Precious Cargo - Continued
by A. Price


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Buffy walked up the stairs to her room after the Scrabble game with Spike. It was worth listening to Spike brag about winning just to see the look on Angel's face when she spelled out a really nasty word. She'd have to thank Spike for teaching her those words. She smiled as she took her journal from the dresser drawer. She sat down and began to thumb through it, reading several earlier passages.

Entry 1

I'm starting this journal for you Riley. I want you to be there with me while I carry your child, someday you'll read this and hopefully it will ease the pain of us not getting to be together during this special time. And it is special, Riley, I can already feel my body changing, adjusting to carrying a new life in it. A life that you and I created.

I know you won't be happy that Giles sent me off in the care of Angel and Spike. But he was trying to do what is best for me and our child. Of course, I'm not sure any of us will survive the next several months with only each other. If the drive up was any indication, we may drive each other insane. Angel is going to be overprotective guy, I can tell already. And Spike is, well he's Spike, and he always knows the perfect way to annoy me. But I think he's trying he was actually reading some of the books on pregnancy and already giving me advice on what is good for the baby. I may not write in this journal daily but I will keep you up to date on everything.

I love you Riley Finn, wherever you are.

PS Oh yeah! I'm going to make Spike stop smoking, the smell makes me sick.


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Entry 18

We've been here two weeks. I call daily to find out if Giles knows anything, he doesn't but I keep the faith that you are out there and you are okay. You have to be. I need you and so does the baby inside of me. I've gained some weight now, not much, but I see a little pudge where it used to be flat. And I've been pretty nauseous lately. It's pretty disgusting, and I hate to barf in front of Spike or Angel, but they comfort me and give a cool rag for my face when I'm done. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine your the one handing me the cold rag. I miss you more everyday.

I love you Riley, hold on wherever you are, please hold on. I need you and our baby needs you.


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Entry 42

I've been watching Passions with Spike everyday. Yes, I am that desperate for entertainment. The guys try to keep me occupied but I still get bored and then I have more time to think about you and too worry about you. Giles says Graham is trying. I believe him, but I get more scared everyday that we don't know something. Oh yeah, I made a really neat discovery today, pepperoni is wonderful on a grilled cheese sandwich, in fact it's so good I ate three of them. Umm........I've gained quite a bit of weight now. But Angel and Spike both say I glow. I think they are telling me that to avoid answering when I ask if I look bigger to them. Smart vampires!


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Entry 53

The baby is kicking quite a bit today. Spike says he's going to be a football player, Angel says he might be a she. Spike is convinced that the baby is a boy though. I don't care boy or girl as long as they are healthy. I wonder which you would rather have, most guys want a son. Do you want a son, Riley? I wish you were here so I could ask you. I let Angel and Spike feel the baby move today. It was funny these two tough guys that I watched melt in front of me as they placed gentle hands over the movement in my belly. The looks of amazement on their faces as the baby moved were beautiful. After I went upstairs I cried for a while, because I wanted to see that look on your face. I wanted it to be your hands that were on my belly, more then that I want your arms around me, your kisses all over me.

Please come home to me. I love you Riley Finn


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Entry 67

Giles thought of everything! We pulled out the videos he sent this afternoon. There was an excellent one on childbirth showed the actual deliver. Spike had to leave the room. Angel will have to be the one to deliver the baby, I'm sure of it. But that's okay, because we pulled out the Lamaze tapes too. Spike is going to coach me. He says he can stay up at the head of the bed with me and be supportive. He told me he's even got cheers worked out "Breathe, Slayer, breathe, Push Slayer Push" He makes me laugh so hard it hurts sometimes.

I'm scared Riley. Scared of labor, it hurts, I can tell from the videos. Now I know that I have a high tolerance for pain but this is different. And what if something goes wrong? I know there is a hospital close, but I still worry. And I know it's rare in this day and age, but what if I don't survive, what if something happens to me?

I was so worried about it the other day that I was quiet all day. Angel took me outside and sat with me on the porch swing. We watched the stars and I confessed my fears to him. He says not to worry, it will be okay. But of course he's going to tell the horribly big, very hormonal pregnant woman that. So I made him promise, and please don't be angry about this Riley - I made him promise to find you and if that was impossible, he's to help take care of the baby. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will protect this child with his life until you can be found.

I want to see you so badly, I WANT you here with me.


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Entry 72

Angel ate the LAST bagel today. Can you believe it? I mean the guy is on a liquid diet and he decides to add solids to it with my bagel. I jumped on him about it. Later I realized how stupid it was to be that upset over a bagel. But I can't seem to control myself sometimes, I get angry over stupid things. Spike says it's hormones.

Anyway Spike snuck me to WalMart and I found these adorable baby sneakers. Tiny little white sneakers, they are just precious. And when I look at them it's hard to imagine, that the baby inside of me now will wear them someday. I know in my heart that you will be there to see him or her in them. I just know it somehow. Don't give up hope wherever you. Because I won't give up on you Riley, ever.

Angel knew we had snuck to WalMart, but he didn't throw a fit. He never even told Spike he knew. Which is good for Spike because he loves to think that he has put one over on Angel. I feel sorry for Angel sometimes, I know he feels like the parent in this strange family of ours. He has to be the disciplinarian, sometimes Spike and I argue and he has to be the voice of reason. But he takes it all in stride. I know that he still loves me, and you know that a part of me will always love him, but you and our baby are first in my life now. Please never doubt that.

I just sometimes wonder if it's fair to put Angel in this position. I'm tired now. So I'm going to stop here. I love you.

Buffy


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Entry 105

I've just finished a game of Scrabble with Spike. I even let him win this time. I yelled at him about the cigarette butts on the porch. No, I haven't been able to make him quit smoking. He does however only smoke outside, so actually he had cut down because he can only go out at night. It's wrong of me to yell at them I know it is. And the two of them just take it, they don't yell back. I feel guilty about that, they are doing so much for me.

I cry alot. I miss my Mom and my friends and most of all you! Where are you Riley Finn! And damn it, why did you have to take off on that stupid mission! I didn't want you to go and now I'm so angry at you! If you had stayed you would be the one listening to my hormonal outbursts, you would get to sit by me and watch the baby turn somersaults across my belly. You would be there to hold my hand when I go into labor!

I'm angry at myself too. I should have mentioned that I might be pregnant before you left. But I have this stupid pride, and when you told me that nothing I could say would keep you there, well I just decided to teach you a lesson. Way to go, Buffy! And now look where we are.

I love you, and when you come back to me, I promise my stupid pride will never get in the way again. Please come back to me. Please..........

Buffy closed the journal and sniffled as she fumbled for a kleenex to dry her tears. She crawled under the covers and was soon in a deep sleep. So deep she didn't even hear the phone ring.

*****

"She was crying again." Angel told Spike as they sat on the porch.

"I know." Spike took a long drag off the cigarette. "But there isn't anything we can do, Angel. She's tough, she'll get through this."

"And if Riley doesn't come back. Then what?" Angel asked worriedly.

"Then I guess we have a lifetime gig of protecting her and the baby." Spike said softy.

The phone rang and Angel went to answer it. He answered with a cautious "Hello."

"Angel, this is Giles. I have news."

"Good news?" Angel asked hesitantly.

"We know where Riley is. He is alive and in good shape. We've got Graham helping us with a rescue plan and we have some inside help." Giles explained.

"Buffy, will be thrilled." Angel replied as Spike entered the room.

"Who is it?" Spike mouthed the words.

"Giles, he's got news." Angel answered then turned his attention back to the phone.

"I don't think we should tell Buffy, not until we have Riley safely with us. What do you think?" Giles asked.

"I think you're probably right. When will you make the rescue?"

Spike looked up at the word rescue.

"In the next couple of days. I'll let you know. I'd better go. Take care of her." And with that Giles hung up the phone.

"They've found Riley?" Spike asked, his face unreadable.

"Yes, they plan to make a rescue attempt shortly. He doesn't want us to tell Buffy until Riley is safe."

"Thats a good idea." Spike told him then turned to go back outside, "I need another cigarrette."

Angel watched the blond vampire go out the door. He felt for him, because for the first time in a long time he and Spike were on the same team. They both wanted to protect Buffy and her child and more importantly they both loved her. Angel wouldn't lie and say he hadn't wished a thousand times that the child growing inside of Buffy was his, he'd had very vivid dreams about it. But he knew it could never happen. Spike had no curse to worry about and Angel thought that somewhere inside, Spike had thought he could be the one if Riley never returned.

Spike sat on the swing and lit his cigarette. Riley was going to be coming back. A part of him had selfishly wished that he never returned. But when he thought about Buffy's tears he realized how wrong that was. And for the millionth time since they had arrived. He asked himself how does Angel do it? How does he love her knowing he can't ever have her.


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Giles stood in the middle of his living room around him were Xander, Willow and Graham. "Now is everyone's part understood?"

Willow nodded, "Yes, I'm to cast a protection spell around you, Graham and Riley, which hopefully enable you to walk out of there without nay problems."

"Xander?" Giles looked at the sulky young man on the couch.

"Yeah, I'm the driver. I wait outside in the car while you and Graham go save the day." He answered frowning.

"Xander that is important. And Graham has to go in because he knows his way around and I am old enough to be a new doctor." Giles explained patiently.

"My contact will call soon and we must all be on the ready." Giles told them as they said their goodbyes.

Graham stayed behind, "Do you think we can pull this off?"

"We have too." was all the answer Giles would give.

********

The next night

The phone rang disrupting Giles supper. "Hello, this is your friend. Tomorrow night Dr. Irvin is going out of town. It's the perfect time for you to spring Finn. In the early evening about seven o'clock."

"Yes, we'll be there." Giles told him and filled him in on the rest of the plan.

After phone calls to all of those involved he placed a call to Angel.

****

Angel picked up the ringing phone and went to the kitchen, Spike and Buffy were watching a movie. "Hello." He spoke in to the phone.

"Angel, it's Giles. We have a plan." Giles explained what was going to happen the next night.

"So, will you bring him here tomorrow?" Angel asked hesitantly, he had something to say about that and he was afraid Giles might misunderstand.

"I'm not sure that's for the best right now." Giles said worriedly.

"I'm glad you said that, because I'm not sure it would be either. I'm afraid bringing Riley here might put Buffy in danger and the baby in danger. We need to make sure they can't track her here through him."

"I've considered that too. I'm sure Riley will be very upset as will Buffy. But I think I can make him see reason. And I will let him call her."

"Okay, I'll tell Spike what's going on. But we'll wait for your phone call to tell Buffy."

"Hopefully we'll call tomorrow night with good news." Giles told him as he hung up the phone.

"Who's on the phone?" Buffy called from the couch.

"It was a survey guy, I couldn't get him off the phone." Angel hated lying to her but he was convinced this was for her own good.

"I'm making popcorn, you want some?" He called to her, that sounds good.

"Spike could you go get me some juice to go with the popcorn?" She asked sweetly.

"Of course, pet." He answered and got up to go the kitchen.

"Spike, that was Giles on the phone." Angel said quietly.

"And?" Spike asked alarm in his voice.

"Tomorrow night they are going in for Riley."

"Tomorrow?" He asked through the lump in his throat.

"Yes." Angel noticed the look on Spike's face, he knew it well, he'd worn the same look several times. The "I don't want to give up Buffy look", he thought he had patented it, but obviously not.

"So, Riley will be here tomorrow night, probably? What does that mean for us? I mean we're the ones who have been here for her. We've patted her back through morning sickness, we've taken the brunt of hormonal ups and downs, we've cared for her, we lov..........." He stopped abruptly.

"Spike, Giles isn't bringing Riley here. We feel it's too dangerous right now. We want to make sure they won't track Buffy through Riley. So, as it stands now I guess we are still the delivery doctors on call here." Angel explained.

"Oh, well that's good." Spike said softly.

"Spike, my juice? And is that popcorn done?" Buffy called from the other room.

Angel poured the popcorn in a bowl as Spike poured her juice and started out to the living room.

"Spike," Angel called to him softly.

"Yeah." He said as he turned around.

"Eventually Riley will come for her. You've got to be ready for that." Angel said sympathetically.

Spike nodded and left the kitchen.

Angel cleaned up the popcorn mess, he sure hoped Spike could handle it because he still wasn't sure that the could.

**************

Next night Seven pm

Xander pulled up to the gate and Graham showed his id. The guard let them through without a problem. Willow was ready in the back seat the protection spell in place.

"Park there." Graham instructed.

"Good luck" Willow and Xander said in unison.

He and Giles exited the car, Giles carried a small briefcase. They found the building easily and took the elevator to the basement offices. Graham went to the front desk. Showing his id to the person behind the desk, "This is Dr. Ruperts, he is going to do some joint research with Dr. Irvin on the Finn matter." Graham said with authority.

The man behind the desk, looked around, "I don't have anything about that, Dr. Irvin is out of town, I dont' know if I should let you in to see Finn."

"You know Irvin's temper, do you want him find out you didn't let his colleague into see Finn. Fine you explain it to him." Graham turned to go.

"No, no you're right, Irvin will have my hide. Go on he's in room seven down that hall. Tell the guard that Mike said you could go in."

"Thank you." Graham said and led Giles down the hall to room seven.

"Names and id please?" James asked as they entered the room.

"Graham? Giles?" Riley said excitedly.

"These are the two you are waiting for?" James asked Riley.

"Yes, it is." Riley said as James unfastened the restraints and Riley climbed from the bed.

"Then good luck and please punch me" James said grinning.

"Punch you?" Riley asked confused.

"I want them to find me out cold when they come looking for you." James answered.

"Thank you James." Riley said before he promptly punched him out.

"And thank you guys too." Riley turned to Graham and Giles.

"We have time for that later." Graham replied with a smile.

Graham looked out into the hallway it was clear in both directions. "Come on lets go."

They went the opposite direction of the desk and found the maintenance elevator. Taking it to to the main floor the easily snuck out a rear door. Xander started the car as they came into sight.

"Hey man, it's good to see you." Xander told him as they entered the car.

"Just drive normally right back throught that gate." Graham instructed.

"What will you do now, Graham? You know they'll figure out you helped me." Riley asked.

"Don't worry. They don't want any of this to come out. I'll be fine." Graham assured his friend.

"So, I bet you can't wait to talk to Buffy." Willow chimed in happily.

"Talk to her, see her, touch her! I want to go to her now, okay?" Riley was almost giddy at the thought.

Everyone else in the car became very quiet. Riley looked from one friends face to the other, "What's wrong? Is Buffy okay?" He asked fear in his voice.

Giles cleared his throat, "Riley, we've decided it's in Buffy's best interests if you don't go to her quite yet."

"What?" Riley asked his voice rising with anger.

"We want to make sure she's safe." Graham said calmly.

"And you think she's safer with two vampires, then she would be with me?" Riley replied disbelievingly.

"At the present time, yes we do. We have to make sure that they can't trace Buffy by watching you." Giles explained.

"I guess that makes sense." Riley sighed and closed his eyes. "I can talk to her though, tonight?"

"Yes, Willow fixed my phone where it doesn't register the number where Buffy is, it can't be tapped. You can call as soon as we get to my place." Giles assured him.

**********

The phone rang in Dr. Irvin's hotel room waking him. "This better be good." He growled into the phone.

"Sir, this is Seargent Martin, Finn has escaped. Do you want us to go pick him up he shouldn't be too hard to find." He explained.

"How did this happen? Never mind, no don't pick him up. This might be the way to find the Slayer, the baby is due soon." Irvin replied.

"So we'll watch him for awhile and then take him, the mother and baby into custody?"

"That would be good, but if for some reason the poor baby is orphaned in the process that won't affect my research the baby is who I am really interested in now." Irvin gave a small chuckle as he hung up the phone.

**********

Xander dropped Graham off at his apartment. Riley thanked him again as he departed the car. The ride back to Giles' was quiet. Riley convinced himself that Giles and the others made a good point about his not seeing Buffy yet. But he was still not happy about the decision.

Xander parked the car in front of Giles place. The four got out of the car, Willow gave Riley a hug. "I'm glad you're back." She whispered.

"Thanks for your help, Willow." Riley replied returning the hug.

Xander shook Riley's hand firmly, "We are going now. You take care."

"Thanks, Xander." Riley told him as he watched the two friends walk away.

Riley followed Giles into the apartment. Giles wrote a number down on a pad of paper and handed it to him. "This is the number where Buffy can be reached. I'm going to leave you alone to make the call." He told him as he started upstairs.

"Thank you for everything, Giles." Riley called to him.

Giles turned around and smiled, "No problem. Now talk to the mother of your child."

Riley stared nervously at the phone, all of these past months he'd spent dreaming of her, aching to hear her voice, to touch her and now finally he was going to get to talk to Buffy. He picked up the phone and dialed the number.

********

Angel and Spike both paced nervously, tonight was to be the night. They were waiting anxiously for the phone call from Giles.

"Angel, let's go sit outside." Buffy asked as she sat on the couch fighting with a pair of shoes.

Angel grinned as he watched her battle, he would never laugh at her out loud, but it was really amusing that she couldn't really see her feet anymore. Most of the time she resorted to slip on's nowadays.

"Okay, you feeling okay?" He asked as she stood up.

"I'm fine, just getting antsy in here, and there isn't anything on tv." She walked to the door.

Angel opened the door, the stars were shining brightly and there was a cool breeze.

"You'll need a sweater." Spike called from the kitchen. He was reading at the dining table, close to the phone.

"Yes, mother." Buffy called back with a giggle. But she took her sweater from the hook by the door and followed Angel outside.

"So, you are feeling antsy? Any reason why?" Angel asked her smiling inwardly at the picture she presented as she sat on the swing. Her long blond hair glowed in the moonlight and her small hands rested on her prominent belly.

"I don't know. I can't pinpoint it. I think part of it is I'm ready for this to be over. And yet I'm scared for it to be over. It doesn't matter how many videos we watch or how many books we read. Labor is still a scary prospect." She sighed and leaned back in the swing.

"And?" Angel prodded her.

"And I'm afraid I'll never see Riley again, that his child will never know his or her father." She said sadly.

****

Spike jumped when the phone rang. Then he took an unneeded breath and picked it up, "Hello." He said cautiously.

"Hello." The voice was a familiar one - Riley.

"Riley?" Spike asked just to be sure.

"Yes, Spike, it's me. Would you please put Buffy on?" Riley asked impatiently.

"Yes, but don't upset her." Spike warned.

"I'm not going to upset her, just put her on." Riley replied agitated with the blonde vampire.

"Hold on." Spike lay the phone on the counter and went to the door.

"Buffy, the phone is for you." Spike called to her.

She got up awkwardly from the swing with Angel's help. "Is it Giles?" She asked hopefully as she came through the door.

"No, it's not Giles." Spike answered, nodding at Angel over Buffy's head.

"Well, then who?"

"Just answer it, luv." Spike told her gently as he and Angel left her alone to take the call.

"Hello." She said softly into the phone.

Riley gasped at the sound of her voice, he was speechless for a moment.

"Is anyone there?" She asked after a moment.

"Buffy." Riley said his voice cracking slightly.

At the sound of his voice she sat down in a dining chair. She was tearing up as she choked out his name, "Riley, is this really you?"

"Yes, Buffy it's really me. Giles, Graham, Xander and Willow all broke me out. I am so sorry that I ever left in the first place. I missed you so much. Are you okay? The baby, we're having a baby!" The words rushed from his mouth.

Buffy gave a small laugh into the phone, it sounded like music to Riley's ear. "First, thank them all for me. Secondly, you're right you shouldn't have left in the first place and thirdly, yes we are having a baby and he or she is being very active right now." She lay her hand across the rippling movement in her belly. "The baby must know that Daddy is on the phone."

"Daddy, daddy, I like the sound of that. I can't wait to see you. I love you so much, Buffy."

"Which begs the question, when are you coming?" Buffy asked excitedly.

"Well, I'm afraid it will be a little while. It's been decided that it's not safe for me to visit yet." He explained calmly.

"Decided? Decided by who?" Her voice rose slightly.

"Well, mostly Giles. Buffy, it's only going to be a little while, I promise." He said soothingly. "And I'll call every day until I can get there."

"I'm going along for now, but I will talk to Giles about this next time he calls. I love you Riley Finn and I don't want to be separated from you one minute longer then I have to be." Buffy sighed into the phone.

"Okay, now tell me what you've been doing the last few months and what is it like to live with Angel and Spike?" Riley asked with a laugh.

She giggled as she began to fill him in.

***********

"Is she going to stay on that phone all night?" Spike growled.

"Spike, Riley is the father of her child, she hasn't seen him for months, she's been worried sick about him. Give her a break." Angel grouched back. He was so tired of being the strong one, the reasonable one. Hell, if Riley hadn't come back he would have been tempted to whisk Buffy away and take care of her and the baby forever, curse or no curse. But no,he had to be the stoic one. So at the moment Spikes complaining was agravating him at best.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing. Just drop it, Spike." Angel warned.

"It bothers you too. You can hardly stand the fact that he is going to come waltzing in here and take over. Admit it, Peaches."

Angels eyes glowed a dangerous yellow when he turned to Spike, "Don't push it."

Spike shut up and stared at the tv screen. Perhaps this was harder on brood boy then he had imagined.

*****

"Yes, I guess I do need to get to bed. I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you too. Goodnight." Buffy smiled as she hung up the phone.

She entered the livingroom still smiling, "I guess you two know who that was?" She asked cheerfully.

"Yeah, we do." Spike answered and if Buffy noticed the hint of bitterness in his voice she didn't acknowledge it.

"Did you know they were going after him?" She asked Angel.

"Yes, but we thought it best to wait until he was safely out before we told you. I'm happy for you, Buffy." Angel stood, he placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head, "I'm going to bed now. If you need me, just wake me."

Buffy thought he sounded tired, "Goodnight, Angel." She watched him walk to his room.

"Is he okay, Spike?" She asked as she sat down across from Spike.

"I'm sure he will be, he's used to it." Spike told her as he stood up.

"Used to what?" Buffy asked curiously.

"Losing you." Spike said softly as he walked towards his room.

Buffy sat alone in the living room, tears running slowly down her face. In all of this mess, she had forgotten Angel's feelings. Through the years they had settled into a wonderful friendship and she realized she had taken advantage of that friendship more then once. But Angel made it so easy to do so, never complaining and always there to help. She got up to go to her room, on the way she stopped and stood at Angel's slightly opened door, he was lying there eyes open wide staring at the ceiling.

She watched him for a moment, before he called to her. "You can come in."

She hesitantly walked into the room and sat on the corner of his bed, she took his big hand in hers, "I'm sorry." She placed a small kiss on the back of his hand.

"For what?" He asked her smiling slightly.

"Not thinking about your feelings. I know you still love me, Angel. And I think you know that you own part of my heart too. If things were different," She sighed.

He finished for her, "But they aren't different, and you found Riley and you love him and you are having his child. End of story, no apolgies needed." He raised his hand and stroked her cheek. "Now, go get some sleep."

Spike stood quietly outside the door listening, his heart broke a little bit more at each word. He retreated to his room when he heard Buffy coming. He made a vow to himself, she would never know his true feelings. When this was over he was going to leave Sunnydale, start over somewhere far away from her.

**********

"I love you too. No, right now you probably don't want to see me." Buffy giggled into the phone, "I'm as big as a house. Thankfully I only have two weeks left."

She chatted a few more moments and hung up the phone. She was seemed to have alot of nervous energy, the last few weeks she had spent alot of time on the phone with Riley, his return to her life had seemed to make her glow even more. Today she had woke up with an unexplained energy, she had dusted the living room and washed the dishes and tried to do the laundry until Angel had stopped her.

"Spike, want to play Scrabble?" She asked as she waddled into the living room.

"What? You aren't on the phone with soldier boy?" He asked sarcastically.

"No, I'm not and I'm bored. Please play a game with me? Angel is taking a nap." She pleaded.

**********

"Does Riley know you know that word?" Spike asked as he wrote down Buffy's score on a particularly nasty word.

"No, and you don't want me to tell him that you taught it to me either." She giggled loudly, thats when she felt it. A twinge. a little bit of pressure in her abdomen. She placed her hand on the spot and went quiet.

"You okay?" Spike asked the concern heavy in his voice.

"Yeah, just a little twinge, barely anything." She told him and they continued the game for the next hour. When she stood to put away the game board she felt it again, a little harder this time.

Spike noticed the look on her face, "Slayer?" He asked raising his eyebrow.

"Another twinge." She admitted grudgingly. "You don't think?" She asked fear in her eyes.

"Well you have two weeks, but two weeks either way can be normal. Let's just keep an eye on you for the next little while. Then we'll wake the poof if we need him." Spike spoke in a calm voice that belied the anxiety he was actually feeling.

"That's a good idea. What's on tv?" She asked with a smile as they sat down on the couch.

She picked up the remote, flipping through the channels she found the movie "Grease" was coming on. Spike rolled his eyes at her choice but didn't complain. The pains started coming closer together about half way into the movie. By the time John and Olivia started singing "I've got chills there multiplying" the pains were 15 minutes apart. And while they weren't very painful yet, they were uncomfortable.

Spiked decided to wake Angel. Buffy called Giles and pleaded with him to please let Riley come for the birth. "Please, Giles. I'm sure it will be safe. I need him here."

She had sounded so pathetic that Giles had caved in against his better judgement he called Riley and gave him directions to where Buffy was hidden. He hoped he didn't regret the decision.

Riley took off for the cabin, never realizing he was being watched. Sargeant Martin made a call to Dr. Irvin. "He's headed out of town, should I follow?"

"Pick me up first he wont' have that much of a headstart, we'll catch up with him." Irvin told him. Martin hesitated he didn't like Irvin and he didn't like this mission at all, but in the end he picked up Irvin.

Irvin was right, within a half hour they found Riley on the highway they followed at a safe distance. Riley's thoughts were so centered on Buffy he hardly noticed any other vehicle on the road.

**************

"She's what?" Angel exclaimed sleepily.

"In labor, she's in labor." Spike told him as he shook him awake.

"Are you sure?" Angel asked as he stood and pulled on his shirt.

"Yes, the pains are about 15 mintues apart now."

"Actually more like ten minutes." Buffy stuck her head in the bedroom.

Angel and Spike looked at her worriedly she seemed in good spirits for someone in labor.

"And I have news Giles is letting Riley come for the birth he'll be here in a few hours. I've heard first babies take a while so I think he has time to get here."

"What?" The vampires said in unison.

"Riley is on his way." She repeated with a smile.

"What the hell was Giles thinking? Do you know how dangerous this is?" Spike asked her shaking his head.

"It'll be okay." Buffy muttered looking to Angel for support.

"Sorry, Buffy, I agree with Spike on this one." Angel said softly.

"He's coming and that's that." Buffy turned from the room and stopped suddenly, holding her tummy.

Angel and Spike were at her side in seconds forgetting the harsh words spoken only moments ago. Concentrating only on Buffy. "Maybe you should lie down." Spike asked softly.

"No, I'm okay it feels okay to walk. It doesn't really hurt that bad. I don't know where those horror stories about labor come from." She told them with a smile.

Two hours later... Buffy's smile was now gone, she was now lying in the bed and she now knew where those horror stories came from. The pains were about three minutes apart now. She was dilated to seven according to Angel. And she had never felt pain like this before. She felt like there was an army on each side of her back and they marched around to the front of her tummy to wage the war which resulted in terrible pain. She gritted her teeth and bore the pain without screaming.

Spike offered her ice chips and she took long cleansing breaths and panted just like she was supposed to. And in between pains she cursed Riley Finn. Spike and Angel listened with straight faces as she told them she would never let him touch her again and how it was all his fault she was going through this.

Spike went to go get more ice, Angel followed him for a brief moment. "I am really glad my name is not Riley right now." Spike grinned.

Angel laughed softly, "Maybe it's not so bad that vampires can't have babies."

He went back in to check on Buffy again. She was dilated to 8 now it wouldn't be long. He hoped since Riley was coming that he would get here in time. Buffy tried to make herself more comfortable in the bed when she felt the splash of water on her thighs and felt the dampness cover the sheets. "Angel, my water." She gasped.

"Spike!" Angel called out.

Spike came in and helped Angel change the sheets under Buffy. "It won't be long now, sweetheart." Angel said comfortingly as he helped her get her knees up.

"Where is Riley?" She asked through painfilled eyes.

A knock sounded at the door. Spike went to answer it, Riley stepped through the door. "Where is she?" He asked hurriedly.

"Hello to you too. Follow me." Spike answered as he led Riley to the room.

Angel looked up and smiled at Riley. "Look who's here, Buffy."

"Riley." Buffy said tiredly.

He walked to the bedside and took her hand, lifting it he kissed it softly. "I'm here. You look beautiful, you know that."

"Your lying, but I'll accept the compliment anyway." She gave him a small smile then winced as another pain washed over her.

Angel's shirt sleeves were rolled up and he had washed his hands in a basin of water on the dresser. He went to examine Buffy again, he grinned when he saw the crown of the baby's head. "Buffy, the baby is crowning. I'm going to need you to push now."

Exhausted Buffy put all of her energy into a push. "Almost, another push, Buffy."

Spike stood at the foot of the bed, "Push, Slayer, Push." He smiled at her.

She rewarded him with a smile and a big push.

"We have shoulders and we have a baby...........boy!" Angel said enthusiastically as Spike helped him aspirate the baby's nose and throat. Buffy peeked over her legs at him and Riley stood to get a better look.

A loud squalling soon filled the room. The baby was lain on his mother's chest where she got the first good look at her son. Angel cut and tied the cord and Spike wrapped the baby in a blanket. The placenta was delivered and Spike handed the baby back to his mommy. Riley sat on the bed next to Buffy, 'He's beautiful." He said in a choked voice.

"He is." Buffy agreed as tears ran down her face, "You are beautiful, yes you are." She told him as she softly nuzzled the tiny bundle on her chest.

"Do you want to hold him?" She asked Riley. He carefully took the baby from her arms. He unwrapped the bundle and he and Buffy stared in awe at the tiny hands and feet.

Spike and Angel stood silently watching the new family in front of them. Buffy looked up, "I don't know how to thank both of you." She said with such a warm smile that even Spike could not think of a smart remark. "Your welcome." was all he could softly say. "Anytime." Angel said, "We'll leave you alone now."

He and Spike left the room with the proud parents counting fingers and toes.

"Feel like a walk?" Angel asked Spike.

"Yeah, I could use a smoke." Spike told him as they went outside the cabin and began walking around the yard.

*******

Irvin lie down his binoculars, "The two vampires are outside walking. Now is the time we make our move. I'm betting there is a new baby in the house."

He got out of the truck, "You stay here. Watch for their return." He told Martin

"Sir, what are you planning?" Martin asked unsurely.

"I'm going to retrieve the baby. I'll be back soon." Irvin headed in the direction of the cabin.

**************

"He needs a name." Riley said smiling at the red faced infant cradled in his arms. He had a bit of dark peach fuzz on his head and his mother's nose.

"I hadn't really thought a lot about names." Buffy admitted as the baby gripped her finger tightly. "What would you like to call him?"

"Well I'd like to name him after my father Ryan Shawn Finn. Would that be okay?" He asked her with a smile.

"Ryan Shawn, I like it." She smiled up at him. "If you'll look over there on the dresser there are some diapers and little gowns, I think we need to dress him."

"Okay, Ryan we've got a diaper here for you." Riley grinned down at the baby as he watched Buffy secure the diaper. Then gently ease the tiny gown over the babys head.

"There you go, now you'll be warm." She kissed the top of his head. Scooting over, Riley slid into the bed next to her, he placed his arm around her and his son pulling them close to him.

********

"When do you think she'll leave?" Spike asked Angel with a sigh.

"She'll need to rest a few days, and we want to make sure there is no danger around. Then I suppose she and Riley will go home together." Angel said with a shrug.

"And you can just accept that? I mean we've been there for her, Angel and you can just turn her over to him?" Spike paced around the backyard, lighting another cigarette.

"Yes, I can. I have too, we have too let her go. That was the plan all along Spike, keep her safe until the baby came." Angel leaned back against he wood railing of the back deck.

"But...." Spike started then stopped.

"There are no but's Spike, this is how it's supposed to be. A big part of love is sacrifice, Spike. " He said the words with conviction.

"Well you may be used to being all selfless and such, but I'm not. I'm not going back to Sunnydale. I'm leaving tomorrow night, far away from Buffy Summers." Spike spit out as he crushed the remains of the cigarette into the ground.

"I think you should come to LA with me. I can always use the help and you might as well give up the bad boy image, Spike. It doesn't suit someone who would give up seven months of their life to protect a pregnant woman." Angel told him with a grin.

"I'll think about it."

Angel knew then that Spike would return with him to LA.

**********

Dr. Irvin steathily approached the front of the cabin. He pushed the door open carefully he could hear muted voices in the other room. He walked quietly and stood outside the door.

"Buffy, I need to ask you something very important." Riley said softly so he wouldn't wake the sleeping baby.

"What?" Buffy asked a trace of fear in her voice.

"Will you marry me?" He asked smiling at her his eyes shining with hope.

"Is it because you want to marry me or because of Ryan?" She asked him her voice serious.

"I've wanted to marry you for a long time, Buffy Summers, Ryan just adds to the equation. Please be my wife?" Riley told her sincerely.

"Yes, I'll marry you." She said softly and she placed a soft hand on his cheek, "I will marry you, Riley Finn."

He smiled and lowered his lips to hers in a tender kiss.

"I'm sorry to interrupt this poignant family moment." Dr. Irvin's voice rang across the room.

Riley stood immediately in front of the bed shielding Buffy and the baby. "Irvin, what are you doing here?" He demanded.

"Who is he?" Buffy asked from the bed.

"I'm Dr. Irvin, Ms. Summers. And I've come for your baby." He said gleefully as he started towards the bed.

"You'll have to go through me." Riley told him as he walked towards Irivin.

"No problem, Finn. I brought help." Irvin pulled a gun out of his coat and aimed it at Riley. "The baby now."

"You can't take my baby." Buffy told him as she held Ryan closer to her body.

"I'm afraid I can and I will. I was quite willing to experiment on the whole little family, but I doubt I will find you two cooperative so the baby will suffice." He aimed the gun at Riley. Buffy screamed.

"Don't make this any harder." Irvin told her. "Your baby needs to be researched, we need to know about the genetic makeup of the child. Think of it as your gift to science."

Angel and Spike were in the house within moments of hearing Buffy's scream. Angel came into the room first. Irvin turned to him and took a shot which caught Angel in the shoulder. Dazed slightly, Angel took a moment before he charged Irvin taking the gun from him.

Riley was at Buffy's side quickly helping her out of the bed and away from the scuffle. Spike took her to the living room and lay her and the baby on the couch while Riley went back into the bedroom. "Riley." Buffy pleaded her eyes filling.

"I'll be back." He told her as he turned away.

"He'll be fine, Buffy. Stay calm." Spike patted her hand.

When Riley entered the room he found Angel holding tightly in his grasp. Blood dripped from Angel's shoulder. "Who the hell is this guy?" Angel asked Riley.

"An Initative doctor. He wants the baby for some sick experiments. He was willing to kill Buffy and I to take him." Riley explained as his fist hit Irvin's mouth.

The fist connecting with Irvin's face loosened Angel's grip enough for Irvin to dive to the floor after the gun. He wasn't fast enough as Angel grabbed him again, this time he took no chances with both hands on either side of Irvin's head he twisted, the sound of Irvin's neck snapping filled the room. Riley watched as his torturer's body hit the floor in a lifeless heap. Angel stared at Riley then at the body on the floor. "I couldn't let him hurt Buffy or the baby." He said softly as he left the room.

"I know, Angel. I know." Riley told him as he followed him out of the room.

**********

Riley sat beside Buffy on the couch. The baby nursing at her breast. Angel and Spike sat in chairs across from them. "Do you think it's over?" Spike asked as he finished bandaging Angel's shoulder.

Riley shook his head, "I think so, Irvin was a twisted man."

***

Sargeant Martin showed up at the cabin door, he wasn't going to wait another minute, in his opinion Irvin had gone off the deep end. He did not intend to let him hurt an innocent child.

He entered the cabin to find an angry Agent Finn holding a gun on him. He dropped his weapon. "I'm looking for Dr. Irvin."

"He's in there." Spike nodded towards the bedroom and followed Irvin there.

Martin stared at Irvin's body for a moment then asked "What happened here?"

"What does it look like happened here?" Spike answered his question with a question.

Martin thought for a moment. "To me it looks like that crazy Irvin came up here to the woods in the dark fell down a ravine or something and broke his neck. I think the army will believe that. Irvin has been acting rather strange lately. And tell Finn not to worry, I don't think the army ever authorized any of this research." Martin hauled the body out with him, he was going to find a ravine.

Spike joined the others in the living room and passed on Martin's message.

Buffy smiled as the baby gave a small burp when she patted his back. He opened his eyes slightly tryng to focus on the faces around him. "Ryan Shawn, I want you to officially meet your Uncle Angel and your Uncle Spike. They are very special people." She grinned thankfully at the two vampires.

Riley sat by Buffy's side as she handed the baby first to Angel and then to Spike. She laughed softly as they awkwardly held him as if he was fine china. Spike and Angel both marveled at the woman they loved and looked in wonderment at the precious cargo they had helped deliver into this world.

Spike looked at Angel and knew he felt the same way, no amount of pain would have been too great to go through to get to this moment. And if it came down to it, despite the pain of handing Buffy over to another man, he would do it all over again. That's what love was all about and if he had learned nothing else from this adventure, Spike had learned about true, long and abiding love...........



The End