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January 2008 – Resolution
Traditionally, the Summers-Bennetts ring in the New Year without much fuss. They privately celebrate their continued survival and their existence as a family unit. Their only resolution is to make no resolutions.
Except for this year. Spike and Buffy promise their daughter that this year will be a happier one for the entire family. They don’t promise no fighting… that’s always been part of their relationship. They do promise to remember what they’re fighting for.
There is but one goal, one need, and one end result for all parties combined: to love each other above all else.
Family over adversity.
February 2008 – The Birthday Girl
Willa’s fourth birthday is nowhere near the circus of her third. Just her pre-school friends in her classroom, with Mama and Papa fussing over everyone. After lunch, they brought out chocolate chip cookies decorated with Cookie Monster… Willa’s new obsession.
It’s sweet and normal and Willa blossoms under her parents’ love and attention.
They sit in a circle to play Duck, Duck, Goose and it never fails. Spike is unerringly tapped on the head and made to chase the children around the circle. He always catches them with a roar and a hint of fang, making them giggle.
March 2008 – Don’t Count Your Chickens
Every morning for the past week, Buffy races to the bathroom. At first she attributes the vomiting to the new take-out place they ordered from. When she gets tired and achy she pins the blame on a developing illness. When a fever fails to develop and she becomes weepy and bloated, she begins to suspect the absolutely impossible.
Except it’s not so impossible, is it? Not with their sweet Willa asleep in her bedroom.
Spike continues to be solicitous, but Buffy keeps her dreams and hopes to herself... just in case.
A sibling for Willa. Time will tell the story.
It’s been several weeks – the mad dash to the bathroom has stopped. Buffy’s still tired and moody but she’s perked up somewhat.
She and Spike snuggle in for the night. She hasn’t been feeling right all day and wants to close her eyes and feel safe in the arms of her loving husband.
The same arms that seem to be poking her in the middle of the night. She awakens from a dream of warm, sticky honey. “What, Spike? Why are you bothering me?”
“Got your period, Luv. Want me to clean you?”
Buffy cries, throwing herself into Spike’s arms.
April 2008 – Retail Therapy
Dawn comes for a ‘surprise’ visit. While she’s happy to see her sister, Buffy mutters something about ‘bloody vampires who can’t keep their noses out of everyone’s business’. Spike’s and Dawn’s selective hearing is already in place.
In the end, she’s grateful for his thoughtfulness, of course. Shopping sprees coupled with sister time is just what she needs. They avoid the maternity and baby stores like the plague, and concentrate instead on the shoe and clothing stores.
They sit in the food court, bonding over ice cream and crushed dreams. They can almost feel Joyce’s love surround them with warmth.
May 2008 – Pride and Joy
Mama and Papa anxiously sit in the audience awaiting their daughter’s Mother’s Day performance at nursery school.
Clear and unafraid, Willa says her lines:
My mom is very sweet and always caring.
She worries about me when I am in school.
She makes sure that I get where I am going
On time so that I don't feel like a fool.
But best of all, my mom loves me
Both when I’m good and bad.
She makes me happy with a hug and kiss
And holds my hand whenever I am sad.
There’s not a dry eye in the house.
(Poem paraphrased and borrowed from Poems For Free.)
June 2008 – Daddy’s Little Girl
What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander, and Mama helps Willa secretly prepare a poem for Father’s Day.
Along with breakfast in bed, Mama sits and cuddles with Papa while Willa recites:
Daddy, I love you
For all that you do.
I'll kiss you and hug you
'Cause you love me, too.
You feed me and need me
To teach you to play,
So smile 'cause I love you
On this Father's Day.
Spike is beyond touched. He still doesn’t believe himself worthy of the treasures he holds dear.
Breakfast is forgotten as he hugs his girls.
(Poem borrowed from Poems For Free.)
July 2008 – Summer Daze
The year has slowed to a crawl. Outside of the summer camp program at pre-school, there is nothing else to do. Neither Spike nor Buffy have jobs outside of Willa, and it’s… boring is too harsh a word, more like routine.
Something is missing from their lives. For Buffy, it’s not hard to figure out that she’s pining for a new child. More than anything Spike wishes he could do that for her... for them all, but he’s more accepting of his limitations.
They don’t let their daughter suffer for their problems; not anymore. They stand together against all odds.
August 2008 – Little Miss Smarty Pants
She may be young, but she’s bright. Willa will be attending kindergarten in a few weeks. Her testing at pre-school has shown her to have above average intelligence, a fact that delights her parents.
They’re encouraged to see how far she can go, so certain toys and games are brought into Willa’s daily routine. Mama works with blocks and puzzles to unlock understanding of the abstract, and Papa works with letters and words.
It’s all a game… another way to spend time with their daughter. They still give her alone time and unstructured play.
A happy Willa makes happy parents.
September 2008 – Two Heads Are Better Than One
Willa’s been a good girl, and Mama’s given her permission to get off the school van at Treena’s house for a weekend sleepover. The girls do their worksheets and spend the rest of the day playing in the yard.
Dinnertime comes around and Molly asks why Willa has gotten so quiet. “Mama and Papa are so sad,” she says. “They want to give me a baby brother or sister, but it isn’t happening. Only one miracle to a family, they say.”
Molly thinks for a moment. “Want to give them a surprise for Christmas, Willa?”
Maybe another miracle will happen.
October 2008 – That’s What Friends Are For
Parent conference day rolls around at the nursery school, and Buffy and Spike pick up Treena and Molly. Xander is running late and will meet them at the school. The little girl is so happy, she takes every opportunity to show off her new almost-daddy.
Spike tells them to go in while he looks for a parking space. Buffy and Willa lead Molly and Treena into the classroom. All their friends yell ‘Surprise!’.
Molly turns to see a grinning Buffy, who had planned the shower for her dear friend. The real parent conferences will be held in a week’s time.
Spike and Xander relax in the car, talking about the rollercoaster of marriage. Spike extols the joys wholeheartedly, but doesn’t skip over things both large and small that can derail even the best of relationships.
The subject turns to children; Willa and Treena always a prime topic. Xander wonders aloud about another addition to the Bennett household, when he sees the pain flit briefly across Spike’s face.
“Don’t you dare apologize, Harris. If it’s meant to be it’ll happen. At least we have Willa. Won’t mind playin’ Uncle Spike for a new tot of yours.”
Xander wouldn’t mind at all.
November 2008 – A Simple Grace
Buffy and Molly plan menus and discuss wedding attire, while Spike and Xander keep the mites entertained.
As much as he loves his girls, Spike is grateful for Xander’s friendship. With their history behind them, they’re relaxed and easy with each other. As much as he understands females, the added testosterone is good for them both.
Xander asks Spike to stand up with him at the wedding, and Molly does the same with Buffy. The old, established married couple setting the newlyweds on the right path. Not to mention two little flowergirls in matching dresses.
No fuss, no muss. Simple.
They pass on an organized Thanksgiving this year. There’s no need to celebrate in a single day what they’ve felt year ‘round. Thankful for what they have. It doesn’t stop them from wanting more, but they understand it’s more than they ever dreamed of.
Buffy resigns herself to the fact that she’s not going to bear another child and refuses the thought of artificial insemination. They speak briefly of adoption, but the time isn’t right. It’ll be brought up again somewhere down the line.
Spike suggests they seek out part-time jobs, just for a little variation on their daily routine.
December 2008 – Home Is Where the Heart Is
The Summers-Bennetts insist on hosting the Harris – Parker nuptials in their home. The six friends have become inseparable over the past two years. Willa and Treena are thick as thieves.
After the debacle of Xander’s last marriage attempt, his wedding to Molly is kept deliberately small and low-key; just immediate family. Following their friends’ lead, they’ve promised a large reception at another time.
In keeping with tradition, Willow officiates. I do’s are exchanged with a minimum of fuss, and the family circle widens joyfully with the inclusion of Molly and Treena Harris.
All the while, Xander grins with secrets held.
A Christmas wedding is special, rife with all sorts of promises and rebirth of spirit. Everyone joins in the group hug as Willow pronounces Xander and Molly mated for life.
Buffy takes out the digital camera. It seems she’s developed quite the keen eye from taking all those pictures of Spike and Willa, and might be willing to pursue photography as a line of work in the future.
She sets everyone up for a group photo, sets the camera on a tripod, and after one minor adjustment takes her place by her daughter and husband.
Everyone gets a framed print.
They all sit in a group around the tree: The Harrises, Bennetts, Angel, Willow, Dawn, Giles, and Andrew… who’s taken to casting shy smiles in Dawn’s direction.
Gifts are exchanged and memories made as they talk of the future; Willa and Treena drowse in their fathers’ laps.
One of Buffy’s gifts to Spike is a legal document – a change of name for herself and their daughter. They are all Bennetts, as they should have been from the beginning.
It’s a time to think of new children. Maybe a new little Harris to dote on? Wistful longing runs rampant, but silent.
Spike and Buffy open Willa’s present last. It’s a small box, oddly wrapped in blue and pink instead of holiday red and green.
There’s a picture of Willa with her arms outstretched, as if she’s waiting for something to be placed in them. There’s also a sealed envelope with Do Not Open Until August 2009 marked across the front in Molly’s prettiest calligraphy.
The oddest thing is a post-it that says: Spike, ask Willa what to do.
Spike puts his ear to his wife’s belly as his daughter directs, and smiles.
The Bennetts are adding to their family after all.