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My bad, folks. Put too many things into my sieve-like brain, and I tend
to lose one that's already in there. Forgot to post yesterday's chapter
of Pieces of Me.

This is what I get for trying to juggle two fics at once. Yes, that's right.
Another fic will follow on the heels of this one. And it's already completed!

Joy and rapture!! Read and enjoy. Comment if you feel like it.


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Daniel's wailing picked up as they slammed open the front door.

“Oh my god,” cried Sam, rushing to Spike who held the crying little boy in his arms. “What happened? Is he hurt?”

Setting the boy down on the kitchen island, Spike turned to grab the first aid kit, leaving her, Buffy couldn't help but notice, to deliver the explanation.

“We'd just taken him off the baby swings,” Buffy explained, “and as soon as his feet hit the ground, he took off running.” She revealed the tear in Daniel's pant leg, soaked around the edges with blood. “He tripped.”

Spike dumped the medical supplies on the counter and held Daniel upright while Buffy pulled his pants down, carefully avoiding aggravating the injury.

“Mommy!” Daniel cried, holding out his arms for Sam's comfort.

“It's okay, sweetheart,” Sam cooed, as she hugged the boy about his chest. “Mommy's here. Want me to kiss the boo-boo and make it better?”

“Just wait a moment, until I can clean the wound,” Buffy insisted. “We need to get the dirt and grass out before it gets infected.” She swabbed the abrasion with an antiseptic wipe. “Huh!” she mused. “I could have sworn this was a lot worse. It's just a scrape.”

“Lotta blood from just a scrape, pet,” Spike agreed.

“Wait a minute,” Sam said, eyes wide with realization. “Both you and Spike heal quicker than ordinary humans, right?”

“Yeah.”

“We do.”

“Then it's a good thing that Riley wasn't around to see this. This is exactly the sort of thing the Initiative was looking for when they cooked up their disgusting scheme in the first place - accelerated healing. It makes me wonder what else Daniel's inherited from the two of you.”

“Time will tell, I guess,” Spike said. “He obviously has no problems bein' out in the sun, so he's one up on me.”

“We'd be more than happy to help you figure out if he has any other abilities,” Buffy offered. “Obviously with nothing official to be reported to anyone – just so you'll know what he's capable of.”

“I think I need to leave,” Sam said abruptly, looking over at Daniel's now bandaged leg. “Let me take him upstairs to get changed, and to collect our things. I need to be able to think, and I can't do that here.”

Buffy nodded mutely; Spike said nothing.

Buffy watched as Sam gathered the little boy into her arms. This was it. Sam was going to take Daniel and head off. The time had come for either her or Spike to say something to the contrary if they were gonna take charge of things... going to be parents.

But the words didn't come and Sam headed out of the kitchen and up the stairs..

“What are we gonna do, Spike,” Buffy whispered once Sam was out of earshot. “Are we gonna let her take our son without a fight?”

“Was waitin' on you, love,” Spike admitted. “What you want is what I want. All I know is I can't possibly take care of the tot on my own. He needs to be able to see sunlight. I mean, I'd do my best, but he needs more than just me.”

“So you really want to do this? Be a parent with me? It's not like we're a love match, in fact, sometimes we're barely capable of getting along.”

“Doesn't mean we can't both love the boy.”

“True,” she was shocked to find herself conceding. “It's getting a bit hard, in light of recent events, to deny your ability to love. And, right now, Daniel is the most important thing.”

Spike thumped his hand on his chest in exaggerated shock.

“Knock it off, asshole,” Buffy laughed quietly. “Love makes for strange bedfellows, and we have to be the strangest bedfellows ever.”

Spike's laughter made her smile.

“Okay, I'm game if you are,” Buffy said decisively. “Now the trick will be getting Sam to work with us. It won't be easy; you know how she loves him.”

“No use in borrowing trouble, love. Let's see what happens when she gets downstairs.”

~*~

Sam couldn't help herself; she crept down several stairs and listened to Buffy and Spike. Just five minutes earlier it had been so simple. Take Daniel, get reassigned somewhere far from Sunnydale and the hell it had inflicted on her life and be done with it.

Yeah, she'd feel bad, knowing she was keeping Daniel all to herself, but she'd manage.

Or she'd thought she would.

But she hadn't been brought up to be that selfish.

And Buffy and Spike's words had touched her heart. “Right now, Daniel is the most important thing” reverberated through her brain.

She'd sat with these people in good faith; they'd made lists with Daniel's best interests in mind, and yet here she was – getting ready to disregard everything in favor of her desires.

Sam sat down hard on the stairs, and came to a hard decision. She was leaving.

Daniel was not.

~*~

They'd been waiting in the kitchen for Sam and Daniel's reappearance for the past twenty minutes, tense but determined. Hearing Sam's footsteps on the stairs, Buffy grasped Spike's hand in hers and took a deep breath... that was released unexpectedly when the woman appeared in front of them.

Clearly ready to go. And without Daniel.

“I-I thought...” Buffy began, stumbling over her words.

“Where's the bitlet?” Spike asked.

“Daniel is upstairs, asleep. It seems as if his little incident in the park wore him out,” Sam said tautly, shifting her weight from foot to foot. “I, on the other hand, am leaving.”

“What?” Buffy was confused. She'd been gathering the strength for a confrontation with Sam, but suddenly the wind was knocked from her sails.

“I'm sorry, but I eavesdropped on your conversation,” Sam said. “And you were right, Buffy. We'd discussed this earlier, and I almost forgot – Daniel is the most important thing. Not my desire to keep mothering him.”

Buffy looked at Spike for a reaction, but he said nothing. He looked as if words were beyond him for the moment.

“How are we going to explain things to him?” Buffy asked. “You can't just leave.”

“I wasn't planning on it,” Sam insisted. “I'll tell him that I have to go away for now, and that he has a new Mommy and Daddy. He'll be confused, but he's young – he'll catch on. He already trusts you both.”

“Don't want to cause trouble here,” Spike said, finally finding his voice. “But if we decide to change the lad's name, would that be a deal-breaker?”

Sam shook her head. “There's no reason a son of yours should be named after my father, I suppose. I'll have the military come up with a proper birth certificate for him, once you decide on a new name.”

Buffy ran her fingers through her hair nervously. “But what about you?” she asked. “How can you just walk out on him?”

“I was hoping that you'd be willing to let me be some small part of Daniel's life,” Sam said, eyes downcast. “I could be an auntie... once enough time has passed.”

“I'm sure that would be fine. Wouldn't it, Spike?” Buffy asked, looking to her vampire. “We could send you pictures, invite you to special events if your schedule allows. We never wanted to rip him from your life.”

Sam nodded. “I know that, and that's part of why I'm able to leave him with you. You already care for him, and I'm sure, in time, you'll love him as dearly as I do. He's a special child, Buffy. He's all heart.”

Buffy smiled. “I think that's inherited from his father,” she said, turning her smile toward Spike... and realizing in that moment, that letting her son into her heart seemed to have opened the pathway to thinking about Spike in a softer way.