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A Bun In The Oven

by Am-Chau Yarkona

Title: A Bun in the Oven
Author: Am-Chau Yarkona
Summary: A challenge response fic. Buffy is pregnant- and the child is Spike's. Rating: PG
Pairing: Buffy/Spike. Some others mentioned, but not the focus of the story. Spoilers: general season 6 Buffy (esp, trying to tell you what without actually giving spoilers: Tara, Spike, Willow, Giles), season 3 Angel (Darla, Connor). Warnings: Pregnancy, silliness, dog-Latin. Distribution:, Enchanted Ivy's Place, BFA (list and archive). Others welcome, please ask first. E-mail above. Many thanks to Fernando for the beta read.

Author's Notes: (Spoiler!)

By phone or other means, Buffy knows what has happened in L.A., but Angel doesn't know what happened with Spike re. his soul, or the chip not working with Buffy. He didn't even hear about her dying. Angel has been rescued, Cordelia's whereabouts are unimportant, and Angel and Wesley are back in friendly contact. Yes, this is quick. It is, however, good enough for now.

It should be said here that my personal vision of `souled Spike' is a cross between Spike as we know him, and William. He has lost the desire to kill everybody, but his urge to annoy them, Xander-style, remains, as has some, but not all, of his affected lower-class accent. He has, bizarrely, become Buffy's accepted boyfriend and a `mate' of Xander's.

Note the second: I've uploaded these as chapter of a single story for convience. That's why they have sperate headers.

Part 1: The Summers/ Rosenburg residence, late evening, August 2002.

Buffy emerges from the bathroom, looking at a strip of paper. "Oh my God! Willow!"

Willow opens her door, looking sleepy and tousled- she was in bed. "What is it, Buffy? I was just drifting off."

"Sorry, Will. It's just...I don't believe it- I thought vampires didn't..."

"Didn't what?" She looks at Buffy, at the strip of paper, thinks a little, and says: "But, Buffy, Angel did- with Darla, you know."

Downstairs, unheard, the door clicks open, and vampire ears strain to hear the Slayer's voice.

"That's true. It must be right then. Oh, Willow, I'm pregnant!" They share a hug, and Willow asks, "Are you sure it's Spike? I mean, a human would be more likely.."

"No. It's Spike's, and it's since he came back to Sunnydale. Let me see- it must have been soon after he came back, late June, early July."

"It'll be due in March, then, in the spring. Oh, Buffy, this is wonderful, but.."

"You're looking all serious and thoughtful suddenly, Will. Spit it out, whatever it is- I don't want it to spoil my happy, normal-time."

"I'm just thinking, patrol, and slaying. I mean, it'll slow you down, and when I've not got the magic any more, and no Buffy bot..."

"Don't worry, Willow." She puts her hands on her friend's shoulders and looks into her eyes.

At the open front door, vampire ears burn and Angel slips away into the night, bent on killing the soulless demon that has put his Buffy (as he still thinks of her) in this position.

"You're still good without the magic, and Giles, and Xander, and Dawn now, and Anya too- we can cope. If it gets really bad, we can always ask the L.A. folks for help. I think my real problem, now, is what order to tell the others in. Spike first, of course, but then who? Xander? Giles?"

"I should ask Spike. Once you've told him, the two of you can tell the rest together. And I can help, as well."

"Yes. Tell you what, you go back to bed now, I'll pick up Spike and tell him while we're on patrol tonight, and then we can speak to the others tomorrow. Okay?"

"I'm good with that. Goodnight, Buffy. Have a good patrol."

"Night, Willow." The bedroom door closes behind her, and she's asleep again within minutes.

2: Spike's crypt. As Buffy sets out into the starlit night, heading for the graveyard and the crypt, Angel has already arrived.

He bangs the door open, and shouts: "Spike!"

Spike looks up from sorting through his record collection, and is surprised to see his grandsire. He recovers quickly, though- unlife is full of surprises, especially when you unlive on a hellmouth.

"Hey, BroodBoy. What brings your hair gelled ass to this part of the world?"

"To Sunnydale in general, or to your crypt?"

"Either--no, both."

"I'm here to save Buffy from the next big demon guy, and to kill you for raping her."

"Um- Angelus? I didn't notice raping happening. She seemed to want it, once I got back, anyway."

"Oh- and which hell raising adventure were you back from?"

"Not hell raising. Went and got meself and brand-new soul, that's where." Spike looks so smug as he imparts this information that Angel assumes he has to be lying, playing mind games with him.

"Soul, eh? I don't believe you. And now.." He raises a stake, poised to strike.

"Slow down, Angelus. Isn't that what you were always telling me to do? Slow down?"

Angel pauses, and waits. Spike moves back, and keeps talking.

"If you won't trust me, who will you trust? The Slayer? Red? The Watcher?"

No reaction, save a slight relaxing when Giles is mentioned. Spike leaps at this chance. "The watcher? Okay then, let's go ask Giles. He did some fairly nasty tests to make sure, I can tell you. Come on!"

He inches round Angel and heads for the door, his Sire following closely. They set off into the night, Spike walking so fast it's almost a run, and Angel striding behind him on his longer legs.

Soon after they leave, Buffy arrives, and is very puzzled to find the place empty, the door open. She locks it, with her own key, and heads off on her normal route, staking to newly risen vampires as she goes.

3: Spike doesn't know, and is understandably confused. Spike runs to Giles. Angel tells Giles about Buffy, and gives him the prophecy, which refers to something about the child of the Slayer being or bringing or becoming a demon.

Giles' apartment, minutes later. Spike and Angel arrive, and Spike steps straight up and bangs on the door, Angel preferring to have a quick lurk in the shadows behind him.

"Watcher!" Spike cries when Giles opens the door, "Save me! Angelus is back in town."

"Don't be melodramatic, Spike," Angel chides. "Hello, Giles. Um, can we come in? I think you might want to sit down before we do this."

"Yes, I guess you can come in. I'll, err, put the kettle on. I have a feeling I might desire tea soon. Can I get either of you anything? I don't have blood, I'm afraid."

"What? You're a terrible host, you know."

Giles just sighs at that, fed up with Spike's attitude, and puts the kettle on. While it boils, he comes to stand in the doorway, looking at the two souled vampires, one bleached and sprawled, feet still on the sofa, and the other dark and perched on his second-best chair, pulling a slim but old volume from inside his coat.

"Right then. Why are you here, and what do I have to do to get rid of you?"

"He's.." and "I..." they say at once.

"One at a time, please."


Again, they begin talking together. Giles raises his eyebrows in exasperation, and says, "Oh, for the love of God. Alphabetically, and for you, Spike, that means Angel first."

" I came to Sunnydale because of this prophecy. Wesley found it- I think he got into Wolfram and Hart's prediction database somehow- but when I got here, well.."

Angel suddenly realises that his has jumped to conclusions based on an overheard conversation which Giles is very likely unaware of the contents of. He is immediately glad that vampires cannot blush, and tries to bluff his way out of it, by not mentioning some things- thus attempting to save his ego.

"Yes?" Giles prompts.

"Well.. I ran into Spike.."

"You broke into my crypt and tried to kill me."

"An understandable reaction. Go on, Angel."

"And he claims to have a soul now, but I don't trust him, so I thought- well, I was going to show the book to you anyway- the Latin's very odd- and you'd be able to, well..., if he has got a soul..."

"Is `well' the word of the month is Los Angeles?" Giles asks, mildly teasing. "I'm afraid that what Spike says is true. He has a soul now- I'm not sure how or why, but it seems to be of his own free will, rather than a curse. He got it.."

"To please Buffy?"

"As I understand it, yes."

"And now he's pleased her so much she's pregnant. I think they'll.."

"What?!" Giles and Spike shout, the picture of classic shock; their mouths hanging open. Giles sits down, hurriedly, and Spike swings round to face Angel, taking his feet off the sofa in the process. He doesn't even notice that he's doing what Giles wants him too.

"She hasn't told you yet?"

"Err, no..." in unison, British accents almost identical.

"Oh- um, I suspect I may have said too much. I'm not even sure- I just assumed- um, can we talk about the prophesy. I think it might be urgent."

"Oh, yes." Giles recovers himself, and takes the book from Angel. Spike shuts his mouth, but remains staring at Angel. After a moment, his grandsire can't ignore him any more.

"I'm not sure I've got all the facts here, Spike."

"I'm sure you haven't. Vampires can't get a girl- so the bint must have been sleeping with some other..." Spike rushes out of the apartment, heading blindly into the night.

"Let's keep such speculations in check until we've spoken to Buffy properly, shall we?" Giles says to Angel. "And in the meantime, let's look at this book here."


"It could be `father' or `herb-bush'- depending on which letters that stain is hiding."

"Yes- not that either would make much sense."

"No- only `child' or `baby' fits the context, really. Whoever wrote this must have been pretty strange- or on drugs of some sort. Angel, are these red stains blood?"

"I don't think so. If they are, they're very old, but I think they're more likely to be wine."

"Not the authors work, I hope."

"If he was drunk, then the whole passage could be..."

Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

"Your phone, I think, Giles. My cell phone has more bleep than ring to it."

"Yes. Hello?"

"Oh, Buffy. No, Spike isn't here- he was earlier, he came with Angel, but- look, Buffy, I need to talk to you..." Pause. "You may have done, but at your house- okay. Excuse me. Angel, did you go to Buffy's house this evening?"

Angel mumbles an affirmative, not looking at Giles.

"It would seem he was. Yes, come and tell us your news- but Buffy, I ought to warn you that I suspect we may have heard it already. Angel.... Buffy, don't swear like that. Buffy? Buffy?" he puts the phone down. "She hung up. Now, where were we with this drunken Latin abuser?"

4: Outside a pay phone somewhere near the cemetery, Spike sees Buffy walking down the street towards him. He hesitates between running away and hiding, and hesitates too long: the Slayer has seen him.

"Hey, Spike!" He decides in favour of running, but she is quicker than he is, and soon he has been caught and wrapped in warm human arms.

"Why'd you run away, Spike? I don't want to play games tonight- I've got good news." Her grin makes him want to kiss her, but he tries to resist the temptation and hold onto the nice betrayed streak he had going.

"Oh yeah? It's good news that you played with some human guy, and now you're pregnant? It's good news that you're still using me, soul and all?" Spike breaks the embrace, and begins to walk rapidly away down the pavement, frowning, his head down, hoping that Buffy will respect his privacy when she has cheated on him- and that she won't see his eyes filling with tears again.

"No, Spike- I don't know how you've heard, unless Willow told you or Angel overhead a private conversation, but yes, I am pregnant, and it is good news, because it's yours, I'm sure of it."

"Mine? You're sure?" He turns to face her, confused. This couldn't be happening. It wasn't possible.

"Yes, Spike, I'm sure. You- William the Bloody, Layer of Slayers- is going to be a father, although hopefully without the nastier consequences of Connor's birth, what with the mother being a slayer, not a vampire, and all."

"Too bad he has to have done it first. Still- yeah, I think that's good news. How many people know?"

"You now, Willow first, Angel apparently, I suspect Giles..."

"Yeah, Giles has heard the Angel version."

"I think that's about all. You can tell Xander if you like- I think I or Willow should tell Anya. Make it a girls thing."

"Perhaps that's for the best. What do you want to do to celebrate, luv?"

"What I do every evening, only better. I've already staked two stray vampires tonight- I want to stake a few more, tell Giles properly, and then go home with you and have wild, younger-sister waking..."

"Behind you, Buffy!" Buffy whirls round, to see a young vampire in full game face heading for her. She punches, kicks, and stakes, and turns back to Spike, smiling still.

"Shall we be going, then?" she asks.

Spike has a moment of confusion at how quickly that went- he had expected to have a chance to help her- but recovers and smiles back. "If pregnancy speeds you up that much all the way through the next nine months, Angel'll have to watch out for you going slaying on his patch."

They move off into the darkness, arms wrapped around each other.

Title: Buns In LA
Author: Am-Chau Yarkona
Series: Sequel to A Bun in the Oven. I'm fairly sure there won't be another one after this. Rating: PG-13
Background: Spike and Buffy have had a baby, Joise. They visit Angel, a still baby Connor, Cordelia, Fred, Gunn, Wesley and Lorne (who's living in the hotel) in LA. Pairings: Buffy/Spike, Angel/Cordelia.

Prologue: In the car, May 2003

"Spike, are you sure we can't stop for a minute or two? I have to feed Joise, or she's going to die of hunger and my bra is going to explode."

"Buffy, love, we have to get to LA before dawn, or Joise's going to grow up with a pile of dust for a father. Why didn't you feed her before we came out?"

"I didn't want to wake her," Buffy says, stubbornly. "That would have been bad, wouldn't it, Giles?"

Giles takes his glasses off and cleans them carefully, to avoid looking at the screaming infant next to him. "If you say so, Buffy."

Part 1: When the four of them arrived at the hotel, they had a brief moment of panicked argument about who went in first, but eventually settled on Buffy in front, carrying Joise, with Spike and Giles to back her up as needed.

When Buffy got to the door, however, she discovered the problem with this plan: she couldn't open it with her hands full of screaming child.

"Spike, would you..." she began, only to tail off when a green demon with red horns opened the door from inside. She backed off a couple of steps, frowning.

Lorne didn't notice. He was sticking his fingers in his ears in an attempt to block out the sound of Joise's cries. "Another baby!" he groaned, "We don't need another baby!"

As her child seemed to be doing as much slaying as was needed, Buffy took a step forward, to see Angel appearing in the gloomy hallway. He smiled, and beckoned her in, pulling Lorne out of the way. "Come in," he said, "Can I do anything?"

"Fifteen minutes privacy should sort us out," Buffy told him, and he pointed towards his office silently. Gratefully, Buffy took Joise away to a room where she'd feel happy stripping off enough clothes to breast-feed.

Part 2: In the main hallway, Angel and Cordelia stood side by side, looking at Giles and Spike. Lorne seemed to have disappeared.

Cordelia was the first to break the silence, of course. "So, Spike, you're a daddy too, huh?"

Spike nodded, unsure for once what to say.

"It's a girl, isn't it?"

To this Giles nodded firmly- he'd been one of the first people roped in to diaper changing- and Spike said, "Yeah. Yes, that's right."

"That's nice," Cordelia chirped, ignoring Angel's hand gripping her arm, "She and Connor will be able to get married. Or is that incest?"

Angel finally manages to open his mouth. "Cordy, Connor is not marrying Joise."

"Hell, no," Spike explodes, "I'm not being co-fathers-in-law with the poof!"

Lorne spoke up, stepping out of one of Angel's patches of patented darkness-for-lurking-in. "So the baby's yours, Spike? I thought..." He looked over at Connor, sleeping through all this in his Moses basket, and tailed off. "How are you finding it, all the changing diapers, and things?"

"I'm sure he doesn't want to talk about," Angel cut in.

"It's fine, Angelus. I'm sort of enjoying it, actually. And who are you, green person, anyway?"

"Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan. But most people just call me Lorne," the Pylean replied, reaching out to shake Spike's hand.

Part 3: They chat awkwardly for a while, until Buffy and Joise emerge from the office.

"Sorry about that," Buffy says, "She's asleep now."

Lorne, Angel, and Cordelia gathered round the Slayer, and she handed Joise over to Lorne. "That's a very good-looking baby you've got there," Lorne commented.

Buffy smiled, and was about to thank him, but Angel interrupted, "Don't you think Connor's good looking, then?"

"Of course," Lorne began, but Spike didn't let him finish.

"Nah. Connor's ugly."

"How dare you say that, Spike?" Angel turned round, looking at Spike threateningly.

"'Cause it's true?"

"It is not!" The taller vampire lunged at Spike, only to find that there was a hand pulling on his arm- a hand that was stronger than him.

"No fighting, please," Buffy said, "You'll wake Connor and Joise. Spike, you stay here- I want to talk to Angel." She led her former boyfriend off into the private office where she'd so recently been feeding Joise.

Spike shrugged at Cordelia, who was wearing a rather murderous expression. "I didn't mean it," he said. "And anyway, it's not like you're the boy's real mother, is it?"

Part 4: In the office, Angel and Buffy sit down for a talk.

Angel, doing his best to keep his wits about him, sat on the opposite side of the desk to Buffy. Harder to kiss her from there. "How are you holding up?" he asked.

"It's not easy," she confessed, "Spike does his best, but he isn't coping with having a soul very well."

"It's hard," Angel said, and smiled thinly. "Personal experience speaking."

Buffy smiled across at him, and nodded. "Yeah. He's better with the baby than I am, though."

"You're coping with the staying awake all night, then?"

"I was kind of used to it anyway- and Spike's on vampire time, feeding at three on the morning doesn't faze him because it feels like mid-afternoon."

Angel nodded understanding. "I've never really got that sorted out, between needing to work at night and needing to see people during the day."

"Yeah- I had to hand over patrolling to the Scoobies for several weeks, but I'm back on it now."

"You are? Shouldn't you be- resting or something?"

"Why should I? I'm fine. I look after Joise as best I can, but it's not what I'm good at, so I hand her over to people who are good at it, and go out to do what I was born to do. Slay."

"The others don't mind?"

"I think they prefer it. Willow doesn't like fighting- it makes her want to use more magic than's really good for her- but she's enjoying having a baby to look after. And Anya's helping, too."


"The vengeance demon, Xander used to be with before the whole wedding thing, when she was human."

"Oh, I remember. Heard about her before, haven't I?"

"Likely. You might even have met her at some point."

"I'm not sure. Anyway, if she's helping, that's good."

"It is- all the demons are being really rather friendly and helpful. Halfrek's appointed herself Joise's fairy gothmother. Which is strange, considering that she was cursing us only last year."

"And how's Dawn taking it?"

"Okay, for the most part. She's being more independent now- and now she's got some fighting skills, I'm okay with that, too."

"So most people are taking it well?"

"I think so. We announced it in the Sunnydale Herald, so we'd have heard if anyone really wasn't."

"You announced it? What did you say?"

"Um, `A daughter, Joise Kathryn, was born to Spike and Buffy Summers on Tuesday, 9th March 2003. Contributions for the college fund appreciated.' Anya insisted on the last part."

Angel smiled again, more genuinely this time. "Smart girl. I bet you had fun choosing the wording."

"We did. Giles still thinks we shouldn't have mentioned Spike. He only got in because Willow worked out that if you say `Spike and Buffy Summers' most people will assume that's Spike Summers."

"You didn't want to put `Mr and Mrs the Bloody', then?"

"No! She's Joise Kathryn Summers, not Joise the Bloody."

"Okay- joke. I do that sometimes. Why did you pick Joise Kathryn, anyway?"

"Joise because it sounds like Joyce, and Kathryn- well, Xander suggested it, and Spike agreed. Which is so rare I accepted it in a moment of shock."

"I wonder where it comes from, that they'd agree."

"Something to do with one of the television shows they spend forever watching, I expect. Seven-of-Nine's real name, maybe."

"I wouldn't know."

"I'm hardly the expert either, but it doesn't sound bad, so we've stayed with it."

"Changing the subject completely, are you staying here for a few days? It wasn't very clear when you phoned."

"If that's okay with you, we'll stay for a day or two. We'll be needed back in Sunnydale before too long."

"That's fine."

"Good." Buffy tried to smile, but it came to grief when she yawned.

"Tired?" Angel asked, but decided she didn't actually need to answer that. "Come on- I'll find you a room."

Part 5: Finding a room

"Here, you can have this one. I'll go find you some sheets."

"Um, Angel?" Buffy said. "Two things: one, Joise will need a cot, and two, Spike and I normally..." She looked down.

Embarrassed, Angel looked away too. "A, err, double bed? Um, yeah, sure." She glanced up and saw the pain in his eyes.

"You're okay with that, right?"

"Err, yeah. It's fine."

"Only I thought you and Cordelia were..."

"We are. In love, I mean. Not that I don't still love you. We just haven't... we don't..."

"You don't share a bed every night?"

"No. She still has her apartment- because of Dennis- and with Connor, we haven't managed to work out a way..." He bit his lip. "Come on, let's find you a room."

"No! I mean, yes. But- not if you don't want me too. Spike can look after Joise tonight."

"It's fine," he repeated, though they both knew he was lying. "I think there's a, err, larger room just along here."

"You don't know?" she asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"Not really. It's such a big place, I can't remember what all of them are like."

At that, she smiled at him, and the tension was eased. "You should carry a map around with you."

They walk off down the corridor, taking comfort in the other's presence without any need for strife.

Title: A Vampire's Night In
Author: Am-Chau Yarkona
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Spike/Buffy
Category: Absolute sap
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Joss Whedon and ME and other folks, except for Joise and Bam, who are mine. However, please feel free to borrow them. (Or torture or kill them- I mean, why not?) Summary: It is 2005. Buffy and Spike have a daughter, Josie, age four, and a son, William known as Bam, a few months old. Spike is taking care of them for the night.

"Are you sure you'll be all right with both of them, Spike?" Buffy asked again, as they stood by the front door.

"I'm sure," her lover replied. "Look, are you going to this party or are you going to stand here and worry all night?"

"I'm waiting for Willow to be ready," she answered, stubbornly. "Bam's already in bed, but you'd better check on him, especially if Joise gets noisy."

"I'll check." He turned towards the stairs, and called up, "Red!"

"Don't shout! I'm coming!" Willow bounded down, only narrowly avoiding shoving Spike out the front door.

"We'll be off, then. Goodnight, Joise. Be good," the Slayer called to her daughter, who replied in a flat, bored tone.

"Night, mummy. Night, aunty Willow." The three adults could hear Lego clicking on the living room floor.

"Night, Spike. Don't wait up, we'll be very late," Buffy told the vampire, and shut the door behind her and her best friend. Spike sighed-- he'd been hoping for a goodnight kiss, if not more-- then walked through to the main room.

"How you doing, Joise? Nearly ready for bed?" He tried not to step on any of the Lego, and found he could only achieve it by stopping in the doorway, some four meters from his daughter. "I think we should get this put away before bedtime," he added, and winced when he realised he sounded like Giles.

They'd had Giles to stay for a couple of weeks the last summer, and it had been fun in it's way, though Spike would never admit that aloud. He'd learned some stuff from watching the Watcher--he smiled at the irony of that--about how to deal with his daughter.

And his--what is Buffy to me? he wondered suddenly. We've never discussed it. Not wife, though it feels that way sometimes; not girlfriend, no friendships there; maybe lover, perhaps what the demon girl used to say. Orgasm friend.

A sharp clack made him look back at Joise. The tower of bricks she'd built, not exactly tall but hardly short anymore, had fallen over. She was crying.

Gingerly, he stepped over the piles of bricks, unable to avoid treading on a few and trusting to the fact that vampires are fairly light-footed to prevent them breaking. He picked up the weeping girl, and tried to quiet her, hoping that Bam would not be woken.

"There, time for bed, Joise. You're a tired girl, aren't you?" She shook her head violently, but then she yawned and ruined the effect. "Come on, little one. Bedtime."

"Daddy tell me story," she said, and the stubborn tone reminded him just how like her mother she was.

"Okay- but just a short one, right?"

"Long one."

"Oh, bloody hell," he groaned, before remembering that Buffy would really stake him if she heard Joise saying that. "Daddy didn't say that. You can have a medium-length story."


"No, medium. Daddy has to tidy up your Lego once you're asleep."

"Why doesn't daddy play with it instead?"

God, but the child was persistent. "Daddy doesn't like playing with Lego," he said, starting the perilous journey across the seas of brick.

She giggled. "Daddy does! He build big graveyard last week." It was true, so he concentrated on not falling over.

By the time they'd made it to the door, she was no longer upset, but still very resistant to going upstairs.

"Stop wriggling," Spike growled. She just giggled some more, and tried to kick him. "I'll bit you," he threatened. It didn't do any good.

"Silly daddy. Mummy would stake you." He knew there was a reason he'd argued against telling Joise all about mummy and daddy and vampires and slayers. Buffy had insisted, despite the fact that it seemed to lead naturally into home schooling both the children. Sometimes he wondered if that was a `because' rather than a `despite'.

"I could just take a little nip. Just enough to keep you quiet for a while." He wouldn't, they both knew that, but he was suddenly aware that due to the non-human statuses of both him and Buffy, Joise was probably in the `demon' group that his chip would let him bite. "But I won't, so long as you go to bed quietly."

"What if I don't?"

"No story." An infinitely better threat, and one that worked.

"Put me down," Joise whined. "I'll get ready for story time." He set her down carefully at the top of the stairs, and watched her rush into the bathroom, pulling clothes off along the way. Not wanting to fight with her, he picked up the discarded items as he made his way towards Bam's room--and stopped there, wondering when he'd become so domesticated. `Not wanting to fight'? That wasn't Spike.

Slightly disgusted with himself but still actually disinclined to argue, he threw the clothes in the direction of the laundry basket and peered round the door at his son. The boy was asleep, lying on his back in the cot, left thumb in his mouth. Spike was obscurely proud that his son was left-handed, same as him.

Connor wasn't a bit like his father, after all.

The floorboard outside complained, and Spike looked out to see his daughter there. "Story!" she hissed, aware that she really would be punished if she woke her younger brother.

"Yes, pet," Spike said, closing the door softly behind him. "What do you want to hear tonight? Peter Rabbit? Winnie the Pooh?" Buffy read her modern books, American books, but she liked to hear him read the old favourites, perhaps because she detected that he liked the British ones better. Or maybe it was just because Giles had brought them.

"No! Special Daddy story!"

He wasn't sure whether he welcomed or dreaded those moments. From Dawn, he used to love it: the demands for tales from his past, a chance to brag. And who would refuse to do something he loved? On the other hand, turning down the violence and gore and trying not to mention Drusilla was a strain.

Joise slid into bed, and he tucked the sheets up to her chin. She closed her eyes, and he took a moment to look down at her, soft hair all over the pillow and gently smiling lips.

"Once," he started. Then he realised that the girl was fast asleep--no point telling the tale now. He grinned briefly, and trudged back downstairs to tidy up the Lego. He did, however, spend a little time rebuilding Joise's tower so she wouldn't be upset again in the morning.

Well, Buffy, Spike thought, you really have made me a house-trained vampire, haven't you.

The End.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Am-Chau Yarkona

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