Ch. 1
Buffy lay quietly on the tiled floor, letting its coolness seep into her body. What she wouldn't give to be in bed with Spike, his cool skin sending shivers throughout her body. A nice ice pack on her neck would be nice too. But there was no Spike, no ice, just her nauseous stomach and the toilet bowl.

"Buffy, are you alright?" Dawn's worried voice penetrated through the closed door. Buffy raised her head cautiously, fearful that any sudden movement might send her running to the toilet again. "Yeah, Dawn, I'm alright. Just give me a minute, will you?"

Dawn fidgeted nervously, biting her lip. "Do you want me to call Tara?"

"No," Buffy said as she opened the door. "Buffy, you don't look well. Your face's all sickly and pasty." Dawn reached out and offered Buffy her arm for support. Buffy gratefully took it and leaned on her younger sister as they walked slowly back to her room. Dawn pulled the covers back, and Buffy slipped in, pulling Mr. Gordo to her stomach. Dawn sat next to Buffy on the bed, her hand reaching out to touch Buffy's forehead. "You've got a fever, Buffy." Dawn announced.

"I don't know what's wrong, Dawn. My stomach hurts and churns, and the next thing I know I'm in the bathroom hurling." As if to demonstrate, Buffy stomach cramped, and Buffy moaned into her pillow.

"That's it, Buffy. I'm calling Tara. We need her help with Willow out of town. I really think this could be an aftereffect of the antidote." She said as she searched for the cordless. Buffy seemed to be getting better from the poisoning, so everyone went back to their daily lives. Willow left for a chemistry convention and Xander went back to work. But 2 days ago, Buffy had started feeling nauseous. She couldn't keep anything down. Dawn was worried, but Buffy refused to ask for help. She was still embarrassed and ashamed about what had happened.

"I'm going to call Tara and get her over here. This is ridiculous Buffy. She's your friend. Dawn quickly dialed Tara's number. She answered on the 3rd ring.

"Hello." Tara said cheerfully. "Tara, it's Dawn. You have to come quick. Buffy's sick. I think it's the antidote. She's been throwing up and cramping for the last 2 days." Dawn could feel tears welling up, but she refused to cry. She had to get herself under control, for Buffy's sake.

"Dawn, calm down, I'm on my way." Tara mentally made of a list of the supplies she'd need. If they needed anything else, she'd have to send Xander out for it. "Ah, Tara, could you bring Spike? Xander's at a construction site outside of town and I'd feel better with Spike around."

"Sure, Dawnie, I'll bring him." She reassured the frightened girl. "I know Buffy would feel better with him around, even if she won't admit it." She added to herself.

Dawn nervously paced in front of the window, watching for Tara's car. When she saw the compact pull up outside the house, she raced down the stairs, barely getting the door opened before Spike came crashing through. He threw the smoking blanket on the floor , scanning the living for Buffy. "She's in her room." He heard Dawn say as he flew up the stairs. Tara walked swiftly up the front lawn. Her bag of medicinal herbs slung over her shoulder. Spike peered into the room, taking in Buffy's still form. He hesitated, remembering the last time he'd been here. "Buffy" he whispered. She lifted her head off the pillow, relief evident on her face. She held out her hand, and all the bickering and hurt was forgotten. Buffy was so happy to see him, she wanted to cry. She felt awful, and all she wanted was for someone. No, not someone him to take the pain away. Spike curled up behind her as she pulled his hand around her body. "Buffy, what is it, luv? Tell me what's wrong? He could feel her blood pumping furiously through her veins. Her skin was warm, too warm, to the touch. He felt her tugging his hand up under her soaked shirt. "So cool. You make me feel so good." She murmured. Dawn snickered behind him. If he hadn't been so worried about Buffy, he would have ran with that comment. He kissed her shoulder, softly. Tara and Dawn stood rooted to the floor.
Spike looked up at them with worried eyes. "She's burning up. Do something, don't just stand there?" Tara shook herself out of her stupor, and started preparing the herbs for the divining spell. "This shou...should give an idea of what's wrong with Buffy, if it's magical or anything like that."

"Are you going to be able to help her, Tara?" Dawn asked worriedly. She had moved to the other side of the bed, where she sat stroking Buffy's hair. "I don't know Dawn. How long has she been like this?" Dawn looked up, squinting, trying to remember the exact date. "Well, she was feeling better right after the antidote. She was a little weak, but she was regaining her strength, then yesterday, she started complaining of cramps and nausea." Tara nodded thoughtfully. It could be her period. Menstrual cramps are a bitch. Or it could... Her thoughts were halted when she saw Spike distractedly stroking Buffy's stomach. Could Buffy be pregnant? That would explain the nausea, she mused. Spike interrupted her internal musings by asking Dawn to bring him an ice pack. "She likes to put 'em on her neck." Dawn hurried to the kitchen to get one.

She could hear them talking, but her fever-addled mind kept her pretty much out of it. Buffy sighed deeply, her eyes heavy from the lack of sleep. She felt safe and loved for the first time in weeks. Sleep was calling her. She gave in with the knowledge that Spike wouldn't let anything happen to her. Spike smiled softly as Buffy drifted off to sleep, his hand firmly in her grasp.

"Spike, I'm going to need you to lay Buffy flat on her back." Tara asked as she mixed the herbs in a bowl. Spike gently pulled his hand out of Buffy's grasp, and picked his sleeping lover up. Buffy moaned and her face twisted in pain. He leaned down and whispered softly in her ear words of comfort and love. Her face visibly relaxed and his did too, Tara noted. Once Spike had Buffy comfortable again, Tara sprinkled the powder in a circle around her. "Spike, you're going to have to let go of her hand, if this spell is to work properly." She said apologetically. Spike nodded and reluctantly let her hand go, placing it gently by her side. Dawn stood in the doorway, the ice pack in hand. She grabbed Spike's arm and laid her head against his shoulder. "She's going to be alright, Niblet. I promise you, we're not going to lose her again." Dawn squeezed her eyes tightly, and said a slight prayer that everything would be alright.

The crushed powder around Buffy began to solidify into a blue ring that hovered above the bed. They watched in amazement as the light blanketed Buffy. One area, though, changed color to a green. Tara's mouth gaped open at the display. Her worst or best fears were confirmed. Green meant growth and renewal in the Wiccan faith. The light vanished as quickly as it came and the room was once again bathed in soft sunlight.

"Is that it?" Spike asked gruffly. "Is that all it's going to do?" He'd expected more flash or something. Tara laughed softly. Typical response, she thought. Everyone expects magic to be more than it actually was. She sat down next to Buffy, trying not to rouse her. "I'm pretty sure, I know what's wrong with Buffy. I just don't know how the antidote might have affected her...her condition." Dawn looked at Tara sharply, noticing how she stuttered over the last bit. "Her condition? What the hell does that mean?" Dawn looked pointedly at Tara, who was definitely avoiding her gaze. Spike was oblivious to them. His only concern for Buffy.

"What condition does Buffy have, Tara?" Tara wouldn't look at Dawn. She was concentrating rather hard at a spot on the floor. Spike sat and pulled Buffy gently into his arms. She sighed in her sleep and burrowed deeper into his embrace. If he noticed the tension in the room, he ignored it. "Dawn, hand me the pack, will you?" Dawn picked the melting ice pack off the dresser and handed it to him. Tara chanced a glance in Dawn's direction. Her eyes imploring her to stop asking questions she couldn't answer. Dawn caught Tara's pleading look and returned it defiantly. They were going to stop treating her like a child. Tara couldn't hold Dawn's angry stare, and quickly lowered her gaze to Spike and Buffy. She couldn't tell them her suspicions, not without talking to Buffy first.

Spike pulled Buffy's sweat-dampened hair off her neck, and placed the ice pack there. She hissed from the cold, but did not awaken. Spike rested his chin in her hair, loving the feel of her warm body pressed against his. It had been weeks since they'd broken up, and he'd lain in his crypt each night hoping she'd burst in and tell him she wanted him back. Silly bint hadn't, of course. He'd almost forgotten how stubborn she could be. "Tara, what aren't you telling us? If there's something you know, then tell us." Dawn implored, her fear making her a bit irrational. She knew she sounded bitchy, but Buffy was her sister and she loved her. "Stop it, Bit. Obviously, she's not going to tell us. As long as Buffy's not in any danger.., and she isn't, right?" He looked at Tara, eyebrows lifted. "No..no, Buffy's not in any danger. All the vomiting probably got all the toxin out of her system." Tara smiled slightly, hoping they would believe her. She worried for Buffy's unborn child, but until they knew for sure, she had to go with the most optimistic outlook. "Buffy will be fine, Dawnie. I promise you." Dawn took all this in, her mind running over and over what she'd been told. Finally, she looked over at Buffy, and nodded. "Ok."

Buffy moaned and rolled her head back. Her eyes blinked open and she struggled to focus on where she was and what had happened. The last coherent thought she had was of....Spike. She tried to sit up, but found strong arms held her tightly. Her head spun from the sudden movement, and she quickly closed her eyes again. When she opened them, she noticed the leather clad body she was clinging to. Her eyes traveled from his chest upward to that annoyingly sexy mouth to startling blue eyes. Oh, boy, she thought, he's trying to look into my soul. She licked her dry lips, and forced her body to relax.

"Hey, love, steady on. Do you want to sit up?" She nodded shyly. Tara and Dawn rushed to fluff her pillows as Spike helped her lean back against them. "Thanks, guys." Buffy felt warm and lightheaded and knew it had nothing to do with her present illness. She hadn't been this close to Spike in weeks and her traitorous body missed his. Stop it, she screamed silently. We are not going back to him. Spike watched bemused. It would do him no good if she saw how her nearness was affecting him. It was all he could do to keep from kissing those full lips.

"Can I get some water?" She asked, finally breaking away from Spike's mesmerizing gaze. Spike got up, pulling his duster around him to hide his bulging crotch. "I'll get it."

Buffy let out the breath she'd been inadvertently holding. She rested her rested her head, still a little foggy from sleep. "So, what's the verdict? Will I live?" Buffy immediately regretted the flippant remark when she heard Dawn gasp. "Sorry, Dawnie, I didn't mean it like that." Dawn grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently. "I know."

"Buffy, how are you feeling now?" Tara asked, looking at her curiously. "I'm still queasy." Buffy said, rubbing her stomach. "But, I'm not hurting, which is of the good."

"I'm sorry I worried you guys." Buffy was especially sorry that once again Dawn had been caught in the middle of another Buffy disaster. "I just can't seem to stop hurting you guys." Dawn lifted her chin, looking her directly in the eye. "Hey, you're always saving us. We're just returning the favor." Buffy smiled, though tears still fell down her cheeks. "When did you become the little adult, huh?" Dawn smiled brightly. "Well, technically, I'm older than you, even older than Spike."

Buffy glanced over towards the door and muttered. "I wonder where Spike is with my water. Dawnie, would you go check on him. He's probably smoking in the kitchen." Dawn giggled and ran down the stairs, intent on catching the vampire in the act.

"What couldn't you tell me in front of Spike and Dawn?" Buffy asked, then laughed at the shocked expression on Tara's face.

Tara screwed her face up, not sure how to tell Buffy what she'd found. Probably best to just say it. "I think you're pregnant." There she said it and she was still breathing. Buffy wasn't passed out on the floor. In fact, Buffy resembled a fish at the moment. Her mouth was opening and closing, but no words were coming out. The only outward sign that she'd heard Tara was the fact that she was gripping the sheets so tightly they were close to ripping.
"Wh..what did you?" Buffy shook her head, hoping to clear out the cobwebs. She must still be loopy. That was it. She was imagining things. Tara did not just say she was pregnant. Tara touched Buffy's hand, startling her and snapping her out of her daze. "Buffy," she began, "the divining spell glowed green." At Buffy's blank look, she explained. "Green signifies growth, birth, renewal. Buffy? Buffy?" Tara was getting worried. Buffy wasn't saying anything. She seemed to be in shock.

"I can't be..." Buffy was having a hard time even saying the "P" word. "The only person I've been with is Spike, and last time I checked, he was dead. Ergo, his boys aren't active." The statement would have been funny if the situation wasn't happening to her good friend. Tara bemoaned. The possibility of Spike being able to impregnate Buffy was zero. So what had happened? Buffy started laughing. A high-pitched, crackling laugh which was heard throughout the house, even in the kitchen.

Dawn had raced to kitchen eager to catch Spike doing something that would distract her from Buffy's illness. The sight of Spike leaning heavily against the counter, though, brought her up short. He was staring unseeing out the window. "When Tara came to the crypt to tell me Buffy was sick again, I almost didn't come. Your sis has made it perfectly clear that she doesn't need nor want me in her life." Dawn hugged herself, sad for Spike, and for Buffy. If she only knew what he'd gone through over the summer, she wouldn't hesitate to love him. Spike continued, uncaring if their secret came out or not. "I wanted to be strong, to shut her out of my life and heart, the same way she'd done me, but I couldn't do it." His head dropped to his chest and she could tell he was trying to compose himself. "I live in fear, Dawn. Everyday, I live in fear, that she'll be killed, and there will be no tomorrow for us. No hope that she'll someday realize she needs me as much as I need her." Dawn had run to him and flung her arms around his waist. "We do you need you, Spike. She'll come around. Just don't leave us, okay?" They stood, holding each other, just enjoying having the other's company. Their closeness over the summer returned as they both thought of the woman upstairs who held their hearts in her hand.

Dawn's head shot up at hearing Buffy's strange laughter. "At least, she's not screaming." She said sarcastically.

"Buffy, stop it." Tara begged. "You're going to make yourself sick again." Buffy lifted her tear-stained face to Tara's, her hazel eyes searching for ambiguity, mirth, lies, something other than the honesty reflecting back at her. "This can't be happening. No, you have to be wrong, Tara!" Tara shook her head sadly. Buffy couldn't hold back the tears and cried softly into Mr. Gordo.