Rupert stared at Sophie with shock and sat down automatically. His shock was plain to see. She smiled and waited for the questions to begin. There was no way he would just be happy about this turn of events.

"Your quite sure?" Rupert pulled his glasses out of his pocket and began cleaning them.

"Spike can hear the heart beat. I can't differentiate it from all my other bodily noises. I didn't realize how noisy I was until I tried." Sophie leaned back against the headboard of their bed. "I don't think Spike is wrong. My heart never stops beating and I crave actual food now, lots of it."

"A child." Rupert breathed out the words and settled next to her on the bed. "I had abandoned thoughts of a family. Buffy is the child of my heart."

"No child will ever replace your Slayer, Rupert." Sophie touched his cheek. "But this child will find its own place in your heart. You have a huge capacity to love."

"The Council will be a problem." Rupert stood up again and started to pace the length of their bedroom again. "We need to be prepared."

"We have time and a war to finish. One battle at a time, please?" Sophie watched him as he nodded. "Come to bed."

Rupert's eyes flashed, and he moved toward her quickly. She giggled as he bounced onto the bed and feathered kisses along her face. He pulled back and stared down into her eyes with such love.

"You amaze me, Sophie." He pushed her shirt up and pulled the garment over her head.


"Don't look for the cup, Daddy." Drusilla clutched at Angelus. "Spike is in the cup. He's waiting for it to spill."

"I'm not looking for a cup." Angelus rolled his eyes. "A vamp killed Spike. I want that vamp on our team."

"Spike isn't dust. He's floating around us." Drusilla waved her hands in frantic circles.

"I thought he was in a cup waiting for us." Angelus patted her hand. He needed to have some children brought in. She always made more sense after she fed off the truly innocent, and he could avoid another tea party. "I'll send the minions out for a nice treat for you. Would you like to have a little girl for tea?"

"Oh, yes, please." Drusilla clapped her hand. "I can braid her hair and put lovely ribbons in it. I must prepare. Tea is always so lovely. I can use set good china to make it special."

Angelus grinned and watched Drusilla skip away, singing about the King of Cups. She really was amusing. He stroked his hand along the silk of his shirt, enjoying the slide of the fabric against his skin. Her latest upstart would be needing another visit soon. Perhaps he should introduce the boy to the joys of electricity.


Buffy stared at Spike. Her mouth opened and closed in an adorable imitation of a guppy. One freshly manicured hand inched its way over her abdomen and splayed there. She blinked, and Spike stared back at her.

"You are a vampire. I know that some things have changed but you can't be undead, right?" She chewed on her bottom lip and he raised his eyebrow. "Un undead. You know what I mean. You can't be realive."

"Realive?" Spike smirked. "I think you need a thesaurus, Love."

"Only to beat you with." Buffy smiled and narrowed her eyes. "Excuse me if I'm not looking to be pregnant at seventeen. I want to finish school, go to prom. I want some regular stuff. I want movies and hand holding. I want this war over, so we can spend time just being us before us means more than two. I never expected it to be more than two. A baby? There could be a baby growing in me? Angelus could kill our baby."

"You're not pregnant, Buffy. At least I don't think you are." Spike pulled her into his arms and let her soak his shirt with her tears. "Your scent hasn't changed and there's no extra heartbeat."

"What if I can't get pregnant, Spike?" Buffy clutched at him like the end was nigh. "What if I can't carry your baby? We have sex all the time, and we've never been careful. I should be pregnant, shouldn't I?"

Spike considered his options. Buffy was whirling from one extreme to the next far too quickly. Her agile mind was confronting scenarios he hadn't even considered.

"Does it matter?" Spike stroked a hand down her spine. "I love you. I will love you barren or redolent with life. If a baby comes along, I will love it. If ten babies come along, I will love them all."

"If ten babies come along, you'd better find a way for a male vampire to carry his own damn babies." Buffy grumbled. "We're gonna need birth control."

"Not now." Spike pressed Buffy down into the pillows. "I know several things we can do that can't possibly get you pregnant."

"Of course you do." Buffy giggled and flipped them over.


Joyce opened the letter Marcus had left her. She'd been avoiding it. He had propped it on the dresser and smiled at her, a promise to return falling easily from his lips. It seemed so normal, but nothing was normal now. Men didn't always keep their word, and fthe could be cruel.

Marcus had come to find her, to be redeemed for her. He hadn't come to fight. He wasn't like Buffy and Spike. They seemed happiest when there was a fight to be had.

She should have left with him. Buffy didn't really need her anymore. Spike and Iles seemed to handle Buffy with more understanding than she ever had.

Joyce took a deep breath and buried herself in her lover's words.