Chapter 31

"Look at you," Buffy whispered as she rocked Bella in her arms, kissing her soft cheek. "Not a scratch." She looked over at Spike. "How about Bex?"

"He's perfect," Spike whispered. "Sleeping soundly." He ran his fingers over the soft peach fuzz on the baby's head. "We're never letting them out of our sights again."

"The important thing is that they're safe."

"And he's hog tied in the basement."

"How could he do this?" Buffy asked softly. "How could he just…"

"I don't know, luv." Buffy closed her eyes, looking down at her little girl.

"If anything had happened to them, Spike, I don't know what I would've done. I always thought being the Slayer was the most important thing in my life now, but obviously, things turned out a lot different. Spike, I don't want them to be in danger, but it's part of my life. It's part of theirs."

"We'll do better, Buffy. We'll do better." He pulled his arm around her, as they sat on the end of the bed. Each of them held a child in their arms, and the room was so quiet, so peaceful. Buffy closed her eyes, resting her head on Spike's shoulder. "Some wedding night, hmm?"

"Yeah," Buffy whispered. "A night to remember." Bella yawned, stretching in her mother's arms before relaxing and continuing to sleep peacefully. For the first time that night, Buffy allowed the emotions to roll over her, sweeping her under, flooding her entire being. She began to sob, and Spike's jaw tensed, as he rubbed her arm, trying to console her. All he could do was pull her closer, and she cried on his shoulder, letting herself be weak and vulnerable. Now that her babies were safe, she had a moment. She could be this way with him. "I wanna know why."

"We'll find out why. Tomorrow. Right now, we're going to sleep. We're going to go to bed exactly like we did last night. With the babies safe in their bed." Buffy nodded.

"I want them to sleep in here tonight. I'd feel better."

"Me too," Spike said with a nod. "I'll pull the bassinet in." He handed Bex to his mother, and she held each child in her arms. She kissed and rocked them both, letting the tears continue to fall.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'll do better. I promise. I won't ever let you grow up alone. I'll be more careful. I'll do better to…to make you feel safe." Spike entered the room, wheeling in the bassinet. The babies were still small enough to fit in it together, and since they always slept so well when they were side by side, he took the babies from her one at a time and tucked them in next to one another. They continued to sleep, as he placed the bassinet in the corner.

Buffy had managed to slip under the covers as he tucked the babies in, and as he crossed the room and joined her, he flicked the light switch, enveloping them in darkness, which soon gave way to the slivery blue moonlight that filtered in through the balcony doors.

She shivered until his arms wrapped around her, pulling her against him. His chest rose and fell against her back, and she closed her eyes, letting his heartbeat relax her, as he buried his face against her neck, placing a sweet kiss there.

"Go to sleep, luv. We'll get our answers tomorrow."

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you too, pet." He placed another kiss, this time to her shoulder, and closed his eyes, letting the tension and fear and anger from the day melt away as he fell asleep just as he was supposed to: with his wife in his arms and his children sleeping safely and soundly just a few feet away.

***

"Where do you want me to start?"

"Start from the beginning."

"The very beginning?"

"Just when my kids become involved. That's all I want to know about," Buffy said, crossing her arms as she stood in front of Riley, who was chained to a strong, steel pole in the dark basement. "I don't want to know how you've been, how your wife is, where she is, for that matter, or anything else you might want to share. I just want to know why you took them, where you took them, and what you did them."

Riley looked up at Buffy and then over at Spike, who stood near the stairs, whittling a fresh stake for tonight's patrol.

"You're not going to believe me."

"Oh, I think you're going to tell me the truth, because I'll know if you're lying. And you won't like the consequences."

"Alright," Riley grimaced, trying to situate himself. "As you can probably tell by this," he began, gesturing toward his attire, "I took over the Initiative. They put me completely in charge, so I have men out looking for me right now."

"Then you'd better talk fast," Spike muttered.

"Alright. It's simple. It…it really is. We've been keeping track of you. There's…there's a bug in your living room right now. There's one in each room of the house."

"You're going to tell us where they are."

"I will. I'll show you even," Riley assured them.

"Go on," Buffy replied, her gaze hard and menacing.

"As head of the initiative, it was my job to keep up to date with everything. We found out you and Spike were having the babies, and it was important that we run tests, that we know if they were human, or…"

"You could have asked."

"We needed samples. We needed specific tests, Buffy," Riley explained. "I could have sent any of the men to do the job, but I wanted to make sure they wouldn't get hurt. That's why I did it myself." He looked from her to Spike. "I also wanted to find out if it was really true. If he actually got you pregnant." He cleared his throat. "Then I read about the prophecy, the amulet, everything. It was a mystical pregnancy, Buffy. We had to do tests."

"On my kids," she said bitterly.

"If it had happened to anyone, we'd have wanted to run tests, but in this case especially. The children of a Slayer and a vampire? He was a vampire when you became pregnant, despite the way you got pregnant. There was an entire prophecy written around your pregnancy. We couldn't just over look that."

"No. You had to break into my house, take my kids, and get Amy involved."

"We needed a good witch."

"What about the portal, mate?" Spike asked. "What was with the light show, hmm?"

"That was a safety precaution. I was going to take them out of this dimension just long enough to run the tests, and it was only going to take a few minutes, but it felt like as soon as I'd gotten where I was going, Amy was pulling us back out."

"You didn't test them?"

"I didn't have time. The time between the two dimensions is much different. I may have been gone an hour here, but there? It was half a second, if that. Some dimensions…some dimensions you can be gone a moment here, but twenty years there. It varies from dimensions." He tried to move toward Buffy, but his shackles pulled. "I didn't hurt them, I swear."

"Fine," Buffy replied with a nod. She headed back toward Spike, and together, they started up the stairs.

"Are you going to let me go?" he asked. Buffy didn't answer. She took Spike's hand, and they left Riley alone in the dark basement to await their decision.

***

"He was telling the truth," Buffy said quietly, as she and Spike sat at the kitchen table nursing two cups of hot coffee.

"Doesn't make up for what he did."

"No, it doesn't. But what are we going to do, Spike? We can't kill him."

"But we can let him go back there? The slightest thing happens, and he could come back for them."

"He won't," Buffy replied. As much as she hated what Riley had done, she couldn't kill him. She couldn't kill a human being, despite the fact that she would do anything to protect her children. "We can move."

"He'll find us. The Initiative can do anything. And they're probably listening to us right now. The place is bugged, remember?"

"I can't believe Riley could do something like that," Dawn said quietly, sitting down in an empty seat.

"Dawnie, the babies?"

"Willow and Xander are feeding them," she assured them. "He was always so nice to me. I don't understand."

"Good people do bad things sometimes, Dawn," Buffy said quietly. Spike smirked.

"Good people? So we're just going to let him go? Not even a slap on the hand for taking them, hmm?"

"I don't know what else to do, Spike." Buffy ran her fingers through her hair. "I just want him out of here. I want him away from them."

"What's to say he won't try to take them again?" Dawn wondered. Buffy shook her head.

"He won't."

"So you're just going to trust him, then?"

"No," Buffy replied. "I'm going to make sure he doesn't. We need Wil."

"I'll get her," Dawn offered. She disappeared up the back stairs, and Spike glanced at Buffy.

"What are you up to?"

"Maybe Willow knows a way to get past the Initiative."

"Whaddya mean?"

"I mean maybe she knows a cloaking spell. One that keeps us off of the Initiative's radar. One that won't let them come after us ever again."

"You think it'll work?"

"It's worth a shot."

***

Spike and Buffy leaned against the back of their car, as Xander marched Riley down the road a few yards. After having made him go through the house and deactivate all of the planted bugs, and with Willow doing a clean sweep with a little revealing spell, they'd all piled into the car and driven out into the middle of the road, dropping Riley off with enough water to last him until he go back into town. By the time that happened, they would be long gone. They would be packing up to relocate to a place the Initiative would never find them.

"I'm sorry for what happened," Riley called to Buffy. Buffy said nothing to her ex. She just watched as Xander headed back over to them. "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you. I was just doing my job."

"Now she's doing hers," Xander replied, turning to stand next to Buffy and Spike. As much as Spike was not his favorite person, he could respect that Spike was trying to make a new, decent life for himself, and he was trying to make a clean go of things now that he was human. After all, he was Buffy's husband now, and he was the father of her children. Things were a lot different than they used to be.

"Don't try to find us, mate," Spike warned. "You won't like what you do find if you try." He turned to Buffy. "You ready, luv?" Buffy nodded.

"Yeah. I don't have anything to say. I just wanna go." She cast one last glance at the man she had once thought she loved, and now here he was, standing before her a coward and a kidnapper. For so long, she'd denied her feelings for Spike, and she'd clung to Riley and the memory of their relationship. But now, she knew that the love she shared with Spike was so much more. It wasn't just passion. It was a force neither of them could comprehend. It drew them in, like moths, to the fire.

Buffy climbed in the back seat, sitting in between the two infant seats. Bex and Bella slept peacefully, as Spike got behind the wheel. Up ahead, Xander, Willow, and Dawn piled into another car, and they all took off, leaving Riley in the dust, hoping they'd never have to encounter him again.

***

One Year Later

"Dada!" Bex laughed, as he ran after Spike in the back yard of their little, quiet house in the lazy outskirts of Dayton. It was the perfect house. Brick on the outside with a large back porch and even larger, fenced in back yard. A sandbox and swing set were all set up, ready for Bex and Bella.

On the inside, it was a normal little house, and visitors out of the know would never expect the house belonged to a couple of demon slayers. Still, hidden in chests and behind bookshelves were dozens of weapons, ready to be retrieved at a moment's notice.

Upstairs, the master bedroom connected to the nursery, which the twins shared, and would continue to share for a couple more years. Across the hall was Dawn's room, though she was back in Italy finishing up school with Andrew. But they wanted her to always have a place she could call home.

The guest room was rarely used, but occasionally, Willow or Faith would stop in. Faith, more than usual, now that she and Robin were officially over. Buffy never knew why Faith and Robin really didn't work out, but she did notice the way Faith tensed up whenever she was around the twins. She knew better than to ask her fellow Slayer for the details, and Faith seemed grateful that she didn't have to talk about it.

Right now, it was one of those lazy summer days, where there wasn't much to do, and all Spike and Buffy had to do was play out in the back yard with their little ones. They had come a long way, Spike and Buffy. A few years ago, they'd had one of the most unhealthy relationships imaginable. Now, they spent their days changing diapers and wiping runny noses, and their nights singing lullabies, reading bedtime stories, and then one would go out to patrol while the other stayed at home to look after the family.

Buffy hadn't heard anything more from Riley Finn or the Initiative, so it seemed that all was well and good with Willow's spell.

Buffy smiled, as she sat on the back porch with Bella and watched Spike and Bex run around in the grass. Spike wore nothing but swimming trunks, while Bex wore a very heavy diaper, soaked from the sprinkler he'd been running through.

"Careful," Buffy warned, as Bex stumbled and nearly fell. Spike swooped him up into his arms, flying him around like a little airplane.

The kids were starting to grow into their own personalities. Bex was definitely like his father. He liked to do things his way. He was daring. And, he had his father's sparkling blue eyes. His hair was curly and dark blonde, while Bella, with the same blue eyes, had much fairer hair, and it was slightly less curly. If it wasn't for her eyes, she would be the spitting image of her mother.

Bella began to fuss, as she rubbed her eyes, and Buffy stood up.

"It's time for a nap."

"No! Nap…no!" Bex whined.

"Yes, nap," Buffy laughed, as she pulled him into her arms, holding a baby on each hip. "Daddy and Mommy need some rest. You two are a handful." Buffy was certain they'd gotten her energy. They didn't tire easily, so many warm days were spent out and about like this, trying to get the children tired enough to sleep.

Spike had disappeared somewhere in the house before Buffy had the chance to head in. She looked around, wondering where he was, but she shrugged off the thought, took the kids upstairs, changed them out of their wet clothes and diapers, and put them down for a nap. After the half hour ordeal, they finally settled down enough to close their eyes, and Buffy closed the door, stepping out into the hall, where startled her and pulled her in close.

"Spike!"

"Shh. Don't wake the twins," he said with a sexy little smile that told her that she wasn't about to get any rest right now.

"It's nap time," she murmured, placing her hand against his chest, feeling his heart beating strongly against her fingertips. God, she never got tired of that.

"Nap time, eh?" he asked. "We could sleep, if you want." He pressed her against the wall, kissing her neck before moving upward to nibble on her earlobe. Oh, she loved it when he did that. He knew it.

"Mmm," she murmured, closing her eyes, biting her lip, praying they wouldn't be too loud and wake the kids. "Bedroom…" He pulled back, smiling that smile that turned her knees to butter, and he raised an eyebrow. Taking her hand, he pulled her into their room and shut the door.

Despite the violence, the danger, and the evil surrounding them on a day to day basis, they always had time to settle down and take a few minutes to be together. They had a lot that lay ahead of them. They had a lifetime of close calls and moments that would threaten to break them, that might downright come close to shattering everything they'd build, but they had changed. They were more than they used to be. They had each other, and for once, they both knew that that was exactly what they needed.


Thank you all for the feedback and the support! I'm not sure if I'll be writing a sequel or not. I'm not sure if I'll write another BtVS fic for that matter. But I had a lot of fun with this one!