"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! What the HELL made me do this again?!"
"Breathe, luv. You're almost there." Spike held Buffy's hand as she struggled to give birth to their second child.
"Spike!" The vampire gripped his mate's hand, flinching as she struggled to push the new life into the world.
"How's it going here?" Xander asked, popping his head in the door, his son in his arms looking on curiously.
"Get OUT Xander!" Buffy yelled.
"Ooookay. Chris, let's just go back downstairs and leave Aunt Buffy to her…thing."
"Thing?! MY CHILD IS NOT A THING ALEXANDER HARRIS!" Spike cringed as her voice hit higher decibels than his hearing could safely handle. Another contraction sent her screaming as she pressed down, using her slayer muscles to push.
Giles held his sleeping granddaughter in his arms, listening to the sounds of his daughter giving birth. Jason and Christopher were on the sofa, fast asleep while Anya watched over them. It had been a long and hard pregnancy, but Buffy and Spike had borne it all. They'd been through a lot, those two, and it seemed their trials were not over yet.
He stood and walked to the window, looking out at the abandoned streets of Sunnydale. He wished this child had been born under better circumstances, without the threat of the First hounding their every step. There was a battle coming, one they might not win, and one that should not be overshadowing the birth of any child.
Anne shifted and started fussing, looking around for her parents. Giles tried to calm her, but to no avail.
"Let me." Anya plucked the squirming toddler out of Giles' arms, talking softly to her. Anne soon settled down, her intelligent blue eyes gazing towards the stairs which led to her parents. Anne was a precocious two-year-old, who walked with a fearlessness she got from her mother and got into trouble like only her father could. The daughter of two superbeings.
Another yell drifted down to them, waking Jason, who stood up and demanded his father. Giles picked up his son, something that still amazed him, and held him close. Everything was going to be alright.
The wail of a newborn child was music to her ears, after so many hours of labor. Spike pressed the crying child into Buffy's arms, caressing the damp head and pressing a kiss on his mate's head.
"Our son is beautiful," he whispered, his voice thick with emotion. Buffy laughed, a breathless sound, looking from her mate to her new son. She could already see Spike's razor cheekbones in her child.
Willow, Tara, and Joyce quietly escaped the room, leaving the new parents to their child, eager to share their news. Willow was practically bouncing when she made it into the den.
"Well?" Xander asked expectantly.
"It's a boy!" Willow exploded, unable to contain herself. Joyce simply smiled at the redhead's effusiveness, and went over to retrieve her son. She laid a kiss on Giles' lips, relaxing into his embrace as she watched the younger generation celebrate the new life amongst them. Even among death and burgeoning chaos, there was still something to celebrate.
Upstairs, Buffy and Spike were admiring the newest addition to their family, and arguing over names.
"We are not naming him Lazarus," Buffy said with finality, grinning at her cheeky mate.
"How about Cadmus?" Spike suggested.
"With hopes that one day we can be together in the Elysian Fields, happy for eternity."
Buffy gasped when she saw the First in her form, holding the lifeless body of a child. She clutched her own to her breast, as if she could protect he fragile life in her arms.
"What a happy picture there, the little family, safe in their house. So they think. Safety is such a fleeting thing…" The sound of glass breaking and shouting rang out from downstairs, soon followed by the sounds of fighting. "Enjoy what's left of your time together." The First flew at them, transforming into a grotesque vision of a beaten Buffy, the child now recognizable as Anne, and was gone.
Spike pulled Buffy to face him, looking into her eyes.
"You know I love you," he said, willing her to really look at him.
"You said you never leave me," Buffy gasped, pressing her forehead against his.
"I will always come back to you," he swore, kissing her. The sounds of fighting, the Potentials yelling, Giles organizing everyone, faded into the background. For the moment, there was them, and only them. Their moment was interrupted when one of the First's eyeless minions crashed through the window. Buffy used her body to protect her baby's head, while Spike began pummeling anything he could get his hands on. Buffy backhanded one of them into the wall, finally making it out into the hall. They raced downstairs, Spike launching himself into the fray. Buffy's heart stopped momentarily, seeing Jason, Chris, and Anne huddled under a table while the potentials and adults formed a protective circle around them.
Spike went wild, the blood lust rising in him at the thought of anyone hurting his family. The fight was over in minutes, black bodies littering the floor. Miraculously, only one potential had been seriously hurt. He turned to where Buffy was soothing Anne and introducing her to her new little brother.
"We end this tonight," he said quietly, deadly, to Giles.
"Yes. We do," he agreed, watching Joyce clean and bandage a small cut on Jason's forehead.
Spike moved over to his small family, determined to enjoy these few precious seconds with his children and mate.
A solitary figure stood at the edge of what used to be Sunnydale, staring into the deep crater, a single tear making its way down her cheek. She felt so empty, the reassuring pressure of her mate's mind no longer there just…emptiness. She managed a tiny smile when a small hand slipped into hers. She looked down at her daughter, blue eyes shining up at her, and then to her son, watching her and looking so much like Spike.
"Hello, William," she whispered, her tears flowing freely, "let me tell you about your Dad…he saved the world. A lot. And he's coming back to us. Somehow. "
A/N: Look for 'Unchecked', the finale of this series.