SPOILERS for SEASON 9 on my website. Click my homepage on my profile.


What a Picture's Worth

A few weeks have passed since the destruction of Volternas and the downfall of the rogue slayers. All and all it's been a quiet few weeks. The vamps and demons have been lying low and things in the Council have been moving smoothly. The slayers who chose not to keep their powers have returned to their homes as have the powerless rogues, those that remain soon will be shipping off with Watchers of their very own to protect the mystical hotspots of the world and then the gang will start locating new potentials and offering them the choice to learn of their possible destiny. Faith has also left. She's gone off to find herself and walked out one day with nothing more then a backpack of clothes. Buffy knows she'll be back eventually though. With things moving along smoothly it seemed logical that it was time for a celebration. Now three months into her pregnancy Buffy is just barely starting to show, but just barely was enough for the gang to decide to throw a baby shower for her.

Dawn opens the front door with a bright smile plastered across her face. Xander is the first to walk in giving Dawn a hug as he enters the room, Myla is right behind him then Willow, Kennedy and finally Andrew. Some place gifts wrapped in shinny paper adorned with storks or baby bottles on the table as they enter. Buffy walks out to greet them; she's dressed in jeans and a flow-y pink shit that hides her belly.

XANDER: "Buffy, there's my favorite pregnant slayer."

BUFFY: "Do you know any others?"

XANDER: "Well, no, but that's not the point… so let's see it."

BUFFY: "See what?"

WILLOW: "I think Xander is referring to your bump-age… you've got to have bump-age by now."

Buffy smiles and lifts her shirt to reveal her belly. There wasn't much to it, but it was enough to excite both Willow and Xander. As the two of them ogle Buffy's belly Myla, Kennedy and Andrew look on at the three of them and smile. Spike walks in coming from down the hall and looks at Xander and Willow observing and touching Buffy's baby bump.

SPIKE: "Hey watch it now, that's my bun in that oven."

XANDER: "Referring to Buffy as an oven, real romantic Spike."

WILLOW: "Hey, we're here for Buffy remember, lets play nice… both of you."

Just then there's another knock at the door. "Can someone else get that, I've got something I have to go do quick," Dawn says as she rushes off in the direction of her room. Myla answers the door, and when she does she see's Giles. He steps inside with a brown envelope under his arm. Buffy walks up to him and he gives her a hug.

GILES: "Sorry I'm late; I had some business to attend to."

BUFFY: "You're not late, everyone just got here."

XANDER: "Yeah, don't worry about it G-man, we were just getting started."

ANDREW: "Ah yes, the celebration of the vampyr slayer with child, has just begun…"

BUFFY: "Andrew, no story telling… ever again okay."

ANDREW: "Sorry."

--

Dawn walks into her room and closes her door behind her. She goes to the end of her bed and pulls out something from under it. As it appears from under the lavender dust ruffle we see that it is a black album which reads photos across the front in gold lettering. Dawn sets the photo album on her bed and turns around and opens her closet door to grab wrapping paper. While her back in turned the book on her bed glows for a moment then stops before Dawn turns back around with pink wrapping paper and tape in her hand. "Buffy is going to love this," She says as she sets to work wrapping up her gift.

--

The gang is spread throughout the apartment. Xander and Myla sit at the breakfast counter where Buffy has set out some cupcakes which of course Xander is now eating. Willow and Kennedy sit next to Buffy on the couch while Giles has made himself comfortable in the large recliner. Spike is in the kitchen getting Buffy a bottle of water and heating up a mug of blood for himself.

WILLOW: "I like Abigail."

KENNEDY: "I've always liked Samantha, call her Sam for short."

MYLA: "Oh, what about Valerie?"

XANDER: "What's with all the girl names, it could be a boy… how about Alex?"

SPIKE: "No child of mine will be named after you Harris."

XANDER: "Fine, fine, but don't expect me to name any of mine William the Bloody then."

BUFFY: "We know it's a girl Xander."

WILLOW: "Oh, I didn't know you could tell this early?"

GILES: "You can't… Avery… you believe she was your daughter from the future… that's how you know?"

BUFFY: "Yeah, that's how we know."

ANDREW: "Then what's the point of playing the name game?"

BUFFY: "Avery is going to be her middle name; we haven't picked a first name yet."

WILLOW: "Oh, good we can keep guessing."

GILES: "Actually I was thinking we could move on to gift giving… I'm sorry Buffy but I can't stay late I have an appointment."

BUFFY: "That's fine with me, bring on the prezzies."

SPIKE: "We should wait for the bit first."

"I'm ready," Dawn says as she exits her room carrying her gift now wrapped in the pink paper. Spike walks over from the kitchen and sits next to Buffy handing her a bottle of water and setting his mug of blood on the coffee table. Dawn sits down in the other large chair with a large smile plastered across her face. "Oh, someone else can go first though… I want to save mine for last." Xander then stands and rubs his hands together.

XANDER: "Alright I'll go first then."

Xander walks to the front door and a face of confusion crosses Buffy's expression. She looks to Willow and her other friends, but none of them give her any clues as to what Xander is doing. He opens the front door and leaves it open as he walks into the hallway. Then a few seconds later Buffy see's what he's doing. Through the door way rolls a solid wood crib, Buffy gets up and gives Xander a big hug as he walks back in.

XANDER: "I channeled my inner carpenter and well, this is what I got."

BUFFY: "Oh, Xander… it's perfect."

XANDER: "Glad you like it Buff."

BUFFY: "I really do."

WILLOW: "Ooo, my turn now."

Buffy gives Xander a hug and then they both sit back down while Willow goes to the table to grab her gift then returns to the living room. Willow hands Buffy a large square box wrapped in blue paper decorated with white storks. Buffy pushes away the thought to shake the box and immediately starts tearing away wrapping paper to reveal a plain brown box. She opens the box and without having to reach inside the gift floats up out of the box. Before her floats a magical mobile of twinkling stars and a moon that float on their own accord.

SPIKE: "neat."

WILLOW: "It's a mobile; I've got it set to float about a foot from the top of the crib."

BUFFY: "Willow, this is so cool… thank you."

Buffy gives Willow a hug while Spike attempts to put the floating mobile back in the box. Eventually he does. Now Giles is fiddling with the brown envelope in his hands.

BUFFY: "Alright Giles… it's your turn, what've you got for me?"

GILES: "Well… actually this is a gift for Spike, it um… well, just open it, you'll see."

An odd look crosses Spike's face as he takes the envelope from Giles. Cautiously he beings to open it, almost fearful of its contents. Spike turns the envelope upside down and lets a stack of papers fall out into his hand. Spike sets the envelope aside and looks at the papers before him. He flips through them and instantly falls speechless, but everyone can see there is wonderment in his eyes as he reads.

SPIKE: "Rupes, I don't know what to say."

BUFFY: "What is it?"

GILES: "A birth certificate, passport, driver's license, work history, diplomas… everything Spike needs to hold an identity and with an identity he can have his name on the birth certificate."

BUFFY: "Giles, thank you… really thank you… it means so much."

DAWN: "What do they say… what's your name?"

SPIKE: "William Eadmund Avery, born November 10th 1978 in London, England… you found my real name?"

GILES: "Yes, and birthday, besides the year obviously… I um, I did some research."

KENNEDY: "Avery was your last name?"

SPIKE: "Yeah."

BUFFY: "The baby's going to have my last name so that's why were using Spike's as her middle name, besides, I think it's pretty."

ANDREW: "That's really sweet."

DAWN: "That is really cool… but now it's my turn."

XANDER: "Yeah, what is this mystery gift?"

WILLOW: "Ooo is it a stuffed bunny, cause that'd be really cute."

KENNEDY: "I don't think a stuffed bunny would fit in that square box."

WILLOW: "…you never know."

DAWN: "It's not a stuffed bunny."

Dawn hands Buffy the pink wrapped gift. As Buffy holds the object she can feel its spine and the sides of the pages. Her first thought is that it's a baby book, but as she begins to unwrap the book she sees the black cover and knows that can't be what it is. Once all the wrapping paper is removed the word photos across the cover is visible and Buffy finds herself intrigued. Buffy opens the book and sees pictures of her and her mom and Dawn from when they first moved to Sunnydale. As Buffy flips through she sees an array of photos from her life in Sunnydale. Her graduation, photos of her Xander and Willow from high school and from when they were in college, birthdays, Christmas, all events from her past that she thought she'd lost all mementos of. Now Buffy finds herself speechless.

BUFFY: "Dawn… how?"

DAWN: "I used my powers to… get them."

GILES: "Dawn…"

DAWN: "Don't worry Giles, I wasn't seen, and I promise I didn't to anything to change the course of history or anything."

Xander and Willow move closer to Buffy and look on at the album with her.

WILLOW: "Look at this… Xander, do you remember this?"

XANDER: "Oh yeah that was when we all went to the beach and you made it rain."

BUFFY: "Dawn, this is really awesome."

WILLOW: "Wait, what's this one from?"

XANDER: "Yeah I don't remember that either."

Dawn leans over and sees a photo that she doesn't remember getting. "I don't know," Dawn says as she pulls the photo from the book. Then in her hands the photo starts to melt. It turns to goo and then reforms in the shape of a lizard and falls into Dawn's lap. Dawn screams loudly and everyone else in the room is obviously shocked. From there the creature runs down her leg and across the floor.

GILES: "This is exactly what I was afraid of."

MYLA: "What was that?"

WILLOW: "It tagged along."

GILES: "Precisely."

KENNEDY: "What?"

WILLOW: "When you do magic that moves from dimensions sometimes other beings… tag along."

ANDREW: "It's an inter-dimensional hitch hiker."

XANDER: "Yeah, in squiggly lizard form."

SPIKE: "Yea, but just what kind of demon is it?"

BUFFY: "And more importantly, where did it go?"

There is a fast moving shape that runs across the light bulb of the dining room lamp, then the bulb bursts sending an array of glowing pieces and broken glass to fall to the floor. It's a shocking action that startles everyone in the room.

GILES: "Based on its shape shifting form I would say that it's a chameleon demon… they uh… they start out small usually taking on the form of a lizard, however once they feed they start to grow and eventually can become quite a dangerous creature."

DAWN: "What do they feed on?"

GILES: "blood actually."

BUFFY: "great."

Andrew sits back in his chair feeling slightly uncomfortable. His arm is hanging over the arm of the chair and unbeknownst to Andrew the chameleon is eying up his fingers as a tasty snack. The chameleon scurries across the room with increasing speed toward Andrew. "Ow!" Andrew screams and raises his now throbbing hand up to be seen by all. There attached to his finger is the chameleon biting him with sharp teeth and sucking his blood. Andrew swings his arm violently and slams the lizard against the arm of the chair. He injures it enough for it to let go.

DAWN: "This is all my fault… it followed me."

SPIKE: "It's not your fault nibblet… I'm sure we'll kill the bugger any minute."

BUFFY: "I'm going to kill it right now."

GILES: "Yes, but Dawn do try to be more careful when traveling through time, there are more dangerous creatures that could follow you."

Buffy stands up and walks over to her weapons chest where she keeps her smaller weapons. She lifts the top of the chest and reaches in and grabs a knife. Then in her hand the knife turns into the chameleon. It had disguised itself as a knife, and now Buffy was holding the squirming demon in her hand. The sight of it startles her. Freaked out from the feeling of scales against her skin Buffy throws the squirming creature as it attempts to bite her against the wall then grabs a real knife from the chest. She's prepared the stab the demon, but now it's out of sight. Buffy's eyes glance over the whole room looking for any sign of movement.

MYLA: "Where'd it go?"

XANDER: "I don't know, but I don't like not knowing where it is."

WILLOW: "Me neither."

"Buffy, over there," Kennedy yells and points at the demon running up the wall. Buffy turns and with slayer speed throws the knife across the room impaling the demon as well as pinning it to the wall. The chameleon squirms for a moment then falls silent.

BUFFY: "You know, just once I'd like to have a party that didn't involve having to stab something."

XANDER: "Now what fun would that be?"

--

A few more hours have passed filled with baby name guessing and colorful conversations. Now the party is coming to an end. Giles left shortly after the uninvited house guest was killed and now Xander, Myla, Willow, Kennedy and Andrew are departing. Buffy hugs each of them on their way out thanking them all for coming. "Now, don't forget this is just the first of many baby celebrations," Willow says just before leaving. Buffy is feeling really loved at the moment and is glad to have her life make sense again. Buffy closes the front door and turns back to Spike and Dawn sitting in the living room. She walks in by them and sits down on the couch between them. Spike wraps his arm around her and Buffy pulls Dawn closer to her.

BUFFY: "Thanks for the photo album… it really means a lot that you did that for me. Sure the whole dragging an annoying demon along with you not so fun, but having those photos back… it's a little like having Sunnydale back, and a little like having mom back."

DAWN: "I'm glad you like it… and I promise not to bring home anymore demons… you know, I like this."

SPIKE: "Like what?"

DAWN: "You, me and Buffy… and soon the new baby… it's like we're a family… not that we weren't before, but… it's different now, you know."

BUFFY: "I know what you mean… we are a family."


A/N: "THE END" thats it for Season 8... Now what, you may be wondering... well, I have decided to do a Season 9 in a similar format like this fic with 22 episode like chapters. However, for that to happen I need some feedback. I want to know every thought you all have, especially what you want to see happen next. I've just barely started brainstorming for the next season which means your input has a good chance of making it into the story line. So far I'm thinking that I want to pick things up about 7months later, just before Buffy is about to give birth. Other then that though I don't know what demons are going to cause mayhem or who the big bad will be or any of that. So, please submit feedback in reviews. I wanna know everything from large events to small ones that you'd like to see.

I plan to write another short fic inbetween now and when Season 9 comes out. It will be about 5 chapters set in Season 6 during "As You Were," mostly just because I want to get the whole outline done for Season 9 before I start writing it and it will take time. You can expect to see the first chapter of that within a few weeks and the first Chapter of Season 9 fairly soon after the new year.

Thank you all for your reviews of this story. You all are great. Check my profile for information on upcoming stories, I'll try to keep it updated with current information as I'm working.