AN:  Takes place a few years after the end of both series. Non-canon for the comics. Buffy is living in England helping with the rebuilding of the Watcher’s Council and training new slayers. This story takes place on a visit to California on a recruiting trip. Buffy has heard rumors that Spike survived the final battle in NFA. She and Willow track him down. Here’s a glimpse into the reunion, in which Spike gets a surprise…

Willow entered the lobby, a small child clinging to her hand. The little girl wriggled from Willow’s grip and ran to Buffy, her sandy-blonde curls bouncing. Buffy swung her up easily onto one hip.

“Hey baby. This is my friend, Spike. Can you say hi?”

The girl turned brilliant blue eyes on the vampire. “Hi.”

“And who might you be then?” Spike asked, his eyebrows climbing higher every second.

“Tell him your name, sweetie.” Buffy prompted.

“JoyAnna Summers-Pratt.” She rattled off in a sing-song voice. “I’m three.” She held up the appropriate number of fingers.

“Are you really?” Spike said quietly. “You have… such pretty blue eyes.”

“Just like her daddy’s.” Buffy said, her voice tight with emotion.

Spike continued to stare, and Buffy looked around. “Joy, baby, can you go play with Aunt Willow for a little bit?”

Buffy knelt down and set the girl on her feet. Joy appeared to be about to protest.

“I’ll be along in just a few minutes. I promise.” Buffy said, smoothing the riotous curls.

“Okay.” Joy agreed tentatively. “Can I have a biscuit?”

“You can ask Willow if she has any. But just one. We’re going out to dinner soon.”

The girl brightened at that. “Chips?’ She questioned hopefully.

“Mmmm, we’ll see.” Buffy said. “Go on.”

“Love you, mummy.” The girl said, hugging Buffy tightly.

“Love you too, baby.” She turned her daughter to face the vampire. “Say bye to Spike.”

“Bye!” Joy said, as she darted toward Willow.

Spike stared after her.  “She’s yours.” He stated blandly.

Buffy nodded. “And yours.” She all but whispered.

He shook his head. “Not possible.”

“I’m… fairly certain, Spike. After Sunnydale, I felt… off. Finally went to the doctor in July. I was eight weeks along at that point. She was born the end of February. You know… you know I wasn’t with anyone those last months in Sunnydale. Just you that one night…”

“I’m a vampire, luv. It’s not possible.”

“I could have a paternity test done if you want. But… look at her, Spike. I know you don’t see yourself very often, but surely you know a spitting image when you see one.”

He sighed, unable to deny it, but unwilling to accept it.

“She looks like my sister… Amelia. She died when she was five. Looked… just like that.” His voice grew hoarse and tapered off.

“I don’t know how it happened. I mean, by all accounts it’s not possible… but… I’m glad it did.”

“She doesn’t know, does she?”

“She’s too young to understand death, so I’ve always told her her daddy was far away.  I figured I’d deal with all the tough questions as they came up. When she asks, I tell her things about you.”

Buffy took a deep breath and continued. “Listen, Spike, I know this is a shock. I’m… I’m not expecting anything from you. If you want, I can just stick to the story that her dad died before she was born.”

When he looked up at her, she saw a brief flash of sadness in his eyes before he composed himself.  “If you think it’s best. Reckon a vampire’s no good as a father anyway.”

“No, Spike!” Buffy said with fervor. “God, do we totally suck at communication. That’s not… I didn’t mean that. If you want… to be involved… I…”

He raised an eyebrow.

She took a deep breath. “I want that too… I just…. I know this isn’t something you’d have wanted. I don’t want to pressure you into anything.”

“Not something I’d have wanted? You’re daft, Slayer. When I was human, it’s all I wanted. Haven’t had the option for so long… might have stuffed it down with other human dreams. But… seein’ her… She’s beautiful. How could I not want to be part of her life?”

Something that had been wound tightly in Buffy’s core seemed to release, and she felt as if a huge weight had lifted off her chest. “If you want to set up a time to call… or if you want to write…. Do you have email? Maybe we could get you a computer with a video camera…”

“What if I told you I’m getting’ a bit tired of California? Been thinking it’s about time for a visit to the homeland…”

Buffy’s eyes grew wide. “Sure.. yeah, anything. If you want her on weekends, or if you just want to visit, or come over for dinner… I want you to be part of her life. I want her to know you.”

“What if I want to get to know her mum too?”

“I’d like that.”

Spike was silent for a moment. Then changed the subject abruptly.

“Noticed she called you ‘mummy’. She sounds a bit…”

“British?” Buffy said, with faux posh accent. She sighed. “I know… it’s terrible.”

Spike raised an eyebrow.

“I mean, not terrible! There’s nothing wrong with British… I just hadn’t expected her to pick up so much so fast. Figured I’d get us both back to the States before she turned native on me.”

She shrugged.  “I tried for awhile to teach her American words for things, tried to encourage American pronunciations. But what’s the point? People can’t understand me, so I might as well have a daughter who can translate, right?”

“Well, luv… have you even heard yourself lately? That’s not exactly pure California coming out of your mouth.”

“Take that back!” She said, teasing. “Is it that bad? Have I…”

“Not to worry, doubt anyone’s gonna mistake you for a Brit. Your accent’s just softened a bit, yeah?”

“So has yours.”

“Well, gave up some of the more… uh… embellished… bits, I suppose. Spent too much time round the ex-watcher.”

“Who?”

“Wyndam-Price. Not a bad sort, probably would’ve been great chums if he’d been around when I was human.”

“Wesley? You were friends with Wesley???” Her face was a mix of surprise and sarcasm.

“I’m not the same as I was back in Sunnydale, Buffy. I’ve changed. Been livin’ with a soul for almost five years now.”

“I know. I’ve changed too. I mean, having Joy… big life-change, you know?”

“Always knew you’d be a good mum. Never thought I’d get to see it.”

“And you’ll be a great father. I mean it. I’m proud of you, Spike. You’ve had a lot to deal with, and you’ve handled it all so well.”

“I’m still a vampire, pet. Don’t know if that’s something you want your precious little sunbeam lookin’ up to.”

BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS* BTVS

Spike smeared his fries around in a glob of ketchup, his eyes glued to Buffy and Joy as they navigated the busy restaurant on their way to the restroom.

“How you doing with all this?” Willow asked, quietly.

Spike shook his head as if to clear it. “Overwhelmed a bit, you know?”

“Sudden parenthood will do that, or so I imagine.”

“Wish I’d known…”

“We didn’t know, you didn’t know. There was a lot of not-knowing.” Willow’s expression was soft and sad. “It’s a shame. Buffy would have loved having you there for the whole thing.”

“Really? Got the impression she thought I wouldn’t be interested.”

“That’s her defense mechanism talking. She knows you, Spike. She knows what’s under the black & leather… uhhh…. Didn’t mean that as innuendo-y as it sounded.”

Spike grinned.

“Anyway, you’re not much with the black & leather these days… and the hair….”

Spike ran a hand through the curls that were unbleached and ungelled for the first time in decades.

“Thought I’d give a new look a try.”

Willow nodded.

“Been puttin’ on one costume after another for so long, wasn’t sure who I was anymore.”

“Do you know now?”

“Nah. But I know who I want to be.”

“Yeah?”

“I wanna be that little girl’s daddy.”

 

 

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