Sometimes, Spike thought this town couldn’t possibly get any more boring. Yeah, there were monsters and demons to fight, which was great, but as far as his social life was going, things were looking bleak, to say the least.
He was spending his usual Friday evening at the local “We Call Ourselves A British Pub” establishment, playing the game where he listed out all the things that made the place definitively not a British pub. The dartboards were some electronic things that lit up and flashed points on a digital scoreboard above them, for one thing. That was probably the one that pissed Spike off more than anything else. So, he observed, silently bitched and seethed, and then suddenly lost his train of thought as he noticed the man coming through the front door and heading toward an empty seat on the other side of the bar.
Well, well, well. Wasn’t this an interesting development? Spike fixed his steely blue gaze on the man until he finally looked in his direction. And rolled his eyes, appearing to be exceptionally put-upon. Still, he moved to Spike’s side of the bar and took the empty seat next to him, nodding but not going so far as to actually say hello.
“Evening, Percy. Come here for a reminder of home, do you?”
Oh. That got a reaction. Spike figured Wesley was just going to chastise him for the unwanted nickname, but that’s not what he got in return.
“Televisions. Honestly? Do these wankers even have passports?”, Wesley responded, clearly annoyed.
Spike was pleasantly surprised. Not only because he’d never heard the Watcher use that kind of language before, but because he was clearly criticizing the place in the same way that Spike was.
Without waiting for a reply, Wesley continued, “And the electronic dartboards? What the bloody hell is that? They just assume no one actually understands the game? It’s pretty simple, I’m sure even you understand it”, he concluded, a sneer lurking just below that clipped accent.
“Sure, Watcher, you know some British street kid like me spent plenty of time in pubs playing darts back when I was A Real Boy. Not like you, bet you never went into a pub until you were of drinking age, and even then, probably wouldn’t bet five quid on a game.” Spike was bristling now, though he wasn’t exactly sure why.
Wesley had already almost finished his first beer by this time, clearly drinking quickly, and Spike was surprised to hear him ordering a second Worthington. He hoped his own Bass wouldn’t seem too pedestrian and decided he’d get himself a Worthington for the next round. Wait a minute, why the bloody hell did he care if his beer choice seemed…nevermind. Forget it. Stupid.
Placing his palm around glass number two, Wesley pointed a level glare at Spike. “Don’t think you can fool me, boy. Go on to anyone else with that contrived accent and your sorry punk-rock imitation. You think it’s an insult that you call me Watcher? I know you, William Pratt, and the home you found at Oxford, nourishing your poetry and your eccentric way of looking at the world around you. Maybe you can fool some of these Yanks, but you never fooled Rupert for a minute, and you certainly can’t pull one over on me. Some street kid you were, growing up in privilege and going to university.”
Bloody Angelus and his fat Neanderthal mouth. “What did Angel say to you? He tell you all kinds of secrets about me?” Spike suddenly felt ill at ease, as if his carefully constructed façade had all of a sudden become sheer.
“Have you forgotten the reason why you refuse to address me by my proper name, Spike? The reason why I don’t address you by your proper name? You call me Watcher, like it’s an insult. You know I went to the academy. I know more about you than Angel probably does, if only because he never bothered to ask. So proud of the reputation that William the Bloody left behind, do you think it’s not all recorded in our history books? You can’t possibly be as stupid a git as you pretend to be. I know more about you than any of the other people in this ragged little group we like to call our friends.”
Wesley took another long drag from his glass, still staring Spike down as if he expected a response. Well, all right, Spike had a response. Although maybe it was a weak one, he tried the easiest part first.
“We like to call them our friends? Is that how you see it? Always looked to me like you were bloody grateful to have friends. Even looked like maybe you wanted more than just a friend in Fred, but what do I know? You could certainly have charmed her in a heartbeat before our Charlie-boy got to her”, he sneered, feeling like he might have won a point when he saw the there-and-gone look of anger in Wesley’s eyes.
Those eyes. How could he not ever have noticed how…fuck. Fuck all, fuck all, shut up, clearly Spike had had too much to drink already. Though really, he hadn’t. But he had to blame it on something, and there was beer right there in front of him, and the beer couldn’t talk back, so beer got the blame.
“You know better. We’re thrown together. A common cause, sure, some emotional connections here and there, clearly you’ve known Angel for a hundred years or more, but in the end it’s just this band of stragglers up against something we know is bigger than us.”
Spike had not ever gotten drunk with the Watcher before, but he realized he wouldn’t have pegged him for a maudlin drunk. Maybe the kind that did silly things like sing or tell raunchy jokes, but not the kind that let booze press the truth to the surface and force its way out into the open.
Spike didn’t really have anything meaningful to say at the moment to respond to what Wesley had just dropped on him out of the blue. Blue, like his eyes. Blue…fucking shut up, beer. You have no place in this conversation, so shut your beer mouth and quit looking at Wesley’s eyes.
“You’re smarter than you look, Watcher. But if you ever tell anyone I went to Oxford, I’ll make you wish I really am dumber than a sack of hammers, got it?”
Wesley laughed. Really laughed, in this genuine way that Spike hadn’t seen or heard before. The sound had this way about it that made Spike laugh right along with him. All of a sudden, instead of a tense, unfortunate, after-work-hours run-in, it seemed like they were just two blokes away from home enjoying each other’s company.
“Get us a couple more beers, Spike, and let’s see how this electronic dart board works.”
“Heathen.”, Spike, replied, but he ordered the drinks as Wesley moved fluidly across the front of the bar to the place where the boards were hung on the wall.
An hour and three beers each later, electronic darts had become horrifically boring to both of them. They’d had a blast making fun of it, though, there was no denying that. An easy camaraderie had settled between them, which was new, but for some reason didn’t feel strange at all.
As they were settling up with the bartender, Spike told Wesley he’d had a good time and suggested that maybe they would run into each other again there sometime. Wesley readily agreed, and with a clap on Spike’s shoulder, he was gone.
An odd evening, to be sure, but certainly a fluke.
The “fluke” theory was borne out when everyone returned to the Wolfram and Hart offices after the weekend and it felt this as though this moment of bonding or whatever the fuck it was had never happened between the man and the vampire. Each treated the other in the slightly professional but ever sarcastic manner that they had previously, and nothing seemed to have changed.
It went on like that for another couple of weeks, until another regular Friday night at the pub found Spike turning toward the door with a sense of something familiar. Wesley. There he was, walking through the front door, and directly toward him as if they’d made arrangements to meet.
“Tried the fish and chips yet?”, Wesley asked with a half-crooked smile.
“Bollocks. Wouldn’t even bother. I’m sticking with what they know how to do”, Spike replied, gesturing at the basket of hot wings in front of him.
Tonight, they didn’t bother with darts. They chatted easily and drank beer and enjoyed each other’s company and ignored the fact that they had been pretending that this hadn’t already happened once before.
As last call approached, Wesley leaned over and whispered conspiratorially to Spike, “I’ve got Macallan at my place. No last call there.”
Spike knew for certain that Wesley wasn’t drunk, if his words had been even a little slurred he would have recognized it. He took approximately eight seconds to think over the offer before he accepted. Sexy end of the night stubble, piercing eyes, slender fingers…none of that even entered Spike’s mind as he thought of free expensive whiskey and easy company. Those things had no influence over his decision. At all.
Until he got outside and realized Wesley had an extra helmet strapped on to the side of his bike. Was it always there, just in case? Spike had never paid much attention to Wesley’s bike before. Or had he put it there tonight planning to bring someone home with him? Someone. Not Spike specifically, just, you know…someone. No matter. Spike didn’t want to wear it anyway. A completely predictable argument ensued.
“Vampire, mate. Remember? Not going to get killed in a car crash, for fuck’s sake.”
“What if we run into a tractor-trailer and you get decapitated? That’ll kill you, idiot, or did you forget that little detail?”
“Helmets are for pansies. And humans.”
“So which am I? Or am I both?” Wesley waited for a response, which seemed to be a long time coming. The only response he got was Spike grudgingly pulling the helmet on and fastening the chin strap.
“Fine. You’re feeding me whiskey, I’ll wear the nancy-boy helmet. Happy?”
Wesley didn’t reply, just waited for Spike to settle behind him on the bike and started driving.
Wesley’s place was…well, it was pretty much exactly what Spike had expected it to be. Not that he’d given a moment’s thought to what it would be like. But if he had, then yes, this is what he would have expected. Sparsely furnished, a wall of books lining one entire side of the front room, and immaculately clean.
Leading Spike into the kitchen, Wes took two cut glass tumblers from a cabinet and filled them generously from a bottle of whiskey Spike had never even seen before. It wasn’t Macallan. The first sip told him all he needed to know – this wasn’t the kind of liquor you gulped down like a shot. It was the kind that you savored every mouthful of, the kind that was old and rare and expensive. Spike had only ever had anything like this when he’d stolen it from Angel’s private stash, and even then, it was Jameson or some other Irish whiskey, not the same.
After taking a moment to truly appreciate that first taste, Spike stopped to study his drinking partner, who seemed to have the same amount of reverence and respect for the drink that was clearly right there in his kitchen, at his disposal whenever he liked. Wes looked over at Spike, raised his glass, and said “We do good things, you know. Here’s to doing good things.”
Spike clinked his glass against Wesley’s, automatically repeating “To doing good things”, as he’d had plenty of experience with toasting a drink to whatever the person doing the toasting had said.
Three tumblers later, Wesley was clearly hammered, and even Spike was beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol. That didn’t stop either of them from moving closer into each other’s space, and obviously there was nothing that could have hit the brakes on Spike’s flawed judgment when he leaned in and captured Wesley’s pretty mouth in a passionate kiss. For a moment, he felt a bit guilty, but when Wes moved his hand against the back of Spike’s neck and deepened the kiss, well…judgment could just go bugger itself.
There was a flurry of movement, both of them standing, breaking the kisses long enough to shed each other’s clothing and move toward Wesley’s bed, which was large but plain and of course was covered in pristine and completely unwrinkled sheets and blankets which were pulled into tight corners at every edge. For now.
Those blankets and pillows and sheets didn’t stand a chance against the sexual tension that had broken in their presence at that moment. Wes and Spike fell heavily onto the bed, Spike taking the lead and pulling himself on top of Wesley. By this point they were both completely nude, and Spike ground down onto Wesley, feeling their erections meet and as they thrust against each other with utter abandon. Wes felt hot, so fucking hot, like he should feel, like a man, and Spike fought the urge to let his fangs come out to play. Instead, they kept kissing, touching each other’s faces, holding tight to each other’s shoulders as their cocks ground together and the friction brought them both closer to orgasm with each passing second. Wesley was murmuring something Spike recognized as Latin as his body drew tight, stilled, orgasm tearing through him as he practically groaned Spike’s name. The feel and the smell and the sound of it was enough to send Spike over the edge, spilling onto Wesley’s stomach and taking breaths he didn’t need.
There was no talking afterward. It didn’t feel awkward, there was just no real need on either of their parts to say anything. Sleep came quickly to them both.
Wesley woke up alone. He wasn’t surprised.
Again, at the office, it was as if nothing had changed. The two of them avoided being alone, out of an abundance of caution on both of their parts, and when they were in a group setting their dynamic was as it had always been – cutting sarcasm and smartass remarks going in both directions.
Spike felt something he couldn’t name. Something not quite right. He wasn’t sure how to classify it but he was certain that he didn’t really want to try.
Wesley felt used. And angry. Angry with Spike, he wasn’t sure why. Angry with himself, for giving a shit what Spike felt or didn’t feel after what had happened between them. He didn’t go back to the pub for a long time.
Weeks had passed since the one-night stand between Spike and Wes, and things seemed to be getting back to normal. Spike had chosen a new bar in which to spend his Friday nights, a bit farther from where he lived and much farther than Wesley’s place. It was seedy and loud and obnoxious and he knew for sure there was no chance he’d run into Wes there.
On a typical night, drinking bottled American beer and eating one of those fried onion things (because he was broke, okay?), Spike considered livening up his night with a game of billiards, but changed his mind when an exceptionally adorable brunette parked herself next to him at the bar. Ten minutes told him all he needed to know. She was a talkative drunk who’d just ended a long and tumultuous relationship that had left her feeling lonely and needing companionship. How sad for her. How lucky for Spike. He had her what he thought was pretty snockered by the time he suggested they go back to his place for a more quiet atmosphere where they could talk some more. She stumbled (it looked like) from her barstool and followed him out of the front doors. They’d walked about two blocks before her face changed completely in front of Spike’s eyes and she hauled him into an alley between two buildings.
Despite his usual preternatural strength, he found himself unable to move as she dug her nails into his shoulder, pressing holes into his t-shirt and drawing blood. She was…what the hell? She was chanting. Like some kind of ritual. Fuck all. A witch. A goddamned witch, for the love of all that was good and holy in this world, Spike was so drunk and stupid and horny that he’d left the bar with a sodding witch. Maybe it was time for Wesley to keep his promise to pretend that Spike was dumber than a bag of hammers. Though he wouldn’t be pretending, because it was obviously true. How the hell did he get himself into this kind of bollocks? His dick. That’s how. Simple question, simple answer.
The witch managed to move her hands from his shoulders to his abdomen, scratching across his shirt and making more holes with her long fingernails, still chanting something unintelligible. And it hurt, honestly, every touch like a burn and a cut at the same time, even causing the edges of his vision to go a little blurry for a moment.
He got his wits about him after a moment or two and managed to push the bitch away. She ran, fast, and didn’t look back. Spike felt pretty satisfied, actually fairly smug. Whoever the girl thought she was, she wasn’t a very threatening witch. Not powerful like his old friend Red, clearly, because he felt just fine now. He had no idea what she’d said, but there were no strange feelings, no unexplained actions, no out of character behaviors on his part. Regardless of whatever the crazy bint thought she’d accomplished, the so-called witch had done nothing to him worse than tearing his shirt, as even the marks across his collarbone and abdomen were already fading.
Spike cleared his head and made his way home, secretly feeling kind of lucky. Not the kind of lucky as if he’d gotten a girl back into his bed tonight, but the kind of lucky as if he had run into a completely harmless witch not at all like Willow who could have actually done serious damage but didn’t. He also felt just a tiny bit ridiculous for having been afraid for a moment back there in that alley, but he willed himself to forget about it and was asleep half an hour before the sun came up.
When he showed up at Wolfram & Hart the next evening, he felt completely fine. A bit foolish, yes, but that was fading fast. He swore to himself that he’d do his drinking alone in his flat for the time being, on account of not wanting to be unknowingly accosted by witches. No reason to invite trouble, right? And it’s not like he’d be out drinking with Wesley again anytime soon, that much was abundantly clear.
A week passed, then two, and it seemed things had gotten maybe back to some sense of normalcy. Spike and Wesley continued to avoid being alone, and that had given them both a feeling of safety and relief, that maybe they could chalk up what had happened to a drunken encounter that was devoid of meaning or specific desire, just something that resulted from a need for physical contact, not because of with whom the contact had occurred.
Almost another week went by before it happened. Angel had sent Spike with a document to be delivered to Wesley’s office now, and there was no reasonable explanation he could give to refuse.
Wesley’s door was open, and he was engrossed in a large dusty old tome, making notes on a legal pad and not looking up as Spike watched him from the doorway for a moment. Eventually, Spike knocked on the open door, the document Angel had given him held out in front of him like a shield, and before he knew it, he was stepping inside the office mumbling some nonsense about here was this thing he was supposed to deliver.
Behind his desk, Wes attempted to slow his heartbeat to a reasonable rate. He hadn’t forgotten what had happened between the two of them, and he hadn’t (despite a fairly considerable effort) been able to banish the feelings he had of wanting to share that intimacy again, wanting to share his bed with Spike and do unimaginable (all right, so they weren’t unimaginable, Wesley had in fact imagined them all) things with him repeatedly. Clearly, this was not something Spike was interested in, based on his behavior in the past weeks, so he’d made a valiant attempt to put it out of his mind.
He’d failed miserably.
Wesley rose from his chair, hoping it wasn’t obvious that he was more than half-hard already just from being in the same room as Spike, and took the paper with a sincere thank you and a quick smile before he returned to his seat. He expected that Spike would take the opportunity to flee, but that’s not what happened. Spike just stood there, looking at him.
“What is it?” Wes asked, not in annoyed way, just conversationally.
Spike had clearly lost his mind, because when he opened his mouth to say it was nothing and turn around to leave, he instead leaned in closer across the desk and said “I want you. Please.”
Obviously, Wesley had also lost his mind, because he got up, moved around to the other side of his desk, and pulled Spike in for a passionate kiss that lasted for longer than either of them expected, given the snap of the tension that had just been released. After a few moments, Wes shut the door and clothes began to be shed all over the floor. There was an awkward moment when Spike had some trouble with Wesley’s tie, they both laughed a bit as Wesley removed it himself so that Spike could get on with unbuttoning his shirt and they could get closer to what they wanted to be. Which, incidentally, was naked. It didn’t take long, even with Spike having to stop a minute to unlace and kick off his boots. In an insane moment of courage, Wesley grabbed Spike around the waist and pushed him up onto the edge of the desk. This was what he wanted, and if past events had taught him anything, he knew he had to take it while it was available. If Spike didn’t want it this way, he could throw Wesley across the room with barely the strength it took to lift a finger, which he didn’t, so Wes figured that no objection was forthcoming.
Wesley’s tongue traced a line from Spike’s throat to his chest, then glanced across his nipples, earning him a startled noise and what he was fairly certain sounded like hitched breaths. He got his hand around Spike’s cock and Spike honest to God moaned and ground closer into Wesley’s body, his hands digging trenches into the back of Wesley’s shoulders, drawing the tiniest rivulets of blood. For fear of taking things too far, Wesley stopped himself from placing a drop of the blood onto Spike’s lips, but the thought was there, without a doubt on both of their minds.
“Get on with it, mate, you’re teasing and you know it”, Spike growled. Wes was more than happy to move the show along, as he was achingly hard and growing more desperate by the minute to have his cock inside Spike’s ass.
He started with a couple of sweat and spit slicked fingers pushing into Spike’s entrance, then he figured what the hell, vampire, he’ll be fine, and just lined up his cock and pushed inside while Spike held onto the edge of the desk and let the slightest growl escape his lips with the intrusion.
Wesley had no illusions, didn’t think there was any reason to hold back, so he pulled out almost all the way immediately and then sunk back inside with a snap of his hips hard enough that he could hear his flesh colliding with Spike’s. He knew he wasn’t hurting him, so he just did what felt natural, which amounted to fucking Spike so hard that he’d have to put in a requisition for a new desk with the purchasing department the next day. Neither of them lasted long, Wesley consumed by the tight heat around his cock, and Spike with the friction of grinding against Wesley’s stomach. When Wesley reached his hand between them to stroke Spike, it only took a minute before he coated them both with his orgasm, and Wesley pushed inside of him five, six, seven more times before he was coming too, filling Spike with his seed and making even more of a mess.
They both took a moment to catch their breath, then their brains started functioning again. Wesley stepped away, reaching for his boxers, mumbling some sort of apology. Spike laughed, standing up with no shame for his nudity and asked Wes what the hell he was apologizing for. “Best fuck I’ve had in ages, Watcher, don’t worry, I’m not going to tell on you or anything.”
Slowly, with deliberate care, Spike managed to get back into his clothes, including his boots, and reached over to tousle Wesley’s hair. “Thanks, mate. Good night”, he said, his back already turned as he opened the office door and walked away.
As predicted, the next few weeks went the same as the past couple of weeks had been. They never talked about it, and certainly didn’t repeat it. The two of them avoided being alone, again, and didn’t seek out each other’s company for any reason. It was another one-time-thing, clearly, they’d both done a fairly decent job of convincing themselves, and they could just move on like it never happened.
Until a meeting was called, unexpectedly, of the entire group of what they liked to call the “inner circle”. Spike, surprisingly, was excluded from this meeting. In Angel’s office, which was gigantic but sparsely furnished, the conference table was attended by Angel, Lorne, Gunn, Wesley and Fred.
After everyone was settled with coffee and sodas (and some ridiculous orange concoction requested by Lorne), Angel spoke. “I need help here, and I know you’ve all got something to contribute. Spike’s been…well, for lack of a better word…ill, and we’ve got to find out why, what’s causing it, because it’s getting worse.”
A table full of eyes settled on their fearless and brooding leader, not quite understanding what was going on. Vampires didn’t really get sick, they were all pretty sure of that, so the concept was a bit unfamiliar. Wesley felt immediate concern, and something else he couldn’t quite identify that was related to not knowing there was something wrong with Spike.
Fred was the first to speak up, a pen and pad in her hands, ready to take down any information she was given. “What are his symptoms, Angel? I can cross-reference them in the database we’ve got in the lab to see if there’s a curse or something that might be affecting him.”
“Thanks, Fred. First of all, he’s barely feeding. I can get some blood into him after he’s been awake several hours, but at sundown the very smell of it makes him nauseous. And yes, I know, that in itself sounds crazy because not only is Spike usually ravenous in his appetite for blood, it’s kind of unheard of for a vampire to vomit, especially when he’s not fed for hours. Also, he’s exceptionally…I’m not sure how to describe this considering who we’re discussing here, but he’s emotional. He cries for no reason. He sweats. And even though he’s barely feeding at all, he complains that his clothes are hurting him, or they’re too tight. He won’t leave his flat and though he seems to have almost no interest in blood, his appetite for human food is more intense than it’s ever been. Last night I had to bring him General Tso’s chicken with fried rice and crab rangoon and fortune cookies. Ten fortune cookies.”
Angel settled back in his chair, the look on his face a mixture of confusion and concern. Vampires didn’t vomit, or sweat, or get fat. He’d been around a good long time and he was fairly certain that those were things that just did not happen to you after you die. He was clearly baffled.
Fred, on the other hand, was not satisfied with sitting there looking confused.
“All right, get him in here. Whatever it takes. Can you glamour him?”
“No”, Angel replied, dejectedly.
Fred wasn’t ready to give up, though all the male faces staring at her looked blank and a bit skeptical. “Fine, can you boss him? Can you make him do something even if he doesn’t want to?”
This wasn’t a subject Angel felt comfortable discussing in front of their co-workers, but it couldn’t be avoided at this point. “Yes. He’ll do what I tell him to do, if…well, it doesn’t matter, just yes, I can make him go.” He really didn’t think Spike would appreciate having people know that he could be ordered around as simply as being reminded that Angel was his elder (it was something he almost never did anyway), but it was probably the only way to get him to submit to a medical examination.
Wesley pushed down the ridiculous amount of jealousy he felt at that moment and decided to join the conversation. “Do it, then. If Fred can help him, get him here.”
Lorne chose that moment to study Wes closely, clearly cataloguing something in his green headed brain, but keeping silent. For now. Wesley knew it was a temporary reprieve. With Lorne, it always was.
Gunn slapped a hand onto the conference table. “All right. So we get Spike here, Fred does her thing, we figure it out, we fix it. That’s the plan. Right?” Ever the forward thinker these days, his words were the crux of the conversation to this point.
Angel agreed. “I’ll have him here tomorrow night, Fred, and if the rest of you don’t mind, let’s allow her to conduct whatever testing she has in mind while giving Spike some privacy. We don’t want to make this any more difficult than it has to be.”
Agreements were shared all around, and everyone headed off in their own directions. Except for Gunn and Fred, who were clearly going in the same direction.
A completely foreseeable argument between Angel and Spike ensued regarding this topic, and Angel had no choice other than pulling out the last card in the deck. “You’ll go, Spike, because I’ve told you to go, and that’s the end of it.” And that was, in fact, the end of it, because they both knew that Spike was unable to refuse a command from his surrogate sire.
The next evening, Spike had steeled himself for poking, prodding, blood draws, eyeball fluid sampling, and gods only knew what else went on in Fred’s lab. He was fortunate, though.
There was a simple CAT scan, which was completely painless and unobtrusive, and then a look on Fred’s face that was not at all painless. Remembering Angel’s words about how Spike had been exhibiting symptoms that were distinctly human, physically, an idea occurred to her. She flushed bright red and started digging around in a cabinet before finding and opening a small cardboard box and removing its contents. She handed Spike a piece of white plastic with some markings on the end.
“I’m real sorry to ask this, Spike, but can you pee?”
Spike sighed indignantly, and responded “No, Fred, I’m sorry, love, I cannot pee.” But then…after a moment, a strange thought occurred to him. “Look, all right, how about if I try? I don’t really know what it’s like anymore, but for you, darling, I will at least give it a shot. So to speak. Okay?”
“All right. If you can do it, try to land it right here on this spot”, Fred replied, looking up at him with trepidation, as if she were asking him against her own will. “I’m only asking because I figured it would be better than sticking you with a needle to draw blood, you know?”
It was a complete shock to Spike and Fred both when Spike emerged from the bathroom holding out the piece of plastic and handing it to her.
“How disgusting. What the fuck was this for?”
Fred was still flushed, and responded “Just double checking. Give me three minutes, okay?”
Spike was patient, for once, and just sat quietly, thinking of what could possibly be wrong with him, and his mind constantly kept wandering back to that freaky witch from a while back. Something made him think that had to be connected with this strange and sudden illness.
“Spike.” Fred’s tone was awfully serious, and it made him nervous.
Fred gathered her courage and continued. “I’m not really sure how this could have happened, and I wish I had a more comforting way to tell you what it is. But…you’re pregnant.”
Without even a moment of fanfare or emotion, Spike fainted dead away and landed on the cold, hard floor of the lab.
The recovery time was fairly quick, considering that a fainting vampire wasn’t exactly a normal occurrence.
Fred asked Spike if there was anything she could do, and started prodding with questions about whether or not he had any idea how this had happened. Spike was silent, refusing to respond to any inquiries, still a bit dizzy and shell-shocked with the news.
It was fair to say that life had not exactly been kind to Spike up to this point, so one more kick in the nuts was par for the course. His mind was reeling, eaten up with the implications and complications this particular bit of news brought to bear.
He told Fred what he could remember about his brief encounter with the witch a few weeks earlier, which he’d written off as inconsequential when it happened, but Fred didn’t seem to agree with his previous assessment of the situation, and Spike figured she was probably right. She was certain that the witch had somehow made this situation possible. So Spike gave her every detail he could remember about the girl, where they’d met, the street upon which the attack had taken place, how long ago it had been. He even volunteered to bring in his ripped t-shirt, which he’d just thrown onto the floor of his closet that night, never thinking about it again. Fred seemed especially brightened by the thought of physical evidence being brought to her.
But since she was Fred, she kept asking questions, intensely personal questions with a resolutely clinical look on her face as if she were just gathering information on any random case they’d worked before.
After a few minutes of refusing to answer any more of Fred’s questions, she let him go, as he insisted he had something very important that needed to be taken care of straight away. But not before he extracted her solemn oath that no one be told about this situation until he informed her that it was all right. She was hesitant, but Spike assured her that he wouldn’t be long, and she would not be in the position of having to keep a secret from her boss for an extended period of time. He also promised to return in a few hours with his torn shirt for her inspection.
Though it was the last thing he wanted to do at the moment, Spike went directly to Wesley. He figured the news should be delivered personally, immediately. Facts were raining down hard on Spike now. He hadn’t gotten sick after the witch attacked him. He’d been perfectly fine. And he was certain he’d had no other sexual encounters since then except for the impulsive fuck on Wesley’s desk. Shortly after which, his strange symptoms and illness had begun. He’d need Fred to tell him how this could be possible, and he’d need Wesley, too, since he was the go-to guy for research. But he didn’t need anyone to tell him the one thing of which he was already absolutely certain – his…Christ, he could hardly form the word in his brain…his pregnancy was a result of his and Wesley’s epic desk-fucking, which they both had tried to pretend hadn’t even happened. They would no longer be afforded that luxury.
When Spike showed up at Wesley’s door, he may as well have been one of those Watchtower-toting Jehovah’s Witnesses for the welcome he received.
“What are you doing here, Spike?”
“I need to talk to you about…something…it’s important, and I have to talk to you before I talk to anyone else, I don’t really know where to start, just – um, there was this thing, a while back, with a witch, and I thought it wasn’t a big deal, but –“
Wesley cut him off there. “Come inside, let’s not stand here talking in the doorway like assholes.”
Spike sat at the kitchen table, looking down at his hands, his eyes closed and he was feeling so anxious that he was taking shallow breaths to try to steady his nerves. Wes must have noticed, and he remembered the conversation about Spike’s recent illness, because his demeanor changed slightly and he offered Spike a cup of tea. It took a minute to decide, but Spike felt he could probably hold down some tea right then, so long as it didn’t have any sugar or milk in it. “Yes. Um, thank you. Just plain, though, okay?”
A few moments later Wesley set down Spike’s tea and sat next to him at the table. “All right, then, you’ve got something about a witch that you need to tell me about. Is there a coven? Something happening that we’ll have to take care of?”
Spike shook his head, still looking down. “No coven. Just one witch. I was attacked outside a bar a while back, and didn’t think anything of it, really. She scratched me up a bit, ripped my t-shirt, chanting, you know, the way they do, then she just ran off. And I went home and was fine and nothing bad happened so I brushed it off. She hadn’t cursed me or anything, I wasn’t acting freaky or feeling strange…”
“But you’ve gotten sick. Angel told me you’ve been sick for a couple of weeks. I can see it just looking at you. So maybe she did do something. What can you tell me about her? Anything about what she said, if the language sounded familiar?”
Spike almost laughed, but he couldn’t because it seemed like his throat was closing. There were these words, they needed to come out, and it was almost like Spike’s body was trying to prevent it from happening.
“Yes, I am. Sick. I guess. But I didn’t start getting sick until after you and I…” Oh, fuck all, he might as well just get it overwith. “Since you fucked me on your desk that time.”
“You think you got sick from me fucking you?” Wesley raised his eyebrows and gave Spike an absolutely incredulous and impeccably Wesley-esque look.
“Look, just give me a minute, all right? Angel made me go and see Fred, see if she could figure out what was making me throw up and not want to feed. So she did some of the testing stuff she does down there in that creepy-ass lab and she said” And shit, he was ready to say it, he just told himself, he was going to say it, say everything, get it done, and now his mouth was stuck and he took a sip of tea to stall.
Wesley was still looking at him expectantly. “I’m not going to play a guessing game with you. Out with it. It’s not like I’ve got the clap, and even if I did, I couldn’t have given it to you.”
That time Spike really did laugh. “You didn’t give me the clap, Wes. You knocked me up.”
“Hold on just a minute now,” Wes said, taking in a deep breath and trying for a look of patience but knowing that what he was projecting was much closer to annoyed, “I know every now and then you get your slang terms and colloquialisms a bit mixed up. Try giving me this information in a way that it will make sense to me, please, because what you just said does not make any sense at all. Go on now, give it another try, Spike.” His voice grated on Spike’s frayed nerves, it sounded like Wesley was trying to speak to a child and it was infuriating.
“You think I don’t already know it doesn’t make sense, you prick?” Spike’s voice was rising now, anger spreading through him, and goddamnit, not again, not here, not now, he felt the tears start to build. “My slang terms have been honed with great skill over the years, first of all, so don’t insult them, nance. And I know you went to Cambridge, so I’ll try to explain it very simply for you, using small words. I am pregnant, Wesley. Like, some fetal thing on my insides, pregnant. And nobody’s fucked me except you.”
As all things come around, it was now Wesley’s turn to faint.
When he opened his eyes, he was lying on his living room sofa, Spike clearly having picked him up off the floor and carried him there.
They just sat and looked at each other for a few moments. Wesley seemed to have a question on the tip of his tongue every few seconds, but then stopped, thought of another question, didn’t ask that one either, and kept going like that until Spike finally spoke up. “Look, I don’t have a lot of details because I sort of flipped my lid and left the lab and came right here. Fred’s going to try to work out how this happened, but in the meantime, I’m trying to consider the practical aspects. We don’t have to tell anyone about this. I’m certain that if Fred can identify a pregnancy, she’s perfectly capable of terminating one as well. If you’d like to do that, I’ll have it arranged straight away and forget this ever happened. Or, you know, try to forget it anyway.”
Wes cleared his head and managed to form a coherent response. “Spike, I can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. I just think it may be a bit early for you or me to make a decision either way. I’m sorry if this comes off as detached or cold, but it’s not like this is the kind of thing that happens every day. Even a brief opportunity to study the situation could provide significant information for research. And anyway, there’s no way to know for sure that I have any say in the decision, right? You’re assuming that this….that your…you know, happened because of what we did, and that could be true, but we aren’t certain of that yet. The witch could have done it herself for all we know.”
“Of course. Yes, you’re right, of course, let’s not decide anything just yet. To be honest, I’d really like to know how the fuck this is even possible, and neither of us are going to be able to figure it out on our own.” Spike had no clue how he was feeling at once irrationally emotional and exceptionally practical, but strange moods seemed to be fairly common lately, and he really did want to know what had happened. Which meant only one thing. “We’ll have to talk to the others about this, get everyone in on solving the puzzle. I’m happy to keep your name out of it, there’s no need for your personal sex life to get dragged out into the open.”
“If we’re going to figure this whole thing out, we’ve got to have all information available to everyone who’s working on it. And in case you think I’m embarrassed that I had sex with you, I’m not, and I don’t really care about our merry band of co-workers knowing about it.”
Spike fixed him with a look Wesley couldn’t quite identify at the moment, and Wesley felt a bit strange adding in this next bit of information, but it was only fair for Spike to know. “Anyway, there are security cameras in every office and it’s likely that at least someone may want to view the recording at some point”, Wes mumbled, taking his turn to stare down at his hands.
At this news, Spike was incredulous, and much to his chagrin, he felt the sting of the tears starting again. His voice rose to a dangerous-sounding level despite the beginnings of tears in his eyes. “You can’t turn it off?”
“Well, yes, I can turn mine off. I don’t guess everyone can.”
“So why the bloody hell didn’t you??” Spike was incensed, tears falling freely now. He guessed he didn’t have so much against their co-workers knowing about the encounter, but the idea of them seeing it...he was mortified. And considering the subject of these emotions, that was really saying something. He had no reputation for modesty. But right this minute it seemed like it was the worst possible thing that could ever happen, ever.
“Correct me if my memory’s faulty, but you came into my office to deliver a document, which I did not, at the time, think would lead to the whole desk-fucking episode. So forgive me for not foreseeing that in time to think of turning off the cameras”, Wes retorted, feeling defensive as he instinctively handed Spike a Kleenex from the box on the end table.
“All right. All right, it’s fine, and it’s already done so let’s just move on. I think it’s time for a staff meeting. And I can’t fucking believe I just suggested a bloody staff meeting.”
That got a genuine smile out of Wesley, and he readily agreed. It was a good thing that the mostly-human members of their team had gotten used to late-night meetings.
An hour later, the conference table in Angel’s office was once again filled with the usual suspects. Fred took the lead, clinically explaining the results of the examination that Angel had requested regarding Spike’s unusual physical symptoms. Once she got to the point, and the word “pregnant” was uttered, the other faces around the table, all male, were a mix of confusion, chagrin, and genuine fright.
Fred continued before any of the men had a chance to ask what she was sure would be stupid questions. “The first question is how Spike’s encounter with the witch could have allowed this process to begin with. The second, I think, is whether or not the witch’s spell is what actually impregnated Spike, or if there was another event that could have led to that.”
Shockingly, Wes was the one to respond immediately to this portion of the discussion. “Shortly after this incident with the witch, of which I was obviously not aware at the time, Spike and I engaged in sexual relations”, he said, as if he were announcing that he and Spike had gone to lunch together. His face did not betray any feeling of guilt or discomfort at sharing this information, and the look he gave his co-workers certainly did not invite commentary on their opinion regarding the subject. When necessary, he could command silence easily, and this was one of those instances. “We must consider that could be, in conjunction with whatever this witch may have done, a possible cause for the pregnancy.”
For a precious ninety seconds or so, there was silence around the table. And then, of course, there was Lorne. “So you think you’ve got our Blond, Punk and Handsome here in the family way, Wes? I knew there was something…”
Angel stepped in at this point. “All right, Lorne, I’ll give you plenty of time for commentary on the romantic aspect of this situation some other day. We’ve got more important issues to deal with now.”
Wesley and Spike immediately and simultaneously retorted “Romantic???”
“Whatever, guys, we’re not talking about this now, though I appreciate the full disclosure. Spike, you said you had something for Fred?”
Spike handed over the ripped t-shirt and Fred gingerly placed it into a plastic bag and sealed it with orange tape like it was some kind of criminal evidence. Well, it kind of was. “I’ll do what I can with it. Other than what you already told me, is there anything else you think I might be able to use in the lab?”
Again, silence. Just for a moment. Finally, Wes blew out a deep breath and said “There is the, uh…well, the recording from the security camera in my office is surely on file somewhere”, staring intently at a tiny scratch on the surface of the conference table.
Lorne couldn’t help himself at this point, and even Angel wasn’t able to stifle a giggle at this news. Gunn managed to keep his composure long enough to ask for a date, which neither of them could remember. Wesley was forced to admit that if Gunn had someone check for the date of his requisition for a new desk after his old one had been damaged, that should help him narrow it down. Gunn made some notes on his legal pad and chewed hard on his bottom lip to keep from going into full out hysterics. As two of the men were stewing in their mortification over the details being revealed and the other three were valiantly trying not to laugh their respective asses off, they failed to notice the expression on the face of the lone female at the table.
Fred leaned over and ripped the top page from Gunn’s notebook with a look that promised he would be getting no action tonight. Her voice was practically trembling as she stated definitively and with just a hint of offense, “I.will.not.be.needing.to.see.that.recording, thank you all so very much.” Gunn, at the very least, was properly chastised, and cleared his throat to address the rest of the group.
“Clearly we’re dealing with something none of us know what to do with here. Wesley, despite what may or may not be your personal involvement, I expect that you’re going to get on the supernatural research right away. Spike, you’ve already said you’re willing to maintain your…condition at least on a temporary basis, and we appreciate you being so candid about everything. Fred, you’ve got what you need to work in the lab, if you find yourself lacking any resources whatsoever, let me know immediately and I’ll get you whatever you need.” His attempt to touch her hand was rebuffed with another scornful look, so he just continued with his instructions. “Lorne, you know what to do here. Keep your ears open, maybe ask some discreet questions around Caritas and with any other connections you might have, anything that might be related to witchcraft, a witch working alone who would have the ability or the desire to create a situation like this.”
Everyone nodded their assent, and Angel just sat there trying to figure out what the hell he was supposed to do. All the others had a job. He gave Gunn the patent-pending “WTF, man?” look, and was met with an answering “Just keep writing the checks, boss. Oh, and maybe give me a hand with this”, he finished, sliding Angel a folded scrap of paper across the table. “We all ready to get started here?”
The group started to break up slowly without much being said. Angel asked Spike to please stay a minute when everyone else left.
Spike stayed, because he had nowhere else to be, really, and he was surprised to find himself feeling grateful for a moment alone with the man who, for better or for worse, was his oldest friend.
“You want anything, Spike? Blood?”, Angel asked, pocketing the scrap of paper on which Gunn had written TALK TO HIM in large block letters, underlined, twice.
“Thanks, mate, if you wouldn’t mind.”
Angel busied himself for a moment heating up the best thing he had on hand. He fleetingly thought that he would have been truly tempted to have someone bring up human blood for Spike if he’d asked for it. Clearly, there was no other role for him in this. He wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to say, but the job of talking to Spike about the non-technical and non-research-related facets of his situation fell to him, without question.
The two of them sat in silence briefly, sipping from their warmed mugs. Angel figured he’d try to start the conversation in an easy way.
“How are you feeling?”
“Physically? About the same, kind of shitty, tired and nauseated. If you mean how do I feel, like in my brain, I’d say I feel like I’m about to jump off a highway overpass at high noon just to make a spectacle of myself burning to ashes. I had this completely rational conversation with Wes, about research and what we could learn and how we wanted to know what could have made this possible, but the truth is that I’m losing my mind. I’m fucking terrified. I go from one minute to the next thinking ‘Sure, I could be someone’s Da’, and then ‘All right, I’ll just go cut whatever the fuck this is out of me and throw it down a drain’. I haven’t got the slightest clue where to go from here, Peaches, and that’s the truth.”
Well, all right. That was a tough one, but Angel soldiered on, and he found himself as surprised by his emotions as Spike had been. He was taken aback but just followed where his feelings led him. “First of all, and you can tell me to fuck off if you don’t want to answer this question, but are you and Wesley involved? I mean, are you-“
Spike cut him off there. “No. I mean, I’m sorry, I know you don’t really want the details of my sex life, but we’ve only been together twice, and we’ve only actually, you know…”
“Yeah, I got the part about the broken desk”, Angel responded, a wry smile on his lips that seemed genuine.
“That, uh, yeah, just that once. And nothing else. No, like, courting or…Christ, I sound like a moron. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.”
“You don’t sound like a moron. Since when have either of us felt the need to justify a casual sexual relationship with someone? It’s just that our kind don’t generally have to deal with this type of consequence. And by our kind, I mean men or vampires. I guess this is giving us a new perspective on the risks humans take when having sexual relations, especially human women, and both of us have fucked women before, not just female vamps. Even before I was turned, I certainly never thought about what might happen if I’d thrown some poor unsuspecting girl up the duff…” Aw, shit. Now that was a stupid thing to say. Angel shook his head, started in on an apology.
Spike just laughed, really truly laughed at the turn of phrase Angel had used, and it wasn’t more than a few seconds before Angel was laughing right along with him. He pulled out his pack of Marlboro Reds, lit one up, then lit a second one and offered it to Angel, who took it without hesitation. It was automatic, Angel always accepted a smoke when it was offered. No one but Spike had ever seen it, though, because he was the only one who ever offered, and always in private.
After a minute, Spike’s eyes went wide and he threw his smoke on the floor, stomping it out with his boot without thinking of the burn mark it would leave on the floor, thinking only about…oh, fuck.
He was thinking about the – well, at this point there wasn’t any other word for it – Spike was thinking about the baby. The thought seemed to hit Angel at the same time, as he ground out his cigarette on the floor next to Spike’s.
They looked at each other for a minute, neither knowing what to say, before Angel addressed the issue at hand. “You think it might be bad for…”
“So you think you want to have…to keep…”
“Uh, yeah. I know it sounds insane. But yeah. I do.”
“Look, those of us who are...well, us…we don’t get chances like this, no matter what the cause. You know how we create our own children, and the process certainly doesn’t include pregnancy and babies. Hell, if even Angelus never turned a fucking baby, it’s probably never been done. I don’t think it sounds insane. You might have issues to work out with Wes. I honestly don’t think there’s any other explanation other than that the two of you, whatever this witch supposedly did, made this baby together. But that’s for you and him to deal with. Please, just know that I’ll support whatever decision you make. Things haven’t always been rainbows between the two of us, clearly, but this is uncharted territory, I’m not going to leave you to go through it alone.”
Spike stared a minute, mumbled a thank you, and tried to think of something else to say. He didn’t have to, though.
“Enough with the Cosmo moment, okay? We can ask Fred about the smoking thing, I promise to point it out often if you end up getting fat, and if you keep calling me Peaches, I’ll just start calling you Mum from now on, fair enough?”
Again, they both fell into a genuine laughter and finished their mugs of now only slightly lukewarm blood.
When Spike got together with Wes a few days later to discuss things again, he didn’t say anything about having confided in Angel that he wanted to keep the baby. Lots more research had to be done, and everyone on the team was doing their part, without question. They couldn’t operate on assumptions, even though, truth be told, they both kind of already were. No shared beers or whiskey this time, as Fred had already asked Spike to cut those and the cigarettes out “just for now, please”. Spike was exceptionally moody due to the aforementioned lack of nicotine, and felt like he was being short with Wes, which made him a bit unsettled. Wes took it in stride, he’d seen plenty of people in nicotine withdrawal and certainly didn’t think the attitude had anything to do with him. Until recently, he was used to Spike being an asshole all the time, even when he wasn’t cut off from cigarettes and booze. They just talked about how Spike was feeling, what Wesley was finding (or not finding) in his research and kind of awkwardly went their separate ways.
Eventually, the conversation had to take place. It was not complicated or drawn out. There were no arguments, nor were there any grand declarations of love or any talk of plans beyond the immediate future.
“Wesley, should it turn out this baby is yours, you should know I plan to keep it if Fred tells me it’s safe.”
“All right, Spike. If it is mine, we’ll figure it out. It’s going to be all right either way.” He was genuinely shocked at his relief upon receiving this information. “If you don’t mind me asking, what if it isn’t mine? Will you still want to keep it?”
“No, I don’t think so.” Spike did not elaborate and Wesley did not push for an explanation. Considering the implications, the conversation was sorely lacking in high drama.
Spike spent most of his time alone or with Angel, watching television, throwing pair after pair of jeans into a heap as they stopped fitting one by one. He was moody, emotional, and couldn’t stand the thought of anyone seeing him in sweatpants with an elastic waist. At the same time, he looked down at his growing belly with fondness, often running his hand over it absently as he’d seen so very many women do over the years. Seemed to him things were moving a little fast, physically, but what did he really know about it?
After a few weeks, they all got together again, as it was time to share what each had learned. Shockingly enough, Wes had turned up a big fat zero as far as lore or history regarding this kind of situation. Lorne, however, had heard from several different sources that there had been in a witch in town, alone, inquiring about pregnancy spells, fertility rites and other related subjects. She hadn’t mentioned having a victim in mind, and certainly hadn’t said anything, as far as Lorne’s sources had known, about pregnancy in a male or a supernatural creature. The people and demons who had spoken to her had assumed she was asking for her own purposes, maybe she’d had trouble conceiving and was looking for a boost in that department. Either way, she left town shortly after she’d arrived, no one remembered her name, and she hadn’t been seen again. Which left them exactly nowhere as far as her motivations or methods.
Fred hadn’t gotten anything from Spike’s ripped shirt, much to her disappointment. However, she did have the information that they all needed most.
“I did blood tests to confirm what we all have probably been thinking from the beginning. This baby shares markers from both Spike’s and Wesley’s DNA.”
Fred was interrupted as Spike and Wes both flushed a bit. Angel and Gunn clapped them on the shoulders, and Lorne wolf-whistled and smiled as if someone had just handed him a million dollars on a silver platter.
Silence returned as Fred cleared her throat. “There seems to be an accelerated rate of growth, as the fetus is measuring at least two months larger than it should considering the approximate date of, uh, conception.” She gave a quick look to Wesley and Spike with that last word, then turned back to her notes. “This is a human fetus with no genetic abnormalities that I have been able to find, and believe me, I looked. Sorry, guys, I know that sounds like I was trying to find something wrong, but honestly, I was just being thorough. Anyway, there’s a steady heartbeat and a perfectly healthy circulatory system. Not a vampire, for sure. The pregnancy is absolutely viable, and Spike, if you choose to carry it to term, I’d estimate you’ve got about another ten to twelve weeks before gestation is complete. Clearly, if that happens, you’ll have to deliver surgically.”
Wesley and Spike were calm but clearly still a bit shell-shocked with all the new information.
At this point, Gunn spoke up. “I think this would be a good time to let Spike here sit down with English so they can talk about this privately. Maybe we should all excuse ourselves.”
Spike waved him off. “Wesley and I have already discussed the possibility and the potential outcomes. I’m going to continue the pregnancy, and keep the baby. Wes already knows so I guess it’s time we let the rest of you know as well.”
The entire room was filled with grins, none as big as Lorne’s, who immediately stepped over to put his hand onto Spike’s belly but was stopped in his tracks with one murderous glare from the expectant parent.
“My body’s not up for grabs, Host. No touching. I’m not going to be passed around like a sodding party favor.” Lorne nodded but looked more than a little dejected as he backed up.
“If I promise not to put my hand on your belly, can I give you a hug?” asked Fred, looking hopeful and maybe just a bit misty-eyed.
“Oh, all right, fine. But just you”, Spike responded, and Fred threw her arms around him. After a few seconds, he hugged her back, and they awkwardly moved away from each other. It’s not like Spike was much of a hugger under normal circumstances.
“So, y’all wanna know what you’re having?”
Wes and Spike looked at each other incredulously, and to no one’s surprise, they immediately answered in the affirmative. The rest of the group were suddenly all shuffling their feet and averting their eyes until Spike diffused the tension.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, just go on and say it, the rest of them will know sooner or later anyway, right? This is already like a bloody group project, isn’t it?”
Angel piped up with, “Well, the part on the desk was just the two of you, I think.” smirking at his own cleverness.
“Shut up, you spectacular git, and let Fred finish”, Spike retorted, at the same time that Wes mumbled “bleeding wanker” under his breath.
“It’s a girl. About time we had another one of those around here, if you ask me.”
There was another round of smiles and handshakes and those infuriating one-armed man-hugs before Spike started feeling that stupid tear-y thing coming back again, so he excused himself and Wesley as quickly as he could manage it.
Once they were out of the crowd and settled into Wesley’s office (this time with the cameras turned off, thank you very much), Wes sat across from Spike at the small conference table in the corner. “Guess there are a few more things that need to be decided, right?”
“Well, yeah, more than a few, I keep thinking of another one and another one every minute or two. Glad I’ve got time to make at least a few of them before…” Spike caught the look on Wesley’s face and connected the dots. Oh. Aha. That’s not what Wesley meant at all.
“Wes, if you want in on all this, you just have to say so. I won’t have you bearing me and the kid around like an obligation, but if it’s what you want, being a part of raising this baby, I’m not gonna push you away. Could use all the help I can get, the way I see it. I don’t know the first fucking thing about babies. Neither do you, I guess, but you are, well…you’re her father.” It was one of the most insane things Spike thought he’d ever said, considering the context.
“I’m glad to hear that, because I want to be involved as much as I can be. I want…I want to actually be her father, not just be the man whose sperm helped to create her. Do you know what I mean?”
“’Course I do, mate, and I get it. We can figure this out. People who aren’t married to each other manage it all the time, and we’re both smarter and better looking than your average single parents anyway, right?”, Spike answered with a smile. He was quiet for a minute, a far-off look in his eyes, and then he continued. “I didn’t want to ask until we knew for sure, but – since I can feel it, feel her, move, you could too, if you wanted.”
Immediately, Wes scooted closer to Spike and let him guide his hand to the right side of his swollen belly. At first there was nothing, but then…oh. There it was. “She’s kicking you?”, he asked.
“Maybe. Could be an elbow or something, I guess.”
“Does it hurt?”
“No, not usually. It’s all right. I just thought you might want to…”
“Thanks. I was waiting, too, until we knew for sure, but there’s something I’d like you to consider. You don’t have to answer right away, but you know my flat’s three times the size of yours. You could move in there, if you want. For as long as you want. No expectations or anything, I’m not asking you for a sexual relationship, I’m just saying, it’s practical, and – anyway, just think about it, all right?”
Spike’s hands curled and uncurled nervously under the table, his fingernails digging into his palms hard enough to leave marks. He tried not to betray any of that on his face, though, as he simply replied, “Sure, I’ll think about it.”
It wasn’t more than three days before Spike called Wes, certain he wouldn’t be able to get through this face to face.
“About that moving in thing. I think it would be a good idea. Nicer place for her, and like you said, I’m not expecting any repeat performances in the bedroom. So, if you still want to, then yeah, I’d like to do that.”
Wesley was silent for a moment but didn’t want Spike to think he had changed his mind. Because he had not changed his mind. “Of course. We can make the arrangements immediately, or as soon as you’re ready. And what I said about not expecting anything…like that…if you’re going to be living here you should know that not expecting it and not wanting it are not the same thing. It wouldn’t be fair for me to have you living here and not tell you that I haven’t stopped wanting it. Not even for a day.”
It was Spike’s turn to push through his instinctive silence so as not to discourage Wes. “Oh. I’m sorry, I just assumed…I should have told you before, I guess. I haven’t stopped wanting it either. There’s not any way to know how this will affect our arrangement, I just didn’t want you to feel obligated. And you didn’t want me to feel obligated. Because we’re both morons.”
A quiet laugh was shared over the connection. “We’ll talk about it another day. Right now, let’s just get you over here while I don’t have to worry about you lighting up a smoke in my living room, okay?”
“Yeah”, Spike replied. “Yeah, okay. Call whoever you need to call and let’s get it done."
Another huge decision made with a minimum of fanfare or drama. They were hoping things would stay that way.
They were both sorely disappointed in that aspect.
It didn’t take more than a week for Spike’s few belongings to get moved into Wesley’s place. Wes moved the desk and computer from his small office into his bedroom, and Spike unpacked his clothing (most of which were completely useless at this point) and his PlayStation and his few other meager possessions into Wesley’s guest room. Before he’d arrived, the two small windows in the extra bedroom had been covered with blackout shades.
The first night was awkward. Both of them knew they wanted each other, but neither was willing to make the first move. Plus, Wes had to admit he was a bit frightened, he’d never had sex with anyone who was pregnant before, and he had no desire to hurt Spike or the baby. His baby. Their daughter. So Wesley went to sleep in his own room alone, a chaste kiss good night but nothing else physical.
The first weekend evening available, the two of them contemplated the small, empty room that used to be Wesley’s office. This was it, they figured. The place where the baby would sleep. The nursery. And Jesus Christ, there had never been a time in Wesley’s adult life when he thought there would be a bloody nursery in his home.
Almost on cue, there was a knock at the door. They hadn’t invited anyone, but as the door was opened, both of them realized that Lorne never thought he needed an invitation. He walked directly to the small, empty room, and immediately started in with suggestions.
“There are a lot of different ways you could go here, guys. I mean, you’ve got a girl coming, so you could do the whole pink and purple flowery thing with butterflies on the walls. Maybe a crib set with fairy princesses? That would be fairly easy to find, I’d think. Of course, you could go in another direction. Ballerinas? Oooooh, ballerinas would be lovely. Maybe a mobile that plays music from The Nutcracker. Wait. Oh, wait wait wait, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this first. MULAN!!!! The little girl warrior!!!!”
Spike was the first to break up Lorne’s monologue. “Who the fuck is Mulan? And there aren’t going to be any fairy princesses. For God’s sake, Host, get a hold of yourself.”
“You’d better figure out who Mulan is pretty quick, Blondie. And Cinderella…”
“Cinderella? That’s a sick story to tell a baby! Those crazy bints who lopped off parts of their feet and had their eyes pecked out by birds? That’s not a children’s story, you idiot!”
Wes interjected at this point. “Actually Spike, Disney made a movie of Cinderella that was for children, and left out all of the nasty bits about the girl being beaten and the sisters chopping off body parts. It’s quite popular with little girls. Also, you may want to stop using the term bints,” he finished quietly.
“For the love of Christ, Wes, are you agreeing with him? You think we need a few gallons of pink and purple paint? Maybe a bucketful of glitter to go along with it?”
“No, God, no, I was just pointing out that the story of Cinderella and her stepsisters has changed over the years to be a tale more appropriate for children, that’s all. No glitter. I swear on my life, there will be no glitter."
“You’d better believe there won’t be any fucking glitter”, Spike retorted, as he felt his anger and anxiety heighten by the second.
Lorne put himself back in the game. “Have you thought about maybe some rugs on the floor? Heart-shaped? And for the walls, you know, you can always get those decals that come on and off so that you can change them whenever you want.”
“There has been no discussion regarding the decoration of the nursery, Lorne. I hardly think a newborn baby would notice any such thing. It’s not a priority”, Wes responded evenly, trying to keep his voice as polite and patient as was humanly possible. He knew how excited Lorne was about the whole impending baby-having thing, certainly more excited than the parents, who were too nervous and apprehensive to have gotten to the excited part yet.
“A lot of people are doing nursery themes like jungle animals, or Winnie the Pooh, things like that. I’m just throwing out some ideas, guys, there’s no reason to be so hostile.”
Spike felt a bit of repentance at this point, like maybe they’d hurt Lorne’s feelings, so he spoke up. “We’re not trying to be hostile, honest, it’s just that we haven’t put a whole lot of thought into this particular matter. Thank you for giving us some ideas, though, really, we appreciate it. You’ve been so supportive.” What the fuck was that? Spike almost wanted to take the words back as soon as he said them. Or someone who sounded like him had said them. But Lorne and Wesley were both looking at him with something like gratitude, so he left it at that.
“I understand. I’ll leave the two of you alone, you’re right, there are higher priorities. You probably haven’t even talked about names yet.”
Lorne let himself out and left Wesley and Spike standing there staring at each other like idiots. He was right, they hadn’t talked about names. If they were lucky, they had another eight or ten weeks to decide, and this didn’t seem like something you’d just come up with at a moment’s notice. Spike didn’t use the name he’d been given, but he figured his mother must have put a significant amount of thought into it before he was born, as he wasn’t one of those boys of his era who was automatically given his father or grandfather’s name. Wesley was in the same situation, his first name was not a family name, it had been chosen by his mother and agreed to by his father, who honestly hadn’t cared one way or another what they named the boy, so long as it was something traditional.
“Spike. He’s right, you know. About the name. We should at least be thinking of a name.”
“Two names, really. Most girls have two names, right? Buffy and Willow and Dawn, they all have two. Buffy’s second name is Anne-“
Wesley cut Spike off there. “I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, and maybe I ought to already know the answer, but I always assumed Buffy was a nickname for something.”
“No. Sadly, that is actually her name”, Spike replied with a little chuckle. “Willow…I used to know her second name, I can’t recall now.”
“It’s Danielle. Willow Danielle. Fuck. Yeah. So I guess we need two, then. Have you got any ideas?” Wesley asked, sitting down on the living room sofa, followed quickly by Spike (who did not, in point of fact, sit on the direct opposite side, instead choosing to settle down directly next to Wes).
“I don’t know. Being a girl and all, it’s not like we can just name her after one of us. So long as it’s not Mary-something, or Bernadette, anything like that, there’s no way I’m letting people think she’s a Catholic.”
“No arguments there. Plenty of other choices, though.”
“You’ve already got the most Protestant name on the planet”, Spike replied, chuckling softly. Wesley laughed with him.
“Do you have any objections to names that might intersect with old mythology or languages in some way? Or are you looking more for a Madyson or Heartleigh?"
Spike laughed out loud this time. “Something just a bit more traditional than that, obviously.”
Wesley’s face turned serious as he asked his next question. “What about a last name? There’s no real way to decide, I mean, we can give her any name we want, I guess, I don’t know about the rules, but we should decide on that, at least.”
“I don’t have a last name, Wes.”
“Yes you do. Just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean you don’t have it.”
“Before we get into that, let’s get Charlie’s legal opinion on how all that should be handled, all right? Then we’ll come back to this conversation.”
A meeting with Gunn was arranged in his office at Wolfram and Hart, and they were given a quick summary of what they probably should have already figured out on their own. “Spike isn’t a person. William Pratt died a hundred and some years ago. This baby, legally, will be Wesley’s, he will be a single parent on her birth certificate with no name of a mother listed, since there is, technically, no mother. You’re giving birth, Spike, but not only are you not a mother, but you’re not a person, in the legal sense, and you don’t exist as far as any legal database recognizes. I’m sorry if that sounds terrible, considering that you’re the one doing the gestating and the birthing, but those there are the cold hard facts, gentlemen.”
“So, as far as a last name for the baby?”, Spike asked, not finishing the question but getting out enough for Gunn to realize what he wanted to know.
“Wyndam-Pryce will be the child’s last name, as Wes will appear as the only parent on the birth certificate and that is his name. I’m sorry, Spike, if that’s not what you wanted to hear, but you haven’t used your legal name in more than a century, I figured you weren’t all that attached to it."
“I’m not. It’s all right. We’re just trying to sort out the details while we try to choose a name for the baby."
“You could name her Charlie”, Gunn suggested with a sly grin.
“Thanks, but I think we’ll pass”, Wes responded.
“Fine. Just so you know, Spike, I can get you documentation. I can make you Will Pratt, get you a birth certificate and social security number, and you can be an adoptive parent along with Wes. That will give you legal rights to make decisions regarding your daughter, regardless of what her name is.”
“Thanks, Charlie. If you could do that, I’d be very grateful.”
“I’ll get on it now, then.”
So it turned out that Lorne’s recent impromptu visit was more like a casing of the flat and the nursery. Wesley and Spike walked into Angel’s office three days later and were greeted by a ridiculous display of cake, streamers, and wrapped gifts. A fucking baby shower. Seriously. A shower for a pregnant male vampire knocked up by another man after being cursed by a witch. Lorne was one hell of a party planner to pull this one off.
After the initial embarrassment, though, it really wasn’t so bad. No one suggested they play any of those silly games or tried to make Spike wear a hat made of ribbons. Their friends had been exceptionally thoughtful, actually. Lorne gave them a stack of updated and child-appropriate fairy tales, while Angel presented them with one of his charcoal drawings, a sketch of Wes and Spike in profile leaning over a crib, each of them with a tiny fist wrapped around one of their fingers. It was matted and framed and beautiful and Spike thought he might cry as he looked at Angel to thank him. Fred and Gunn, being all official-couple-like, handed them a box containing a soft purple blanket with a tiny matching dress wrapped inside it. Wes found himself staring at the dress, how small it looked, an imaginary picture in his mind of what their daughter might look like all dolled up in the fluffy, lacy outfit, and a smile ghosted across his face.
Their old friends from Sunnydale hadn’t been left out. Willow sent them a sachet of protective herbs to keep in the baby’s room, Xander and Buffy and Dawn put together a box of Pampers, diaper rash cream, baby shampoo, an ear thermometer and other infant-related items. Rupert, the consummate practical thinker, had stepped outside the box and presented them from afar with a gorgeous rug for the floor in the baby’s room that must have been a thousand years old, flecked with silver and gold piping. Overwhelmed didn’t even begin to describe the gratefulness of the expectant parents.
Once the cake was passed and the additional rounds of thanks were handed out, Wes and Spike took their gifts home and deposited them in the still mostly-empty nursery.
“Guess we’d better get on with putting some things in here for her, yeah?,” Spike asked.
“I’ve been thinking the same thing,” Wes replied, snaking his arms around Spike’s shoulders and pulling him in for a kiss.
“The same thing. Yeah. I’ve been thinking that same thing too…”, Spike managed to get out before he was being hauled into Wesley’s bedroom.
A day that had started with what they thought would be an unwelcome surprise was ending as one of the best they’d had in ages.
The next week or two found both Spike and Wesley deeply engrossed in books like “Baby Names Now”, “15,000 Baby Names” and “Cool Names for Babies”, all of which had been left for them by Lorne with little pink ribbons stuck to the top of them. Arguments ensued about how Heather and Angela (how could Wes have even suggested Angela?) were unacceptable, and hysterical laughter followed ideas like Mikayla, Amber and Nikki even having been considered.
Finally, Wes came to Spike with a real idea, something he had researched and put some thought into.
“What about Roxanne?”
“Like the Police song? Kind of lame, Wesley, honestly. It’s about a hooker, you know. Maybe I should explain to you about putting on the red lights?”
“No no no…Jesus, just listen to me a minute. I know how close you were, are, to Dawn, all right? How much she means to you. In Persian tradition, Roxanne means ‘dawn”, and I just thought with that, and...well, with dawn meaning the beginning of a new day, you know, maybe it would be nice. That song’s thirty years old anyway, no one her age is going to know it, probably.” He had a bit of a sheepish and hopeful look on his face, and Spike couldn’t resist it.
“Roxanne. I like it. Yeah. I think we can agree on that one, but we’ve still got to come up with another one. Girls have two names now. So let me pick out the second name, all right? And we’ll go with that for the first name. It’s pretty, and I like the meaning.”
“Okay. Get me a second name and we’re done with this part."
It took Spike another week to come up with something, but when he did, he wasn’t willing to let go of it for anything.
“Don’t be mad, Wes, but this is important to me. She’s been such a big help through all this, and I think it’s the right thing to do. The second name should be Winifred. The baby might not love it when she gets older, but once she hears the story and gets to know Fred, I think she’ll understand.”
“You’re absolutely right. I agree wholeheartedly”, Wesley responded, much to Spike’s surprise.
Wes had more to say at that moment, but wasn’t really sure how to bring it up. So he decided he’d just come right out with it and damn the consequences.
“We’ve done an awful lot of talking about names the past couple of weeks. Hell, that first time we met up at the pub by chance we talked about names, our names, and I was just wondering. You can say no if you want to, but…I don’t like calling you Spike. It’s not your name and I hate the way you ended up with it. I was wondering if maybe I could start calling you Will or William. I don’t care if other people still call you Spike, I don’t even care if you introduce yourself that way. I could even at least try not to say it in front of the others. But your name is William, and I don’t want to call you Spike anymore. Is that all right? Do you need time to think about it?”
“No, Wes. Will is good. No one calls me that anymore, except Angel sometimes, but it’s different with you. If you never want to call me Spike again, that’s fine. To be honest, if it makes you more comfortable, I’ll tell everyone I know not to call me Spike anymore. We’re starting a new life…”Christ, where was this coming from? “You and me, and soon the baby, and we’re – I don’t know – together? I think? Jesus fuck. Are we? Together?”
Wesley answered by moving in closer and pulling him in to a deep kiss, breaking off with a look that promised more. “Let’s just go to bed, Will.”
The time passed so much more quickly than they expected. Ten weeks had seemed like forever the first time they heard it, but when Wes woke up to his lover doubled over in pain and whimpering, he saw that imaginary hourglass in his mind and immediately got him into the car in the parking garage and hurried him into the lab at Wolfram and Hart through the security doors. He’d called Fred on the way, so she was ready when they got there. A table had been set up with an IV, and he half-carried his love and laid him down there. Will didn’t feel the IV when it went in, but he gritted his teeth and hissed when he was asked to turn over onto his side for the spinal anesthesia that Fred administered efficiently. A nasal cannula was placed in an abundance of caution. Will (as they’d all gotten accustomed to calling him in the past weeks) didn’t need to breathe, but it was likely he would try and no one wanted to take any chances. Wes stood by steadfastly, holding Will’s hand and watching what couldn’t be seen behind the curtain that had been carefully placed between Will’s face and his abdomen.
Fred expertly made the incision; slowly at first to be sure the anesthetic had taken effect. She kept working until she saw what she was looking for, and put both her hands onto the baby’s bottom, slowly extracting her from the body of her…parent. Within just a few seconds, the baby was squalling, loudly, and there were smiles all around. Fred held the squirming little girl up over the curtain so her father could see her, then held out a surgical tool and handed it to Wes so that he could cut the umbilical cord. Fred made quick work of stitching up the incision she’d made, using great care though she knew it would heal on its own within a day or two.
For just a moment, the baby was whisked away, placed on a scale, quickly cleaned up, and then placed in Will’s arms as Wes hovered, both of them taken completely aback as they got their first look at the little girl that they’d agreed to raise together. Wesley and Will were both crying with no shame as they took in the sight of this perfect tiny thing that was theirs, this baby they would love and support and nurture for her entire life. Not for the first time, Will gave himself in to the fleeting thought that he’d likely outlive her, but he pushed it aside because nothing was going to ruin this moment for him. Her eyes were a striking shade of blue, and she had the tiniest bit of light brown hair covering her head.
“She’s perfect”, breathed Wesley, stroking the side of her face as Will looked between the baby and him without even trying to stop his tears from falling.
“Of course she’s bloody perfect, Wes, she’s mine, right?” Spike responded with an exhausted smile.
“Seven pounds, eight ounces, and almost eighteen inches long. Delivered at 10: 28am. People will ask you, so remember that, okay?” Fred reminded them.
“How many people are waiting for this phone call, Fred?”, asked Wesley, smiling brightly.
“Only one, honestly, because they’re all in the same room."
“Go on and make the call then”, Will responded weakly. “Let them know we’re all down here, safe as houses, and to give us half an hour, then they can come on and see her. Can you get something to cover me up, though, please?"
Within half an hour and thirty seconds, they had their first visitors. Neither of the parents objected to having the baby passed around and admired, so long as she ended up back in either of their arms within a minute or so.
Lorne was the first to ask, of course. “So? Did you already come up with a name or are the two of you still arguing about it?”
“We decided on a name weeks ago, Lorne, we just didn’t tell anyone yet,” Wesley replied. “Her name is Roxanne.” He took just a second, looked at Fred then back at the baby again, and continued, “Roxanne Winifred.”
Fred looked as though she may faint, but she remained on her feet as she burst into tears. “Oh! Oh, Wesley, Will, you have no idea…you just – I – oh…” She couldn’t continue due to being overcome with gratitude that they’d thought enough of her small contribution to bestow such an honor upon her.
And there they all were. A family of sorts. What one of the new parents had previously referred to as a bunch of strangers thrown together…it certainly didn’t seem that way now. Especially since there had been a new member added. A perfect, beautiful baby girl, a miracle handed to a flawed man and a souled demon. What more could any of them ever ask for?
As time passed, and they learned how to do things like change diapers and mix baby formula and move in that rocking kind of way that parents walked to soothe their cranky babies, and weeks or months seemed to go by in a strange and sped-up way. Wesley figured out all the ways to make their daughter laugh, and Will put his years of being bossy into practice in an entirely new fashion. They watched their daughter grow and learn and recognized which parts of her were like each of her parents, surprisingly accepting help from their friends anytime it was needed. And then the day came when, just for a little while, they had to let her go.
Wes sighed, gathered his patience, and looked down again at Roxanne.
“I know how much you love the raincoat, baby, but it’s not raining today. It’s hot outside and you’re going to be uncomfortable. As soon as you get home, you can put it back on, I promise.”
She eyed him suspiciously, as she so often did even at the tender age of three, probably thanks to the example set by her Da. She wanted to show off her Mulan raincoat.
“But my new friends aren’t going to see it. I want them to see it.”
“I promise you, sweetheart, the first day it rains, you can wear it and everyone will see it. All right?”
Another suspicious look. “Pinky swear, Daddy?”
No hesitation there. “Pinky swear”, Wes responded, locking his pinky with his daughter’s, a familiar gesture.
Will poked his head into the room. “She’s going to be late, Wes, what are you doing? She hasn’t even had breakfast yet and we’ve got less than an hour to get her to that sodding preschool…”
“I’m excited about sodding preschool, Da!”
“Don’t say sodding, Roxanne. It’s…it’s a word for grownups. You’ll get in trouble if you say it at school.” Neither of the fathers were fans of nicknames, and anyone trying to call her Roxy had been quickly corrected.
The inevitable pouting ensued as Wes reassured his baby girl that her Da wasn’t upset with her, he was just trying to make sure she didn’t get in trouble at her new preschool.
Who’d have ever thought that Wesley would be the indulgent parent and Will would be the strict one? That’s how it had turned out, though, and everything seemed to be working just fine. Neither of them wanted to send her to preschool, to be honest, but socializing with other children her age was the right thing for her, so they’d found a secular program at a local public school and enrolled her. Since it was, after all, Los Angeles, they’d barely gotten a second glance as “Roxanne’s two daddies” and she was all set up to start her adventure with water tables and play kitchens and story time and sharing and making friends.
Will hated standing at their front door and watching them leave, but had no desire to become a pile of dust in exchange for escorting their daughter to her first day away from him. He kissed her on the forehead and told her he’d have her favorite ice cream waiting when she got home, which she could have if she’d eaten all of her lunch, and retreated to the living room, absently holding the ratty purple blanket she slept with. The same one Fred and Gunn had given them as a gift before Roxanne had even been born.
Roxanne wasn’t nearly as apprehensive as her parents were. She wasted no time at the door to her classroom, waving off her Daddy’s hug and kiss with a strong determination to go off and do her own thing, shaking her long light brown locks and making a beeline for the shelf of books on the far end of the room and the other little girl who was studying which books might be exciting. After a few words with the teacher, Wes gave his daughter a final good-bye and walked down the hallway and outside to his car. He still had his bike, but Roxanne wasn’t old enough to take a ride on it, even just around the block, though she saw this as a grave injustice.
Wes made his way home, fell into the arms of his husband (they’d exchanged rings and vows in front of their friends a year ago, so screw the law, they were married) and held on tight.
“She’s going to be fine, you know? It’s only a couple of hours.”
“Of course, darling. But I’m not going to be fine until she’s home.”
“Oh, I doubt that”, replied Will, as he guided Wes back to bed. “You’ll be all right."