Precious Cargo
by A. Price


The petite blond stood before him, hands on her hips. "So you're going?" She asked him unhappiness clearly etched on her pretty face.

Riley leaned over and kissed the top of Buffy's head. "Yes, I am going. We've talked about this Buffy. Graham needs me on this mission, it's six weeks tops."

"You won't change your mind?" She asked with her trademark pout.

He stopped packing long enough to stand beside her and place a hand on both sides of her face, "Buffy nothing you say is going to change my mind. I'll be back soon. It will be okay." He smiled at her and brushed his lips softly across hers.

*Nothing? I wonder.* She looked up at him and forced a small smile. "You'll call whenever you can."

"I promise." He hugged her tightly to him. He was going to miss her more then he wanted to let on. But this mission gave him some work of his own to do, it was good that Graham needed him and it was only six weeks.

"So when do you have to be at the airport?" She asked batting her eyelashes at him.

"And hour, it's a fifteen minute drive." He grinned as she circled him, then finally leaned up against him wrapping her arms tightly around his waist.

"Oh my, forty five minutes." She whispered seductively as she took him by the hand and led him to the bedroom. Soft laughter soon turned to soft sighs.

Riley made it to the airport with ten minutes to spare. Buffy kissed him one last time and he was off. She stood at the terminal window and watched as his plane taxied down the runway. She sighed as she watched it dissappear into the clouds. She was glad she hadn't told him about her suspicions, if they were true, six weeks wouldn't matter much.


Graham met Riley at the airport and they caught a flight to South America. They were to do some recon work there for the next few weeks.

Graham laughed good naturedly as he waited for Riley at the pay phones as he fumbled with his phone card and called Buffy.

"Hello." He smiled into the phone.

"Hey. You made it okay?" Buffy asked.

"I'm fine. Can't talk long. I just wanted you to know I love you and I miss you already."

Graham rolled his eyes at Riley and pointed to his watch.

"I love you and miss you too. When can you call again?"

"I don't know. A couple of days, gotta go. Love you." He hung up the phone and followed Graham to their connecting flight.


Buffy hung up the phone and took the package from the drugstore bag. She pulled out the directions and read them again. She would do it first thing in the morning. She lay the pregnancy kit on the bedside table and got ready for bed.

Willow was gone with Tara on a class trip for biology. Buffy was enjoying having the room to herself. She had just fallen asleep when there was a knock on her door.


Spike tapped his foot nervously as he waited for Buffy to answer the door. He had been checking on her from time to time. He didn't even ask himself why he cared anymore, he knew he loved her, knew he had no chance, so he let himself savor the occasional moment with her, even if they spent most of the time bickering back and forth, any time he spent with her was good time.

Buffy answered the door sleepily. "Spike?" She yawned as she let him in, "Is something wrong?"

"Uh, no. Well I knew that Captain.....uh Riley left today. I was just checking to see how you were handling him being gone. You haven't gone off the deep end have you?" He grinned at her as he went to sit on Willow's bed.

She sighed as she closed the door and followed him to sit down on her own bed. Her eyes drifted to the pregnancy test sitting there. She slowly reached her hand out to take it, when Spike noticed the plastered smile on her face and where her hand was going. He was quicker.

He grabbed the box from the dresser and quickly read the contents. She stared at him wide eyed. He raised his eyebrow at her, "Have you run the test yet?" He asked his tone serious.

She shook her head, "No. I thought I would in the morning."

"So you aren't even going to try to deny it?" He asked shaking his head. "Buffy how could you even let this happen? A pregnant Slayer , you'll be a sitting duck." He raised his voice then and stood up pacing around the small room.

"I haven't even taken the test yet, it could be a false alarm. And this is my business, my choice to make. " She stood up and walked towards him reaching out to take the box from him.

"Do it now. Run the test now!" He demanded as he shoved the box in her hand.

"Why? Why should I?" She retorted.

"Because need to know." He said softly. "The sooner you know the better for you and everyone else."

"Fine. It only takes five minutes. I'll be right back." She rolled her eyes at him as she stomped into the bathroom. She used the tiny dropper to measure out three drops of urine into the device. She carried it carefully back into the room setting it on the bedside table. She and Spike watched it carefully as the the small plus sign showed up. Buffy picked it up to look at it more closely. She took a deep breath and handed it to Spike.

"It's done then. You're going to have a baby." He sighed then and leaned back against the headboard.

Buffy looked very pale and she hadn't spoken since she handed him the test. "You okay, Pet?" He asked as he stood and walked across to the other bed where she sat.

She nodded, "I'm going to have a baby." She said softly then tears rolled down her face, "What was I thinking? You're right, I will be a sitting duck. I can't do this, can I?"

He put a tenative arm around her, "You are having this baby, Buffy. Don't worry. I was wrong you'll be fine." And as he patted her back comfortingly he vowed to himself that he would personally make sure she had her baby safe and sound.

"I will be okay, won't I?" She smiled a tiny smile at him. "Riley, I need to tell him."

Spike shook his head, "Yes, he needs to know. Why didn't you tell him before he left?"

"I didn't want him to feel obligated to stay because I was pregnant." She explained.

"I think I understand. Right now you need some rest, okay?" He told her as her tucked her back into bed. He stood and walked to the door.

"Spike." She called softly.

He turned "Yeah."

"Please don't tell anyone."

"I won't." He told her as he closed the door to her room. He walked the streets for the rest of the night barely making it back to his place before sunrise. He was angry at her for putting herself in such a dangerous position, yet a small part of him was happy for her, and deep down inside a part of him wished that somehow it was he was the lucky father. He shook the impossible thoughts from his head as he lie down to sleep.


"Riley. We catch the plane to South America tomorrow. Tonight is our last night before a few weeks of roughing it. Let's go get a steak." Graham told him as he put his suitcase on the foot of the hotel bed.

"Sure. Let me call Buffy and then we'll go. Probably won't get to talk to her for awhile."

"Okay, I'm going to get a newspaper downstairs." Graham told him as he left the room.

He dialed the number and was surprised when she picked up the first ring. "Hey. I've got one last night of freedom before we go out on recon. How are you?"

"Riley, I've got some news. I hope you'll be happy. But if you aren't I'll understand." She told him apprehension heavy in her voice.

Her tone of voice scared him, he swallowed a lump in his throat. "What news?" He asked as the line began to crackle.

"I'm pregnant." She blurted out through the static on the line.

"Pregnant?" Riley asked shock in his voice. He didn't get a chance to hear Buffy's reply because the line went dead as two very large men in uniform came through the door ripping the phone from his hand as a syringe was plunged into his arm. Everything went black for Riley Finn, his last coherent thought was that he was going to be a daddy.

"Riley, Riley?" Buffy called into the phone, but it was no use they had been disconnected.

********* LA

Angel had been boought some very old volumes of different prophesy, he'd been combing them carefully for anythng about Slayers. The book dealer had no idea what he held in is hands, thinking it a bunch of fictional drivel. He'd only been able to translate a little bit but had laughingly explained to Angel they seemed to be in part about vampire slayers. Angel had quickly paid the man and took his find home. He had just come upon a very interesting chapter, very interesting - it talked of a pregnant Slayer, she would be in immense danger while pregnant, but once the baby was born it would only enhance her strength.

If he understood everything correctly this should be happening about now. Buffy was going to need him, but how do you go about asking your ex if she could be pregnant? He closed the book and rubbed his eyes. He was going to have to make a trip to Sunnydale.


Buffy tried not to worry about Riley. They were just cut off, a bad connection it happened all of the time. She went to bed that night and tried not to think too much about it. He'd call back when he could, everything was going to be okay.

The next day came and went without a phone call. Buffy went to class and tried to concentrate.


Graham returned to find his room a mess and a armed man sitting on Riley's bed. "Where is Riley?" He demanded, "Who are you, we are here with the US Marines and you are disrupting our mission."

The man stood, "You completed your part of the mission, soldier. You got Finn here. We need to analyze Mr. Finn some more, we want to run a few more tests on him then we did you and the others. He was Walsh's favorite, we just want to check him out. He'll be fine. And if you want to keep your career, you'll go along with this, understand?" He said menacingly.

Graham shook his head and gritted his teeth. He'd give them a few days to watch him and see that he wasn't going to tell then he would call Buffy. She might be Riley's only hope at this point.


Angel stared at Buffy through the dorm window she appeared to be studying although he wasn't sure she had turned a page in over a hour. He was caught off guard by someone flicking a cigarette butt on his shoe. He looked up to find Spike standing beside him.

"What are you doing here, Peaches. You becoming a peeping tom?" He nodded towards Buffy's window.

"Spike, Buffy could be in some serious trouble, I've been reading some interesting text. Anything new in her life?" Angel asked hopefully.

"What kind of trouble?" Spike asked anxiously.

"Might be nothing, but it mentioned, well it said something about a pregnant slayer." Angel told him girding himself for whatever smart remark the blond would throw at him.

Spike was quiet for a moment, then he spoke softly, "Is it bad?"

"It could be." Angel answered shocked at Spike's reaction.

"She is, she just found out. No one knows except you and I. I promised not to tell, but if she's in danger." Spike explained as he lit another cigarette.

"I need to talk to Giles." Angel said as he turned to leave.

"I'll go with you." Spike told him falling into step beside him.

"Why do you care?"

"I just do." Spike spit out the words.

Angel looked curiously at him as they got into his car and drove to Giles.


Giles opened the door with a questioningly look. "Hello, Spike, Angel. What's wrong?" He asked immediately.

"Buffy's pregnant and in danger." Spike blurted out the words. Angel turned and glared at him.

Giles mouth dropped open. "What?"

"You better sit down." Angel told him as he explained the situation to the Watcher.

Giles looked thoughtfully at Angel and then at Spike, "I have an idea how to keep her safe during the pregnancy. But I'll need your help." He looked from Angel to Spike then added "Both of your help."

He quickly explained his idea, "Now we only have to talk Buffy into it. And when Riley comes back he can join her at the safe house or safe cabin as it may be."

The three men looked at each other and let out a collective sigh, talking Buffy into this would be the hardest task any of them had ever faced.


Buffy flinched as she felt an odd sensation come over her. It felt as, he wasn't here. Angel was in LA. Must be her topsy turvy hormones. She pushed the history book away and went to look out the open window. The moon was full and the night air calming.

Buffy sat down on her bed staring at the phone, willing it to ring. She had a bad feeling about her earlier call with Riley. She was afraid that their being cut off was a bad sign. Maybe he would find a phone and call her back soon. She needed him now more then ever as she climbed under the blankets a protective hand lying on her still flat tummy.


Riley woke up in what appeared to be a hospital room. Of course this hospital room seemed to be equipped with a armed guard. He found himself wearing a hospital gown and his arms tied with restraints. *Where the hell am I?*

"Hey you!" He called to the guard.

The guard turned to face him, "Your're awake, good. I'll call Doctor Irvin." He picked up the phone and after speaking softly for a few moments he hung up. The doctor will be here in few moments. He'll answer your questions. Just relax."

"That's not so easy when you are in restraints." Riley replied tersely.

A middleaged man greying at the temples entered the room smiling. He carried a chart in his hand. "You are awake. Excellent." He walked to the edge of the bed. "Agent Finn, I'm Doctor Irivin. It's very nice to meet you."

"I wish I could say the same. Why am I here?" Riley glared at him.

"I regret the way you were brought here. But we didn't feel like you would come voluntarily."

"Damn right." Riley met the doctors eyes, he repeated "Why am I here?"

"Agent Finn, Professor Walsh favored you and we still haven't learned all we would like to about her experiments. We wish to run further tests on you. It will go easier if you cooperate, then you can rejoin your girlfriend." The doctor smiled at him and began to look at the chart.

"Buffy," Riley said out loud remembering her last words to him on the phone, "She's pregnant."

Doctor Irvin looked up from the chart, "The Slayer is pregnant with your child?" He asked with obvious interest.

Riley instantly regretted saying the words out loud. He nodded his head slowly not happy about the look on the doctor's face.

"That's interesting." Dr. Irwin told him as she jotted down some notes in the chart. "Congratulations." He added as if it was an afterthought.

"Thanks." Riley said absently, "When do I get out of here?" He had decided that cooperating was his best chance for now.

"Soon. We'll start the tests tomorrow and go from there. We aren't here to harm you." The doctor turned to leave the room.

"Can I call Buffy?" Riley asked trying not to sound as desperate as he felt.

Doctor Irvin shook his head, "I don't think that is a wise idea, Agent Finn." He left the room shutting the door behind him.

Riley lie in bed trying to decide what his options were. All he knew was that he had to get to Buffy.


The doctor hurriedly went back to his office, where he dialed the phone and leaned back in his chair. "Yes, we have Finn. No, I don't forsee any problems, in fact there is a very interesting new development." He pulled a picture of Buffy from his desk drawer. "I think we may need to pick up Buffy Summers, she is pregnant with Agent Finn's child. thoughts exactly. I think that is worth some research." He hung up the phone a smirk on his face.


Spike was the first to speak, "How are we going to covince Buffy to let Peaches and I take care of her for the next few months?"

"He has a point." Angel replied.

"I think I know who can help on this one." Giles told them as he picked up the phone and dialed. "Hello, Joyce. This is Rupert Giles. Yes, I know it's late. No, no, Buffy is okay. This is important though, I'll be right there." Giles hung up the phone and turned to Angel and Spike, "I'll call you after I talk to Joyce. We'll plan on talking to Buffy in the morning."


Joyce opened the door a worried look on her face, "You're sure Buffy is okay?" She asked as she led him to the living room.

"She's fine, at least for now, Joyce. But I have to tell you something that may be hard to for you to accept." Giles sat down beside her on the couch.

An hour and a half later, two glasses of schnappes and several tears later, Joyce made her way up the stairs. She needed to rest because she played a key part in the next days events.

Giles called Spike and Angel and they soon appeared at Joyces house, they made themselves comfortable in the basement while Giles took the couch, he made several phone calls through the night and had all of the arrangements made. Now all they needed was Buffy.

********* Buffy woke to the phone ringing, it irritated her since she had a late class and wanted to sleep in. "Hello." She said shortly.

"Buffy, it's Mom." Joyce replied cheerfully.

"Oh, Mom. I'm sorry, I've just been tired lately. Is everything okay?" She sat up in the bed.

"Well, not really honey. I need you to come over here. Please." Joyce asked anxiously.

"Are you okay?" Buffy asked worry in her voice.

"I'm fine. Please just come on over as quickly as you can."

"I'll be right there." Buffy told her as she hung up the phone. She quickly dressed and left the dorm room. The phone rang again shortly after she left.


Graham looked around slightly nervous as he hung the phone up. He had gone back to his duty station and was playing the part of the loyal soldier. This was his first attempt at reaching Buffy. She wasn't in her dorm, so he decided to call information for her Mom's number. He picked up the phone again.


"She's on her way." Joyce told the three men standing around her kitchen.

"Good, we'll talk her into it, you'll take her to the doctor appointment and we'll leave tonight." Spike told her as he paced around the kitchen.

The phone rang and Joyce went to answer it, "No, Buffy isn't here. This is her Mother can I take a message?"

Giles listened to the onesided conversation, he mouthed "Who is it?"

"May I ask who is speaking?" Joyce asked. "Graham, you're a friend of Riley's, right?"

Giles senseing something wrong took the phone from her, "Hello, Graham. This is Rupert Giles, Buffy's Watcher, do you have a message from Riley? I see, and you have no idea where they've taken him? Yes, I'll tell her, we'll do what we can here, let me know the minute you know something. I understand, be careful." He hung the phone up and turned to the others in the room.

"What is it?" Angel asked, "Has something happened to Riley?"

"That was Graham he was calling against orders, Riley has been abducted and taken somewhere for the military to run more tests on him. Graham is very worried and wants our help, he's trying to find out Riley's location." Giles took off his glasses and pinched his nose, "Buffy does not need this right now."

"She'll never leave now, not with Riley missing." Spike spat out, his agitation clear.

"No, she will. We'll make her see that when Riley is found and comes home he'll want her and the baby safe. It's going to be okay, we just have to hope and pray that Graham can track down Riley before it's too late." Joyce sighed.

"Mom!" Joyce jumped when she heard Buffy's voice.

"In the kitchen, sweetie." She called to her.

Buffy entered the kitchen with smile on her face, it soon faded when she saw the group of people gathered there. "What's wrong?" She asked her voice rising slightly.

Joyce put a comforting arm around her daughter, "It's Riley, Buffy. Graham just called he's missing."

Buffy pulled back from her mother, "Missing?"

Giles recited Grahams message to Buffy. "We are going to do everything we can, Buffy. But a pressing problem to deal with here also."

Buffy seemed to not hear Giles, she was so lost in thought. "We have to find him, I'm having a........."

Joyce looked at Buffy her eyes full of sympathy, she pulled her into a tight hug. "A baby, Buffy. I know."

"How?" Buffy managed in a choked voice. She then turned from her mother and looked at Spike, "You told! You promised." She shouted at him.

"It's not his fault, Buffy." Angel spoke. Buffy turned to him as if she had just realized he was there.

"I knew I felt you last night. What is going on, why are you here?" She felt lightheaded and stumbled slightly. Spike caught her before she fell.

"You okay?" He asked as he scooped her up and took her to the couch.

"Just a little dizzy. Somebody please explain what is going on here?" She asked as she propped herself on the sofa pillow.

"I came across a book with a prophecy about a pregnant Slayer, the time and the circumstances fit you. I came to check on you ran into Spike and kind of forced the truth from him." Angel took her hand, "Buffy we have to take you away, you and the baby will be in danger until the birth."

"I can't go. I have to find Riley." She argued.

"Buffy, Riley will be okay, between Giles and Graham they will find him and bring him home. You can't be selfish now, it's not just you to worry about. There is a baby now, and you have to know that Riley would want you to take care of that precious cargo that you are carrying." Joyce smoothed Buffy's hair from her face.

Buffy thought for a moment, "What is the plan, Giles?" Buffy asked with resignation in her voice. She had to admit that Joyce made sense, there was someone else to consider now. Her heart ached for Riley, but she was not going to do *anything* to endanger his child.

"First your mother is taking you for a doctors appointment. When you return, I'll explain the rest." Giles voice took a fatherly tone.


Joyce ushered Buffy out the door and into the car. They never noticed the small black truck that followed them to the doctor's office. Buffy filled out the forms the nurse gave her, she had to smile at the Anne Geddes prints that hung on the walls. Fat cheeked babies in different surroundings, all smiling. She was going to have a baby, she and Riley. It seemed unreal. Riley, they had to find him, she needed him with her. This was too big to take on by herself.

Joyce watched Buffy with a worried look, a baby under any circumstances could be stressful but with Buffy's lifestyle and with Riley missing, she wasn't sure that even her very strong daughter could handle it. She smiled at Buffy and patted her arm.

The nurse called Buffy's name and she followed her to the lab. "We've got to get some blood work and a urine sample. Then Doctor Franks will see you."

"Hi, I'm Kris and I'm going to draw some blood." The tech told her cheerfully as she tied the tourniquet around Buffy's arm. "Is this your first baby?" She asked as she filled several tubes with Buffy's blood and labeled them.

"Yes." Buffy answered shyly. She was nervous about the exam.

"I know you and your husband are excited." The tech smiled at her and handed her a urine cup.

Buffy winced at the mention of her 'husband' as she went to the bathroom.

When Buffy left the bathroom the nurse was back. She followed her into an exam room where she changed into a paper gown and sat on the table.

"Hi, Buffy. I'm Doctor Franks." The doctor smiled and shook her hand. "We ran another pregnancy test to confirm the one you did at home. You are pregnant, and looking at the dates you put down here, I'd estimate about eight weeks along. Any morning sickness?" He asked as he looked at her chart.

"Not really, just tired." She answered.

"That's normal, you lie down here, while I get the nurse. We need to do a pelvic and then we'll make your next appointment." He called to the nurse and she returned to the room.

When the exam was complete, Buffy dressed and the nurse gave her a large bottle of prenatal vitamins and an appointment card with an appointment in four weeks. "If you have any questions or need anything, just call." She told her with a smile.

Buffy joined Joyce in the waiting room and they left the doctors office. "Well, what did he say?"

"He said I was in very good shape and they took blood if anything is wrong they will call your house with the results." Buffy sighed.

Dr. Franks returned to his office to find a strange man sitting behind his desk. "Who are you?" He demanded.

The man stood and flashed a military looking badge, "Agent Tucker, is Buffy Summers pregnant?"

"That's priveliged information." Dr. Franks told him as he picked up the phone.

Agent Tucker grabbed the doctor's hand with a tight grip. The doctor winced with pain. "I repeat, is she pregnant?"

Doctor Franks nodded his head yes.

"I want her chart and her blood samples."

"But, I can't ........." Dr. Franks was cut off midsentence.

"If you want to continue to practice medicine. You will do what I say." Tucker tightened his grip again.

The doctor could tell by the look in the man's eyes that it was not an idle threat, he handed the chart to Tucker. "The blood is in the lab." He mumbled.

"Thank you, you won't regret helping me." Tucker told him as he left the room.


Riley rubbed at his sore wrists. They had let him out of the restraints to do some psychological tests. He had looked at ink blots and answered stupid questions most of the morning. His mind drifted to Buffy, Buffy and his baby. He had to find a way out of here.

Dr. Irvin sat at his desk looking over the results of some of Riley's tests. The phone rang and he put down the chart. "Irvin," he answered. "Yes, you followed her? She is pregnant. That's good news, more research possibilities. You have her chart and blood samples. Good work! Bring them to me at once."

He leaned back in his chair, "Yes, you bring the samples and send a couple of men to her mother's to pick her up." He hung up the phone and went to the safe in the wall, opening it he pulled out more files, the name Walsh prominent across the front of them. "Walsh, just what did you do to Finn, and will it be passed on to his children?"


"Giles, where the hell did you go shopping? Medical Supplies R' Us." Spike asked as he helped him pack boxes.

"Laugh if you will. But you will need these supplies when the baby comes."

"And you really think we can deliver a baby?" Angel asked as packed a warming blanket and a bag of tiny diapers into a box, " and what is this contraption?"

Giles blushed slightly, "That is a breast pump, Angel. I'm not sure if Buffy will prefer to breastfeed or to bottle feed."

Spike smirked at Angel, "He's prepared for both." He placed several cans of formula and multicolored baby bottles in a box .

"The baby won't even be here for months, Giles." Angel told him as he sealed the last box.

"And by then you will be prepared. I've given you all of those books and I have complete faith you can do this. If there is any complication whatsoever you will take her to the nearest hospital."

"So we get to babysit the Slayer and I do mean "baby"sit. What are you going to be doing?" Spike asked.

"I am going to enlist Willow and Xander to help find Riley. Buffy is going to need him." Giles told him as he sat down on the couch. He was exhausted having made all of the arrangements for Buffy's care during the night.

Joyce decided to take Buffy on a shopping trip. She would need maternity clothes and would not have the chance to shop for them. So she picked up several blouses and pants and a couple of dresses in varying sizes so she could wear them through the pregnancy.

It was near dark when they finally made it home. Joyce opened the door to find Spike and Angel stacking boxes and Giles asleep on her sofa. Buffy followed. She smiled when she saw Angel and Spike as bad as this situation was she still had her friends, Angel in his shining armor and Spike in his, well his slightly tarnished armor. "Have you heard anything about Riley?" She asked hopefully.

"I'm sorry, Buffy. But no, we haven't. Giles is going to have Xander and Willow on the case as soon as they both get back into town." Angel assured her.

"I know they'll find him." She said softly as she went to the kitchen. Angel followed her placing a hand on her shoulder, "Buffy." He said softly, "He's going to be okay."

"Can you promise me that?" She asked staring him in the eye.

Angel stood silently.

"You can't. I'm carrying his child, Angel." She said softly.

"Buff.." He started.

"I need to be alone." She told him as she opened the back door and walked out into the darkness. She looked up into the starry sky and softly called to him "Riley, Riley, where are you?"

"You'll soon be with him." The voice said harshly as one man grabbed her and the other tried to inject her with a syringe of clear fluid. She fought wildly freeing herself from the man holding her and screaming loudly, the two men looked at each other and ran for it.

Spike and Angel were at her side in moment. "What happened?" They asked in unison as they helped her into the house.

Buffy explained about the two men and the syringe at the end of her story she added, "I think they were Iniaiative."

Giles spoke, "I was afraid of that. You must go now, Buffy. Let's finish your packing."


Angel dissappeared while the others were packing the car. Spike found him in the basement punching a wall. "Whats with you?" Spike asked.

"Nothing." Angel replied cleaning the blood off of his knuckles with a rag.

"So you took nothing out on the wall?" Spike asked raising an eyebrow.

"It's Buffy. I love her." He stated simply.

"And this is news?" Spike asked sarcasm dripping.

Angel ignored his remark and continued, "I want her safe, but I am so angry at her for letting herself be put in this vulnerable situation. Or maybe I'm angry because she's found that normal life, I wished for her. I don't know, but just now when she was attacked it dawned on me just how dangerous this is for her. I can't lose her, Spike."

"She's not your's to lose, Angel. Not anymore." Spike told him, and the sarcasm had been replaced by a kind sympathy in his voice.

"I guess she isn't mine anymore, But I don't want to live in a world without her, do you?" Angel asked pointedly.

Spike didn't answer, but as he turned to go upstairs he muttered under his breath, "Hell, we are all in the same boat, Peaches, Finn and me. We all love Buffy Summers."


Angel rejoined the group as Joyce was giving Buffy a hug. "Be careful, sweetheart. Don't forget you are carrying precious cargo. I love you."

"I love you too, Mom." Buffy told her tearfully.

Giles gave the keys to a large SUV to Angel, it was loaded with supplies and all of Buffy's baggage.

"Hey why does he get to drive?" Spike complained loudly.

Joyce turned to the two vampires, "You two, take good care of "my" baby,"

"We will, Joyce." Angel told her sincerely.

"Shotgun!" Spike called as they got closer to the vehicle.

Bufffy rolled her eyes and shook her head, "Are you * sure* this is a good idea, Giles" She asked as she climbed into the back seat.


Buffy was quiet for the first hour of the trip as she listened to Spike and Angel argue over who should read the map. "You got us lost in Hungary remember? And look how that turned out." Spike taunted the dark haired vampire.

"Spike, just shut up." Angel sighed as he took another look at the map. They would be there in three hours if he was reading it correctly. He glanced in the rearview mirror at Buffy. "You okay, back there?" He asked concerned.

Spike took another book from the stack that Giles had given Angel and began to thumb through it.

"I'm okay, but I am a little hungry." She answered staring out the window.

"We'll stop somewhere then and get you a snack." Angel told her as he began scanning the signs on the road for a restaurant.

"If you'll just stop at a gas station, I can just get a coke and a candy bar. Umm... I need to use the bathroom too." She said shyly.

"Of course, if your sure that's all you want." Angel replied as took the next exit with a gas sign.

"You can't just have a coke and a candy bar, Slayer." Spike scolded her.

"Why not?" Buffy asked raising her eyebrows.

"Because you have to eat good meals now. No junk food, good healthy stuff for the baby." Spike told her matter of factly.

Angel and Buffy both stared open mouthed at him. He pointed at the open book, "Well it says so, right here." He glared at the two of them and went back to his book.

"He might be right, Buffy. We could get you a nice salad and chicken sandwich over there." Angel pointed to the fastfood restaurant across the street.

"Okay, I guess I could eat something substantial." She agreed, " But don't go through the drive through, I've got to go the restroom."

"That's normal. You're going to have to go pee alot now. Pressure on your bladder." Spike looked up from the book.

Buffy stared at him an amused look on her face.

"What?" Spike asked indignanty, "It says so in the bo...."

Buffy giggled and interrupted him, "I know it says so in the book. Are you going to point out all of these little things during my pregnancy?"

"Maybe." He grinned at her and returned again to the book.

"Here we go. You go to the little girls room and I'll order your food." Angel told her as he parked the truck. Buffy climbed out and went into the restaurant,

Angel looked at Spike. Spike looked up at him, "What? I didn't do anything." He grumbled.

"Spike, I was just going to say that was the first time I've seen Buffy really smile in days." He turned and followed Buffy into the restaurant.

Spike settled a little deeper into the seat and began to read again, he'd never really had any experience with pregnant women and if this book was any indication he had a lot to learn. The more he read the more he realized exactly what a miracle Buffy was going through, he envied Riley Finn for getting to be a part of that miracle. He lit up a cigarrette and went to the next chapter.

Buffy soon joined Angel at the counter he was paying for her food."I got you seven-up to drink, no caffeine." He told her as he handed the bag to her.

She smiled again, "I'm sure Spike will approve."

Angel grinned, "I don't know what to say, he's always been strange." They both laughed as they walked to the truck.

Spike quickly put out his cigarette when he saw Buffy and Angel coming towards the truck, that was part of chapter one, smoke is bad for the baby, even second hand smoke.

Buffy slid into the back seat and opened her sandwich and salad. She took a big sip of the seven-up. Angel started the truck and they were on the road again.

"How 'bout some music?" Spike asked as he reached to turn on the radio.

"Okay, find something good." Buffy said between bites. She really was hungrier then she had thought.

Spike flipped through the radio stations at a rapid pace, until he found one playing heavy metal then he turned up the radio full blast. Angel and Buffy both yelled at the same time, "Turn it down."

He glared but turned the radio down. "I said find something good." She complained.

"This is good." He replied.

"If your're a punk!." She yelled at him.

"Whats wrong with punk?." Spike yelled back.

"It's not even music!" Buffy replied.

"It's better then the hearts and flowers love songs you listen too." Spike sneered at her.

"Just turn it off then." She yelled again, then added "Please." in a soft tone.

The 'please' did him in. He turned off the radio and went back to his book. *Those mood swings have already started.*

Angel listened to the two of them and shook his head as he drove. A few minutes later Buffy tapped him on the shoulder. "Please pull over, Angel"

He slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road, "What's wrong?"

He didn't get the sentence out before she bounded out of the truck. He and Spike quickly followed her and found her retching in the grass.

She looked up embarrassed, "Go away, I'll be done in a minute."

"Buffy, maybe I should stay with you?" Angel pleaded.

Spike took his arm and whispered, "Let her puke in private, Peaches."

They went back to the truck and waited. Spike lit up another ciggarette.

"I don't like her being out there alone." Angel told him as he kept his eyes on Buffy.

"You've got to let her have some privacy, Angel." Spike told his sire.

"Does the book say that?" Angel asked sarcastically.

"No, it doesnt'. I'm just saying she's going through alot now, she's gonna need a minute alone now and then." Spike told him as he watched Buffy walking back to the car.

Buffy opened the door and climbed in. "I'm sorry, but there are some things a girl likes to do alone." She told Angel as she settled in to her seatbelt. She sighed deeply. She wanted to cry, she knew that Spike and Angel were only trying to help. But she wanted Riley to be the one there for her when she was throwing up. She closed her eyes and leaned back. Then it hit her, the smell of cigarette smoke and her nausea returned.

"Spike have you been smoking in here?" She demanded fighting back the bile in her threatening to rise in her throat.

Angel turned to look at Spike, even he felt some sympathy for him, Buffy really sounded angry, he was really glad that he had given up smoking.

"Yeah, but I put it out when I saw you coming. I know it's not good for you." He tried to explain.

"Its not just the smoke, it's the smell. It's making me sick again." She adjusted her seat belt and lie down in the seat.

"I'm sorry, Slayer." Spike said sincerely.

"You're going to have to quit smoking, Spike." She mumbled as she folded her jacket under her head as a pillow he stomach was calming down and she was tired.

Spike remained quiet.

Angel watched her get settled, "You feeling okay to get back on the road?"

"Yeah, the sooner we get there the better. I'm going to try to sleep now." She closed her eyes again.

Several minutes later, Spike spoke. "I'm not going to quit smoking, Angel. And she can't make me." He said determinedly.

Angel griinned as he heard Buffy's sleepy voice from the backseat. "Yes you are going to quit, Spike." Then she was quiet again, her breathing even and they realized she was asleep.

Spike turned to the back seat and glared at the sleeping Slayer. Why did she have the power to make him crazy?

They drove for a couple more hours until Angel pulled onto a tiny dirt road in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. He pulled up to a cabin. "We're here." He told Spike as he parked.

"Buffy, we're here." Angel gently shook her .

She opened her eyes. "We're there?"

He shook his head and helped her out of the vehicle. Spike was already at the front door with the key. He turned on the lights and waited for them. Angel grabbed a couple of Buffy's bags and they joined him.

The cabin's interior was rustic. A plaid couch with an afghan on the back was positioned close to a fireplace with a stone mantel. The room did however have a very large tv in it and he had noticed a satellite dish outside.

There were two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bath downstairs and a loft bedroom upstairs. Angel took Buffy's things to the loft. Remembering what Spike had said he thought she might enjoy the privacy.

"It's lovely." Buffy said as she opened the kitchen cabinets and fridge to find them well stocked with food and o-pos. She yawned as she poured herself a glass of milk and went to sit on the sofa. "So this is home for the next few months, what do you think?" she whispered out loud, smiling as she looked down at her tummy.

Spike and Angel checked out the locks on the doors and windows. They seemed satisfied as they went to join Buffy. Angel sat down in the rocking chair across from her. Spike stood behind the couch, "I'm not going to quit smoking, Buffy."

"Spike,...." She started but he interrupted her.

"But I won't smoke in the house at all. I'll go outside. Which is where I am going now."

"Okay, okay, I'm too tired to argue." Buffy told him as he walked out the door.

"I think he really is trying, Buffy." Angel told her as observed her yawn once more. "You need some sleep. Why don't you go on up to bed?"

"I think I will." She told him as she stood and went to the stairs, "Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Angel called as he closed the front door and joined Spike on the porch.

Spike's cigarette glowed in the darkness as he pushed the porch swing back and forth with one worn Doc Marten.

Angel took a seat in an ancient rocker across from him "You two going to bicker like that the whole time we're here?"

"Probably." Spike told him as he exhaled.

Angel surprised him by plucking the cigarette from his fingers. He took a long, slow drag from it as Spike glared at him. Angel blew the smoke out and then looked at Spike, "Are you going to tell her?"

"Tell her what?" Spike asked as he took his cigarette back.

"That you love her." Angel told him waiting intently for the answer.

"Hell no, I"m not telling her. She's pregnant and upset about the soldier being missing. I'm not adding to that." Spike said harshly as he stomped the cigarette butt into the porch floor.

Angel leaned back into the rocking chair, "It's going to be a very long seven months." He sighed and closed his eyes.


Dr. Irvin entered the room unexpectedly. " I have news about your girlfriend."

"Is she okay?" Riley asked fear creeping into his voice.

"Actually no one has seen her for several months. Seems she took off for parts unkown with a vampire. The former hostile 17 and a tall dark man I didn't recognize."

"We are on it though, we'll find her."

*She's with Spike and Angel.* Riley clenched his fists not sure if he was more worried about the Iniative grabbing Buffy or the fact that she was alone with Spike and Angel.

"You'll do nothing Agent Finn. At first I was only interested in your blood, and the enhancements that Walsh had instigated. Your blood has several interesting properties, you heal very quickly and when injected into some sick mice, they showed improvement. I would have to say that the blood of your child will hold even more research, your enhanced blood, the Slayer's genetics, think of the possibilities." He stood to go. "I'll let you know when we find her."

"My child is not an experiment. A baby? How far will you people go?" Riley yelled at the Doctor's back. He closed his eyes and thought of Buffy, and their baby.


One month later

Buffy and the vampires fell into a daily routine, Angel cooked breakfast, she watched Passions with Spike. Her every need was catered too. She had everything, a baby grew inside of her and she marveled at the changes in her body. She had two men livng with her who would protect her with thier lives. But still she ached for somebody, she still missed Riley. The daily call to Giles was also part of the routine, she didn't cry anymore when she got off of the phone. She would shake her head and go outside and sit on the porch in the sunlight. Spike and Angel had decided that she chose to go outside to avoid them, she held the advantage there. But she was afraid now, afraid that her child would never meet his or her father.

One morning as Angel and Spike were bringing down some of Giles boxes of supplies from the small attic. Angel had glanced into Buffy's room the door was ajar and he was mesmerized by what he saw. He motioned for Spike to take a look. Both vampires smiled as they watched Buffy pull up her loose shirt and run a gentle hand across the small bulge in her tummy. She giggled softy, "Hello in there."

"She's gorgeous isn't she?" Spike whispered.

"That she is." Angel agreed whole heartedly.

The next morning did not go as smoothly. Buffy had a bad case of morning sickness and she was always embarrassed to have them see her throwing up. Angel ignored her complaints as he gently rubbed her back and handed her a damp washcloth when she was done.


Two months later Spike watched Buffy as she tore into Angel over a bagel of all things She was showing now and wearing the maternity clothes her mother had brought. She complained about the weight gain, but he could tell how much this baby meant to her. She was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. And even though he knew how much Riley meant to Buffy. He often daydreamed about what would happen if the soldier boy never came back. He wondered if she could ever accept him as a replacement?

"You ate the the last one?" Buffy was yelling at Angel.

"Yes. But I"ll buy more." Angel said weakly..

"You don't even have to eat! I can't believe you ate the last one." She stomped into the living room and sat beside Spike. She turned to him, "He ate the last bagel."

"I know, he's such a brute." Spike grinned at her and patted her back comfortingly. Smirking over her head at Angel.

"I'm sorry, Buffy." Angel told her sincerely. She pulled her feet up on the couch and leaned her head on Spike's shoulder, "It's okay." She mumbled and then the tears came. "I'm sorry, it's just..........."

"It's okay, Buffy." Spike said soothingly as he smoothed down her hair, soon she was sleeping and he lie her gently on the couch.

"How could you eat the last one?" Spike glared at Angel.

"It was a mistake, I'll go into town tonight and buy her some more." Angel rolled his eyes and placed a gentle hand on Buffy's cheek being careful not to wake her, "That book of your's wasn't lying about the mood swings."

Spike nodded his head in agreement. The a plan formed in his head. "I'll go the store tonight. You stay here."

"Fine with me. Just whatever you do, *don't* forget the bagels."

The day passed without another incident. Later that night, Spike whispered to Buffy "Want to go the the store with me tonight?"

Her face beamed, "Ohh, I'd love too. But I don't think Papa Bear over there will let me go."

"I've got a plan. Tell him your going to bed. Then I'll call you when the coast is clear."

Buffy nodded excitedly, she was finally getting out of the cabin and shopping!!

"Goodnight, Angel." She called and went upstairs to get ready.

An half hour later, Spike knocked softly on the door. "Come on we've got to be quick. He just nodded off."

He took her hand and led her to the car. She was griinning broadly now. "What time is it?" She asked as she adjusted the seatbelt.

"Twelve thirty, we've got time." He assured as he backed the truck out of the drive. "The Wal Mart Supercenter open 24/7!"

Spike pulled up and parked at the store. He could tell that Buffy was excited about being out. He opened her door and helped her out of the truck.

Spike had not thought it possible to look at every item in the store. But Buffy managed it. He grinned as she ooh and ahhed over the baby clothes. She finally found a tiny pair of sneakers that she decided on and she put them in the buggy.

What should have been a quick trip to the grocery took hours. Spike watched her picking out bags of apples and oranges. The man who was spraying the veggies waved at Spike, "Hello, William. You aren't alone tonight. Is this yourwife?"

Buffy glanced at the man and smiled.

"Hello, Mac." Spike replied, he then put an arm around Buffy, "Yes this is her, my wife, Anne."

Buffy stiffened slighty when he slid his arm around her but then quickly relaxed and fell into her part. "Nice to meet you, Mac." She extended her hand and he shook it vigoursly.

"I was beginning to think he was a loner. Always coming in here at late hours. Nice to meet you and it looks like there is going to be a little one soon?" Mac smiled at her.

"We have a few months left." Buffy grinned as Spike patted her tummy affectionately.

"Treasure the babe, because they grow up too fast." Mac told them as he went about his spraying.

"We will." Spike said behind him his voice wistful as he let go of Buffy.

Buffy finished bagging her groceries and they went back to the car. She was quiet for most of the drive home. She looked at Spike and felt guilty, she was playacting as his wife, she had even enjoyed the feel of his arm around her, the protective way he had patted her tummy. * Was it so wrong for her to want to feel normal for a change? Geez, Buffy what kind of woman are you? You don't even know if Riley is alive or not?*

"You okay, pet?" He asked halfway home unable to ignore her silence.

"Spike, do you think Riley is okay?" She finally answered.

"I'm sure he's okay. And he'll be coming home to you soon. I'm sure of it." He told the lie easily because it made her smile. Her mood improved the closer they got to the cabin. She took the baby shoes out of the bag and looked at them again, "Aren't they just adorable?" She squeaked.

Spike nodded his head in agreement.

Angel heard the truck drive up he peeked out the window, Buffy was giggling about somethng Spike had said and they were unloading groceries. He had been so angry when he had watched them drive away earlier, but now he had decided they needn't know that he even knew about this field trip. He went and lie back down on the couch pretending to be asleep again.

"Shh, be very, very quiet." Buffy did her best elmer Fudd imitation.

Spike laughed softy as he followed her into the kitchen. "We don't want to wake up Angel." He told her as they began to put the groceries away.

"I'll check on him." She walked into the living room and saw him sleeping on the couch. She walked a bit closer, something wasn't right. She put her face next to his, "Angel, are you awake?" He grinned at her and opened his eyes, "Couldn't fool you?" He asked innocently.

"Nope, thank you." She placed a small kiss on his cheek, she nodded in Spike's direction, "If you don't tell him, I won't."

"Deal." Angel told her as he shut his eyes.


One month later

Angel was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of the front door slamming and the angry shout of "Spike!" He silently said thank you that he wasn't the object of Buffy's wrath. Poor Spike he almost felt sorry for him.

"Yes, Slayer." Spike said sweetly, trying to prevent an outburst.

"You need to go pick up those disgusting cigarrette butts from the front porch. They stink and I can't stand the smell or the sight of them." She fumed at him. She was quite large by now and looked like she might topple over if she got any angrier.

"Well obvioulsy, I can't do anything about it right now, Buffy. The sun is kinda bright out there." He answered not looking at her. If he looked at her he would laugh and then she would either stake him or break down into tears.

"Fine! Guess I can't sit outside till tonight." She stormed upstairs.

"Not much longer, Spike." Angel told him with a pat on the shoulder.

"Should I check on her?"

Angel shook his head, "No, it's just hormones and she may have been thinking about Riley. Let her be alone for a while."

She did calm down and come down on her later in the day. Nothing was said about the earlier outburst.

Instead Spike brought out the Scrabble board and he and Buffy played a rather tacky game of dirty word Scrabble. Angel hadn't believed that Buffy even knew some of the words she was spelling out. She must have learned them from Spike was the only explanation.


It was going to be a long seven months for Riley Finn also. After couple of months of imprisonment he realized that he wasn't going to get out. Irvin planned on keeping him indefinitely. He had stopped asking about Buffy, but he wrote her letters that he knew she wouldn't receive. He folded up the last one he had written and reread it.


I miss you. My days are spent thinking about you. I want to see you pegnant, I want to see you carrying my child inside of you. I want to brag to my friends that you are pregnant with *my* baby. I want to be that typical male who feels like he is the only man who has ever made a baby!

You have to know that, no matter what, I loved you and our baby very much.

I'm going to bed now, because in my dreams I can hold you and tell you how very sorry I am for putting you through this alone. I love you.

Love, Riley

He placed the letter on top of a stack of previoulsy written ones in the desk drawer. That same night, a miracle happened. Riley had become friends with James, his guard. James was just doing his job and being military trained Riley understood this.

After lights out, James shut the door and made his way to Riley's bedside. "Finn." He called as he gently shook Riley awake.

"What?" Riley asked sitting up in the bed.

"I can't do this anymore." James replied.

"Do what?"

"Help them keep you here. I've been thinking about it for the last month. Is there anyone I can contact to help." He asked slowly.

" better not, he might have been in on this." Riley grimaced, "I have a number. Call this man he'll know what to do." He walked to the desk and wrote down the name Rupert Giles with a number underneath.

"I'll call tonight when I get home. You sit tight, Finn. Help is coming," James patted his shoulder as he left the room.

"Thank you." Riley whispered into the darkness.


Giles had only been in bed for a few moments when the phone rang. A strange voice asked "Rupert Giles?"

"Yes, this is he"? Giles answered turning on the bedside lamp and sitting up.

"You know Riley Finn?"

"Do you know something about Riley's whereabouts?" Giles asked excitedly.

He, Willow and Xander had no luck in tracking him down. Graham still called weekly but had no news. Willow was even trying to find some ancient locator spells to aid in the search.

"Yes, I do." the man answered and told Giles where Riley was being held.

"And if we come on your watch, we should not have any trouble taking him?"

"It would be helpful if you knew somebody on the inside who could come along to help navigate you through this place."

"I do, I think I do know someone." Giles told him then added "Thank you for your help."

"No, problem. Just get him out of here, he doesn't deserve this." The voice added.

"How can I reach you?" Giles asked grabbing a pen and paper from the table.

"I'll call you, it's safer that way." The phone went dead.

Giles hurriedly dialed Graham's number.