Summary: Nineteen years after leaving Sunnydale, Spike encounters a startlingly familiar young woman fighting vampires in the alleyways of London – a young woman who holds the key to both his past and his future.
When Buffy hung up the phone, her heart was racing, her palms were sweaty, and she felt just the tiniest bit faint. Spike. She’d thought she would never hear that name again. After he’d left, after she’d found out that she was pregnant, her friends and family had never mentioned his name again. It was better that way. Maybe it had been the pregnancy hormones, but back then, every time she had heard his name, she’d cried.
He’d left her right after Riley had. At the time, she hadn’t even realized it, but losing Spike had made losing Riley pale in comparison. Of all the people she had ever known, including her mother and Dawn, Spike was always the one she had thought would be there forever. Of course, he was a vampire, so he pretty much had forever to stay by her side. But it was more than that. Whether she had wanted to recognize it at the time or not, Spike had always looked at her with the kind of undying devotion that promised eternity. And then, suddenly, he was gone. And all she could feel was the overwhelming pain of his abandonment.
He hadn’t come to her. Hadn’t said goodbye. He’d just disappeared.
Buffy had known, instinctively, that he wasn’t dead, that he hadn’t been staked or done in by some traveling pack of werewolves. She had known, deep in her heart, that he was alive. And that he had just left her. Abandoned her like everyone else she had ever loved.
And that had been the hardest truth of all for her to face, admitting that she loved him. It had taken a long time for her to be able to admit it to herself, but by the time Willow had been born, there was no denying it.
Buffy didn’t know how Willow had come into existence. Spike was a vampire, pregnancy was not supposed to be an option in their relationship. And yet, somehow, it had happened. Eighteen long years later, they had still never figured out the reason, but it didn’t really matter anymore anyway. When Willow had been old enough to start comprehending what was going on around her, Buffy had given up slaying, and had left that life behind for good.
Now, instead of patrolling, she spent her nights at home, going over the case files of her patients and taking care of the little day to day things that always cropped up here and there. She missed slaying, but had decided a long time ago that her child deserved a normal life – the life that Buffy had never had – and that she would do everything within her power to give it to her. Even if it meant abandoning her calling and living a normal, ordinary life.
Buffy entered the kitchen and put the teakettle on to boil. She could barely breathe. Maybe some herbal tea would calm her nerves.
She got out a teabag and cup and stood by the stove, watching the kettle. Seeing it, but not seeing it. Her mind was five-thousand miles away, in London. Where Spike and Willow were.
Willow had been right about Spike. She had apparently only met him once, and already she knew that he was not the type to take no for an answer. At least, it took him a long time to get the message. A very long time. Buffy secretly wished that he had never gotten that message from her. Why had he given up so easily? Why had he just left when she needed him the most?
A piercing whistle rent the air and Buffy blinked curiously at the kettle. It took her a moment to come back to reality and realize where she was.
She poured the tea and sat down at the center island. Although she had lived in the house for the twenty years since her mother’s death, it was anything but outdated. Xander, who had somehow or another become her brother-in-law – she still hadn’t figure that one out – had done wonders for the place with his construction business. He always gave Buffy a huge discount. And once he had started sleeping with her sister, everything was free. There really was nothing like pimping out your baby sister for a little free construction work. Buffy had tried to protest, but Xander had insisted, and it had all worked out in the end.
And now Spike was back. Roaming around London, somehow stumbling upon her daughter. Their daughter. How long would it be before he found out? Willow knew that her father’s name was William. All Spike had to do was a little digging, to figure it out. And how long before Willow realized that there was something not-quite-normal about Spike? Buffy had spent the past eighteen years trying to keep the truth from her daughter. Trying to raise her in a world that was safe and vampire-free. But what if she found out? What if, after all these years, she discovered the truth that Buffy had tried to shelter her from?
Buffy clutched her cup more tightly in her hand, hoping, somehow, that the small bit of ceramic would ground her, keep her from falling apart. She wondered if she should go to London and confront Spike.
No, she decided. She couldn’t do that. Wouldn’t do that. He had left her nineteen years ago. He had kept himself off the radar ever since – a difficult task for a vampire as notorious as William the Bloody. He definitely didn’t want to see her. And she didn’t want to see him. Not now, not ever.
At least, that was what she had spent the last nineteen years telling herself.