Note: First things first, I would like to apologize. I'm sorry it always takes me forever to write, and post, and I'm sorry I left some of my stories like that. Thank you to those of you who are still there, and who were there every step of the way, I don't deserve readers like you! I won't promise you a quick update, because I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to keep that particular promise, but what I can say is that I'll do my best, and I'll finish this one, however long it takes.

By the way, I'm not sure I replied to everybody, sorry about that. So, if you reviewed and I never got back to you, my apologies, and thanks a lot!!!

o o o o o o o

Buffy's POV

That silence is going to kill me. Really. I'm actually afraid my little bombshell might have killed them... Triple murder, with a few words. Go me. Faith is just staring at me with a blank expression, and Willow looks frozen in a way that I have to admit is a little creepy. She's staring at a point above my shoulder, her eyes a little wide, and her mouth slightly open. I'm almost tempted to wave a hand at them, or make a funny face, only to make sure they're still alive, but I'm pretty certain they wouldn't take it so well.

Besides, I can hear them breathe. They're definitely alive.

That's good.

Angel is still squeezing my hand, and that more than anything makes my breathing easier. Nothing really bad can happen as long as he can still do that. I can't get over how good that makes me feel, even in the middle of that gigantic mess. A few years in the past, even a few months, I would have laughed in the face of anyone who would have told me this would happen to me... and then found a place to hide myself in and cry my eyes out. But, here we are. Together.

And I'm scared shitless. Not to mention a little confused...

I still can't quite grasp the idea that we created a life, one that we would have had no way to know about right now if Doyle hadn't slipped... I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm a slayer, therefore not supposed to have children. I mean, look at Robin... No one should ever have to suffer through what happened to him. Slayers aren't meant to be mothers. Not even daughters or sisters, if my past experience is any clue. We're just... not good at the family thing. We leave desolation and blood in our wake, we hunt, we kill...

But then on the other hand... some part of me, the part that still, after all these years, craves the house in the suburbs, with the white picket fence, and all that jazz, is literally swimming in happiness, basking in a strange feeling of completion and... impatience.

Which brings me right back to the scared shitless part.

Again, I'm going in circles. I'm starting to see a pattern here.

I let out a tired sigh, and shake my head to escape my gloomy reasoning, when Willow finally snaps out of her self-induced little trance. Or maybe her 'Buffy and her big mouth' induced little trance, which, actually, seems just as likely.

She takes a deep breath, and I brace myself for the rant of the century, when...

"Wow."

And then, silence again.

'Wow'? That's all she has to say?

I'm about to express aloud that slightly offended thought when Faith comes back to reality and gives her a bewildered look.

"Wow? That's all you have to say?"

I close my mouth. Now, that was weird. Faith, get out of my head.

o o o o o o o

Faith's POV

What the Hell?

That's the first thing that comes to mind after B's little revelation. Though I might be very much mistaken, it seems to me that she just announced us that she was pregnant.

She's got to be kidding, right?

Preggers? Now come on, that just sounds like a bad joke. She and the big guy have been getting down and dirty for only, what, a couple of days, and she's got a bun in the oven already?

Way to go, Angie.

Wait a minute, no, not way to go. This is bad, really bad, because if the look on their faces is any clue, the girl is dead serious.

I'm vaguely aware of the fact that I've been staring at my sister slayer for some time now, and so has Willow. The blonde fidgets, looking back at us with that "deer caught in the headlights" look she can pull off so well... Really, she's got it down to an art by now.

I resist the urge to sigh, because it would kill our "silently flabbergasted" dynamic and I'm still expecting B to burst out laughing and say we've just been punk'd or something. Wouldn't want to let her know I'm on the way to believing the shit she just laid on us.

I can feel Red sitting next to me, completely unmoving, and I wonder what she's thinking. Actually, I hope her train of thoughts is on the same rails as mine, because, really, I'm sort of counting on her to start asking the questions. I don't think I can get past the goldfish look right about now, my mind needs a little more time than hers to switch to business mode.

Ah, there it is. She's going to talk, finally. Maybe it'll snap me out of it too.

She's a bright one, Red...

"Wow."

... Scratch that.

Seriously?!

"Wow? That's all you have to say?"

As far as anticlimax is concerned, this has got to be an international record.

I shake my head, really looking at her for the first time since Blondie dropped her bomb. She's gone paler than she usually is. Maybe she wonders too... I mean, they disappear, get abducted, barely manage to escape, and then declare that they're expecting? Am I the only one seeing the problem here?

Which brings me to the next question.

"How did you know?"

Yeah, I know, not very earth-shattering either, but I'm not sure I want to delve into the many implications of that little problem. Such as, how will she fight, how are we supposed to protect it, and the most obvious one, what prophecy is there behind it all. Because, come on, the timing just screams 'Powers that Shit on You'.

Buffy makes a face, and I have a feeling that maybe my question wasn't so trivial. There's something we ought to know, and they're not to keen on sharing the information. She fidgets for a while, and just when I'm about to snap at her, Angel speaks up.

"It's… a long story."

No kidding.

I raise an eyebrow at him, and he takes a deep breath. "You're gonna make us explain, right?" he asks.

I nod, and I see Willow cross her arms over her chest out of the corner of my eyes.

Yep, buddy, you're gonna have to explain alright.

o o o o o o o

Angel's POV

I keep quiet as Buffy explains to them the basics of what we lived. The capture, the torture, and then… the dream. She even goes back in time and tells them exactly who talked to us, just how many times she met him over the past few weeks, and how she knows he can be trusted.

When she stops, I understand that the time has come for me to participate in the conversation. Buffy knows there are things I know, or at least suspect, that she can't even begin to guess. And she also knows it would be useless to try and force it out of me.

A sort of awkward but thoughtful silence settles upon us, as we all seem to get lost in our thoughts. Surprisingly enough, Willow is the first one to break it.

"I don't recall any prophecy involving the child of a Slayer… and even less one about the child of a Slayer and an ex-vampire made ghost made… something I'm not sure I totally understand. Believe me, I would remember. And I've read quite a lot of books."

"Nobody knew about the child of two vampires either."

It's the first time I even mention Connor. Unwanted thoughts of happy then dramatic times come back to me in a rush, and only the pressure of Buffy's hand against mine keeps me from drowning into a sea of what ifs and regrets. I push the images back into my memory, where they belong. Those are souvenirs to be brought out and pondered another time.

What I do regret, really, is to have lost the Shanshu prophecy. The Scrolls. Maybe Giles, or somebody, could have found something Wesley missed. But I also have a feeling that it would be useless.

Willow only nods. "Yeah… maybe I should call Giles. I… I haven't even told him you were back yet."

Hm… might be an interesting conversation.

"No."

Buffy seems to come out of a sort of trance. I thought she didn't even listen, but obviously, she did, because she's the one who so vehemently refuses that her watcher knows about me.

"Not now… not yet," she continues. "The less people know, the safer we are."

I have to agree. Especially given the predicament we're in.

Faith moves slightly on the chair she sat down in at some point during Buffy's explanations. I can tell she wants to say something, but holds back, for some reason.

"What is it, Faith?"

Her head snaps up at the sound of my voice, and she looks for all the world like a kid who's about to ask a question that he thinks is either very stupid, or incredibly important, and can't decide which.

"It's just... what are we doing now? Do we face them? Do we hide B and hope they never find her? Do we disappear? 'Cuz, really, not that I mind, I mean, I knew what the job entailed when I took it, but... well..."

She shrugs. But, well, indeed.

-

Flashback

"Got a vision recently?"

At first, I don't really get what he means. A vision? I don't get visions.

But, wait a minute... I knew some people who did. And one of those people gave me their last one.

It all comes back to me in a rush. The kiss, the power, the nightmare... all those flashes from a future I wasn't sure was even mine, flames, dust, pain... and a solution. A solution that led to some other images, confusing ones, of blond hair and sweetness, of demons and resolutions, of family and heartbeats... So many heartbeats...

And then it all went back to pools of blood.

"I... what does it all mean, Doyle?"

"Really, I thought you would have figured it out by now. You saw everything."

"It's all a blur... I can't really make sense of whatever it was. When I woke up the first time, I remembered clearly what I had to do to destroy the partners. It was obvious, and at the forefront of my mind... the rest dimmed after a while..."

Doyle sighs, and looks at Buffy, shaking his head. "Well... I suppose you'll know soon enough anyway," he mutters quietly to himself, shrugging.

Buffy gives him a puzzled look. "What do you mean?"

My old friend almost jumps, obviously surprised that she has heard him. I watch as he fidgets, before looking her way again.

"Let's just say... you... sort of... carry the solution," he finally says, vaguely gesturing towards her.

"I thought it was Angel?"

"Well, he does too, but... er... Not quite as literally. But, let's move on if you don't mind!"

He sounds... nervous.

I frown as I look at him again, the way he keeps throwing worried glances at Buffy while she glares at him, probably a little peeved that he won't drop the cryptic facade. She crosses her arms under her chest, the move making her shirt ride up a little, uncovering a patch of skin on her belly.

I stare at the smooth tissue there, barely visible above the bloodstained waistband of her pants...

And that's when it all starts to make sense.

End of flashback.

-

Where do we go from here? That's what I'd like to know. I've lived this life long enough to understand that they'll never leave us alone. The question is... How much risk are we willing to take?

o o o o o o o

Buffy's POV

I wish I could answer Faith's questions. I wish I knew what to do, but to be honest, and not for the first time, I'm at a loss.

I have to consider the fact that I no longer live only for myself. And the fact that that life inside of me isn't only mine to protect, because of it's importance, of it's worth... not only for me, but for the world. If only Doyle had been a little more forthcoming with information...

And besides... do I really want to bring a child into that life? Should I just try to disappear, and shield it from the evils of this realm? Could I bear the responsibility of keeping him or her from their destiny?

My heart says yes. I could leave right now and never come back.

But... my head is still trying to decide.

Angel thinks it's a she...

I wouldn't mind a little guy...

I snap back to reality when Angel lets out a tired sigh. "Maybe we should sleep a little. Think about all of this tomorrow..." he suggests, running his hand down his face.

But Willow shakes her head, raising her arm as if asking for permission to talk. "Wait.." she says, looking around at each of us, "you didn't tell us what it meant. I mean, the child... it has to have some sort of role, right?"

Unfortunately.

I run a hand through my hair, and Willow turns her attention back to me. I take a deep breath, not sure I'm quite ready to share that one piece of information.

"I don't... the gist of it is... that there'll be some sort of war and..."

"And our child, as well as some others, will have a role to play," Angel finishes.

I have to throw him a grateful glance. Looks like he deals with all of this better than I do...

His grip on my hand tightens.

… Or maybe not.

TO BE CONTINUED...

o o o o o o o

Not so sure where I'm going with this anymore... Sorry if there are continuity problems. Please let me know what you think, or if you feel like I've taken a wrong turn somewhere along my confusing plot... ^^