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"Wesley, do you think we could stop here? I know we still have a while before daylight, but I think I'd like to show Wil around." Alexander asked hopefully.
Wesley looked around and realized where they were.
"Yes, of course Alexander. I hadn't considered that." Wesley said as he changed lanes to make the turn off.
"What are you talking about Poppa?" Wil asked from the back seat.
"I just thought you'd like to see the place where you were born." Alexander said with a gentle smile at his son.
"I thought I was born at Great-grandpa Angel's house." Wil said with confusion.
"That's where you hatched, but this is where you were actually born." Alexander said with a smile as the car slowed down on the off-ramp.
"Do you want to see where I was born Spike?" Wil asked with excitement.
"That sounds like a good idea Sprat. And it'll give me a chance to have me a smoke." Spike said with a gentle smile at Wil.
"Will you pull into the truck stop? We can get something to eat, then go to the motel." Alexander asked Wesley hopefully.
Wesley didn't answer except to signal his turn into the truck stop parking lot.
//Do you mind if I go with you?// Dawn asked into everyone's minds.
"Of course Dawnie. You're one of us." Alexander said with a smile at the glove box.
When the car came to a stop, everyone got out slowly and stretched their tired muscles.
A green mist emerged from the car, then resolved into Dawn's human form.
"How are you feeling Miss Summers?" Wesley asked curiously.
"I'm fine. When I'm in my true form I'm completely relaxed." Dawn said peacefully.
"So where was I born?" Wil asked as he ran to Alexander's side.
"Let's go inside and get a table, then I'll show you." Alexander said peacefully and led the group toward the restaurant at a casual pace.
* * * * *
Alexander walked with Wil into the bathroom and checked to see that no one else was there before saying, "It was right here. I started feeling a pushing in my belly and within fifteen minutes I had you in my arms."
"I was born in a truck stop toilet?" Wil asked with a worried look.
"Well, yes. But I didn't even know I was carrying a child back then. I didn't have a clue about what was going to happen."
Wil thought for a moment, then hesitantly asked, "What do you think you'd be doing right now if I wasn't born?"
Alexander considered for a moment, then said, "I'd probably be living on the Cleveland hellmouth with Buffy and the other slayers. I'd be risking my life every day fighting because I wouldn't have anyone at home that I needed to stay alive for."
Wil smiled and pulled Alexander into a warm hug.
"Let's get back out to the others." Alexander said gently, and guided Wil out of the bathroom.
* * * * *
"You like English muffins don't you? The waitress asked and you didn't say." Dawn said when Alexander and Wil joined them at the table.
"Yeah, that's fine. Thanks Dawnie." Alexander said peacefully.
"So William, how do you feel about visiting your birthplace?" Wesley asked curiously.
"It's a toilet." Wil said frankly.
Spike snickered at Wil's irreverent tone.
"That it is, but how do you feel about discovering new information about your origin?" Wesley asked gently.
"I guess it's good to know where I came from." Wil said in a considering voice.
"It can be comforting to know such things. Sometimes it provides a sense of continuity to one's life when you can chart the complete journey you have taken." Wesley said with assurance.
"Well, I guess since I was born in a truck stop toilet, things can only get better, huh?" Wil asked in thought.
Everyone shared chuckles and smiles around the table at Wil's observation.
* * * * *
"It's four-thirty in the morning." A young woman said in a tired voice as she opened the office door a crack.
"Yes. We would like to rent three rooms for the day." Wesley said properly.
The woman shook? her head tiredly and said, "I've got two rooms. Number 12 and number 16. Check-out is at noon."
"Perhaps we should find other accommodations." Wesley said to Alexander at his side.
"No Wesley, I'd really like to stay here. Room 12..." Alexander trailed off with an urging look in his eyes.
Wesley remembered that room 12 is where Alexander had been before and said, "We will take the two rooms, but we will be staying until after nightfall.
"Then I'll have to charge you for two days." The woman said in an exhausted voice.
"Very well." Wesley said without even considering it.
"Um, come in. You need to fill out the register." The woman said, then closed the door.
Wesley and Alexander could hear her taking the chain off, then she opened the door and stood away.
"Thanks for doing this. We really appreciate it." Alexander said as he walked in.
"Yeah." The woman said as she sat the registration cards on the desk.
"Perhaps you would like to get everyone settled into the rooms whilst I complete the registration?" Wesley asked properly.
"Yeah, we'll be in 12." Alexander said with a smile.
The woman had been listening and handed the keys to Alexander while Wesley continued to fill out the cards.
"Thank you." Alexander said quietly, then hurried out of the room.
"Staying until after dark huh? You're a bunch of vamps, ain't'cha?" The woman asked in a calculating voice.
Wesley looked up from the registration cards with surprise.
"Don't make a difference to me. Just don't eat the other guests and don't trash the rooms. Blood is a bitch of a thing to get out of cheap carpet." The woman said seriously.
"We will behave appropriately." Wesley said cautiously, then went back to filling out the registration cards.
"It's not long before daylight. If you need a few bags of blood to get you by it'll just cost you ten bucks each." The woman said casually.
Wesley thought for a moment, then asked, "Is it Human?"
"One hundred percent. We got a hook-up at the local blood bank." The woman said proudly.
"Two bags if you please." Wesley said quietly as he placed a credit card on the counter.
The woman shook her head and said, "Cash only. And I don't keep it here, I'll bring it to your room."
Wesley took the money for the rooms and the blood and laid it out on the counter.
"Remember us next time you pass by this way. Ain't another vamp friendly motel for a eight hundred miles on this stretch of highway." The woman said frankly.
"Yes. I will be sure to tell my... sunlight challenged associates of your enlightened policies." Wesley said carefully.
The woman smiled as she picked up the money then said, "You do that."
* * * * *
Wesley walked to room 12 and knocked gently.
Wil opened the door and happily said, "Poppa was just showing me the sink where he used to bathe me."
Wesley smiled at the statement and gave Wil a quick hug as he walked into the room.
"Dawn said she didn't really want a room anyway, she'll stay in the glove compartment of the car." Alexander said casually as he walked out of the bathroom.
"I hadn't considered that. I'm glad that no one is going to have to do without accommodations." Wesley said in a considering voice.
"Would it be okay if I stayed with Spike today? I mean, that way he wouldn't have to be alone and you two could... you know. Have some privacy." Wil finished with a blush.
"We'll have to see what Spike thinks about that idea." Alexander said as he unpacked a few items from his suitcase for the next day.
A knock on the door surprised Alexander and Wil.
Wesley walked to the door and looked through the peep-hole before opening it.
"Here ya go. I heated 'em up since you don't have microwaves in the rooms." She said and handed Wesley two bags of blood wrapped in a towel.
"Thank you. That was very considerate." Wesley said properly.
"Yeah. Sure. Sun's up in about twenty minutes so you'd better get tucked in." She said with a smile and walked away.
Wesley turned to see Alexander and Wil looking at him with question.
"This is a vampire friendly establishment. I took the liberty of attaining two bags of blood for Spike." Wesley said shyly.
"That was good of you Wesley. Why don't you take them over before they cool down and you can ask him about Wil while you're over there?" Alexander asked with a tender smile.
"I will return shortly." Wesley said gently, then left the room.
* * * * *
After a knock on the door of room 16, Wesley stood back and waited for Spike to answer.
"Wesley? What're you doing round here mate? You piss off the fish demon?" Spike asked with a smirk as he stood away from the door.
"I thought you might enjoy a meal before you retire for the day." Wesley said, then held out the towel wrapped blood to Spike.
Spike cautiously opened the bundle, then looked at Wesley with surprise.
"Wil also asked if he could stay over here with you today. I believe he would like to spend time getting to know you." Wesley said seriously.
"So this is my pay for babysitting?" Spike asked cautiously.
"No. The two matters are unrelated. Please feel free to enjoy the blood, you have no obligation to pay me back."
"Thank you Wesley. That was right decent of you. I'm not used to being around the type of folk who would do something like this." Spike said, then moved to the small shelf where there was a single serving coffee maker and two small glasses wrapped in plastic.
"I understand Spike. We will all do what we can to help you adapt to your new surroundings." Wesley said seriously.
Spike unwrapped a glass then ripped open the corner of one of the blood bags with his teeth.
Wesley watched as Spike poured the blood into the glass, then took a slow, appreciative drink.
After a moment of bliss, Spike looked at Wesley and said, "Oh right, the Sprat. It's fine if he wants to come by and spend the day with me. I never had much use for kids, most are bloody annoying, but the Sprat's alright."
"He will be happy that you've agreed to spend time with him. By getting to know you, he's learning what kind of a person his father was." Wesley said quietly.
"But I'm not his father." Spike said seriously before taking another drink of blood.
"No. Nor are we asking you to be. But getting to know you is the closest that William will ever come to getting to know his father. Perhaps it will be enough." Wesley said gently.
Spike poured the rest of the blood from the first bag into the small glass, then said, "I never really knew too much about my own father. Just enough to know that I was better off without 'im. If it'll help the Sprat be at peace, he can spend some time with me."
"Thank you Spike, I'll send him over directly so you won't have to open the door after sunrise." Wesley said quietly.
"Thanks again for the blood mate. Once I get on my feet, I'll find a way to pay you back for all you've done for me." Spike said seriously.
"You're a member of our family Spike. There is no debt or obligation between us." Wesley said with assurance, then closed the door.
* * * * *
Wil knocked on the door and waited.
A few seconds later he knocked again and said, "C'mon Spike? It's me. Open the door, it's getting light."
Spike opened the door and stepped aside as Wil hurried into the room.
"What took you so long?" Wil asked as he turned to face Spike.
"I ate me some Human food, didn't I? It has to go somewhere." Spike said frankly.
Wil giggled at the statement, then plopped himself down on the small sofa just inside the door.
"Care for a nip of the good stuff?" Spike asked as he held up the second bag of blood.
"Sure. Just a little bit." Wil said with a big smile.
Spike nodded and unwrapped the second plastic glass.
"Daddy said it was okay if I came over but... is it really?" Wil asked cautiously.
Spike smiled at the question and said, "Don't worry 'bout it mate. If you was just some little whelp off the street, I wouldn't have any use for you. You're not big enough to make a decent meal. But you're family. Like a nephew."
"Thanks Uncle Spike." Wil said with a big smile as he accepted a half full glass of blood.
"To family." Spike said in a toast as he raised his glass.
"To family." Wil agreed and touched his glass to Spike's.
* * * * *
Alexander and Wesley shared a long, lingering kiss and just relaxed in the peace of being alone.
"I'm happy." Alexander said in a whisper as he looked into Wesley's eyes.
"As am I." Wesley responded gently.
"My family is all here. Even Spike. I couldn't even imagine that things could work out this well." Alexander said in a dreamy voice.
"What does he mean to you Alexander?" Wesley asked curiously, without a hint of jealousy or accusation in his voice.
"I love him. I guess he's somewhere between a good friend and a brother." Alexander said comfortably.
"Yes. I couldn't put into words how it appeared from my vantage point, but I think that is the perfect way to describe it." Wesley said seriously.
"We're kid-free in a motel room for at least the next twelve hours. Let's not talk about Spike anymore." Alexander said with a suggestive leer.
"Perhaps you could think of a more interesting topic of discussion." Wesley said with a gentle smile.
"Hmmm. I think if we get out of these clothes, something will come up." Alexander said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Wesley chuckled and said, "I can guarantee that it will."
* * * * *
"You want to lay out on the couch?" Spike asked as he skinned the t-shirt off over his head.
"No. I'd rather lay on the bed with you so we can talk... I mean... if that's okay with you." Wil said as he got up from the couch.
"I've got no problem with it, but just so you know, I sleep in the raw." Spike said and spared a questioning look at Wil.
"If I see anything that scares me I'll just throw a rock at it or something." Wil said with a playful smile.
"Maybe I'd better lay down on the couch." Spike said slowly.
"I was just kidding. I've got my father's memories, you ain't got nothin I ain't seen already." Wil said with a smile.
"Alright then." Spike said as he sat on the edge of the bed to take off his shoes.
"Spike?" Wil asked in a tone of thought.
"Yeah?" Spike asked curiously.
"Do you think my father would be proud of me?" Wil asked quietly.
"How would I know?" Spike said frankly.
"Okay. If I was your kid. Would you be proud of me?" Wil asked seriously.
Spike pushed his shoes under the edge of the bed, then said, "Yeah. If you was my kid. I'd be proud."
Wil nodded slowly at the statement.
Spike stood and pulled down his pants, then stepped out of them and folded them over his arm as he said, "What's got you so worried?"
Wil glanced at Spike and said, "He died saving a lot of people. I guess I just want to be good enough to be his son."
Spike got under the covers and laid back on the bed for a moment, then patted the spot beside him and said, "Come on up here Sprat."
Wil turned to look at Spike and smiled.
He quickly hopped off the bed and ran to turn off the light switch by the door, then shed his clothes on a direct path to the bed.
Spike smiled at the sight of the trail of clothes, then rested back and closed his eyes.
"Spike, even if you weren't just like my father, I think I'd still like you." Wil said as he snuggled against Spike's side.
After a moment of thought, Spike turned and said, "It's hard for me to get to know new people. I usually just eat 'em."
Wil giggled at the statement.
"But I'm glad I'm getting to know you. I'd be proud to have a kid like you." Spike said as he rested back on his pillow again.
"I love you Spike." Wil said gently, then scooted up a little to give Spike a kiss on the cheek.
"I love you too Wil." Spike said in a gentle whisper, then closed his eyes.