Part 13:  Tuesday

Lindsey sat back in the chair in the waiting room.  What was taking them so long?  Surely they would know something by now.

Across from her, Mrs. Travers sat with Mr. Jefferson on one side of her and Mr. Blare on the other.  The old woman looked more annoyed then concerned about her husband's current condition as the two Watchers assured her that everything would be alright.  If Lindsey were to guess, the woman was probably more concerned about being pulled from her weekly bridge game and what the girls would say when she returned, than what the doctor would tell her about her husband's condition.

Lindsey had been the one to find him.  She heard him shouting, then that awful crashing sound as he fell to the ground.  By the time she made it into his office, he was already convulsing, and she had called for an ambulance right away.  From what the paramedics told her, it sounded as if he had had a stroke, a massive one.  That was very peculiar.  Mr. Travers was always in such good health for his age.  For him to just have a stroke like this was just plan…odd.

"Mrs. Travers?" an older doctor said, coming into the waiting room.

The old crone got to her feet, along with Lindsey and the Watchers as the doctor approached them.  He had a grim look on his face as he held tightly onto a clip board and pulled off his glasses.

A moment of panic washed over the woman's eyes.  Probably worried that she would lose her social standing if something should happen to Quentin.

"Your husband has suffered a severe stoke to the brain-stem.  It was touch and go there for awhile, but I am glad to inform you that he has stabilized.  However, the attack was so brutal, that I am afraid he will need extensive physical and speech therapy, but he should fully recover in time."

"Will he be able to return to work?" the woman asked.

Lindsey frowned.  Yeah, she had a lot of concern for him.

The doctor shook his head.  "With the severity of the attack, and his age, that doesn't look like a possibility."

The secretary sighed deeply.  So much for her job at the Council.

**********

They buried her on a Tuesday, a week before Dylan's first birthday.  Like the day she had died, the sky was gray and thick with clouds and rained on the group that stood around and listened to the preacher give those final passing words for the dead.  He hadn't known her, and spoke of her only in that generic way some preachers do when they are called to do a stranger's funeral.  They were pretty words, ones he had probably practiced a lot in his time in Sunnydale; too many times in fact.

Giles and Joyce had been tucked under one black umbrella, Dylan resting comfortably in her grandmother's arms.  The baby didn't understand why all the grown-ups were so sad, but she did her best to comfort the older woman by holding tightly onto her.

Dawn and Connor had occupied another umbrella. Connor had held it between them with his good arm as Dawn cried beside him.  He hadn't known her that well, but he had liked Buffy well enough.  He wished he could shed tears for her, but it's hard to mourn for someone you don't know.  He thought he would have really liked her had he been given the chance.

Cordy and Angel were next to the kids.  Cordelia had her arms snaked around the older vampire's waist, trying to offer her comfort to him while trying to get some from him at the same time.  He hadn't been in love with Buffy any longer when they had arrived; his heart now belonged to woman at his side.  Still, this was painful.  One of the most painful things that he had ever had to do.

Xander and Anya had clung onto one another.  They had left Jessie with a babysitter that day, but they wished she would have come.  It wasn't that they felt she would have understood any better then Dylan what was happening, but they needed her.  They needed to hold her, and make sure that everything was alright.

Oz and Tara stood on either side of Willow, who had been out of it ever since she woke up.  Oz had been true to his word, she hadn't remembered anything that had happened, but she had demanded to know.  The ugly truth wasn't something easy to handle, and she hadn't.  The poor witch had hardly said two words since the revelation of her actions while she was under the demon's power.

Oz was going to do what Eric had asked him; he was going to take care of Van.  The boy was going to need someone who would be able to help him with his 'little problem'.  Oz was qualified for that.  He would make sure that the kid would be alright.

Spike had stood off by himself during the service, watching numbly as she was lowered below while he stood in the pouring rain.  He had been the only one who hadn't used an umbrella, and thus had gotten thoroughly soaked, but no one said anything.

They were back at Joyce's now, the few that had said goodbye to their friend.  News of her death had become a closely guarded secret for the time being until they could decide exactly what to do.  It wouldn't be long until word got out among the beasties that the Slayer was dead again and the Hellmouth was once more left unguarded. Prehaps they could get that Faith girl to come back and stay until they got things in order.

Spike sighed as he leaned against the railing on the back porch.  She loved him.  She had actually told him she loved him.  He thought he would have never heard her say such a thing, but she had.  And instead of celebrating, he had to put her in the ground?!  It wasn't bloody fair!!

His face morphed as an animalistic growl escaped from deep with his throat.  He grabbed the first thing he could reach, which happened to be one of Joyce's plants, and smashed it against the wall.  It did little to help his anger, though.

"Never liked that plant anyway."

Spike spun towards the door and found the middle-age blonde standing there, a cup of something steaming liquid clasped in her hands.  She looked old – never thought of describing the feisty woman that way – and the cuts and bruises on her face did nothing to help. 

"Sorry," he said morphing back to his human face, a bit ashamed of her catching him like that.

"Don't be," Joyce said coming over to stand by him.  "Like I said, never liked that plant anyway."

She gave him a smile, but her eyes told him that she felt very much the same as him.  Her daughter had been taken away from her for a second time in as many years.  Only this time, there was no way she could come back.

"How do you do it?" he asked quietly.  "How do you keep from just breakin' down?"

"You're a hundred and twenty-year-old vampire and you're asking me how to get over death?" she smiled.  When she saw he found no humor in the statement, she sighed.

"Spike…William, this is the second time I have had to grieve for my daughter.  After the first time, I was a complete mess.  I don't think that I got out of bed for a week after the funeral.  But I had Dawn, and I knew she needed me to take care of her and protect her, just like Buffy would have wanted.  I knew that those monks had created her, had just made up my memories of finding out I was pregnant with her, carrying her, giving birth to her, watching her first steps, her first words – which, by the way, was brownie."  He chuckled, and so did she.  She went on, "Her first day of school, her first crush, when she and I both found out about Buffy being the slayer."

"Remember that," he said.  "Niblet didn't buy the whole band thing for minute."

"Neither one of us did," Joyce informed him.  "I love my daughter, but musically talented she is not."  A loud pause passed between them as something silently corrected her with 'was'.  After a moment, she continued on softly, "The point is Buffy had given me something to help me go on.  She gave me another daughter.  I would have never made it without Dawn.  And she left someone else who's going to need us."

"Dylan," he supplied.

Joyce gave a small nod of agreement.  "I'm her grandmother, and I love her more than life itself; but you're her father, she needs you to take care of her since Buffy can't.  You know that."

He didn't say anything, but they both knew she was right.  Dylan did need him because she surely didn't understand what was going on.  Speaking of the little one…

"Where is the poppet anyway?"

She gave him a weary smile. "Dawn put her down for her nap a little while ago.  I guess I should go get her, she's probably up and hungry by now."

"No," he said, pushing away from the railing.  "I'll get her."

Spike moved quietly through the house that was still filled with Scoobies, most of which that had gathered in the living room and where softly speaking to one another.  None of them noticed him, save the vampire that was leaning against the wall next to the foyer entrance. 

"Will," Angel said in a small voice that would have been missed by anyone who didn't have enhanced hearing.

Spike paused at his the use of his real name.  Blue eyes met brown in an intense stare that most would have mistaken for an open show of hostility towards one another.  It was a knowing look, telling Spike that Angel somehow knew everything.  Not that it was an easy thing to miss, though most of the Scoobies had turned a blind eye towards it.  Spike didn't know if the Poof knew that Buffy had loved him back, but frankly he didn't care.  He knew; that was enough for him.

"Angelus," he answered before continuing on up the stairs.

Her bedroom door slid open quietly, the only sound being the slight scraping against the carpet.  A filtered light bled in through the window as he stepped inside and closed the door behind him.  He glanced towards the crib, but the child inside was still laying on her back, sleeping that peaceful slumber that only innocent children enjoy.

With a sigh, Spike turned his attention back to the room.  Everything was still just as she had left it, down to the book that was resting peacefully on the bed.  He walked over and took it from the spot she had laid it, and found that she had been reading Wuthering Heights.  Now that he thought about it, he did remember her saying something about her having to read it for school.  A Two of Hearts stuck out the top of the paper back copy, marking the place where she had stopped the night before…marking the place where she stopped.  Sighing, he tossed the book back on the comforter and watched as it bounced softly once before coming to a peaceful rest.

"Daddy," a small voice said, drawing his attention upward from the book. 

Dylan was standing up in her crib, looking at him strangely, like he didn't belong there.  Guess it did seem strange to her, since the only time he ever came up there was with Buffy to put Dylan to bed.

"Hey, pip," he said, walking over to the crib and scooping her up into his arms.

The little girl snuggled in close to him, tucking her head under his chin.  He smiled, unconsciously falling into a rocking motion.

"Want Mommy," she declared, causing him to stop dead cold.  Dylan finally called her Mommy, and she wasn't there to hear it.

Spike moved his head and placed a soft kiss on the child's forehead.  "I know, baby," he told her.  "I want her here too."

**********

The End of Part Two

**********

AN: Okay, the next in the series, called 'Again', probably won't come out until after Thanksgiving. I know, it seems like a long time, but I need to take a little break.  Also, I want to thank everyone who reviews (I got over a hundred for this story *happy dance*)  I love hearing from you guys and I thank you for taking the time to review.  Well, have a great holiday!