Do What You Have to Do
Two For Joy
As I stare at the boxes lining the room that was the sanctuary for my rather unique journey from childhood to adulthood, I can't help but sigh at the memories that bombard me. There has been so many, not so much in this room as in this house. 1630 Revello Drive. It had once been a home to three beautiful women. Now, as I move on from this place, only one of the original three remains.
I want to stay, really I do, but I know that it is my time to move on, my time to start my own life away from here. I had once, not too many months ago, wanted to leave the Hell Mouth, despite it being closed. It was the principle of it all. But now, although I want to start anew, with my husband to be and the child that is growing inside of me, I know that Sunnydale is the only place for me.
I smile at the thought of my knight, of the man I thought I'd never have. He was there for me through it all, despite my less than loving attitude towards him, he never left. Okay, well, he did, at one time, but he came back and, in the end that's all that matters, isn't it?
I play with the two-carat diamond that rests on my finger. I've never been one for jewelry but the instant he held it up in front of me, asking me to be his wife, well, I knew I'd never take it off. I cried when he asked me, from joy and sadness. I loved him so much--still do, of course--that I had been pondering whether to ask him myself. The fact that he finally did had been like a weight was lifted off my chest (yeah, I know, it's cliché). But I felt so much sadness, as if I didn't deserve him. Of course, my sister almost bopped me on the head for that, saying that who was I to question his love. After all, he was the one who gave me his love and if he thought I deserved it, who was I to argue? Of course her rant didn't take root in my heart until a few days of her berating me in a nice, sisterly way. After a few days of her stubbornly refusing to drop the subject, I finally accepted that she was right. Damn her.
I'm kidding. I remember one thing she had told me, about being the last Scoobie to find happiness and she was right. It had taken nearly four years but Xander and Anya had finally worked things out. They had been dating for two years and everything had been touch and go with the pair, especially when Anya had come clean to him about her one time tryst with Giles right after Willow had tried to destroy the world. Needless to say he had been hurt and had seriously considered breaking up with her. It wasn't until Spike shook some sense into him--quite literally--that Xander had relented and mended the rift between he and Anya. Still, it wasn't until last year and the final fight over the hell mouth that he finally proposed. I don't think any of us will forget him getting down on one knee, his body covered in blood and slime, asking Anya to be his wife. She bowled him over once the words fell from her lips and we all shed a tear for them, happy that the battle was finally over and two of our best friends had finally discovered happiness. Now, the two of them are living in San Francisco--Xander is the partner of one of the biggest construction companies in the state and Anya--well, she's still a vengeance demon but only part time and no longer does she maim and kill. She's found other--creative--ways to assist scorned women. The other part of the time she's playing the stock game and doing rather well. She has ambitions to open her own store sometime in the near future. Those plans will have to be put on hold, however, since yesterday they called us to announce the addition that will be added to their family in eight months. It was a surprise to everyone that she and Xander could procreate, what with her being a demon and all. Luckily, this time around, Xander had fallen for every part of her. In fact, during the wedding ceremony, he had insisted that their final wedding kiss was done with her vein-y face at the forefront--his way of showing her that he loved all of her without reserve. He has stayed true to his word and I know that their child will grow up knowing so much love.
Speaking of children, Willow and Kennedy are doing great. Okay, I know Kennedy is twenty-one now but she had been only seventeen when she and Willow started dating. Of course our red head Wicca didn't know that until a few months later but once we found out, we teased her mercilessly for being a cradle robber. She had been bothered by it at first but in the end she realized that this was a special case. Kennedy was a Potential Slayer after all although we didn't find that out until a month or so before that final battle. She fought so hard by our sides and had been seriously injured in one of the fights leading up to the final fight. After the hell mouth had been closed, Willow didn't leave her side for the month that Kennedy was in the hospital. She had been in and out of consciousness the whole time but finally recovered from her injuries. She still has migraines sometimes that only Willow can soothe but other than that, they are happily living across town--Willow doubling as a computer teacher at Sunnydale High and a freelance computer tech to several Sunnydale businesses. Kennedy just graduated this past summer with a degree in Physical Therapy. She wants to open her own massage therapy office and, with a bit of suave advice from Anya, I know she will get it done.
They are so happy together and have discussed adopting a child. Kennedy even suggested that, if they get an infant, to name the girl Tara. Willow had been so touched by Kennedy's thoughtfulness that I had been worried for a moment that we were going to see a little too much 'cuddling'. I know Willow still misses Tara, we all do, but when Kennedy had said that, Willow fell even more in love with the younger woman.
Giles moved back to England a few weeks after the hell mouth closed and we all had, more or less, accepted his decision. A few months ago, he called, saying that he had a surprise for us and that he would be in the states by November. He won't divulge the nature of this surprise--well, that's not true. Spike and I are the only ones that know and each time the others say something about Giles, we trade those conspiratorial winks of old, satisfied that we share something the others don't.
Yep, the Watcher man is getting hitched. It seems that, after several years of estrangement, he and Olivia have come back together and this time they aren't letting anything get between them. Although I've never met Olivia, I have chatted with her on the phone and I can say that she is definitely the person for Giles.
Speaking of G-men, my thoughts turn to Garrett as I descend the steps. I talked to him the other day. He moved to LA about a year ago, the manage a S&L chain there. He's doing okay, considering that, not six months ago, he found out what happened to Cynthia. She wasn't killed--no, it was worse than that. She was turned by a vamp 'cartel' that had migrated from San Francisco and had had the intelligence to stay away from Angel and his team. After finding out about Cynthia, however, Garrett and Angel had teamed up and eliminated said 'cartel'. That had been a little over four months ago and since then he and Angel have become friends. Gare even hinted that he has his eye on one of AI's newest associates; a woman named Meryl. Just the way he talks about her shows that he's really into the girl. Here's to hoping he gets the happiness he couldn't find in Sunnydale.
As far as people not in Sunnydale, Rachel's supposed to be stopping by for a visit next weekend. She still runs the Blue Song in San Diego and has been dating this guy she used to know awhile ago. They've been dating for the past month and he's coming along with her to meet the family. Spike, who has remained close to her through everything, wants to meet "the wanker that broke my 'Night's heart". I haven't gotten the whole scoop but from what I gathered, Rachel and this Jared guy used to be an item in college. I wonder if they were star-crossed lovers like Spike and…
My lips curve into a smile as I marvel at the scene before me. Lying on the couch, wrapped in a lover's embrace, are the two people I love more than anything: my heroes. Spike has his back against the armrest with one leg dangling off to the side and leaning up against him is Buffy. His arms protectively hold her in place and his hands rest atop Buffy's on her very pregnant stomach. The sun cascades off their platinum wedding bands, an eternal symbol of a love that no one except for a gangly, naïve teen that I used to be, believed that they could find happiness. Of course, that was after I got over my crush on Spike. Well, actually, that's not true since, even with Payton in my life, I will always have that crush on Spike.
Before I met Payton, I was so envious of Buffy and Spike's relationship. I think it was because I was lonely, the only one not to have a significant other in her life. Despite that, I still loved how the three of us--when they weren't boinking each other's brains out--were a family. We did so much together, still do, in fact. I know it sounds childish but I couldn't bear the thought of being away from them; that's the reason I went to UC Sunnydale, to stay close to them. Granted, that allowed me to meet Payton but, even if I hadn't, I would never regret my decision to remain close to my sister and brother-in-law.
I walk further into the room and sit on the coffee table in front of them. They remain still and I smile at the heavenly peace that adorns Spike's face. I am so happy for him, finally getting the woman of his dreams. A tear comes to my eye as I think of the hardships they have been through in the last year or so. A few months before the apocalypse, things had started to get a little tense between the two of them and no one knew what it was. I couldn't get either of them to speak about it and it wasn't until after Spike lay dying on the battlefield that we all found out just what it was.
They had been joined at the hip after Buffy had decided that she wanted him and, for two years they lived a life of bliss, never living together but rarely sleeping without the other. But when Spike had proposed, Buffy freaked and she started to withdraw from him. It wasn't anything big, at least nothing anyone else picked up--well, save for Spike. I don't even think Buffy knew she was doing it. She was so terrified of making that final commitment to Spike, the fear of her past failures filling her mind even though she knew that Spike would never leave her. Knowing that, however, didn't alleviate her fears. Not until he looked to be dying in her arms did Buffy promise that she'd marry him and once her words reached him, Spike had opened his eyes and gave her that cocky grin of his and said "Bout time you came 'round to seeing things my way." We all laughed at that and it wasn't a minute later that Xander proposed to Anya.
Since then, they have been inseparable to the nth degree. Spike moved in about a week after that and they were married three months later. Things are going so well for them. Buffy's moved on from Sunnydale S&L and is now the manager of the Old Navy in town as well as the majority owner of the Magic Box. The latter had been a wedding present to her from Giles and Anya and Buffy had seen to it, well, with my help of course, that the Magic Box was more successful than ever.
Spike is running the Blue Song he had built a few years back. It's not called the Blue Song, though as he went with the more poetic name Soul Savior. It's a tribute to Buffy, whom Spike calls the salvation of his soul. Yeah, it might sound cheesy to some but I don't care; it's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.
"What's with the tears, Niblet?" Spike asks and I stifle a scream at his unexpected query. I wipe my eyes roughly before giving him my patented 'it was nothing' smile.
"And don't say nothing," he whispers and Buffy squirms in his arms before she settles down again. "Did that wanker of a fiancé say something?"
"No, Spike," I say and let out a chuckle. Ever my champion. Spike really does like Payton but, from their first meeting, he had laid down the line for my sweetie, telling him that should he ever hurt me, he would have to answer to the Big Bad. When he left me that one time for about a week, after coming back, Payton was terrified that Spike was going to go William the Bloody on him. But when he had approached Spike without me in tow, he had gained the former vampire's respect even more.
"Then what is it?"
"It's nothing bad," I say and get on my knees in front of the couch. I study my sister's beautiful face and stroke her cheek lightly. "It's just that everything is so good, so perfect."
"Seems unreal, doesn't it?" He says and I nod.
"I feel like I'm going to wake up and be back in that fifteen year old body, running from Glory or going through that summer again." I don't have to say what summer I'm talking about. Even now, Spike flinches at every mention of that dark time when Buffy was dead.
"You think I don't sometimes fear the same thing?" He whispers and his voice is thick with emotion. "You don't think I fear the day that this'll all be gone? I have two of the most beautiful women in the world sitting with me right now, I'm a productive member of society and I'm married to the love of my existence--not to mention that in two short months from now I'll have a son and daughter to raise…"
"Son and daughter?" I ask and can't keep the surprise out of my voice.
Spike looks at me and beams. "Yep." He motions to the envelope at the end of the table. "Got those today. A little girl and little boy."
"Spike," I whisper and kiss him softly on the forehead. "I'm so happy for you guys."
"Thanks, Nibs. Means a lot to me. And big sis, too."
"So, do you have any names yet?"
"William Rupert and Joyce Anne," Buffy's voice chimes in. We both glance down at her as she tries to blink the sleepiness from her eyes.
"Hey, luv," Spike murmurs and kisses her on the top of her head. Buffy reaches back and rubs the back of Spike's neck.
"Hey, Dawnie." She smiles at me and I plant a kiss on her cheek.
"How you feelin'?" I ask.
"Fine. Great actually," she says. "Well, if you discount that I can't fit into any of my clothes, my feet ache constantly, my back feels as if I was beaten by a gang of Fyarls and the fact that the good old doctor of mine suggested that me and my beautiful husband not partake in any extra-curricular activities. Other than that, I'm just peachy."
"On the side of keen," I chuckle.
"That's me," she beams and we giggle like two schoolgirls.
"You'll be all right, Buffy. It's no big. It'll be over before you know it."
"She's right, luv. Everything'll be right as rain." We both stare at him incredulously and Spike ducks his head. "Ignore me, please."
"We will," Buffy says and then turns back to me. "You just wait and see when you're in my shoes, Dawnie. Then come talk to me."
I bite my lip, wanting to tell them about the news but I am afraid of what they might say. I know I'll be married in less than three months but telling Buffy I'm pregnant is a bit on the scary side. And that's not even mentioning what Spike will say or do. Still, I owe them that much, don't I?
"So," I say, studying the pattern on the carpet intently, "I can come whine to you about all of the above in about six months?"
"Well, unless you're six months, I really don't think you have…" Buffy stops as she realizes what I'm hinting at. "Oh my God," she whispers and her eyes fill with tears. For a minute I fee like crap, knowing how disappointed she must be in me and my face must show it because, before I know it, her arms are around me.
"I'm sorry, Buffy. I'm so sorry. We were careful but it just…"
"What are you sorry for?" She asks as her face is shining even more brightly.
"I thought--I thought you were disappointed in me," I confess, "for getting pregnant and not being married."
"Dawnie," she says and takes my face in both her hands, "I'm not disappointed in you. You're not fifteen anymore, sweetie. You're a grown woman whose in love with a terrific guy and is about to be married in three months." She glances down at my still flat stomach. "And your love has created something special, something words cannot even begin to describe. You're starting your own life with your own family and that makes me prouder than anything. How could I ever be disappointed in that?"
"She's right, Nibs," Spike says and I glance over Buffy's shoulder and see that he, too, has tears in his eyes. "We're so proud o' you. All of us. And your Mum would be, too."
"Mom is proud," Buffy corrects. "She's proud of both of us, of what we've done with our lives. I can feel her watching us, her little babies, all grown up."
I clutch Buffy tighter at her words and we both cry at the sadness of not having our Mom here to see us, to see how far we've come. But most of our tears are shed because of where we are headed. We have been through so much and yet here we are, happier than ever, about to start families of our own. It's more than a dream come true. It's like Mom sent down a slice of heaven for us to enjoy until it is our time to be with her.
"No matter how old you are, though," Spike says as he envelops us in his arms, "you will always be my Niblet." The conviction at which he says those words makes me cry even harder and I hold onto both of them as if they are my anchors to this world. To be honest, they have been for the past five years. I can't imagine life without Buffy and Spike and I won't have to. Me and Payton are moving in to a house two streets over, something I have yet to share with these two.
Despite the tears, I smile to myself at our little family powwow. If you would have asked me three years ago if me, Buffy and Spike would be huddled in the living room, crying at the joys this life had given us I would have called you crazy. But now, I can only thank God for the love we share. It is stronger than anything we have ever faced and has been the one thing that has always been there. We may have had times where we hurt each other but the love we felt guided us through the darkness.
Buffy told me once that the First Slayer told her that her strength was love. She told Buffy to do three things. Love. Give. Forgive. And she was so right. That is what this life is about. It is about loving those close to you and giving them your all. It's about forgiving their transgressions as they would forgive you of yours.
In the end, it's not about power. It's about the heart's strength to do those three things. I understand that loving, giving and forgiving is what we are in this world to do. It is only then, realizing that, that we can make this world the place it was meant to be and I know that none of us will give up on that dream of changing the world we live in to become a better place.
It is what we owe to ourselves; to our family and to those we protect. It is about making sacrifices without a second thought and being okay with no one knowing what you gave up to save their world. It is about doing what's right, regardless of what others may reason. But most of all, it is what we owe to our children.
And that in itself, is reason enough.
I thank everyone who stayed on the journey with me. It was hard and uncertain at times but you kept faith in me although I really don't deserve the credit. Spike and Buffy never make it easy for us but they did find their way back to each other; I was just along for the ride.
There are so many people I'd like to thank for their words of encouragement (and, in some cases, threats) that helped me along throughout. This was a difficult fic to right, much more so than the Family Ties series because it was based primarily on emotions and relationships. Sometimes it exhausted me so much to write, that I had to step away, let things cool off a bit before continuing. But every time I came back, you guys and gals were there to cheer them on.
I feel satisfied that this is finished but saddened by it as well. I had such fun delving into the world of Buffy and Spike even though, at times I wanted to strangle both of them. Luckily they made the right choice. Here's hoping that we can see such a happy ending on the show.
I would like to give out a few thanks to some of my faithful reviewers. This is off the top of my head, so if I don't include you, don' t think that your reviews meant any less. Even those who reviewed once, I am grateful for the time you took to read my fic and leave your thoughts. I can't thank you enough.
Daflippney, carosu, suzy, lia, jules Ivmyspikey, Raven (my NYC girl), Josephine Martin (whose second installment of her Magpie series is also titled "Two for Joy"--read this series), Mrs. Muir (thanks for the AOL chats that often got me going in the right direction) and Annastasia (loved the book-like reviews you gave me). I again thank all of you for taking the time out to review and give me your thoughts. Also, those that sent me emails, I thank you as well. I hope you all tune in to my Family Ties/Severed Ties series (for those who haven't) and give me your thoughts on those too.
February 22nd, 2003