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Blood Borne: Eight
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Part 8: Time

"Xander, it's time."

Xander blinked in confusion.  "Time? Time for what?"

"The baby!  The baby is coming!"

Xander's jaw dropped.  "Oh my god! Um, um"  Frantically he looked around the room.  "Just hold on, I'll call the doctor. Just, just stay right there."

Xander lurched out of bed and fell to the floor in a tangle of sheets.  Grunting, he drug himself out of the sheets and grabbed the phone in one hand and a pair of jeans in the other.  Swearing and cursing, he dialed the number. 

/Hello?/

"Doctor?  It's Xander.  Spike says its time."

/Excellent, just come over to the office, I'll meet you there in twenty minutes.  And Xander?/

"Yeah?"

/Remember to breath dear./

"Right, breath, sure."  Xander hung up the phone and finished pulling on his jeans.  Searching the room quickly he found his shoes and a shirt and  pulled them on.  Then he turned to the bed.  "Spike?  Are you ready?  The doctors gonna meet us at her place.  Are you alright?"

Spike nodded, eyes turned inward, attention elsewhere.  In the darkness Xander could see his mate's belly ripple and heard the sharp, indrawn breath that followed.

"Spike?  Are you all right?  Does it hurt?"
The blonde glared at him as he eased into the clothing Xander was holding out for him.  "Yes it bloody well hurts!  My body's trying to push the nibblet out, only there's nowhere to push out of!"

Xander grimaced in sympathy and tried to refrain from manhandling Spike out the door.  "Come on, let's get going.  I'll call Willow from the car, she'll call everyone else."

Gingerly, Xander maneuvered Spike out the door and into the waiting car.  After making sure his mate was safely settled in, he hurriedly climbed in and set off at as fast a pace as he thought he could get away with.  Glancing worriedly at the harshly breathing Vampire next to him, Xander flipped open his cell phone and prayed that Willow wouldn't need a lot of explanation.

"Willow?" he gasped out as the line was picked up.  "Yeah, it's me.  Look, it's time, we're on our way to the doctors."  Xander held the phone away from his ear as his friend squealed in excitement.  "Let everyone know, will you.  Great, see you there."

Xander tossed the phone in the back seat and returned both hands to the wheel just in time to avoid rear-ending the car in front of him.  Cursing he steered around the car and a few more corners before pulling into the driveway of the doctor's office. 

Xander practically fell out of the car in his haste to go help Spike out.  Thankfully the doctor was already there, the light was on and the front door was open and she was waiting for them in the doorway. 

"Welcome gentlemen, you must be so excited!"

Xander carefully maneuvered a now moaning Spike into the doctor's office.  He was so intent on his lover that he never noticed the sound of his cell phone, lying in the backseat of his car, ringing.

~~

The doctor led them into the examining room, set up now to look more like an operating room.  Off to the side sat a bassinette and blanket, waiting to wrap the baby in.  Baby, oh gods, we're gonna...  "Spike!  Sweetie, we're gonna have a baby!"

Spike growled at his mate.  "I bloody well know that!  It's trying to push it's way out of me as we speak!"

Xander had the grace to look sheepish.  "Sorry, it just hit me, is all."

The doctor smiled knowingly and directed Xander to help Spike up onto the examining table.  "Sit just up there please.  Then remove your clothing."  She handed them a robe that opened in the front, "Put this on instead."

Spike grimaced, but did as he was told, anything to get the agonizing pain over with soon.  It felt like he was being torn in half from the inside out. 

Xander helped him out of his clothing and into the robe.  As he gingerly lay back on the bed, Spike heard voices in the front room.  The rest of the gang had arrived. 

Dr. Graves went out front and directed the excited bunch to please wait quietly.  She came back into the room and walked over to where Spike lay on the table, Xander hovering anxiously next to him.  "Now Spike, while I get ready, please start your breathing exercises."

The doctor moved efficiently around the room, gathering her supplies and putting on an operating gown and gloves. 

Spike tried to focus on his breathing, but it was hard with the painful contractions rippling through his body.  Xander seemed to sense his distress, the brunette stood next to Spike's head and began massaging his temples, whispering soothing words and dropping the occasional kiss to his forehead. 

Spike looked up into his mate's worried eyes.  "It'll be okay." He whispered, before he felt the trance overtake him, and then all Spike knew was darkness.

~~

Xander saw the exact moment Spike fell into the trance.  He breathed a sigh of relief and stepped back, accepting the gown the doctor handed to him with a nod of thanks. 

Dr. Graves laid a blanket across Spike's legs and another across his chest, and pulled a table full of surgical tools over next to her.  She nodded to a pair of surgical gloves on the table, "Put those on please."

As Xander did, Dr. Graves opened the gown Spike was wearing so his belly was bare.  "Now Xander.  We've talked about this before, but please remember.  I'm going to make a small incision in Spike's abdomen.  There will be a bit of blood, but don't worry.  When I remove the baby, you'll need to be ready with the towel to take the child, so I can cut the umbilical cord and sew Spike back up.  Understand?"

Xander nodded and fought back a wave of nerves.  This was it!  Nine months of preparation and he couldn't believe how scared he was now.

The doctor must have read something in his face, she smiled and patted him on his arm.  "Don't worry dear, everything will be fine."

Then the doctor turned to Spike and reached for a scalpel.  Later on, Xander wouldn't have been able to say how long it actually took, he could just remember flashes of images. 

The doctor slicing into Spike's skin. 

Blood. 

Hands reaching into his lover's gut. 

Something seemingly too large being pulled from a small incision. 

The first sight of his child, red, blood covered and wrinkled, screaming loudly. 

Then the impossibly small baby was in his arms, and all he could see was a red wrinkled face and a damp shock of hair, tiny hands waving about angrily.  He barely noticed the doctor tying off and cutting the umbilical cord, or the hasty stitches she closed Spike up with.  His whole world was overwhelmed by the vision of his child's face.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw the doctor reaching for something.

 

*FLASH* 

 

A bright flash of light blinded him momentarily.  When Xander blinked his vision clear, Spike was still unconscious on the table and his arms were empty.  The doctor and his child were missing.

"Oh gods, no."

~~

Willow squeezed Tara's hand excitedly.  Dawn was sitting practically in Giles' lap, nervously twisting strands of hair around and around her fingers.  Buffy paced back and forth, trying to look as if she could control the situation even though there was nothing to slay. 

Willow jumped and shrieked as her cell phone rang.  "Oh Goddess, I'd forgotten I left it on."

Willow brought the phone to her ear, "Cordy, hi!  I'm so glad you called.  It's happened, Spike's in labor!  It shouldn't be too long now.  It's so exciting!"

Cordelia's anxious voice cut through Willow's excited babbling.  The redhead's happy smile changed to a frown as the seer began talking.  "What?  You had a vision?  Cordy, I don't understand..."

 

*FLASH*

 

Shaking her head, Willow tried to clear the sparks of light from her eyes, she was vaguely aware that the others were doing the same.  Cordelia's voice was frantically calling her name over the phone and suddenly Willow sensed the faint traces of a spell drifting around them. "Oh Goddess..."

Xander came barreling out of the office, pulling the surgical gown off, his face set in grim lines. "Where did they go?  How much time did we loose?"

Willow broke through Cordy's babbled explanation, "Cordy!  How long was I out?"

She nodded as she heard the answer, "And where did the vision say they were?  Right, thanks Cordy, we'll call you later."

Willow stood, pulling Tara up with her.  "We only lost about five minutes, Cordy says they're at the school."

Xander was already heading for the door, Buffy right behind him.  Giles grabbed Xander's arm as he passed.  "Xander, I..."

"Giles, Spikes still out."

The Watcher nodded, "Dawn and I will see to him."

Xander took a moment to really look at the older man, "Giles, she..."

Giles simply nodded, "Do whatever you have to Xander.  Just see that your child comes home safe."

Xander gratefully clasped his hand over the one resting on his arm and then he was headed out the door, right behind Buffy and the Witches.

The four piled into Xander's car.  He directed Buffy to the bag of weapons in the back seat and then peeled out of the driveway, heading as fast as he dared to the old high school. 

Tara caught his eyes briefly, "Go as fast as you can Xander, no one will see us."  Then she and Willow clasped hands and began chanting. 

Xander didn't question it, just slammed his foot on the gas and drove for all he was worth. 

They peeled to a stop in front of the burned out hulk of their old high school and Buffy dispensed with weapons and directions.  "Willow and Tara, whatever spell she's doing, stop it.  I'll handle whatever army she's got going.  Xander, get to the baby as fast as you can."

Nods were exchanged and they hurried into the building, not caring about stealth at this point. 

As they neared the old library, Xander heard chanting.  "Oh shit."

Willow spared him a sympathetic glance before grabbing Tara's hand and whispering to her.

Buffy kicked the already crumbling doors open with a crash, and everyone paused briefly as both sides assessed the other.  Xander saw immediately that about thirty assorted Vampires and demons were gathered in a group to one side.  Dr. Graves stood in front of a table, next to the hell mouth, holding a large book and chanting.  And on the table...his child, wrapped in a blanket and screaming.

Willow and Tara shouted something, and a bright ball of light appeared, instantly all the Vampires were dust.  Buffy launched herself at the remaining twenty or so demons with a yell.  Xander took a firm grip on the axe he was holding and began hacking his way through the crowded library, towards the altar.

Willow and Tara had taken a defensive position near the doors, flinging lightning bolts and levitating books and tables and generally doing everything in their power to disrupt the spell casting. 

Buffy was quickly laying waste to the remaining army.  Xander hacked at anything that got in his way as he advanced slowly on the doctor.  She, meanwhile, had continued chanting, and a sickly shimmering red light was forming above the opening of the hell mouth. 

Finally, Xander made it to the edge of the circle and was blocked by an invisible barrier.  He hacked ineffectively at it with his axe and screamed in frustration.  Just there, only three feet away was his child, and he couldn't move, and all he could hear was his child's screams.

Suddenly Willow and Tara were there.  Chanting, they touched their joined hands to the invisible barrier, and Xander felt it collapse with an almost audible snap.  The doctor screamed in anger, screams which were quickly cut off as Xander punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground.  Willow grabbed the spell book she had been holding, quickly scanning it.  Xander grabbed the baby off the table, holding it close to his chest and breathing a sigh of relief.  Buffy was by their sides again, glancing around the library, quiet now except for the sound of howling wind coming from the sickly red light hovering near them. 

"Willow!  What is it?"  Buffy wrapped an arm around Xander and the baby and eyed the red light worriedly.

Willow glanced up, fear on her face.  "It's a portal.  Oh goddess.  She was going to release a demon of some kind.  I can close it but, but it needs a blood sacrifice.  Oh Buffy, what are we going to do?"

Xander eyed the portal grimly.  Then he turned and handed his child to Buffy.  "Get back, stay safe."

Buffy didn't argue when she saw the look in his eyes, just clasped the baby to her chest and retreated out of the circle.

Xander turned and grabbed a wicked looking knife off the altar. "Start the spell, Wills."

The redhead nodded, eyes wide and scared, and she and Tara began chanting. 

Xander stepped over to the groaning form of the doctor, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her up and over to the edge of the hell mouth.  "Just say when, girls."

The doctor looked up at him with eyes dark with madness and shadows.  "You wouldn't hurt a human, your lot is too good to sully your souls with murder."

Grimly, Xander tightened his grip on the knife and her hair.  "Just watch me."

She must have seen something in his eyes, because she began struggling and shrieking, clawing at him and trying to break free. 

Xander kicked her feet out from under her, forcing the doctor to her knees.  He pulled up and back on her hair, forcing her to bare her neck in a painful arch.  The Witche's chanting sped up, and the red light began pulsing quickly.  The sound of a fierce wind was louder now, so loud it was almost drowning out the sound of the two women chanting.  Dimly, Xander heard Willow scream, "Now Xander!"

He bent down and shouted into the doctor's ear.  "Tell them in Hell.  Don't ever touch what's mine."  Dispassionately, he slit the doctor's throat.  The blood spurted out in an arch, pulsing as the life drained from her.  The red light grew, covering the opening to the hell mouth, the blood hitting it on every spurt.  Xander pushed the body forward, and it tumbled into the light.  There was a loud flash and a clap of thunder.  Then everything was silent.

~~

It took several seconds for sense to return to Xander.  Sound was the first to come back.  There were soft groans that sounded like Willow and Tara.  The magic had probably taken a lot out of them.  Then he heard it, the quiet snuffles of a weakly sobbing baby.  Blinking as his sight returned, Xander ignored his watering eyes and turned to find Buffy and his child, coming out from behind some shelves where they had taken cover.  He ran to them, taking the baby into his arms and holding it close. 

Buffy relinquished the child and went to help Willow and Tara up from where they had collapsed on the floor.

Xander brushed his fingers across the shock of now dry dark hair and down the side of the pink face, murmuring softly.  The child's hiccupped sobs eased and steady breathing took their place. Willow, Tara and Buffy came to stand around him and the baby.  They all stared, spell bound at the sleeping child for several minutes before Buffy took charge.  "Come on guys, let's go home."

Xander let Buffy drive them back to the others.  He sat in the passenger seat, eyes never leaving the face of his sleeping child.  Willow and Tara were draped over each other in the back seat, quietly napping.

As they parked and walked up to the doctors office, they could hear raised voiced coming from inside.  Buffy smiled wryly, "Sounds like Spike's awake."

They made their way inside, Buffy in the lead. 

Giles looked up from where he was trying to physically keep an enraged Spike from jumping off the table and going in search of his child.  "Buffy!  Thank heavens.  Is everything okay?"

Buffy stood to the side and let an exhausted Willow and Tara, and finally Xander, blood splattered and holding the sleeping baby enter the room.  "All accounted for.  Demons slain, portal closed."

Xander immediately went over to where his mate was sitting up on the table, eyes full of fear.  "Hey Spike.  There's someone I want you to meet."

Giles and Dawn stepped back as Xander gently placed their child in Spike's outstretched arms.  Spike gazed down at the sleeping child and choked back a sob.

 Xander placed his arm around his lover and gazed down at their child, fingers gently stroking through the baby's soft, dark hair.  "Spike, I'd like you to meet our daughter."

Spike smiled, eyes full of happiness and unshed tears.  "She's beautiful. Hello, nibblet."

The little girl suddenly opened eyes the same ice blue as her Vampire father's and gazed serriously at them both before yawning hugely and falling back asleep.

Spike gave into his tears, clutching their daughter close as he sobbed.  Xander sat on the edge of the table, arms around his mate and daughter and rocked them both gently.  Tears fell from his eyes as well as he took in what he had and how close he had come to losing it all.

Giles quietly ushered the women from the room, shutting the door and giving the new family some time to themselves.

~~

Two hours later saw the whole group gathered in Xander and Spike's living room.  Xander sat on the couch, arms around Spike, who was resting against his chest.  Spike held their daughter.  In fact he hadn't let go of her since they'd gotten back.  The men sat quietly, as everyone gathered around them ate pizza and listened to Buffy tell the story of what had happened at the school.

Giles looked up from the spell book in his lap.  It was the one Dr. Graves had been using to summon the demon.  "Fascinating, all this time she had managed to hide the fact that she was a magic user from all of us."

Buffy nodded, "That's not all she was hiding.  From the look of the gang she had with her, she was the one who had been recruiting all the demons these past months."

Tara looked at the ex-Watcher questioningly.  "Any idea what she was planning to do, Mr. Giles?"

Giles gestured to the book in his lap.  "Well, this is a very complicated ritual that summons a very powerful higher demon, practically a demi-god.  It seems she intended to bind the demon to herself through blood sacrifice and use it took take control of the hell mouth."

Buffy rolled her eyes, "Ah, the good old world domination plan."

Giles smiled, "Yes, well, just because one is evil does not necessarily mean one is creative."  The Watcher eyed his slayer.  "Still, evil or not, it must have been a difficult decision for you to kill a normal human Buffy."

Buffy shrugged, "It wouldn't have been that hard at all, seeing as what she had done.  But I didn't kill her, Xander did."

The room fell silent and all eyes fell to Xander.  Xander tightened his hold on his mate and child.  He tried to smile and shrug it off, but he knew the look on his face was probably fierce.  "She tried to harm my family.  Nobody touches what's mine."

Spike growled softly in his chest and turned his head to kiss Xander possessively. 

Giles cleared his throat and looked away. 

Dawn broke the silence with the question that was on everyone's mind. "So, guys!  The suspense is killing me.  What's her name?  Cuz you know, Tara came closest in the baby pool, so if you guys don't have a name, she gets to choose one."

Xander smiled as his friends gathered around.  "Actually Dawnie, we do have a name, we just hadn't decided on the order yet."

Spike scowled at his mate.  "My way's better."

Xander rolled his eyes and kissed Spike on the nose.  "Fine.  You win."
"Damn right I do."  Spike smirked and held up their daughter for everyone to see.  The little girl opened ice blue eyes and stared at the people gathered around her.

Willow gasped, "Spike, she has your eyes."

Tara nodded, "And it looks like Xander's hair.  And his nose too."

Xander touched his own nose in surprise. "Really?  How can you tell?"
Dawn bounced in her seat.  "Come on guys!  Her name already!"
Xander laughed and gestured to his daughter.  "Everyone, we'd like you to meet Ashlynn Jessie Harris."

The entire Scooby gang gathered round and welcomed the newest member of their family.

~~~ 

Blood Borne: Nine

Blood Borne

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