Buffy wanted to be the first person down the stairs, but wanting and doing were two completely different concepts when you were nine months pregnant. Once she made it to the first landing, desperately gulping for air, she was pretty sure that if anything was going to kick start her labor, this was going to be it.
At least Cas hadn't abandoned her. Not that she blamed the others for doing so. Getting to Dean was the priority and it would take all night if everyone was forced to move at her pace. Besides, Cas was mostly just guarding her because he knew it was what Dean would want him to do, not that she was complaining about that either. She still had all of her Slayer strength, but over the past month her agility and speed had taken a severe hit. She would never actually admit it out loud, but coming on this raid probably wasn't her smartest move, and yet she'd still do it again in a heartbeat.
Up ahead she heard a few growls and warning yells of 'Slayers, Slayers… oh shit!' She never got tired of that one. One lone vamp somehow slipped through the throng and despite her no third trimester slaying vow, Buffy couldn't resist staking him. Mostly because he pretty much ran right into her stake. She didn't even have to try.
By the time they finally made it to the dungeon the dust had basically settled - literally. Although there were still a few lingering clouds. The only one left alive was Drusilla, who was chained to the wall by her wrists and babbling nonsensically. Buffy sensed some payback in that scenario, but the bonus for her was that it would make staking her so much easier. She was in no condition to engage in a fair fight with Drusilla and she wasn't real concerned about playing fair either. But staking crazy old Dru wasn't exactly on the top of her priority list right now. Her priority was leaning against his brother, looking battered, bruised, and most definitely pissed. She was certain her presence was the source of his anger, which was fine. If he was pissed, then he must be halfway okay.
"Shut up," she said as she reached out and gingerly touched his chest, examining the crisscrossing of shallow cuts. He looked like a cutting board. "Look at you!" she gasped. "What did she do?"
Dean grinned, which somehow managed to be cute beneath all the blood and bruising. "She just wanted a taste of this, can you blame her?"
"Well this was completely unnecessary," she remarked as she ran her fingers over the huge bruise across his cheekbone. "I'm guessing she did this too. And you know how furious I get when something messes with your face."
She noticed that Dean hesitated a moment before answering with, "Nah… that was just some other annoying fake-vamp. Guess dude's dust now."
Spike piped up from over near Dru. "And some other annoying bastard stabbed me right in the gut."
Buffy looked over at Spike and frowned sympathetically. "Sorry Spike. I really should kick your ass for not telling us where you were headed, but guess this wasn't much fun for you either. Thanks for trying. I owe you one."
"Yeah, you're welcome," he grumbled.
Buffy turned back to Dean and leaned gently into the side that wasn't propped up by Sam. "I was so worried," she said as she stood up on her tiptoes to kiss him. To her surprise, he flinched away from her. "Jeez, touchy much? There's no point in being all cranky, because you know there was no way I was sitting this one out."
"So? I'm still pretty pissed… and yeah, not surprised. Buffy you're THE LAST person that needs to be here! I can't believe you. That nutbag was–" He stopped, obviously realizing it made absolutely no difference what he said anyway. "Just trust me, you don't want to kiss me. I need to brush my teeth and rinse my mouth out with bleach first."
Buffy wrinkled her brow and stuck out her lower lip in sympathy. "Head injury?"
"Oh yeah. Lights out twice in one day. It was awesome. Then Elvira decided to play tonsil hockey with me, which was just plain disturbing. I'll never be the same."
Buffy gave Dean one light squeeze and then turned toward Drusilla with a vengeance, stake raised high. "Guess what crazy lady? You're not getting out of this one. Mr. Pointy here will make sure you never molest my husband again."
"William," Drusilla said sweetly. "You wouldn't let that horrid girl stake your black goddess, would you?"
Spike stroked her hair and frowned. "Sorry, pet. You're evil. Can't be having you runnin' about maiming and killing and whatnot. I will miss you."
Buffy actually felt sorry for Spike. He was nothing if not loyal, but he was also right. She was evil and she should have been dust years ago.
Castiel was apparently still on guard duty, because he dogged her steps the whole ten feet to where Drusilla was chained, but Buffy swallowed her annoyance at that. She wasn't going to let anyone harsh her enjoyment of this moment. Then he leaned in and whispered in her ear and her moment was officially harshed.
"You are in the first stage of labor."
"Ewww! I do not want to know how you even know that," she hissed back in a whisper. "Just keep it to yourself."
As the pair of them drew closer, Drusilla gasped in horror. "He's the one. Thursday's angel's come to take me back to the nunnery! Don't let him do it, Spike," she pleaded. "The nuns will set me in a corner. I can't bear it there, flowers never grow."
"Very true," Spike agreed reflexively as he examined Cas, who was staring at Drusilla in wonder. "So what's your story, mate? You've got the gelled hair of angst and the broody glare bit goin'. I'm assuming you're a big Angel fan."
Cas regarded Spike with a creased brow. He was clearly confused. "Some of my brethren are difficult, but yes, I suppose 'fan' is a fair choice of words."
"How 'bout that? Someone actually makes less sense than Dru. Huh."
"He's an actual angel, Spike. You know halos and fluttery wings and all that stuff," Buffy snapped a bit irritably. She'd heard enough witty male banter for one day, and then there was the small fact that she was (according to Cas) now officially in the early stages of labor. There was no time for stalling, she needed to stake Dru and get out of here.
"Wait," Castiel said urgently. "You cannot kill her."
"I what now?"
"There is a prophecy concerning a vampire with a broken mind, one who was once a true child of my father. Taken on the night she took her vows. She is destined—"
"Oh give me a friggin break!" Dean thundered. "I don't give a crap if she's destined to be the next American Idol! Are all the fake-vamps part of some bullshit prophecy these days? Buffy, just ignore him. Stake her."
"Oh you better believe it," she agreed as she brought the stake down, but she only connected with the empty wall where Dru once stood. No poof of dust or anything. "What just happened?" she whined in frustration.
"Yeah," Dean joined in. "What the hell? Cas is gone too."
"This makes no sense! I'm so gonna kill Cas when he…" That was as far as Buffy got before she was interrupted by an odd twinge. It wasn't exactly painful. It was just indescribable. She felt some wetness and stared down in horror as fluid gushed from between her legs and pooled on the floor…. while the entire world watched, of course. Why was the universe so determined to humiliate her on a regular basis? One look at Dean showed that he was just as horrified. At least that was something.
"Baby, don't take this the wrong way, but please tell me you just peed yourself."
Buffy stared at him for a beat. "Peed myself! Are you serious? Why? Just, why?"
"Well, look at me. Nobody's going to let me anywhere near a delivery room right now, so I was hoping maybe it was just all the excitement or something. Little dogs do it all the time, and you do have to pee a lot lately…."
Dean shrugged sheepishly and tried his most innocent grin. "It was just a theory. Little dogs are awful damn cute. You know, the chick kind. The ones with the tiny bows in their hair."
Buffy was going to kill him for that one, but a massive contraction bent her over double before she could try. "Oh God. Somebody please say we overlooked the elevator on the way down here?"
Angel stepped forward, put his arm around her, and started to scoop her up in his arms. "It's okay, Buffy. I'll get you out of here."
"Hell no!" Dean snapped. "Don't even think about it. I'll do it."
Angel rolled his eyes. "Look man, I get it. You don't like me and honestly, so far I'm not real impressed with you. But you're going to have a tough time getting yourself out of here as it is. Can we just set this aside and take care of Buffy?"
Dean gritted his teeth and glared at Angel for a long moment. Buffy knew he was battling with himself and she really didn't want him to miss out on any part of the delivery, but unfortunately the baby wasn't going to wait for him to get his strength back. "Dean, honey-," she began gently, but he cut her off before she could finish.
"Son of a bitch," he cursed in frustration before looking up. "Cas! Dammit! Why didn't you fix me before you decided to elope with Sybil?"
Castiel appeared immediately and touched a very stunned Dean on the forehead, healing him instantly. "I intended to come back and heal you, but I had to ensure the vampire's escape first," he said flatly.
Dean looked down at his healed chest happily for a moment before Castiel's words had a chance to sink in. "Escape? You helped her escape? Man, I was hoping you were giving that bitch a ride on the Angel Express to hell. What did you do with her?"
Castiel shrugged unapologetically. "She's in New Jersey."
"Close enough to hell," Spike remarked with a nod. "Dru hates Jersey."
Buffy noted more than a hint of glee in Spike's tone. Once again his nutso ex had managed to squeak out of another one. What were the odds? Damn, it was so frustrating. Even if she couldn't actually hurt Cas, she was going to give him the bitching out of his life - after she got this baby out of her, of course. "Sweetie can we go to the hospital now and yell at Cas later?"
"Yeah," he agreed. "New Jersey? Seriously?" he continued to grumble as he swung Buffy up in his arms. "If that freaky bitch ever messes with us again, I'll find a way to kick your ass." He continued to glare at the angel for a moment before shaking his head in exasperation. "Well, at least you gave me minty fresh breath." He made a point to demonstrate by kissing Buffy and then grinning smugly at Angel and Spike. Once he'd taken a moment to gloat, he spun around and started to take off up the stairs.
"Hold on one second," Buffy said before turning back towards Angel. "Did you get that pendant back?"
He pulled it out of his coat pocket and held it up. "Yes, of course."
"Can I see it, please?" she asked sweetly.
Angel handed it over reluctantly, Buffy could tell he was suspicious. And he should be, because she immediately threw it at the stone wall using every ounce of her strength. The stone shattered on contact. "Oops."
"Buffy… I… you…" he stammered. "I paid a lot of money for that thing!"
"Yeah, well, too bad.
Dean beamed. He obviously approved. "Alrighty then. Let's move, cause I sure as hell can't deliver a baby."
"I sure as hell don't want you to," Buffy agreed as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "Remember, in the delivery room there's gonna be a sheet. No peaking beyond the sheet. It's the great barrier. Got it?"
Buffy smiled at Dean as he gingerly stroked the back of their daughter with one finger while she lay snoozing on her mother's chest. "It's okay. You won't break her," she said quietly.
"I dunno, she's awful tiny. I don't remember Sammy ever being this little. You sure that's normal?"
"She weighs six pounds, two ounces and that's totally normal. A little on the small end, maybe, but still completely fine. The doctor has declared her perfect and I for one am completely on board with that."
"Yeah true, but she is bald. Which is kinda cool actually. Not many dudes are into the Sinead O'Conner look. It'll make my job a lot easier."
"She does too have hair! It's just hard to see cuz it's so blond. Besides, Dawn was totally bald and look at the head of hair that girl has now." Buffy reached down and petted the little peach fuzz covered head. It was so warm and soft, and it seriously made her want to squeeze her really hard, but one look at Dean's casted hand was all it took to control that urge. She'd sort of crushed a few of his bones during the worst part of her labor and, to make matters worse, he didn't even mention it until it was all over with. Needless to say, she felt like the most horrible person ever.
"I'm so sorry about your hand. I was having a bad moment."
"Not a big deal," he shrugged and then gave her one of those smiles that made him look like he was a little boy instead of a grown man in his early thirties. "I got a nice shot of morphine out of it. I'm not sure if they normally give those in the ass, but I think the nurse had a thing for me. She was really smokin' hot too."
"Yeah, I'm adorable," he agreed. "But you, sister, you are no lady," he teased. "I didn't even know you knew some of those words. I barely even know some of those words."
"Yeah right. I'm sure you were shocked and offended."
"I was. Our poor kid's gonna be a little potty mouth. She'll probably get bounced out of every kindergarten in the city."
That was probably and sadly going to be true, but Buffy was also damn sure her cursing wouldn't have anything to do with it. Nope, it certainly wouldn't be her. Dean was the foul mouthed one.
You still cool with the name?" he asked, his expression more serious. "I mean, I know it's not hip or anything…"
"I think it's perfect. Mary Joyce Winchester is a beautiful name… Obviously not as cool as something cutting-edge like 'Brittney Rihanna Winchester' or maybe 'Miley Montana Cyrus Winchester', but I can totally live with it."
He leaned in carefully and kissed her. "You're awesome."
Buffy watched her husband for a long minute. He was clearly fascinated with the baby, barely blinking as he watched her sleeping, despite the dark circles under his eyes. It had been a long day and they were both exhausted. Crazy vampire drama followed by fifteen hours of labor was enough to take it out of anybody. If they ever did this again, she was moving to a desert island for the duration of her pregnancy and she was definitely going for the epidural. No question about that. Who cared if she was the Slayer, having a baby was a whole new level of pain. The first person to judge her would get the honor of picking up their own teeth.
"You know… Spike and Angel really want to see her before they go back to L.A.," she remarked uncertainly. "I swear they won't try to eat her or anything. They just want to see all this prettiness too. You can't blame them. It is overwhelming."
"Fine," Dean said, surprising her by the way he gave in without an argument. "But they'll have to wait until tomorrow. I've shared you with the fake-vamps enough for one day. Besides, the hot little nurse that wants my body is supposed to be bringing me a rollaway bed. I need my beauty rest."
Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, a short, plump little nurse, who appeared to be in her early sixties, entered the room with a rollaway cot and made a show of fussing over the poor, exhausted new daddy with the mysteriously injured hand. She barely even glanced at the poor exhausted mommy, but Buffy decided that Dean was right; she was kind of cute.
"Tomorrow it is," she agreed.
A/N: Yes, Drusilla deserves to die but I couldn't bring myself to kill her. She's too amusing.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this little fic. I hope it was at least fun. RL is too crazy for me to write another epic right now, but wanted to force Dean to deal with the undead exes… and force the undead exes to deal with him.