Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Hokey-Pokey
Chapter Title:

Bless the Broken Road

Time line:

December, 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.



The Sunnydale gang goes on a dangerous mission. Then Angel and Cordy’s wedding takes center stage.


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


Music Referenced:

Bless the Broken Road - Rascal Flatts


Harp Music Compilation:



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.

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004:


“Ok,” Buffy started, kneeling in the center of the group and drawing out her strategy in the sand at their feet. “As soon as the portals open and we get in, Willow and Tara will go to the left … get as far away from ground zero as possible and create a diversion.


“Spike, you go to the left with them, but then turn and make your way down one of the side passages; I’ll go right and do the same. We need to do this without magic … and no fists or fangs – be we need to get it done, this will be our one and only chance … get in, grab the bounty, and get out fast,” Buffy concluded, standing up. “Everyone know what to do once we get in?”


“Yer talking like we’re going to another bloody dimension, Slayer … it’s just a Toys “R” Us for Christ sakes …” Spike pointed out.


“You’ve never been to a Toys “R” Us in December on the day of the last shipment of Elmo dolls – it is another dimension!” Buffy contended as she checked her watch.  4:45am … the doors were supposed to open at 5:00am … “Ok, positions everyone…”



Spike rolled his eyes, they had been trying to get this Elmo doll for Annie for three weeks, since the Saturday after Thanksgiving … but every store was sold out as soon as the toys came in.  The stores had announced that this would be the last shipment of them before Christmas and Annie had her heart set on one. 



Spike had suggested they just break in before the store opened and get one – they could leave the money for it even, but Buffy vetoed that. “We’d be cute spending Christmas in jail for breaking and entering! That would be a nice memory for our daughter!”



Then Spike suggested that Willow could just freeze all the other customers … but Willow refused saying that wouldn’t be for the ‘greater good’ and could have serious repercussions later.



So, they were stuck doing it the hard way – with a game plan worthy of the invasion of Normandy – except they were battling other mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles … and their goal was a red, cartoon creature that laughed and talked.  Their mission was slightly less notable in the annals of history … but apparently nearly as dangerous. More than one person had been taken to the hospital from injuries sustained in “toy stampedes”.



“Ok, we can do this! We just need one …. just one! You guys know what to do! Let’s get in there and get that irritating, fluffy, red laughing monster!” Buffy encouraged them as they moved forward towards the doors which would be opened shortly.



“We few, we happy few, we band of buggered…” Spike muttered as he took his place in the crowd waiting to get in the door. Spike kept edging forward through the throng, turning sideways and sliding between the other mothers and fathers who were pressed as one against the locked doors of the toy store.  When one woman tried to block him from moving past her, he reached around to the side opposite him and pinched her ass – when she jumped and looked accusingly at the man on the other side, Spike slipped ahead with a smirk.



Buffy was making her way up through the crowd, too, but hadn’t made it as far up as Spike when the doors suddenly swung open and the whole swarm of people pushed into the store like locusts in a cornfield.  Everyone took off running down different aisles, heading towards the center of the store where the toys were supposed to be. 



Spike passed the other parents, dodging and hurtling toy displays as he easily outran the other combatants.  When he got to the display in the center of the store where all the Elmo dolls were waiting, he grabbed two of them easily. “Child’s play … like another dimension my soddin’ ass…” he smirked as he turned around to start back to the cash registers. 



He no sooner got turned around that he was ambushed by the mob that he’d outrun a moment ago.  The stampede of desperate parents knocked him down and suddenly one of the Elmos was gone out of his hand and the other was being pulled away.  He grabbed onto it with both hands as he wrestled on the floor with three women who were trying to take it away from him.



“Oi! Get yer own … this one’s mine, you barmy birds!” Spike yelled at them, but they paid him no heed as they all fought to get the toy away from him. Within moments, the box was torn to pieces and Spike was wrestling just to keep the doll itself. 



Then he heard someone yell, “There’s more! More Elmos over here!”  He recognized the voice immediately as being Tara’s … that was apparently the distraction Buffy had talked about.  Two of the three women he was wrestling with jumped up and ran towards Tara’s voice … along with about half the people that were still fighting to get one of the dolls and get out of the melee with their coveted prize.



Spike growled dangerously at the last woman as he tugged harder on the fluffy, red doll – but she growled back just as dangerously as she tugged against him.  Who knew a mother in search of a Christmas gift could get such superhuman strength? He’d heard of mothers lifting cars off their children – powered by fear and adrenaline … who know that a battle for Christmas toys could have the same effect?



Finally, Spike got back to his feet and yanked on the toy with all his strength, but when he did that, the toy ripped in half – sending white, fluffy viscera into the air all around him and his opponent. “Bloody hell…” Spike muttered as he turned around with his half of Elmo to see if he could get another one – but they were all gone. Not one box, not one toy remained.  “Bugger …”



Spike looked around for Buffy, but didn’t see her, so he started back towards the door with the other defeated parents, trying to think of reasons that Santa couldn’t get his daughter the one thing she had told him she, “really, really wanted most of all” when Buffy had taken her to the mall for the obligatory “sit on Santa’s knee” trip. 



Spike was soon joined by Tara and Willow as he walked back towards the car. “Did you get one?” Willow asked expectantly – surely Spike would’ve gotten one with his vampire speed and strength.  Spike held up the half of Elmo that he had won and rolled his eyes.  Willow and Tara both frowned at the decapitated doll.



“What happened?” Tara asked, taking the ripped doll from Spike’s hand.



“Bloody women attacked me … sixpence short of a shilling, they are!”



“You let some mothers beat you? How many?” Willow asked with a barely contained smile.



“Dozens of the barmy bitches …” Spike defended. “Buffy said no fists or fangs… I was at a disadvantage,” he continued as they reached the DeSoto.



Buffy was leaning against it waiting for them with a shopping bag in her hand.  “What took you so long?” she asked with a smirk as she saw the decapitated Elmo in Tara’s hand.



“Spike let a girl beat him…” Willow explained.



“Pffffttt! Not a girl! Dozens of Mum-monsters! Attacked me, they did … I didn’t wanna hurt them …” he began. “Hey! You got one!” he exclaimed gleefully, finally seeing the bag in Buffy’s hand.



“I did … I told you before we went in to get in and get out fast … but you couldn’t listen. You just had to stand there and gloat!” Buffy laughed as she climbed into the passenger seat.



“Wasn’t gloatin’ … just, well, it seemed unfair for me to use my speed to get an advantage over the gits … so I was giving them a fair chance…” Spike defended.



“Oh, of course … I should’ve known. You’re known for your lack of gloatiness and not using every trick in the book to get an advantage…” Buffy laughed as Spike slid into the driver’s seat and Willow and Tara climbed in the back.



Spike snorted softly and rolled his eyes.  He’d be more prepared next time … it really was another dimension through the Toys “R” Us portal.





Saturday, December 18th, 2004:




Buffy, Spike, Willow, and Tara, along with Annie and the twins entered the lobby of the Hyperion from the underground parking garage around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Angel and Cordelia’s wedding was set to begin at 2:00. 



Xander begged out, saying he had to stay home with JJ since Anya and Giles didn’t want to miss another day of sales at the Magic Box before Christmas. Even Spike threatening to tell Anya his stamina wasn’t from the ‘wings and beer’ diet wouldn’t persuade Xander to come with them, which disappointed Spike. Above all else, a loathing of Angel was something he and Xander had always had in common and Spike was looking forward to some help double-teaming the poofter. If he couldn’t dust the wanker, he could at least annoy the hell out of him…



Faith and Wesley had also abstained from the festivities for obvious reasons … although Wesley asked Buffy to ‘say hi’ to Fred for him.



The parking garage was nearly full when they arrived and the lobby of the hotel reflected it – there had to be a hundred or more people packed into the lobby and another fifty or more of A.I.’s demon friends and associates were up on the balcony on the second floor.  If Angel had wanted a big party for Cordy, he had succeeded. 



Buffy and Willow took the twins, along with Annie, over to the table piled high with gifts and added theirs to the stack while Spike and Tara went in search of alcohol. Spike figured he needed to drink at least $300 worth to break even today, counting the gifts and the gas to drive up to L.A. and back to Sunnydale. He might need to nick a couple of bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label just to be sure…


The lobby of the Hyperion was decked out to the nines for Christmas. There was a large Christmas tree in one corner decorated in all rich jewel tones. It wasn’t a traditionally decorated tree, but instead had a peacock theme … and the rich teal of the peacock feathers blended perfectly with the deep reds, greens, and purples of the ornaments and lights.  There were large glass ornaments in the same colors hanging down at different levels from the ceiling of the lobby and all the handrails on the staircase and second floor balcony were draped in fir garland that was decorated with small twinkling lights in the same rich colors and had more of the peacock feathers interspersed throughout and shiny, purple tinsel woven in, too.


“Wanker musta killed a whole bloody flock a’ peacocks to get all these feathers …” Spike commented dryly when Buffy and Willow rejoined him and Tara.


“Peacocks molt every year, Spike …you don’t have to kill them to get the feathers,” Willow informed him as she took her drink from Tara’s hand.



“Pfffft,” Spike snorted. “Bet the ponce didn’t know that…”




“Spike, please try to be nice,” Buffy admonished him as she took a sip of the drink he had gotten her. “I think it looks lovely – very rich and elegant – very Cordy.”



“Yeah, if you like dead poultry…” Spike muttered under his breath before he downed his drink and headed back for another.



Buffy sighed and shook her head as she looked around the lobby. There were a lot of people from Sunnydale there … more than she thought would come after all the time Cordy had been gone – especially considering what a stuck-up bitch she’d been in high school. Buffy guessed the promise of free food, free booze, and a free room for the night drew more people than might’ve normally attended.  



Buffy, Tara, and Willow took the kids and found some seats at the back near the door – just in case the babies started crying, Buffy wanted to be able to duck out quickly.  The lobby was set up with rows of white folding chairs arranged in a large circle, all facing the middle where the ceremony itself would take place, like a theatre ‘in the round’.



As they took their seats, a harpist up on the second floor balcony began playing Pachelbel's Canon in D and all the other guests that were milling around found seats or stood lining the walls of the lobby.


  This is a compilation of all the music for the wedding. It's about seven minutes long. You can watch and listen, or just play it as background and keep reading.

Pachelbel's Canon in D

Bach's Sheep Safely Graze

Wagner's Here Comes the Bride (Lohengrin's Bridal Chorus)

Mendelssohn's Wedding March



Spike slid in next to Buffy, another drink in his hand as everyone took their seats. Angel, along with his best men, Charles Gunn and Lorne, and the Justice of the Peace took their places in the center of the room to await the bride.



The harpist started new music and everyone quieted as all eyes turned towards the stairs. Fred, dressed in a simple but elegant, off one shoulder black gown, began to slowly descend down into the lobby. She held a bouquet of shiny Christmas ornaments in the same rich purple that adorned the rest of the lobby in her hands as she made her way gracefully down the stairs and up the aisle to the altar at the center of the room.











When the harpist paused then began playing ‘Here Comes the Bride’, all the guests stood and all eyes turned back to the top of the stairs. Annie reached up at Spike for him to pick her up – she couldn’t see over the other people in front of them, and he picked her up and held her against his hip with one strong arm under her bottom.



Cordy was a vision in an antique-white dress with sparkly white snowflake designs embroidered on the tight bodice and on the lace which covered the lower part of the dress where it flared out about mid-thigh. The long train of the dress trailed behind her as she stepped slowly down the stairs.



Annie thought Cordy looked like Cinderella at the ball. Most of Cordy’s long, dark hair was twisted atop her head with just enough falling down her bare back added a graceful elegance to her movements. She held a bouquet of multicolored, jewel-toned Christmas ornaments in her hands, which were a sharp contrast to the white of her dress but matched the rest of the lobby perfectly. 










Annie envied the rest of her family with their blonde hair, in fact she kind of felt like the odd man out sometimes with her dark curls. But seeing Cordy look so beautiful with her chestnut mane made Annie feel special … like she had something the rest of her family didn’t; something beautiful and unique to her.  Annie watched in awe as Cordy made her way gracefully down the stairs.



Annie leaned next to Spike’s ear and whispered, “She’s bee-uutiful,” exaggerating the word to match how beautiful she thought Cordy looked.



Spike smiled and met Annie’s eyes before he leaned back against her ear. “No more than you, Niblett. You’ll be a lovely bride one day. A raven beauty, you are,” he whispered back to her, brushing a wisp of her dark hair back from her face.



Spike dreaded the day Annie would walk down the aisle and become someone’s wife – no longer his little girl.  In his heart, she’d always be his little girl, no matter how old she got. He knew that would be one of the happiest and saddest days of his life – happy for his daughter to have found someone worthy of her love, but so sad to lose her, to let her go – to let her fly on her own.



Buffy turned back and met Spike’s eyes and gave him a small smile. She had been thinking pretty much the same thing about Annie. She took Spike’s free hand in hers and gave it a light squeeze before turning her eyes back to Cordelia who had made it to the bottom of the stairs and was starting up the aisle towards Angel.



Buffy’s eyes moved ahead and settled on Angel. His eyes were glued to Cordy and Buffy saw the same look of awe and love in his eyes as she had seen in Spike’s on their wedding day, which gave Buffy hope that what he and Cordy said was true – they were really in love; he had really let Buffy go.



Buffy studied Angel as Cordy came up next to him at the altar and all the guests took their seats again. He looked good – he’d gained weight and had his muscle tone back; he looked like he did the very first night she met him all those years ago.  She remembered it clearly; he’d given her a necklace, a cross, that first night.


“Who are you?” she’d asked him.


“Let's just say... I'm a friend.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I don't want a friend,” Buffy had retorted.

“I didn't say I was yours,” he’d shot back before disappearing into the night.



Buffy snorted softly … perhaps she should’ve taken him at his word that first night. Of course, if not for all the drama of their relationship she may have never met Spike. A quote that she’d heard in school popped into her mind, she couldn’t remember it all … it started, What a tangled web we weave.  She thought that her life was definitely a tangled web – crisscrossing this way, then that, complicated by being a Slayer in love with a vampire and by prophecies and the PTB…it definitely hadn’t been a smooth road that had led her to this place.



She looked over at Spike, who had sat down with Annie on his lap, then at Dani who she had in her arms and Billy who was resting peacefully against Willow’s shoulder. It had been a long, broken road and certainly the challenges of their life were far from over, but at that moment everything was perfect. Her family was healthy, she and Spike had worked everything out and both vowed to make sure no secrets came between them again, she was working on being a better partner to Spike, on being a wife first and a Slayer second, Angel had let her go – he was marrying Cordy, and they had an Elmo doll for Annie for Christmas. At this moment in time everything was exactly perfect. That realization filled her with a feeling of contentment and a tinge of fear – because that moment of ultimate perfection rarely lasted very long on the Hellmouth. 



So lost was Buffy in her own thoughts that she completely missed the vows.  When she came back into the moment, she heard the Justice of the Peace proclaim them “husband and wife. You may kiss the bride!”



Angel took Cordelia into his arms and kissed her with a passion Buffy had rarely seen in him, even for her. Angel leaned Cordy back into a low dip as he wrapped his arms around her, supporting her weight, as he kissed his bride. 



The harpist began playing Mendelssohn's Wedding March and all the guests got to their feet and clapped and cheered as sparkly, jewel-toned confetti in the shapes of snowflakes, hearts, and stars began raining down softly on the whole lobby as if being scattered from on high by actual angels.



As Angel and Cordy broke the kiss, their heads and shoulders now covered in the sparkling colors of the confetti, Buffy thought that neither of them had ever looked happier. She hoped that looks weren’t deceiving and that his obsession with her was truly over. Now, if they could just keep him from going to work for W&H or trying to take down the Circle of the Black Thorn, everything might actually work out well for all of them.



As Angel and Cordy started back down the short aisle, the catering crew began moving chairs and bringing in tables to set up the buffet that the invitations said would ‘immediately’ follow the ceremony.  The caterers worked around the guests and rearranged the chairs into small groups and added some tables, as well – they worked quickly and soon the lobby had been transformed from a theatre in the round to a dining room with white tablecloths and centerpieces made of the same jewel toned ornaments as decorated the rest of the lobby.



It was like a well orchestrated symphony as the catering crew got everything ready – no note out of key, no chair was out of place. Buffy thought that Cordy must’ve had them rehearse that a hundred times to do it that well.  Before long, everyone had gotten their food and all their guests were sitting or standing around, talking, eating, and drinking as the harpist played Christmas music in the background above them. 



The Weckerly group took up residence at one table and Lorne, Gunn, and Fred had come by to say hello and chat with them as they ate.  Buffy remembered to pass on Wesley’s ‘Hi’ to Fred when she asked where he was. Buffy noted that Fred’s look of disappointment when she found out he hadn’t come turned to a nice smile when Buffy passed his regrets on to her.  Buffy thought that Fred and Gunn were an item, but the more she watched them interact, it was clear that they weren’t together any longer.  She’d have to remember to pass that bit of information back to Wesley when she got home…



When Cordy made her way to their table, Buffy held her breath. She had no idea what Cordy may come out with. Buffy hoped that in the interest of decorum at her own wedding, that Cordelia wouldn’t start an argument here. 



Before Cordy could even say anything, Annie jumped up and ran over to her. “You look soooo beautiful!” she exclaimed, wrapping her arms around Cordy’s waist. “I want to be just like you!”



Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed … if Annie only knew what a bitch Cordy could be she wouldn’t be saying that.



“Awww, sweetie! Thank you,” Cordy replied, kneeling down to Annie’s level. “We brunettes have to stick together, huh?”



“Papa says I’m a ‘raven beauty’! So are you!” Annie gushed as she looked into Cordy’s eyes, her own eyes dancing with excitement. “You could be a movie star princess! You could be Cinderella or Belle!”



Cordy laughed lightly. If the child only knew how hard she had tried to be a movie star when she first came to L.A. “Well, I’m just playing hard to get – waiting for the right part to come along,” Cordy told Annie.



“Yeah, too bad Cruella de Vil had already been cast,” Willow muttered under her breath and Buffy poked her in the ribs and gave her a stern look as she tried not to laugh herself.



“Where’s Xander?” Cordy asked, standing back up and looking around the table.



“Couldn’t come, sends his best to you and the poof,” Spike answered her.



“Wow, I didn’t think anything could keep him away from free food,” Cordy retorted dryly.



“Yeah, well, Peaches has a way of dimming even the staunchest of appetites,” Spike smirked as he downed another drink and stood up to go get another one.



Cordy rolled her eyes, but before she could say anything further, Buffy chimed in. “It was a lovely ceremony, Cordelia – and I’ve never seen the hotel look more festive.”



Cordy looked at Buffy and bit her tongue. She was still angry with her for what she’d done to Angel, but at least, in the end, Buffy did help him get home.  Angel insisted that Cordy should forgive and forget – let bygones be bygones, turn the other cheek, and all that horseshit and she was trying, really, really trying.



“Thank you,” Cordy finally managed. “Did you like the vows? I wrote them myself.”



“Oh – ummm, yeah, they were very touching,” Buffy hedged. She had been zoned out and hadn’t heard the vows.



“Which part did you like best?” Cordy asked her.



“Uhhh…” Buffy’s eyes went wide. “The same part Tara liked best – tell her which part it was, Tara,” Buffy said, looking at Tara with a desperate look on her face that Cordy couldn’t see.



“Oh, I know! I know!” Annie exclaimed, jumping up and down. “It was the part where you said ‘Angels come in all forms and you were so glad the heavens had sent yours to you in the form of Angel’!”



Buffy nearly gagged and picked up her drink to keep from choking on the schmaltziness of that line. She was glad she’d missed the rest of the vows…



“Yep, that was it,” Buffy finally agreed with a fake smile. “Just ..” Buffy shook her head slowly from side to side as she kept the smile plastered on her face, “… chokes me up,” she finally managed.



Buffy was relieved that someone from the catering crew came and got Cordy at that moment … it was time to cut the cake.  Buffy was afraid her face would freeze in that fake smile and she’d never be able to unfreeze it if she had to hold it another second.



“Ya know, Red,” Spike started, leaning in near her conspiratorially after he got back to the table, “you could just flick yer little finger a bit … just at the right moment, and smear that cake all over the poof’s face…”



“Spiiike,” Willow whined, “you know I can’t do that.” Willow watched as Cordy and Angel cut the cake and fed each other the first bite. Spike was right, she could just … arrrghh … no! No, that would be so wrong … sooo funny, so deserved … and so wrong.  Just one little flick of her finger … damn!  It sucked being so good sometimes!



The cake, just like everything else in the lobby, was decked out in peacock feathers (made out of icing) and decorated with deep purple and teal colored Christmas ornaments.



The topper looked more like a sculpture than a cake topper, it was elegant and simple … a man and a woman embracing.



After the cake had been served to their guests, Angel stopped by the Weckerly table and took the seat next to Annie that Willow had vacated when she and Buffy went to change the twins.



“How’s the cake?” he asked Annie, ignoring Spike’s contemptuous glare.



“It’s ok - it’s not chocolate,” she pointed out, taking another bite.



“No, it’s angel food,” Angel told her. “Get it? ‘Angel food’?”



“Yeah, ‘cause you’re an angel, I get it. I like devil’s food better,” Annie insisted.



“Pffffttt,” Spike snorted. “Angel my soddin’ ass,” he muttered under his breath. “If he’s an angel, I’m Pee-wee bloody Herman.”



Angel rolled his eyes, but ignored Spike, keeping his attention on Annie. “So, what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?” Angel asked.  Cordy had coached him on talking to children and asking what they wanted for Christmas was a sure-win question.



Annie brightened as she started listing off the things she’d asked Santa for and explaining them to Angel, beginning with the Elmo doll and ending with “a pony.”



“A pony?” Angel asked with a smirk, glancing over Annie’s head at Spike.



“Yeah, but Papa said Santa couldn’t bring ponies ‘cause it was too cold at the North Pole for him to keep them…” Annie explained.



“Spike! You must’ve missed the news, pal!” Angel started with an evil twinkle in his eye. “Santa put in a huge heated stable up there – he’s got all kinds of ponies now. Welsh ponies, Shetlands – alll kinds of ponies!”



“REALLY?” Annie asked, her expression brightening.



“You bloody tosser,” Spike drawled, his voice low, but he knew that Angel could hear him.



“Yep - so, I’d get ready if I were you … Did I ever tell you the story about the time Spike spent a whole day in a stable with a bunch of horses?” Angel asked Annie.



“OI! I think I hear your Snow Queen calling ya,” Spike announced, standing up and lifting Angel up out of his chair.



“Wait! What happened with the horses? Tell me!” Annie begged, grabbing onto Angel’s hand.



“He has to be goin’ now, Niblett … so many guests, so little time,” Spike contended, pushing Angel away.



Angel just walked around the table and sat back down on the other side of Annie. “I can’t be rude to my grand-daughter, Spike – the other guests can wait,” Angel insisted.



“Excuse me!? She ain’t no kin to you, you nit!” Spike seethed, moving back towards Angel.



“Now, Spike, don’t get your knickers in a knot,” Angel smiled. “We’ll just go with Uncle, then…”



“We’ll just go with ‘gormless tit’!” Spike countered.



“What about the horses?” Annie interrupted, pulling on Angel’s arm. “Did Papa ride horses?”



“Oh yeah, your father used to ride horses all the time,” Angel answered, looking back at Annie with a solemn nod. “Of course, he fell off them a lot, too…” Angel laughed. “There was this one time, we were leaving London in a bit of a hurry, for some reason – do you remember why we were leaving in such a hurry, Spike?” Angel asked, looking up at the blond who was standing behind Annie.



Spike glared at him, folding his arms across his chest. “Sod off.”



“Well, doesn’t matter,” Angel started again, turning back to Annie. “We were in a rush, me and Spike, Darla and Dru – got about halfway to Yorkshire and Spike fell off his horse!” Angel continued.



“Didn’t fall off! Bloody miserable beast scrubbed me off on a soddin’ tree!” Spike defended as Annie listened intently. She loved hearing stories about her parents from ‘before’ – and Angel seemed to know a lot of them.



“So, after he fell off,” Angel continued, “Dru made me go back for him.”



“Dru prattles,” Annie supplied, remembering the doll that she had named Dru after Spike said it ‘prattled on like Dru’.



“That she did…” Angel agreed, looking at Spike quizzically, but Spike just rolled his eyes.



“So, I went back for him, gave him a hand up behind me and we rode double all the way to Yorkshire. We just barely escaped that one with our skins … remember that, Spike?”



“Nothing wrong with m’ memory, old man.”



“Who were you running from?” Annie asked looking between Spike and Angel.



“Well, Spike wasn’t always as … calm and level-headed as he is now, Annie – he’d managed to start a bit of a brawl … got a few of the townspeople mad at us,” Angel supplied. “It’s one of his true natural talents, along with falling off horses.” 



“Just looking for a little fun …if you're looking for fun, there's death, there's glory and sod all else, right?” Spike asserted with a shrug. “What can I say, I was young,” he defended.



“So, you saved him?” Annie asked Angel with wide eyes. “You saved Papa?”



“Yeah – a time or two, as I recall…” Angel confirmed, looking up at Spike. “Plus, if not for me, he would’ve never met your mom, so maybe he could cut his old grand-sire a break – maybe call it even…start fresh,” Angel suggested.



“Pfffft,” Spike snorted softly, glaring at Angel. Even my soddin’ ass.



“Of course, I could just keep going with the stories … there must be hundreds of them, whaddya think Spike?” Angel suggested, looking up at Spike from his seat next to Annie.



Spike just glared at Angel. If only he hadn’t promised Buffy he wouldn’t dust the wanker…



“Did your dad ever tell you the one about swimming in the fountain in Rome – buck-na …” Angel started as Spike grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet and away from Annie.



“Leave the story tellin’ to Dr. Seuss, wanker,” Spike demanded in a low voice when they got a few feet away from Annie.



“Truce?” Angel asked, extending his right hand.



Spike looked down at Angel’s hand and sighed heavily, then looked back up and met his grand-sire’s eyes, his hands on his hips. “I’m not a fledge anymore, wanker.  If not for Buffy, you’d be dust-bin material right now …”



“I know that, Spike,” Angel said, lowering his hand. “I came to a few epiphanies under the waves…one is you’re Buffy’s destiny – you’re the one she loves and I know you love her too; the other is I love Cordy … I don’t know why I couldn’t admit it sooner, why I fought it so much …” Angel started.



“’Cause she’s a bloody bitch,” Spike offered, interrupting him.



Angel rolled his eyes. “You don’t know her like I do … she’s strong, she’s smart, she’s honest to a fault sometimes, and she believes in the mission – she’s felt the pain of the world and she wants to take that pain away if she can. I can help her do that – I want to help her do that.  It became clear that my mission, my destiny, is here with her – not with Buffy, just like yours wasn’t with Dru.



“Spike, we’ve both traveled a broken road to get where we are with lots of detours, wrong turns, pain, suffering, setbacks, and spilled blood along the way,” Angel asserted. “I think we both made it – I know we can’t forget the past, but can we leave it in the past?”



Spike rolled his eyes and his gaze drifted back to the table where they had just been sitting. Buffy and Willow had returned with the babies and Annie was relating a story to them – no doubt the ‘Spike fell off the horse’ story Angel had just told her. 



Buffy looked up and met Spike’s eyes and smiled at him.  Just like the first night he’d laid eyes on her, her smile seemed to light up the whole room and touch his soul.  He always thought that Angel was the PTB’s favored son, but Spike was the one with the family, with his soul-mate at his side, with friends and family surrounding him. Friends that cared enough to butt in when he was acting like a stubborn mule, a wife that loved him so much that she’d rather die than go on living when she thought she’d lost his love, and three beautiful, healthy children that he never dared dream of only a few short years ago.



Their life wasn’t perfect, but whose was?  Perhaps Angel was right, the broken road they’d traveled had led them straight to their destinies – maybe they just had to go through all that first before they could truly embrace what they had now.



Spike looked back at Angel and extended his hand.  Angel took it in a firm handshake and nodded knowingly.  It hadn’t been easy for Spike to do that, he knew, but Angel hoped they could put their past and their differences behind them and start fresh. 



“Now, let’s see,” Angel started. “Do you think Annie would like the story of the skinny-dipping in Rome or the submarine story?”



Spike took Angel’s hand, which was still in his grasp, and pulled and twisted until he had spun Angel around and had his arm twisted up behind the larger vampire’s back. “Neither.”



“Joke, Spike … just a joke,” Angel laughed and Spike let him go. "Geez ... get a sense of humor."



“You’re still a magnificent poof,” Spike informed him as he walked back to their table.  He still had about $50 worth of liquor to consume before he reached his ‘break-even’ point.






Later that night, Buffy and Spike tucked Annie into her bed.  It had been a long day, but she still wanted a story at bedtime.



“Tell me about Grandpa Angel,” Annie asked, looking at Spike. “Did you live with him?”



Spike pursed his lips together and Buffy covered the smile on her face with one hand. “First, not bloody grandpa, not uncle … just call him the ‘Magnificent Poof’,” Spike started. “‘Captain Forehead’ works, too,” he informed Annie.



“Did you live with him? Did he raise you when your mom died?” Annie asked innocently.



Spike sighed and looked at Buffy who just shrugged. Spike looked back at Annie before answering her. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. He taught me …” Spike started and stopped.



What could he say? He’d told Buffy that Angelus had taught him how to be a monster – and that was true. He taught him what it meant to be a vampire, how to kill, how to terrorize … how to inflict the most pain. He never wanted Buffy to know those things – but she had gotten a guided tour of them thanks to Dru’s thrall in the other dimension.  As much as he didn’t want Buffy to know those things, he didn’t want Annie to know any of that even more.



“What he taught me makes me value you and your mum and the little bits even more.  You’re all the best things I’ve ever had, more than I dared dream of,” Spike told her at last.



Annie smiled. “I think he’s nice … and handsome, too,” Annie gushed. “Like Prince Charming.”



Spike rolled his eyes. What did women see in the wanker? “I always thought of him as more of a Shrek – a big, lunkhead ogre who sits alone in his swamp and broods…” Spike countered. “And now he’s found his ogress, I reckon … bloody brilliant.”



Buffy laughed. She was sure Cordy would be thrilled to be called an 'ogress'… of course, she supposed it was better than ‘bloody bitch’ … although, knowing Cordy, she'd probably much prefer the 'bitch' moniker.



“Good night, Sweet Girl,” Buffy told Annie, dropping a kiss on her forehead and Spike did the same before they headed out of her room and into the hall.





“Why do girls always have ta turn everything into a bloody fairy tale?  Prince Charming my ass… There’s no such thing as Prince Charming,” Spike groaned as they walked down the hall to their room.



“Oh, that’s where you’re wrong,” Buffy countered with a coy smile.



“Am I, now?” Spike questioned, stopping outside their door and turning to face her with a quizzical look on his face.



“Uh-huh … I found my handsome Prince Charming,” she whispered as she wrapped her arms around his neck and lifted up on her toes to take his lips in a soft kiss. 



Spike reached down and picked her up in his arms, one arm under her knees and the other around her shoulders, and carried her into their room.



“And they lived happily ever after…” Buffy murmured against his lips. “Or at least until the next apocalypse…”










“Bless the Broken Road”  by Rascal Flatts

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Now I'm just rolling home
Into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.



Feedback: Email me feedback, I'd love to hear from you! passionate@passion4

Go back to:          The Main Home Page             The 'Teach Your Children Well' Home Page