A Bumpy Christmas
“I look like a whale.”
“You look gorgeous. Ripe. Like a plump, ripe peach.”
“Wonderful, I look like fat fruit.”
Spike pulled Buffy into his lap and nuzzled her neck soothingly. His hand automatically stroked her distended belly, pausing when he felt something thump against it.
“Practicing his kicks and punches again, isn’t he?”
“Just be glad it’s only your hand she hit. My ribs feel like I’ve just been in a fight with a hellgod.”
“Not too much longer go, pet. What did we figure…another month or so?”
“The doctors said somewhere between Christmas and New Years. It’s not like I could give them an exact date of conception, you know.”
He gave a self-satisfied grin. “It’s not my fault we spent so much of my first weeks back shagging like bunnies. I warned you my little swimmers might be just as alive as the rest of me.”
“Oh? Then exactly whose fault would it be, Mr-I-can-still-go-all-night-and be up and at ‘em the next morning?”
Burying his nose in her neck again, he mumbled, “Alright. Maybe it was a little bit my fault. But you said it was alright with you. Not havin’ second thoughts, are you?”
She leaned her head back and caressed his worried face.
“Of course I’m not. I didn’t think I’d ever have kids. And certainly not one with a vampire for a father.”
“Whatever. The point is - you, me, and children just didn’t seem like something even worth dreaming about. And yet, here we are, house of our own, baby on the way. Just like normal people. Put a picket fence around the house, and…”
“And jinx the bloody hell out of ourselves, most likely!”
Buffy’s rueful laugh brought a smile to his horrified face. She snuggled her head under his chin and nodded her agreement. “You’re probably right. The further away we stay from ‘normal’, the better off we’ll be.”
The rest of autumn flew by quickly, with just the barest mention from Buffy on the anniversary of Spike’s disappearance. They spent some time that afternoon sitting on the bench where they had last made love before he vanished, their tightly clasped hands the only sign of how deeply they were affected by the memory.
Although Buffy was getting larger, and finding herself much less agile and balanced than she was used to, she still felt strong and fit, insisting that they walk down the hill to have a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner with Dawn. With only Buffy, Dawn, Willow, and a few of the students being Americans, the enthusiasm for preparing a large meal only a month before the food-filled holidays was limited as far as the cooking staff at the school was concerned. However, they had agreed, as a sop to the other Americans at the school, to serve a turkey with stuffing and cranberries alongside the more normal evening fare.
Dawn had coaxed Teddy into helping her pull some tables together so that she and Willow could make a festive setting for their little group of Americans abroad and their significant others. They decorated with gourds and a few colorful leaves that hadn’t completely succumbed to the approaching winter.
“I think that looks good, don’t you?”
“It’s nice. Not like being at home, but we should be used to that by now. And, anyway, it’s not like Sunnydale was your typical American city anyway. Remember the Chumash Indians that showed up one year?”
“No,” Dawn didn’t miss a beat, even though she knew that she hadn’t even existed at the time. “I went out of town with Mom. She thought I was too young to be left with Buffy.”
“Oh, that’s right. You weren’t there. It was Giles, me, Buffy, Xander and Anya …and Spike.”
“Spike?” Dawn frowned. “Um…wasn’t he like all evil and grrr, argh back then?”
“Yeah. He was. But it was just after he got chipped and he’d come to Buffy for help.”
“Oh. So, was this before or after the engagement?” Dawn gave Willow an innocent smile, which fooled the witch not at all.
“It was before,” she growled. “And I apologized to everybody for that a long time ago, so just mind your own business, Missy.”
Dawn laughed and went back to setting places at the table.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” she mused. “There Buffy and Spike were, thinking they were engaged and in love, and now here they are - in love for real and with a baby on the way. I wonder if your spell had anything to do with that?”
Willow shook her head. “I doubt it. I didn’t say for them to be in love; I just said Buffy might as well marry Spike if she was going to be spending so much time with him. They did the ‘in love’ part all by themselves.” She stopped to giggle at the memory. “I can just imagine how nuts Giles and Xander must have been, watching Buffy and Spike kissing and carrying on... Xander was too busy avoiding demons to do anything about it, and Giles was blind. Not that Buffy would’ve have allowed them to hurt Spike, anyway. But it had to be really funny to watch.” She frowned. “Of course, by the time I saw them, they were fighting off demons, so not so funny…”
After the meal, from which Buffy took her leftovers, complaining that she had no room left in her very full abdomen for food, they said their ‘goodnight’s and let themselves out into the cool night air. Buffy cheerfully refused Giles’ offer to drive them home, insisting that she needed the exercise, and that the midwife had approved her daily and nightly walks.
They walked quietly for a while, holding hands while the bag containing Buffy’s leftovers dangled from her free hand. After a rather lengthy silence, Spike squeezed the small hand in his, asking, “What’s going around in that brain there, Slayer? Can smell the smoke from here.”
Buffy gave him her best ‘not funny, Spike’ look but then said quietly, “What if we aren’t good parents?”
Smothering his automatic urge to scoff, he responded with equal seriousness.
“I had good parents, luv. Had some issues with my father, but he did his best to make me a good man before he died. My mum finished the job for him. She was a great mum, and so was Joyce. We’ve had nothing but good role models. You’ll be wonderful. We’ll be fine.”
“Huh, if it’s a girl you’ll spoil her rotten. She’ll have you wrapped around her finger by the time she’s two days old.”
“Just like her mum, then, yeah?”
“What if it’s a boy? I don’t know anything about raising boys!”
“We’ll figure it out, pet. Not to worry.”
As they walked, he kept a surreptitious eye on her to be sure that she wasn’t tiring. Her normal fitness, combined with her slayer enhancements, had gone a long way to making the pregnancy relatively easy and trouble-free. Never the less, Mother Nature was not to be denied, and the closer Buffy got to her delivery date, the more she began to have in common with less gifted human women. When it seemed that she might be starting to flag, he slowed down and then stopped to sit on low wall. He pulled her in between his spread legs and kissed her, distracting her for a few seconds.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, having allowed herself to enjoy the kissing only long enough to figure out his motive.
“Just stopping to snog the mother of my child,” he replied, reaching for her again.
‘Oh no you don’t. I know what you’re up to. You think I need to rest, don’t you?”
“Maybe. Do you?”
She allowed him to cuddle her against his chest and sighed before admitting, “Maybe. A little. I guess we should have taken Giles up on his offer…”
“There’s no shame in---“ He broke off abruptly, sliding her to one side and standing up. Without discussion, they simultaneously slid stakes out of their sleeves and stood back to back, searching for the source of the sounds Spike’s still-keen ears had picked up.
A gasp and a muffled curse were the only signs that Buffy was now standing alone. Behind her, Spike had dropped like a stone, a tranquilizer dart sticking out from his leg. With an angry cry, Buffy stood over his body, whirling around, searching for the origin of the dart. A small group of humans stepped into the road, moving cautiously and holding various weapons, all pointed at the furious slayer.
“We can do this two ways,” said a tall, well-built man who was clearly in charge. “You can come willingly, knowing that anything we shoot you with could harm your demon spawn; or, you can be uncooperative about it and we’ll carry you out. Either way, you’re coming with us.”
He spoke briefly into a mobile phone and a dark van was soon approaching the little group. On the ground Spike was beginning to stir, although Buffy silently willed him to stay still. Standing over him, holding her next-to-useless stake, the very pregnant slayer faced the armed men. Men that she knew, under ordinary circumstances probably would not have been able to move fast enough to disarm and capture a slayer. However, this slayer was hampered by both the extra weight she was carrying in such an unwieldy fashion, and the knowledge of how vulnerable that precious weight was. She eyed their guns, trying to discern which ones might be more lethal than those containing tranquilizer darts.
“Who are you?” she growled, stalling for time and hoping that Spike would remain down until he was fully recovered.
The men reminded her of the old Council’s “wet ops teams” -- like the one that had been sent after Faith. They seemed very aware of the capabilities of the woman they were facing, and remained carefully out of reach, their weapons never wavering from her body. With a sinking heart, she began to realize that she was probably going to have to do what they said. At least until she could disarm one or two of them.
As if reading her mind, the leader nodded to the man holding the tranquilizer gun.
“We don’t have time for this. Just give her a shot and let’s get out of here.”
“What about him?” The man holding the gun on Buffy jerked his head towards Spike who was struggling to get to his feet.
“Huh! That should have held him for another twenty or thirty minutes. Hit him again after she’s down. Give him a bigger dose this time.”
Buffy had turned to look at Spike and the dart penetrated her shoulder before she even had time to shout a warning to him. As she collapsed, her stake falling out of her numb hand, she saw him shudder and drop back to the ground, another dart protruding from his back.
Her arms automatically stretched protectively around her stomach as she lost consciousness and was placed, somewhat roughly, on the floor of the van.
“Easy there, boys. Our orders are to bring the bitch back as unharmed as possible. We’ll have to be more careful than usual, what with her condition and all.”
Before he got into the waiting van, he stepped up to Spike’s inert body and threw something down on it. Then he hopped into the van and it sped off towards the nearest motorway.
Frantic pounding on the door of Giles’ apartment brought the Head Watcher stumbling to open it. Living in a building warded by witches and guarded by girls with superhuman powers, he had no hesitation in opening his door without asking who was there. He wrenched it open just as Spike’s fist began to break through the thick wood. Spike fell into the room, gasping for air and swaying on his feet.
Giles quickly guided him to a chair and poured out a quick two fingers of scotch.
“What’s wrong, man? Is it Buffy? Where is she? Is the baby coming already? Why didn’t you just go to the Health Center?”
Spike shook his head, gulped the drink and handed the glass back without so much as a ‘thanks’. He looked up at the older man, his anguished eyes giving away the seriousness of, if not the reason for, his visit; causing Giles to fall down onto the other chair, his face ashen.
“What’s wrong?” he repeated. “Where’s Buffy?”
“Gone. Taken. Bunch of wankers with tranquilizer guns. Knew what they were doing. Not amateurs like before.”
“Demons? Vampires? What do you mean, ‘not amateurs’?”
“Most of the wannabes they sent after us – after Buffy – before -- were just freelancing demons hoping for a reward. These were human, and experienced with handling…”
“You say ‘before’, you mean you think they came from Wolfram and Hart?”
Spike silently threw a small card at the older man. Giles picked it up and read it, cursing colorfully.
“Welcome back.” it said on one side. On the other was the logo of the law firm that had kept Spike trapped in his house for so many years.
“They took her,” Spike said unnecessarily. “The bloody bastards took her.”
Giles rested a sympathetic hand on the ex-vampire’s shoulder.
“We’ll find her,” he promised grimly. “This may not be the old Council, but we’re hardly toothless – pardon the expression.”
He reached for the phone, punching in a number from memory.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This was my Noel of Spike fic for this year. I don't think it's necessary to have read Things That Go Bump in the Night to understand it, but there will be a quick summary at thenend in case you have questions.
Chapter End Notes:
In TTGB Spike has been trapped in a house he owns. W & H is punishing him for the events of NFA. He is first a ghost with no memories, meets Buffy and falls in love again, regains his memories and they are a happy couple, then he moves on to the next plane of his existence, as planned by the Powers That Be. Buffy learns to deal with his final "death", but TPTB get tired of his whining and send him back - as an enhanced human. This story picks up almost a year after his return.