Buffy waddled into the kitchen with her left hand holding her lower back. She was firmly convinced that if her belly grew any larger, she'd need a wheelchair to get around in. If anyone had told her pregnancy would be this hard, she was sure she would have had thought twice about it.
"Honey, what are you doing up?" Joyce asked, since her daughter had just lain down on the couch twenty minutes ago.
"I just can't watch one more minute of soap opera love life," Buffy huffed. She moved to sit at the kitchen table before she continued to complain, "It reminds me too much about my life."
"Well, maybe if you had told him," Joyce tried to reason, for the first time feeling comfortable bringing the subject up for further discussion.
"Oh, yeah, like he would have chosen me, his wife over the woman who is the mother of his firstborn son. Now I'm the ex-wife and he is all settled down with his new family."
"You could have given him the choice of which child he wanted to be the live at home parent with," Joyce objected, wondering why her daughter never informed her now ex-husband about the pregnancy.
"I didn't see it that way. He had a choice. He knew we were trying to start a family. He had to have known I could've been pregnant when he chose to leave." Buffy patiently attempted to explain some of her reasons for why she hadn't informed Spike about her condition.
Joyce came to sit across from her daughter. She placed her hand over Buffy's and gave it an encouraging squeeze, offering the young woman her support.
The tears began to flow down Buffy's pale cheeks as she continued her woeful tale. "Instead, he never even asked if I could have conceived and hasn't even bothered to find out if I had. That tells me that neither I, nor any child we made, matters to him."
Joyce felt like someone had punched her in the stomach. To hear the pain in her baby's voice and see the anguish on her face made her sick to her stomach. Her hand tightened over Buffy's, wishing she could take on some of her burden, to help lighten her oldest daughter's load.
"But hey, just think; I don't have to figure out visitations or feel obligated to him for child support. Once the babies are born, it'll be time for school to start. Willow and Dawnie have offered to share daycare duty, so I can go back to work. My babies and I will live our lives, and eventually 'HE' will be nothing more then a bad memory,” Buffy told her mother, hoping with all her shattered heart that her words would come true someday.
"Honey, I'll help you any way I can, you know that,” Joyce promised as she stood to finish making them some lunch. "You know Rupert and Dawn will, too."
"I know, and that's why I know it'll all work out," Buffy reassured her, even if on most days, she felt as if she was barely hanging on to her sanity.
Sniffling sadly, Buffy looked down at her rotund, seven and a half month pregnant belly. Inside her womb she carried twins, a dual reminder that her ex-husband didn't love her as much as he had once told her.
"Don't worry, little ones, it's his loss," she whispered, thinking her mother wouldn't hear.
Joyce kept quiet after hearing her daughter's comment, realizing the words were not for her ears. She was never a violent person by nature, but right now, she would love to get her ex-son-in-law alone in a room. Just a few hours would be all she would need to make Spike Bledsoe hurt for doing this to her daughter.
Spike smiled as his four-year-old son ran toward him, the boys sparkling blue eyes and prominent cheekbones telling him he had made the right choice, proving without question that he was this child's father.
"Daddy, look what I found!" Nigel yelled as he showed his father the funny looking rock he'd bought at the Zoo's gift shop.
"What a big rock. We will have to show all your friends what a big rock you have." Spike chuckled as he lifted his reason for being there up into his arms.
His lawyer had told him it would be impossible to win custody of his son unless he could prove Dru to be an unfit mother. That had left him with a difficult decision, one that cost him the love of his life. One he regretted every day since leaving her five months ago.
"Yes, my William, I think we should," Dru purred as she joined her son and now fiancé.
"Hello, pet," Spike greeted Drusilla with a forced tender kiss, praying she wouldn't figure out how much he hated her.
It had been very hard trying to make it look like he wanted to reestablish the relationship; they had before she had up and left him five years ago. Every night he went to bed hoping he'd wake up next to his sunshine, and this past 5 months was nothing but a bad dream. Spike missed his Goldilocks terribly, but knew in order to save his son this was the only option he had at the time. If Dru ran, he never would find his son again, because that is how good she was at hiding.
"Well, well, look what we have here, honey." A familiar voice broke into Spike's little family moment. "If it's not Mr. Heartbreaker himself in all his glory." Xander Harris addressed the peroxide blond pain in the ass with an expression of pure hatred.
"Xander, please don't. You promised Buffy," Willow begged her husband. "This won't help her at all."
"No, but it makes me feel good." Xander glared at the man who had broken his best friend's heart as he continued, "The only thing that could beat this would be if I read some day soon of his gruesome demise."
Willow gasped. "Come on, Xander. We need to find Giles and get out of here."
They had come with Rupert to keep him company and to enjoy the Zoo. Giles had some research material he had to drop off to a friend that worked there. Otherwise, they would have been at home in Sunnydale instead of here in Los Angeles.
"Oh, Rupert is here?" Spike asked, wondering if he had the courage to ask the older man about Buffy.
Willow turned her attention toward Spike for the first time and tried to control her feelings as she again pleaded with her husband. "Let's go, Xander. He really isn't worth our time or the bother."
Spike felt the pain of their rejection of him. It angered him that they showed him such disrespect, especially in front of his son. "Please try and refrain from making your comments in front of my son."
"Your son? How sure are you of that, Spikey?" Xander asked sarcastically. "Did the DNA come back a perfect match? 'Cause you know the old saying; 'mommy's baby, daddy's maybe'." Xander snorted as he took his wife's hand before turning to leave.
They left Spike and a wide-eyed Dru behind as they walked away to find Giles. Their day had been perfect until they had come upon Buffy's ex-husband kissing the bitch he had left their best friend for several months ago.
"You know, you can see he's Spike's son," Willow said, wishing they'd never come with Giles today. The last thing she needed to see was Spike acting the family man with someone other then Buffy.
"Yeah, I know. I just hope for her sake that the twins only look like Buffy." Xander sighed, wishing he could have punched the punk ass bastard just one time.
"Whelp! Wait up,” Spike called out. He'd decided he wasn't going to let them have the last word.
Xander's body stiffened, his face turned red, and his facial expression made Willow shudder. She was certain things were about to get ugly.
Spike felt a chill travel down his spine. He'd never seen Harris so angry, so close to committing a violent act, as he did right at this moment. Usually he was a laid-back person and very easy going.
"Spike, please. Just go and be with them," Willow pleaded, trying to keep the confrontation from happening.
"Them? He's my son,” Spike growled.
"Okay, so we've been told,” Xander replied his body rigid and his fists clenched at his side.
"Listen, things happen," Spike tried to explain, wishing he could tell them everything. Make them realize it was all about keeping his son safe.
"Things happen? You married Buffy, promised her the forever until death do you part. After everything she'd been through with Angel. After you brought her out of her shell and made her believe in love again, and then you crush her,” Xander shouted, wondering how this poor excuse of a human being thought he could explain what he did to his best friend.
"She'll survive," Spike said, fully believing she would. "She's stronger then you give her credit for."
"Fuck you, Spike!" Xander barked. "Rationalize it all you want. You deserted her, abandoned the woman you vowed to love, honor, and cherish and a few other lies you told her."
Willow tried to stop her husband before he lost all control and revealed more than he should. The last thing they needed was for Xander to let Spike know that he'd left more then just Buffy behind. Something very personal that would remind Buffy of her ex-husband for the rest of her life.
"Baby, people are looking at us," Willow said desperately, wishing that Giles would show up to help defuse the situation.
"I need to be here for my son," Spike insisted. "Buffy said she understood."
Willow felt her anger start to boil over and was about to tear into the insensitive brute herself. Instead, a distinguished voice spoke before she had a chance to say anything.
"Willow, Xander, please wait for me back at the car,” Giles instructed the couple in a tone of voice that everyone knew meant to obey his command, no questions asked.
As the couple walked away, Spike felt his life was no longer threatened. If looks could kill, he would be dead where he stood with the last glare Harris directed his way.
Spike turned to face the older man that loved Buffy as if she were his own flesh and blood. Giles knew Buffy from high school. Through her, the librarian had met and married Buffy's mother, Joyce.
"Don't ever speak her name again," Giles said. His voice held a threatening quality and his eyes were cold and deadly as he appraised the man that broke his Buffy's heart.
"What did you expect Buffy to say? Did you think she would have begged you not to leave her? To sacrifice her dignity and plead for you to stay with her? She'd already done that with Angel and all she got in return was humiliation. Why in the bloody hell would she risk the same treatment from you? Answer me that, would you?" Giles demanded. He couldn’t believe how badly Spike had misunderstood Buffy's so-called understanding of the situation.
For the first time, Spike realized just what he might have done to his Goldilocks. He'd only thought of being with his son, protecting him and being a permanent fixture in his life. Even if it meant he had to live with Dru. He'd never really thought of how it might hurt Buffy in the end. He had truly believed that having the support of her friends and family would make it easier for her to move on and live her life. Had he been living a life of protective denial all this time, only to have that shield ripped away?
"Live your life, Mr. Bledsoe. Enjoy your son. I really cannot comprehend why you felt you had to choose." Giles gave the young man a look of pity as he added, "I just hope you realize one day what you gave up, and that you choke on it."
Spike wondered what had happened to make them hate him so much. He was sure if anything bad had happened, Joyce or Dawn would have called to let him know about it. The last time he had seen Buffy was at the lawyer's office four months ago. It looked like she had put on a few pounds, but she appeared healthy.
He watched as the older man walked away. For about the hundredth time he wondered if he had made the wrong choice. Should he have tried to fight Dru in the courts and raise his son with Buffy? Every night he fell asleep dreaming of saving his marriage and keeping his son.
Dru's threat that she would run and he'd never see Nigel again was a valid one. He knew she would make true her promise, take the boy where he'd never be found. Drusilla had connections that would hide her for the rest of her life. The only way he'd find her would be if she wanted to be found.