Title: Murphy's Law

Rated: PG-13

Summary: Buffy and Spike are back in Sunnydale.  Now how will the gang take the news of their little adventure?

Disclaimer: I own nothing.  Joss, UPN, and WB own everything.  Please don't sue me.

Special Thanks: My three lovely beta reader, Jennifer, Haley, and Karen.  Let's all thank them for improving my language skills, shall we.  Thank you!

AN:  This is the interlude between Part 1 and Part 2 because I just couldn't figure out exactly where to put it.  Also, this is more drama/angst then anything, so don't expect any physical fights.  Still, enjoy.

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Part 1: Homecoming

"Now, remember, give her her bottle at least thirty minutes before you put her down," Anya said as Xander pulled her towards the door.

Joyce was gently rocking the sleeping baby girl in her arms as she watched the couple.  They reminded her of when she first had Buffy and she left her alone for the first time with her mother-in-law.  She had spent the entire evening worrying whether or not she was alright, and couldn't even enjoy the nice dinner that Hank had planned for them.  Xander seem to be having a similar problem with making Anya leave.

"Oh, and make sure it's heated up properly.  If it's not, she won't eat it," the ex-demon said, a little closer to the door.

"Alright, Anya," the middle aged woman said following them.

"Come on, Ahn.  If we don't hurry, we'll lose our reservation."

"This is concerning our child's welfare, Alexander LaVelle Harris!" she spat at him angrily.  "I would think you would be more concerned."

He let his head drop out of frustration and then looked to the Scoobies' surrogate mother for help.

"Anya," she said in her kindest voice, "everything will be fine.  I'll feed Jessie, and put her to bed just like you wrote down.  I swear."

Anya still didn't look satisfied by the assurance, but sighed.  She wanted a night off, just like Xander.  They had been so worried when Jessie was born two months early, all the Scoobies had, and the woman had practically taken every precaution known to man to keep the small child safe and healthy once she got home.  Now, five months later, the child was okay, but the ex-demon still worried profusely about her.  After all, one never knew when you lived on the Hellmouth.

Anya stepped towards Joyce, bent down, and gave the sleeping baby a kiss on the forehead.


"Mommy loves you," she said soothingly as if the child was being fussy instead of out like a light, "even if Daddy doesn't."

Xander rolled his eyes, and Anya finally joined him on the porch.  Yeah.  It was going to be a long night.

"Thanks again for babysitting, Joyce," he said, as the two headed slowly down the front steps.

"No problem," she answered, still in the doorway.  "Have fun you two."

"Little chance of that," Xander muttered, heading for his truck.

Joyce shook her head and went back into the house, shutting the door behind her.  Tonight she had planned on a quiet evening at home alone, taking advantage of the fact that her youngest was out having fun at the Bronze with her friends.  She had everything planned so perfectly.  She was going make herself a little dinner, then go upstairs and have a nice bubble bath, and finally turn in early with a good, romantic book she had picked up the day before at Barns & Noble.

Unfortunately, Xander called about three that afternoon, begging her to baby-sit because he had come home to find Anya stuck in baby-talk mode.  He said 'when your wife asks you, 'Does Xander-Wander want to take a bathy-wathy before dindin?' then it's time to get her out of the house for one night.'  Joyce couldn't exactly disagree with that.

The older woman placed the child in the bassinet she had pulled out the attic, and smiled as she looked at the sleeping form.  Right now, Joyce could almost pretend that it was Buffy or Dawn lying there, and she was a young mother who had just brought her daughter home.  But this wasn't one of her daughters.  Her baby was out at a night club, having teenage fun, and her other baby was buried in Pleasant Oaks Cemetery.  No, there were no more babies in Joyce's future, unless they belonged to friends; and, some distant day, Dawn's own children.  But that would be a long, long, long time from then, at least if Joyce had anything to say about it.

A gentle tapping came from the door, and she shook her head.  It hadn't even been five minutes and Anya had already thought of something else she needed to tell Joyce because she didn't know anything about raising children.  Never mind she had only done it twice.

She went back to the door, laughing as she opened it and said, "What is it, Anya?"

Her features froze when she saw who was actually standing behind the door.  The color drained from her face, and she would have sworn her heart stopped right at that moment, if she hadn't heard it pumping loudly in her ears.

Like she had done when she had left at seventeen, a weary-eyed Buffy looked up at her mother and said, "Hi, Mom."


******

The little Mercedes screeched to a halt as the truck cut them off at her street, not paying any attention to who might be coming from the other way.  Buffy caught her breath from the passenger seat as the truck began to blow its horn at them, as if they had been the ones who had done something wrong.

"Yeah, same to you!" Spike yelled at the window, as he held up his two fingers in a rude gester; to which Buffy had finally learned the meaning of while in Europe.  She would yell at him later for doing it in front of Dylan, but at least he wasn't swearing.  "I swear, you bloody Americans need to learn how to drive," he said before he turned down her street.

Everything on the street looked the same as the last time she had seen it, even the Gardners leaving those awful ice icicle lights up all year round.  This would have been how the street looked if she had made it there that night.  Instead, she was coming home almost two years later with a baby girl and a newly souled vampire who was the father.  Not to mention quit a bit richer.

After the night that Becket died, Catherine called her and Spike to tell them something her father had done, with her blessing.  He had looked at the small family as his own, being that they been together for such a long time.  So, upon his death, he had actually left half of his wealth to them, and the other to Catherine.  To say they were stunned was an understatement.  They had suddenly gone from having no money of their own, to being some of the richest people in the United States, and that was with only half.  Buffy tried to tell Catherine they couldn't accept that, but she had insisted that had been what her father wanted.

That had explained the nice new car that had been waiting for them at the Sunnydale Airport a few hours ago, once again, Catherine's doing.  If it were up to Spike, they would have gone and retrieved his car from storage, but this one was much nicer.  And, Buffy was not going to let him spray paint the window's black, that was for sure.

They finally came to a stop in front of the house, and Buffy felt herself weaken.  The front porch light burned brightly, as a shadow moved behind the curtain.  Someone was home. 

But what if it wasn't Joyce?  What if she had moved out?  What if she was going to be angry with Buffy for being gone so long without a word?  What if she gave her mother a heart attack?  What if Dylan gave her a heart attack?

"I can't do this," she said turning away from the house.

Spike rolled his eyes at her reaction.  "Bloody hell, woman.  You've done nothing for the past two years, but say you wanted to go home.  Well, here we are.  You're not goin' to chicken out on me now, are you, Slayer?"

"I just can't do this, Spike," she stated again.  "I mean, it's been so long.  What if she doesn't want to see me?"


"She's your mum, Buffy," he said more kindly.  He jerked his head towards the back seat, where Dylan was securely fastened.  "If it'd been the poppet here, would you want to see her?"

She began to pout slightly when she said, "I hate it when you make sense."

His cocky grin returned as he told her, "Now, you can either get out of this car and march up to the door yourself, or I can drag you up there.  Either way, Joyce is goin' to find out you're back."

"What about Dylan?"

They had agreed to tell Joyce and Dawn about Dylan and him that night, but were going to wait a little while before breaking it to the other Scoobies.  They would have enough to deal with considering Buffy's sudden return, introducing her daughter, and the fact that their favorite neighbor-hood vampire now had a shiny new soul.  That alone would probably cause Giles' head to spin.  Of course, the fact Spike was Dylan's father would make his head explode.  Naturally, Spike wanted to see this, but Buffy had threatened physical harm if he didn't keep his mouth shut for the time being.

"I'll hold back with her for a bit, let you and your mum do the whole catchin' up bit," he said, as he opened the back door and pulled the child out of the car seat. 

Buffy got out and looked at him over the roof as he held the baby close.  Dylan was now fascinated by the fact that her father's hair had magically changed colors from the dark blond she had always been used to, to a shock white color.

"Well, go on, Summers," he said, as if she were some sort of child.  "She won't be judgin' you or givin' you disapprovin' looks.  That won't happen until after she meets Dylan."

"Gee, thanks," she said sarcastically.  Dylan giggled in her fathers' arm.  "Don't encourage him," she warned her daughter before turning and heading up the path to the front door.

A thousand thoughts ran through her mind as she gathered all her courage and knocked gently on the door.  Just please, she begged, let her be glad to see me.

A shuffling came towards the door and then she heard her mother laughing as she said, "What is it, Anya?"

The door swung fully opened, and mother and daughter found themselves staring at one another.  Joyce's face was locked in shock as the color began to drain away.  For a moment, Buffy thought that her mother might faint.  Quickly, she thought of anything to say.

"Hi, Mom," she said in a small voice, it being the only thing she could think of.  Her mother just continued to look at her, and, for a moment, it reminded her of when she had runaway as a teen. When several minutes had passed, and neither had said a word, Buffy asked, "Can we come in?"


Joyce's face suddenly became stern and sad.  "No."

Buffy couldn't hide her surprise and hurt at the answer.  They couldn't come in?  "Why?" she squeaked out.

Her mother gathered all her strength and she said, "Because you wouldn't have wanted me to."

"Wouldn't have wanted you…" she said slowly before she realized what her mother thought.  "You think I'm a vampire?" she said in a laugh before she looked over her shoulder at Spike.  "She thinks I'm a vampire."

Joyce face rang with confusion at her daughters' mirth.  Buffy then moved forward, and stepped through the door. 

"See, still a no-need on the invite.  And the heart beat," she reached down and placed her mothers' hand over her heart, "is still going strong."

The older woman's eyes grew wide and watery as her breathing became slightly labored and she felt her daughter to be sure she was real.  "Buffy?" she said breathlessly, as she touched ever inch of her daughter's face.  "Is it really you?"

She felt her own tears starting to swell as a relieved smile crossed her face.  "Yeah.  It is."

Joyce jerked her daughter into a tight bear hug that would have crushed anyone but the slayer.  She was sobbing as she held her, and Buffy realized she was as well.

"I knew they were wrong," she cried into Buffy's ear.  "I'm sorry I ever believed them."

"Believed who?" the young woman asked, as she pulled away, her mother wiping the stream of tears from her own face.

"It's not important now," she said, pushing a stray hair from her daughter's face, then straitened up as if she remembered something.  "Oh, I need to call Rupert and the others, and let them know you're back.  They'll be so happy to see you."

Joyce turned to head for the phone when Buffy caught her.  "Mom, before you do, there's something I need to tell you."

"Like what, honey?"

"Um," she said, glancing nervously back over her shoulder at Spike, who stood under the tree, silently holding Dylan.

Joyce looked past her daughter at what she was looking at and jerked slightly in surprise.  "Spike."


"Hello, Joyce," he said coming up the stairs. 

That was when she noticed the baby in his arms.  Joyce looked to him for answers, but Buffy quickly took the child from him. Dylan instantly shrunk back to the safety of her mothers' arms, trying to decide who exactly this stranger was.

"Um, Mom, this is Dylan," she said bouncing the baby up for a better grip.  "My daughter."

Buffy watched her mother look from the baby in her arms and then to her own daughter, her mouth hanging ever so slightly opened.  Then, the older woman blinked hard once, and fell to the floor unconscious.

******

"So, let me see if I understand this," Joyce said, sitting in the chair next to the couch, where both Buffy and Spike were seated. A damp wash cloth they had given her upon her regaining consciousness flung loosely in her grip while she moved her arms to illustrate her question. "You two have been over in Asia and Europe this whole time?"

"Yeah," Buffy answered.  "Trying to get away from this Dr. Lang who took us in the first place."

"But she's dead now?"

"Yup.  Dead as in not coming back, do not pass go or collect two hundred dollars, dead."

"A friend of ours put a hole about this size in her stomach," Spike said, holding his hands together to illustrate.  "Unless she made a pact with the devil, we won't be seein' her again."

"And she was after all three of you, but mainly wanted Dylan?" Joyce stated more then asked.  The two nodded, as Dylan cooed in her mothers lap at being mentioned.  "Why?"

She watched her daughter and Spike exchanged a look.  Apparently why was a very big question, and was going to hit her pretty hard.  The older blonde woman looked down at the baby in Buffy's arms, her face softening at the sight.  That was her granddaughter, her baby's baby.  Why would anyone want to hurt her?

Buffy dropped her head away from Spikes' gaze, and turned back to her mother.  "That was something I wanted to tell you first.  See, Dylan's-"

"I'm back!" Dawn called as she came through the front door.  "And whose car is that out front?"

The teenager froze in the door of the living room, staring at the young woman who sat on the couch.  Joyce looked from one child to the other, then slowly stood when Buffy did, and Spike followed, as well.

Buffy handed Dylan over to her mother, but Dawn was too transfixed on her sister to even notice the child she had been holding.  For a moment, Joyce had thought that the child would erupt into screams from being given to a stranger.  Instead, she just began to study Joyce, with her deep blue eyes.  Those piercing blue eyes that seemed somewhat familiar.


"Buffy?" her youngest had to force out from shock.

"Hey, Dawn," Buffy answered lowly like when she had first spoken to her mother.

Then teen stood there for a moment, then launched herself across the room in her sister's arms.  The thought that she might be a vampire never crossed her mind as she held her sister and began to cry.

"I thought you were dead," she sobbed, just like her mother had.  Dawn quickly gained control of herself and pulled away from her sister as the questions emerged.  "Where did you go?  Why were you gone so long?  Did you go on an adventure?  What happened?  Tell me everything."

"We will," Buffy promised.

"We?" Dawn said slightly confused then turned to see the vampire who was standing directly beside her, but she had been to busy to notice.  She then squealed, "Spike!"

"Wow, hey, watch it, Nibs," he said as she locked her arms around his neck and he looked awkwardly for instructions of what to do.  Joyce couldn't help but laugh, and neither could Buffy.

"Where have you been?  And why didn't you say anything about leaving?  Did you find Buffy?" Dawn started in, but her sister decided to stop her before she got too far.

"Dawn," she said, turning to her mother and taking Dylan from her arms.  "There's someone here I'd like you to meet. Dawn, this is Dylan.  Dylan, this is your Aunt Dawn."

Her sister's eyes widen even more, if it were possible.  "Aunt Dawn?  You mean, she's..."

"Yup," Buffy said proudly of her little girl.  "Got the stretch marks and everything to prove it."

Joyce's youngest was basically beaming at this point.  In five minutes, not only had she gotten her sister back from the dead, but one of her best friends had come home, and she now had a brand new niece that she had known nothing about.  Joyce thought that Dawn looked like she might actually burst with happiness.

"Can I hold her?"

"Sure," Buffy said handing the child over to her. 

Unlike when she had first meet Joyce, Dylan didn't seem the least bit shy of Dawn.  In fact, she took right to her.


"You might want to pull your hair back," Buffy warned as Dawn took the child.  "She has a thing about pulling when she gets a hold of it."

Dawn smiled brightly at the child in her arms, who, like her mother had warned, now had a handful of the teens long, brown hair, and showed no signs of letting go.  The fifteen-year-old looked up at her sister and said, "Anya never lets me hold Jessie."

"Jessie?" Buffy asked as she turned to Joyce, who felt the color drain from her face at the mention of the name.

"Oh," she said, charging up the stairs and into her bedroom where she had left the bassinet.  Much to her relief, the child was still fast asleep, and only stirred when she picked up the old bassinet and started to carry it back down stairs.  Spike spotted her half way down, and hurried to help her as Buffy came to see what she was bringing.  Upon her instructions, Spike gently placed it on the coffee table and Joyce said in a loud whisper, "This is Jessie, Anya and Xander's daughter."

"Anya and Xander's daughter?  Wow," Buffy said, flopping down on the couch.  "A lot has changed since I've been gone."

"Well, I guess it just proves one thing.  You can keep apocalypses away and stop the world from bein' sucked into hell, but you can't keep a Harris from reproducin'," Spike said as he shook his head.  Buffy gave him an icy glare, but Joyce could see the starts of a small smile on the corner of her lips.

"Hey, they're pretty close in age," Dawn observed about the two children.  "I wonder if they'll like be best friends or something."

"Over my dead body," Spike spat out.

"Good, cause you're already dead," Buffy pointed out, which caused Dawn to giggle before she went back to cooing over her new niece.

"You are just the cutest baby.  Yes you are.  With that prefect little nose and those beautiful blue eyes.  Way bluer then mine.  Your daddy must have some pretty amazing blue eyes."

"He does," Buffy answered almost nervously.  "Mom, would you please sit down?"

Joyce did as she asked and Dawn followed.  Spike looked as if he didn't know if he wanted to be there or not, which made Joyce all the more antsy about what her daughter was about to tell them.

"This goes back to what I was telling you earlier," she said point blank to her mother.  "About why Lang was after Dylan.  You see, she's very special.  I mean, she was already very special, but she's special in another way.  No, not like 'special ed' special, I mean, special different special."

"You're babblin', Slayer," Spike put in, earning him another glare.


"Alright, here's the deal.  Dylan's what's known as a dampener."

Joyce and Dawn exchanged a confused look as Spike rolled his eyes.

"Damphyr," he corrected.

"Right, a damphyr."

"What's that?" Dawn asked cautiously.

"It's sort of like a hybrid.  You see, Dylan's half...vampire."  Joyce felt her eyes widen and Buffy quickly added, "Spike's her father."

The middle age woman felt herself shock beyond words at this news, but Dawn...

"No way!" she said happily as she got to her feet, turning from her sister, to Spike, back to her sister.  Buffy and Spike exchanged a look, and that was all she needed for conformation.  "No way!  Oh my..." At Spike. "You and my sister?!"  At Buffy.  "You and him!  Oh, this is so great.  I have to call Tara."

"Dawn, wait," Buffy said, stopping her sister before she could make it out of the living room, still carrying Dylan along with her.  "I need you to promise me something.  You can't tell anyone about this.  Not yet."

"But-"

"Dawn, please.  It's important."

Her face fell slightly, but she seemed to understand.  "Well, okay.  But you've got to tell them soon.  I don't know how long I can keep my mouth shut about something like this."

Buffy smiled and shook her head, then turned back to the still stunned Joyce.  As her oldest approached her, she heard Dawn as she looked at Spike, then at Dylan, and said again, "No way!"

"Mom," Buffy said gently bending down in front of her and taking her hands.  "Are you okay?"

"Vampire?" she finally managed to push out.  "And Spike?"

Joyce was focused in on the floor, and felt Buffy tighten her grip around her hands.  "Mom, look at me."

Slowly, she complied.  "A vampire, Buffy?"


"She's not a vampire, Mom," Buffy quickly interjected.  "She can go outside in the sun and crosses and holy water do nothing to her and she has a heartbeat and everything.  She's a normal little girl, Mom.  She just doesn't have normal parents."

Even with the news that her new granddaughter was as normal as any other child, Joyce still couldn't help but feel as if maybe her daughter was just deluding herself into believing such things. "Buffy, we have to tell Rupert.  See how this happened."

"We already know, Mom."  Joyce was about to beg her daughter for answers, but Buffy raised her hand.  "And I'll tell you, but later.  I think you've had your quota of shocks to the ticker for one day."

"But, Buffy-"

"Please, Mom.  I'll tell everyone everything, just not tonight."

Joyce searched her daughter's face, but then slowly nodded her head.  "Alright."

Buffy smiled tightly at her, and then kissed her on the cheek.  "Thank you.  And I do want you to call Giles over and everyone else.  You know, let everyone know I'm back."

"We can tell them to meet us at the shop," Dawn offered.  "You know 'cause I think Mom kind of needs some time to herself."

Joyce would have normally argued that she was fine, but her youngest was right.  She did need time for this one.  Right now, what she needed was a really big Tylenol and bed.

******