A/N: Wow, I'm sad that this story has come to an end. It's kind of like losing a friend. I am considering doing some shorter one-shots in this verse though. Let me know if there's anything particular you'd like to see. I will give full credit for any ideas I use. I already promised to do a missing scene where Sam and Faith get it on in the weapon's closet. That should be fun.
Many thanks to those of you who have encouraged me throughout this story with your reviews and suggestions. I would never have been able to do it without you. Much love. Also, many, many thanks to my beta isugirl for sticking by me.
Angellia, if you are reading this, I totally stole your idea for a fluffy epilogue. Hopefully you think that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, because I do mean it that way.
Fourteen Months Later
"I like it," Dawn said as Buffy led her back into the living room after completing the 'tour'. "I really do, it gets the Dawn Summers' seal of approval. Very homey."
"I'll second that," Willow agreed. "This place has really good energy, it's almost like a witch picked it out."
"How about a paranoid hunter with an EMF detector?" Buffy suggested with a wry smile.
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Seriously? He actually waved that goofy thing around when you guys were looking at houses? Embarrassing much?
"The realtor did think we were a little strange at first," Buffy admitted with a shrug, "but then Dean convinced her he was just making sure the air wasn't contaminated by radiation from nearby high-voltage power lines. Some people think that can cause kids to have leukemia. So, now she just thinks Dean's the best dad ever."
"Best con artist ever," Dawn amended.
Buffy's reply was cut-off by the sound of crying coming from the nursery. "Speaking of con artists, there's the baby one right now."
," Willow scolded as she crinkled her brow in sympathy. "She sounds pitiful. How can you say that about her?"
"Because it's true," Buffy defended. "I'm her mother. I know a real cry from a fake one and that one is uber-fake
. She needs to get a little rest before everybody gets here or she'll be all cranky."
Dean appeared in the entryway between the kitchen and living room. He was wiping his hands with a shop towel, which was a good indication he'd been in his garage.
"Hey Dean," Willow greeted cheerfully. "Loving that garage, I guess?"
"It's awesome," he agreed with a nod, although he sounded distracted. "Aren't you gonna get her?" he asked Buffy with a hint of accusation in his tone.
Buffy just shook her head and began fighting what she knew was a losing battle. "No, I'm not going to get her, because there's nothing
wrong with her. She needs a nap before Xander and Allie get here with Alex. She'll be all excited to see him and she'll turn into troll-baby if she doesn't get enough rest."
Dean obviously didn't agree with Buffy's reasoning and took off toward the nursery.
"Just wait 'til he gets back," Buffy confided quietly. "She won't have a tear in her eye and she won't even be wet, but she will be extremely happy with herself for managing to sucker her daddy… again."
When Dean reappeared with the six-month-old, she did look suspiciously dry-eyed and happy for a baby who'd supposedly been bawling her eyes out the moment before. She pointed one of her tiny fingers and beamed happily at everyone.
"She has a new tooth!" Dawn exclaimed. "It's so cute. She has two whole teeth now. They're both on the bottom though. That's kind of weird isn't it?"
"No," Dean replied a little irritably, "it's not weird."
"That's how they come in," Buffy explained. "Babies usually get their bottom teeth first."
"Huh," Dawn shrugged.
Willow stepped forward, held out her arms, and tried to charm the infant with her best baby-talk. "Come to Auntie Willow, little Mary Joyce… She'll give you snuggles."
Willow was favored with another happy grin that showed off the new tooth, and then the baby turned and buried her little face against Dean's chest.
Dean raised his eyebrows and managed to look extremely smug while Willow pouted.
"She's just teasing you, Will," Buffy said with a grin. "But, of course, none of us can hope to measure up to her precious Daddy. We have to face being second best… even poor Mommy
," she added with a pout of her own.
The baby looked up at her mother, grinned and held out her arms. When Buffy stepped forward, she immediately withdrew her arms and with a happy squeal, buried her face back in Dean's chest.
"Traitor," Buffy said with a smile. "Mommy was in labor for fifteen hours," she scolded lightly. "Poor Mommy, she's very sad now. She might have to cry."
Mary Joyce held out her arms again and this time happily went to Buffy just as the doorbell rang.
"That's probably Faith and Uncle Sammy," Dean said, directing his words at his daughter. "Remember, we have to point and laugh at Uncle Sammy. He's a giant freak."
Buffy wrinkled her brow. "Dean that's terrible. You better not teach her to be mean to Sam. He has to put up with enough from you."
"He can take it," Dean replied with a shrug as he opened the front door. "He loves it."
However, it wasn't Sam on the other side of the door. It turned out to be a UPS delivery man instead.
"Who's it from?" Buffy asked excitedly when Dean carried in the package. "I love this house warming thing. It's like Christmas all over again."
"It's from Cas," Dean said as he stared at the box in disbelief. It was clearly stamped with the Amazon.com logo. He had no clue that Cas even knew how to turn a computer on, much less order something online. The guy had been spending a lot more time on earth lately though. At the moment, he was in Nepal doing some spiritual journey thing.
Buffy peered down at the box as well, looking torn. "I know we should wait until everybody gets here, but I'm dying to know what's in there. Remember the ultimate collection of 'As Seen on TV' products we got for our wedding? He really got sucked into those commercials. The Slap Chop thing turned out to be pretty handy, but the Pajama Jeans… not so cool
," she frowned.
"To hell with it," Dean announced. "I'm opening it. I've gotta see this."
"Awesome!" he exclaimed once he'd opened the box. "It's a whole kit full of car detailing supplies. Good job, Cas," he observed with a nod. "Here, there's a card for you," he said as he handed it back to Buffy, all the while checking out his new collection of washing and waxing supplies.
Buffy opened the card and read it aloud. "Dear Buffy, I believe it is customary to give household appliances for this type of occasion. However, since I already gave you the Slap Chop and the Ronco Rotisserie, I was afraid anything else I bought would seem disappointing in comparison. Therefore, I've included a gift certificate. Hopefully you will be able to find something suitable."
"Very cool," Buffy grinned, "an excuse to shop. My most favorite thing! Cas is definitely catching on to this human interaction thing. He gets five gold stars."
Chuck tipped the delivery man and even managed to chat with him a little in passable Thai. He was getting a lot more fluent. That was a good thing, because Southeast Asia was about as close as he wanted to be to the Winchesters, especially once it got back around to them that there was a rather popular Japanese anime series based on the Supernatural books.
Things had been much better for Chuck over the past year. He'd had no more visions and international translations of his books had really taken off. He was able to live very comfortably… and extremely anonymously. That last part was very important to his continued well-being, especially since he knew what was in the package he'd just received. It was the first official copy of Grand Canyon
. Once that and the sequel hit the shelves, he wouldn't only have to worry about the Winchesters. He'd have to worry about the Slayers as well. Of course getting torn apart by hot, super-strong women may not be the worst way to go. In any event, he probably should look into getting some body guards or maybe even some plastic surgery? They might be able to make him look like George Clooney if he paid them enough. That certainly wouldn't hurt him with the ladies.