Disclaimer: Joss owns them, I'm just borrowing them to indulge my muse. Maggie, Chloe, and Alex are my characters, although you won't really be seeing too much of Chloe and Alex.

Notes: This is a future-fic, taking place a little over 5 years after "Normal again". It'll also have some flashback scenes to explain the background, but I'll be sure to let you know what's going on in the notes :)  Spoiler alert: any and everything on the show up until Normal again is fair game. It goes on it's merry way after that. Please review, it encourages me to write quicker. Ok, here we go……..

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Spike drove along the winding roads, coming upon a familiarly straight stretch of road. The August sun in the mid-afternoon should have been deadly, and he was thankful for the protection of his heavily tinted windows. His eyes drifted ahead and he laughed to himself at the previous fate that befell the landmark he gazed at. He pulled his car over to the side of the road, thinking how juvenile he'd been all those times before to try and destroy it, noting bitterly how it kept coming back like a Phoenix from the ashes. As he looked at the landmark, he started feeling a little uneasy about coming back here, wondering what he would find along the way.

"WELCOME TO SUNNYDALE!" The white letters stared mockingly back at him. "Well, mate, it's now or never. Might as well at least go and try to find her…"

Spike drove through the town of Sunnydale, noting that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. The small downtown area looked almost exactly the way he'd left it, except that many of the buildings were showing the wear of 5 years of weather and use. He continued to drive, past the cemetery, wondering what happened to his old crypt. As he watched the sun sink to a nice, non-fatal level he parked his car in the exact spot where the old Desoto used to sit. Using the advantage of the daylight still left but knowing he was safe from any direct sunlight, Spike stepped from his car and let the California air warm his face.

"Feels like a nice afternoon for a stroll" he thought to himself, and started walking down the sidewalk.  He seemed to go on autopilot after that, heading straight for her neighborhood. The more he walked he started to doubt himself, and delved deep into thought as he stalked down the street.

*It's been 5 years, mate. She's probably moved on. Found herself a nice, normal bloke and moved into a big white house with a cute little picket fence. Why would she still be hanging around here, other than the fact that she's still the slayer? She is still the slayer, right? I mean unless that Faith bird kicked it and someone else was called to take over.*

He slowed his pace a little, trying to settle his thoughts and gain some more of his confidence back. He started remembering happier times with Buffy, before she'd ended things for good and he'd left because the pain had been too much. He wondered if she ever thought of him. He wondered what he'd find once he made it to her house.

*Well, it's the only shot I've got. I'll just go there, see if she still lives there. If she's not there, then I'll just go on about my way and chalk it up to bad luck. Oh, but if she is there…* He turned his eyes up toward the clouds and said out loud "Please, if anyone up there is listening, please at least let her hear me out, if I find her."  The voice in his head picked up again. *Yeah, right. Why would she give you a chance? You did just what she thought you would. When the going got rough, you left, just like all the rest. You sodding, bloody, wanker…*

His self-belittling thoughts were snapped back to the present when he heard soft cries coming from just ahead. He stopped on the sidewalk and looked curiously at the site before him. A little girl was sitting in the grass beside the sidewalk with her little legs stretched out in front of her. When the strange man in black stopped in front of her, she turned her teary eyes up to look at him. She didn't say anything, she just sat there, hiccupping with her sobs and letting new tears fall from her eyes. Her mommy had taught her to never talk to strangers, but this man was just giving off vibes that he wouldn't hurt her.

In his entire existence, Spike had never seen a more beautiful child. Her skin was flawless, and was a perfectly sun kissed golden color *probably from playing outside all the time* he vaguely thought. Her ash-blonde hair fell to her shoulders in soft little curls, perfectly framing her tiny face. Even at her young age, she had these little cheekbones that gave definition to her face. Her green eyes sparkled back at him, shining even more brilliantly through her tears.  She turned her head, and then he noticed that she had a tiny cut over her left eye, and a very small stream of blood was trickling down the side of her face, mingling with her tears and turning from crimson red to a watered down pink color. She then drew her knees up to her chest, and Spike noted that both knees were skinned. He didn't want to frighten her, but he felt something tugging at his heart, making him want to help this beautiful little angel of a child sitting before him.

He sat down in front of her on the sidewalk, so he could be eye-to-eye to talk to her. "Are you ok, love?"

She once again turned her teary gaze to him, and shook her head "no".

"Do you need help? Do you want to tell me what's wrong?"

She studied him for a moment, trying to decide if her mommy would be angry with her for talking to this man.

On queue, as if he were reading her mind, Spike said softly "I bet your Mum told you never to talk to strangers, right?" She shook her head yes. "Well, then, let me fix that problem. I'm William. Now you know my name, so I'm not that much of a stranger, ok?" Again she shook her head yes. "Right then. So why don't you tell me what's the matter, and I'll see if I can help you."

Big tears welled in her eyes as she prepared to tell her story. As she started speaking, Spike was enraptured at the sound of her little voice. If he thought she looked like an angel, he thought she surely was an angel when her precious little voice started telling her story.

"Well, I was playing at my friend Chloe's house, when she said her Mommy thought that my Mommy was weird. And that made me mad, so I told her that I didn't want to be friends anymore, and I ran out of her house to go home, even though my Mommy told me never to walk home by myself."

"Oh, that's terrible, pet. But that doesn't explain how you got these scrapes, dear. Want to tell me what happened there?"

She hiccupped again with a small sob, and continued. "That meanie Alex saw me and said he was gonna go tell my Mommy that I was out by myself, and I told him not to, but he said he was gonna go tell anyway, so I bit him."

"You BIT him?"

"Y-yes. And then he started to cry and I ran away and he chased me. But then he caught up to me and tripped me, and I fell down on the sidewalk, and I hurt my knees and hit my head." She was crying in full force again. Spike tentatively reached out and touched her hand, trying to soothe her cries.

"So what did this meanie Alex do then?"

"He was still crying 'cause I bit him, and he ran into his house and left me here. And my knees hurt and I couldn't walk home and my Mommy's gonna be so mad at me and she probably won't let me have my party next week and…"

"Hold up, love." He smiled at her. "Let's see what we can figure out. You know, don't you, that you shouldn't bite people. It's not a very nice thing to do."

"I know. My mommy tells me that all the time. 'It's not nice to bite people sweetie. We don't hit or bite people, because we could hurt them'… she always tells me that whenever I hit Alex or bite him." She smirked. Spike could have sworn this little angel *smirked* at him.

"Well, I have to say I agree with your Mommy. Are you feeling a little better than before?"

"A little."

"Well, that's good, pet."

Again the little girl smiled at him. "I know your name now, but you don't know mine."

"That's ok pet, you don't have to tell me your name."

"No, I want to. My name's Maggie" Spike's unnecessary breath caught in his chest. That's who this little angel reminded him of: his little sister Margaret. He had always called her Maggie, and his mum had always hated it. Her little voice once again snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Will-yum? Will you take me home?"

"Uh, pet…Maggie, I would love to, but I don't know where you live."

"I know my address. Mommy taught it to me. I live at 1630 Revello Drive. Can you take me there?"

"I think I can manage that, Maggie." Spike's heart sank a little, knowing now that the love of his life had indeed moved on without him. He had no idea how he would find her now; now that there was a happy family with a precious little girl living in her old house. He scooped her up in his arms and started to carry her toward her house.

"How do you know which way to go?" She asked him when he instinctively headed toward her house.

"Oh. Well, you see, I used to have a very dear friend who lived in this neighborhood. In fact, that's why I'm here in the first place. Was just coming round to see if she still lived here… was going to maybe pay her a visit. In fact, her address was the same as yours. So your Mommy and Daddy must have moved in there once she moved out."

"Hmmm. Maybe!" she cooed. "But it's just me and Mommy. My Daddy doesn't live with us. I've never seen him, 'cause he had to go away to work. He's a hero, you know. Mommy always tells me how much she loves him and that he will come back someday. Hey! Maybe he'll come for my party… " She got a far-away look in her eyes, far more broody than any child should know how to be.

Spike wanted to cheer her up. "So, Maggie, tell me about this party that you're worried about your Mommy taking away."

Her eyes lit up again. "Oh, oh, oh! It's my birthday; I'll be five. And I'm having a big party, and all my friends are coming, except for now I'm gonna un-invite Chloe 'cause she's just as bad as that meanie Alex. But Mommy is making me let Alex come because she is friends with his parents. He's a yucky, yucky boy." She made a face and Spike chuckled at her impression of the young Alex, thinking 'in 10 years she'll probably have fallen head over heels for the git.' She continued her story as they walked toward Revello Drive, telling him about all the games they would play at her party, and what kind of cake she wanted, and how much she hoped her mommy wouldn't take the party away.

Spike noticed that her story seemed to be fading away, and he gazed down at her only to see that little Maggie had fallen asleep in his arms.

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Meanwhile, about five blocks away, a young mother was on her phone, frantically pacing the floor. "What do you mean, she just left? How could you let a 5 year old just LEAVE your house by herself?"

"Honestly," Chloe's mom replied " She ran out while I was getting the laundry. I thought the girls were playing in Chloe's room until I went to check on them, and then Chloe told me that they'd had a fight and Maggie had left."

"Well, we have to find her!"

"We will, you stay there, I'm sending Chloe's dad out to look for her now. Keep your phone line free and he'll take his cell and we'll find her. Don't worry."

Maggie's mom called Chloe's mom back to see if they had spotted Maggie yet. As she was again becoming frantic on the phone, she was interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Wait. Someone's at the door. I think she's home. I'll call you right back." She went to the door, still holding the cordless phone in her hand.

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Spike made his way up the sidewalk with the sleeping child in his arms. The cut over her eye was still oozing a bit, and her tears had not yet dried. She still managed to look so peaceful in her sleep, and he wondered how she had managed to fall asleep so quickly. He walked up onto the porch, wondering how he was going to explain to this little girl's mother how he'd found her and why he'd brought her home.

He shifted the little girl in his arms to free up a hand to ring the doorbell, and watched as the small child curled up even more in his arms. He rang the doorbell and waited patiently.

Suddenly, the door burst open, and the frantic Mom called out before even looking to see who was there. "Maggie??" Then she took in the sight before her. A tall, blonde man dressed in black stood holding her daughter, and there was a small trickle of red on the side of her face and on her little knees.

Spike's eyes flew wide when he looked at the woman standing in her doorway. "What the…." He was starting to say, when Maggie woke up and looked over to see that she was home.

A huge grin broke over her face, and she proclaimed "Mommy! Will-yum brought me home. Please don't me mad at me, please, please, please."

"Yeah, Mommy, please don't be mad at her. She was hurt and I was only trying to help her." Spike said as a smirk started forming on his face.

Buffy dropped the phone she was holding and fainted.