Buffy awoke from a jarring dream of seemingly unrelated images: an ornate goblet; flowing black hair and swirling silver eyes; the creepy gray demons they fought the night they went all bunny; a raging fire; a baby crying...
For a few blessed seconds, she was calmed by the notion that it was all a bad dream; everything was fine. Then she remembered -- it wasn't. She was pregnant, thanks in part to Spike.
Spike, her once-foe and present ally, who'd been inexplicably abstaining from his murderous ways of late; Spike, who'd been patrolling with her for weeks, claiming he had "nothing better to do"; Spike, who'd spent all night with her...
Spike, who was sound asleep on her belly.
Glancing down at the platinum-haired head nestled between her breasts, she noticed that their feet were facing the headboard, and recalled how they'd got... turned around the night before.
"I need to look at you," he'd said, flipping her onto her back and staring into her eyes as he groaned in orgasm.
She smiled to herself, letting the feeling of him wash over her. Him, inside her, all around her, the strength, the intensity, the illicit thrill... the love?
No. Impossible! Insane! They couldn't be in love. Gripped by panic, guilt and regret, a voice inside her shouted, Wrong! Wrong with a side order of Bad!
Make that to go...
She attempted to wriggle out from under him, but he suddenly held on tight with a growl.
Spike oriented himself and looked up.
"Hey," he said tentatively, voice raspy from sleep and sweet-nothing overuse.
"Hey, back." She forced a smile.
He straightened his elbows. "Am I crushing you?"
Sensing her underlying dread, he said, "You want me to go?"
"What? No. I mean, daylight and all. You should, you should stay."
"What you wiggling away for then?"
"I -- I just... need..." She extricated herself by twisting onto her belly, away from him. "...to..."
He caught her, pulled her towards him, bending her knees until the warm, naked flesh of her back molded against his chest. Lips tickled her ear. "To what?"
Her mind erased all answers when his free hand trailed up her leg, when he dipped two fingers into her pussy.
"What is it you need?" He ran his hands down her sides, her hips, moving back and crouching down to lick up her thigh and pierce her with his tongue.
"Oh!" Buffy trembled.
Holding her hips, he began to bounce her softly on his face.
"Oh, god, Spike..." She felt her stomach clench, her body temperature rise. "Ohh, I'm gonna..."
"Mm..." He loved the way she announced her climaxes.
"No, wait, stop, I'm gonna..."
He paused, perplexed.
She gulped, "Sick! I'm gonna be sick!" and scrambled away.
* * *
"Leave me ALONE!"
Out in the hallway, Spike had an ear fastened to the bathroom door. "Just let me in, love! Didn't I say I'd hold back your--"
"Spike! Stop. Talking."
As he waited for another round to cease, he buttoned his jeans. "You gonna shut me out the entire nine months?"
He heard labored breathing.
Scraping chipped polish off his thumbnail, he said, "Least let me know if this morning sick lasts all through, 'cause I do tend to get frisky in--"
"Go..." Something hit the door with a muffled thud, making Spike jump. "AWAY!"
"No need to get worked up, love--"
"Shut up! And stop calling me love!"
He nodded. "I'll be downstairs, then."
* * *
By the time Buffy descended the staircase, she was showered, perfumed and casually made up. Hair tied back low and loose, she wore a calf-length slipdress with a side-slit that revealed a golden flash of leg with each step.
To Spike, she was a glorious vision. Can't believe you let me in your bed, he almost whispered.
Buffy noticed Spike on her couch, shirtless, staring at her with an open mouth and clutching a box of Peak Freans.
She halted, hand on the banister. "You... eat."
He looked down at the box. "Deprived me of your tasty bits. Had to look for something else sweet."
"Shut up," she said, continuing down the stairs. Just because he's cute and eats cookies and is an amazing, generous lover doesn't make him any less of a soulless demon. "Freak."
"Freans," he corrected, shaking the box while watching her descent. "Want me to make you something?"
"Now you cook, too?"
"Well, I'm not a complete dolt. Know how to scramble an egg or three."
"Eugh. Eggs." With a grimace, she touched her stomach and walked towards the door, out of his sight range.
"I'd offer you blood, but you're fresh out." He popped another cookie in his mouth.
"No thanks," he heard her say, and saw her again, coat in hand. "Do you... need some?"
He lifted a brow. "You buying? Or offering?"
Buffy pursed her lips, unamused. "Buying. I'll um, go to the butcher shop..."
Spike scrutinized her: shifty-eyed, cornered, fight-or-flight kicking in. Otherwise known as having second thoughts. "Where else you running off to?"
"I -- don't have to answer that."
"Answer me this then. There a doctor with a tiny vacuum cleaner involved?" He mimed one, sucking at the air.
She stared at him for a moment, studying this bizarre creature that had somehow made himself at home in her living room and her life. "Not yet."
With a shrug, he grabbed another cookie. "Don't take too long. Might not be here when you get back."
"And I should hurry why?" she goaded, opening the door.
"'Cause you can't bear to stay away from me."
She chortled, "Yeah, right."
* * *
Buffy wondered what was happening to her. Every step she'd taken away from the vicinity of Spike had been a battle, every move had to be deliberately steered in the right direction. To the butcher shop, to the pharmacy, to the ice cream parlor, to Giles' front door... It was like walking against the wind.
Was she simply realizing Spike's statement? Had it had some sort of magical effect on her? Should she just run back to him right now?
The door swung open.
"Oh Buffy!" Giles exclaimed, phone pressed to one ear. "Excellent timing, come in." He pointed at the phone and mouthed, 'Doctor'.
"Oh, goodie," she cheered with little enthusiasm and stepped into her Watcher's apartment to see a heaping pile of books on his table. Prophecy, prophecy, prophecy, apocalypse, apocalypse, portents...
"Yes, yes," she heard him say in the kitchen. "I'll discuss it with her now. Wonderful. I look forward to seeing you again." He hung up the phone.
Buffy's eyes widened at the title of one book. "'Rabbit Babies'?"
"What? Oh -- yes, well. I had to explore all of the--" He saw her face contorted in horror and tore the book from her hands. "I-it was a hoax, of course. In the early 18th century, a young woman named Mary Toft supposedly gave birth to several rabbits..."
"Multiple rabbit babies?"
"Yes, but it turned out she staged it for fortune and fame."
"So, what do you think happened?"
"I just told you--"
"Giles," she leveled with him. "There's popular theory and then there's Rupert's Believe It Or Not."
He sighed. "I believe she may have been attacked by a Mosengar demon. Their young resemble rabbits."
"Well! So glad I asked," Buffy said blithely, and nodded toward the phone. "Doctor, huh?"
"Indeed!" Giles perked up. "It so happens an old colleague of mine practices obstetrics in San Fernando Valley."
Arms crossed, head tilted suspiciously, she asked, "Old colleague?"
"Y-yes, she was a member of the council."
"And speaking of demons..."
He shook his head. "Buffy, I assure you. She's not a demon. I knew her very well, and..."
Smiling, she drawled, "Really? How well, exactly?"
"Well, we--" He stopped and gave her a stern expression. "That's not the point. The point is, she's trustworthy. And might I add, our only means of finding out exactly what you're carrying."
Buffy inhaled deeply, sat on his table and picked up a prophecy book. "Maybe not the only means."
"I've been dreaming."
* * *
"Not at all, Buffy. Take care." She heard him close and lock the door.
A hand shot out in front of Buffy's face before she could block it, flattening against the wall beside her. Naturally, it was attached to a leather-clad arm... that was attached to an obnoxious vampire.
"You're off your game," Spike observed.
"You're off your rocker," she returned, relaxing.
"Must be the light-headedness. I smell blood."
She held up her shopping bag.
Eyes on hers, Spike traced the bag handles with his fingertips and dropped it to the ground, advancing. "I missed you."
"I missed you too. Much like I'd miss being staked to an anthill and covered in honey."
He pushed her against the wall and smirked. "Could be arranged."
"Stop," she whispered, making no moves to stop him.
"Might want to leave out the ants..."
"We're right outside Giles'."
"You'd rather be inside?" One hand still on the wall, he ran the other down her neck, easing open her coat lapels to brush his fingers over her dress, stopping briefly at her stomach, descending to the slit of her skirt and bunching up the fabric in his fist. "I know I would."
She murmured, "I don't want him to hear."
"Plan on screaming for me?"
"I'm not a screamer."
"Is that right?" Suddenly, he shoved her up the wall, letting her legs open and close around his waist.
She held onto his shoulders. "That's right."
"We'll see about that." He unbuttoned his jeans, pulled her panties aside and impaled her on his cock, eliciting a strangled cry.
He pressed his lips against her neck as he surged. "What was that? Hmm?"
"Wasn't a scream..."
"Just a little more volume, pet..."
Realizing he'd have no luck directly beside her Watcher's window, Spike carried her to a dark corner beneath the stairs, pressed a fingertip to her clit and massaged softly. "Please, Buffy... please... I want to hear you loving me. I want you to tell the world."
Buffy searched his eyes. Such passion, such devotion, such... oh, god, yes, deeper... She grabbed on to a handful of ivy as he thrust into her, her back flat against the stuccoed wall.
He closed in on her ear, doing that breathing thing he did so well. "Bloody... fucking..."
"Mmnn..." She shut her eyes, tightened her legs around his waist, returned his pelvic gestures with her own, the give and take between them fluid and fierce as it had ever been.
"Yes, yes, yes," she whispered, a crescendo intensifying, her fingers threading through his hair.
"Do it, do it, scream," he chanted in ragged breaths.
"Nuh-uh, not gonna..."
* * *
Giles was jolted out of a particularly engrossing read by a high-pitched wail that broke through the early evening silence.
He rushed to find his crossbow, flung open his door and... nothing. Just the sound of retreating footsteps and a burst of raucous laughter.
If he'd looked a bit closer, he might have seen something lurking in the shadows, slithering past the garden gates and following Buffy home.
* * *
"Are you two done yet?"
"Not nearly." Spike sprinkled several more kisses on Buffy's abdomen and dropped his head back down, listening. "You're a loud one, you are. Loud as your mum was tonight. You'll have a great set of pipes, that's for--"
She smacked him lightly and addressed her belly. "Can you tell your daddy to quit gloating?"
"Hmmm... he said, 'only if Mum promises to quit hitting Daddy dearest.'"
She chuckled, "Daddy lies."
"Hey, I'm just tellin' it like he says."
Softly, Buffy smoothed the hair behind her lover's ear. "Except Daddy likes to be smacked around, doesn't he?"
Eyes narrowing, Spike rose slowly, pulling her close. "Only by you, pet."
"Sick bastard," she whispered, and kissed him, biting his lip softly.
The doorbell rang. They shot up from the couch.
"Is it your--?"
"No," she whispered, and pulled the curtain aside. "Oh god, it's Willow and everyone... go upstairs. Hide."
He frowned, indignant. "I will not!"
"Spike! Please?" She squeezed his hand. "I'm not ready to tell them yet."
He narrowed his eyes. "Alright. But the time'll come when--"
"Go!" She stood up and ushered him toward the stairs. "And be quiet!"
"As a mouse, love." Grudgingly loosening his grip on her hand, he hiked up to the second floor.
After watching his retreat, she opened the door. "Hey guys!" As they barreled in, she stole another glance up the steps. "To what do I owe the party?"
"Well, first of all, we've been worried aboutcha," Willow said.
"Aw, guys, I'm fine..."
"And second, Giles told me you've been having weird dreams. You know, about the... you know."
"You can say 'baby', Will. It's okay. Unless it's a bunny. In which case, feel free to say 'bunny.'"
"Right. The baby." She breathed a sigh of relief and held up a small white pouch tied with a leather string. "So I thought I'd bring you this."
"And this is what?"
"Well, it's sort of a dream-boosting charm. It has gemstones and herbs... basically it makes your dreams clearer, and more, you know, portent-y."
"Cool." Buffy weighed it in her hands. "Thanks, Will."
"And three," Xander said, holding up a pizza box, "who needs little bags of rocks when you've got pizza?"
"You betcha. Extra cheese too."
"Yes! You're the best, Xand." Buffy flipped open the top and took a slice.
He glanced at Willow, pleased with himself. "I knew I'd win."
"Yeah, well, sure, pizza for the pregnant girl," Willow scoffed. "That's a no-brainer."
"You guys," Buffy tried to enunciate between munches. "Not a competition here. I'm just glad you all came." Oz nodded at her from the couch. "Oh, god, look at me! I'll get some plates."
"I'll get. You sit." Willow headed towards the kitchen. "Your mom's still out of town?"
"Uh-huh." She kneeled on the floor. "Some acquisitiony thing in San Francisco. She'll be back tomorrow night."
"Ah, 'rent-free." Xander placed the pizzabox on the coffee table and sat on the couch. "What's that like?"
"Mom and Dad still driving you crazy, huh?"
He leaned forward to talk with his hands. "Sometimes I wish they were straight-up evil, so you could give 'em a little taste of Slayer what-for."
"Mm. Would if I could, but the slayage -- strictly reserved for straight-ups. Vampires, demons.... It's a gig."
"A gig that's unsettlingly steady," Oz observed.
"The rewards of living on the mouth of hell."
Oz nodded at Buffy sagely.
"Speaking of all of the above," Xander asked, "seen Bunnicula today?"
"Huh?" Spike. "Me? Why? No."
Willow returned to the room with plates and napkins.
Xander shrugged. "Just curious. What with us not knowing why he's been so eager to help out and all. And now with this... new development that he seems weirdly happy about."
Buffy wiped her mouth with a napkin and paid attention to her slice. "Haven't seen him."
"Maybe reality hit and he freaked out," Willow offered. "And, you know, needs some alone time."
Xander cut a string of cheese with his fingers and brought it to his mouth. "And went so far as to skip town, I hope."
Upstairs. Oh god.
"Who's up for some TV?" Buffy blurted.
"What was that?"
"What was what?"
"That," Willow answered.
As a mouse, he says. More like a... "Rat! I think we have rats. Big ones."
Oz sniffed the air. "I don't smell a rat."
Willow burst into laughter. "Smell a...!" No one else joined in, and her laughter ebbed. "Because... funny."
"And just a tad on the ooky," Xander said. "No offense, Oz."
"Want me to go check it out, Buff?"
"No. I will. Still the Slayer, remember? You guys stay."
Buffy reached the top of the steps, padded over to her door and whispered, "You know, for a vampire? Not so stealthy with the stealth..."
But the room was empty. An open window told her that Spike was gone.
* * *
"Night guys!" Buffy sent her friends out the door. "Thanks for everything, really."
Willow gestured at the sachet in Buffy's hand. "Don't forget to put it on tonight!"
"Sweet dreams, m'lady," Xander called out.
Watching them go, Buffy walked to the edge of the porch. Just as her senses picked up on something demonic, Spike grabbed her from behind.
She whipped around, shoving him back toward the house. "Don't do that!"
She glared. "Where did you go?"
"What, you thought I was gonna stick around to play hide and seek with your pals? Not likely."
"God, you're so--" she sighed in frustration. "You could have at least left a note."
He tilted his head. "You were worried."
Realizing she was rubbing her shoulders, she dropped her hands to her sides. "No I wasn't."
"Yes you were! Look at you... heart racing. Face all flushed." Closing the gap between them, he touched the back of his hand to her face, trailing it down her neck, her collarbone, lingering at her breasts for a moment before settling open-palmed at her abdomen. "Even little Billy's doin' flip-flops."
"Shut up." She touched her belly. "And he's too young to wear shoes."
"Well, you can both stop fretting." He held up a pack of Marlboros. "I only left to get smokes."
"I don't care why you le--"
Spike kissed the breath out of her. Made her body go limp. Made her drop Willow's sachet.
Fingers weaving at the nape of his neck, she whispered between kisses, "Let's go inside."
"That's my girl." He directed her to the open door.
"Oh, the charm..."
"Mmm, I'm just oozin' with it, aren't I, baby?"
"No." She let him kiss her neck as they stumbled inside. "I need the charm... that Will gave me... I dropped it..."
"I'll see to it later, love. After I see to you..."
The door slammed shut.
Out on the porch, Willow's gift lay inanimate until a quiet chant emanated from the front lawn and a translucent light snaked toward it, lifting it up and making it glow.
The chant complete, the glow faded and the sachet dropped to the porch floor.
Opening eyes that swirled with shimmering silver, WinQuar replaced the hood of his cloak and made his way out to the street.
His mistress would be pleased.