Notes: A few years down the road..... The Foretold One.

Ethan said the last word of the spell and shut the book with an evil grin. "Well, I'm not sure who will be affected, but I'm sure it will be fun for someone." He chuckled. "Especially me." He walked out of the old magic shop and into the night. "Let's see what my *old friend* does with this," he sneered, getting into his car and driving away.

*** three weeks later ***

Tara woke up and looked around, glaring at her dorm room. "Willow, wake up," she said, nudging her. "Something's wrong."

"Humph?" Willow asked, sitting up and putting her head on Tara's shoulder. "What?"

"There's something wrong," she said, getting out of bed and grabbing her robe. She headed over to the window, opening the curtains to look outside. She closed her eyes and chanted lowly, then reopened them. Her gasp brought her girlfriend to her side.

"What?" Willow asked, rubbing her back. "What do you see?"

"Cast a spell to see magic," she said, pointing out the window.

Willow did so and stared at the trees outside. "I don't see anything," she said, shaking her head as she turned to look at girlfriend. Then she stopped and stared at her. "When did you cast a fertility spell?"

"I didn't," Tara said dryly. "That's what I saw outside. It's all over, Willow."

"We'd better call Giles." Willow grinned at her girlfriend. "At least it wasn't my bad this time."

"True," Tara agreed with a smile. "We're not going to be the ones in trouble." She handed off the phone and picked up Ms. Kitty Fantastico to pet while Willow reported the bad news.


Giles shook his head, getting more comfortable in his chair. "Girls, how did you find this out?" he asked, checking his robe to make sure it was staying closed.

"I felt something wrong in my dreams," Tara told him from her position against Willow's side. "I woke up and I looked outside. Then I cast a spell to discern magic. That's when I saw it."

"I found it on her, too," Willow piped in quickly. "Which makes *no* sense. I mean, hello, girlfriend with a girlfriend. No need for fertility spells."

Giles nodded slowly. "All right. Did you take it off?"

"No. We don't know who cast it," Willow said. "Or even if it's just on us."

"It's not," Tara said quietly, staring at Giles. "It's on him too. I saw it on a couple walking through the campus. It's on all of us."

"Oh, dear," Giles sighed. He reached out a hand and grabbed the phone, dialing a number and hanging up. A few minutes later, the phone rang. "Riley?" he asked calmly. "Put Buffy on please." There was a short pause. "Buffy? No, I'm afraid we have a small problem. Are you using birth control?" He pulled the phone away from his ear while she yelled. "Buffy, there's a reason for the question. Willow and Tara found a fertility spell on everybody in town. That would conceivably include you, whom I might add is already in danger of becoming pregnant."

Willow snickered. "I'd like to see her fighting like that."

Tara patted her on the leg. "No you don't. Think about how cranky a preggy Buffy would be."

"Oooh, not a good thing," Willow said with a grimace.

Giles glared at them. "That will not happen, girls. Get the thought out of your head." He turned his attention back to the phone. "Buffy, are you still there?" he asked. He covered his eyes with his hand. "Oh, dear. Riley, do go calm her down. Make sure that she and you both come here in the morning." He hung up.

Tara stood up and pulled Willow up with her. "We're going to go back to bed. We'll let you deal with this now."

"Night, Giles," Willow called as she was dragged out the door. She stopped Tara outside the apartment. "What?" she asked.

"There's something unusual about this spell. I want to know what." She looked at her girlfriend. "Giles had the same form of fertility spell that you and I do," she said quietly.

"That's wrong!" Willow exclaimed. "Men should have a different form of the spell. They can't carry babies!"

"What!" Giles asked, opening the door.

"You have the same form of fertility spell that Willow does," Tara said calmly.

"That can't be," he said, shaking his head. "It wouldn't work. It's a different process."

"But it's true," Willow said, nodding. "It looks the same." She looked at her girlfriend. "We need to figure this out." She glanced at Giles. "We're going to see if we can't figure out who cast this by their signature. It looks kinda familiar." She dragged Tara with her up onto the street. "It's Ethan, I'd bet my next disbursement check on it. We can check it against the Halloween costume I saved."

"Okay," she said, following her back to their room.


Giles looked at the young people littering his living room and sighed again. "Willow, would you please tell them?" he asked as he sat down, unable to say the words.

"There's a fertility spell on everyone," Willow said. "And it's the same for boys and girls."

"Does that not make sense to anyone else?" Xander asked, holding up a hand.

"No, it doesn't," Giles said, giving him a small smile. "Unfortunately, that's the way it is."

"Could it be something general?" Riley asked. Everyone looked at him and he looked down at himself. "Do I have something on me?"

"Yup," Willow said, nodding. "Lots of things." She looked back at Xander. "Yeah, it's wrong. The spell that they used was for female fertility."

"Which really screws things up," Tara said. She smiled at Xander. "You're the only one I haven't seen it on yet."

"Goody." He nodded frantically. "I really don't want to be femaly fertile."

"That..." Giles said, trailing off and glaring at the witches. "You know something, don't you?"

"The magic matches the one on a certain costume you had me save," Willow said, looking down at hers and Tara's joined hands. "And Xander's right."

"What?" Buffy asked. "Need a clue here? Men can't be femaley fertile. Right, Giles?"

"With enough power, anything's possible," Tara reminded her. "Even to make Willow intangible and to change people's forms against their wills."

"Which is a very good point," Giles agreed. "But this would be a bit out of his range. He's not that powerful."

"Who!" Buffy shouted.

"Ethan," Xander told her, giving her a pat on the head. "Halloween costume guy."

"Oh. Can he do that?" Buffy turned to give Giles a desperate look. "Can he? Make me pregnant against my will?"

"Well," Willow said, breaking into Buffy's tension, "it wasn't just *his* magic in the spell," she admitted. "There was, um, someone else's in there too." She looked up and Giles flinched. "Actually, more like a something's, but we can't get past the chaos demon aspect to narrow it down."

"Oh, goody," Xander said dryly. "And we do what about it?"

"Birth control would be a good," Willow said. "Of course, that's only for people who need it. Why doesn't Xander have it on him?" she asked her girlfriend, who shrugged. "Okay."

"Let's not worry about the small things," Buffy reminded them. "How do we keep me from getting preggers and how long has this been going on?"

"A little while," Tara said quietly. "It's well entrenched on everyone."

"Abstinence," Xander said slowly, "say it with me, Buffy." He ducked her swat. "Hey, it's the only way to be absolutely sure. And I'm sure soldier guy is used to deprivation."

"Why doesn't he have it again?" Buffy asked snidely.

"Enough," Giles said tiredly. "How long do you think, Tara?"

"A month?" she suggested. "Not long enough for it to be too subtle but long enough to make it part of you."

"And we do what?" Xander repeated.

"First of all, we do take some responsibility and make sure none of us can get pregnant," Willow said firmly.

"Then we track down Ethan and make him pay."

"No, Buffy. I doubt he'd be anywhere near here. Not anymore. He may come back in a few months to see who was affected but not yet. Not when it could attach itself to him." He stood up, trembling a little. "I think we should find a counter for the spell. Girls, take Buffy down to the store and open up, get to researching. I'll be in in a bit." He stopped Xander from following. "Why aren't you affected?" he asked quietly.

"If I knew that, then I'd be a really happy guy," Xander said with a shrug. "He worked on me before. Why it didn't stick this time, I'm not real sure."

"Xander, I've been aware, for some time actually, that you seem to be in a ... relationship outside of what you and Anya have. With whom?"

"Not Ethan," he said defensively. "And it's none of your business."

"It may become my business," Giles told him firmly, keeping him from moving away from him. "Tell me, Xander."

"I'm having it off with Oz and Spike. They each know," he defended at the irritated sigh. "I couldn't hide it from either of them. Actually, Anya knows too. She said the thoughts turn her on." He shrugged. "There's no real reason that I can think of, Giles, honestly."

"Good enough," Giles said, letting him go. "Thank you for sharing that with me. I won't tell anyone." He watched as the young man walked out, letting himself feel the panic now. "Oh, dear," he said, heading for the bathroom. "When was I with that person?"

*** three months later ***

"I have it," Willow called, holding up a book. "It's right here. The spell and everything." She smiled at Xander, who had found the book in the back last night while he was doing inventory.

"Does it have a counter?" Buffy asked, bouncing on her feet as she wandered around the store.

"Almost, a complicated ritual, but it's a place to start," she said, reading further. "Tara, call Giles. Tell him we found it." Tara nodded and headed for the counter.

"So?" Xander asked, standing up, stopping Buffy from pacing. "You're doing worse than I do on a sugar high," he told her gently.

"We can do this in about a week," Willow said finally. "We'll need to order a few things." She smiled at her girlfriend. "At least we didn't have to worry about the spell," she said, grabbing her lover's hand to hold.

"Don't do that!" Buffy growled. "Don't touch her!"

"Sorry," Tara said, slipping away from Willow. Buffy had been on edge ever since they had told her about the spell. Apparently Riley had taken Xander's advice to heart and the Slayer hadn't been a happy camper since the night before that meeting.

Willow glared at her best friend but leaned closer to her. "Vibrator," she whispered. "Try it sometime. Preferably soon." She went back to her book and the spell.

Xander watched it all, keeping his smirk hidden. He really needed popcorn some days.


Giles walked into the Magic Shop, nodding at the teens standing around. "We found it?"

"We found the original spell, we're working on a counter," Tara said, not looking up. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine," Giles said, sitting down next to her so he could look at what she was writing. "That's the spell?" he asked, sounding surprised.

"Yup," Willow said, handing over the book. "We made copies for ourselves so we could work at home. It's where the blue ribbon is sitting."

Anya handed Giles a cup of tea. "Here, you look pasty."

"Thank you," Giles said, taking it to sip, but he grimaced. "Anya, what did you make this with?"

"The stuff in the metal tea container next to the pot," she said with a shrug. "Why? Is it too strong?"

"Metal tea container?" Giles asked, getting up to go look. "Dear Lord, Anya, you used a person's *remains*!"

"Oops," she said, still looking unfazed. "Oh, well." She went back to the register, waiting for someone else to come pay her.

Giles poured the 'tea' out and sighed, taking the whole coffeemaker back to the back to wash.

Xander grinned at Willow, who was silently snickering. He shook his head, going back to his research.

Giles came back a few minutes later with a different mug and the now purified coffeemaker. "There, that's better," he said, coming over to the table to sit back down. "Anya, in the future, please leave the human remains alone." He took a sip and went back to reading. "Xander, aren't you supposed to be working?"

"Not really. I have today off to come help."

"Oh, thank you." Giles smiled at him. "How are you doing?"

"Fine. You?"

"Cut the polite crap," Buffy growled. "Get with fixing the spell." Willow looked up at her. "And you, fix this!"

Xander picked up the bag beside his feet and handed it to her. "Maybe you should go work out, Buff," he suggested. "Maybe you'll feel better about everything."

She snatched the bag and headed for her work-out space, mumbling to herself.

Willow winked at Xander, who snickered. Giles looked up at them, giving them a questioning look. "We suggested that she could cure her ...behavior problem herself but she didn't like that idea," Willow said primly.

Giles smiled, then started to chuckle. "Oh, I wish I had seen that." He coughed, jumping up and running for the bathroom in the back.

"Gotcha," Willow sighed. "Can we fix him too?"

"No," Tara said. "I respect all life. That's *his* decision to make."

Xander nodded. "Think about it in reverse, Wills. Would you like someone to tell you what to do if you were affected?"

"No." She frowned. "You're right. We should support his choice." Tara nodded, giving her a smile. "He's always been there for us, it's time for us to be there for him. Oh, Giles," she said, blushing. "We were just talking about..."

He shook his head. "It was the thought of Anya's tea earlier. Nothing more. I haven't even seen anyone in far longer than the spell has been around."

"Oh. Okay. But if you were, we'd support whatever you decided," Willow said bravely.

He smiled. "Thank you." He watched Xander as everyone else started back to researching a cure, a small suspicion growing in his mind. "Xander, may I talk with you?" he asked, pointing at the back wall. The younger man nodded and led the way back into the stacks of shelves, turning once they were as far away from the group as they could be. "You really are enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Oh, yeah," he said with a grin. "Muchly. Wouldn't you?"

"Well, yes, but you're not even trying to help."

Xander smirked and laid a hand on Giles' stomach. "Cute lie, G-man, but you're not the only one affected." His smirk got bigger. "And this town wasn't the only one affected either. Anyone from this town, no matter where, is affected."

"And you know this how?" Buffy asked, intruding on them.

"Easily. I called Angel." He grinned at Giles and leaned forward, whispering in his ear. He pulled back with a smirk. "See why I've been wanting popcorn now?"

"Yes, I do," Giles sighed, shaking his head. "Do be a good boy and get me the cordless phone please." He turned to look at his Slayer. "He has a reliable source of information out of LA, and I'm sure something else also, but mainly he's very happy right now."

"That makes one of us," she said bitterly. "When can we stop all this hiding?"

Xander came back with the phone and a scroll, passing them both to Giles. "You should be fine," he said softly. "After all, you're in a het relationship." He winked at Giles and went back to the table.

Giles unrolled the scroll and swore, heading after him. "Xander, where did you find this?"

"One of Angel's friends sent it last night," Willow said without looking up. "I can't read it though."

"I can," Xander said quietly, just loud enough for Giles to hear. "Spike decided I needed his brand of education." He winked at Tara, who was watching them. "I think that about says it all."

"Yes, this prophecy does about say it all," Giles sighed, rereading it. "Do we know how many others were fixed this way?"

"Nope," Xander said. "Spike thinks that it's only the ones who have power or were touched by the supernatural." He glanced at Willow then at Giles, but Giles only raised an eyebrow. Xander shook his head. "But there is a strange thing," he admitted. "The guy of Angel's that sent that to us? He's not from here, but he's affected like he is."

"As far as you know, there's only the two of us so affected?" Giles asked quietly.

"Yeah, as far as we can tell." Xander got comfortable in his seat. "When you think about it, it's probably really good that the average person wasn't affected. I mean, imagine someone like that cranky neighbor Buffy has getting pregnant." He grinned suddenly. "Or Riley."

Willow choked. "Xander! Bad thoughts!" Tara hugged her, secretly giving Xander a smile. Which Giles caught.

"Sorry," Xander apologized. "But if you think about it, he'd be the first to jump off the nearest bridge."

"Who?" Buffy asked from the stacks.

"No one," Xander called back. He shook his head as Giles started to laugh. "Get my point?"

"Very well." He eased his laughter off. "What do we do about it?"

"Well, practically speaking, there's actually only one decision right now. All the other decisions come after you made that first one," Willow said, staring her mentor down. "Are you going to have it or not?"

"I...." Giles shrugged. "I have no idea."

"The second option may not be available," Xander reminded them gently. "We don't know what to do to end the pregnancy and not hurt Giles."

"'Scuse me," Buffy said, walking down to join them. "Are you sure about what you just said?"

"Yup. My contact in LA said that anyone who's touched by the supernatural was automatically fertilized. Giles isn't the only one, but he's the only one in town as far as we know."

"Oh, because vamps can't!" Willow exclaimed. "Gee, I'm glad Oz isn't here now." She looked at Tara. "Sorry."

"No big," she said, giving her girlfriend a kiss. "I wouldn't wish that on him."

"Tara," Giles said, "what do you know about this?"

"Just what my mother told me. That the prophecy existed. That it'd have to happen here. That someone with better herbal knowledge than me would be needed to help you guys if it happened while I was here."

"Who the Initiative all ran out," Xander pointed out. "You know herbs?"

"A little," Tara admitted. "I've done a little training one summer. Not near enough for this."

Buffy flopped down in her chair. "So what do we do? How do we cure this *little* problem?"

Giles put a protective hand over his stomach. "We can't, it appears. We'll have to wait this one out and trust that the Powers know what they're doing."

"What's this prophecy?" Willow asked, pointing at the scroll.

"It's a message of rebirth. The rebirth of the supernatural," Giles explained. "It basically says that a child born from where one can't be will reopen the curtain that holds the world back from magic. Upon the child's first cry, the barrier separating the rest of the world from the supernatural will be broken and untold wonders will come about again." He picked up the scroll to read it. "And at the bottom is this wonderful passage about the child either being raised right or it will bring the end of humanity with it as well."

"Then we have to stop it," Buffy said firmly.

"No!" Giles said, getting more frustrated with her. "The child won't necessarily harm anyone."

"All that magic coming back will," she countered.

"It's going to happen sometime," Tara pointed out. "This isn't one of those prophecies that can be stopped."

"Well, it'll have to be," Buffy said. "We can't let this child be born."

Giles stood up. "I think I've heard enough. Buffy, go home. We are not stopping this prophecy. It's too important for humanity to do so. If we don't follow when it's time, then the world will surely end because all the magic will leave!"

"Yay, and?" she asked. "So do the demons."

"No, they don't," Xander said quietly. "You're without your only weapons. *Your* power comes from magic, their's comes from a different source," he reminded her. "Even without magic, demons still exist."

"But we'll be without a Slayer," Willow said, thinking it through. "That's true. The demons get their strength from another plane. Your strength, Buffy, and all magic, comes from this plane, from the Earth mostly."

Xander cleared his concerned expression, turning it into a stupid grin. "And who knows, maybe the next Slayer will be witch and Slayer combined," he suggested. "No more need for Scoobies."

Buffy snorted. "I doubt it."

"Well, it's possible," Xander countered.

"Only in some cheesy fiction story," she said mock-sweetly, taunting him.

"Stop it!" Giles said. "We will help this prophecy along. Buffy, you can help us or not."

"Not," she said, getting up and leaving. "Call me when this is over."

"Fine," Giles sighed, sitting down. "Anything else we've found?"

"Once the child is born, the fertility spell will either be permanent or it'll be gone," Willow said cheerfully. "Fifty-fifty either way."

Xander leaned back in his chair. "I'd like better odds. Preferably before she goes and finds someone to believe her and help her stop us."

"Good point," Giles said, getting back up. "If I have to leave suddenly, Tara, I'm entrusting the store to your care and management. You can have Willow help you, but I doubt Xander's going to be here."

"Nope, Xander was called to one of the other affected people's sides. He's going to go with him." He looked up at Giles. "We can all be together."

"That would be too easy," Giles told him, patting him on the shoulder. "I have my ways of disappearing. We'll be fine. Just take care of your person. One of us must go through with this."


Giles finished packing his bag just as the knock sounded at his door. He hurried down, smiling at the man standing there. "Good, you've decided to help me."

"Not really," the man said, walking inside. "Rupert, the Council doesn't want this prophecy to go through."

"Tremaine," Giles said coldly, "if it doesn't then all your precious Slayers will die. *Their* abilities are from this plane, the demons' aren't."

"Be that as it may, we can't do a thing to help you." He gave him a 'sorry' look and pulled out a needle. "I can't let you leave with the child, Rupert," he sighed, lunging for him.


Angel woke up to find Doyle standing at the end of his bed with Xander. "What?" he asked warily.

"I'm one of the people in the prophecy," Doyle told him calmly. "I'm leavin' tonight to be safe."

Angel pulled himself up. "Why? I'm not going to hurt you."

"Not you, deadboy, Cordelia's going to do it. Doyle saw it. We're leaving tonight." He nodded at the door. "I'm going to be standing outside." He left, watching the exits in case Cordelia got word early and tried to find them and stop them. Doyle came out a few minutes later and gave Xander a hug. "You're not leaving, huh?" he asked flatly.

"Angel can protect me."

"Fine," Xander said, backing away from him. "You know the risks."

"Why are you trying so hard, Harris?" Angel asked as he walked out of his bedroom. "You know I'm going to protect Doyle, I'd even protect Giles if he came to me for help. Why are you trying to get him to leave so hard?"

"Because that's his job," Doyle said gently, putting a restraining hand on Angel's arm. "He has to make sure one'a them is born." Angel looked at him. "He has to. It's his job, his destiny."

"Yeah, it is," Xander said, running a hand through his dark hair. "Giles has already fallen."

"They're all diversions," Angel said in awe. "The Powers sent extra children to make sure that the right one was born, so that no one would realize that he was coming."

"She," Xander said with a grin. "But very true. Any of the others may still be able to give birth, and the more the merrier according to the prophecy, but I need to make sure that attention is focused solely where it needs to be. Not on the main parent. I was sent a dream almost a year ago so I could search for the main parent and warn them. But I can't be with them now, I'm the one everyone will trace."

"Oh." Angel looked at Doyle. "Do you want to go with him?"

"I can take you both to a safe place," Xander offered. "I know a few that would suit you both."

"We'll stay," Doyle said. "An easy target means that no one'll go lookin' for another one."

"Fine," Xander said, backing away and bowing. "I leave you in Angel's care." He nodded at Angel. "You know what to do if it becomes time?"

"Basically," Angel said with a smile. "I saw it once when I was mortal."

"We'll get you a book," Doyle said, patting him on the arm. "You'd best leave, Xander. She'll be here soon."

"Yup. Gonna go. Be safe." He jogged for the stairs, leaving them alone.

"I'll do my best," Angel said, hugging Doyle tightly against his body.

*** five months later ***

Xander stepped into the clearing in front of the cabin, nodding at the man who had started it all. "Are you safe?" he asked, walking closer.

"Not really," Ethan groaned. "I'm ready to be done with this though." He frowned down at his stomach. "The child seems to be ready also."

"Good, then let's do this." He walked up onto the small porch, holding out a hand. "Trust me?"

"No. But the blasted Powers said that I had to." Ethan hefted himself up with a grunt, waddling into the cabin. "Am I the last?"

"Yes," Xander said, his face showing nothing. "Go lie on the bed. We'll start the fire to heat the knife and warm some water." He headed for the kitchen area, running a pot of water and putting it on the old gas stove. He pulled a leather-wrapped bundle from his waistband and put it beside the stove, unwrapping it carefully. It was Spike's knife, now carefully blessed by Willow and Tara, and it would serve to cut the baby out. He heated it over another burner, making sure it was clean. He rinsed it off in the sink and gathered up the water, bringing it into the bedroom where Ethan was just now chanting over the sheets he was putting on the bed. "Why didn't you prepare earlier?"

"Because I wasn't sure you were going to be here today," he said cruelly. "I've been told that you should have been here two days ago."

"I would have, but I needed to be elsewhere."

Ethan stopped mid-tuck. "Another was born?"

"Not very healthy. She didn't cry," he said sadly. "It's all up to you now, Rayne. Are you up to this?"

"No, but I'd best give it my best shot. Who did the Powers pick to raise the child?" he asked quietly, looking down at the wiggling bulge.

"Don't worry about it, they'll be well taken care of and happy." He saw the sad look. "They know what's going on. You could always go see her."

"If I do that, then she'll never be raised right," Ethan said with a sniff.

"Who said right was white-hat?" Xander asked calmly, giving him a grin. "Right is all in how you see it."

"A very good point," Ethan said, giving him a smile. "Did the Council really have Ripper committed?"

"Yup. And they had a doctor remove the 'growth' as they called it. He's fine now though, out and everything. Spike got him out and the Council has mysteriously taken Buffy and left town." He grinned even more. "As for your darling Ripper, you can visit your child on the way to see him. He *really* wants to get you back for starting this whole thing off."

"Well," Ethan sniffed. "How's that for gratitude?"

"My guess, he's not going to be a happy man for a few days." He waved at the bed. "Finish preparing it. We have to hurry."

Ethan finished the preparations for the birthing bed and climbed on, lying down and starting to chant as Xander ceremonially rinsed the blade again. He closed his eyes as the knife lowered itself to his body, focusing himself solely on the chant. He started to cry as the cut was made, the pain was unbearable, but he had to finish this or else the child wouldn't be born healthy. His words were interrupted by his screams of pain as the child was cut from him, his guardian not paying any attention to him as he made sure the child would live. Ethan mercifully passed out as his child was removed from his body. He missed that first cry, but he felt it's effects, his stomach magically healed for him by the Powers. He came to slowly but when he was conscious, he found Xander cradling his child, gently cooing at it. "A girl?" he asked.

"A boy," Xander said, holding him out so the proud father could see. "But that's okay," he said with a grin. "The real one was born yesterday." He brushed across Ethan's forehead. "It'll all be okay, Rayne, I promise. Would you like to hold him?"

"No, if I do, he'll never leave my side."

"That's still your call," Xander reminded him, holding out the infant. "There has to be a balance."

"No. I have no clue what to do with an infant."

"Cool. He'll be with Giles." He kissed the baby on the forehead and headed for the door. "Everything's set up so you can go home safely," he called as he walked out, looking up at the sun then down at the baby. "This is your world, little one. You'll rule it some day." He headed off into the woods, down the narrow path back to the road where he had left his car, pointing out the baby unicorn they walked past on the path.

*** epilogue ***

Xander walked into Oz's arms, giving him a hug, sniffing him. "I wanted to be here," he whispered. "So much."

Oz pulled back. "But you did what you had to do. Besides, I had Spike. He does a mean diaper change." Oz led his lover back into their house, leading him up to where their daughter lay in her crib. "Star, this is your third daddy, Xander. He's your other biological father."

Xander picked her up and held her tightly, smiling at Oz, and at Spike who had walked in through the connecting bathroom. "I'm home for good," he said finally, kissing her on the head. "Yeah, daddy's home and it's all going to be okay."

"You were the distraction, pet," Spike reminded him. "You couldn't come home."

"We taped it for you," Oz offered. "You can even watch it with her so I can nap."

Xander grinned. "Okay. But then I want cuddles."

"Sure," Oz said, patting him on the shoulder before heading for their bedroom.

"What 'bout the fertility spell?" Spike asked, smirking when he saw the head shake. "No?"

"Not gone," Xander admitted.

"Not going to be me next time," Oz called back.

"Hey, the spell didn't touch me," Xander called to him. He grinned at the grumbling going on from the bedroom. "So, Spike," he said, moving closer. "Want to help me watch that tape?"

"I doubt Red's up ta watchin' it with you so I prob'bly should," Spike grumbled. "Not like he could get it up for you right now."

"Hey!" Oz complained. "You try having a child."

"Sweetheart, Spike's undead, he can't have one," Xander reminded him. He and Spike beat a hasty retreat to the living room before Oz could get up and retaliate. They cuddled together on the couch, watching the tape of Star's birth. "Yeah, we're going to be a strange but happy family," Xander sighed, kissing her on the head as the tape ended. "You're gonna rule the world with Steven. Maybe you'll even push him on the playground."

Spike nodded. "She'd better. I'm gonna teach her how to whoop up on everyone." He wrapped an arm around Xander's shoulders. "Wanna see if the fertility spell suddenly works on you, pet?" he asked, licking over Xander's earlobe.

"Later, babe, I've got the baby. And we need a nap."

"Sure. That's all I ever get these days," Spike grumbled, handing over the throw off the back of the couch. "You nap. I'll do ya later." He got up and headed back up the stairs. "Call me when you're ready."

"Oh, I will," Xander said, licking his lips as he thought about his nummy Spike treat. "I definitely will."