Lazy Daze

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all
other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Buffy Rebecca and Walthrop/Spike spend a quiet day at home in Sunnydale...While
'Dr.' Walthrop prepares for his leetle trip...To Hell...


The Walthrops enjoy a quiet moment at home...

Play theme "Dreams..."

Part I....

'Never need a reason...Let the day go on and on...' The song drifted gently through the
apartment...

Too small...Much too small...

Buffy Rebecca Summers-Walthrop, twin sister of Buffy Anne Summers...Robotic, human-souled
twin...Frowned again as she looked around the studio apartment she shared with her hubs.

Well...Until they secured a mortgage and found the right place it would have to do...

But she missed the old Summers house...After all, she'd only gotten back in with Buf and Dawn
just before she and Spike had headed for Europe on their honeymoon.

Not that the apartment didn't beat their old place, the Greenwood crypt, in many ways...

It's just...Well, spacewise....The dear old crypt had it beat by a country mile.

No proper dining room...Barely space for a table to sit at...Tiny kitchenette...

Not that she minded sharing a bedroom...King-sized bed just made it, thank goodness...

But what with her college studies and all...She needed a little private space...As she was sure her
'cybergenius' hubs did as well, she noted to herself.

And heck, she was Buffy, after all...And Buffy was used to having her own room...At least a
place to retreat to when she needed it...Where one could just dream off in a daze when the urge
took one.

Or the sorrow and fear threatened to close in...

Private yet within ear-shot of hubs and hearth, you know...A desk to oneself at the
UCal-Sunnydale library or student offices just didn't compare...Although she could deal that way
for now.

And she couldn't fault Spike...He'd blasted off into the responsible family man lifestyle with a
vengeance...

Dead a century and a partner in one of the hottest cybernetics firms in the world.

Well, good old 'dad' Warren to thank for that...But Walthrop had been making a considerable
contribution in recent weeks...With her help and support.

But even with a healthy income, obtaining a mortgage was a bit iffy...The Watchers' Council had
worked miracles in providing their new super Slayer and her Watcher/redeemed vampire
husband with phony credentials but even they could only do so much for them.

Spike was hopeful...Especially with Warren and Giles ready to cosign at any time...But...It would
take time...Especially if they wished to avoid dealing with any potentially embarrass ing
questions.

Still...The sooner they got moving on a house, with office dens for each of them, the better.

And of course...Sooner or later they'd need another bedroom...If all went well...

Not to mention it would be much easier for her to have her bioregenerative tank...For
maintaining the living outer tissue of her body...At the Walthrop home, rather than at the
Summers'.

Still...Just for today...It was nice to be home...On the morning of a lazy Saturday...

Letting all things supernatural go hang...A moment to daze and dream.

If Warren hadn't recently replaced her old rechargeable batteries with an atomic cell, she'd of
teased herself about having a chance to "recharge"...
***

Walthrop popped in, startling her...She'd expected him to take longer at the store...

She'd given him quite a list...Particularly of food items.

"I'm eating for two after all..." she'd grinned at Spike as he stared at the list in wonderment.

Courtesy dear old ‘dad’ and the onboard blood synthesizer he'd built into her...

To keep up with the good doctor's special nutritional needs.
Between that, the behavioral-mod chip, and Buffy Rebecca herself, all helping to strengthen
William's hold over his demon, Science was holding a fair edge over Magic in the redemption
sweepstakes, she noted.

Poor Angel...Gypsy curse just couldn't compare...

Still...Will'd been happy to go...Any chance to wander about in daylight thanks to Willow's and
Wesley's joint wedding gift...A ring formed from a certain crystal.

So she was surprised that he hadn't taken more advantage of the chance to scoot around...

Usually she kept a hawk eye on the ring...Hating the thing more everytime she saw it...

Not that she regretted him being able to enjoy sunlight again...Just...She knew...One day...He'd
forget...And poof...

But as long as he'd be near the protection of his car...Well...And she didn't want to smother him
with her care.

And a few moments of quiet privacy...For each of them...Would not be the worst thing.

However Walthrop had had quite a few moments of quiet privacy in the past century...Years of
them...

And much preferred to spend his time with the Missus, thank you...Much as he had enjoyed the
trip...

And as a matter of fact...Being smothered in her care sounded like a preety good deal to him.

Although...He had developed a considerable sensitivity to his wife's moods and sensed she was
looking...Hoping...For a leetle quiet time...

Besides he had someone...Well, some thing...To speak with.

Back in a bit, he told her, kissing her on forehead.

"Daylight ring?..." she asked, instinctively...

He waggled his fingers, ring firmly in place as he strode out ...

She looked after him...Speak to?...

Oh...Right...Old Faithful was about to hit semi-retirement.
***

D-Day...The moment had to be faced...He'd promised to move on it on their return from Europe
and this Saturday being a rare more or less free day for both Walthrops...With no major exams,
company deadlines, major family get-togethers, or battles with hideous otherworldly menaces
looming.

It's hard to say good-bye to the familiar things you cherish...he told his car...

Dear old friend...When a killer vampire had had no other...You were always there for me...

Not that this was good-bye forever...BR rather loved the old girl herself, secretly...It having been
a rather interesting trysting place for them at times.

And Spike never looking quite so dark and sexy as when he cruised along up beside her in it...

Offering...Candy? little girl...

But...The Family Walthrop needs more dependable and larger transport for daily use...

At least, thank God, it would never be a BMW.

***

She dragged herself out of her chair and looked out the window at Walthrop...

My lil' feller...Gettin' his well-earned time in the sun.

Well, she looked at the gray sky...In the daytime at least...

And so increasingly sensitive to her moods...He knew right away...Without her having to bang
him over the head...

Like in the old days.

A clot of fear formed in her heart...She pushed it down...

Just enjoy the day...A peaceful, lazy Saturday...Calm and peaceful after the recent waves of
turmoil...And joy...

Enough with the solitude, she thought...And went out to join him.

Had to make her peace with the old girl too, anyway...

And a fellow machine after all, she teased herself.

***
He knew...This place...

Where an old 'friend' could get them a 'great deal' on a minivan or other more appropriate
primary car.

She could imagine the 'friend'...And the 'great deal'...

Better than the place ole Xander had suggested the other night...he noted...

A regular den of thieves...Where both Harris and Giles had been expertly fleeced in turn.

At least his 'friend'...As a demon...A harmless Koptos type, he hastily noted...Was anxious to
avoid embarass ing scandals and the angry, dissatisfied customers who initiated them.

A demon selling used cars...Not difficult to picture actually...

"I'm driving...You drive like a demonic maniac..." she told him...

Former demonic maniac...she loyally corrected.

***

Somehow she felt a slight mental tug on getting in the car...Like a half-forgotten memory that's
suddenly come clear...

She was overdue for a soak in biogoo.

"Rats...Guess it's gotta be biotank tonight, honey..." she noted...

Well...She'd have a good time with Buf and co...he pointed out.

After all the past two days since their return had been far too hectic for the sisters Summers to
have much quality time...And Buffy and Dawn...Were surely eager for details...On everything, he
grinned.

Wow...He has learned to read us pretty well, she thought...But...

She frowned...He could show a leetle more disappointment...

Demand to share the tank.

But after all, it would weird Buf and Dawn out to think of them...Down in their basement...In a
metal coffin-like tank...Making out.

However...He went on...There was no reason he couldn't come along...Check in on the sisters'
and their houseguest, Ms. Granger, the new human Slayer...Spending a pleasant evening at the
in-laws...

And perhaps, he grinned...If she didn't object to his resuming a dash of nefarity...Slip downstairs
to the tank after bidding all farewell and heading out the door.

To spare Buffy and Dawn...Especially Dawn...Some disturbing images...

It was their first Saturday night back from Europe after all.

Now that was more like it...she thought...Grinning at her little blonde imp...

She didn't even bother to put on a fake frown, he noted happily.
***

Gert Frood, Sunnydale's new used car king...Large, congenially aggressive...By appearance a
clone of Rush Limbaugh...In reality, Gertfrood, a koptos demon...A limited degree of
shape-shifting being his one real otherworldly ability.

Not exactly the type she'd of expected Spike to hang with in his pre-chip days...

But a key player in the network of demons and vampires who provided "services" for Sunnydale's
underworld community...

And a demon alone in a small town must have these kinds of "friends"...

Particularly if he is limited to night hours.

Gert was a bit non-plussed to see his dear old pal...

In daylight?...With the famed Slayer?

Walthrop explained his new family man status...

Gert blinked rapidly...Nearly losing his human form from the shock...

Spike?...Married?!...To the twin sister of the famed Slayer?!!...

Likewise a Buffy...

Though he'd heard rumors...

And in that tweed suit...

However the used car "king" is always ready to welcome a dear old customer...
Especially when he does look rather prosperous.
***

Walthrop had gone to look over a couple of vans in the lot...

BR to the ladies room...And to check out the showroom models...

Divide and conquer principle.

Curiously Gert had stayed with her, rather than buttering up Spike...

She noted he seemed a hair nervous about her being in the main showroom and office area.

***

A tall, young blonde was womaning the reception desk...Which seemed placed to deliberately
avoid any direct light...

Speaking enthusiastically to a customer who'd paused to ask a question.

Hmmn...BR frowned...

"Your receptionist is a vampire..." she noted to Gert...

***

Heh...heh...Gerfrood nervously smiled...

Can't always be sure of everyone one hires...He noted...

Evelyn was a good kid, though...Never had killed a customer...To his knowledge...

An enthusiastic supporter of the recent peace agreement...He was sure.

Uh-huh...she frowned at him.

Important to keep our local peace-loving vamps gainfully employed, he noted...Keeps them out
of trouble.

She looked at him...Frown moved down the spectrum to glare.

Look...She's never taken a drop except from a blood bag in the time she's worked here...I
swear...he pleaded...

And Spike must've told you...My kind abhors violence.
"Your girl, I take it?..." she asked.

Ummn...Well...

We've grown very close working together and all...

I've been encouraging her on the non-violent path...he noted...Plastering a smile...

"Have you seen this new baby, Buffy?...Ummn, may I call you Buffy?..." he desperately pointed
out a new minivan...

Great deal available on the warranty...And 1%...BR glanced at Evelyn...Er, 0% financing.

You were right, honey...BR noted to Walthrop as he strolled back in...

"This place was a good idea..."

***
Lazy Daze...Part II...

***
Lunch...

Buffy and Dawn met them at the I-87 mall...the Sunnydale Mall still being closed on account of
rampaging manic goddess...Warren on the way...

Riley?...BR looked at Buffy...

He'd finally resurfaced while the Walthrops were in England...Briefly...

Back off to Central America...Buffy frowned...

Clearly not her favorite subject of conversation...BR noted...

And, being Buffy, she could guess why...Beyond the natural annoyance at Mr. Finn's
leaving...Again...So quickly...

But best to let Sis tell me herself she knew.

BR encouraged Walthrop to take Dawny for a stroll...Which Dawn enthusiastically agreed to...

She'd been dying to get a chance to ask Will in detail about dear ole Ben and how he was doing
back in Greece...

A crush of epic proportions having developed towards the gentle and handsome doctor/god
who'd saved her life.

Besides...Strolling with Spike in daylight was a trip...Even after a few months in the sun, it was
all so new to him...He'd spend ten minutes staring at rainbows in puddles, clouds reflected in
shop windows, things like that...

Getting all poetical...Which she found rather neat...As a young romantic herself...

At least when no one her age she knew was around.

And she'd like to get details on the state of the Union...Details she knew she could not get from
BR...

Buffy could see her twin was down...She was Buffy Rebecca, after all...And as for depression...

Definitely been there.

The damned Hell trip again...Well...She could understand him wanting to get expert info before
attempting fatherhood and with regards to his and BR's future together...

Still...Couldn't he wait?...She...er...Sis...Well, actually both of them...Had worked so hard at his
redemption...

Surely he could give it a little time.

Well...BR sighed...Maybe he's right to want to get it over and done with...

If it has to be done...And maybe...she looked at Buffy...It does...

"It's like there's a really big part of him marked "unexplored...here be monsters..."..." BR told
Buffy...

Even he doesn't know what's lurking in there...

And I'm afraid of what he'll find...

"See..." she smiled at her sis... "This is a trip inside himself as well..."

And there's no way for me to follow...Help him...

Pretty ridiculous...Me...She looked at Buffy...

The little woman staying at home...Waiting and dreaming...

Helpless...
Buffy thought a moment...Dreaming?...

An idea occurred to her...

Maybe...They ought to consult with the senior "cybergenius"...Her current potential
"guy-in-training".

Warren...Who now made his appearance as if on cue...

Greeting the Buffies happily...

Buffy pecked him one on the cheek...

BR looked at her...Sis...?

Hah...Buffy couldn't help thinking...

For once, an idea that doesn't immediately come to both of us...

Must be all the time we've been separated and I've been spending with Warren.

***

Utilize the neural transfer system?...To maintain a kind of contact with Spike...In Hell?...

Warren was intrigued...He'd mentioned to Buffy an idea he'd had for a way for Buffy and the
others to reach each other in the shortest possible time in emergencies...

Transmitting the brainwaves which the system utilized to create the neural copy...Like the one
that had made Buffy Rebecca possible.

Unlike radio or microwave signals, the system used quantum photon teleportation to avoid any
possibility of variation in the copying procedure...Employing the Heisenberg uncertainty
principle...Meaning it was instantaneous...And the signal could not be blocked...by anything...

As it didn't really travel though anything.

Buffy not merely had been anxious to show an interest in a potential beau's work...If she did not
particularly excel at mathematics and physics she did know what sounded like a useful item
when she heard it...

And instantaneous telepathic communication...Which could overcome any blocking
obstacles...Had sounded preety useful.

***
"We could try it..." Warren noted...Nodding thoughtfully...

I could modify the system in a couple of days...

"How about we aim for a trial run on Thursday?..." he looked at BR.

My 'dad'...BR grinned at Buffy...Who nodded...

And clearly wanted to speak to her in turn.

Hmmn...

"Why don't you see if you can find Will and Dawn, Dad?..." BR smiled...

Then we can go eat...

"As always I'm starved..." she grinned...

He got it and smiled at them wryly...

Buffy talk, eh...Back in a few mo.

Well?...Buffy Rebecca looked at her twin...

"Warren?..." she asked...

Warren...Buffy nodded...

"He's a great guy...I really like him..." she paused...

Much improved since his sexbot building days...

Dependable...True blue...

And?...

Hmmn?...Buffy stared innocently...

Hmmn...BR stared back...

"Ok...We had dinner..." Buffy nodded... "And?...

Yeah, yeah...She nodded again... "Sex too...I spend a night with him..."

Hmmn...Somehow more than I wanted to know...BR thought...

Even though I woulda guessed even if Willow hadn't told me...

"So...?"

"Good...Great...He's a great guy like I said...Definite potential these days...

But...

Not a lot of...

Pizzaz...

And...

"I think he's still having trouble separating us..." she noted...

And what with you being, well...His little girl...
"No moves since?..." BR looked at Buffy...

Unt-uh...Rien...Nuth-king...

A perfect gentleman...sigh...

"Maybe he's still scared of me?..." Buffy looked at her...

I could see when we were in England, after the thing with Dru...He was...Warming up to it...

Then he tried Katrina again...

But I respect that...she added hastily...

And then...

"Riley...And Angel...Were around..." BR noted...

Mucho intimidation...

Buffy nodded, sighing...

I did kinda...Back off when Riley showed up...she noted guiltily...

"But the field's open now...And I thought we were off to a good start...He might at least try a leetle harder..."

He really does have "potential"...You're right about him, sis...she noted...

"But there's something been holding him back ever since that night..."

"I can talk to him...?" BR looked at Buffy...

Maybe a little encouraging word from his darling robo-daughter...?

Well...

If you could just let him know...It really was neat...I am interested...

Buffy Rebecca nodded...And grinned...

At her likewise grinning sis...

Matchmaker for my original...Neat...

And a chance...To keep in touch with the Spiked one...
At least to know what's happening to him...

"Thanks, sis..." she told Buffy...

Who knew exactly what she meant...

After all...

***

After lunch...

BR strolled with Walthrop in the mall.

Just like any other couple, Dawn noted happily to Buffy...

They paused by a pet shop...

What about a puppy?... he grinned.

Kittens would be more your speed, she noted as she frowned at him...

Something to cuddle when I'm away...he continued to eye the puppies.

"Spike...I'll be at the Well of Souls covering your escape route, remember?...I won't be needing a
cuddly puppy..."

Unless...You're expecting to be a long while...she did not say.

Course if the need arises...There's always Angel...she smiled sweetly at her hubs...

"With ole Granddad, Slayer?...Now that is just too perverse..." he grinned back.

He turned serious...

"Glad he'll be there in any case..." he said thoughtfully...

She looked at him briefly...then looked away, back at the puppies, now rather too excited as if
they'd caught an interesting...Or frightening scent...

Back up, sweetie, she hissed to him...

"You're scaring the puppies..."

Oh...Right...He nodded and stepped back...
"I was kidding you know..." she looked at him.

Oh, so you do want one...he grinned...

She frowned at him...You know I mean about Angel...she told him.

Yeah...he smiled, patting her shoulder...

"But it is nice to know he's around if you need him...Dependable types are hard to find, you
know..." he replied...

And old Warren may be taken...Too much to ask of dear Buf after all her kindness to us to give
him up...And he is your 'dad', so to speak.

She looked fiercely at him...

"Angel's being "around" is no excuse for you to feel better about this..." she told him...

If I had wanted Angel, my glop tank would be in LA right now.

He stopped and looked at her...

"Buffy, do you think I want to go?...." he frowned...

I've had six short months of bliss...After more than a hundred years of torment I thought would
never end...

And part of those six months I even had to face losing you...Twice, if you count your little leap
with our Dru...

Everything in me is screaming not to do this, risk losing everything...And you can bet Spike's
voice is loudest of all...

But it has to be done.

"And if it turns out...That you're not free...That they think you still owe them?..." she regarded
him...

I'll pay the debt and then come back...he told her.

Yeah...And how many million years will that be?...

Well, she went on, smiling sourly...At least I'll be easy to find...I'll be the only human around
with hair and a normal-sized head by then...

And what if they decide to separate you?...And keep Spike for punishment...You can't come
back...To this world...As William alone...she noted.

Nonsense...he snorted...There's always Willow and her resurrection spell...Simplest thing in the
world.

I call you by seance, she repeats what she did with Buffy at the Well of Souls...No problem.

And even if...If, mind you...he looked at her...That doesn't work out...

We'll be together in the afterlife.

She rolled her eyes...I knew it...That old fall-back, the "afterlife"...

We'll settle all problems in..."the afterlife"...

Yeah, right...

"I'm Buffy, Spike...Robotic physiology or not...I wasn't raised as an immortal...I don't have the
patience to sit and wait eternally..."

I won't stay here alone.

He looked away...

"In my old church, it's a sin to commit suicide, Rebecca...I think a lot of the world's religions
follow that policy..."

Not that I approve of that policy in all cases, mind you...But...

If so many are agreed, it may mean the Powers That Be frown on such things...Unless the reason
is a sterling one...

And you're a Slayer...The most powerful ever seen...And Immortal, if we keep your maintenance
up...They may expect you to do certain things...

Like protect your human sister Slayers...Forever...

That may even be the real reason you were allowed into the world...With me getting the fringe
benefit of salvation along the way...he grinned.

But, he resumed...If you kill yourself...While I'm gone...

It might put a stick in our wheel of fortune...We might end up separated...Forever...

"I'll stay long enough to protect Buffy, Basey, Dawn, and the guys...After that...If I don't hear
from you...Or if you can't get back...Well, the PTBs never fretted much over the loss of Slayers
before now..." she noted firmly.

He sighed...And smiled at her...Buffy Rebecca Summers-Walthrop...

As determined as the night she crawled out of her biotank to save me...Ordering me to spend all
night helping her protect the grave of a Mum who never knew she existed...Until she died and
they met at last...

A story she will never tell anyone but me...For fear of hurting human Buffy...And to keep
something special of Joyce for herself.

"Guess then I'll have to come back within the next century..." he noted...

You better...she noted grimly.

They were to follow Buffy, Warren, and Dawn home...

Willow, Tara, Xander, and Anya to join them later that afternoon.

Walthrop...he noted to himself, as they headed back to the car...

You are one lucky bastard...

No doubt about it...
***

Lazy Daze...Part III

Afternoon at the In-laws...the Summers' home...

Buffy noted BR was upset as she came in...And cast a glance at Will.

Eye-roll, slight hand wave...

Nothing you didn't deserve her slight glare back said...

After all we...Sis and I...Have done for you...

Moronic idea...Look what happened to Angel...she thought...

And trusting the dark powers to give one a straight answer?..Plllease...

The whole idea was even more ridiculous than Angel's trip to Tibet the week Darla and Dru had
come for her and Dawn.

Hmmn...Angel...

Maybe he could shake some sense into dear bro-in-law, Buffy noted to herself...

He'd promised her a tour of "his" city after all...Maybe they could all go on a visit...Things being
reasonably quiet here...

Which would give him time to explain the hazards and over-all insanity of a Hell voyage to the
Blond one...

And a little...But less intense...Competition...Might have a beneficial effect on old Warren.

"Basey out?..." BR asked Buffy...

Basey Granger, the new human Slayer called on Buffy's thankfully brief second death was, with
her little brother, Buffy's boarder...

Shopping for shoes with the young Prince...Buffy grinned.

Her colleague and houseguest having lost most of her family to the powerful vamp who'd held
her in thrall for a year, tended towards overindulgence with her surviving member...Though she
was aware and in her practical, forthright manner, attempting to deal with it.

And Giles...Buffy added, a sly look in her eyes...

Really?...BR showed a matching look...

Their Master Watcher had a definite eye for the new Slayer...Who'd for her part had made her
interest quite clear almost from day one.

Hmmpf...Dawn thought...Spike, Angel, Giles...How come Buffy, Basey, and BR can show an
interest in oldsters like them...Handsome, dashing oldsters, she loyally noted...And then get on
my case about Ben?

Basey still...Nervous?...BR asked...

No longer climbing the walls...Buffy sighed...But still...Anxious...

In addition to Walthrop, now confirmed by the Council as BR's Watcher, Giles was now
supervising Basey's new Watcher, recently arrived from England...Ms. Amelia Walthrop-Hunt...

Spike's great-great-great-great grandniece...Who'd been an invaluable friend in the fight to free
poor Dru...
And was a beautiful, sophisticated, intelligent, late-thirties...Divorced...Englishwoman...

The image of Emma Thompson.

Which understandably gave Ms. Granger pause...She was so much younger than Rupert...And
felt gangly, awkward, and dreadfully inexperienced in his presence.

Even her forthright manner often failed her when with him...Much to the Buffies' amusement...

And perhaps...Faint regret...Watching Giles' clearly growing affection...

But hey...If it kept him in the family circle...And well protected and cared for.

***

Walthrop was eagerly discussing his and BR's successful sales activities...Shockingly successful,
in fact...During their European honeymoon...With his "cybergenius" partner...

Finally...With Buffy Rebecca's partnering of course...He'd returned a little of the favors his friend
had bestowed on him...And shown that a Cambridge man...Even a nineteenth century trained
Cambridge man...was equal to the challenge of the modern world...

He had been amazed...Warren had confided to Buffy and Dawn during the course of the
Walthrop's trip...

He'd figured...A few new accounts if lucky...

Now they'd signed with the largest EU cybernetics combine...

If anything, a little overwhelming...Though as a doting 'dad' he worried as usual about his
"daughter" and "son-in-law".

BR looked so tired and worn...Couldn't they just once have a few quiet days without some
menace or other hanging over them?

Much as he'd enjoyed the increased tempo his life had taken on in the past nine months...And the
new family he'd gained...

But he was glad to see his friend so pleased with his success...

Then again...He'd always thought Spike had a knack for sales...From the moment the vampire'd
pressured him into building another, vastly superior, robot...And utilizing his new neutral transfer
system to enhance it...

To an extent neither of them could ever have imagined.
***

For her part, Dawn was regally content, watching the Walthrops and her sis...Pleased to see the
Buffies getting off Will's case a little as the afternoon wore on.

They'd been pushing at him a bit hard, she felt...Geesch...Poor Will, nobly setting out once again
on his quest to do the right thing and prove himself worthy of his redemption.

She was after all, as she happily noted to herself, the first person to have recognized Will's
surviving humanity and befriended him...And had likewise sized up Buffy Rebecca's with equal
alacrity...

Not to mention sensing the genuiness of Will's feeling for his Buffy...

Yes...She'd been the one pulling for the Walthrop union right from the start...Which Will was
always pleased to note.

Not of course that she liked the Hell trip idea any more than the Bufs...Absolutely wacko...

Still...So romantic...Poetic, really...

Besides poets...And despite his newfound scientific skill or lack thereof, Spike remained a poet
first and foremost...Were supposed to be a leetle crazy when love was the issue at stake, right?

Fools for love...As Buffy had sheepishly described Will after he'd told her the story of his
transformation...

When Dawn realized now, her sis' sympathies had begun to work...In buried fashion...Until Buffy
Rebecca came, able to give them the expression human Buffy could not dare.

***

Xander and a very bustling Anya arrived...

Wedding plans at full steam...And she had tasks to delegate...

After a thousand years trapped as a demon, she felt she'd earned the right to start out her new life
with a splash...

Which Warren and Spike's generous gift of shares in W/S Bionetics had helped to make
possible...Although, now that they were...Comfortably well off...Anya had taken the precaution
of diversifying their investments...

After all, a thousand years of watching had taught her that the human business economy was a
fickle thing.
Just in time, Dawn noted...Watching BR looking at the calendar in the Summers' kitchen...Which
she'd been staring at in a daze for the past ten minutes...

Not much time left...Just after Christmas in fact...If Walthrop kept to schedule.

Xander saw her and went over, patting her on shoulder...

"Buffy?...Rebecca, right ?..." he grinned.

The wedding ring was a dead giveaway...Though the Bufs were not above passing it around for
fun...

They rather enjoyed the twin game...Now that both were used to the idea.

"Hey, big brother..." she hugged him...

Counting the hours till Xmas?...he teased her...

Will must have quite a present under the tree.

Not the one I want...she told him, a little sadly.

"We'll all be in on this one..." he noted firmly...And look at our record this year.

"Hey, big brother..." Buffy came over...Her hug overdue...

Anya came over...

Not jealous, never...Well, maybe just a tad...An instinctive thing, really.

Xander caught sight of a grinning Dawn who glanced at him and then the living room mirror...

Xander Harris in Paradise...Two adoring Buffies on each side, Anya's arms round his neck...

Well, natch...Xander Harris after all...No man more worthy.

***

Lazy Daze...Part IV...

"So..." Buffy grinning, pulled BR to the living room...

We've waited long enough...Lets get moving...Treewise...

BR nodded...And smiled at the others...
A Summers affair...

"Dawn?..." Both called...

Yeah, yeah...Coming...

What's the deal...We're just climbing to the attic to get the Xmas stuff, Dawn groused to
herself...About time too...We're weeks late getting it out...

Whatda they need me for, anyway?...

Oh...Right...She realized...

First year Mom isn't the one crawling around up there.

Oooh...Why'd they have to make a big thing out of it?...Now I'm gonna lose it...For sure...

She followed them...The others quietly and respectfully watching, Buffy having warned them as
to the mission in progress...Will smiled and winked at her...

Hang in there, Nibblet...

She sighed and nodded to him.

She climbed the ladder to the attic storage area to find the Buffies kneeling at a box, arm around
each other...

Looking at ornaments...

"Remember?..." One was holding some slightly crushed and battered ornament...

Oh...The other took it gently...Both clearly on the verge...

Guys...? she looked at them..Do we have to do this now?...

God, I've done enough crying already for a lifetime.

"Hey, Dawny..." they called in unconscious unison...

Come and take a look.

Ummn...

"I can see it all fine from here..." Dawn noted chipperly...

"Dawn?..."

Fine here...she repeated...Geesch...Hard to tell them apart when they're wearing similar outfits

and in this light, she thought...

And don't they get a kick out of it.

"Hey..." One...Wedding ring on finger, ah BR....held up...

"My drummer boy!?..." Dawn noted in wonder...

Rather battered but still in one piece.

"It's Mom's old ornaments box"...Buffy told her...

Didn't know Mom had kept old things like that...she came over slowly...

Oh...Crap...

Mommy...she sobbed, burying her head in BR's shoulder, while pulling Buffy close.

Quiet up there...Xander noted...

"Give em a mo..." Walthrop replied...Xander nodded...Anya hugged him...

"One day our kids'll be doing this...Right?..." she asked...

Mourning our long-dead selves during important religious and social holidays.

Hmmn-hmmn...It's what puts the "Merry" in Xmas and the "Happy" in Thanksgiving, he noted...

A wry glance at Walthrop.

Spike looked around...Same old couch with the red throw on it...New coffee table, old one
broken when something followed Buf home one night...

They really ought to junk the couch...It must give Dawn at least the creeps...What with Joyce and
all...

Maybe a extra Xmas present from the in-laws, he thought.

Picture of his girls on the table...Dawn, Buffy, BR...in a double frame with Dawn, Buffy, Joyce...

Lilies in a vase next to the picture frame...For dear Joyce...Her favorite...
He paused., looking at them...Mum?...

Mum always liked lilies too, he vaguely remembered.

A little gift?...From the Powers That Be, perhaps...A recovered memory...

Well...They'd been extraordinarily generous to him this year...

More than made up for their rather harsh and arbitrary past treatment, in his view at least.

BR felt differently he knew...

Not that she wasn't grateful regarding their coming together and all...

She just didn't see the necessity of jerking her beloved around in torment for the last century.

Hell...She didn't see why even the Master had had to suffer the vampire curse...Not to mention
Darla, Angel, Dru...Any vamp, really...

But especially her gentle Will...Who in all honesty could not give a reason for why he'd been
singled out...Except that he'd somehow caught poor Dru's fancy...And, perhaps, her trapped
human soul had in its turn also sensed...Something...

Maybe...he felt, anyway...There had been a purpose...

The beginning of the process that had led to breaking the chain of torment?...Well, maybe...

In any case, whatever was behind it...It had resulted in his finding Buffy Rebecca Summers...
And that made it worthwhile.

***

The Summers ladies returned bearing boxes...Having repaired the consequences of their little trip
down memory lane.

Buffy had delayed getting decorations out this year...Understandably finding it a hard task to
face....

Plus she wanted her twin and bro-in-law home...to begin their first Xmas together properly.

They set the boxes down...Hmmn...

The old tree...Mom the only one really who had known how to get it safely up and together in
one piece...

This was a job for...Construction Man...

"Xander?..." Buffy called him over.
***

Warren arrived...Ferrying Willow and Tara from their dorm...

And joined his fellow "cybergenius" and Construction Man in the reconstruction of the Summers
tree.

How come it's suddenly a "male thing"?...Dawn groused to Buffy and Tara...

"Do you want to fool with it?..." Buffy looked at her.

Hmmn...

"Great job, guys..." Buffy told them...As the gentlemen continued their labors...

***

Willow found BR once again in a daze staring at the calendar...

Ten days...nine nights...

"Hey..." BR looked at her...

Willow...A slight ray of hope...

"He'll make it...Angel did..." Willow took her hand gently.

Meaning...? BR looked at her...

"Giles and I checked everything, kiddo...There's simply no reference...Almost no info on
redeemed vamps at all..." Willow looked apologetically at her friend.

And as for children fathered by redeemed vamps...

BR nodded...Didn't think so...

And went on looking at the calendar.

"Enough...Come on, honey..." Willow pulled her away...Into the living room...

"Belated Happy Hanukkah, everybody..." she grinned, passing out some geld.

Tell Buf to take the damned calendar down soon as she can...she hissed to Tara.

Tara looked sympathetically at Buffy Rebecca who took a seat with Willow on the couch
watching the gentlemen at their labors...Absent-mindedly stroking her wedding present from
Drusilla...A antique necklace...

Which she proudly wore now as a gift from her friend, human Dru.

Poor kid...Who'd believe a robot, even a human-souled one, could be so fragile?...Still, it was
only their first Xmas together.

She glanced at Warren who seemed to be trying to apply bionetics to artificial Xmas tree design.

Your little girl needs her 'dad'...Glancing at the quiet and slightly dazed BR while eyeing him.

Warren caught the hint and came over...Much to Xander's relief...

Not that he didn't think Warren could do it...Eventually...

It was just that there really was no need to spend a month in design and planning.

"Hey, Poppa Warrenstein..." BR grinned wanly at Warren...

Oh...Right...She had something to discuss...

"Come and buy your girl a soda, dad..." she told him...

And took him to the kitchen.

Buffy, Tara having mentioned Willow's request, made a quick dart to remove the calendar.

Should've realized it would upset her...she noted to Tara.

***

So...In the kitchen, Buffy Rebecca grinned at her dear old...

Warren smiled back...A leetle...secret confidence for the dear old...?

"What's this about you not giving my sis the time of day, dad?" she teased.

Ummn...

"She likes you, you know...And with Angel and Riley both gone, you'll never get a better
chance..."
Ummn...

Well...Just letting you know...Don't want to push you or anything...she smiled...

"There isn't anyone else...?" she asked, looking at him.

Maybe...Katrina?...

Oh, no...He replied...

Good...she grinned at him.

It's just...She looked at him...

I mean...If Angel...he looked at her sheepishly.

Oh...

I wouldn't want to stand in the way of her finding...he began...

"I don't think Angel will be in the picture in the near future..." she told him, interrupting...

Or ever...Especially after what Buf told me the other day...she thought...

No wonder he didn't want Buffy and Darla to meet back in LA when she was hunting Leto...

God...All this time...We were a substitute...A blond substitute...

For Darla, of all people...

The mother of his child...Who sacrificed herself to save it...

His real true love...If he can ever bring himself to admit the obvious...And ever find her human
soul again...

Well, at least Buf and I won't have to go track her down like a dog and kill her now...

And, to be fair, Buf is...As I am...Taking the news surprisingly well.

She smiled at Warren...

"I won't press it, dad...But don't let the Angel thing keep you out of the running..."

I mean...If you like sis...And all...
***
Lazy Daze...Part V...

Under Construction Man's able leadership the Summers' Xmas tree had risen again...

The gentlemen, rejoined by Warren, paused to receive their well-earned praise.

Mom couldn't have done it better, the three Summers told them...Thanks guys...

High praise indeed...

Photographs were naturally a necessity...Hold it there guys, Buffy told them.

***

Walthrop stood with his partner and his Best Man, looking at his wife who had retaken her couch
seat...

Blonde, green-eyed, slim, and lovely...Especially in the white, green, brown colors she
wore...Fingering Dru's necklace, smiling at her three guys...Dad, Big Bro, Husband...Grinning at
Anya who was clearly anxious to get all the details of proper Christmas preparation down in
stone for future use...

Slight in size, rather like her husband, perhaps even...If truth be told...Not an exceptional beauty
in the wide world by its standards...Though possessing her own unique brand of loveliness.

Well, a brand shared with one other...

The Greatest Slayer of All Time...and the compassionate creature who'd reached out to a
desperate soul lost in torment and saved him.

Leaving him at least partially human again, facing the debt of the past century's crimes and his
redemption...

But then, as Angel had told him when he'd stayed with him, just before his wedding...There was
no way to repay the debt...It was not possible, even with all eternity stretching before him...

Of course, Angel'd been referring, only in part, to the evil done by his demon...In all fairness,
thankfully...Though the evil could never be atoned for, there really was no personal debt to pay in
that regard...

No soul could defeat the raging demon within alone...Not even a Slayer's, as Buffy had learned to
her horror.

But the rest of the debt...That part owed to those who'd saved him...That was a debt to be
paid...That could possibly be paid in some small part at least...
Though never in full...

Especially to the one who'd come out of the infinite universe to help him find his way home.

And how had he repaid her for it?...Since the day she'd chosen to risk putting her trust and faith
in him...

Burden on burden...Loving him to fear losing him...Shielding him from the responsibility for the
demon's crimes while helping him seek out any chance to make amends...And shouldering the
responsibility of never allowing his demon to resurface...Whatever the cost to her...

Burdens that thanks to him were likely to be eternal.

The only thing besides his love and his determination to hang on to the measure of humanity he'd
regained that he could offer was some proof that her hope...Hope that there was a future for
them...That all their efforts were not doomed to fail...Was justified...

And risking everything he'd gained in the past year was the only way he could see to do it.

***

Thank God that stuff about vamps and photography is just an old wives' tale...Willow smilingly
noted as Buf began snapping...

"So...You'll have to play around with hair dye and make-up in thirty or so years..." she grinned to
BR...Looking at Walthrop...

He'll look good in gray hair...Willow noted.

BR nodded...

"It all goes so fast..." she noted quietly.

I should have brought our video camera...she told Willow...

"Didn't know sis was planning Operation Xmas today..." she smiled.

Willow smiled at that...You didn't guess?...

We're diverging...BR noted, grinning a bit...Just as I told Buffy we would...

"Which is wonderful...To see which way each of us goes..." she hastily added...

How often do you get to see yourself lead two different lives at once?...she concluded.

Neat...Willow nodded, grinning...

Definitely beats keeping up with my doppelganger's doings, she noted...But...

"You know...Better than any of us...None of us will ever...Really...Be gone...For good..." Willow
told BR, patting her hand...

Just separated...For a bit...

"Eternity is ours..." BR smiled, looking at Walthrop.

The inscription on her wedding ring...

For all of us...she agreed, smiling at her friend.

"Ladies to the front..." Buffy called...

The ladies marched over to the bare tree.

Xander now cameraman...

Walthrop suggested more light, standing by the blinds...And grinned as Xander cocked his head
at him.

Less than six months in the light of day and he's a lighting expert...You'd think he was never
trapped in darkness...Xander thought wryly.

"Daylight ring?..." Buffy Rebecca nervously called to Spike, seeing him fiddle with the
blinds...He raised his ring hand and wiggled his fingers, showing the ring next to his wedding
band.

Not that she wasn't sure he was being careful...Just...Instinctive for her to check...She told
Willow...Who nodded...Natch.

Doorbell rang...Dawn raced over...

Giles and co had returned from their expedition.

Buffy stared at her Watcher...He looked...

Cold?...

Now, true...It was December...But this was southern California...

"We went ice-skating..." Leroy, young brother of Ms. Granger, the new Slayer, happily noted.
Oh...At the indoor rink a few towns over...

The Buffies exchanged a glance...

Rupert Giles on ice...Now that would have been a sight to see.

Ms. Granger was mildly apologetic...Giles had had a minor heart attack a few months ago,
courtesy a posthypnotic suggestion left in Buffy by dear old demon Drusilla, and she didn't want
them to think she was overtiring him.

They'd just been going by...And Leroy never having been on ice-skates before Rupert had been
kind enough to insist they try it.

Geesch...Dawn groused to herself...

"Rupert" never took me ice-skating.

***

Buffy Rebecca was anxious to talk to her old Watcher...Despite what Willow'd said...Maybe he'd
had an idea.

He saw her stare and guessed her concern...Stepping over to her...

"My dear..." he hesitated.

Nothing?...she looked at him.

"I'm so sorry my dear..." he told her gently, regarding her carefully...

But I will keep looking...And do whatever I can to help William prepare.

She nodded...Buffy came over for a hug and to regroup the ladies treeside...

"At least we're together for Christmas..." she reminded BR as they stood by the tree...

Mom, too...I'm sure of it...she continued.

Absolutely, BR nodded, smiling.

Giles looked quizzically at the ladies and the bare tree...Shouldn't you...?

Before and after...A Summers tradition the Buffies told him...

In which he was finally privileged to be initiated...
Mom having always made sure everything was in place before anyone came over.
***
Lazy Daze...Part VI

While Warren and "Dr." Walthrop brought the full mental power of the world's leading
"cybergeniuses" to bear on getting the Summers' Xmas lights operational...

And Xander, Construction Man, set up Joyce's old creche...With a fascinated Anya watching...

With a trace of homesickness, looking at the shepherds in their traditional garb and the animals
lying next to the humans...

Little like some places back home...A thousand plus years ago.

The three Slayers discussed the current situation in town with Giles...

After all, in a few days the Buffies would deploy with much of the gang to LA to see Spike off on
his dangerous journey...

And who knew how long all or some of them would be tied down there...Watching his back
against possible revenge attacks by the remnants of Wolfram-Hart or others and trying to keep a
route home open for him...Especially if he had to make a quick or forced retreat.

Ms. Granger was ready, Giles was sure...After all she'd already handled the Sunnydale area on
her own when Buffy went to England to help BR deal with Drusilla and her allies...In
commendable form, he noted, smiling.

Rather cute to see Basey half-basking, half-squirming under Giles' praise...the Buffies noted to
themselves...

But it was true that she would lack the full gang's support this time...Though Xander, Anya, and
Tara would be on hand...

And Dawn...Our communications expert...Giles hurriedly added...Winning a delighted grin...

And her worthy assistant...Smiling at Leroy, who dutifully nodded...

Plus her new Watcher, Ms. Walthrop-Hunt...Who would be dropping by later, after getting more
of her moving completed.

In any case...The more coordination and preventive planning beforehand, the better.
***
The "kings of cybernetics" had achieved success...Though Warren suggested one more full test
run...

Construction Man likewise successful in his efforts...It was time to trim.

Giles and the Slayers concluded their impromptu session...Dawn suggesting that they remember
there was a life outside Slaying...

It being decided that the three Slayers would make a series of intensive Patrols in the next few
days to strengthen the peace-loving natures of Sunnydale's underworld dwellers.

Basey noticed BR's wan look...The young bride in worry mode...

Well, naturally...Barely past the honeymoon and yet another peril hanging over their heads...
And not one to be dismissed lightly.

"How's things at Castle Walthrop?..." she asked her...

Bought a new car today...BR noted.

Oh...Dawn groused, listening...Did it have to be a mini...She paused...

Oh?!...You not gonna junk her?...Not the Spikemobile?!...

Say it ain't so...

Buffy and Willow looked rather...As well...

"The old girl will stick around..." Walthrop called over...

This is just...Redemption settling in...he winced.

"I'm bound and delivered..Into the 'ands...Of middawl class mortality.." he grinned...

That you are Mr. Doolittle, BR told him.
***

So...Does Will have something for us?...Buffy grinned...

Walthropian poetry might be an acquired taste but was appreciatively received at the Summers'...

Well...BR grinned at Spike...Who smiled...As a matter of fact...

He does have something...Though we were gonna wait till Xmas Eve.

"But he'll have more stuff ready by then anyway..." Dawn noted...

He always has more coming...And coming...Ever since BR had come to him, it was like a
blocked pipe had been cleared.

Of course, not everything bubbling up was equally...Still it was great to see him so...Poety...she
thought.

"Dr." Walthrop let himself be persuaded...BR went over to Dawn...

A leetle help required...

First...The proper opening...BR noted...

If Dawn would assist on keyboard...Dawn clearly primed and ready.

BR and Will took center stage...Grinning at each other...

"We're not quite as good as Glory and Dreg were in their duet..." BR warned the group...

Da-da-de-dum...Finger snaps...Da-da-de-dum...Finger snaps...

Da-da-de-dum...Da-da-de-dum...Da-da-de-dum...Finger snaps...

(Vamps just can't do the snaps right, Walthrop apologized...

I've heard this tune before, somewhere, Warren noted to Basey...)

"We're creepy, blonde, and cooky...Mysterious and spooky...We're altogether ooky...The
Summers-Walthrop family..." Finger snap...

"Their house a mausoleum...When people come to see em...They often want to flee em...The
Summers-Walthrop family..."

Da-da-de-dum...Neat...

Da-da-de-dum...Sweet...

Da-da-de-dum...Da-da-de-dum...Da-da-de-dum...(They looked at each other) Petite...

"So Wil-low, get your shawl on, we've a roost for you to crawl on...So come and pay a call
on...The Walthrop family..."

Summers-Walthrop...BR corrected...

Not that I don't love the Walthrop.

I don't know, Dawn grinned...
Xander is more the Gomez Addams type...

Really...Bubbalah?...Anya smiled at Xander...

Cara...Xander kissed her.

Spike took his chair to the tree and pulled out sheets of paper...BR brought him a robe, nightcap,
pipe...and glasses...

That Dickensian look, she noted...Might as well do the thing right...Giles?...Dickensian
enough?...

He passes...Giles noted solemnly.

Het-hum...

"Angelis...Was dead...To begin with..." Walthrop began, grinning at the seated group...

Lets hope so...Buffy thought...

Not that I'm still angry with Angel, of course.

( Read "William Walthrop's Christmas Carol")
***

Dawn grinned...BR grinned...Buffy grinned...

Course, I wouldn't have left you alone in the crypt on Christmas Eve...Dawn grumbled...At least
after your redemption.

Poetic license he noted...

"Nice job, honey..." BR told Walthrop...

Though we edit the vamp scenes for our kids in the future, you know...she noted.

Joycee?...Dawn grinned...You named your daughter...Joycee?...she looked at Spike...

Have you guys already settled...?

No, no...BR told her hastily...The floor is still open.

And how come I wasn't in the story?...BR groused to him...

"You're there..." he grinned...Winking at Buffy...
After all...

"Scruffy-slut look?..." Buffy in her turn eyed him...

Even as a vamp, I think I retained my fashion sense...she noted.

We were sort of the mainstay supporting cast, wouldn't you say?...Anya asked Xander...The
dependable types all turn to for comfort as the flashier characters falter.

"It was great, William..." she told him...

Course...Maybe next time...We could be the flashy, undependable central characters?...she asked
hopefully.

I'll have you both die a colorful and tragic death...Spike promised her.

He's gotten so sweet since Redemption, Anya noted, pleased.

Can't I be a vampire next time?...Dawn asked.
***

While the gang was in the midst of hanging ornaments, Ms. Walthrop-Hunt arrived.

Looking a bit worse for wear...And apologetic...

Trouble with the driving...Never could get used to American cars...

And she'd had lots of little things to move and set up as yet.

Oh...Basey felt a leetle guilty...Buf she had helped with the big things the other day...And Amelia
had told her she wouldn't need...

No difficulty...Amelia smiled...Wanted to get the feel of the new place alone any way.

But they should get to business bright and early tomorrow...Especially with the "special
operation" coming up.

Basey nodded dutifully...

But it would be...Neat...To have the field almost to themselves, Amelia noted with a grin.

"Hello, uncle..." she smiled at Spike...

Very Dickensian...she noted the robe, pipe, and glasses.
***
Part VII...

Watching Walthrop greet his "niece"....Willow was intrigued...As was Tara...

How was Spike taking having family?...Here...

Must be a shade embarrassing for him...But, on the other hand, Amelia had made it clear she
took great pride in his redemption and his career since...

Still...Likely to be a leetle awkward...

But he seemed pleased to have her here.

***

Well...Buffy sighed, looking at the nearly completed tree...

Not quite...Mom...she noted to her twin...BR nodding...

"Something's missing..." Buffy Rebecca agreed.

Mom...They both thought...

Dawn instinctively came beside them...Sensing their thought...

But had an idea...And dashed upstairs.

Amelia was beside "uncle" William...Who for his own part was beginning to get a leetle...

First Christmas season in 120 years with family after all...Bound to shake one up a bit.

Especially after the past year's events...And with what loomed ahead...

His "niece" caught the look in his eyes as he watched his Summers girls by the tree...And took
his hand gently...

"Home at last, Uncle Will..." she told him...

He nodded, a tear creeping out of one eye.

Dawn returned, bearing the stuffed bear Joyce had kept on her bed...Her favorite from childhood,
loaned to each daughter in turn but always safely returned to its original owner...

With Giles' help she placed it firmly among the tree's center branches...Looking out over them...

The Buffies smiled at her...

"Perfect..." they told her...In unison...
***

Dinner...

Nothing fancy, Buffy apologetically noted...She was planning fancy for Xmas Eve dinner...When
the gang would each be bringing something special...

Just chicken tonight...And pasta...

Slightly overcooked pasta...She ruefully noted...

Gotta remember to wait until the water's at boiling...

Not at all, Giles insisted...Just perfect...Heartily seconded all around...

Hmmn...Dawn sighed...Wish sis would try reading the cookbook instead of trying to remember
Mom's old recipes...Well, sauce covers over a world of cooking mistakes in the Summers'
household...

And Buf can't be good at everything...Still...

Thank goodness Spike had told her in confidence that BR was no better a cook...Enthusiastic
newlywed as she might be about it...

Be hard on sis to have her twin beat her in that as well.
***

BR noted with amusement to Buffy that Basey was carefully eyeing Giles' food intake...

Bet she's got his "healthy heart" diet memorized, she noted in a whisper...

Thank God...she added quietly...Smiling over at them...

Our Giles finally watched over properly.

Buffy nodding...But...

Of course...She had scanned it herself before deciding on tonight's repast...Buffy noted to her
twin.

Not about to slack off on second dad's care...Even if Ms. Granger has set her sights on him...

He'll always be our Watcher...and...

Father...

Not to take anything away from Daddy...Buffy hastily added.

No problem...BR replied, whispering...

Daddy is Daddy...Father is Father...Just like Warren is my "dad"...

Ole Hank would never've wanted the responsibility of "Father-hood" anyway...

Daddy suits him just fine, I'm sure...

***
"So...How go the wedding plans?..." Basey looked at Anya and Xander, across the table from
her...

Never hurts to get in that leetle hint...she noted to herself, darting a glance at Giles next to her...

Now speaking to Ms. Walthrop-Hunt and Spike.

"All set..." Xander said...Firmly...Anya looking away...

Still settling on a few details...she noted to Basey...

"For the last time...I'm not having a bunch of demons attending my wedding..." Xander told
her...

At least not a bunch of unredeemed demons...He looked over at Spike...

I'm only considering a few of the harmless ones...Anya replied, clearly hurt...

Some of them were very kind to Anyanka when she was lonely all those years...she explained to
Basey...

And very entertaining dinner companions...she looked at Xander...Who sighed...

Well...Maybe one or two...Who were exceptionally kind to you...Never harmed a single
human...Of the utterly harmless variety...With an appropriate "tragic" accident or illness cover
story.

"Isn't he wonderful?..." Anya beamed to Basey.

***
Giles was carefully explaining the "strategic situation" in Sunnydale once again to the new
Watcher...Spike listening attentively, ready to encourage caution on his "niece's" part...

He'd waited long enough to get his family back...Had no intention of letting any of them get
killed due to overconfidence while he was away and unable to help protect them.

"Remember, the peace agreement can not be counted on..." Giles noted...For at least the
hundredth time, Amelia noted wryly...To herself...

Obviously the dear fellow was concerned about the inexperienced new Watcher-Slayer team
being left alone to deal with the situation in Sunnydale while much of the gang was in LA.

And specifically...About dear Ms. Granger...

Hmmn...Must remind my dear charge to keep her mind firmly on her duties...

Still, one should have an opportunity for happiness and relaxation...And look how Ms. Summers'
network of family and friends have contributed to keeping her alive well past the average Slayer
lifespan...

And a Watcher husband was clearly not the worst possible Slayer consort...Amelia thought,
noting Spike looking at his dear Missus.

Well...First things first...Focus on getting ourselves into a smoothly functioning team...And put
romance on the back burner...

Hmmn...She glanced over at Buffy...Romance...?

Ah, well...Not too likely in that case...

Pity...

She caught sight of Willow beaming at Tara...

Hmmn...

Double pity...

Still, this was America...And America is as we all know...

A land of opportunity...
***
Lazy Daze...Part VIII

Sitting at the Summers’ dinner table with the initial hustle and bustle of her arrival over, it didn’t take Amelia long to see that her “aunt” BR was rather depressed.

It was sad to see the poor girl clearly suffering over Spike’s upcoming journey...As well as some of the grimmer events of the past few months...

Staring off in a fog when her twin or Willow across from her failed to keep up the conversation...

Poor thing...er human-souled thing...Amelia corrected.

As for the Hell trip, for her part, while she could see the Walthrops’ need for reassurance as to the status of his redemption...Amelia still had difficulty seeing the wisdom of seeking answers in that locale...

Surely the other place would be a better source of info...

Except...Of course, as Spike, with Giles concurring, had pointed out in their earlier discussions of the trip’s merits...Vampire demons are not allowed in Heaven...And to separate Will and Spike after this life would almost certainly prevent Will’s return...Though he would fight to return.

But wouldn’t the same problem face him in Hell?...In reverse, with Spike being kept behind?...

But he’d pointed out...The last place a demon would choose stay is Hell...Spike would be as determined as Walthrop to return to the world...

And he had an instinctive feeling the Hell-based division of the Powers That Be would at least let him know any bad news...

They’d enjoy telling him...

And if they were enigmatically silent...He’d be reasonably sure it was because they disliked giving him good news.

Sounds like the Powers That Be in general, BR had noted frowningly.

Well, he’d made a strong case...But, especially looking at his poor wife, Amelia had her doubts...

Proud as it did make her to see her “uncle” so determined to confirm his redemption and prove himself worthy.

After hanging on to that slim bit of humanity for so long in the teeth of demon Spike’s overwhelming presence...

And triumphantly seizing the first chances that came his soul’s way to fight to freedom...The chip...And the love of Buffy Rebecca...

A true Walthrop, she noted proudly.

***

Patrol...A rather large group, all but an annoyed Dawn and Leroy...

Things remained quiet...No violations of the peace agreement at present...

The major incident...An injury to Giles...

Stepped on a rusted nail, checking an alleyway with Basey...

Which Basey insisted required an immediate ER journey...Anya driving, having ferried half the group in Xander’s car... In her company, Basey likewise insisting, over Giles’ faint protests...

Which Amelia frowningly consented to...

Things would be different after she took Ms. Granger in hand tomorrow, she vowed to herself...

Not that she objected to the girl’s normal feeling and sympathy...Just...

A Slayer, especially a Slayer in love, must learn how to compartmentalize her emotions and carry on with her duty. Or that Slayer will have a very short lifespan.
***

With the scene so quiet, Amelia and Buffy split off to cover the east end of town...Saving some time...With Buffy happy to have a piece of turf to herself...Much as she appreciated her stronger sister’s being on hand...

In fact, the one outside disturbance of the evening, a human burglar...

Cornered by the Walthrops...Ironically enough the ones in the group least able to do him harm...

Though BR felt she had succeeded while in Europe in transcending Warren’s old mortality fail-safe, implanted as a precaution in her neural net...Something she had sworn her ‘dad’ to secrecy about after telling him...Only she, Will, and old Warren in on this one.

For one moment, she’d been capable of killing the embittered human seeking vengeance against her and Will...She was sure of it...And William, who’d seen her in that moment, agreed...

As an expert on the look human-killers wore when about to strike.

But good as it might be to know she had yet more proof of her humanity...She preferred to rely for that proof on her soul’s return to Spike after her death eight months ago rather than an ability to kill if pushed far enough.
In any case, they were able to hold the fellow contained until the others began coming up in support...Xander, first on the scene, calling the Sunnydale cops on his cell phone.

***
Willow came up to find BR wandering around while Spike watched her and his captive and Xander waited on endless 911 hold...

Peering aimlessly down a couple of narrow alleys between buildings...

Not exactly our super-Slayer in eagle-eye mode...Willow noted.

Rather she was back to that half-dazed state...Heart not really in this Patrol, Willow could see...

A state of mind which was clearly beginning to make William a bit nervous...Willow went over to him.

“Talk to her, would you Red?...” he asked her...

I’m sure it’s just...But, you know...

Willow grinned and patted his arm.

Warren came up with Tara...His partner, “Dr.” Walthrop, caught him with a look and he too glanced over...At his “daughter”...

No doubt Buffy Rebecca’d be looking at a full battery of tests tomorrow at W/S Bionetics, Willow thought...

After the last brain meltdown, hubs and ‘dad’ took no chances.

Willow joined her friend...Suggesting they might scout around the area while the others waited for the cops.
***

A block away from where the forlorn but somewhat relieved...Spike’s “work face” having scared the crap out of him...Burglar sat, surrounded by the others...Willow and BR strolled cautiously...

Buffy Rebecca a bit more attentive, what with the need to watch out for her friend...

She paused and turned to the Wiccan.

“Did William ask you to take me for a little girl talk?...” she smiled...

I know I was losing it back there.

“Only natch...” Willow smiled back... “He’ll never forget that day in May when you had a headache...”

I’m ok...BR told her...Just...

Willow nodded...

BR eyed her...

“You think I’m sad because Spike is going and I may lose him for good?...”

They paused by a large, dark building...Nothing around...

Well, it’s true...But that’s only part of it...BR looked at her...Then at the building’s dark face...

“I’m immortal...And all of you...Will be gone one day...”

A siren was faintly blaring...Coming closer...

“And there’s no doubt in me that I’m expected to hang around, protecting the Slayers who will come...”

Strangers...Most of whom will probably not even accept me as a human being...

William is the only one I can hope to have sticking around...Now he’s leaving me...Maybe not forever, but maybe...

She stared away at the wall...And back at Willow...

“I know Spike needs to do this...He has to have answers if we’re going to go on with our lives...
And I know Will and I will be together again somehow, someday...”

But I can’t bear the thought of the future till then...Alone...

“I’m afraid...Afraid I’ll be left all alone here.”

And yet, she’ll stay...Willow thought...Protecting Humanity and her sister Slayers...Forever...And alone...If it must be...

BR smiled wanly...

Not the self-sacrificing, devoted love you guys were figuring on, eh...Like William, ready to wait and search for me forever.

“I’m Buffy, Willow...And Buffy’s selfish...You of all people know that...”
“I...we...Let all of you work with me...Kept close to Mom and Dawn...All these years...Endangering everyone...”

And that selfishness is a part of my feeling for Will...she went on...

“He only wants to love and cherish me...Me...Not the world, though he’s happy to do what he can in that respect...”

And I’m selfish enough to prefer that...To...

Angel?...Willow looked at her...

He would be around...after all.

BR nodded...Besides...

“Angel is waiting...For someone else...” she replied...

Who will be back...Someday...In human form, I’m sure...

“Kinda beautiful...In its own way, if you think about it...” she noted.

And I wouldn’t do that to William...Even if he tells me he wants me to.

Anyway...she grinned...

I love ‘im dearly but Angel’s such a bloody stupid twit...Fixated on his job...

Never willing to stop and spend enough time with us to realize he was just fooling himself...Looking for Darla’s human side in us.

Her grin turned wicked...

Buf and I have been waiting for him to come by to drop little Connor on us...

First weekends, then...

Willow grinned back, rolling her eyes...

Sounds about right, she admitted.

BR turned serious...

“He wouldn’t be around for me...Even as a friend, except in some world-shaking emergency...And I’ll be looking for someone to talk to, to hold me...Not to save the universe with.”

She paused...

“Was it selfishness, Buffy?...” Willow asked her...

Or were we all so anxious to be a part of what you were doing...It’s made our lives special, you know...

And it saved Will...Even his soul might have been lost eventually...Given up and given in, finally...

We’re not children...We’ve made our choices, each of us...On our own and in our own way...You’ve nothing to blame yourself for...But...Willow grinned...

You did pick the right vampire.

Yeah...BR smiled...I did...

Just wish he hadn’t caught such a bad case of the heroics.
***
They returned in time to see the cops taking the burglar into custody...Telling them some wild story about the distinguished-looking young blond man who with his friends had captured him.

BR held Willow back a mo...

“Is he very worried about me?...”

Willow shrugged...

You’re his life, Buffy Rebecca.

I’ll try to be better about it...BR nodded.

“Don’t...” Willow told her...

Let him know you trust him enough. He’s just worried...After all, you and he are gonna be together a hell of a long time...she grinned...

Keeping your feelings from him is no way to start out.

“Guess you’re right...” BR looked at her friend...

Thought I was the psychotherapist-in-training, she grinned...

Plenty of room in that field in this town, Willow grinned back...But...

He will come back...Willow told her...And if something tries to hold him...

We’ll find a way to get him...If we all have to go together to do it...

He’s our friend...We’ve come to love him too, you know.
***

Lazy Daze...Part IX...

Goodbyes...11:00pm at the Summers’...

Patrol had been uneventful...Though Mrs. Summers-Walthrop seemed a bit less down after her walk with Willow...

To her husband’s clear relief...
***

Buffy had gotten in a few moments with her stop-gap feller, the eminent Dr. Mears...

Who under her gentle prodding had finally asked her to dinner...Alone...If she might have a free night next week what with her Slaying, college, Xmas, and all.

She thought...She might...

***
For her part Ms. Granger had secured a promise on Giles’ part to continue their discussion of his plans for a History of Magics...And her possible role as a researcher in the project.

At his apartment...Next Wednesday evening...

Which brought intrigued looks from the Buffies...Which deepened when Giles calmly returned their looks rather...Ripperly.

Why, Rupert Giles...

Or...Wednesday next...Basey smilingly noted...She liked that British touch.

Waving as she carried her barely awake little brother off to bed...

“Remember, my dear...We meet at eight am tomorrow...” Ms. Walthrop-Hunt firmly reminded her...

A time for romance, a time for duty...
Still...Good to see the young lady has an excellent instinct in affairs of the heart.

After all, if circumstances were different, dear Mr. Giles would be her type as well...Rather like her own dear Freddie Hunt, poor lamb.

But...Hurting one poor fellow trying to deny herself was quite enough.


Still...A life beyond one’s work is equally vital...And Romance makes that life worth living...

She’d have to get a handle on various aspects of Sunnydale’s social scene...Perhaps Ms. Rosenberg or Ms. Macluay might be able to guide her a bit.

***
Anya left, a happy and furiously busy bride-to-be...Having delegated various tasks to her bridesmaids and Maid of Honor...

Willow...

Who had quietly and amusedly noted to Buffy that she suspected the honor, announced at dinner, was as much for Anya to be able to keep a close eye on Xander’s oldest girl-friend...

Though she appreciated the gesture, natch. And rather understood the nervousness...

After all, if circumstances were a leetle different...And Anya’s demonic past were giving them the slightest cause for concern...

Heck, to be perfectly honest...There was gonna be a pang...she admitted to her friend...

Been having a pang or two in that direction, myself recently, Buffy admitted in return.

After all, Xander Harris...

No man more worthy.

***

All but Will had left...And he was taking his time on the good-byes...

And Buffy, frowning inwardly, had a preety good idea of where he’d wind up...After taking his leave of them...And conspicuously marching off to his car.

Still, just back from Europe...Poor sis so in need of comfort...And BR couldn’t help needing to leave the tank here.

Besides...And after all...It’s what she would have done...No way would she let her husband run off home under similar circumstances...

Just...Hope they’ll keep it down...Dawn’s only fourteen...She doesn’t need details just yet.

Much as she might think she can handle it and even though I know she knows what’ll be up.

At least spare my feelings, guys...Letme believe I’ve been responsible towards lil sis.


She kissed Will good-night after Dawn...While BR watched...

And looked at her...With an embarrassed grin...

Maybe this little farce is ridiculous but what the hell...It does make us both feel a little better about it Dawnwise.

Hmmn...BR thought...Sometimes...Knowing each other so well...Can be...

Well, really wouldn’t have it any other way...And sis, like me...Is a good sport.

With some of Mom’s generous soul...

The first to see that bit of humanity still alive in my Will.
***

The eminent junior “cybergenius” quietly slipped into the basement about a half-hour later.

Where his wife waited...Eagerly...But still a bit embarrassed...

Not to mention feeling a trifle Drusilla-ish waiting in her coffin-like tank for her vampire mate.

Creepy even after all this time...Well, hopefully when we get a house, Warren can redesign this thing..she thought....

Make it more like a bath-tub or something...Well...

Thank goodness the lid closes with the two of us inside.
***

He stroked her hair gently...While she nestled in his arms...And spoke quietly...

“When all of this started...Your friends, maybe even I...Wondered if you were a dream...A fantasy of beauty to comfort a lost poet’s soul...Or to restrain a condemned monster...”

We know now that’s not true...He touched her face gently...

“You are real, thank God...”

“But what we don’t know is...Am I the dream?...Am I a trapped soul, a man still...Somewhere in here...Or...”

Am I a demon...Dreaming of being a man...?

“Who may awaken someday...And prove only that you’ve wasted your existence on something that isn’t real...” he stared at her...

“We know that’s not true...We know that...I’ve felt Spike...” she told him frantically...In a harsh whisper...

Holding him desperately.

“And Spike is not you, Will...”

He sighed...But held her as desperately...

“Buffy, whatever Spike is and whatever I am...He is part of me...Made from me...”

And we have to know...If I’m real or simply what we both wish I could be...

She was crying now and he rocked her gently in his arms...Crying softly himself...

The damned green glop slopping around them a bit...But somehow...Comforting...

Like returning to the womb for a moment or two...

“And if I’m not...Than you deserve a chance to be with the real thing....”

She looked back at him...Fighting back the fear...

“If that were true...If you were only a demon dreaming of Humanity...Then I have never met William Walthrop...”

And I do not believe that...I will not believe that...

We are soulmates, Will...

Hell, I didn’t come all this way...From wherever and whatever my part of infinite Buffy came from...And back from Death to boot...For a demon...

You are William...My William...she paused...And confidence came surging back...Mom, she remembered...

Yes, thank God I died...For a bit...Thank God...she thought...

“Besides...” she noted quietly and firmly...

My mom...Said so. I told you that before.

Unless you didn’t believe me...

He shook his head...

“I believe...And I’m ready to bet on it...”

“But...Let me prove it, pet...Please...sweet love, let me try to prove it.”

She looked away...But nodded slightly...

“You’ll be here for Christmas...And then you’ll go...”

And then I’ll go...he agreed.

And I’ll be back...

She looked at him...

“Or...I’ll come and get you...When Buffy and Dawn don’t need me to protect them anymore...”

She pulled him to her...Sloshing the goo about...

“Watch the noise, pet...Buffy and the Nibs, you know...” he grinned...

I’ll have a lifetime to apologize to them...she noted.

When Drusilla nearly killed her...I knew...If I were sent back to Hell, she’d be there, battering down the Gates to get to me...

And I know she will...he thought...

I am not alone...And there is nothing to fear ever again...

I was afraid...When I thought I was alone, and lost...Forever...

But never again...No matter how long it takes to get back...Or for her to come to me.
***
Dawn found her the next morning in the kitchen sitting a moment while breakfast cooked...

Spike no doubt having sneaked off in the early morning...To come knocking in a bit for Sunday brunch...

My sis is picking up some bad traits from that little blondie of hers...Dawn grinned to herself.

Not to mention...Since when does a Buffy Summers wake up before 10 am on a Sunday?...

BR didn’t notice her at first...Still staring at the calendar in her lazy daze...

Oops...Breakfast...She hopped up and saw Dawn standing by...Heading for the stove burners just in time...

“A nice save...Thanks, Dawny...” Buffy Rebecca grinned at her...

Dawn hugged her...My fellow artificial sis...

The one bond Buffy and I don’t share...

And both of us...Made from her...

A remarkable lady that sis of ours...

“He’ll be ok...” Dawn told BR...

Unless...She twinkled...

Buffy ever catches him sneaking back into the basement when she’s in a bad mood.

***
Dawn let him in, grinning at his sheepish look...

But she let his questions about how the Missus’ had slept pass...

Kitchen...she told him...And a leetle down...

Go make my sis happy...she patted him and went upstairs.
***

In front of her...The calendar again...she sighed...

Nine days...eight nights...She looked at him...Standing in the kitchen doorway...

Till the new lunar cycle...When the portal to Hell could be opened...

And they would part...

For how long?

He frowned at the calendar...She smiled, nodded, and turned it round...

Just enjoy the day...The time we have...

Isn’t that what I told Xander when he was afraid to let me marry Will?...

Lets be happy today...

She did not...Would not believe he was not William...

After all, Mom’s soul’s word on it...

But if he lost his fight there...Lost his redeemed soul to the powers that be in the dark realms...

Would it all?...Warren’s pulling her from the universe of potential Buffies, their romance, his redemption, all the life they’d packed into a few short months together...Be swept away?.

Amount to nothing?...

But he had to try...They had to know...If his redemption was complete...If more lurked for him.

Just as they’d had to know that she was human...No fantasy, no miracle of skilled programming...A true soul...

And no...It would never amount to nothing...Not as long as they knew and remembered...

Eternity is ours...she thought. The promise he’d made her, engraved on her ring...

Whatever happened they’d find each other again in Eternity.

Just as they had the first time...

Oh...God...Or Whoever You are...I...Buffy and I...Have never asked You for much...

At least we never asked You to fight our battles for us...

But...This one time...

I’m not ready to lose my Will yet...Please, please keep him safe and send him back to me...
But above all...Don’t let him lose his fight...Even if we must part for a while...

And bring us together again at the end...

And...If You can find it in Your Heart...

Give his demon Spike whatever peace and comfort you can...He has tried to help us, within his limitations...And he loves me...Too...
***

Buffy called from upstairs...She had some things for them to take for their own Christmas decorations...BR went up to her...

He watched her ...

If my punishment must be eternal...

If I lose you and everything I’ve won these past six months in a few days...Or whenever the monster in me must be destroyed...The joy of this moment...This day...These past months...

Made it all worthwhile...

***
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