiny hand surrounded by one larger.
I pause, watching them from the end of the bed, and I notice something.
Their noses—they're the same.
I always thought that button nose was so unique, so adorable even when it's stuck too high in the air, and it fills me with a sort of deep satisfaction to know it's been passed on to the next generation.
Bloody hell, I adore my girls…
With a shake of my head, I join them on the bed, pressing kisses against identical noses, then settling beside them to sleep.
O. Open Space
Open space… That's all her room seems to be now, everything gone from it.
No longer occupied, open for something new now, yet what but her could fill it?
I knew, eventually, she'd leave. It's what kids do, what they're supposed to do.
I just didn't think it would be so soon.
A whirlwind, and she was gone, the room that was once hers now open space.
I lean against the wall, staring at the nothing that takes up what was once so full of her, and I tell myself not to cry.
Apparently, even I don't listen to me.
She looks so small walking beside me, her hand gripping a stake, and I wonder if maybe she is too young.
Then, I remember what she's gone through, and I know she needs to learn to fight.
I can feel a vampire is near, and from the way she tenses, I know she can, too.
It attacks. I yell to her, but she's already moving, faster than I knew she could.
Within moments, the dust settles, and I stare, gaping.
She brushes her hair away from her face and asks, "Did I do it right, Daddy?"
Still stunned, I nod.
She's sent me on a mission, and though I didn't want to leave her side, I can't refuse the request.
The doctor assured me I had time, but I have to be quick anyway. I have to be there for it all.
It's insane, I know, for her to decide she has to have this right as she goes into labor, but my girl has never been known for her sanity.
From the corner of my eye, I spot a curly pink tail at the bottom of a pile.
I grab hold. My newborn daughter will have her stuffed pig.
"I'm not doing anything!"
"Yes, you are!"
"No, I'm not!"
"Daaaa! Make her stop!"
"I'm not doing anything!"
"Yes she is! She's lying!"
"No, I'm not! He's the one who's lying, Da!"
"I am not!"
"Are, too! I'm not doing anything! He's just a whiner!"
"I am not!"
"So are! Whiner! Whiner!"
"Daaaa! She's calling me a whiner! Make her stop!"
"I'll stop when you stop whining! Whiner!"
My head buried in my hands, I whimper and wonder who on earth made that ridiculous claim you should have two so they'll keep each other company…
My wife and I are both on our knees on the ground, watching our baby as she clings to the edge of the coffee table, uncertainty etched across her tiny features.
It's a big moment for her, more than I'm sure she can even realize.
She lets go of the edge, and for a moment, her legs tremble, but then she does it.
Her first step.
Her blue eyes grow wide. She tentatively takes another one.
Then, with a gurgle, she's moving towards us, one foot in front of the other as she crosses the short distance.
She makes it.
I've spent most of the night watching the woman I love sleep. She looks no different to me, as if nothing as changed, and yet I know it has.
Tonight, in an apartment in Rome, everything changed.
I didn't understand it at first, the object so far removed from what had been my existence, but she explained.
It seems unreal, more than I can wrap my head around, and I get up, going to the bathroom to see again for myself.
I dig it out, something so monumental seeming out of place in the garbage.
They're still there.
U. Under the Bed
I'm covered head to toe in green, sticky slime.
I suppose, with what my life has been, I should realize when my daughter tells me there's a monster under her bed, it's from more than a bad dream.
Foolishly, I didn't go into her room expecting to wrestle a Grethlar demon.
I've since learned my lesson.
Yet even with the slime dripping from me, my daughter throws her arms around me and hugs me tight, letting me lift her up.
She looks at me, and what I see in her eyes goes straight to my heart.
"You're my hero, Daddy."
I always knew I should tell her. I only wanted to wait until she was older, until I thought she could understand.
No, that isn't true… It was fear that kept me silent.
Fear that if she knew, she'd never look at me the same way again.
Fear of losing her.
I can't meet her eyes, and her voice is so soft, so innocent, it makes me hurt.
"Is it true?"
"All of it?"
I wish I could deny it… "Yes."
I'm shocked when she throws her arms around me and hugs me so tight it's hard to breathe.
She links her arm with mine, and it hits me. It all happened so quickly, her sudden decision and announcement, then the rush to make preparations. I guess it hasn't had time to sink in.
It's sinking in now.
I'm giving my daughter away.
The phrase itself is odd to me, especially considering the daughter in question… But it's what I'm doing, and part of me wonders if I can change my mind, keep her instead.
She whispers, "Give him a hard time up there, and I hurt you."
With a laugh, I realize I really am happy for her.
X. X Marks the Spot
Not many people could get me to don an eye patch and carry a plastic sword.
But then again, she could probably get me to do just about anything. At least we're where no one can see…
"We hafta go in the hall now."
I pale. "Princess, let's stay in the flat, yeah?"
Her hands go to her hips, a scary imitation of her mother. Then, she points to the front door. "Daddy, the treasure map says we hafta go out there."
With a resigned sigh, I let her tug me along.
She's got the Big Bad on a string.
I look at the calendar, my eyes fixated on the date. Before one year ago, it would've been just another day.
Now, it's anything but.
It's one year to the day I became a father.
My daughter's first birthday…
She's propped up on my hip, her hand gripping the fabric of my t-shirt, and I can't believe it's already been a year.
Has it only been a year?
I press my lips against her forehead and breathe in her scent. It's as perfect as the rest of her, and I wonder how I deserve this.
Happy birthday, princess.
Penguins make her laugh. She doesn't want to leave this spot, wants me to hold her up so she can watch their feeding time, clapping and squealing with delight at everything they do.
My attention isn't on the birds. It's on her, and how beautiful she looks in the sunlight.
With the hand that isn't holding on to her, I tuck a strand of her long brown hair behind her ear. She's a creature of the light, and sometimes, it's hard to believe she's really mine.
Yet she is, and even if I don't deserve her, I'm not letting go.
How did I manage with a shorter form? This was really an experiment for me more than anything, so please give me some feedback. It would be greatly appreciated!