"No," Buffy told the little plastic stick in her hand, "No! No! No!"
"This can't be happening," she said, but the 99.9% accurate TrueBlueE-Z® Early Detection Kit tacitly begged to differ.
She shook it like a thermometer, sat on the closed toilet seat, shut her eyes, counted to ten and peered at it again, even compared it to the picture on the back of the box; anything to give it another chance to prove that she was hallucinating.
Alas, it refused to indulge her, and the result at the end of the stick remained firm:
It was impossible -- the only two people she'd ever slept with were vampires. And the last vampire she'd slept with? That was just a fluke. A freak accident! Nay, a nightmare in which she and Spike were sorcelled into rabbits by Willow, left alone to become hapless victims of base animal instinct. Okay, so once the spell had worn off they didn't exactly stop right away but still... fluke! And vampires are supposed to shoot blanks, anyway!
It was impossible. But the damn stick didn't care.
* * *
"Pregnant," Buffy said for the third time, this time enunciating every vowel and consonant.
"Good lord. A-are you quite sure?"
"Let's see," she answered irately, "I wasn't 'quite sure' when my period was late. I wasn't 'quite sure' when I threw up every morning for five days in a row. But after the third positive pregnancy test, gee, I just couldn't be more sure."
"Well." Giles cleared his throat. "Well. This is... unexpected."
"No one expected it less than me," Buffy said dejectedly as she slumped down in the closest chair.
He placed a hand on her shoulder, intending comfort but feeling decidedly lacking. "I'm sorry. I can't imagine how hard this would be for a girl your age..." He perked up. "Now there's a thought. Have you considered talking to your--"
"Mother? Giles are you nuts? This isn't a mother-daughter bonding opportunity. This is a baby."
He reasoned with a tilt of his head, "Actually, that's exactly what a--"
"You know what I mean! I'm carrying Spike's baby! The baby of Spike! This is not a child that should be brought into the world!"
"I understand," he soothed. "Whatever you choose to do with this... situation, you know I'll support you."
"Thanks," Buffy said, calming down. "And I've chosen already. I want it out."
He gave her a sympathetic nod.
"What do you want out?" Willow asked casually as she strolled into the library.
"My demon spawn," Buffy said brightly.
Willow stopped in her tracks.
Xander came in a few paces behind her, nose in a comic book. "What about Spawn?"
Buffy braced herself. This evening was gonna be loads of fun.
* * *
"What I don't get is how he managed to..." Xander made a face, "you know."
"It's technically impossible," Giles affirmed. "Vampires aren't capable of reproduction -- in the human sense of the word anyway. My only guess is that when Spike was in rabbit form, his physiological functions were in, er, serviceable order."
"Oh god, this is all my fault!" Willow cried, head in her hands.
"Will, it's okay, these things happen," Buffy said, breaking her pacing pattern for a moment. "To me."
Willow offered a look of remorse, and the Slayer went back to pacing.
"So, if they were rabbits when it happened," Oz pondered aloud, "is the baby even human?"
Buffy's eyes widened in panic. "There's a little bunny growing inside me?"
"Oh, cute!" Willow cooed without thinking. When all eyes rested on her, she amended, "In a... really creepy way."
With a whimper, Buffy sat down.
Giles moved to allay her fears. "I sincerely doubt that it's a rabbit, Buffy. No traces of your shapeshifted selves remained after the enchantment, not to mention that it's physically impossible for humans to cross-breed with animals. No, I assume it happened at the precise moment you returned to your own bodies, and then simply continued on as if it were a normal conception."
Buffy wrinkled her nose at Giles. It was bad enough that a conception had taken place. Worse, that the product of it could be half vampire. Now the possibility of incubating a rabbit in her womb was giving her an entirely new kind of wiggins, and 'sincerely doubt' was the best he could do?
"We could run some tests, Willow and I," Giles offered. "Of course, we're ill-equipped for obstetric procedure here; you'd eventually have to see a professional. Perhaps I can call the Council and--"
"Eventually? Giles, I'm not waiting to see what this is."
"Right, of course not." He sat down beside her. "It's your body, and if you're sure you want it removed, we'll have it dealt with straight away."
"What's she gettin' removed now?" Spike's voice projected from the stacks before he sauntered into view, looking more interested in the books on the shelf than anything else. "That funny bump on her nose," he picked out an antique hardcover and weighed it in his hand, "or that dodgy stick up her arse?"
Buffy scoffed, hand on her nose. "I don't have a 'bump'."
He returned the book haphazardly to the wrong shelf and gauged the level of tension in the room: 'high' didn't begin to cover it. "I get the picture. White hats-only, Big Bad not in on this party. I'll just go back to my tunnel--"
"Actually, Spike, you're in on this one," Buffy said. "Deep."
"Well. This ought to be good." Leaning against the stacks, thumbs looped into his belt buckle, he settled in for a fresh round of wrongful accusations. "What did I allegedly do now?"
She hadn't planned to tell him -- the situation was humiliating enough without having to hear whatever cruel barb he was sure to toss her way. But somehow, with him standing there all slouchy and defiant, her sense of self-preservation was overpowered by a keen desire to make him suffer. Blind panic followed by waves of nausea would be a promising start.
"Thanks to you, Spike," she announced, "I've got a bunny in the oven."
"And she makes the funny that I didn't dare," Xander lauded, only to be kicked under the table by Willow.
"What's 'at?" Spike asked, confused. "Found a rabbit in your cooker? Why would I put one there? You know I like mine raw."
"Ew, and that's not the kind of oven I mean."
"I don't got all night to play 20 questions with you, girl. What are you on about?"
"I'm 'on about' the half-vampire, possibly half-bunny-rabbit bundle of joy that's growing inside me."
Spike's smirk faded as the implication in her words sunk in. Finally, he dismissed her. "Pft. Good one, Slayer. Almost got me."
"I'm not kidding. Believe me, I wish to God I was."
He searched her expression. "Right. Try a new one. Think I'd know if I could still sprog a lady after all these years."
"Well, congrats." Buffy's chair screeched as she got up to step away from the table, away from Spike. She shouldn't have told him. Bad, bad idea. "I'm sprogged."
"Then I suggest you re-check your calendar and give the real McCoy a call. I'm sure the whole fraternity will be thrilled."
"This is no time for your snide remarks," Giles stood and plucked off his glasses to point menacingly at the vampire. "This is reality and you damn well better take responsibility for your actions!"
Spike frowned, all too aware that the Watcher would never pull a prank on him. The faces of the Scoobies were equally sincere. And Buffy looked like she was holding back either tears, or the urge to brutally stab him. Probably both.
"You were my second," she told him, "time."
Angel, just once, then him? Really?
She tore her gaze from his. Another truth she wished she hadn't shared. How did he do that?
Spike scrutinized her as she stood there, rubbing her shoulders and staring into space. She looked gorgeous, as usual. Normally this ticked him off and made him say all manner of insulting things. But now... now she had something of his budding in her belly, and that was... "Impossible."
"God! Is it so hard to believe I'm not a raging slut?"
"Not you. I meant, us. This. My little swimmers... swimming. How?"
"It was while you were rabbits," Willow supplied.
"So this is your fault, then?" Spike said distractedly, eyes never leaving his Slayer.
Willow whimpered guiltily. "W-- Well, Xander helped!"
"Hey, I didn't know they were Buffy and Spike!"
"Who's fault is it really, huh?" Buffy accused him, "The witch who made us into bunnies, the boy who put us in the same box, or the bunny who molested me?"
Spike's mouth flew open. "Molested? -- I...! You...!" Arms flailing, he finally came up with a coherent response. "I was a bloody RABBIT, for god's sake! Rabbits fuck! It's what they do!"
Buffy winced and turned away from him.
He approached her back. "Better question is, who was the one who begged me to keep going after we changed? Maybe that's how it happened." He caught her hands before she could smack him.
"I don't care how it happened, okay?" Tears welled in her eyes. "I just want it out of me!"
"Oh, you just want it out, do you?" He let go of her wrists. "Don't I get any say in this?"
She looked at him as if he'd grown two extra eyeballs. "You want me to have your baby?"
Spike shrugged. "Dunno. Might be nice. I could take little Billy to the park, teach him how to play baseball, how to climb trees..."
"How to rip the other kids' throats out," Xander added.
Spike laughed and pointed. "Yeah, he'll be hell on--" Buffy's withering glare stopped him from continuing that thought.
"You're criminally insane," Buffy said. "And now you're just trying to make my life harder by acting like you have some say in it."
"Well, I do!" He pointed at his chest. "I know my rights."
"You're a vampire. You don't have any rights."
"Well that's bloody unfair."
"You know what would make this fair? If you were the one who had to spend nine months fat and ugly and sick."
"You won't be ugly. Childbearing is a beautiful thing."
"Spare me the health class movie, I'm not--"
That's when she noticed the room had emptied out. Giles must have herded the crowd into his office.
And now Spike was squinting at her, head on a tilt, eyes all blue and sparkly... "I could take care of you. Find us a place to live. Hold your hair back while you toss your breakfast into the wazzer."
"What the hell is the matter with you? Not five minutes ago you were insulting my nose, and now you're proposing marriage?"
"Hey, hey. Who said anything about marriage?" Surprised that she might actually still be stinging from his previous insult, he raised her chin with his fingertips and said, "Buffy, you know I just say those things to rile you. Your nose wouldn't be your nose without the bump. It adds character."
"Oh, way to charm me." Shrugging him off, she marched to the table to gather her things. "This discussion is over. I'm not carrying some hellbaby to term just because you think it might be 'fun for a laugh'. A kid is not a novelty item, it's a person. Or a... rabbit... vampire -- thing."
"I know what it is. It's a gift."
Brow knit, she stared stubbornly at the floor. "Try a 'burden'."
"Look," Spike said and gently turned her to face him. "All I'm saying is, don't be so quick to decide, alright? This may be the only chance you get."
Buffy knew exactly what he meant. She had no illusions about the Slayer Life Span. But she couldn't bring a child into the world just to leave it behind... could she?
What if this was fate? What if this union was supposed to yield a new kind of Chosen One and if she killed it, she'd ruin some age-old endtime prophecy?
And what if it had her nose? And his eyes?
Buffy exhaled. "I'll sleep on it."
* * *
Turning onto her back to face the ceiling, Buffy said, "Will you please stop staring at me and come inside already?"
Seconds later, a twig broke in the tree beside her house and a black-clad body tumbled through her window.
Spike straightened before her bed, scratched his head. "I, uh -- I thought you were asleep."
"Kind of hard to do with you stalking me." She propped herself up on her elbow, hand on her cheek. "And you don't have to whisper, my mom's not here."
He nodded, and stood there awkwardly for a moment. Finally he asked, "You alright?"
She regarded him with suspicion. "Suddenly you care?"
"Suddenly," he scoffed. "Not suddenly. I've been helping you for a while, you know."
"For your own personal gain."
"Yeah. Well. Sometimes. Can't blame me for that."
"I can blame you for a lot." She paused, waiting for him to process her pain. "Like, for instance, the Little Slugger growing in my gut."
"I did have a hand in that," he conceded, positively beaming.
"You're proud of this," she realized. "You're proud of knocking up the Slayer! What, does it up your vamp cred or something?"
"Oh yeah. Like the ancient saying goes: 'If you can't kill the Slayer, make her preggers'." He nodded soberly, then took a seat on the bed. "I'd be proud of knocking anyone up this day and time."
"Well, lucky you." She flopped back against her pillow. "You get to be proud while I'm the poster girl for unwed teen motherhood shame."
"Nothin' to be ashamed of," he said, his gaze traveling down to her belly. Still perfectly taut, nothing at all showing yet. But somewhere in there was a part of him.
Buffy saw the various expressions cross his face: wonderment, longing, fear, insecurity, longing, longing... She sighed and took his hand, then placed it on her silk-covered stomach.
A tiny awestruck breath escaped him as he held his palm against her. He looked up at her with a silly grin, and back down again.
Buffy rolled her eyes. Men.
"Can I...?" He motioned his head downward.
"Go ahead. You won't hear anything though."
He put his ear to her belly, his eyes facing her. "No. I can."
"What? How--" She panicked, deducting that it had to be a hellbeast if its heartbeat was audible already.
"Vampire, love." He pointed to his ear.
"Oh. Right." She calmed down. "You can hear it? Really?"
"Yeah. I wish you could hear it too..." He listened for a moment, then seized her arm and tapped two fingers along to the heartbeat he heard. It was fast, the kind of heartbeat only a tiny growing being could have, but insistent and strong.
For a moment, Buffy let herself experience the joy of creating life. They lay there like excited newlyweds of the picket fence variety, not a care in the world but the wonderful miracle they had to look forward to... and then reality came crashing back.
"Stop it." She sat up, rolling him off.
"What?" he asked with a frown.
"Spike, you know I can't have this baby."
"Why the bloody hell not?"
"Why not? The reasons why not could fill a book! Not just any book, one of Giles' tomes! With footnotes!"
Spike looked shattered, and Buffy felt a sudden inexplicable urge to take him in her arms and comfort him, tell him she would have the baby after all. But that was no way to make a life-altering decision.
Instead, she issued a challenge: "Give me one good reason why I should."
He slipped his jacket off, climbed up her lithe body, and stared into her eyes. "Because I love you."
Buffy laughed at first, but he didn't seem to be joking. At all.
He began to kiss and nibble at her neck, and spoke low into her ear. "And you love me."
"I do--" not, she wanted to say, but he covered her mouth with his own, tongue mingling with hers while roving one hand down her silky negligee and up, beneath the short hem.
Maybe it was an argument best saved for later.
Kiss turning fierce, he passed a thumb over her pubic hair, paused to caress her belly, then lifted her negligee as far as it would go. When it didn't yield at the top, he yanked at her spaghetti straps, finally leaving the stubborn scrap of silk at her midriff as he descended to taste her nipples.
Buffy arched her back and murmured his name.
"Tell me you haven't thought about us," he demanded, voice deep, kisses hard. "Tell me you haven't thought about it every night since."
Buffy couldn't lie. Not while he was reminding her of how amazing he was with his tongue. She weaved her hands into his hair and bucked forward. "Not just nights, oh god..."
He continued down her ribcage to her navel, dipping his tongue into her belly button, nipping at her soft curves. "Me too," he admitted between gentle bites. "Afternoon, morning, dawn, dusk, every time I bloody look at you..."
Buffy sounded her relief, recalling a time when Spike wasn't so forthcoming with his feelings. Hours after the bunny-sponsored sexcapades that had left them naked and exhausted on Giles' couch, she'd wriggled her way out of Spike's grasp without rousing him, a sudden bout of shame propelling her out the door. His reaction to her later that night had solidified her regret -- he'd been cavalier, even hurtful. He declared it a 'car wreck'. She one-upped him with 'nauseating'. They hadn't spoken of it since.
But apparently, they'd thought about it. A lot.
And now, with Spike nestled between her thighs, hand spread across her curls as he devoured her, braising his mouth with her sticky paste, she remembered why.
He was phenomenal.
"Oh god, oh god, oh god..." Buffy twisted the bedsheets in her fists until they popped off of the mattress corners. "I can't... I'm gonna--"
She opened her mouth first, and then a sweet cry pierced the air.
He kissed his way up her body as she continued to shudder from orgasm, then unbuckled and unfettered himself to gently penetrate her quivering entry.
Buffy tugged on his shirt and kicked at his pants, hooking her toes into the fabric edges, pushing downward.
He stopped to lose the shirt, but complete removal of the pants would require uncoupling. He'd have to save that for next time... and he was planning on a lot of 'next times', some of them immediately following 'this time'.
Frustrated, she pulled at him with a groan, wanting him harder, faster.
"Na-ah, pet. Gotta go gentle. Don't wanna hurt little Billy."
"Oh please," she said breathlessly. "Billy is ours. I think he can take it."
He smiled down at her and accelerated his thrusts. "Ours?"
She reddened. "You know what I..."
"I do know," he said, eyes flashing. "He's ours."
Spike sat up to kneel, and gripping her thighs, he slammed his hard stomach against her most sensitive flesh.
Buffy rose to the challenge and met him with equal fervor.
"Bloody animal, you are. I love it."
"Kiss me," she said, and bit his lip.
He was moved to repeat it: "I love you, Buffy."
"Stop saying that."
Grabbing a fistful of her hair, he said, "Get used to it."
Easier said than done. Sure, they'd slacked off and become friendlier than archenemies should ever be, but love -- that was a leap.
What was he up to? Was he utterly deluded, or was he lying just so she'd keep his precious offspring? And what did he truly want it for? Buffy clawed into his chest, getting angrier with every upstroke. How dare he lie to her. How dare he think she was that gullible--
"What's this?" Spike had found the scar on her neck -- the one that Angel left.
"Nothing," she tried to swat his hand away.
He frowned deeply, tracing it with his thumb. Then, he kissed the scar with such reverent tenderness that it felt like an apology for any wrongs that had ever been done to her.
Okay, so maybe he does love me a little.
At that revelation, she gave in; held on to him as the world fell away, as she felt herself spasm into another six seconds of blissful release.
Spike was blindsided, completely unprepared for the sensation of a slayer's orgasming pussy on his cock. Powerless, he erupted with a shout, then rode it out in long, deep strokes that made her squeal.
When they were both happily sated, she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him close for an ardent kiss.
After a moment he lifted his head. "Think Billy's alright? We mighta jostled him a bit." Listening to her belly, he reported, "He pulled through, but he's right grumpy. Says Mum needs to give Dad a good seeing-to to make up for it."
"Oh, is that what he said?"
He held up a hand, boyscout style. "Swear on my unlife."
She tousled his hair, teasing, "You want me to have your baby."
He fell into the crook of her neck. "I do."
She continued to pet him. "Am I wrong or is that kind of a freaky desire for a soulless baddie?"
"Hey, least I'm not the Noble Slayer wanting the Evil Vampire's baby. That's just perverted."
"Who said I wanted it?"
He extended his arms to inspect her expression, shock evident on his face.
She touched his angular cheekbone. "I'm not saying I don't... Look, once I find out that it's not a bunny or evil incarnate, I'll get back to you. Until then, you have to stop with the pressure."
"Pressure? What pressure?"
"Watching me sleep so you can ask me as soon as I wake up what my decision is? Giving it a name, a sex and a cute personality? Talking to it, calling me 'Mum'--"
He sighed. "Right, fine. No pressure, and we'll see." Then he added, patting her belly, "Didja hear that Billy? You might have a chance in hell after all."
"Well, you know, Sunnydale. Great odds for the chance in hell," Buffy pointed out with a tender smile.
"Oh, I'm betting on this one."
"Pervert," he retorted.
"White hat," she teased.
He gasped, appalled. "Bunny shagger."
"Yeah," he said, tracing a finger along the tip of her nose. "Got me there."