An airport bar really isn't the place for an epiphany, Spike thought, but the location was probably appropriate for an existence as strange as his. He'd left Xander at the gate; the other man's bouncy excitement had grated on his own grim nervousness, and retreat seemed wise.

Lee and Lily were on a flight currently box-stepping its way through the holding pattern over LA. Xander was pacing the gate area and Spike was sucking up JD and secondhand smoke like they held all the answers. In the six months since Xander had come crashing back into his life, the vampire had spent a fair amount of time ruminating on the concept of family. Not nearly as much time as he'd spent trying to find new ways to make Xander scream, but still.

"I want to invite Lee and Lily to come visit." Xander still had sawdust in his hair and a smear of blue chalk on one cheek, remnants of his day spent outfitting the new dojo. Spike licked his thumb and wiped the chalk away, smiling as the human aimed a careless kiss at the retreating digit and missed.

"OK by me," the vampire replied, with bravado he didn't quite feel. "Anything special we need to do?"

"Change the guest room sheets and get the extra lube out of the night table in there and we should be set," Xander grinned.

Spike hadn't realized that he'd been holding a breath until he let it out in a rush. A hand had curved around his to pull him into a gentle embrace.

"It will be fine. They love you," Xander said. "I love you."

Xander stood at the door of the lounge and waved a hand. Spike stood and threw a twenty onto the table. Hand in hand the two men headed to the gate. Moments later, the doors opened and people began to stream off of the aircraft. Spike spotted Lee and Lily easily and released Xander's hand so that the human could greet his parents with a hug.

Lee broke away, leaving Xander and Lily clinging together. The smaller man approached the vampire with an unreadable expression.

"William," he said, holding out a hand.

"Lee," Spike replied and shook it. He was surprised when Lee pulled him in close for a brief, hard hug. Lee stepped back and laughed.

"Don't be so shocked, son. You love him. We love him. Is it so hard to believe that we do not begrudge you that happiness?"

Spike was saved from answering by a fierce hug from Lily, who also added a resounding kiss on the cheek. She kept hold of one of Spike's arms and threaded her other through Xander's. She beamed alternately at the two men as they walked the corridor.

Spike caught Xander's smile over her head, and just then realized that the love he had felt for Drusilla had turned to dust long before her body had, and that he had been given a gift of inestimable value for the simple act of opening his door.

He cried the first time he held Joey. The tiny girl was less than ten minutes old when Jase carried her from Dawn's bedside and placed he gently into Xander's arms, jokingly calling him "Da Godfathuh" in a horrendous accent. His small laugh had turned into a gasp as Joey's sleepy blue eyes had opened and tried to focus on his. One gentle touch of Spike's hand on his back and he suddenly couldn't see her sweet face for the tears.

Xander lifted one hand to dash the tears away, and gave Dawn a watery smile at the same time. She looked tired and worried and ecstatic all at the same time and even he could see that the drugs were wearing off and the pain was creeping in. They would need to go soon. Besides, the sunrise wasn't far away.

Spike ran one pale hand over the baby's fuzzy little head, and Xander thought it was like a benediction. Cool lips touched his neck then, and an arm went around his shoulders and squeezed. Buffy joined them, and Xander couldn't resist the pleading in her eyes, so he handed Joey over carefully before turning into Spike's embrace. The lips moved against his neck again, and Xander could barely make out the words, murmured as if in prayer.

"We'll find a way."

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