Well, it's been a long time coming, but it's finally up! And to every one of you that has stuck with me throughout this story /glomps and refuses to let go/ thank you all soooo much! I can't say enough of how much your encouragement has helped with this:

El-Hazardess the carebear, Victoria Telpicorei, S. Sanchez, Serenade, Strife21, oblivious, Bumblebee-Queen, mizzy_zero, LadyMercury, Michi, SpikezAngel, Quimberly and Lain.

And to the rest of you, enjoy!!

EPILOGUE:

/ It's another beeeeeeaauuuutiful spring day outside, folks! Time to shuck out those heavy winter suits and let's get ready for another day filled with warm sunshine! /

She sipped her iced tea quietly, green eyes staring intently at her companion.

"You look happy."

"I am." Came the soft reply.

"I am glad."

She reached across the small table and placed a reassuring hand upon the other's.

"So, what happens now?"

"I am still amazed at how well you are taking this, Faye."

"Don't be ridiculous, father." She chided softly. "You made a mistake, but a good one." She smiled. "You and mother brought me into this world and for that I am eternally grateful. I couldn't have asked for a better father."

Trembling hands grasped hers. "No, Faye. I should be grateful to you. You have turned out to be far better than I could ever have expected. You make me so proud."

"Hai, papa. So do you."

A happy silence befell the table before she spoke up again.

"And Helena?"

A heavy sigh. "She is still the same…."

"You could always divorce her, papa."

He shook his head and stared out of the window. The sounds of spring filling the bustling streets. People eating outside now, no need to hide indoors anymore. Ah…spring…

"She is a lonely woman, Faye." He replied. "Although she puts up the tough act, beneath it all is a woman who is as insecure as ever. She needs me and I promised to be there for her. Can you understand that, Faye?"

Lowered lashes hid green eyes from the pleading ones before them. "I don't think I could, papa. But if that's what you want, then who am I to stop you?"

A light tap upon the glass window sent both heads spinning around in faint alarm. Pressed against the window like a little child was the writer himself.

Father chuckled as Faye snorted. "Looks like the husband is getting rather impatient."

She laughed lightly. A laughter filled with joy and peace. "Yes. Patience was never one of his virtues."

Turning back to face him, she made the waiting gesture with her hand. 'Be right there', she mouthed out, earning a shrug and a nod in return.

"I will not keep you any longer, Faye. You do have a long journey ahead of you today."

She nodded again and reached for her purse, when the gentle hands stalled her movements.

"No, the meal is on me. I insist. It is rare that we ever get to eat out."

She grinned and got to her feet, walking around the table to place a light kiss on his forehead. "Thank you, so much, papa. I hope you have a good vacation."

"Hai. Give my regards to your mother."

"I will. Goodbye, father."

And with an extra bounce in her step, she walked out of the café and into the waiting arms of her husband.

~&~&~&~&~

The dying rays of the sunset dusted across the landscape creating a wonderful display of shadows and light that darkened the two silent figures.

Suddenly, one of the figures bent down to place the large bouquet of flowers next to the large headstone, her hands brushing against the stone-etched epitaph.

                                                Akiko Masaki

                                     Loving sister and friend

                                                Rest in Peace.

"Akiko…" she whispered hoarsely. "Such a beautiful name. I wish we could have had more time to spend together, mama. I miss you so much."

A strong arm came to rest upon her shoulders, squeezing them lightly in encouragement.

"Little Spike is really growing up fast. You should see him now. He can chew his own toes!"

The green haired man snorted. "Faye, sweetheart, is that the only accomplishment you could think of??"

She got to her feet and grinned brightly, before placing a light kiss on his nose. "You don't really think I am going to tell my mother that he got to call your name first, do you?"

"Jealous?"

"Very."

A sudden lustful cry of neglect caused both to jump apart in guilt. Focusing their attention upon the tiny bundle of joy in the pram, they cooed and 'ooed' and 'aahed' to make him quiet.

"I think he's ready to go home." Spike reasoned, as he lifted his son up to cradle him in his arms.

A light dust of green hair covered the smooth head, as sparkling green eyes shone with pleasure. Tiny fingers clutched around the lean strong finger, as father and son smiled at each other.

And in a cheeky tone, Spike rubbed his nose against the smaller one and crooned softly. "Hey, buddy, why don't you tell mommy that little thing you told me yesterday, hmm?"

"Spike…" Faye admonished teasingly as they made their way towards the waiting car.

"Come on, buddy, say it for dada…come on…"

The baby gurgled and finally sputtered out the word. "Dada."

Father laughed out loud at mother's snort of irritation, before getting a painful jab on his arm.

"Ouch, Faye!! That hurt!!"

"Serves you right. And if you keep up with this, you are sleeping on the couch tonight."

Father and son pouted and stared at each other. "Your mother is a tyrant, buddy. Good luck to ya in your teenage years."

~&~&~&~&~

Sweaty bodies lay cradled to each other beneath tousled sheets, happy satiated and contented sighs, spilling out of moist and warm lips.

She cradled his head against her chest, her hands stroking the stubborn bushy locks in gentle motions. She stared through hooded eyes at the ceiling, wondering how she had come to deserve this much happiness.

Almost a year ago, she had thought that had life and marriage was over. Hopes of bliss with the man she loved a thing of fantasy. And now…now…

~ I am content. ~

She noticed his breathing becoming even and leaning down to place a kiss on his hair, she shifted carefully out of his arms and out of the bed. Not bothering to slip into any clothes, she walked towards the adjacent room that had been converted into a nursery. The nursery they had once thought would never be used. Now filled with everything a baby could ever want, she moved closer to the crib and stared down at the new man in her life.

Getting the news from Spike about the new medical procedure had sent her into a state of fear and anticipation. But with help from the doctors, everything had gone smoothly. Never had she seen Spike so concerned about her welfare. She chuckled lightly at the memory. He had been worse than a mother hen. He had called every minute from work, had been home every evening with her and on the day of the birth, he had passed out in the operation room.

Wrapping her arms around her body, she swallowed down the lump that had risen to her throat. Things couldn't be going any better for them. Spike's new book had been published and had hit number one on the bestseller's list and was still going strong. Vicious and his wife had found a new babysitter and to the gray-haired man's chagrin, his wife had wanted to move to another planet. He had had no other choice and their departure had made national news.

She had finally learnt all about her mother/governess. Had dug up the rare pictures of both of them from their extensive photo collection that had been stored in the attic. Her mother had died of cancer. One that had not been detected…breast cancer. She never had the chance to see her daughter grow up or to see her grandson.

An unwilling tear slid down her cheek and she gasped in surprise as strong arms wrapped themselves around her waist, before the warm brush of a kiss placed on her head caused her to lean back against the solid heat of the man behind her.

"What are you thinking about?" He asked softly.

"Us."

"Hn…and what about us?"

She swallowed and reached around to press him even tighter against her.

"Just that…I almost lost you, Spike and I don't intend for that to happen again. And if it means having to woo you all over and over and over again…then…then, I will. Ai shiteru, Spike…"

"Ai shiteru, Faye-chan." Came the husky reply.

~ Till death do us part. ~

~Owari~