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Six months on the WIP list, and finally, a new chapter! Reclamation is the sequel to Innocence Found, which can be found Here.

You can find Reclamation from the beginning Here.

Crossposted to spuffyness and my regular journal.

Many smooches to moxie_fic for her wonderful beta work and kind words, and to willshenilshe and liliaeth for listening to me whinge about it forever.



Reclamation – Chapter 5 – Little Rascals

Buffy sat where she had fallen, in shock. A whole evening of skating around in circles and showing off only to fall on her ass getting into the car.

“Need a lift up, pet?”

She looked up into a pair of sparkling blue eyes shining with mischief. Would she never learn to keep her mouth shut? Spike had the equivalent of an open check in the things he could demand of her, and Buffy had to admit to being nervous.

~*~

Day Four

Spike was making her very, very nervous. He’d won their skating bet, and as of yet had failed to name his ‘prize’. All he did was smile around her… that little half smirk/half melt-your-heart smile she’d begun to crave like the very air she breathed, and he didn’t.

Every time she broached the subject he’d smile, say “I’m thinkin’, pet” and walk away, chuckling to himself. She finally stopped asking, but every time he passed by, she felt a frisson of excitement run up her spine.

Just after sunset, Buffy, Spike, and Tara dragged a very surly group of children into Happy Time Photographers. They’d managed to get the last two appointments of the day, figuring that with so many children time would become an issue. Best of all, the photographers used digital cameras, which meant both Spike and Angel would show up

“Mr. & Mrs. Summers, I presume?” The manager beckoned for them to follow him. “Please bring the children this way.”

Tara snickered, earning her a quick glare from the faux-marrieds.

Before the little troop had traversed the small corridor to the back room, Xander pulled at Spike’s hand. “I have to go to the bathroom,” he whined, plaintively.

“Try and hold it in, mate,” the vampire said, figuring it was just another delaying tactic. Xander had gone twice before they left the house.

Angel picked up on the other boy’s whining and complained: “Buffy, my pants are itchy and this collar is too tight.” Running his finger under the collar, he popped the top button. “See?”

“I don’t want my picture taken. I wanna go skating again,” Rupert yelled, his voice carrying far too well in the little hallway. “Buffy, let go of me…” The little boy tried to pull his hand out of Buffy’s. “I want Spike. He’s more fun than you.”

Sensing Willow’s distress at the boys’ behavior, Tara picked the little girl up, hoping to forestall any hysterics on her part. “It’s all right, sweetie,” she soothed when the redhead began to squirm in her arms. “Just a few pictures, and we’ll all go do something fun. I promise.”

All she received for her troubles was a quiet sob… and a wet arm, as Willow’s bladder let go.

“Oh, Willow! Why didn’t you tell me you had to go to the bathroom?”

“Spike wouldn’t let Xander go… and I didn’t want anyone to be mad at me,” she sniffled.

Hearing Willow’s tearful admission, Spike hurriedly shuttled Xander to the men’s room, not willing to take the chance he was playing around anymore.

“People, please,” the manager begged. “The staff would like to go home sometime tonight to their own children...” Noting the puddle on the floor he sighed, wondering for the fifth time today why he ever left the Department of Motor Vehicles to photograph children.

“Look, lady… take the little one and dry her off. We have a box of clothing she can choose something from that’s clean and dry.” Eyeing Tara’s sodden outfit, he offered: “We also have some adult sized clothes in the lost and found you might want to check out.”

It took another fifteen minutes before everyone was clean, dry and somewhat willing to be posed for the first of their portraits. Tara found an Indian patterned skirt and a sweater… very much in keeping with her taste in clothes.

Willow agreed to wear a pair of purple Oshkosh b’gosh overalls with a fuzzy pink sweater over the bib. It wasn’t her pretty new dress, but she declared it more “comfable” and was satisfied with her choice.

The first set up was simple: three chairs for the adults, laps for the children. Spike had Angel on one knee and Xander on the other. Tara held Willow on his right side. Buffy held Rupert on his left.

Mr. Bill, the photographer, was pleased with what he saw through the viewfinder, and took his first two shots before asking his subjects to smile for the camera. And then all hell exploded.

Angel scrambled off of Spike’s lap and pulled Rupert down from Buffy’s knee. Xander decided he liked Spike’s shoulders more than his lap, and scooted to his new perch like a little monkey. Rupert announced he liked Tara’s lap better than Buffy’s because her boobies were softer to lean on. Willow wasn’t happy about sharing Tara’s lap and pulled Rupert’s hair when his back was turned. Angel, who’d set the whole fracas in motion, climbed onto Buffy’s lap and sat stock still, looking, well, angelic.

Tara smiled, letting loose a deep belly laugh the likes of which nobody could ever have conceived her capable of. It dislodged both children from her lap. Buffy joined in, tears of mirth streaming from her eyes. Spike just reared back and howled with glee, Xander holding onto his hair with both fists for all he was worth.

The photographer was in no hurry to reprimand his customers. He’d already gotten his money shots, had less than a half hour before he closed up the shop and would leave the cleanup of the studio to the morning crew. Besides, Mr. Bill enjoyed the sounds of merriment coming from his patrons. All too often he was faced with screaming, stubborn children he couldn’t get a smile out of if his life depended on it.

He snapped away, taking candid shots until only five minutes remained. “Look this way, folks,” he called, capturing everyone’s attention as he took the final pictures. “I do believe we’re done for this session. Your photos will be ready early next week. Just come on in with your receipt and you can pick the package that suits your needs. We just need a small, refundable deposit to hold them.”


Buffy opened her purse, exchanging receipt for cash. “Thanks for putting up with us, Mister. The kids had been cooped up for far too long and I guess their energy levels just skyrocketed.”

Mr. Bill nodded as he gently but firmly ushered the troop from the studio, thrilled to be going home at last.

~*~

Day Five

It seemed the honeymoon phase between the boy and his vampire was finally over. Xander was unhappy. He wanted to go outside and play in the yard while the sun was shining. He pouted and sulked but to no avail. Spike wasn’t able to go with him, so he was stuck in the house.

“Pleeeeese! I won’t go far away,” Xander wheedled, turning his puppy-dog eyes on the beleaguered vampire. “You can watch me from the window.”

Spike was adamant in his refusal. “Listen to me, pet. When Buffy and Tara come back from the market, they can take you out, yeah? I can’t take the chance that you or one of the others’ll need me and I’ll be stuck hidin’ from Mr. Sunshine. I know it doesn’t seem fair to you, but they’ll be home, soon, an’ you can play then.”

Xander stomped off, unmollified. “You’re a meanie, and… and… I’m not gonna talk to you anymore all day,” he shot back over his shoulder. “Poopy head vampire.”

Satisfied that he’d gotten his point across, Spike sat on the sofa, closing his eyes, but keeping tabs on Xander, Willow, and Angel. Vampire hearing was a good babysitter’s best friend.

It came as quite a surprise when he came to, with Angel pulling on his sleeve to catch his attention.

“Spike! Spike! Wake up.”

“Keep your kit on, mate. What’s up?”

“It’s Xander... and he took Willow, too.”

Shit. Spike instinctively turned around and sure enough, the front door was wide open. Getting as close as he dared, Spike quickly spied the missing children playing ball on the front lawn. It was all innocent enough, but he felt a moment of panic at the thought of having to explain to Buffy how they’d gotten away from him. What if something happened to her friends before they reverted to their adult selves?

All right, it would break his own heart if something happened to the little ones.

“Xander, Willow… get your bloody behinds back in the house.” Great! Now I sound like a soddin’ mum.”

“Nuh uh, Mr. Poopy-Pire,” Xander yelled as he ran to the sidewalk in front of the house. “I can stay here all day and you can’t get me.”

With a sinking feeling in his gut, Spike watched as the little boy continued to walk backwards, slowly, sticking out his tongue in defiance.

“Last time m’gonna tell you, boy. Get yourself inside before…”

Obviously scared by Spike’s yelling, Willow ran past him into the house. She might have been brave enough to slip past the sleeping vampire, but couldn’t stand up to him in Papa Bear mode.

Xander, unfortunately, had no such problems as he continued his backwards journey… straight into the street.

Spike felt the force of the sunlight even from the protection of the shadows inside the house, and took a few shallow breaths to steady himself. Grabbing the blanket kept by the door, he made a mad dash out to grab Xander around the waist and haul him over his shoulders.

What he hadn’t expected was for the child to pull at the blanket in protest. By the time they’d gotten safely indoors, Spike’s arms were blistered and oozing. He tumbled Xander onto the couch and headed for the stairs.

“Don’t move from that spot, you stupid little bugger,” Spike barked, his words harsh with fear and pain from his burns, and not a little anger. “Got to go upstairs an’ take care of m’arms.” One last glare at Xander, and Spike was slightly mollified to see the boy flinch at the mention of his injuries.

***

Buffy and Tara arrived home from shopping with Rupert glowering between them, to a house that was eerily quiet. Angel and Willow were sitting quietly on the floor by the couch, where Spike was curled up, holding his bandaged arms close to his body.

Putting her packages down and letting Tara take the children in hand, Buffy knelt down and gently stroked her fingers through Spike’s hair.

“Hey, cutie,” she murmured softly. “What happened? Is everyone okay?”

Spike groaned and rolled over to face her. “Had a spot of difference with m’shadow. He wanted to play outside an’ I told him no.”

“And he snuck out, huh?”

“Grabbed little Red and hit the front yard while my eyes were closed. Never expected him t’open the door and disobey…”

Buffy couldn’t help herself. The smile she’d tried to hide burst out into giggles. “Gods, Spike. The first rule of babysitting is never tell a kid he can’t do something. It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

“Yeah, an’ when I pulled the little bullock out of the street before the car could hit ‘im, he tried to yank the blanket off me and nearly toasted his old pal Spike.”

Taking hold of his hands, Buffy looked into his eyes. “Poor baby,” she soothed. “Want Nurse Buffy to make you feel all better?”

“Cruel to tease the injured vamp, love, what with the munchkins roaming about. I’ll have to remind Nurse Buffy of her duty once things are back to normal.”

She pouted, her lower lip jutting just enough to draw Spike’s attention. “But your arms will be healed up by then. Whatever will I have to kiss and make all better?”

beat

His expression was priceless.

“Ha! Speechless! And they said it couldn’t be done.” Buffy doubled over with laughter. “Rendered powerless by my mouth alone… and… and I think I’d better stop while I’m ahead.” She buried her face in her arms, blushing furiously at her out of control comments.

“Right fetching when you blush, love,” Spike drawled, flinching as he reached out to stroke Buffy’s pinkened cheek. “An’ I’d love to test out Nurse Buffy’s bedside manner, but…”

“Yeah, yeah. I know. Parenthood does have its downside, doesn’t it?”

Tara softly cleared her throat to announce her presence. “Um, guys? I think we have a little problem. Xander’s missing. A-and it’s not that I want to point fingers, but Willow seems to think it’s partly because Spike yelled at him.”

“Tara!” Rupert called from the top of the stairs. “Angel found him hiding in the attic and he won’t open the door. Even Willow can’t make him open it. You’d better hurry before Angel pulls the door off.”

“At least he’s still in the house,” Buffy grumbled. “So, Big Bad, who’s gonna try and talk Xander out of the attic without removing or smashing down the door which would involve costly repairs to Rup… um, to Giles’ house that we can’t possibly afford when things get back to normal and he sees his credit card bill?”

***

Spike stood outside the attic door, listening to the boy’s dejected sniffles.

“C’mon, pet. Be a good lad an’ open the door. Your mates are getting lonely.”

“Nuh uh. **sniffle** Not gonna come out. You’re gonna yell again.”

“I won’t yell, Xander. M’not mad anymore,” Spike promised. “Just open the lock and come out.”

Even with his enhanced hearing, Spike was hard pressed to hear the little boy’s words through his tears. He was back to chanting “I’m sorry” over and over again and rocking against the door.

Buffy said she didn’t want the door broken down, but she didn’t say anything about tinkering with the lock. A minute later, he had the door opened and a sobbing boy held tightly against his chest.

“Shush, little one,” he soothed, ignoring his aching limbs as the boy’s weight settled onto his burnt arms. “S’all right now. Think you can use a good nap an’ we’ll talk, you an’ me. Later.”

As Xander settled into bed, he still muttered softly only the words had changed. “Bad Xander. Stupid Xander.”

Spike felt exactly three inches high. Father of the year material he certainly wasn’t, and now he’d pretty much shot his creds for being Uncle Spike right down the loo.

He sat on the bed, smoothing the curls from Xander’s forehead, willing peace to settle on the lad. “You’re not stupid, boy. You scared me and I said something I shouldn’t’ve. I’m sorry.” Spike gently wiped the tears from Xander’s eyes with his thumbs. “Sleep now,” he murmured, and quietly closed the door behind him.

And promptly walked straight into Buffy.

“You know you’ve just risen in rank to head Big Bad Mush, Spike,” she cajoled, eyes bright with affection. “I was coming up to check on you two, and heard the last part. I really hope he remembers this week.”

“Yeah, love. It’s bound to be interesting.”

ETA: Corrected a boo boo that had the photographer using a digital camera and film at the same time. Silly man. Thanks, talesofspike, for catching the goof!
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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 13th, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC)
great chapter... i really hope xander remembers everything... spike is so sweet to him it would be so sad if he was mean to spike when they get back to normal...
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Xander's reaction is key once he grows up... I'm nervous about getting it right. Well, we'll all see soon enough.

Glad you enjoyed the chapter.
amybnnyc
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
Squee! It was like Christmas morning to see this update... and what a lovely update it was! Still loving the little munchkins so much. And poor little Xander/poor big Spike... it looks like Spike learned the hard way how easy it is with kids to say things that you'll regret in the heat of the moment, but he did such a beautiful job of comforting Xander, too. I agree with Buffy... hopefully, Xander will remember, and learn.

And still can't wait to find out what Buffy has to do for Spike... ;o)
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC)
Trying to get the little ones' voices right has been difficult. It's been so many years since my kids were that age - not making them infantile, but not letting them be too grown up is a delicate balancing act. I hope I've come close.

I hope the last chapter will be satisfying. Spike's still thinking hard about what he wants to ask of Buffy. **grins** For a change, he's bloody well taking his time.
talesofspike
Mar. 13th, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC)
And this is the story (along with Innocence Found) that got me hooked on your writing in the first place. So glad to see another chapter. It's just sad to think that out of four "kids", we know for a fact that three of them had screwed up childhoods. Maybe Xander might even have grown up likeable if his parents hadn't been the way they were. Begging that the next update will come a little quicker than this one...
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks, love. I think kiddy-fic holds a special place in my heart. Especially kiddy Scooby fic. They were much more likeable then.

I promise to try to update sooner. I'm just glad that this finally came out at all. *glares at shiftless muse*
annabuffy
Mar. 13th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
Great chapter! Glad to read some more of this fic. Picture taking was a blast and Spike is definitely the Big Bad Mush. I hope Xander, Willow, Giles and Angel remember every second of this week. Looking forward to more.
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... Angel was pretty cool by the end of Innocence Found, so I'm not worried about him... but the others will prove to be tricky. I'm hopeful that I'll do them all proud in the end. Not much more to go, but it has been the longest week ever, hasn't it?
poetlover
Mar. 13th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
So happy to see a new chapter. And I really enjoyed it. I'm now getting very curious about what's going to happen when they all get back to normal.
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, me, too! I have a vague idea... but the execution promises to be sticky business. **crosses fingers** We'll just have to see what develops.
tgray
Mar. 13th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)
You outdid yourself! And yeah, I even like Spike and kid!Xander!!! It was perfect and Xander at the end, berating himself made me heart flutter. Wow. Wonderful chapter!
spikes_heart
Mar. 13th, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
I'm tellin' ya... Spike understands the kid. Deep down, the hostility was coming from Xander's fears. Gee... I wonder how it's all going to play out when he grows back up.

No, I really wonder! Not sure how it's going to resolve. I need to plot... wish you were around to help me. **turns pitiful, pleading eyes on you**
greenstone_j
Mar. 13th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
Oh!!! How great it is to see more of this up! I have really missed this one, and the kids are so cute *smiles* And Spike speechless! *grin*
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
Nurse Buffy rides to the rescue (and doesn't that make for a pretty picture?). Hope the next chapter is delivered much, much sooner.
sufie58
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
Lovely chapter. So happy to see you'd posted an update. I just love the munchkins. Can't wait to see what happens when they all get back to normal. thank you.
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to comment, pet. Glad you enjoyed.
moxie_fic
Mar. 14th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC)
Hi Andrea

I missed the digital camera and the film....naughty beta..sorry....
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC)
We all missed it, Maria. Amazing how many people read this first and it just never made an impression. **shakes head** It should read better, now.
sammywol
Mar. 14th, 2005 02:19 am (UTC)
Woo hoo! I had practically lost hope of hearing more of this one. Yay!

Every time she broached the subject he’d smile, say “I’m thinkin’, pet” and walk away, chuckling to himself. Good for you Spike! Keep her guessing!

Thanks for the scene at the photographers. I needed reminding of exactly why not to take small people to a portrait photographers.
spikes_heart
Mar. 14th, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
Never give up! Never surrender! Ooops, sorry - was channeling Galaxy Quest for a moment. I will finish this fic, I am determined.

As for the photographer's scene? Been there, done that... rings all too true. **smiles**
lil_leti
Mar. 15th, 2005 09:54 am (UTC)
Glad to see the little monsters are still around. Love how they are trying to make due with the new little family dynamic they have going. Great update and I hope Xander remembers exactly who took care of him and what spike meant to him while he was younge
spikes_heart
Mar. 18th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
They'll be around for another day or so - remember, it was a week's worth of childhood as wished for by Buffy and decreed by D'Hoffryn. Hopefully, I'll satisfy everyone with my resolution. **goes in search of muse to beg for ideas for resolution**
meli1_77
Mar. 16th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC)
This is such a sweet story. I'm looking forward to more.
spikes_heart
Mar. 18th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your kind words - there's a bit more to come.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 23rd, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
I love your fic. I hope more comes up soon. I was just wondering where Anya was during all this? Little Xander is so cute, she should really be there. Everybody else has to take care of their infantile lover. And Spike and Xander bonding very nice. I'm also anxious to see what Buffy has to do!
joyful_dayz
Mar. 28th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Reclamation
Wonderful Chapter - Now if Xander can just be a man and not hate Spike more because Spike showed him up as a better man - saw him humiliated and was kind - kinder than Xander was to little Spike!
(Deleted comment)
spikes_heart
Dec. 9th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
It would have been interesting to keep the Scoobies as kids, but then so many other factors would have kicked in, and it would have been a whole different fic.

This way, they know they only have a week of this kind of massive responsibility... after all, they're still young, themselves.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )