Spike went to open his door but jolted back as it opened for him. On the other side Buffy was dressed and ready to leave. "Spike." She threw her arms around him and hugged him tight.
"I didn't know where you were. I was coming to find you."
"Sorry pet. Just went for a walk s'all." He placed his hand on her head and ran it down her hair. "Didn't mean to scare ya."
"I know," she said, resting her cheek against his chest. "I was just worried."
"Don't ya remember? I'm already dead."
"Not funny," she said blandly, but with a smile. He kissed her forehead, making her turn her attention to his eyes.
"Want me to walk you home?"
"Do you want me to go home?"
"No, I just… I didn't know if that was another reason you were leaving. When ya do that thing where ya go home after we shag."
"Well I was planning the staying-here-after-we-shag thing," she said with a smile.
"Then let's get inside."
Joyce was in the kitchen drinking coffee when the doorbell rang. She was excited and hoped it was Buffy even though she doesn't ring the bell. She opened the door and revealed a familiar red haired girl. "Willow. Nice to see you."
"Hi Mrs. Summers. Is Buffy around? I wanted to talk to her."
"Sorry Willow but she isn't. I'm not sure where she is but I keep telling myself she's with Spike to keep myself from calling the police."
Willow felt a little awkward but she instinctively went in to give her a hug. "I'm sure she's fine. She always is."
"I don't know what to think any more." She released her and looked her in the eyes. "I haven't been able to talk to her since she lost the baby. And I've tried. Over and over. She just… shuts me out." She walked into the kitchen and took a seat on a stool. Willow followed her and stood to her right.
"It's not just you."
"That's what Spike said last night but I'm still not comforted. I mean, I'm her mother, she isn't supposed to tell me everything. But you, her friends and her boyfriend, she should tell everything to. If she's not talking to you…"
"She did though." Joyce's eyes widened with hope. "We talked last night. She said she's been trying to stay strong because she's the Slayer and it's expected of her. She's just been conflicted with all this stuff that's happened and for whatever reason she thought she needed to be our support system instead of letting us be hers."
"But that- well obviously she realized that doesn't make any sense." Jocye thought for a moment about the new development she heard. "Has she talked to Spike?" she asked optimistically.
"She was going to. She said she was last night. That's where she probably is. They just talked and…" Willow thought of sex but of course she wasn't going to say that, "talked some more. I'm guessing. I mean she likes to talk and talking it out would be a good thing even if it kept them up all night, talking is what they would have done since she hadn't talked to Spike in so long because of the baby and I'm sure they had a lot to-"
"Thanks Willow," Joyce said cutting her off from her awkward run-on sentence.
Willow took a breath. She looked at Joyce who was smiling but still had a hint of sadness. "She'll come to you when she's ready."
Joyce nodded. "I know. I just wish she understood that I'm here."
"She does. It's just… awkward."
"That's why I'm not expecting her to come crying to me any time soon."
The front door opened and Joyce leapt up and rushed to the door. Buffy had just shut it and saw her mother staring at her like she'd been gone for months. "Buffy." She wrapped her arms tightly around her daughter. Buffy hugged her back and tears started to fall.
"It's too early for tears." She said, wiping them on her mother's shirt. They just hugged each other in silence. Willow slipped out the front door to give them time to themselves.
"I was worried."
Joyce let her go and revealed that she too was crying. She smiled at the tears she'd been hoping to see run down Buffy's cheeks since the last hospital visit. She gently wiped one off with the back of her pointer finger.
"Mom, I'm sorry for how I've been acting lately."
"It's all right. It's been hard."
"That doesn't mean that I had to be too. I'm sorry I shut you out and made you worry about me."
"I'm just glad you're back. Physically and emotionally."
"I just felt so cut off. Like no one understood me. Not even Spike. I mean he lost a child too but, he didn't carry it and I felt like that made it different. I felt like I had to punish myself. I lost the baby and, being the Slayer, I should have done better. So I made this hard exterior to compensate for how I felt inside."
Joyce hugged her again, this time kissing her on the head as well. "Buffy you should never feel isolated or alone. Even with Xander and Willow and Rupert and Spike, you also have me. I will always be here." They jerked their heads to the kitchen when they heard a sniffle. Xander had come in through the back door and had been listening for a while.
"Sorry, it's just… it's so sweet." He broke down and walked out of view. They couldn't help but let out a little chuckle. They walked into the kitchen and Buffy gave Xander a hug. "Everyone's so emotional," he cried.
A month went by and everyone slowly recovered. Buffy even found a way to be closer to everyone than she had before. If anything this situation made her stronger, not that that meant she couldn't cry and break down every once and awhile.
"You gotta admit that art would be more appealing if we drew nude portraits."
"Xander, you don't even take art," Willow stated.
"I would if we drew models. Even forget the nude, if you got Heidi Klum into Sunnydale High for a few classes to be drawn, I would be paying to take that class."
"Your whole seven dollars?" Buffy said.
"I got a nice hundred in my savings." Willow and Buffy smiled at the loveliness that was Xander. Buffy's smile grew even brighter when she saw her adorable boyfriend walking towards her. She ran towards him and jumped into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his torso and he held her up with his right arm as his left arm pulled her in for a kiss. "What's he doing here? It's daytime."
"Only less sunny," Willow said, pointing to the obvious cloud coverage. "Looks like it's gonna rain soon."
"So he gets to walk around because there's a chance of showers? That's a complete disregard for the vampire code."
"They have a code now?"
"No direct sunlight doesn't mean he gets to come out and play."
Buffy and Spike parted and their smiles remained. "I was hoping I'd see you."
"Like I'd let you walk home alone."
Buffy loosened her legs, signaling for him to let her down. Spike slowly released her so she touched the pavement gently. Buffy slid her hands down his arms and rested them in his firm grasp. "Can we do that thing I like to do?"
"At your place?"
"Yeah," she said, keeping her constant smile.
"Sure," he said, smiling back. He lifted up their right hands and kissed her fist before heading towards her house.
"Lord only knows what they're going to do… I mean, I have a pretty good idea what they're gonna do but, I don't know for sure. But my good idea has an 87 chance of being right."
"He could just be walking her home."
"Yeah Willow, he came her just to walk her home and leave with just a peck on the cheek."
Willow rolled her eyes.
Back at the Summers' household Spike was laying on the couch waiting for Buffy. "You ready?" she called.
She came around the corner with a bowl of popcorn and popped a few pieces into her mouth. "Start it up." Spike pressed 'PLAY' on the remote and adjusted himself for Buffy to lay with him. She put the popcorn on the table and laid directly on top of him, her head turned to watch the tv. Spike successfully draped a light blanket over their bodies and pulled himself up just a little. Buffy gave him a quick kiss before settling into her spot. Spike wrapped his arms around her shoulder blades and brushed her hair with his fingers.
Author's Note: That's it. It's over. Sorry to the people who wanted them to get pregnant again, which was a lot of you, but I just wanted them to end as happily as they began, if not happier. I know it got very emotional but we all made it through. Congratulations. Thanks for all your reviews and I hope to catch you at another story.