“That’s a baby,” said Spike, staring at the blanket wrapped infant in the stranger’s arms. “Who are you, what are you doing in my crypt, and why in hell have you brought me a baby?”
“My name is Gunn,” the handsome investigator answered, “This is Angel’s son, and he wants you to look after it for him.”
“Yeah, right. Angelus’ baby. Hello, Angel is a vampire. We can’t father children.” Spike stared into Gunn’s eyes. “Pupils aren’t dilated, so I don’t think you’re on something. I know, Dru put you up to this. She wants me to eat it. Sorry, can’t, wouldn’t if I could, very funny joke, now get the hell out of here.”
“Look, for what it’s worth, I think this is crazy too.” Gunn rocked the crying infant. “I don’t trust you. You’re a vampire. But Angel is at the end of his rope. There’s this madman, Holtz, after him and the kid....”
“Holtz, I’ve heard of Holtz. He was long before my time. Your story doesn’t make any sense. Some dead vampire hunter is after a baby that can’t possibly be Angel’s, and he’s turning it over to his enemy to guard.” Spike looked more closely at Gunn’s eyes. “Maybe you are on something.”
“Look,” said Gunn, “I know you don’t believe me, but somehow Angel and Darla had a baby, this Holtz made a deal with a demon and he’s back. Darla’s dead and Angel’s on the run. He needs someone that Holtz doesn’t know, someone that’s strong enough to protect his son. It’s not like he has a lot of friends.”
“Darla’s dead? Again?” He felt a little sorry for Drusilla; she didn’t have many female friends that weren’t made of porcelain. “Wait a minute. Angel slept with Darla? And he still has his soul?”
“I gather it wasn’t exactly a moment of supreme happiness,” Gunn replied. “But, somehow, here’s the result.” He handed the baby to Spike. The baby instantly calmed in the vampire’s arms. “Guess you remind him of his father.”
“If you want my help, insults are not the way to go.” Spike looked down into the tiny baby’s face. “He’s...cute. Looks like his mother.”
“So, will you help?”
“Listen, Gunn, is it?” Spike said. “Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t protect this kid. Thanks to a lovely bit of hardware in my brain, I can’t fight humans. I take it that Holtz is still human?”
“Far as I know,” Gunn replied.
“Well,” said Spike, “There you go. I’d be no help. Who gave him the idea that he could trust me, anyway?”
“I did,” said Buffy. She had entered the crypt quietly, accompanied by Fred. “What did you think Angel and I talked about when I got back, the weather?”
She moved to Spike and pulled back the blanket from the now sleeping newborn’s face. “Angel’s baby,” she said gently, and kissed its forehead. She sighed. “And Darla’s. I don’t think that Cordelia will ever forgive him.”
“She will,” said Fred. “He loves her. She will.” She smiled at Gunn, and he smiled back.
“Did you ever,” asked Spike, “feel like you’ve walked into the middle of the movie?”
Buffy turned to Gunn. “We’ll help. Nothing will happen to this baby. Have there been any signs that the vampire cult followed you here?”
“Vampire cult?” asked Spike. “Nobody said anything about a vampire cult.”
“I’ll handle Holtz,” said Buffy. “Spike can cover the vampire cult.”
“What vampire cult?” asked Spike. “If I’m going to fight a vampire cult, I’d bloody well like to know what the hell it is?”
“Shh,” whispered Fred, “You’ll wake up the baby.”
“There are a bunch of vampires who think that the baby is some sort of messiah, a fulfillment of prophecy,” said Gunn. “ Human baby born of vampire parents, yada, yada. They want the baby.”
“How many vampires?” asked Spike.
“Lots,” replied Fred.
“Good,” said Spike. “Sounds like fun. Count me in.”
“Why does he have to stay here?” asked Spike. “Your house has a much nicer atmosphere for the little tot, and you can keep any nasty vampires out by not inviting them in. They can bloody well come in here whenever they please, everyone else does.”
“We’ve been over this,” replied Buffy. “No one would expect the baby to be here. Besides, other people live in my house. The fewer that know about the baby the better, which means me and you.”
“I’m getting sick of changing nappies,” said Spike. “Not to mention warming bottles for noonday feedings.”
“You’ll live,” replied Buffy, “Or, well, you know what I mean. Just be glad he’s still at the stage where he mainly wants to stay up all night and sleep during the day.”
The baby woke up in the middle of Spike’s bed and started to cry. “Ah, well,” said Spike, “duty calls.” He stripped off his t-shirt and lay down beside the child, cradling it in his arms. It stopped crying almost immediately. “That wasn’t his hungry cry, it was his cuddle cry. Seems to like the feeling of skin on skin.”
Buffy smiled. This was a side of Spike she thought she’d never see. “You look good,” she said.
“What do you mean?” he asked quietly, hoping to get the little one back to sleep. “I look good with a baby? Who wouldn’t?”
“No,” she said, “You look good. Not evil.”
“Care to join us?” he asked hopefully.
“Okay.” She lay down with the baby between them and faced Spike. He looked shocked. “This is nice,” she said. Together they started to drift off to sleep.
“Buffy?” he said softly.
“Hmm?” she replied sleepily.
“I’m sorry. About what I said to you. After, I mean. In the old house. You looked so panicked, so angry with yourself. I was hurt. What I meant was, it was the best night I’d ever had. Ever.” He looked for her reaction, but she kept her eyes closed, her breathing deep.
“Me too,” she sighed.
Spike sat on the end of his bed, holding the bottle to the baby’s lips. It pouted and wouldn’t open up for the nipple. “Come on Peaches,” Spike said, “You’ve got to drink this. Make you big and strong, like your poofter daddy.”
Buffy burst into the bedroom. “We have to get the baby out of here. I heard some vamps talking before I dusted them. The cult knows that he’s in Sunnydale. You were right, we need to take him to my place. They won’t be able to get inside.”
Without a word, Spike scooped the baby’s things into his diaper bag and wrapped the infant in his blanket. They left the crypt and raced through the cemetery. As they came to Buffy’s street they realized that they were being followed. A group of vampires in black robes ran behind them. More were standing in front of the house. Buffy staked all she could as Spike ran the gauntlet to the front door. He kicked on it with his boot. “Dawn,” he called, “Let me in. Now!”
Dawn opened the front door and Spike handed her the baby. “Take him inside. Don’t let anyone but me or Buffy in. Hurry!” Dawn closed the door and Spike jumped back into the melee, kicking and punching, trying to get to Buffy before she was overwhelmed by the horde. He grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the house, as they both fought the vampires. One of them had broken off a tree branch and was aiming it at Spike’s chest. She kicked the makeshift stake from its hand. Buffy and Spike fell through the front door into her foyer. The cult members rammed against the invisible barrier to the house, but it held. Buffy slammed the door shut.
“What is going on?” asked Dawn. “Why are vampires attacking our house, and where did you get this baby?”
“Wow,” said Dawn, looking down into the baby’s face. “Angel’s baby. Hey,” she said, “Does that mean that vampires and human’s can have kids? Little half vampires?”
“It’s rare,” replied Spike.
“Rare?” asked Buffy. “What do you mean, rare?”
“The stories are old, mythical. It’s rare that a human and vampire are even together, that way. At least, more than once.” He fidgeted in his seat. “I’m dying for a cigarette. Haven’t had one for days.”
“What’s the matter, Buffy?” asked Dawn. “You look upset.”
“Nothing,” denied Buffy. “Absolutely nothing.” She whispered to Spike, “We’ll talk.”
The sun was high in the sky and the vampires long gone when there was a rap at the Summers’ door. Buffy opened it to see Fred standing beside Gunn, his arm around her shoulder. “We’re back,” she said. “How’s the little guy?”
“He’s fine,” answered Buffy. “You could have called to check up on him. You didn’t have to come all this way.”
“We’ve come for the baby,” said Gunn. “Holtz is dead. Angel is desperate to see his son. He loves that little rugrat.”
“What about the vampires?” asked Buffy. “We saw some of them, last night. They’re persistent.”
“Don’t worry,” answered Fred. “Cordy is going to take the baby to her place. They can’t get in without being invited. He’ll be safe there. Where is he?”
“He’s in my room,” replied Buffy. The pair followed her upstairs to her bedroom. The curtains were drawn and Spike lay holding the baby on her bed. “Spike,” she said gently, rubbing his shoulder, “Gunn and Fred are here. They’ve come for the baby.”
Spike opened his eyes, still holding the infant tight. “Already?” he asked. “He just got here.”
Buffy took the infant from his arms and handed him to Fred. Spike stood up and touched the baby’s cheek. “Bye, Peaches,” he said. “Be good.”
“What is his name, anyway?” asked Buffy.
Fred laughed. “You know, in all the excitement, I forgot to ask. I don’t think Angel has even named him yet.”
Buffy said, “Tell him William is a good name.” Spike’s head shot up and they locked eyes.
Buffy and Spike lay cuddled together in his crypt bed. “I miss him,” they said in unison. They both laughed.
“He was a great little matchmaker, though,” said Spike.
“So I could get pregnant?” Buffy asked. “Not sure that I’m ready for that.”
“Not bloody likely, pet,” replied Spike, brushing a hair from her forehead. “Old wives tales, I ‘spect. What Angel and Darla had was a miracle.”
Buffy snuggled her head against his chest. “I’ve come back from the dead, remember. Twice. I believe in miracles.”