Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: I Run to You
Chapter Title:

Happy Birthday To You

Time line:

August, 2004



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004

Annie turned five on February 14th (she was born in 1999)

Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)

Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.



Spike's birthday is celebrated a little late. Life gets back to what passes for normal on the Hellmouth.


Notes: Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta, PaganBaby, for her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always appreciated encouragement!!  



Music Referenced:

“Happy Birthday To You” in Marilyn Monroe/JFK style.

Here's Marilyn doing it:


I Knew I Loved You, Savage Garden:


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:


Rating / Warnings:


Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.


Saturday, August 21st, 2004:


“Once upon a time,” Annie started as Buffy and Spike sat on each side of bed and tucked her in that night, “a handsome vampire came to Sunnydale to meet a Slayer. He’d heard that she was …” Annie looked expectantly at her father for his part of the story.


 “…A helluva Slayer … resourceful and strong…” Spike filled in, looking at Buffy with a soft smile. “A pretty bird, but a bit shirty…”


Buffy rolled her eyes, but Annie continued, undeterred. “The handsome vampire went to the Bronze and saw her dancing with her friends. Then she smiled at something Uncle Xander said and …” Annie stopped again and waited for Spike to fill in the next part.


“…and the whole bloody room lit up from her smile,” Spike added his part, his eyes locked on Buffy’s as he spoke.


“And then the handsome vampire saw her fighting … she moved like …” Annie added.


“…like the bloody wind … graceful and strong … fast and fluid …”


“She got knocked down, but got right back up again,” Annie continued. “Then she dusted the bad vampire and the handsome vampire fell in love with her – ‘cause she was …” Annie stopped again and looked at Spike.


“…she was … she is, everything I ever dreamed of,” Spike added softly, never taking his eyes off Buffy. “She is my heart and soul.”


Tears stung Buffy’s eyes. She’d missed this so much. This time every night with Spike and their children – just being a family – a halfway normal family, despite the ‘handsome vampire and Slayer’ bedtime stories…


She’d missed watching Spike with Annie and the babies, he’d turned out to be the perfect father – loving and kind, understanding and playful.  There really wasn’t anything that she didn’t miss about Spike – the passion with which he did nearly everything, his humor and his (often hidden) intelligence – even his stubborn streak was something she could identify with– she had the same one.


Annie smiled and turned to Buffy. “And the beautiful Slayer saw the handsome vampire and thought ….”


Buffy looked at Spike and then down at Annie with wide eyes … she wasn’t prepared to add to their story. “Uhhhh…” Oh shit!


Buffy sighed and looked back at Spike, her expression soft. “The Slayer thought ‘where’d this hot…umm, I mean, handsome vampire come from … I haven’t seen him before – I better find out who he is before he gets away.’ So, I asked him who he was … and he said I’d find out on Saturday, but, of course, he showed up on Thursday just so he could crash the Parent-Teacher party and have some of my wonderful lemonade…”


“You made lemonade?” Annie asked – this was new information!


“I sure did – it was a big hit, as long as you didn’t drink it!” Buffy laughed. “And the handsome vampire met my mother … your grandmother, Joyce, that night, too.  And what did the handsome vampire think of her?” Buffy asked, looking at Spike with a mischievous grin.


“The handsome vampire thought the whole lot a’ you Summers women were shirty birds – all swing axes like bloody lumberjacks, they do … which only made him love you more,” Spike supplied with a smirk.


“When did you fall in love with Pa…the handsome vampire?” Annie asked, looking at Buffy.


Buffy looked at Spike and bit her bottom lip.  “The Slayer fell in love with the handsome vampire …” Buffy started, before pausing a long moment. “…when he held her in his strong arms and let her cry – he let her be just a girl with a broken heart. He sang a soft lullaby and rocked her and he understood her like no one else did, like he could see into her soul … he still does.”


Buffy leaned across Annie and dropped a soft kiss on Spike’s lips before resting her forehead against his. “I love you … you handsome vampire,” Buffy said softly as she brought one hand up to touch his cheek.


“I love you, too – you shirty Slayer…” Spike smiled as he took her lips back into a gentle kiss.


“And they all lived happily ever after …” Annie finished with a contented smile.




“God, Spike … I missed you so much,” Buffy murmured against his neck as they made slow, sweet love later that night.


Spike pressed into her and stopped moving as he leaned down and rested his forehead on hers. “I love you so much, Buffy … I know I acted like a pillock … but I really never stopped loving you or missing you.”


Buffy took his lips in a soft kiss, then said, “I really want to be a better wife – a better friend, because you deserve better than me … I can be selfish and ‘shirty’ and all those other things and you deserve better …”


Spike pressed his lips back against hers and whispered, “Shhhhh,” against her mouth. Spike went down to his elbows over her and pulled back to look into her eyes. “We both messed up, yeah?  Everyone messes up, Buffy … please don’t give up on me again – you promised you wouldn’t do that ever again, remember? I’m sorry for taking your family away and making you feel alone – I won’t ever do that again, if you’ll make a ‘Spike promise’ to never give up on me again…”


Buffy closed her eyes and nodded her head as tears spilled down her face. Spike gently kissed her eyelids and the tears from her face as he waited for her promise.


“I promise…” she whispered through her tears, her voice shaky as she opened her eyes and looked into his. She saw the love that she’d so desperately wanted to see that day when he’d told her to go and stay away.  It was as if his love came straight from his heart, out his beautiful, blue eyes and straight into hers, filling her with warmth and happiness – making her heart feel light as a feather.


Buffy held up three fingers in a Boy Scout pledge like she’d done earlier, “I ‘Spike-promise’,” she whispered and Spike smiled sweetly above her.


“I love you, Buffy. I promise you’ll never walk alone ever again,” Spike whispered back before taking her lips in a slow, sensuous kiss as his hips started moving against her again.


“I love you, Spike …” Buffy murmured back as she wrapped her arms around his neck and began moving with him, matching his slow rhythm and savoring his body on hers and the feeling of rapture that his words and his eyes and his body were eliciting in her.


Spike watched her face as he pushed slowly in and out of her heat … she’d never felt so good to him, her soft, supple body under his was something he thought he’d never feel again – something he thought he’d lost forever, and he nearly had.  But it was her words and the sorrow and love that he saw in her eyes – her assertion that he deserved better and that she wanted to be better, that fueled his love and made his heart soar. 


The warrior lovers talked and cried and made love all night – flying through the clouds of heaven and soaring in each other’s arms as the hurt and anger and distrust of the last month got washed away on laughter-silvered wings …




Sunday, August 22nd, 2004:


“ARRRGGHHHH!” Spike screamed as Buffy and Faith tried to hold him still. “FUCK, RED! Get on with it already – you’re bloody killing me here!”


“Spike, you have to hold still – plus, you’re already dead…or undead, anyway! I can’t do this if you’re moving around! And I can’t go fast – You don’t want me to miss and drop it in your lung and have to get it back out and start all over, do you?” Willow yelled back, as she tried to stay calm.


They had removed the actual Gem of Amarra from the ring it was mounted in and Willow was trying to make Spike’s plan to embed it in his body a reality. Unfortunately, since they didn’t know what kind of magicks had been used to create the Gem in the first place, Willow and Tara had been hesitant to use a translocation spell to simply transport it from outside to inside Spike’s body.  They couldn’t guarantee that it would retain its protective properties if their own powerful magic was used on it, so Spike opted for Willow to use her telekinetic power to push it through his flesh, through his breastbone, and lodge it next to his heart.


He didn’t want to take any chances with the Gem – not just for himself or Buffy, but for the children; he wanted to be in the stands at the T-ball games, he wanted to teach Billy and Dani how to ride their bikes, he wanted to do all those little things that ‘normal’ fathers did – and the Gem was the key that opened those doors. The few minutes of pain was nothing compared to what he, and his family, would gain.


“I don’t know why it matters… he doesn’t use his lungs any more than he uses his heart…” Wesley pointed out from one side of the room.


“Spike does …” Willow countered with a sigh as she continued slowly pushing the stone into Spike’s body as he writhed in pain but tried to stay still and not pull against the Slayers who were holding his arms and legs.


“This would be a lot easier if you’d just let me freeze you for a few minutes…” Willow pointed out.


“NO! What happens when ya can’t defrost me? No bloody way … I won’t be a popsicle for the rest of bloody eternity! Just get on with it, then!” Spike demanded through clenched teeth.


“I’m getting …” Willow sighed as she continued pushing the gem deeper into Spike’s body.  When she finally felt it break through the breastbone, she stopped.


“How does that feel? Can you feel it?” she asked as she used a clean towel to press over Spike’s wound and stem the flow of blood.


“Still hurts like bloody hell …” Spike told her as he closed his eyes and tried to feel where the gem was in his body.


“Go a bit deeper … it ain’t against the heart yet. Don’t hit my bloody spine with it, though! Just a little … an inch – no more. This much …” Spike told Willow, pulling one hand away from Buffy and holding his thumb and forefinger up to show her an inch.


Willow rolled her eyes. “I know what an inch is, Spike … You forget, I haven’t been lied to by guys all my life …”


“I dare say … why would men lie about how long an inch is?” Giles asked as he stood next to Wesley off to one side.


Buffy and Faith both looked at him with raised brows as they continued to hold Spike’s arms and legs.


“Oh dear, never mind …” Giles said quickly, looking away before removing his glasses and cleaning them furiously with his handkerchief.


“Ok, there … how’s that?” Willow asked when she’d moved the gem a little deeper.


Spike let out a long breath, closed his eyes, and nodded his head. Buffy and Faith released him and Buffy took the towel from Willow and held against Spike’s chest to stop the bleeding.


“I need a bloody drink…” 




Tuesday, August 24th, 2004:


Spike came into the mansion and dropped down heavily onto the couch in the great room, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. The hole in his chest from having the Gem of Amarra embedded into him had nearly healed, it was just a red spot now – and it worked perfectly. He could go out into the sun without a single wisp of smoke to be seen.  He’d already gotten Clem started spreading the rumor that he’d Shanshued so no one would come looking for the Gem…


“Hard day at the office, honey?” Buffy asked with a smile, walking into the room from the kitchen, drying her hands on a towel as she walked.


Spike opened his eyes and rolled them. “Remind me to tell Harris that the bloody gem’s on the fritz next time he wants help in the soddin’ yard.  Do I look like a bloody yard man?” Spike asked, flinging is arms out to the sides.


“Well, not a typical yard man…” Buffy agreed as she sat down on the couch and leaned against him. “Maybe an English yard man,” she suggested with a smile.


“Not a yard man at all. He wanted to trim that bloody tree away from the house so the whelp couldn’t climb down it. Of course I had to be the one up the bloody tree doing the cuttin’ while he’s safe and sound doing the directin’ down on the bloody ground,” Spike ranted.


“Why couldn’t he get some of that bloody equipment he’s got sittin’ around those construction sites to go up the tree with – why do I have to climb the bloody tree, with a bloody chainsaw and cut the bloody thing away from the bloody house!?” Spike continued as he wrapped an arm around Buffy.


“You do realize you used the word ‘bloody’ eight times in the last ten seconds …” Buffy said with a smirk. 


“Yeah, well that’s ten bloody times less than I wanted to use it…” Spike continued. “The whelp’s littler than the little bits! If JJ can climb down that bloody tree, Harris has more to worry about than yard work…”


“Well, he’s trying to plan ahead, honey. I think it was really nice of you to help him – I would hate to see Xander up that tree with a chainsaw …”


“Oh, so it’s ok for me to be up a bloody tree with a chainsaw…”


“I have confidence in you … you’re an excellent arborist… does that sound better than ‘yard man’?” Buffy smiled and put one hand on the back of Spike’s neck and pulled his lips down to hers, taking them in a soft kiss.


“Besides, I have a big rewardy-surprise for your efforts…”


“Do you, now?” Spike murmured as he pulled her closer to his side and took her lips back into another soft kiss.


“Mmm-hmm …” Buffy murmured against his mouth before pulling away, standing up and pulling him up to his feet. “But first, you need to shower … you’re covered in … tree crumbs…”


“There was a time when ‘tree crumbs’ wouldn’t ‘ave bothered you, Slayer…” Spike murmured as he grabbed her into a hug and kissed her again.


When Spike broke the kiss, Buffy smiled and stepped back. “How would you know, you’ve never been covered in tree crumbs before…” Buffy informed him as she turned and headed back into the kitchen.


“Your surprise will be waiting for you in the kitchen when you’re de-crumbed …” she sing-songed as she disappeared into the other room.


Spike watched her ass sway from side to side as she walked away. Lyrics from one of Tara’s country songs rang in his head – hate to see her leave, but oh to watch her go …


When she disappeared into the kitchen, Spike turned and sprinted up the stairs and to the shower – he couldn’t wait to see what surprise she had in store for him in there.  He briefly wondered where the rest of the commune was – maybe she had sent them all away for the night, he hadn’t even heard Annie or the little bits in the house. They’d have the whole house to themselves all night long … the thought had him buzzing with anticipation …




Spike briefly thought of wearing just a towel wrapped around his waist down to the kitchen to get his ‘surprise’, but caution won out over convenience and he pulled on a pair of jeans – just in case.


As he rounded the corner and stepped into the kitchen his senses were assaulted by a thunderous chorus of, “SURPRISE!”


“BLOODY HELL!” Spike exclaimed as he jumped back and nearly stumbled over his own feet trying to get away from the unexpected throng of people in the kitchen.  He’d been too engrossed in imagining what Buffy’s surprise for him was going to be to even notice all the heartbeats and smells coming from the room.


Buffy made her way over to where he now stood, shell-shocked, half in and half out of the doorway to the kitchen.


“I told you I had a surprise for you in the kitchen …” she said with a smirk. “Happy Birthday … a little late.”


“I made the cake!” Annie exclaimed, running over to him. “All by myself!”


Spike had finally recovered enough for things to begin registering again and he picked Annie up when she reached him. “Did ya now? All by yourself?” he asked her, looking at Buffy.


“Well, I might have helped a little …” Buffy clarified.


“This oughta be interesting…” Spike murmured as he walked into the room and the rest of the group, which was made up of all their friends, Giles, Lorne, Faith and Wesley, Willow and Tara (who each held one of the babies), and Xander, Anya and JJ, all wished him a happy birthday, as well. Harris must’ve set a world speed record getting cleaned up, dressed, and over here that fast…


“Soooo…the tree choppin' was…” Spike started, looking at Xander.


“Buffy’s idea to get you out of the house,” Xander filled in with a smile. “But, I do appreciate the help – we’ll probably have to do it again in about fifteen years, so you have time to practice more with the chainsaw, Jason.”


“Jason used a machete, you nit … Leatherface used a bloody chainsaw! Don’t you people know anythin’?” Spike chastised Xander.


“I preferred Freddy Krueger,” Anya interjected. “‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ was much scarier than ‘Friday the 13th’ or ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.  In fact, it was one of the more popular vengeance wishes during the mid-eighties. Lots of women wished their lying, cheating, no-good husbands could live in the nightmare on Elm Street with Freddy for the rest of eternity …”


“Thank you, Anya, for that bit of trivia… I’m sure we’ll all get that question right when it comes up on ‘Jeopardy!’,” Giles cut in, rolling his eyes.


Anya smiled at Giles. “Glad I could help.”


Spike smiled, still holding Annie against his hip, as nearly everyone began talking at once – arguing over whether Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, or Leatherface was the scariest mass murdering movie icon of all time.  He looked at Buffy, who just smiled and rolled her eyes as everyone continued talking and arguing their points. 


This is what it’s all about, Spike thought as he held his daughter and watched his friends talk passionately and animatedly about such an inconsequential subject. This was why Buffy had to help Angel, for these moments with friends and family that the PTB had given him – had given them.  This is what she meant when she said you had to give in order to receive – apparently, what he had to ‘give’ was Angel a second (or third, or forth) chance – but what he got in return couldn’t be measured.


“Are you sad, Papa?” Annie asked, looking at Spike closely as tears glistened in his eyes.


Spike smiled at his daughter. “No, Niblett – happy. Happier than a man has a right to be.”


Buffy got Faith’s attention and had Faith let out an ear piercing whistle, effectively stopping the conversations in their tracks. 


“Whatdya say we sing and let Spike blow germs all over the cake so we can eat it?” she asked the group as she lit a single candle atop the cake and everyone began to sing.


Happy Birthday, to you,

Happy Birthday, to you,

Happy Birthday, dear Spiiiike …

Happy Birthday, to you …


Spike set Annie down. “Help me blow out the candle, Niblett?” he asked her as he leaned forward towards the cake.


Annie nodded eagerly and leaned in with him. “Make a wish!” she instructed him and Spike nodded seriously before puckering his lips and pretending to blow the candle out … letting Annie do the actually blowing out of the flame.


Everyone cheered and clapped as Buffy removed the candle from the cake and gave it to Annie so she could suck the chocolate icing off the bottom of it.


“Ummm…before we eat, can you decipher your creation for me, Niblett?” Spike asked, as Buffy handed him a knife to cut the cake.


"It’s simple!” Annie beamed. “That’s you in the middle – and you’re holding Mama’s hand,” Annie explained, pointing to the yellow sprinkles just under the large smiling yellow circle in the center. “And that’s Dani and Billy and me!” she continued, pointing to the other three groups of yellow sprinkles.


“Ahhhh… of course, I see it now,” Spike said, nodding his head. “So, these other ones must be …” Spike started, unsure what the other clusters of sprinkles were.


“This is Aunt Anya and Uncle Xander and Uncle Giles,” Annie explained, pointing to the two circles with multicolored sprinkles and the one red one next to it. “And this is Aunt Willow and Aunt Tara and Lorne in between!” Annie finished, pointing to the two red clusters of sprinkles for Willow and Tara and the large mound of multicolored sprinkles for Lorne.


“Brilliant … you got the whole family on there, didn’t ya, Niblett?” Spike asked as he began to cut the double chocolate cake.


“Where’s JJ?” Anya asked, looking at the cake with concern.


“Oh – he’s here …” Annie said, pointing to a few sprinkles that were just barely hanging onto the edge of the cake, up near Xander and Anya’s effigies.


“Why is he so small?” Anya asked, looking at Annie with a furrowed brow.


“’Cause he’s ‘littler than the little bits’ … and I ran out of room – I told Mama we needed a bigger cake,” Annie explained with a serious nod of her head before looking back at Spike. “Can we eat now?” she asked him, her eyes wide with anticipation of the chocolate heaven that awaited them.


“’Course … I suppose you want a very tiny piece, yeah?” Spike asked her with a smirk as he sliced through the cake.


“Noooooo…” Annie whined, rolling her eyes, folding her arms across her chest, and sticking her bottom lip out in a pout.


Spike laughed … yes, this was what it was all about. He silently thanked the PTB for not letting him wear just the towel around his waist downstairs as he served his daughter the first piece of cake. It was a happy birthday, after all.



As night fell and the birthday party was still going on, all the adults decided to move it to the Bronze.  Since Tara had stayed home the last time to babysit, Anya volunteered to stay home and watch all the kids this time, but Giles insisted that she go; he’d stay. He really couldn’t take hearing the middle-aged, balding, overweight, insurance salesman sing “Do ya’ Think I’m Sexy?” one more time…


It was Tuesday, so that meant open mic night at the Bronze, so there wasn’t continuous music playing, but the friends took advantage of any singer that came up, good, bad, or indifferent, and missed no opportunity to dance, either as a group or with their partners – depending on the song.


“C’mon, Slayer,” Spike said to Buffy, extending his hand towards her as he saw Lorne take the stage.  Buffy looked confused – there wasn’t any music playing…


“There’s no music,” she pointed out.


“There will be,” Spike assured her as he extended his hand further towards her and she took it and stood up from the table to follow him to the dance floor. 


As they reached the floor, music started playing and Lorne took the mic. “This is a special dedication from Spike to his lovely wife, Buffy,” Lorne said with a smile and a wink at Spike before he began singing.


Spike took Buffy in his arms and held her close. They danced to the slow beat he sang softly along with Lorne, his lips next to Buffy’s ear so he was singing only to her as other couples joined them on the dance floor for the slow, romantic dance.


I Knew I Loved You, Savage Garden








♫ “Maybe it's intuition
Some things you just don't question
Like in your eyes, I see my future in an instant
And there it goes, I think I've found my best friend

“I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy
But I believe

“I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

“There's just no rhyme or reason
Only a sense of completion
And in your eyes, I see the missing pieces
I'm searching for, I think I've found my way home

“I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy
But I believe

“I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

“Ooh hoo ooo, hoo hoo ooo ohh
A thousand angels dance around you
Ooh hoo, hoo ooo hoo ooo hoo hoo hoo
I am complete now that I have found you

“I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life….”

As the song ended, Spike lifted Buffy’s face and brushed his lips lightly across hers in a silky kiss. “I really do think I loved you before I met you,” Spike told her softly, his blue eyes holding hers captive with the adoration she saw in them.


“You’re the other half of me, Spike. Without you I was … like a black hole – completely empty; no light, no sound, no hope. I love you – I need you,” Buffy replied quietly as she rose up to her toes and kissed him gently.


Spike wrapped his arms around her and pulled her body against his as he deepened the kiss, pressing his tongue between her lips to taste her, to feel her heat surrounding him. 


“Well, I’d say that was a big hit…” Lorne commented from the stage, bringing the lovers out of their bubble and back to the dance floor.


Buffy smiled at Spike and he led her back to the table they were sharing with the rest of the group as the next act came on the stage … a lady in a pink tutu had a poodle, also in a pink tutu, jumping through hoops.


The evening went quickly, as the friends danced and laughed and drank and ate and talked about everything under the sun and stars.  At about midnight, just a few minutes after Buffy had excused herself to go to the ladies’ room, Spike heard his name being called to come to the stage. He hadn’t signed up for the open mic, so he was confused about why Lorne was calling him up there, but he got up and headed that way. 


“It’s a very special day today,” Lorne was announcing from the stage. “Today’s the day we’re celebrating the bringing of one blond bombshell named Spike into the world…”


Spike furrowed his brow as he climbed the stairs to the stage… What the bloody hell is he doing now? he thought as he walked slowly towards Lorne.


“And to commemorate this day, we have a very special singer and a very special song.  Everyone give a nice hand to Buffy, the lady this guy was lucky enough to fall in love with…” Lorne said as he clapped and started backing off to one side of the stage. He handed the mic to Buffy as she came on the stage from the side opposite Spike. 


Buffy and Spike met in the center of the stage. Spike looked at her with confusion, but Buffy just smiled, laid one hand on his chest, brought the mic up, and, as the applause died down, she began to sing slowly and breathily … in Marilyn Monroe/JFK style…




Happy…Birth…day…you sexy thiiing,



Spike watched her as she sang, her eyes never leaving his, as her hand slid slowly down his chest, across his abs, then back up again when she reached his belt.  Her eyes gleamed with mischief and laughter and love as she sang the innocent song in a very un-innocent way.  That was just one of the things he missed about her during the month they’d been apart – her unpredictability, the way she could still surprise him and that glint in her eye when she knew she’d gotten him, like now.


Buffy could barely contain her amusement at the look on Spike’s face when she began to sing – there was surprise and wonder and perhaps a touch of embarrassment – which was hard to do to Spike.  She loved that she could still find things to surprise him with – it seemed like he had always been the one to surprise her with romantic gifts and getaways, poems and songs.  She was glad to have the chance to return the gesture for him, to show him that he meant the world to her.


As Buffy finished, Lorne rolled out a huge platter of spicy wings, with thirty-three candles (his official age, according to the Queen and the great state of California) forming a circle around the perimeter of the overflowing platter.


Buffy took Spike’s hand and turned him towards the birthday wings. “Make a wish,” she instructed him with a smile.


“All my wishes have come true,” Spike told her, as he tilted his head and looked at her like she was his greatest wish come true. “Got nothing else to wish for.”


Buffy laid a hand on his cheek and smiled at him. “Then blow out your candles so we can eat, silly! I’m starving!”


Spike laughed and turned back to the tray of wings and blew out all the candles with one long breath and everyone in the club clapped and cheered.  The cheering got even louder when more trays of wings were brought out and served ‘on the house’ to everyone in the club that night.


Spike turned away from the food, took Buffy into his arms, and kissed her passionately, as she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kiss.


“You’re a helluva woman, Summers …” Spike murmured against her lips as the kiss broke.


“A helluva hungry woman … let’s eat,” she replied with a smile, grabbing the tray of wings and heading back to their table with it.




“See, I told you Spike used his lungs!” Willow asserted, looking at Wesley as they watched him blow out his candles. 


Wesley just shrugged as he helped himself to some of the spicy wings that had been served to their table by the wait staff a few moments earlier.


“Yeah, you know, I don’t get that… Spike has no trouble inhaling, exhaling, and blowing out candles,” Xander started, looking at Willow, “but you remember when Buffy died? Angel said he couldn’t give mouth to mouth to her because he had no breath. Does that really make sense?”


Willow shrugged. “Maybe he just didn’t know how …”


“And he figured I did?” Xander asked skeptically as he helped himself to some of the wings.


“Maybe he thought Buffy would rather you saved her …” Tara suggested.


“I don’t know,” Xander said with a shake of his head. “Angel’s creepy … I never liked him and my opinion hasn’t changed much – even if he is supposed to save Annie and JJ one day.”


“You didn’t like Spike, either,” Willow pointed out. “In fact, I think you called him…what was it? … ‘next best undead th…’”


“OK!” “OK!” Xander interrupted her. “Yeah – fine, I didn’t like Spike at first either – but I think if Buffy needed mouth to mouth, Spike would be at the front of the line.”


“I think you’re right…” Willow smirked as she looked at the stage and watched Spike take Buffy in his arms and ravage her mouth with his.




Thursday, August 26th, 2004:


As Buffy, Spike, and Annie entered the Amelia Earhart Elementary School of International Studies for orientation, they were greeted by a short, thin, red-head in her fifties, “Hello, I’m Mrs. Sprague, the principal here.”  Annie would start first grade at the magnet school in a little over a week, today was an open house and orientation so the parents and new students could meet the teachers and get familiar with the school before the big day. 


Spike shook her hand. “We’re the Weckerlys. I’m William, this is my wife Buffy and our daughter, Annie,” Spike introduced them.


Mrs. Sprague shook all their hands. “You’re British?” she asked, looking from Spike to Buffy to Annie.


“Just me,” Spike clarified.


“Eastender, I take it,” Mrs. Sprague commented on Spike’s accent, a slight edge of superiority in her tone.


“That a problem?” Spike asked with raised brows.


“No, of course not!” the principal assured him. “It’s wonderful to have diversity among the students. After all, ‘All that glisters is not gold,’” the principal quoted from Shakespeare with a fake smile as she started looking down her list for Annie’s name to let them know what classroom to go to so they could meet her teacher.


Spike narrowed his eyes at the woman, who suddenly took on hag-like appearance to him – her meaning clear.  She assumed he was a working class, uneducated berk just because of the accent he used. He didn’t care about what she thought of him – in fact, that was one of the reasons he started using the cockney accent in the first place, but he didn’t like anyone making false judgments about Annie.


“I reckon not,” Spike started before he quoted more of the same line the principal had used from a scene in Shakespeare’s play, A Merchant in Venice:


“Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

Had you been as wise as bold,

Young in limbs, in judgment old,

Your answer had not been inscroll'd

Fare you well, your suit is cold.”


Mrs. Sprague stared at Spike, her jaw slightly agape.  Spike plucked the paper she’d written Annie’s room number on out of the principal’s hand and looked at it before starting down the hall towards the room. “Bloody idiot,” he muttered as he led the way down the hall, Annie and Buffy following behind him.


“What was that?” Buffy asked as they caught up to him.


“Just teachin’ the bint to not judge a book by its bloody cover,” Spike told her with a smirk as he reached Annie’s classroom and opened the door for Buffy and Annie to go in ahead of him.


“Hello,” a young, attractive, brunette woman greeted them with a slight French accent. “I’m Mademoiselle Deschanel,” she said as she shook Buffy’s hand, then Spike’s and then turned her attention to Annie.


“What’s your name?” she asked with a smile,  bending down to Annie's level. Her accent made her sound exotic, but her demeanor was friendly and down to earth.


“Annie Weckerly,” Annie answered as the teacher shook her hand.


“And who are your escorts today, Miss Annie?”


“My Mama and Papa,” Annie said with a smile, looking up at Buffy and Spike.


“I assume you have other names you prefer?” the teacher asked, looking from Buffy to Spike. “I’m Amélie,” she introduced herself again using her first name.


“Buffy and William,” Buffy said, returning the young teacher’s smile.


“It’s wonderful to meet you all … I want to go over our curriculum and supply list with you and if you have any questions, just stop me.  I want you and Annie to be comfortable with everything – it’s the best way to learn,” Mlle. Deschanel told them as she led them to a table in one corner of the room and began going over their goals, areas of studies and the list of supplies that Annie would need for class.


After about half an hour, Buffy, Spike, and Annie left the classroom feeling good about having placed Annie in this school. Despite the bad start with the principal, the actual teacher seemed quite knowledgeable and genuinely cared about teaching and about her students.


Buffy was happy to see computers at every desk and a large TV monitor in the front of the room that the teacher explained was for live interaction with similar classrooms in other countries so the students could have a chance to speak with children from around the world – live and almost in person.  The whole school seemed well-funded, well-supplied, and well-staffed … well, except, perhaps for the principal.


“Au revoire!” Annie called to Mlle. Deschanel with a wave as they left the room.


“A bientôt!” the teacher called back with a smile. “See you soon!”




Later that day …


“Cordy…Cordy…Cordelia!” Buffy exclaimed, holding the earpiece of the phone away from her ear as Cordelia ranted on the other end of the line.


When Cordelia took a breath, Buffy said, “Just let me talk to Angel!”


After a couple more minutes of Cordy ranting and raving to Buffy about what a lying bitch she was for doing what she did to Angel and lying about it, Angel came on the phone.




“Angel – how are you feeling?” Buffy asked, trying to put Cordy’s accusations and rantings out of her mind and calm her nerves.


“Fine – I’m fine. Sorry about Cordy … she’s a little ... worked up,” Angel started and Buffy could hear Cordy start again in the background.


“It’s ok, she didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. Good ole Cordy, you can always count on her to point out every character flaw - well, except her own, of course…” Buffy replied, trying to make light of it.


“Yeah, she’s very … forthright,” Angel agreed.


“Angel, the reason I called is I want to make sure you aren’t thinking about going to work for Wolfram & Hart or doing anything crazy like trying to join any fun, evil cults…” Buffy started.


“What are you talking about? Unless my memory’s faded again, I’m pretty sure that Wolfram & Hart would dust me if they ever caught me anywhere near their precious building.”


“Yeah – you’re probably right, I just … listen, trust me when I say that if you ever get offered a job there, just say no, okay?” Buffy asked.


“Sure, Buffy – but believe me, I’m the last person they’d ever offer a job to…”


“And don’t join any evil cults …” Buffy added.


“No evil cults, got it…” Angel agreed, confused as to why Buffy thought he would ever join an evil cult or go to work for Evil, Inc.


“Okay, good. So….you’re ok, then?” Buffy asked as she twirled and un-twirled a strand of hair around her finger.


“Yeah, I’m fine. Buffy?”




“Thanks – thanks for getting me back here,” Angel told her solemnly.


“You’re welcome … take care of yourself, ok?” Buffy instructed him before they both said goodbye and hung up.


“So, the wanker joining any new clubs?” Spike asked as he stepped into the great room from the kitchen after she hung up.


“He says not…hopefully that’s true…” Buffy said with a sigh as she walked over to Spike, wrapped her arms around his neck, and laid her head against his shoulder.  Spike wrapped his arms around her and sighed as he reminded himself that they needed to keep tabs on Angel, and that meant Buffy would need to talk to him from time to time. Quid pro quo – that would have to be his concession for the PTB giving him the life he had. It really was a small price to pay.




Buffy approached Faith in the training room later that day. Xander had re-hung the heavy body bag in the center of the room; adding even more reinforcement in the ceiling this time, and Faith danced around it, punching and kicking as Buffy walked up to her.


“Hey B! Did ya want a go?” Faith asked, as she stopped her training and stepped back for Buffy to have access to the bag.


“No…I wanted to talk to you a minute,” Buffy said.


“Sure – talk away,” Faith replied, as she started punching and kicking again.


“I understand you made a move on Spike,” Buffy started and Faith snorted.


“Well, he was technically divorced at the time,” Faith defended with a laugh. “You always know all the cool vampires.”


“I know why you did it … I just have one question,” Buffy told her as she held the body bag still for Faith.




“What would you have done if he’d been into it? What if he didn’t ‘run away like a ponce’?” Buffy asked Faith, using Spike’s description of what happened.


Faith stopped and looked at Buffy. “I knew he would. He totally loves you – he promised to be your willing slave, he just needed to be reminded that he still was,” Faith told her with a shrug.


“But what if he … I don’t know, just decided to go for it? What would you have done?” Buffy pressed.


Faith shrugged and hit sluggishly at the bag as a wide, mischievous grin spread across her face. “I’da kicked his lily white ass.”


Buffy laughed and nodded. “Thanks.”


“Hey, what are friends for?” Faith called after Buffy as she headed out of the room.




That night, after dinner …


Spike was down in the Batcave with a beer and that damn language video game … he was determined to be able to get good enough at Chinese to beat Annie at least once at it…


Annie padded down the stairs after her bath and plopped down on the sofa beside him and watched as the game ended … his character fell in the Yangtze River because it didn’t know how to say “What time is the next train?” in Chinese…


Spike grumbled and dropped the controller as he picked up his beer and took a large swallow.


“Can I have an orgasm for my birthday?” Annie asked him, looking up at him with expectant eyes.


Spike choked and spit his beer out, covering the video equipment and TV with suds. He continued to cough and choke, trying to clear his lungs of the amber liquid that he’d inhaled.


Annie jumped up and grabbed some rags out of a box in one corner of the basement and began wiping off the equipment. “That’s why Mama said we’re not supposed to have food down here next to the games… remember?” she asked him as she mopped up the liquid.


Spike finally caught his breath and sat his beer down on the floor, away from the equipment.


“What’d you say?”


“I said, ‘That’s why Mama said we’re not supposed…’ ”


“No… ‘fore that – what do you want for your birthday?” Spike clarified, looking at her with wide eyes…surely, he’d misunderstood her.


“An orgasm…Aunt Anya told Aunt Willow that was the best birthday present she’d gotten… She got TEN of them on her last birthday!” Annie enthused as she finished wiping off the beer and looked up at Spike expectantly.


“Anya…I’ll bloody kill ‘er,” Spike muttered under his breath as he ran a hand through his hair and closed his eyes.


“Can I have some?” Annie asked, climbing back on the sofa next to Spike.


“Uhhh … wouldn’t you rather have a Barbie or another game?” Spike suggested, waving his hand at the video games.


“No. Aunt Anya said it was the best present, EVER!” Annie insisted with a shake of her head. “Maybe I could just have one?”


“No … it’s not … uhhh, that’s not a child’s present, pet. It’s for grown-ups…” Spike stammered as he tried to get her off the idea.




“It just is …”




“Some things just aren’t for little bits … and you shouldn’t say that word anymore, either…” Spike tried to explain.




“Stop sayin’ that!” Spike admonished her with an exasperated sigh, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the sofa.


I’m gonna tear Anya’s tongue out…or maybe Xander’s … wonder how many orgasms she’d have if he didn’t have a tongue… Barmy demon bird … Whelp’s gonna be a serial killer ‘fore he’s ten bloody years old with her as a mother …


“Why?” Annie asked again, pulling Spike out of his thoughts of revenge and JJ’s future occupation.


Spike rubbed his eyes and tried to think of something intelligent to say to explain why orgasms were adult presents … and why she should stop saying that word…


“Because I said so,” was the best he could come up with.


“Now … how do you say ‘What time is the next train?’ in bloody Chinese? Xiànzài shì shénme shíhou tiándiǎn ma??”


Annie rolled her eyes. “No … you asked, ‘What time is dessert?’,” she informed him, dropping the previous subject for the moment.


“‘Shénme shíhou shì xià huǒchē ma?’ is ‘What time is the next train?’,” she corrected.


“Well...’course, I figured they served dessert on the bloody train – shouldn’t got dunked in the soddin’ river for that!” Spike defended, picking up one of the game controllers and handing to her as he grabbed the other one for himself.


He really was gonna have to have a talk with Anya about her big mouth later …




“Your daughter wants an orgasm for her birthday,” Spike informed Buffy later when he came to bed.


Buffy sat up in bed and laughed. “And did you promise her one?”


“Oh, ha-ha … very bloody funny! Anya’s big mouth is gonna get her in trouble one a’ these days …” Spike told Buffy as he pulled his t-shirt off, dropped his jeans, and climbed into bed with her.


“Well, it sounds like a wonderful present to me…” Buffy pointed out.


“Yeah, you’re not five!”


“So, what did you tell your daughter?” Buffy asked with a smirk.


“I told your daughter that she couldn’t have one, of course!” Spike ranted, still not seeing any humor in it at all.


“Did you tell her why?”


“Yeah – ‘cause I said so,” Spike repeated the reason he’d given Annie.


Buffy laughed out loud. She’d heard that reason more than once in her life – now she understood it.  “Well, that’s a perfectly good reason,” Buffy told him with a smile. “It’s been used for generations…”


Spike rolled his eyes and sighed at the lameness of his argument with Annie as he lay back on the bed and Buffy cuddled up against his side.


“You think maybe I could have one…it’s not my birthday or anything, but…” Buffy suggested coyly, running her hand lightly up and down his chest and abs.


Spike smirked. “Might be able to spare one for ya …” he told her as he rolled on top of her and captured her lips with his.


“Just one?” Buffy asked with a sly grin when he broke the kiss and began running his tongue slowly down her neck.


“We’ll see what I can do. Apparently, Demon Bird had ten … I’m sure we can beat that,” Spike smirked. “The day ‘Minute Man Harris’ can out-orgasm me, is the day I stake myself.”


Spike found the spot behind Buffy’s ear that drove her crazy and twirled his tongue over it in slow circles. “Mmmmm,” Buffy moaned, arching her back and pressing up against his body as she wrapped her arms around his chiseled back. “Well, we wouldn’t want that…”


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