Spike and Buffy settled into their new roles as parents over the next couple of months. It was quite the adjustment to make for them both. Buffy coped better with the lack of sleep, which she put down to being the Slayer. It wasn’t just the night feeds that contributed to the new father’s exhaustion. Since Tommy was born, Spike had been working non-stop trying to provide for his new family. Buffy didn’t get much money for her slaying, and he still held the old fashioned notion a man should be able to provide for his family. Spike arrived home exhausted from a long day at work.
“You look like death walking, which is ironic since you’re not a vampire anymore,” Buffy said, from the sofa.
“Nice to see you too, love,” he grumbled.
“I wish you were home more, not working yourself to the bone.”
He ignored all the possible innuendo in her sentence; he was too tired. Spike looked around for Tommy.
“He’s gone to bed,” she said. “If you were home more, then you’d see him more.”
Spike sighed. “Please don’t start this again. You know why I’m doing this.”
He wanted his son to have the very best of everything. If that meant he had to work his socks off then so be it.
“You should slow down and enjoy the baby. Tommy needs his Daddy.”
This was a bone of contention between them, especially when Buffy was feeling particularly knackered after a hard day with Tommy, who was prone to bouts of colic.
“I know you’re doing your best,” she said. “I’m just asking you to cut back on the overtime. Robert would understand.”
“You make it sound as if I don’t help at all,” Spike muttered. He understood it was difficult for her too; they were both running themselves ragged. Spike was doing long days and Buffy was after going back to work weekends, when he looked after the baby.
“I not saying that at all,” she snapped. “I know you do and you’re a great father. I just hate to see you so tired and I want us to spend time together as a family. Is that too much to ask for? Either I’m working or you’re working.”
He could hear the pain in her voice and it was a sharp dose of reality. When was the last time they had spent a whole day together?
“I’m going to bed,” she announced.
“It’s only-” He checked his watch and was shocked to see it was ten pm. “Fuck!”
“Yeah,” Buffy said, crossing her arms.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I completely lost track of time.”
She rolled her eyes, before turning around and heading up the stairs, leaving Spike standing there feeling like a right bastard. If he wasn’t careful he would lose this amazing woman. They were drifting apart and he didn’t know what to do about. He guessed he could probably start with having a chat with Bob about the long hours. After a few moments of silent reflection, he followed her up the stairs. He heard the running of the water from the shower, as he reached the door of their bedroom. He decided to leave her to it and go check on the little nipper, so he walked into the nursery instead. He smiled fondly as he gazed at his little boy fast asleep in his crib. He wondered if he would ever feel like he deserved the life he had. He had been one of the vilest creatures that walked the earth, murdering, pillaging and laughing all the while. Still, he had a second chance at living, was given the gift of a beautiful son and had Buffy. He had been a monster for most of his life. What sort of example could he ever be for his son? His ghosts still haunted him and he didn’t think he would ever stop feeling unclean, the blood on his hands was still there. Somehow, the innocence of this child reinforced this feeling. He crept out of the nursery and went down the hall to their bedroom. Buffy had come out of the shower and was blow-drying her hair. She didn’t say a word and he knew he was still in the doghouse. He went into the bathroom with a sigh and stripped off his clothes. He turned on the faucet and stepped under the steaming water. He lathered his body and wished he could cleanse away all the guilt he felt too. When Spike finished his shower, he grabbed a towel and dried himself. He could no longer hear the hairdryer and he figured Buffy must be in bed by now. He took a deep breath and headed into the bedroom. Sure enough Buffy was in bed and she was facing the wall. He slid into the bed beside her, expecting the cold shoulder. Instead, she turned to face him and put her head on his shoulder. He felt a warmth flood his belly at the gesture. She couldn’t be too mad at him.
The following night Spike wasn’t long home from work when the doorbell rang. He opened the door and was surprised to see Angel standing there. Peaches calling unannounced was never a good sign. He recovered quickly.
“Come in,” Spike said.
Angel walked in, looking even more gloomy than normal. “Is Buffy around?” he asked. “I need to talk to both of you.”
“She’s putting Tommy to bed. I’ll go fetch her.”
Spike had a bad feeling about this. He walked up the stairs and popped his head in the door of the nursery. Buffy stood with her back to him concentrating on changing the little mite’s nappy.
“Did I hear Angel’s voice?” she asked as she turned to him.
“He says he needs to talk to both of us.” Spike frowned. “I think something bad has gone down. He’s like a big, black cloud of gloom.”
Buffy put Tommy down into his cot. “Let’s go face the music then.”
They could hear Angel pacing on the wooden floor.
Spike sighed. “Can I dust him if he wears a hole in the expensive carpet?”
“Be nice,” she warned.
They walked down the stairs, where Angel was frowning at the family photographs that graced the fireplace. Buffy made a beeline for Angel and embraced the wanker.
“It’s good to see you, Angel,” she said. Angel’s jaw tightened at her words. “Or is it not good to see you?”
“This is not a social call,” Angel said gruffly. Buffy groaned. “Can I ever see you for a non-apocalypse?”
“Buffy, let the bloke get on with it,” Spike chided, eager for the story to be told. “Go on, then.” He nodded at Angel.
Angel shifted uncomfortably and turned his gaze to him. “It’s Drusilla!”
Spike’s heart started race. “Drusilla? What about her?”
Angel clenched his jaw. “She’s been in Los Angeles and put together a gang of sorts. Faith and Gunn took her on and she killed them.”
Spike looked at Buffy, who was ashen faced. He knew that despite the differences between herself and Faith, she was devastated by the loss. He put his arm around her. Spike was equally distressed, as he had been fond of the girl and Gunn too, even if he never would have been bosom buddies with either of them given their histories with Buffy and Angel respectively.
“Sorry, for your loss, Angel,” Buffy said quietly. “I know you were close with them both.”
“Thanks, for letting us know,” Spike added.
“Actually, I didn’t just come to tell you this,” Angel admitted. “I have a favour to ask of you, Spike. You know Dru better than anyone and I need a little help tracking her down. I want you to come to L.A. with me for a couple of days.”
If Spike was honest it would be good to get back in the game and if Dru was out there maybe it was his responsibility. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t do to appear too interested especially since Buffy’s eyebrows were raised and her cheeks were flushed. He knew Buffy well enough to tell she was furious.
“What do you want with me?” Spike asked trying to sound disinterested. “I can’t just jump because you want to play Simon Says; I have responsibilities and a job. Besides, what makes you think I can help?”
“You know how she thinks,” Angel argued. “You could always make some sort of sense of her ramblings.” Angel paused for a moment and looked apologetically at them both. “More importantly your presence could help flush her out.”
Buffy exploded, “Angel, I’m sorry you lost your crew, but you’re not using my husband as vampire bait, especially for that skank.”
Spike put his hand on her shoulder. “I think I should go,” he said quietly.
The Slayer opened her mouth to protest, but seemed to think better of it. He knew she was angry at him and she didn’t want to fight with him in front of Angel. Bloody Angel was always coming between them. It briefly occurred to him that if Angel wanted him out of the way and have a chance at a ready-made family that this would be an ideal opportunity. He shook off the notion knowing logically that Buffy didn’t love the poofter like that anymore, and if it happened she would probably dust Angel.
Buffy turned her back to him and spoke to Angel, “Have you got someplace to stay?”
“I did book into a motel in case you needed time to think about this.”
“Call over tomorrow night once we have had time.”
Buffy’s tone was icy cold and Spike knew he was going to have a hard time convincing her he should go. He was going to go whether she liked it or not. He could feel her gaze burning a hole in the back of his head.
Angel nodded and headed for the door, where he stopped for a moment. “With respect Buffy, this is Spike’s decision not yours. Let him make it.”
Without waiting for a response Angel slammed the door shut. The silence was oppressive and Spike knew he couldn’t avoid her gaze for ever. He took a deep breath and met her gaze.
“I don’t want you to go,” she said.
“l have to,” Spike insisted. “If I can help, then I reckon I should.”
“Angel wants to use you,” she snapped. “He wants to use you as bait. You’re not the Big Bad anymore; you’re human and you have a child to think of. You can’t go hunting trouble down with little regard for your safety. It’s selfish.”
“You still go out slaying,” he pointed out.
“I’m a slayer, Spike. I have extraordinary powers. You don’t, not anymore.”
He flinched at that, but he knew she was right. The two lapsed into silence once again.
“Explain to me why you think you should go?” she asked eventually.
“Dru and I spent years killing; thousands died at our hands. I can’t undo what I did, but I can help Angel find her. I owe this to Faith and Charlie.”
Buffy sighed. “I understand. I don’t have to like it though.”
He was relieved she accepted he needed to do this. The last thing he wanted to do was fight with her before heading off with Angel. Their relationship was under enough pressure as it was.
She hugged him tightly. “If you die, I will get Willow to bring you back, so I can kill you myself.”
“I’ll be careful. I promise,” he said. He knew he shouldn’t make a promise like that.
As soon as it was dark the following evening, Angel turned up. Spike had packed a duffel bag and called the station to say he was taking a few holiday days. They owed him for all the overtime he had been putting in of late.
“Look after him, Angel,” Buffy said.
“Oi! I can look after myself” Spike interrupted.
“Come on, Willie,” Angel teased.
“Don’t call me that,” Spike whinged.
He knew this was going to be long couple of days. He looked over at his son, standing in his play pen.
Tommy put his chubby little hands into the air, looking for Spike to pick him up.
Spike walked over to pick him up, before kissing him on the forehead. “Now you better be good for your mum while I’m away. You’ll have me to answer to when I come back. ”
Buffy snorted. “You’re the soft touch.” She held out her arms for Tommy.
Spike smiled and handed Tommy back to her and kissed her on the lips.
“Take care,” she whispered.
Spike and Angel headed for the door with Buffy and Tommy behind them. Spike opened the passenger door and took a last look back at his family standing on the doorstep.
Buffy waved Tommy’s little hand. “Wave bye-bye to Daddy.”
Tommy began to wave of his own accord and Spike’s heart swelled in pride at his smart little lad. He was going to miss them.
Spike found over the next couple of days, even though he was human he and Angel got along no better. They fought over the little things, such as what to watch on the telly and the more serious issues over tracking down Dru. The trail had turned cold; they had checked the familiar haunts and places Spike remembered visiting with her. Both men were greatly impatient and taking it out on one another. Spike missed Buffy and Tommy a lot. He had never planned on being away for more than a couple of days and he was lucky Dowling was his direct boss, as they gave him the extra time off work. He couldn’t leave just yet. Spike was afraid if he left Angel to his own devices that he would do something stupid and Buffy wouldn’t forgive him if anything happened to the wanker. Still, knowing this was for the best was not making being away any easier. He had been away a week when Dawn rang him to chastise him.
“The last thing Buffy needs is you running off after your ex. You should be home with her and Tommy.”
“I will be back soon,” he argued. “This is important. I wouldn’t have taken off otherwise.”
Dawn sighed. “Spike, you’re so puffed up in your own importance, you don’t realise this is just your vanity talking.”
“That’s not fair, Dawn,” he replied, stung at her words.
He didn’t argue very often with the younger Summers and when he did it was always a blazing row. Dawn never hesitated in being honest and he returned it in kind. Normally this brutal honesty didn’t result in a fight as they respected and listened to each other’s opinions.
“Oh it’s fair,” she snapped. “Spike, I thought you got over being a vampire and had accepted the fact that you’re human.”
“I have,” Spike said in a low tone. “I would have come back when we ended up at a dead end. The thing is Peaches is in a dark place and I reckon Buffy wouldn’t appreciate me leaving him here on his own to do something stupid.”
Dawn scoffed, “Angel’s not your responsibility.” She paused for a moment before continuing in a softer tone. “I get he’s family and all, but I think your son is more important. Surely, there’s someone else that can keep an eye on him. Saving the world isn’t your job anymore. Let that up to those with the superpowers. You’re just a regular guy now. It’s time you grew up and got your priorities straight.”
He knew Dawn was right. He had been longer than he had promised and his recent phone calls with Buffy had been short and to the point, making it clear she was pissed off at his absence. He vowed he would only stay another couple of days and he would quits even if Dru was still about.
Spike didn’t know when Dru had learned to be so stealthy. Back in the days when they painted Europe red, she was more than happy to leave havoc in her wake. She was making it a lot more difficult for them to find her now. When they did finally meet her, it was on her own terms. A day after Spike’s conversation with Dawn, Spike and Angel were leaving Angel’s apartment when they heard a familiar laugh coming from nearby. Spike whirled around and caught a figure moving in the shadows.
“My boys together again.” Drusilla emerged from the darkness. “The sunshine has corrupted you both.”
Spike’s palms were sweaty and his heart was beating erratically. He was newly reminded of his mortality. As always, Dru only had eyes for her sire, and for the first time in his life he was happy to play second fiddle.
“Dru!” Angel advanced towards her. “You killed my friends.”
Dru crooked a finger at her sire. “You don’t want to kill me, my Angel.”
Angel stopped in his tracks. “No I don’t. Doesn’t mean I won’t.”
She smiled sadly. “You don’t love me anymore.”
Spike’s blood felt like ice as Drusilla turned to him. “You don’t either. You love her.”
She spat out the last word, before turning to Angel.
“You needn’t worry, Daddy, I’m done with punishing you for now.” She laughed darkly. “Miss Edith tells me it’s time to leave. I just wanted to see my boys again.”
“You come back into my city, again, and you’re dust, Dru,” Angel threatened.
“Daddy getting all commanding gets Princess all hot and bothered,” was her reply.
Spike’s heart was thumping in his chest. Dru turned her attention to him once more.
“And Spike, I’m sure I’ll see you again,” she said, before turning on her heel and melting back into the dark. A shiver went down his spine. Was that a threat?
“If that bitch goes near my family, I’ll-”Spike began.
Angel put a hand on his shoulder. “She’s won’t go up against Buffy.”
Spike didn’t feel so sure and he a sense of unease he couldn’t shake.
“Go home, Spike,” Angel urged. “You’re human now. Your time isn’t unlimited anymore. Kids grow up fast or get sent into a hell dimension and come back fully grown. You need to enjoy the time you have, because you’ll never get it back. Trust me I should know.”
Spike could hear the pain in Angel’s voice at his own experiences with Connor. He felt grateful that he had been given a chance to see his own child grow up and Tommy hadn’t been robbed from him like Connor. Looking at the pain on his grand sire’s face, he headed back inside to pack his belongings.
When Spike returned to San Francisco, he and Buffy embraced warmly. The tension between them was forgotten in the reunion. Spike told Buffy all about Drusilla and what she had said. Buffy scoffed at the idea of Dru taking her on and his wife’s easy confidence eased his fears.
“I’m sorry I’ve been away so much, love,” Spike said.
Buffy sighed. “Spike, you say you want everything for our son. The most important thing he needs is his parent’s love not money. I know you love him, but how is Tommy to know if you don’t spend enough time with him.”
Spike smiled. “I know and I finally realised you’re right. I told Bob I won’t be in until Monday and we’re going to spend the weekend together, us three.”
Buffy beamed at him and Spike knew this was the right thing to do. After all, you never knew how life could change in an instant. He was a lucky bloke and he needed to make sure his son and his wife knew that he was fully aware of that.
To be continued...