Fandom: BtVS
Characters/Pairings: Pre-slash Spander
Rating: G/PG
Prompt: #11 Unexpected Baby
Warnings: AU, Some spoilers for Season 4/5 BtVS and Season 3/4 AtS
Summary: What if the monks had sent the Key to someone else?
Disclaimer: I don't own any of BtVS or AtS, I just like playing in their world. No money being made and no offense intended
Beta: The lovely Runa my RL beta and sounding board. Any remaining mistakes are mine.



Gifted


by
Xocoatldreams

"Xander!" The shrill yell cut through the darkness, startling both inhabitants of the room awake.

The brunet youth rolled off the bed, pausing briefly to look at his reluctant houseguest before trudging up the stairs. Sighing heavily, he pushed the basement door open and stepped into the kitchen, coming face to face with his semi-sober mother. She shoved a box into his hands and stomped over to the fridge, ignoring him now that her task was complete.

"What's this?" Xander looked down at the box, puzzled to see his name on the label.

"Don't know," his mother shrugged. "Don't really care. It came for you this morning."

"Yeah, okay," he muttered, heading back down to his room.

"And don't forget the rent's due next week," she yelled after him.

"Yeah I know," he shouted back, closing the door firmly.

He trekked down the stairs, flicking on the lights when he reached the bottom. Carefully, he placed the box on the bed, ignoring the muttering vampire tied to his recliner. A few moments of staring at the box and wonder who had sent it passed before Xander finally made any attempt to open it.

"Just open it already," Spike snapped.

Xander glanced over at the vampire and rolled his eyes. "Not sure I should."

"Bloody hell, open it!"

"Didn't figure you for the curious type," he mocked.

"Yeah, well there's a lot about me you don't know," Spike said snidely. "Now open the box."

"Fine." Xander reached out and pulled the box closer, snapping the tape holding it shut. Gingerly he lifted the flaps and yelped as a flash of light filled the room. Blinking his vision clear, he could hear Spike swearing, but his attention was rivetted on the sheet of paper that had appeared in his hands.

To the victor goes the spoils
To the saviour goes the crown
To the servant goes the praise
To the father goes the child

Guard with trust
Remember well
Clouded minds will only see
That which we crafted
Only those closest to you
Will know the truth.


He read the words several times, trying to decipher their meaning. For once they weren't totally cryptic, but that didn't mean he understood them.

"Well, what's it say?" Spike asked.

Xander read the letter to him, watching the curious look that descended on the vampire's face. "Got an idea, Blondie?"

Before Spike could answer, another flash of light blinded them, bringing forth more curses from the visually enhanced vampire. When their sight came back, they got the shock of their lives. There on the bed where the box had been was a baby, arms and legs waving as it giggled and cooed.


~*~*~*~*~


A hundred and twenty odd years on the Earth had given Spike a wide view of the world and all the things in it. Still, nothing prepared him to deal with the mystery presented to him and Harris. A baby, a girl by the pink blanket, and a sudden rush of knowledge that left him panting. Thoughts that weren't his own, memories that he knew never happened flashed past, starting a pounding headache.

When the baby started to fuss, Spike looked over, noticing how at ease with the small child Harris was. The young man rocked her softly, murmuring soft words. Spike could only gape in shock.

"So I have a daughter," Harris mused quietly, still staring down at the bundle in his arms.

"Looks like," Spike finally managed to say. "Does fit the letter though."

"Huh?"

"Not so sure what most of the first part meant, but the last bit does fit. We're the only ones who know about her. Everyone else thinks she's just a baby that you knocked some girl up with," Spike explained. "I guess we're supposed to protect her."

"But from what?" Harris asked plaintively. "All these new thoughts and strange memories of things that couldn't have happened, but nothing about what we're suppose to be protecting her from. How are we supposed to keep her safe if we don't know the threat?"

Spike shrugged. "Dunno. What do you mean by strange memories?"

"I remember the woman they have as her mother, but I didn't sleep with her. Hell, I didn't have sex with any women on my trip," the youth stated. "It's just strange."

"Yeah, well you're not the only one with strange thoughts," Spike growled. "Seems whoever sent her to you wants me to help you with her."

"You don't have to," Harris said softly. "No one can make you."

"No way you can do it on your own," Spike countered.

The boy looked away, a red flush highlighting his cheeks. "Didn't need to remind me."

"Hell, not what I mean," Spike sighed. "Untie me so we can have a proper conversation."

Harris met his eyes, searching intently for Spike's intentions before nodding and reaching over to tug on part of the rope. The knot slipped easily and the rope loosened around Spike, letting him get more comfortable.

"I'm not trying to come down on you," started Spike, "but I don't know how you managed to grow up a white hat in this house. It's not the best place for a child." The boy nodded. "So we need to look for some place else to live."

"Problem with that," Harris drawled. "My job doesn't pay enough for me to live on, let alone two men and a baby who will need a lot of things."

Spike tried not to fidget. "I might have some dosh I have access to," he admitted.

"You have money and yet you've been mooching off us?"

"It's not that easy to get at," Spike defended himself. "Gotta talk to Peaches to get it, don't I."

"Shit, I'd rather starve than deal with Deadboy," the boy said pulling a disgusted face.

"Same here," Spike agreed. "But since I've been drafted to help I'm not gonna let her starve. That means talking to King Forehead."

Harris snickered at the nickname, idly rocking the baby as he let Spike think. When she started to whimper he checked her diaper. Spike watched as the boy deftly changed her with the few supplies that had appeared, the sight spurring him to ask the question that had been bothering him.

"Where did you learn to take care of a whelp?"


~*~*~*~*~


Xander looked over and gave the vampire a sad smile. "A friend of mine had a baby brother. Willow and I use to help take care of him."

"Where's this friend now?" Spike asked. "We could probably use the help."

"Jesse's dead," Xander replied, his tone stating the subject was closed. "We'll manage anyway."

He ignored the looked on Spike's face and started to softly sing to his daughter, watching as her eyes drooped closed. Once she was asleep he laid her down and piled pillows around her so she wouldn't roll off the bed.

"You call Angel," Xander directed. "While you're doing that I'll start looking for a better job and a place to stay."

Xander wondered why he was including the vampire in his plans, but he knew deep down Spike was right. He couldn't do it alone and he was willing to accept the vampire's help. Something about the magic that brought his daughter to him urged him to trust Spike. He grabbed the paper he snatched on the way home and starting searching, hoping that there was something good in town.

As he read through the ads, he realized that the baby didn't have a name. He thought for a moment before murmuring, "Dawn."

"What?" Spike said, turning away from his own contemplation of the phone.

"Her name," Xander said. "It's Dawn Marie Harris."

He watched Spike blink for a moment, processing that. "Not bad."

"Aren't you suppose to be doing something?" he asked, nodding at the phone.

"Yeah, yeah, give me a mo'," the vampire muttered. Xander went back to the paper once the vampire started dialling.

"Small problem," Spike said, hanging up the phone after a few minutes of arguing with Angel. "Peaches doesn't believe me."

"The spell didn't affect him?"

"No, the spell got him too. He just doesn't believe that I'm helping you."

"Give me the phone," Xander commanded. Raising an eyebrow Spike handed it over, watching Xander redial the number. "Cordy, put Deadboy on. What are you playing at Angel? . . . I don't care. Technically he's your family and that obligates you to help him. . . Yeah, well he's helping me take care of Dawn. . . Even if he is doing it to get the chip out, he's still helping! . . . Shut up and give him the money. . . Why? . . . Fine, we'll be there tomorrow night." Xander slammed the phone down and froze before turning to make sure he hadn't woken Dawn.

"So I take it we have to go see him," Spike said, sitting back down.

"Yeah," Xander sighed, leaning back beside the mound of pillows and baby. "He thinks you have me in thrall or something."

"He always was an idiot," Spike groused. "Why we waiting until tomorrow night though? Still got time to get there tonight."

"We are going shopping tonight," Xander told him.

"Shopping?"

"Yep, we need to get more diapers, formula, clothes, a car seat and some toys for her," he shrugged. "There's a twenty four hour Walmart just outside of town. We can hit it tonight, sleep during the day and head out once the sun sets."

"Sounds good," the vampire agreed.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike grumbled as Xander drove down the highway, barely going above speed limit. The young man refused to let him drive, stating Dawn's well-being as the reason. Spike personally believed that the boy was just too afraid to be in the car with him behind the wheel.

The trip was made in relative silence, only broken by Spike turning to check on Dawn and whispering things to her. When they finally pulled into LA, the baby was sound asleep and so was Spike. He started when a warm hand nudged him and a glance to the side showed a grinning Xander.

"We're here," the young man said.

Spike got out of the car, stretching as Xander unhitched the baby carrier. "Here, I'll take her," he offered.

"Thanks," Xander said as he passed Dawn over. "That thing is heavy."

Together they stepped up to the doors, neither really wanting to enter the building. Finally Xander pushed forward, leading the way inside. Spike recognized the cheerleader and ex-watcher, but the other two humans and the gaudily dressed green demon were new. He was surprised to see so many people around his brooding GrandSire, he would have thought the souled vampire would avoid contact with others.

"Didn't know we were having a get together. I would have brought snacks," Xander snarked, making Spike grin.

"You're willingly in the company of Spike," Cordelia said. "Of course we're all going to be here to make sure nothing funny is going on."

"And how are we going to do that?" Spike snarled. He shuddered. "Don't want any mojo being done on me."

Angel stepped forward and glared at the blonde. "You don't have a choice in the matter."

"Yes he does," Xander said softly but firmly. "And as much as the money would be nice, we don't need this hassle. Come on Spike." He turned to walk out, ignoring the startled look on the others' faces at his defence of the blonde vampire.

"Wait a minute, cupcake," the green demon interrupted. "No magic needs to be done. Just a bit of music."

"What do you mean music?" Xander asked.

"And who the bloody hell are you anyway?" Spike growled. "And who are they?" he gestured to the two strangers.

"I'm Lorne. Over there is the lovely Winifred Burkle and the very handsome Charles Gunn," Lorne introduced them. "And no magic is needed. All you have to do is sing a few verses for me and we'll have our answers."

"Sing?" Xander squeaked.

"Of course, sweet cheeks," the green demon smiled. "I can read auras, futures and destinies when someone sings."

Spike glanced at Xander, letting the younger man decided if they should go through it. Xander looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded and began to sing, surprising Spike with his song choice.

It's all the same, only the names will change
Everyday it seems we're wasting away
Another place where the faces are so cold
I'd drive all night just to get back home

I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
I'm a cowboy
Wanted dead or alive.



"That's good," Lorne stopped him, shaking his head as if to clear it.

"Well?" Angel demanded.

"I want the blonde stud muffin here to sing first," Lorne told him. "And I want to talk to them alone after."

"Fine," Angel grumbled unhappily. "Sing Spike."

The blonde glared at him, but a nudge from Xander had him singing softly.

Who are you to wave your finger?
Ya' must have been out your head.
Eye hole deep in muddy waters.
You practically raised the dead.

Rob the grave, to snow the cradle.
Then burn the evidence down.
Soapbox, house of cards, and glass,
So don't go tossin' your stones around.

You must have been high.
You must have been high.
You must have been.

Foot in mouth, and head up asshole.
Whatcha talkin' 'bout?
Difficult to dance 'round this one
'til you pull it out, boy!


Xander snickered as he listened to the words, knowing full well that they were directed at Angel. Looking up he watched Lorne as Spike sang, noticing the glance the demon flicked at the sleeping baby. He met Lorne's eyes when he looked over, nodding at the vibrant demon.

"Spike doesn't have Xander under a spell," Lorne assured Angel. "Now everyone out, I need to talk to these two."

Grumbling, the five others headed into the office, leaving the three standing there. Xander continued to stare at Lorne, wondering just what he saw when they sang and what he knew about Dawn.

"Well, this is interesting," Lorne started. "Do you two know what you have there in that little girl?"

"We figured she's something special since she appeared by magic, but other than that, no," Spike admitted.

"You have a very powerful artifact turned human," Lorne said quietly. "A lot of people would kill to get their hands on her."

"Why?" Xander asked, worried about the child he had come to love. He wouldn't let anything happen to her and he knew Spike felt the same way. The spell only gave the memories of her, but she wormed her way into their hearts without magical help.

"She's the Key. Originally a green balls of powerful energy. Her blood can open dimensional portals if used properly. And once started the only way to stop it is for the blood to stop flowing" the demon answered. Xander and Spike both gasped at the implications of those words. "No one can know what she is."

"So what do we do? How do we protect her?" Worry coloured Xander's voice. He reached over and unbuckled her, cradling her small warm body against his chest as if that alone would protect her.

"You protect her by not going back to the Hellmouth. Demons that could and would use her would be drawn to her if you stayed there," Angel said, coming out of the office.

"Should have known you'd eavesdrop," Spike muttered, glaring at the older vampire.

"Couldn't help it," Angel shrugged. "You weren't talking that quietly. The others didn't hear though."

"Where we going to live if we don't go back there?" Xander asked. "How are we going to eat?"

"Stay here," Angel offered. "We could use the extra muscle and research ability. Stay if only for her sake. She'll be protected here with all of us. Plus she can play and grow with Connor."

"Who's Connor?"

"My son."


~*~*~*~*~


Spike laid Dawn down in the extra crib Angel had, watching as she pulled her toes to her mouth to chew on. He smiled down at her, letting the surprises he had received in the past two days fade in the face of a happy baby.

"Are you okay with this?" Xander asked as he sat down on the edge of the bed nearest the crib.

"With what? Staying here? I think so," Spike replied with a shrug.

"You don't have to stay," Xander offered. "I mean, you don't have to stay all the time if you don't want to. You can come back and visit with her anytime you want."

The vampire was quiet for a moment considering the way to voice the feeling unfurling in his chest. He knew it wasn't the spell making him feel this way. The feelings he had for Xander were new and he wasn't sure how they'd be received or if they'd be returned.

"Not just staying for her," Spike said softly. He looked over to see a wave of red rush over Xander's face and felt a strange tugging in the region of his heart.

"Do you mean-?"

"Yeah, I mean," he smirked.

Xander looked away for a moment before shooting the vampire a look full of uncertainty. "Really?"

"Of course, you are a nummy treat after all."




The End

Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
** The Pot - Tool (I so could see Spike singing this at Angel ^-^)





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