“Dammit!” Wesley burst out as he staked his second vampire of the evening.
Spike glanced over at him from where was waging his own battle. “What?”
“My bloody beeper is going off!”
Wesley was only wearing the beeper for one reason these days, and, of course, it made sense that Nika would be going into labor while they were trying to clear out a vamp-nest. “Get on with you, mate,” Spike said. “Hell-Boy an’ I can handle this one on our own.”
As if to prove the point, Connor sent a vampire flying in Spike’s direction where it landed neatly on the end of his stake. “We’ll finish up, Wes,” Connor assured him, throwing the older man a confident smile.
Wesley hesitated for only a split second before heading for the exit. “You’ll meet us there?”
“You think I’d miss it?” Spike called back. “Now go see to your wife.”
Wesley took to his heels, and Spike rolled his eyes, grinning as he leaped back into the fray. “As if I’d let him miss the birth of his first-born,” the vampire muttered.
Connor probably wouldn’t have heard him except for his own superior sense of hearing. “You know Wes,” he said, his whirling ax punctuating his statement by taking off the head of yet another vampire. “Always thinking about duty.”
“Duty to Nika comes a bit higher than this, I’d say,” Spike said. “Least it does if he doesn’t want to sleep on the couch for the next few months.”
“Like he’s going to have any time with Nika with a couple of additions to the family,” Connor pointed out.
Spike shrugged, staking the last vampire. “Enid’ll be a big help. She’ll see to all of them.”
“Enid’s cool,” was Connor’s considered opinion. They headed out of the warehouse together, both grateful that the young man had driven himself. Had they all taken one car, they’d have been out of luck for sure.
Spike swung himself into the passenger side of Connor’s car, pausing only to toss his weaponry on the floor of the backseat. “You know where we’re headed?”
“Sure,” Connor replied, pulling out of the parking lot with a squeal of tires.
Spike didn’t even flinch. He was used to the boy’s driving by now. He pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial. “Hey, luv. You at the hospital yet?”
Buffy’s voice came through clearly. “We just got here ourselves,” she replied. “Nika’s handling it like a pro.”
“Things look like they’re goin’ to go okay?”
“Apparently, you never know with twins, but right now things look pretty good. Is Wes on his way?”
“Already left,” Spike assured her. “Connor an’ I are headin’ out now.”
“See you in a few then,” Buffy said.
Spike hung up, looking over at Connor. “You want me to call Dawn?”
“No,” Connor said, his eyes on the road. “I’ll see her there.” There was a long silence, and then Connor said, “I’m thinking about asking Dawn.”
“Asking Dawn what?”
“To marry me.”
Spike took a deep, unnecessary breath, reminding himself that Dawn and Connor had been seeing each other for a while now, and that they were both adults. “You’re both a little young for that, aren’t you?”
Connor’s lips twitched. “I’m not talking about getting married right away,” he replied. “More like in a couple years when we’re both done with school.”
“You that sure about it?” Spike thought that Connor had been good for Dawn. He liked the boy, and he knew that Connor made Dawn happy. The thought of his Niblet being old enough to get married, however—it was frightening.
It reminded him of how quickly things could change. How quickly humans grew up.
“I’m sure,” Connor replied. He took a deep breath, knowing that he could explain without risking hurting the vampire’s feelings. “It’s just my father—I mean, Holtz, always talked about being married. It’s supposed to be the whole reason you’re together, right? So you get married at some point down the road?”
Spike thought about it. “That would depend on you an’ Dawn, lad. Everyone has different thoughts on marriage and such, but if that’s what the two of you want, then you should go for it. Life’s too short not to.”
“That’s what I thought,” Connor replied. “I don’t want to waste any time.”
Neither did Spike.
Nika took a deep breath, feeling the contraction ripple across her abdomen. It hurt more than she’d expected, but the pain was bearable, knowing what the end result would be. “Do you need anything, cariad?”
Nika shook her head. “Just Wesley, and I’m sure he’ll be here as soon as he can.”
“I’m sure,” Enid replied, running a damp cloth over her granddaughter’s forehead. “Possibly sooner, you know.”
Nika laughed. “I don’t doubt he’ll break every traffic law. I should have made him take the motorcycle.” She took a deep breath as the contraction worsened. “The babies?”
“They’re just fine,” Enid assured her. “You’re doing just fine.”
“Funny,” Nika said. “This doesn’t really feel fine.”
Enid smiled. “You’re feeling what every woman who has given birth has felt, since the beginning of time.”
“I wonder why that doesn’t make me feel any better?” Nika asked wryly.
The door swung open. “Danika?”
“I’m fine,” she assured him, as he rushed to her side. “Really, Wesley.”
He was obviously nearly beside himself with worry. “Do you need anything? Water? I could get—”
“I don’t need anything now that you’re here,” Nika said soothingly.
Wesley visibly attempted to calm himself. “You’re sure?”
“Quite.” Nika smiled at him. “Relax, cariad. It won’t be much longer now.”
The Slayer turned to greet her husband with a broad smile. “How’d it go tonight?”
“Bit of a doddle, really,” he replied, giving her a quick kiss. “The only excitin’ part was Wesley’s beeper goin’ off.” Spike looked around. “Where’s Meg?”
“Dawn has her,” Buffy replied. “They went for a walk outside.”
Spike shook his head. “That explains where Hell-Boy went off to,” he said. “He has a better nose than I do.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Buffy replied. “I like your nose.”
They sat down next to each other in the stiff plastic chairs, hands still connected. Their relationship had reached a level of comfort over the past few months that was entirely new. The wedding had been a private ceremony with friends and family only. Willow had given the blessing, and they’d had a small reception afterwards.
Buffy had seen enough of the fuss and bother that went into a wedding to know that she didn’t want a big ceremony. She’d worn the white dress, and Spike had grudgingly worn a tux, and that had been enough for her.
Just the fact that they’d made it this far was a miracle.
“You ever think about havin’ more kids?” Spike asked out of the blue.
Buffy glanced over at him in surprise. “Why would you ask that?”
He shrugged. “Just seems like you might, what with Wes an’ Nika havin’ two at one go.”
“I haven’t given it much thought,” Buffy replied. “It’s not possible.”
Spike was quiet for a minute. “If it was, though, would you?”
He was so quiet that Buffy didn’t think he was going to answer her question. “Wouldn’t give Meg up for the world, you know,” he said. “But sometimes.”
There were problems with loving a vampire. Buffy had even known that back in high school when she’d tried to have a relationship with Angel. At the time, she hadn’t thought much beyond the strangeness of a Slayer in love with a vampire and vice versa. There had been the sunlight issue, but as the Slayer, her prime hours of activity were after the sun had gone down anyway.
Buffy knew that Angel had left because he didn’t think he could give her the life she deserved. Someone to walk in the sunlight with her, someone to grow old next to her, someone to give her children. Well, she’d accepted the limitations that were inherent in a relationship with Spike because having him in her life was worth it.
She hated to think that he might reconsider.
Knowing her fears, he hastened to assure her. “Not goin’ anywhere, pet. ‘s just I envy Wesley sometimes, getting kiddies of his very own. I wouldn’t give up what I’ve got for the world. ‘s just I can’t help but wishin’ for more sometimes. Long as it’s with you.”
“I think one kid is all I can handle, Spike,” Buffy replied softly. “Even if it was a possibility, I’m not sure I would want more children.”
It was a lie. Buffy would have wanted more kids if it was a possibility. At least, she would have loved to have Spike’s child—perhaps a little boy with his blue eyes and curly hair. It wasn’t something she even allowed herself to dream about, however.
Spike nodded somberly. “Right. Guess it’s just as well, then.”
Meg squealed with happiness when she spotted Connor, holding chubby arms out to him imperiously. The young man complied, scooping the toddler up and sweeping her around through the air while she screamed in delight.
Once Meg was tucked securely under one arm, giggling like mad, Connor kissed his girlfriend. “How is everything?”
“Fine,” Dawn replied. “It’s going pretty much like you’d expect. Wesley’s beside himself, though. He came in like he was being chased by the fiends of hell.”
Connor shrugged. “I can’t blame him. It’s his first kid.”
“Kids,” Dawn corrected him. “I imagine we’re going to be very much in demand as babysitters for the next, oh, decade or so.”
He shrugged. “I like kids.”
He did, and he was really good with them, Dawn thought. Something about his almost too-literal view of the world made him perfect for handling kids. Not to mention the lightning-quick reflexes, which were always a good thing with Meg. The little girl had a tendency to get into trouble faster than humanly possible.
Then again, her mother was the Slayer.
“Well, I’m glad,” Dawn replied. “With as many of them as are going to be running around, I’d have had to find a new boyfriend if you didn’t like them.”
Connor gave her one of his more charming smiles. “For you, I would have learned to love them.”
“You’re a real charmer, you know that?” Dawn asked, leaning in for another kiss.
Meg’s rather loud, “Mom!” interrupted.
“Yes, ma’am,” Dawn said sarcastically, kissing him anyway. “I guess that’s our cue to get back inside.”
He smiled in reply. “After you.”
Wesley mostly did as he was told. He had no problem accepting the fact that Enid was in control, or in following her directions to the letter. One of the babies was breech, but the older woman had expressed complete confidence in bringing mother and babies through safely. While there was a part of him that wanted the newest, most up-to-date medical technology for his children, Enid had been delivering infants for decades.
It was also what Nika wanted.
Twenty hours after she had started contractions, Wesley held his squalling son with a sense of awe. One of the nurses came and whisked the infant away, and Enid called out, “Hang on a mo, cariad. Next one’s nearly out.”
The second born was screaming a moment later, red-faced and angry. Wesley took his second born son for a brief moment as Enid clipped the umbilical cord. “We’ll get this little one cleaned up, and then you can have your sons, Danika,” she said, taking the tiny body from Wesley’s hands.
He immediately went to see to his wife. “Nika? How are you, love?”
“About as well as might be expected,” she replied with a tired smile. Nika suddenly laughed a little breathlessly. “We did it, Wesley.”
“You did most of the work, sweetheart,” he replied wryly, kissing her gently.
She smiled. “I promise that’s about to change. We’ll have enough to keep the both of us busy, I’m sure.”
Enid was there a moment later, a nurse close behind, both carrying a baby. “Meet your sons,” she said, depositing her burden in Nika’s arms. The nurse placed the other boy in Nika’s other arm. “Have you decided what you’ll name them?” she asked.
Nika smiled gently, touching one soft cheek. “This is Dafydd, and this—” She touched the cheek of her second-born. “This is William.”
Enid nodded her approval. “Good names, both of them. Does Spike know you’re naming one of your sons after him?”
Wesley smiled. “We thought we’d let that be a surprise.”
“He’ll be terribly embarrassed,” Nika predicted. “But he’ll get over it. If it wasn’t for Spike, we wouldn’t be here anyway.”
“Too true,” Wesley murmured, bending to kiss her.
Enid wiped away the tears that were forming in her eyes. “May you grow to be strong and honorable as your parents,” she murmured in Welsh. “May you live to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Enid only hoped that she would be alive to see it happen.