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[A/N: I thought I would take something of a break from this series, but that isn’t the way the muse is leading, so therefore, I write. So here now is the first chapter of the third book in the Origins series. I hope you all enjoy. Title and quotes are as attributed, okay it’s just a song by Simply Red (go listen to them). Disclaimers prove, sadly, that I own nothing of the empire that owns Buffy and her world. More’s the pity. I would have done it a bit differently.]

Previously: The Scoobies have faced the Angelus and the rest of the Aurelians, with unlikely support from within their ranks and the only survivor was Drusilla. Angel is dust, Willow has been judged and stripped of her powers and abilities. Giles and Anya slept together, Jenner and Faith have also. Spike brought a grown up Connor back from the Other Realms, while Buffy was granted some insight and guarantees for the future . . . . and Spike discovered they’re having twins. This picks up some months after the end of Revelations – sometime toward the end of May, and Buffy is approximately 7 months pregnant.

Book Three.

Chapter One. Real life, depicted in song

What’s worth nothing else but love
Take a walk down any street now
Every one of us in our own little world
Looking for a heart with whom to beat now
What’s worth nothing else but love
I’m prepared to take the heat now
What’s worth more than anything else at all
To keep you firmly on your feet now
So fake cool image should be over
‘Cause I long for a feeling of home
Real life, depicted in song
A loving memory
After long, home is a place where I yearn to belong
Where the land meets the sea
She’ll be smiling so sweetly now
I hope that she’ll be here much longer than I will
My heart loves her with every beat now
So fake cool image should be over
‘Cause I long for a feeling of home
Real life, depicted in song
A loving memory
After long, home is a place where I yearn to belong
Fake cool image should be over
‘Cause I long for a feeling of home
Real life, depicted in song
A loving memory
After long, home is a place where I yearn to belong
Fake cool image should be over
Home is a place where I yearn to belong
Fake cool image should be over
Home is a place where I yearn to belong
Fake cool image should be over
I’m going home
Where I belong
Fake cool image should be over
Rolling home
Fake cool image should be over
Home, Hucknall, S. Lewinson, P. Lewinson

“She’s flatlining!”

“We’re not getting a heart beat!”

“Get the paddles!”

“Charged and ready.”

“Count. . . . three. . . two. . . charging!”

There was a flurry of controlled chaos, nurses and orderlies racing to their appointed tasks, each intent upon saving the life hanging in the balance. Within seconds, shock paddles were produced and charged. The prone figure on the gurney jumped as the electric current surged through her unresponsive form, reanimating her unbeating heart. The entire room paused, waiting for the monitors to signal success, no one daring to breathe.

Steady, rhythmic beeps finally filled the operating room and the sighs of relief were clearly audible.

Out in the hallway, watching the proceedings through heavily plated glass, one Englishman turned to a second. “You do realize this may not work.”

“Said as much more than once. Didn’t mean anyone but you was listenin’.” The seemingly younger man moved away from the window, his attention on the woman approaching from the opposite end of the hallway.

“How long was she dead?” Buffy’s voice chirped cheerily from her as she made her way slowly toward the two men standing at the window.

“Approximately one minute, thirty seconds, give or take a second or two.” Wesley emerged from the operating room in time to answer her query.

“Yeah, but was it long enough?”

Giles glanced back at the operating room, concern etched on his features. “Unknown.” His stare was distant and distracted, until some small noise from Buffy reclaimed his attention. He looked down at her fondly. “I would presume so, since you were dead for about the same amount of time.”

“The first time.” She grimaced and in the classic pose of a heavily pregnant woman, placed one hand on her extended belly, the other at the small of her back.

“You all right?” Spike was at her side instantly. “Here, lean back.” He stood behind her, easing her closer, his arms stealing around her. A deep sigh shook her small frame and Buffy brushed back her hair.

“I’m tired. Can we go home soon?”

Spike’s pointed look at Giles over her head forestalled any comment and he said, “We can go, kitten. The Watchers can do what they do best.”

Before either of the other two could protest, Spike was leading Buffy slowly down the corridor.

“I’m waddling. This is so not cool, Spike. I’m way too young to be waddling.”

His chuckle followed behind them, causing the two staying behind to laugh.

“Mr Wyndam-Pryce?” The question came as Rupert’s cell phone rang. Wesley motioned the nurse to silence, waiting for Giles to answer.

“Rupert Giles.”

He was quiet after that, though the expression on his face remained impassive. As he disconnected the call, Wesley motioned the nurse to relay her message. “We’re moving Ms. Lehane to post-op. She should be awake in a couple of hours.”

“Thank you.”

Once she was gone, Wesley raised an eyebrow, waiting impatiently for Giles to deliver his news.

“That was Anya.”


“She wants to know when we’ll be home.”

“Oh.” Wesley shook his head. “I suppose it is too soon for the Council to be aware of the change.”

He started down the hallway, the older man just behind him. “Provided this harebrained scheme actually worked, the Council should have some indication a new Slayer has been called.”

“They’ll only know for certain if the girl is already in their control.”

“True. Odds are against them. Last I knew, there were only six potentials identified and under Council control.”

“Only six?” Wesley broke his stride to stare at his counterpart. “I thought the seers were more accurate than that.”

“Evidently the Council has had some difficulty persuading parents to relinquish their daughters. I believe an accusation was leveled by more than one girl’s family.”

“Accusation?” Wesley was genuinely confused. “Of what?”

“Pedophilia.” The distaste was clear in Rupert’s tone of voice.

“Oh, dear.”


Silence filled the hallway as they continued out of the hospital and into the waning daylight.


“Did you see the size of that thing?”

Dawn was walking backwards, facing Connor while they headed home. “That was a cool move, flipping over its head and . . . whhooooossshhhh.” She swept her arm out, imitating his earlier move. “Way cool, dude.”

He ducked his head, uncomfortable with her praise. “Wasn’t that cool. I’ve seen Spike do it.”

She rolled her eyes. “You know, Con, you don’t have to be like that.”

“Like what?”

“Mr. Embarrassed. Be proud of all the cool things you can do.” She slapped his arm, then turned to walk by his side. “It’s totally cool how you do all that stuff.”

He was quiet for a while, long enough for Dawn to pick up on his unease. “Spill.”

Connor hesitated, then shrugged. “I have to hide it, Dawnie.” He looked away, concealing his expression. “The other guys all . . . I don’t.”

“Fit in?”

When he didn’t respond, she ducked her own head, letting her hair fall in front of her face. “I told you all about my memories. So you know it’s not any better for me. You could show off every day and people around here wouldn’t notice. Sunnydale is like that.”

“So I’ve learned.” His shoulders hunched a bit more and Dawn caught the movement out of the corner of her eye.

“What’s really bothering you?”

A shrug was her only answer.

Maybe Spike can get it out of him, or Wesley. Dawn had a feeling she knew what it might be, even without Connor saying anything. A week earlier, Wesley and Spike had taken Connor out, supposedly on patrol, but really, they were telling Connor all about Angel. Though he’d claimed to have gotten the full story while he was in the Otherworld, there were still gaps. The Fae had only given him the recent stuff, leading up to his birth and just after.

Connor had gotten home and gone right to bed. Since that night, he’d barely said a word, to any of them. Dawn figured what was why Connor had also been avoided everyone.

She wasn’t far off the mark. Connor had known his parents – Darla and Angel – were vampires and had been of the not-good variety for a very long time, but he hadn’t really understood.

Whatever the Fae had told him and allowed him to see, it hadn’t been what Wesley and Spike had told him. That had shaken him to the core.

His father had tried to kill his family. Each one of them. First Dawn, and he’d very nearly succeeded. Angel killed her boyfriend, Casey. Then he’d gone after everyone else.

Connor didn’t know how – or what – to think. He couldn’t understand how they didn’t hate him. How they allowed him to stay. But every night, Buffy hugged him, kissed his cheek and told him she was glad he was part of the family.

She’d never once shied away or ignored him. And Connor couldn’t actually understand why.

Dawn was the same way.

Once they’d discovered Connor could read, they’d made arrangements to enroll him in school. Dawn treated him like a brother, introducing him that way to everyone she knew, not like someone resented or unwanted.

Connor didn’t understand.

He felt so guilty, knowing his father had been the one to hurt her, he sometimes didn’t know how to act or what to say. It had gotten harder to look at any of them, and he avoided everyone’s eyes whenever he could. He was so afraid he’d be shunned, tossed out, told he wasn’t worthy.

It was hardest to look at Buffy, knowing one of the reasons why Angel – he refused to refer to him as his father – wanted to kill her so badly was because he’d once loved her. There were times when he wondered if that was the same reason he’d wanted Spike dead. Or was it more twisted than that?

Connor sometimes wondered if there was more that Spike and Wesley didn’t tell him.

He was very afraid what they had told him was only a very small part of Angel’s history.


Despite the heat outside, the air in the basement storage area was cool, redolent with myriad scents of herbs and candles. Working downstairs always gave Anya time to get her thoughts and inventory in order.

She catalogued the shipment of dragon’s bane, re-packaging it from the bulk size into smaller, retail packages. Usually she let Spike do this, but lately, he’d been busy with the increased activity around the Hellmouth and Buffy.

So here she was.

Taking stock of her life.

It had been only a year ago, that Xander had been down here with her, asking her to marry him. And just six months ago – she’d given him back his ring.

A week or so into the New Year, when everyone was still recuperating from the battle with Angelus and the rest of the Aurelians, Xander had finally shown up. She hadn’t seen him since just after Christmas, when he refused to help them, choosing instead not to get involved and stay back, guarding Cordelia.

Even now, months after she’d broken off their engagement, that betrayal still stung. He’d chosen to watch over his ex-girlfriend – who needed no watching over, and turn his back on her and everyone else.

What had really gotten her ire up had been his cavalier dismissal of their injuries. Giles had been limping around, Drusilla’s bite taking longer to heal than any of them had liked. He was in the office, while Anya had been behind the counter assisting a customer when Xander had wandered in, acting like no time had passed.

“Hey, Ahn.”

She glanced up, her eyes bulging out at the vision standing before her, looking like it hadn’t been nearly two weeks since she last laid eyes on him. “Hello, Xander.”

He must have picked up on her less than enthusiastic greeting, because he ducked his head. “How’s everything?”

Giles picked that moment to come out of the office, in search of a fresh cup of tea, and his limp had been very pronounced. “Hey, G-man, what’s with the limp?”

They both stared at him, disbelief clear in both sets of eyes. Xander’s gaze swung between the two, mild curiosity on his features. Anya stood up straight, a spark of anger lighting her eyes and she huffed out a breath. “He’s got stitches in his leg, and he really shouldn’t be up and walking around.”

For a moment, Giles wasn’t sure which of them she was more exasperated with, until she walked around the counter, her arm sliding around his waist. “Really, Giles, you should have asked me to get you some tea.”

Without missing a beat, Anya muttered to no one in particular, “Vampire bites aren’t something to be ignored.”

“You let a vampire get a chunk of you?”

The incredulous tone of Xander’s voice brought their attention back to him, and Giles remarked with a touch of anger, “I wasn’t exactly keen on the idea. But better my leg than my neck.”

“Who got a piece of you?”

“Drusilla.” Giles let Anya help him to a chair, and he marveled at how dense Xander was. “You were there, Xander, weren’t you?”

“Yeah.” The boy shoved his hands into his pockets, looking down at the floor tiles. “I don’t remember that though.”

Anya piped in at that, “You were too busy being unconscious . . . which was a nice change for Rupert, since that’s usually his job.”

The smile she bestowed upon Giles went a long way to soothing his suddenly wounded ego and he smiled up at her. She winked, then schooled her features to look at Xander again. “How come you’re here?”

“I miss you, Ahn.”

Her raised eyebrow and tapping foot were the only indications that she wasn’t exactly buying the contrite little-boy act Xander was trying for and Giles wished he hadn’t come out of the office when he had. The couple – if they even were that anymore – was headed for an explosion. He could feel Anya’s temper rising and the rapid staccato of her heel on the tiles indicated she was about to unleash the rough side of her tongue.

“It took you two weeks to realize you missed me? I haven’t seen you since the morning after we beat the Aurelians.” She folded her arms over her chest, squaring her feet. “What exactly do you miss, Xander?”

He looked around, hoping to find the answer written boldly somewhere mid-air. When nothing appeared to bail him out, Xander just repeated his earlier statement. “I missed you.”

“You missed me? Or the many orgasms we shared?”

Giles dropped his head down, hoping his own guilt wasn’t written clearly for Xander to see, and once again wishing he was very far removed from this conversation.

“Ahn!” Xander took a step toward her, but Anya moved out of his reach, taking two steps backward. “Can we talk?”

“We are talking, Xander.”


She huffed out a breath, clearly thinking over his request. Anya looked down, seeing the dark red creeping along the neckline of Giles’ shirt, and she realized abruptly that it wasn’t embarrassment but anger that was brewing. Getting a boost of strength from the sitting man, Anya squared her shoulders and gave Xander his answer. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Because I really don’t have anything else to say to you, Xander. You left me alone for two weeks. Is that what I can expect if we get married? Whenever something you don’t like happens, will you leave me?”

The vein on Giles’ neck was pounding, and Anya could see his jaw tensing with the repressed desire to unleash some of his anger onto the poor unsuspecting boy who didn’t realize she was about to dump him. She stepped closer to Giles, letting the hem of her skirt brush over his arm. The small contact was enough.

“Anya, I wasn’t leaving you. I just needed time to think. And Cordy needed me.” The instant her name was out of his mouth, Xander realized what he’d done.

“You always put everyone else ahead of me, Xander. Do you really love me at all? Or am I just a replacement for the real girl you can’t have?” Frustrated and angry tears sprung to her eyes and before Xander could try and explain himself, Anya was twisting the ring off her finger. “I don’t think I want this anymore. Take it back.”

“Anya, please, you don’t mean it. I love you.” Xander was pleading with her now, his hands raised up to refuse the ring. “C’mon, Ahn, let’s talk about this. You love me, you don’t wanna do this.”

“I’m not sure I love you, Xander. You don’t show me that you love me. You don’t look at me the way Spike looks at Buffy.”

Xander exploded into angry shouts at the mention of Spike loving Buffy, his face mottled and red, his vitriolic words spitting out incoherently. Anya cringed back while Giles struggled to get to his feet, to get between Xander and Anya. He was about to step forward, when a stern voice from the basement steps broke into his ranting.

“Girl told you it was over, whelp. You need to go, before you do somethin’ even more foolish.” Spike leaned against the door frame, arms crossed over his chest and his eyes sparking.

More sputtering words spewed from Xander, and Anya kept backing away, moving closer and closer to Spike. Giles finally stood, gently pushing Xander back. “Xander, it’s time to go. Please leave the shop.”

“I’m not leaving without Anya.”

“She’s not goin’ anywhere with you.” Spike straightened up, his eyes glittering. Anya slipped behind him and he nodded toward the door. “Slayer’s about to come in.”

The bell over the door rang and Buffy stepped inside. The cheery greeting died before she could utter it as she looked around at the angry faces. “What’s going on?”

Spike inclined his head, concentrating on her and Buffy’s eyes widened, then her eyes settled on Xander. Silence greeted her question, but then again, she didn’t really need an answer. Anya’s next words gave her more than a bit of insight into the situation anyway.

“I always come last with you anyway, so maybe you should just go.” Anya looked away from Xander and Buffy could see the tears pooling in her eyes.

“That’s not true, Ahn, you know I love you.” Xander tried again, pleading with her to talk to him. “We can talk about this alone.”

“No. I’ll never come first with you, so long as Buffy and Willow are around. I’m not your first choice, Xander, and I deserve to be.” She moved away, putting the counter between herself and Xander. “Take your ring and just go.”

That had been it.

Xander hadn’t tried, just dropped his head and gone. Anya figured it was because he couldn’t lie, not with Buffy and Giles – and Spike – standing there listening to them. She hadn’t seen much of him at all in the intervening months and though she thought at first she’d miss him, that hadn’t been the case at all.

A slight smirk played about her lips, as Anya remembered just why she hadn’t been all mopey about breaking up with Xander.

The bell over the door tinkled and she hurried up the steps, to find the reason back with their dinner.

“Hello, dear.”

She blushed, then peeked around him to make sure they were alone. “Hello, Rupert.”

to be continued. . .

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