Hope you enjoy - would love to hear your thoughts on this one, especially.
**hugs you all for reading**
have</i> to believe that I’m sorry for what I said or did…” Willow shook her head and stopped herself, changing tack.
“NO, I mean please, please believe I am sorry. I get that I can’t enforce my desires on you or anyone else. And more importantly… I shouldn’t even try. Everyone has the right to their own thoughts and choices.”
“Buffy,” she said, turning towards her erstwhile best friend. I’m so, so sorry that I always thought I knew what was best for you and imposed my will over yours. And Spike,” she continued, turning to face the vampire she’d almost murdered. “I know it’s none of my business who Buffy decides to take as a friend. Or boyfriend.” Willow knew she was babbling, but couldn’t stop herself. This had all been coming for such a long time, and now it was bursting out of her. “Not my business whatever kind of relationship Buffy wants with whomever she –”
“S’okay, Red,” Spike’s soothing baritone cut through Willow’s word vomit. “Not a soul amongst us who hasn’t fucked up a time or twenty. It’s how we move forward that counts. A lesson hard learned… for me, as well.”
Willow picked up on a hushed conversation between Anya and Xander, She knew them well enough to recognize Anya wanted Xander to say something. Sure enough, Xander, with a slightly sheepish expression on his face, raised his hand as if asking for permission to speak, and then forged on without waiting.
“I’m sure by now you’ve noticed the wedding bands. Anya and I just celebrated our first anniversary and –”
The sound of a baby crying drifted down the stairs. After excusing himself, Xander bounded up the staircase and came back down holding a little boy. “Allow me to introduce our little bundle of joy, Master Jesse Stephen Harris.”
“Do you want to hold him?” Anya asked, smiling with pride as her youngster rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
Willow held out her arms timidly. “You don’t mind?”
“Here ya go, Jesse.” Xander handed over the baby. “Say hello to your Auntie Willow.”
Willow felt tears prickle in her eyes. “Hey there, little fella,” she cooed. “So handsome. Looks like you’ve got your daddy’s eyes and head of hair, and your mommy’s smile.”
Jesse patted her face with both hands, and then gave her a wet, open-mouthed kiss on her nose.
Anya rose from the loveseat and held out her arms to her son. “It’s good to see you again, Willow. You’re much nicer when you’re not trying to run everyone’s lives.”
Nobody disagreed with her, or called her on her bluntness. It seemed, Willow mused, that she wasn’t the only one who’d changed.
“W-willow, there’s something we need to tell you,” Tara said cautiously. “Rupert and I… well… you know I went to stay with him after we broke up. And our whole dynamic changed after spending so much time together, and…”
“Oh, bloody hell, Glinda,” Spike exhorted from the sofa. “Nothing to be gained from pulling off the bandage slowly. Listen Red, what the bird is trying to say is that she and Rupert fell in love and got married. And the git and ex-demon over there aren’t the only new parents present.”
Willow’s mouth gaped open like a fish. “Wha… what do you mean?”
“You’re not the only bird to change her orientation to suit her heart, Red. Tara and old Rupes, here, are quite the love match. They have a daughter who’s ‘bout a year old now.”
“Lyric Grace,” Tara said, glowing with motherly pride. “She’s upstairs sleeping and she’s just… well, she’s perfect.”
“She is,” Giles agreed, grinning. “And we’d like you to meet her.”
Lingering shock at the huge changes in her friends’ lives was the only thing preventing Willow’s tears from falling now. Shock that only grew when Buffy said, “So, there’s more telling-of-life-altering-changes to be told.”
“Saved the best for last,” was Spike’s addition to the conversation, sliding his fingers through Buffy’s long, blonde tresses.
“Spike and I are also parents,” Buffy continued. “Not quite in the same way as everyone else, of course, what with the whole Vampire thing – but parents. Of seven month old Jocelyn Anne Summers-Pratt. Her mama was killed by a bunch of vampires before we could get to her, and the baby was left all alone.”
“Jossie is part demon,” Spike interrupted, obviously wanting his say in their narrative. “an’ thanks to Clem’s connections in the demon community, we found out that she was orphaned. No claims on her at all. Clem’s mates came up with the proper paperwork, so in both the non-supernatural and demons worlds, we’re legally her parents. Nobody to challenge our right to raise the bitlet,” he declared, looking directly at Willow as he spoke.
Willow was overwhelmed, to say the least. She knew she needed time to digest all of this, just as she knew she had been challenged outright to air her opinions on the way everyone’s lives had changed.
For the moment, however, she just smiled and kept her thoughts to herself… mainly ‘cause she didn’t even know what her thoughts were. But they were happy. That was undeniable. They were all happy.
She excused herself soon after, not wanting to overstay her tentative welcome on the first of what she hoped would be many visits. The hardest part was over – the proverbial ice had been broken – and the world still spun on its axis. And it would continue to do so, Willow vowed, with absolutely no interference from her.