Charade: Ground Rules

"Well?"

Buffy lifted her head off of the bar and glared into the knowing brown eyes of her ex. "Well what?" she snapped back.

She'd managed to make it almost an entire day in the house with Dean but after an argument between the two of them at dinner she'd asked Dawn to keep an eye on Johnny and stormed out of the house.

Normally she would've patrolled but that's the first place Dean would look so she headed out for a drink.

Until she ended up at the door of Caritas she hadn't even realized she had a purpose for coming there, but after the day she'd had she needed to talk to Angel.

"How'd he take it?"

"Fine…"

"Then why are you here?" he chuckled motioning for the bartender to bring her something a little less potent.

Buffy propped her head on her hand and stared at Angel. "You're enjoying this entirely too much."

He offered a humored smirk and shrugged. "I'm not enjoying it per say. I just think you should've told the guy when you found out you were pregnant. He's missed out on a lot."

"The last thing Johnny needed was another man around playing daddy."

"But Dean is his daddy."

A quick pout formed on Buffy's lips as she slowly sipped the coke that had been placed in front of her. "You know what I mean. He's got Spike watching him when Dawn's not home, Giles is always hanging around. Xander's ever a source of entertainment. You're there… you know what I mean Angel."

Angel nodded but defended his statement. "A child needs his father Buff. Whether you and he are together or not, Dean has the right. And I know you don't want Johnny going through life wondering about where his dad was when he needed him. Give the guy a chance to be there for him. If he screws up or doesn't want the opportunity it's his loss."

She smiled and place her small palm against his cheek. "What did Cordelia do with your broody side? I miss it when I'm trying to place blame on the rest of the world."

"Come on now," he muttered, quickly looking away. "I still brood, I just save it for life and death situations. I'm not getting any younger. I can't worry with trivial things."

"Yeah, like you've got to worry about wrinkles and aging. I hate you."

Angel kissed her forehead then quickly notified that bartender that Buffy wasn't to be sold anymore alcohol. "You don't hold your liquor, don't think I've forgotten how unmixy that is."

[hr

Dean leaned against the doorway of Johnny's room, barely breathing as he watched him sleep. He didn't know how to process this.

Hours ago he'd been fun-loving, free and single Dean Winchester. Now he was…

Now he was a father.

He inched closer to the bed wanting to touch his fingers to the child's cheek, assure himself that this was real and not some figment of his imagination. He hadn't been around a child this small since Sam was a baby.

"He won't break…" a soft whisper sounded from behind him and he turned quickly to find Buffy leaning against the spot he'd just vacated.

Dean ran a nervous hand across the back of his neck and looked down at the floor. "I didn't hear you come in."

"I'm stealthy like that," she bit out. She didn't like that feeling that was churning inside her. Seeing Dean in Johnny's room like this, it was much too intimate for her liking. And entirely too comfortable. "Where are Sam and Dawn?"

"Bed," he grumbled, motioning towards the clock on the wall with a cock of his head. "It's 2 in the morning. I told Dawn I'd keep an eye on … on Johhny if she and Sam wanted to spend some time together."

"Wait," Buffy squeaked. "They're in the same bed?!"

Dean held his finger up to his lips to quiet her as Johnny rolled over in his bed. "Lets talk in the other room. Don't wake him."

Closing her eyes, she silently scolded herself and preceded Dean out of the room continuing downstairs as he took his time in leaving his son.

"I'm kicking Sam's ass in the morning," she blurted out as soon as he strode into the living room and flopped into the recliner that was at the perfect angle for seeing everything that occurred in the living room, den, and foyer.

"Because Dawn's perfectly innocent in the whole thing? I didn't say they were having sex, I just said they were in bed. You know its perfectly feasible to just lay there holding each other…" he continued, stopping only when her eyes began to burn a whole in him. "Where'd you get off to? I tried to find you… to apologize," he started only to be cut off by Buffy shaking her head.

"Ever take that time to think I didn't want to be found? And it's long past time for apologizing."

Dean rubbed his hands roughly over his face and sighed loudly. "What do you want me to do Buff?"

"Don't call me Buff for one thing."

"You know what I mean…" he pleaded sounding absolutely nothing like the Dean Winchester he'd known and loved all these years. Buffy made him forget that man. She always had. Obviously the time apart hadn't changed anything.

Buffy flipped her hair over her shoulder and shrugged. "I don't know what you can do Dean. You obviously can't turn back time and take back all of the hurt and pain you've caused me in the last two years. Unless, of course, you've managed to meet a demon you keep on speed dial that can do that."

The bitter tone of her voice was like a knife to his chest, twisting slowly back and forth. "I wish I could."

She stood and began pacing the length of the living room. "No you don't."

"Yes, Buffy, I do. You think I never thought about you? You think that night we split was some personal victory for me? I hurt like hell."

"Good, then you know half of what I felt."

"Buff…"

"No. No… How can you possibly expect me to believe that?"

Dean shrugged. "I don't know, I guess I was just hoping…"

"Hope doesn't hold much around me. See, I spent weeks hoping I'd hear from you. Then hoping I could forget you and guess what I got out of that…. You're freaking mini me!"

"I'm sorry."

"Don't. I don't want any sorries. It's too late for that. Just give our son the decency of having a father in his life and I'll forgive you for everything you've done to me. Maybe then we can try to be friends."