A New Life
Disclaimer: Just like many BtVS fans, I am not fortunate enough to own any of the characters. I just like to play God with the plots ;)
Summary: A new enemy arrives in Sunnydale, but who, and more importantly, what, is he... and what, and more importantly, who, does he want?
A/N: This is a sequel to one of my other stories, called Unexpected Things. It goes AU after Dead Things, but is canon up until that point. I would suggest reading it first so this makes more sense, but just in case, here's a quick recap of everything (as far as I can remember ;) ) that happened.
Spike and Buffy went through some really hard times, including the return of the Initiative, Drusilla's visions, facing Angel, dealing with Giles and getting shot by Warren. But it all ended with Spike going in search of his soul after he almost killed Warren, ignoring the pain of his chip. He felt that he could never give Buffy what she deserved. But the demon in Africa gave him a little more as a parting gift. He is now human, but with an unknown amount of his vampiric powers still residing inside him, such as supernatural speed and strength.
When he returned to Sunnydale, sane thanks to a Guardian near the African cave, he was reunited with Buffy. He bought an apartment and surprised Buffy with a noon picnic in the park to ask her to move in with him. She agreed wholeheartedly, but had something else to tell him. She's pregnant with his child. We left them after her announcement, to all appearances the happy normal couple neither had ever thought they'd be.
And so the story continues...
Intangible and undistinguishable, he glided through the night towards his destination. If he were to be seen, he would appear as nothing more than a shadow, a spectre of movement that would be disregarded as a trick of the mind. But he was no illusion.
He was real. He was pain. He was death.
And he had a new target, a victim that seemed so unlikely given the current situation, and that he existed because of fear, despair and hopelessness. That was what made them vulnerable though, believing that they were free of such emotions. He just had to bring them out. A dark chuckle sounded from the shadows as he moved silently.
What better place than the Hellmouth?
It had taken almost two months, but they were all certain that it was worth it. After Spike had bought the apartment, he had mentioned how plain it was, but how it would be great for redecorating. Dawn had immediately taken up the challenge. Since then, she had spoken to Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya about helping out, and they had eagerly agreed.
Dawn stood back and admired the room. Mutually they had decided that, although she was a modern Californian girl, she probably wouldn't appreciate the chrome and glass style that they had seen in the different magazines Dawn had picked up. Instead, they had voted for a much more natural approach. Spike had given the go ahead, and they had got to work.
The walls were painted in a warm peach and the floor was a gorgeous wood. There was a mirror on one wall and there were two large pictures that had been blown up. One was of her and Dawn lying together on the grass and the other was of the entire Scooby Gang at the Bronze. She remembered it being taken last week when they had bumped into Jonathon. The group had exchanged pleasantries and then she had asked if he would take a picture of all of them. And so they were all sat about the table. Buffy, Spike, Dawn, Tara, Willow, Xander and Anya. They were all smiling brightly at the camera and looked the happiest they had for a while.
There was a handsome mahogany fireplace that Xander had built himself. He was immensely proud of it, and claimed it was his best work since the weapon's chest he had given Buffy for her birthday last year. On the mantle there were smaller photographs in silver frames. There was one of Buffy by herself, one of Buffy and Spike with their arms wrapped around each other that Dawn had provided from the selection that she had taken a long time ago, and another of her, Buffy and Joyce that Dawn had suggested getting a copy of after seeing it hanging in the hallway.
A big flat screen television was placed on the wall above the fireplace and a chocolate brown leather sofa was placed almost flush against the far wall so the television could be seen when sat on it without it taking up too much room. In front of it sat a mahogany coffee table and to one side there was a matching cabinet, on top of which sat a hi-fi. The window took up most of the remaining wall and thick chocolate brown suede curtains hung at either side.
Dawn beamed and turned to Willow and Tara who had been helping her with the finishing touches. They had matching smiles on their faces as they surveyed their efforts. There were streamers and balloons and a huge banner that read 'Welcome Home!' So, Buffy hadn't gone anywhere, but they thought it was appropriate.
Xander and Anya entered from the kitchen that they had just finished preparing snacks. In the kitchen, the group had chosen a beige colour tile to tie in with the theme from the main room, some of which had a delicate deep brown design that intricately weaved through to the next identical tile and created a border around the middle of the room. The rest of the kitchen was practically the same as the one at Revello, with the similar island and pine cupboards. Overall, they were very pleased with their work.
Xander let out a low whistle of appreciation. "Wow, I gotta say, this place looks great" he said with a grin and getting four nods in return.
"I can't wait for Buffy to see it" Dawn squealed excitedly.
"Do we know how we're getting her here yet?" Willow asked.
Dawn nodded. "Spike's surprising her at the park as we speak"
"What if she says no?" asked Anya. "I don't mean to be blunt, but it's a possibility, right?"
Xander wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulders and kissed her temple. "Honey, you've seen how they are around each other. There's no way she's saying no" he reassured her. Anya leaned into his embrace and smiled.
"So, we have decorations..." said Willow.
"Check" confirmed Dawn.
"Music..." the redhead continued.
Tara pressed play on the hi-fi for a second before turning it off again. "Check" she replied.
"Check" chorused Anya and Xander.
"Hats..." she held them up with a grin. "Check" she answered herself, passing them around. Xander groaned but put on the cardboard hat after the pointed looks he received.
"That just leaves the guests" Willow concluded.
Just then, they heard the distinct sound of a key in the door and quickly took up hiding positions. With much giggling and shushing, the two witches and the teenager hid in the small gap behind the sofa whilst Xander and Anya darted into the kitchen. They fell silent as they heard the door open and the distinct sound of Buffy's voice.
Spike drove to the apartment with a silly grin on his face the entire way. He knew he must look goofy but just couldn't stop. It didn't bother him though, it seemed trivial compared to the fact the Buffy, love of his life, and unlife, had not only agreed that she'd live with him, but was also pregnant with his child! His grin widened at the recent memory at the park.
As he turned into the street their apartment was on, he reached out one hand and covered her eyes with it. Buffy giggled and tried to move it, but he held firm.
"Spike! What are you doing?" she questioned, her voice light with laughter.
"No peekin'" he told her sternly. Buffy giggled again but nodded and agreed. Slowly, he moved his hand and waved it in front of her face as slowed to a stop.
"Stop it!" she laughed. "I can feel you moving your hand around and probably making obscene British gestures"
Spike laughed the full happy sound that Buffy loved so much. "Right you are, kitten. Just keep 'em closed, yeah?" He waited for her nod before he turned off the engine and got out, quickly running around to the passenger side and opening Buffy's door and helping her out. She nearly tripped up the kerb but he caught her and she laughed against his chest.
"Spike! This is ridiculous"
Spike grinned at her, even though she dutifully kept her eyes closed. "C'mon, luv. Where's all that Slayer agility 'n' what not?"
Buffy scowled and slapped him lightly on the arm, though careful of his now human state and her eyes still shut. "It's a little different when you're eyes are closed, Spike" she replied indignantly.
Spike fought the urge to roll his eyes. It was a habit of Dawn and Buffy's, and after spending so much time with them, as much as he tried to stop himself, he was beginning to pick it up.
He gently guided her forwards, muttering under his breath about testy bints, but Buffy could hear the affectionate tone he used, even whilst grumbling to himself, and grinned.
"Can I open my eyes yet?" she asked.
"Not yet, kitten, just a bit further"
"Okay, now" she heard him say softly when they came to a halt.
Buffy opened her eyes and gasped. It was a beautiful apartment that looked very similar to where Giles had once lived. There was a small courtyard outside, complete with fountain, flowers and benches, and there were several doors that led to different apartments. She could tell just by looking at it that the inside would be bigger than the deceptive exterior appearance, and that it would be bigger than Giles' old place.
"You like it?" Spike's voice sounded in her ear, low and deep, but with an undertone of nervousness.
"Like? I love!" she exclaimed with a grin, turning and jumping into his arms with a squeal not too unlike her younger sister. "And it's ours? Really?" she fervently asked.
Spike nodded and smiled at her. She beamed again and tightened her arms around his neck, bringing her mouth level with his ear. "Thank you so much" she whispered, her happiness clear in her tone.
"O' course, kitten. Do anythin' for you"
Buffy pulled back and smiled, tenderly caressing his check with her fingertips. "Don't I know it" she said softly, leaning forward to kiss him.
He leant forward as well to meet her, but stopped just shy of making contact. Buffy tried to close the gap but he drew back with a grin. He was teasing her, and she knew it, so she used her ultimate weapon. She pouted.
His gaze was instantly riveted on her bottom lip and he just had to kiss her. Breaking apart, slightly breathless, he grinned again. "So, you wan' to see inside?" he asked.
"Huh?" she mumbled, staring at his mouth. She shook her head as his question registered and coherent thought returned. God this man knows how to kiss. Wait! Focus! Inside... the apartment she tried to concentrate. Finally, she clicked and grinned, jumping down from his arms and taking the few steps forward to the front door of her new home.
"Harris, Glinda, Red, Anya and Nibblet 'ave all helped out with decoratin', so kill them if you don' like it" he told her, grinning.
"So, wait. Everyone knew except me?" she asked disbelievingly as she turned the key in the lock.
Spike nodded and grinned. She pushed the door open and it swung inward smoothly. "Oh, they are so gonna get it" she said, scowling as entered and looked up. Before she had a chance to register anything, she was startled by an unexpected shout.
"SURPRISE!" yelled five voices as Dawn, Tara, Willow, Xander and Anya jumped out of their places, all of them making a racket on party blowers and wearing funny hats.
Buffy screamed and jumped, clutching a hand to her chest as she tried to calm down. Her heartbeat was going a mile a minute and her breath was coming in gasps. She turned to berate Spike about the surprise party to find him in a similar condition as herself. She looked at him as they calmed, her confusion showing in her green eyes.
"Don' look at me, luv. Wasn' my idea" he said, raising his hands in his defence.
"Yeah, that... would be me" Dawn admitted sheepishly, holding up a hand to admit her guilt.
"How'd you get in, Lil' Bit?"
"Oh, umm... remember that night at the Magic Box a few years ago?" she asked tentatively. At Spike's blank stare she continued. "Well, who's bad now?" she quoted, a small smile curving her lips even as her gaze betrayed her nervousness.
Recognition sparked in his eyes. "You picked the lock?" he asked, his voice showing a mixture of anger, shock and a hint of pride.
"Yu-huh" she said quietly. "But it was just so we could surprise you both with the party and because I knew you wouldn't give me a key before you gave Buffy hers, at least, not without an explanation and if I'd had to explain then it wouldn't be a surprise and – " she rushed, trying to explain her actions, her eyes beseeching his forgiveness.
Spike shook his head and grinned. "'S okay, Dawnie, just, don' do it again, right? 'S wrong" he interrupted, his voice sincere. At Dawn's nod he stepped forward and hugged her, telling her with actions as well as words that she was forgiven. "You're welcome here anytime, but..." he trailed off as he released her and navigated through the balloons to the cabinet on which the hi-fi was situated, opening a draw and retrieving something. He closed the drawer again and returned to her side. "Use your key" he said firmly, holding it out to her.
Dawn smiled brightly and threw her arms around him. "I'm really sorry, Spike. I just wanted to do this for you" she whispered.
"I know, and thank you" he replied, his voice for her ears only.
Dawn slipped the key into her pocket as she retreated from her would-be big brother. She looked to Buffy to see she was stunned. She knew about the kind of relationship they had, and that it was very strong, but this was different. Dawn had done something wrong, and Spike had, not told her off exactly, but had reprimanded her and solved the problem without a single teenage tantrum.
Her expression faded to one of awe as she watched Spike walk back to her side. She took his hand and smiled up at him. Her smile widened to a grin when she caught her sister's eyes. "How did you do that? Will you teach me how to do it?" she asked eagerly.
Dawn crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, cocking her hip to one side. Buffy and Spike just grinned at her but the other occupants had never seen Dawn so it.
"Now that's just scary" Xander's voice broke into the conversation. The three of them turned to look at him.
"What's scary?" asked Buffy.
"That" he said, waving a hand up and down in Dawn's direction to indicate her posture. Dawn turned fully to him, her mouth open to retort but he carried on. "She's like mini Buffy, with the arms and stuff. But the eyebrow? That's Spike. She's like a mix of you two" he said. "It's scary"
"It is a little unnerving" agreed Anya. "But that was very good parenting there" she praised Spike with a grin, and turned to Xander. "When are we going to have children?"
Buffy shifted uncomfortably at the turn the conversation had taken. Spike noticed and squeezed her hand, rubbing a thumb over the back of it soothingly.
"What is it, kitten?" he asked lowly, ignoring the conversation between the married couple as Xander explained his reasoning for not wanting children just yet. They were young, carefree and they had time. He also wanted to be in a more secure position financially before thinking about bringing a child into the world.
"I want to tell them, but don't you have to wait like, three months or something?"
"You don' have to, luv" he said with a smile. "If you wanna tell them, then 'm not gonna complain"
Buffy nodded and smiled at him. "You're gonna make a great dad"
Spike smiled at her and pushed her hair back. "'N' you, Buffy, are gonna be an amazing mum"
Buffy's smile brightened and she gave him a small nod. She cleared her throat to gain the attention of the room. "Umm, actually, there's something else we have to tell you" she glanced at Spike and he placed a hand on the small of her back in support, holding her close. "I'm pregnant" she blurted out excitedly, grinning now.
Dawn shrieked and grabbed Buffy and Spike into enthusiastic hugs. "Congratulations! You guys are gonna be parents!" she exclaimed happily. She stopped jumping up and down with a gasp. "Oh my God, I'm gonna be an aunt" she realised. Her grin returned and she started bouncing around again.
The blonde couple laughed at Dawn and smiled at the others as they too offered their congratulations. None of them had been as overzealous as the teen, and Buffy was sure she had seen a flash of jealousy in Anya's eyes, but they all seemed happy for them.
"Uncle Xander..." the young man murmured. "I like that" he said with a grin.
Buffy looked to Spike and their eyes connected. An understanding passed between them and they completely understood that they were thinking the same thing, even if they hadn't spoken about it yet.
"That's good, cos we'd like you to be Godfather" Spike informed him.
Xander was stunned. He approached them and hugged Buffy then turned to the ex-vampire and shocked him with an impulsive hug that was a show of how far their friendship had come, as although it was one of the diagonal hugs that men always seemed to partake in and yet it didn't look awkward or uncomfortable. Just... friendly. Spike only hesitated for a moment before wrapping his arms around the carpenter.
"Thanks, Buffy, Spike. It means a lot" he said as he withdrew and went back to Anya.
Spike nodded to him and received one in return. Then Buffy spoke again. "We'd also like Anya, Willow and Tara to be Godmothers" she announced. "And you Dawnie" she said to her sister who appeared to have calmed and had come to her side. Buffy put her arm around her shoulders and smiled.
Everyone fell silent then, and though it was comfortable, there was a certain tension in the room, possibly caused by the now brunette girl who had recently gotten married. Anya just didn't understand why Xander didn't want children. Buffy and Spike weren't even married, but they were happy and moving in together and having a baby. It just didn't seem fair to her.
"So, let's get this party started, shall we?" Willow said cheerily, pressing a button on the hi-fi so that loud music filled the room. She twirled on the spot and swayed over to where Tara stood, holding out a hand which the other witch accepted and they began to dance. They were soon joined by Dawn, who had grabbed Spike and pulled him away from Buffy's side.
Whilst everyone had seen him at the wedding, it was still a bit of a surprise that he was such a good dancer. They just couldn't imagine Spike relaxing like they did, even after they had seen him in rented shoes at the bowling alley. But he spun Dawn under his arm and danced with her in what could only be described as a swing style. Dawn laughed as she tried to follow Spike's moves, but she was determined and eventually got it. They made a good pair and they moved around the room as the others watched, grinning and laughing even as the other two continued to dance.
Willow beckoned to Xander and he got up from the seat he had taken, trying to pull Anya with him. She shook her head and smiled politely, motioning to the kitchen and miming eating. He grinned and nodded, turning away from her and going to the dancing girls. Anya sighed and stood, retreating to the kitchen. Buffy watched her go and frowned. Something was up. She followed the girl and sat at the island on the stool opposite her.
Buffy looked around. "This place is amazing. Thank you so much for helping out" she began, smiling when Anya met her eyes. Anya smiled back, but it was slightly strained.
"Are you okay?" Buffy asked gently.
Anya nodded, but dropped her eyes. With another sigh, she shook her head. "What's wrong?" the blonde encouraged her to open up.
"It's Xander. I mean, we're married now, but he doesn't want children. Then I look at you and Spike. You're not married at all but you're already pregnant. Is there something wrong with me?"
Buffy shook her head firmly. "No" she said vehemently. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. It's just... for me and Spike, this baby is a miracle. Three months ago, it wasn't possible. We never dreamed that it ever would be" she laughed a little at how strange it sounded, in complete awe of everything Spike had gone through for her. She softened again when she saw it didn't seem to help Anya. "As the Slayer, I have no idea when I'm gonna die, so I have to take happiness where I can find it. You and Xander have your whole lives ahead of you. But I think, right now... he's afraid of becoming his father"
Anya glanced up, unsure how much Buffy knew about Xander's past and his family. As if she had read her mind, Buffy continued. "I don't know much about his home life, but he's mentioned how much his dad doesn't care. My dad walked out, but my mom took such good care of me and Dawnie so I have someone to look to. Xand... doesn't have that"
"I know" Anya conceded quietly. "But I also know that he'd be great with kids. I just wish he could see it"
Buffy smiled. "Well, maybe Uncle Xander can get in some practice and, before you know it, crave to be called Daddy"
Anya looked up and held Buffy's gaze. Then she grinned. She stood and walked around the island, hugging the Slayer tightly. "I think I get it, and thank you" she said as Buffy returned the embrace.
"Of course, Anya. You're my friend, not just Xander's girlfriend"
"Wife" Anya corrected with a grin and a wave of her left hand, flashing her wedding band.
"Wife" Buffy agreed, putting an arm around Anya's shoulders in another comforting hug. "What do you say we go get our groove on?" she asked, still grinning as she released the brunette.
Anya laughed and nodded, the two of them making their way back into the living room and to the festivities, where everyone relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In fact, it was even better than a night at the Bronze. And hey, no demons have crashed either Buffy thought, grinning as she danced with her boyfriend and sister. With her family.
Perfectthought the malevolent presence that was no more than a shadow by the fountain, gazing in at the happy group. He would relish tearing them apart, piece by piece. They reeked of love, and that would be their downfall. All it would take would be to pick just... the right... one... and the rest would collapse.
He closed his eyes and concentrated his senses through the window. There were four very powerful beings, yet two had not reached full potential. They were held back by something. One witch and one human male. Yet their counterparts seemed to be in their prime. Another witch and a slayer. His eyes snapped open. Yes... there. He could feel it. It's essence. It was growing as time passed, but it would take many more months yet. A power unlike anything he had ever felt that would not only bring him great reward, it would also devastate everyone he saw before him.
He already had a victim, but this would hurt them more gravely than anything else. This had been unforeseen, but he planned to use it to his advantage.
A/N: And that concludes the first part of this story :)
Thank you for reading it and I hope you enjoyed it. Please review and let me know your thoughts :D