Epilogue C


Spike's bare back hit the door, a pair of warm hands planted firmly on his pale chest. He responded passionately to a hungry kiss as he closed his strange silver eyes. His own hands found a strong, naked back, and he quickly pulled a bare torso against his. Those warm hands vanished, only to end up tangled in the vampire's messy black hair a moment later, roughly deepening the kiss.

Who he was kissing would have surprised several people, but he was used to the irony of this by now. After all, he and Dominick had been doing this for over two years now. Raven had reluctantly accepted this relationship while Riley had happily urged them on. He thought it would give him the one thing he wanted: Raven. Too bad it hadn't worked out quite the way he'd wanted.

Spike pulled away and immediately sank his fangs into Dominick's neck, the Levellua groaning before doing the same to Spike. A pang of guilt surged within the vampire as he thought of what laid beyond the door he was pinned to. His little girl, Kastalia Elaine, playing in the fluffy November snow with her mother and one of her three fathers. It was her birthday today. He should be entertaining her or something. But damn...Who the hell could resist Dominick?

Just as Dominick's hand began to slide down Spike's pants, Raven said from the other side of the door, "It's eleven o'clock at night and your daughter's out here waiting for her presents. Do you think you could put your clothes on and control yourselves for long enough to let her have her gifts?"

The males stopped what they were doing and separated, almost pouting. They glanced at each other with a sigh.

Now was one of those rare times they wished Raven had actually died three years ago from that attempted euthanization or the birth of her child in general. She never let them have any fun.

They put their shirts on like good boys, made sure they were presentable, then they finally opened the door. Kastalia rushed past them with a happy squeal of, "Yay! Presents!" Long black hair streamed behind her as she hurried to the brightly-lit parlor, where the coffee table was covered with birthday presents. Her heavy black coat somehow ended up on the floor along the way.

Spike chuckled, then leaned down and gave Raven a gentle kiss, which she returned without hesitation. Dominick and Riley weren't pleased, but they knew they had to share.

One had to pity Dominick, though. He may have developed a thing for Spike, but he still loved Raven. It was common knowledge that when a Levellua fell in love, they fell hard. He wouldn't be recovering from his fall any time soon. Yet he still had to stand by and watch as the two people he wanted to have all to himself expressed the love they still had for each other. He couldn't complain, though. They were bound by their daughter, and that was a bond no one could break.

Soon enough, Raven and Spike parted, and they all made their way to the parlor. Kastalia was standing by the table, her pale, almost white eyes focused on her presents. She was clearly eager to open them.

Spike frowned at the single black curve that showed on the back of the girl's neck when her hair fell away from it, being reminded that this happy little girl bore a Levellua Signum that would force her into slavery someday. He forced a small smile onto his face after a moment and said, "You can open them now."

Kastalia squeaked, pleased, and immediately attacked the red paper covering the box closest to her. The box held a pair of black gloves that went with the rest of the clothing she owned. Black pants, black shirts, black shoes...She didn't seem fazed by the clothing, simply tossing it aside to make room for a box that could possibly contain something better.

The adults had congregated near the door to watch their child. Dominick stood beside Raven and Raven stood between Riley and Spike. She let her head rest on the human's shoulder as she took his arm, her other hand going out to take Spike's cold hand. She didn't mind the chill of his pale skin, which he felt immensely grateful for as he laced his long, thin fingers with hers.

When Raven looked back at Dominick, her face held a rare welcoming expression. He grinned, and the look vanished, though he knew the feelings were still there. Hidden to both the girl and the boy, but still there.

He gently moved her long hair away from one side of her neck, the side closest to Spike, and placed a gentle kiss there before allowing his chin to rest on her shoulder. His light blue eyes darted to Spike, who was focused solely on his child now. Suddenly, Dominick slid his hand into the vampire's back pocket.

The male arched an eyebrow, and Dominick smiled. Then, quietly, so only the adults could hear, he whispered to his male lover, "We so only liked her because of her boobs."

Riley burst out laughing, Spike grinned, and Raven cocked an eyebrow, looking at Dominick out of the corner of her eye. "Why are you still here, then?" she asked, assuming they would have gotten bored with her breasts by now.

Much to her surprise, Dominick said simply, "You still have boobs, don't you?"

Raven rolled her eyes as Riley broke into another fit of uncontrollable laughter. "You know you like the rest of me, too."

Dominick nodded, still smiling, as did Spike. What she said was true, after all. Her personality may not have been completely pleasant, but they adored something about it. Riley felt the same way. Yet none of them could figure out exactly what it was that drew them to her...

"Mommy, is Daddy okay?" Kastalia asked suddenly, sounding not concerned, but amused as she watched Riley continue to laugh hysterically.

"Mentally or physically?" Dominick asked, wearing the same sadistically amused expression as the girl he considered his daughter. "'Cause I'm not really sure either way." His little genius of a child snickered, then finished unwrapping her final gift. A large pile of already opened presents covered the floor beside her.

A long, black box was soon produced, then a beautiful silver dagger when the box was opened. Kastalia went wide-eyed at the sight of the shiny object. Her eyes only grew wider when she noticed that her name had been engraved in the blade. The child gingerly took the hilt in her small hand and removed the weapon from its resting place.

When Spike got a good view of it, he seemed enraged. "Which one of you stupid-" He stopped dead when Raven slid her arm out of Riley's grasp and nonchalantly raised her hand.

Her expression was emotionless, but her eyes were serious as she said calmly, "I did. She's going to need such things for the academy."

That thought knocked the joy out of everybody.

Before anyone could ask her exactly what she meant by that, she removed her hand from Spike's and stepped forward, forcing Dominick to move his chin. The males watched silently as the woman kneeled in front of her child, her fingers gently closing around the dagger's hilt over Kastalia's hand. She spoke softly, but the guys were too dumbstruck to listen to what she was saying.

And just like that, they realized that they wouldn't be a big, happy family forever. Sure, they would get Kastalia back once she graduated from the academy and Riley became her master, as they'd planned, but they knew she wouldn't be the same. She'd be trained to kill, trained to be cold when the situation called for it, exposed to the brutality of reality far too early...

She'd be just like her mother.

That was an undeniable fact.

The real question was...

Could they handle another Raven?