Good afternoon, All:)

Well, here it is. The Epilogue to The Evil Within. This chapter occurs four months from the end of the book and ties up a few of the loose threads in the story. It *also* opens up a new one.

That's right. A new one.

The feedback both on this list and on ff.net has been overwhelming. I had an idea for a fifth book, but I didn't really know if I could or even should do it. To be honest, I was deathly afraid that this story had become tedious and that you all were getting bored with my whims.

What I have heard the most is "This is how it should have gone." Not so much in the happy family way, but in the sense that Buffy and Spike could have been brought together without losing the story or without losing angst and drama. I began to write this story for that very reason. To prove it *could* be done. I may *not* be (ok, I know I am not) as talented a writer as those employed by ME, but I do think that if I could have made it work, then they could have as well.

Many people have responded to let me know that the story has given them hope on other levels. That despite all the bad stuff in all of our lives, there is someone who loves us. There are kind people. People who will help. If I did that for even one of you, then I am unendingly happy to write this story.

I wrote it this way because I believe that to be true.

There are happy endings. There is hope. And there are always those who love us.

So, that being said, thank you to all of you who have read this story. Thank you millions of times over for those who write me to tell me what you have liked and what you have not. The feedback makes this story. I know there are a lot of you who have written me, but a few of you write me quite a lot to tell me what you think. So special thanks to Karen, J, Bittn, Fallowdoe, Mary Anne, Cindy, Crystal, Misa, Kristi, LML, Sheri, Sharon, Heather, T, Thia, Rachel, Redd, lise, and dozens others that I do not mean to forget but am getting too misty to remember:) Oh, and to BAPS list moms Alane and Laurie for putting up with my monster posts of fic:)

Special thanks to someone who came out of the woodwork to offer to proof some of my work when I needed it (which I invariable do). So thank you PSUbrat for being a great help to me.

Lastly, and mostly, thank you endlessly, a million times over, to my beta and my friend, Eliz. Without you, none of this would have ever come into being. I would have chickened out after book two and scared everyone with the sheer quantities of typographical errors. To the one that shared Red Bull cocktails and had me saying "He's not an unattractive man" for 72 hours straight (did we sleep?), endless thanks. I am better as a writer for your beta-ing, and better as a person to have known you.

That being said, here is the Epilgoue of Book Four. As I have gotten myself all sentimental, you had better write me and tell me how you feel or I will be in need of a group hug and therapy (if I am not already:)).

Again, many thanks.

*Cheery Vibes*, Nimue

"As sick as it sounds, in my little head, there's a little Sunnydale, and a widdle Buffy, and a widdle Spike, and Spike wubs Buffy." James Marsters 14 July 2002

Oh, and expect Book Five sometime the week of the premier ;)

Title: Girls and Boys (The Evil Within - Epilogue)

Author: Nimue

Rating: PG -13

Pairing Buffy/Spike. Most major characters included.

Feedback: Yes, please

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, Fox... Just Borrowing. (with, of course, the exception of Emma, who belongs to Buffy and Spike)

Summary: Four months later. A covert team of soldiers discover the remains of the shattered ritual of the First. Including one item that they should have never found. Anya informs Giles that she is ready to go back to Sunnydale and face her past. But how will Giles react? Spike is put in what he deems as the most uncomfortable position of them all, but he is rewarded with the revelation of a lifetime.

Girls and Boys

The grass of the manor's manicured yard flattened with the force of compressed air. The tree branches bowed and bent as if pushed down forcibly by the hands of a giant. A roaring whir filled the silent air and a thud followed as the helicopter touched down on the turf.

Three teams of three, all in black, poured out of the gaping black hulls of the beasts. They scattered onto the grass, heads ducked under the whirling blades. They gathered together like warring tribes of hi-tech ants underneath the cover of the wood linee as the flying juggernauts lifted back into the night.

"Captain?" A young soldier breathed as soon as the air was heavy enough to again carry voice.

"Yes, Perez?" The commander answered. His voice was measured, his tone almost kind.

"Not sure why we're on this mission, Sir. I mean no disrespect, but doesn't the Supernatural Investigation Unit have better leads to follow than a four month old hot spot... Sir?" The last word was added almost as an afterthought. Not because Perez did not respect his leader, but because they had grown used to their commander as their confidant as well.

Perez stood stock still at attention, his weapon leaned against his side, resting from hip to chest. He expected an answer.

"Not our job to question orders, Perez," the Captain answered in the same measured voice. "The mission is to clear the manner cave system, contain Draconius in the person of Quentin Travers, and recover any artifacts that may lead us to the location of the Prophesy. To protect and to serve, Unit," he added, with a dashing smile. "Then report back to base. That's all we need to know."

"Yes, Sir," Perez clipped back, clicking his heels together.

"Draconius is said to be one of the most powerful forces in any dimension. If freed from his host, he could inhabit any environment, indefinitely, until a new host is found. Use extreme caution, boys." The Captain eyed his troops carefully. "And ladies," he continued, addressing two smaller, but no less powerful forms in the group. The darker haired woman smiled slyly back at the Captain, almost making the fearless leader blush. The younger, blonde girl snorted in disgust.

"Can we get on with this?" the blonde girl asked, raising her sidearm and aiming at a distant tree.

"We will go when I say we go, Adams," the metered voice responded.

He was quiet a moment, formulating the best course of action. "Perez, Adams, Jackson, take the upper levels. Keep an eye out for the old man. Marshall, Barnes, Palmer, take the northern caves. Robinson and *you*," he continued, pointing at the dark haired woman "Are with me. Any questions?"

The group shook a collective head like brainwashed zombies. "Good luck. Come back alive," the commander concluded. The teams stalked silently into the bushes.

*****

"Rupert?" Her voice was drowsy and rather sultry, he thought, as she rolled over, flopping an arm over his naked chest.

Ask me a year ago if I would be in bed with a girl both half and twenty times my age at once, and I would have laughed, Giles thought. Ask me if I'd be waking up next to a Vengeance Demon and I may have punched you. Ask me if I'd be waking up next to Anya and wanting nothing more than to stay huddled next to her soft, sweet skin, I may have choked.

But a lot happens in a year.

Even more happens in four months.

It had started innocently enough. Giles on the couch. Anya in the bed. Often, they talked most of the night and both ended up sleeping a respectable distance apart next to the fire. Then D'Hoffyrn began to call. And Anya began to work. Not long after, the nightmares started. She'd wake up screaming. Crying. Gasping for air. Sometimes it was the remembrances of past deeds. Sometimes her work. Most often, it was the night in the cave. Cold steel plunging into her heart, night after night after night.

Against every fiber of his being, Giles had suggested that maybe maintaining the soul was not the best course of action. His heart broke at the idea, knowing that the soul was what had truly held her to humanity. She flat out refused. Said there was another way. She'd just have to survive until she found it.

And like every survivor, she did.

Every night that she screamed, Giles was by her side before she even awoke. Comforting her. Letting her cry. Bringing her back from the dead one nightmare at a time. At first, he did it because he owed her. Then because he wanted to help. Then because he loved to see her smile when the horror had passed.

It started with foreheads pressed to one another. Holding each other together despite the hurt. Giles found himself brushing her tears away. Then kissing them from her cheeks. He melted the first time she let her lips brush his, inhaling her breath, her scent. As her small palms held his face and her mouth searched his, Giles realized that there was more to it than compassion or pity or obligation. He could almost feel himself falling, drowning in the woman who was his equal and his friend.

Giles ran from her that night. A gentleman does not take advantage of a woman in so much pain. Even if her skin smelled like raspberries and her beautiful eyes were smoky and heavy with want. Even if her perfect, lithe body was pressed involuntarily against him in the most delightful ways.

A gentleman just didn't, but damned if he didn't want to.

But when she came to him weeks later, happy and alive after spending the day aimlessly walking through the woods and meadows, he didn't refuse. He didn't refuse her kisses. Nor the sweet softness with which she undressed him. Nor the gentle luxury with which she made love to him.

In the cruelest of beginnings, Fate had given him the kindest of chances.

"Yes, my love," Giles answered, rolling on his side to face her. Her hair was a wild tangle across her face, making her look young and free.

"I think I'm ready," she said firmly, brushing the hair from her eyes so she could look at him.

Giles blinked. Ready for what?, he thought. With Anya, it could be anything from breakfast to bingo to babies. "For what, dear?"

"To go home," she answered in the same, confident tone.

Giles blinked again. *That*, he hadn't expected. She had seemed utterly content here. With him. In this life. "Alright," he whispered, sitting up and fetching his glasses from the nightstand. She watched him cautiously, pulling the sheet to her naked chest and sitting up against the pillows.

"I thought you would be happy," Anya said, her brow furrowed in confusion. "To go home and see Buffy and Emma and take over our store again and make large amounts of money..."

"I am happy, " Giles replied unconvincingly, standing and beginning to dress. Face it, he thought, she was through the transition. Used to the idea of being not quite demon and not quite human. Ready to go back to her life. Back to Xander. No need for an old man.

"Rupie?" She questioned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, dear," he muttered, carefully buttoning his shirt. "I'll go make the arrangements."

Anya was silent, watching. It fell together like puzzle pieces. "Rupert," she said, the chirp gone and a softer, more serious tone in her voice. Giles turned from the doorway to face her. "You are really one of the stupidest people I know," she snapped, rising up from the bed.

He would have noticed her anger, her offense, were he not distracted by the fact that she was standing stark naked, her arms crossed over her pretty breasts, bare foot tapping on the cold wooden floor.

"Uh...Uh," Giles stammered, not sure if his composure had been lost in her comment or her bareness. "You'll catch cold."

It was all he could think of to say.

Anya burst into a fit of giggles, running at him and nearly knocking him back through the doorway. He caught her, her hands on her bare hips, her legs wrapped around his waist. "Rupert," she sighed as if scolding a frustrating child. "This isn't temporary. I want to go back *with* you." She unbuttoned his neatly buttoned shirt as she spoke. "I want more of *this*," she continued, kissing him softly. "Just back where we belong. With our friends. This is permanent, you know, and I won't die, so it'll take a lot to get rid of me." She punctuated every word with a kiss and the unfastening of an article of clothing.

She's like a very pleasant, beautiful, little monkey, Giles thought as she executed a perfect back bend and pulled his dress pants to his ankles.

"And I'll never get wrinkly or saggy," Anya chirped as Giles backed her towards the bed.

"Well, that is an advantage," Giles replied. "Not that I care much about that."

Anya was still. This she actually believed. This was the difference.

A quiet settled over them. Giles broke. "Anya, what about Xander?" He sat gently on the bed, her body still tangled around his. She stayed in his lap, arms draped over his shoulders, thinking.

"He never really loved me," she said frankly. "And I don't think he ever would."

Giles stared at her a moment. "Anya, I don't want you to settle for me."

"Do you love me, Rupert?" She asked. Her face, her eyes, were more naked than her body.

His hand traveled to her face, delicately tracing her jaw. "Yes, Anya."

"I never settled," she whispered. " I was just waiting for Mr. Right." She was silent, watching the relief in his face. "Maybe we should wait a little longer before going back."

*****

"Captain?" A male voice sounded from a corner of the cavern.

"What is it, Robinson?" The commander asked, striding to his subordinate's position.

Robinson raised a small wooden puzzle box, dusting it with black- gloved hands. It looked ancient. Older than time. "What is it, Sir?" The soldier asked. The dark haired female came over and peered almost intimately over her superior's shoulder.

"Box of Oraclese," the woman said frankly, a tone of pride in her voice.

The Captain turned, his gaze settling on the girl. "Very good, soldier," he said, wanting to pat her on the rump but honour and integrity controlling his urges.

"What does it do?" Robinson asked.

"Nothing at the moment. Just a box from legends. It's supposed to be able to contain demons and spirits," the commander answered, rolling the box in one broad palm.

"How do you know it's empty, Sir?" Robinson questioned, eyeing the wood with suspicion.

"Because it held Draconius last, and we know he's in possession of Travers," the Captain answered.

"You couldn't open it anyway," the female soldier teased. "You suck at puzzles."

"Is that a challenge, soldier?" The Captain asked, eyes close to undressing the girl. His eyebrows raised in anticipation. She snorted indignantly as his hands began to spin through the maze.

"You *sure* that thing is empty, sir?" Robinson asked, absently backing away.

"Stand down, soldier. Just legend," the Captain responded, hands deftly working the puzzle.

"What happens if it's not?" Robinson asked the woman.

"Myth has it that the spirit jumps from the box and enters the nearest host," she answered. Robinson backed further away, the hairs on the back of his neck standing at attention. "*Myth*," she toyed, watching his discomfort grow.

The box opened with a pop and hiss of air. The Captain sighed, satisfied. Nothing happened. Robinson's shoulders relaxed visibly. "See? Legen...:"

The commander's words were cut short by an explosion of blinding, white light. It arced from the box like electricity, piercing the commanding officer's eyes. Robinson's gun clattered to the floor as he fled back through the entryway. The woman screamed. The Captain seized, electricity jolting though his body in waves. The light suddenly stopped and the Captain fell to his knees.

"Oh... *God*... are you alright," the female soldier asked, dropping down next to him, all semblance of chain of command gone. Her lover choked and gasped in front of her. "Are you OK?" She repeated, shaking his shoulders, her voice wavering.

The Captain was still for a moment, and then turned empty, black eyes on his mate. "I'm fine," he answered, smiling. The gesture was empty. Hollow.

"Wh..what happened?" She whispered, pushing hair from his face.

He clenched and unclenched his fists, feeling the power surge through him. "Nothing, my love," he answered, his voice thick Different.

"We.. we should abort, Let the med unit take a look at you," the girl stuttered, helping him to his feet.

"Why?" He asked, wobbling at first, then regaining his balance. "I've never been better."

"C'mon," she pleaded, tugging at his kevlar vest. "We need to get orders."

"I *have* orders," the Captain answered in the same, hollow tone. "Find Peace. Search and Destroy."

*****

Spike slumped in the chair in the sterile, pale green waiting room. His feet shuffled, his body shifting positions every few seconds. Horrible. There was no greater torture than hospital waiting rooms. Glory has been nothing compared to sterile, pale green walls.

"Are you going to tell me what's wrong, or am I going to have to sit here watching all these people staring at the pale fish out of water guy against the wall?" Buffy asked, tossing her magazine to a side table.

"Don't know why we need to be here," Spike grumbled.

"Um... baby," She answered, turning herself in her seat to face him. Even five months pregnant she looked tiny in the wide chair.

"I *know* that, Pet," he conceded, giving the swell in her belly a quick, gentle pat. "But why do we need to be *here*?"

"Not liking of the hospitals?" She asked, crinkling her nose.

"No," he answered simply, in that upper class tone he only took with her or one of the Watchers.

"It's a check up," Buffy said softly, her fingers playing in his.

"Love, I can *hear* the baby. Vampire, remember? I assure you, she's fine," Spike continued, arms crossing over his chest indignantly.

"She?" Buffy grinned, batting her eyelashes at Spike.

"C'mon, Pet. Only be Fate that there'd be another Summers girl to come long and lead old Spike round the bend. Wrap me around another pretty little finger," he whined, pulling his arms tighter against his chest.

"Oh, give it a rest," Buffy replied, rolling her eyes. "You love it."

"When you behave," Spike shot back.

"Funny, seems we're *here* because I didn't," she hmmph'd, crossing her arms. "Didn't seem to mind then."

"Buffy," Spike sighed.

"Just suck it up, Big Bad," she snapped.

"Buffy," he uttered again, realizing that she was now actually quite ticked. Moody bint, he thought, frustration getting the better of him. "I just don't understand why we're here this time. I mean, we never did this with Emma."

Buffy glared at him, her eyes changing like storm clouds passing across the sky. "You weren't *here*," Buffy snarled. Immediately as the last word oozed from her lips, tears filled her eyes.

Bloody *hell*, he thought. Now the tears. Lucked out the first go round.

The look of sheer sadness filled her eyes. No matter how annoyed he was with her, that was the *one* thing he couldn't bear. Emotional terror or not, she was his and he loved her and it was his job to make her happy.

Some days were just easier than others.

Slowly, he wrapped his arm around Buffy's shoulders, pulling her head against him. "S'alright, Pet. Didn't mean to get you all soggy." Buffy giggled as he wiped tears from her cheeks. "Just not much at the whole hospital experience and a little confused as to the change in approach, is all. But," Spike sighed, resigned. "If my beautiful girl needs to be here, then here we are."

"Thank you," she sniffled. "And there *is* a reason."

A nurse came to the doorway. "Buffy Windsor?" Her voice was kind. Gentle. Used to dealing with emotional women, Spike thought. Buffy hopped up, turning towards Spike and extending her hand.

Spike froze, visions of ancient torture devices, curved metal, horrible, prodding instruments, dancing behind his eyes. "Uh, Buffy," Spike sputtered. "I'll wait here with the rest of the blokes."

"Would you come on?" Buffy whined, shaking her outstretched hand.

"Buffy, I'm likely to go all fangy - grr, if I see that..." Spike stuttered, his eyes pleading to let him stay in the nice sterile, pale, green waiting room.

"Eeeewwww," Buffy responded, squinching her face. "Nothing like that."

"Buffy," he whined once more. Last ditch effort.

"Now!" she snapped, turning on a heel and following the nurse.

*****

Spike paced around the back of the darkened room, patting his coat pockets for a cigarette. Hadn't smoked in years now, but the habit of looking for them hadn't changed. His tact with his Slayer had changed from defiance to pleading.

"Buffy, I shouldn't be here," he uttered, nervously.

"Relax, already," she answered from the table. She was still dressed in sweats and a t-shirt. Couldn't even tell she was pregnant in those clothes. Guess that's how she wants it, Spike thought. Couldn't understand that. To him, she was just as sexy and even more beautiful with that pretty swell of a tummy that he put there. Up to him, she should walk around naked all day. Well, at least round him.

The strange deluge of R-rated Buffy thoughts distracted him until two women walked through the door. One he recognized as Takina. As soon as he saw the artificial light in the hall, he bolted for the door.

"Stop him," Buffy sighed. Takina put out one hand, planting it firmly in his chest.

"Stay," the doctor scolded, slyly smiling at the Vampire. He smirked at her, but backed up against the wall, outnumbered by estrogen.

Story of my life, Spike thought.

Takina moved to address Buffy. "As you plan on delivering at home again, and as the child is of a ... supernatural... parentage, I will stay with the obstetrician. When the time comes, I will be there to deliver the child."

Buffy nodded, watching Takina as the other doctor shook a bottle then squirted blue goo all over her belly. Spike winced, watching her flinch at the cold, but he could feel that she was calm and hear the rain like beat of her heart interspersed with the barely audible patter of the child's. He closed his eyes, listening. Tuning out everything but the beautiful music of heartbeats.

"You might want to see this," Takina whispered. She had made it all the way to his ear without him taking notice. Her lips were centimeters from the side of his face. Spike jumped, eyes opening wide.

"What?" Spike asked.

Takina pointed at a monitor. Spike glanced at it, then over at Buffy. She was still mostly dressed, lying there as the other doctor moved the paddle over her. "Go," Takina said softly.

Spike walked forward, genuinely curious, and stood next to Buffy. She was crying softly. He put his hand on her head, pulling it against his hip and twining her hair around her fingers. Takina moved next to the monitor. Spike tried to focus, but wasn't seeing much.

Then it fluttered. Came into focus. Like one of those paintings that make sense only when looked at the right way.

"My God," he gasped, making Buffy chuckle.

"Wonders of modern technology," she said, tears still streaming down her cheeks. He understood, for once. He was getting a little misty himself.

"Do you want to know?" Takina asked, looking at Buffy.

"Can you tell?" Buffy asked.

"With this one," Takina laughed.

"What... what's wrong?" Spike questioned, lost.

Buffy looked over at him. He was staring wide-eyed, fascinated by the tiny, fluttering picture. She smiled. "Nothing's wrong. She wants to know if we want to know the sex."

Spike looked down at her, brushing pretty blonde hair from her cheeks. "Up to you, Pet."

Buffy turned back to Takina, looking thoughtfully at the screen. Finally, she nodded.

*****

They laid quietly in their bed, the late afternoon sunlight bathing the room in a golden glow. Buffy lay on her side, Spike spooned behind her, one hand under his head, the other protectively around her waist.

"You still mad about me dragging you to the hospital?" Buffy asked, pushing in closer.

Softly, he kissed her neck. "No, Pet."

"I wanted to see. I wanted you to see," she whispered. "I wanted..."

"You were right, Love. I'm glad you made me stay," Spike interrupted, his lips wandering over her bare shoulders. "Amazing."

Buffy smiled. "Pretty neat, hunh?"

He answered with a kiss to the nape of her neck that made her entire body shiver. She hummed, backing closer to him under the sheet. "So what do you think?" She asked.

"About?" he asked, planting more kisses along the back of her shoulders.

"Everything," she sighed, distracted by his breath on her neck.

"I think you're beautiful," Spike whispered, his nose nuzzling the shell of her earlobe.

"I'm getting fat," Buffy said quietly. She meant it. Not this, he thought, rolling her onto her back and pulling the sheet from her naked form.

"No," Spike said, his voice lowering, becoming husky. "You are more beautiful now than ever."

"I'm bigger this time," she whispered, shyly.

"Buffy," he sighed, kissing her nose. "You're still half the size of most of the women who are *not* in a family way in this world. Not to mention that you are amazingly sexy," he continued, planting beautifully placed kisses along her collar bones. "And beyond all of *that*," he went on, leaning down to kiss her belly, "That is my son. He should be bigger. He's no poof."

Buffy giggled as he kissed every square inch of her naked stomach, then worked his way back to her lips. "You really think I am pretty?"

"I think you *know* the answer to that," Spike purred in a husky, breathless voice, pressing close to her. Her body melted under his lips. His hand stayed planted on her belly. "What do you want to name our son?" He asked, pride filling him.

"You're liking of the boy-child," Buffy quipped, wrapping her hand over his.

"Can't help it," he said. "Little me runnin round the place. Kind of endearing, innit?"

Buffy shuddered. "Yikes!"

"What?" Spike gasped in mock offense.

"Two yous?" Buffy complained, crinkling her nose.

"Problem with that, Pet?" He asked, hiding a smile.

"No," she giggled in response. "But we might want to start saving bail money."

Spike stopped his wandering kisses, gasping at her in feigned horror. "Well, if *that*'s what you think," he complained, rolling away. She grabbed his wrist, pulling him back to her. Spike fell back against her warm body willingly.

"William," Buffy finally answered, pulling his hand back to the baby with hers.

Spike blinked up at her. "You sure?"

"Just... I dunno... feels right," Buffy replied, shrugging.

"William," he repeated. "My son William. Maybe it'll suit him better than it did me."

"I don't know," Buffy said, turning her eyes toward Spike and catching him in her gaze. "I think it suits you too."

Spike swallowed. "I'm no poof. I'm not that sodding poet..."

Buffy stopped his rant with a bruising kiss. He immediately melted into her, forgetting the ramble. "I love you, Spike. You know that. All of you," Buffy whispered, breathy as she came up for air.

"And I'm hopelessly in love with you," Spike sighed.

"Hopelessly?" She questioned, smiling.

"Always," Spike answered, pulling her tighter against him.

"Every day?" Buffy asked, staring up into endless, perfect blue eyes.

"Every day," Spike repeated, his mouth pressing, once again, to hers.

Fin