chase the other puppies all over the place! The little'uns have an upper-respiratory
infection, presenting as gunky eyes for Jeter, and sneezing for Buffy. Tigger's
blood work should be back tomorrow. Otherwise, all seem healthy and happy. (pu pu pu)
Hope y'all enjoy this next chapter. Of course, as always, comments are encouraged
and appreciated beyond belief.
“Honey, I’m home!” Joyce Summers announced as she closed the door behind her and headed for the kitchen.
“We’re in here, Mom,” Buffy called out from the living room.
We? Must be Xander or Willow. Or both. “Are we having company for dinner?” she asked. “I can always put up more spaghetti.”
“Can you come in here first, please? I have something I need to talk to you about.”
Uh oh… sounds serious. Her daughter almost never confided in her any more. That closeness was reserved for Willow-chats over ice cream.
After pulling out the large double-handled Dutch oven, the spaghetti and a jar of sauce, Joyce headed into the living room to join Buffy and company.
“Tell me what’s so important that starting dinner…” Joyce’s words dried up at the sight of Spike sitting next to Buffy on the couch.
“Don’t worry about Spike, Mom,” Buffy said, as Joyce’s eyes widened in surprise. “We were just talking – Slayer business.”
Joyce’s lie-detector began beeping internally. In the middle of the day? With all the bright, deadly sunshine? She swallowed down the impulse to interrogate her child.
“Is something wrong, sweetie? You look a little pale. Are you feverish?” A quick hand to Buffy’s forehead put paid to that thought.
“I don’t have a fever, Mom… and nothing infectious either. But I’ve been nauseous for a couple of weeks now, and…”
“Oh, my god!” Joyce exclaimed; the revelation hit her just looking at Buffy’s guilty face. “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”
“Mum’s radar,” Spike said, nodding. “Right to the point.”
“Are you…? Did you and Spike…” Joyce spluttered as her fears were confirmed. “No, wait… vampires can’t make babies, right? That’s partly why Angel left – because he couldn’t give you a future with children.”
Spike’s sub-vocal growl was felt more than heard, like a flush of goose-flesh.
“No, no!” Buffy stood up and moved between her mother and Spike. “Spike had nothing to do with this – he was just there when I first started puking last night, and wanted to make sure I was okay.”
“Out of the goodness of my unbeating heart,” Spike added smugly.
She ignored her daughter-bullshit-radar. “Who’s the father?” Joyce demanded. “And why isn’t he here, instead of Spike?”
“She doesn’t know,” Spike picked up when Buffy couldn’t continue.
“How could you not know?” Joyce cried out in frustration. “I didn’t raise you to –”
“Don’t! Don’t you dare finish that sentence, Mom,” Buffy yelled back. “The last time I had sex was almost three months ago, and I’ve had my period since then – at least once, for sure.”
“You folks live on the Hellmouth, Joyce,” Spike said softly. “All sorts of mystical happenings occur.”
Joyce collapsed onto the couch, dropping her head into her hands. Her baby was pregnant! And the father was unknown! And there might be some kind of mystical cause.
She looked up and found Spike had moved closer to her daughter – his hand around her shoulders in a show of support – against her own mother.
“Oh, Buffy!” she cried out in anguish. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart. Here you are, trying to tell me… and I accuse you of sleeping around. I love you, my darling girl. We’ll figure this out together, I promise.”
Buffy immediately fell into Joyce’s arms, crying as if her heart would break. “I’m so sorry, Mom. I didn’t do anything. They guy I slept with used a condom. I made sure, honest. Along with, well, you-know-who, I’ve only had sex twice. This isn’t fair!”
“No, baby, it’s not,” Joyce agreed. “Have you thought about what you’re going to do? I mean, there are some options available to you. You can… terminate. Or you can have the baby and give it up for adoption. Or…”
“Or she can keep the sprog,” Spike interrupted. “Not an easy thing for a Slayer to do, but it has been done before. And she has more help than most Slayers.”
“He means you, Mom,” Buffy said softly. “And Giles and the gang. They have to be told, mainly because I think there’s something hellmouthy going on in the father-portion of this clusterf… mess.”
Joyce gave Spike a considering look before asking, “Have you ever heard of such things happening? Mystical pregnancies, I mean?”
“I’ve heard of all kinds of things happening,” Spike said, “some of which I wouldn’t want to repeat in mixed company.”
Joyce’s shoulders slumped. She had been hoping for a definitive ‘no’, but that obviously wasn’t in the cards for her baby.
“I-I’m gonna give Giles a call,” Buffy said, looking at the phone as if it were her enemy. “If you have trouble talking about my sex life, you can imagine him!”
“Old Rupes’ll probably spontaneously combust,” Spike chortled.
“Says the extremely combustible vampire!” came Buffy’s rejoinder.
“Buffy… Spike… please! Can we not bicker like children?” Joyce begged. “This whole situation is far more important than who can out-snark whom.”
“Better. Now, are you sure Mr. Giles should be your next call?” Joyce questioned. “What about an obstetrician? Or is there a chance the baby isn’t… isn’t…?”
“Human?” Spike added, helpfully.
Buffy said hurriedly, “I could just call Giles over.”
Joyce nodded. “I’ll make some tea.”
“The British standard for when things are amiss,” Spike offered his opinion again. “I guess I’ll be going now that you have your mum with you and…”
Buffy gave a panicky yelp, “No!”
Spike’s scarred brow rose to his hairline as he cocked his head in her direction.”
Obviously embarrassed, Buffy added, “I mean, would you please stay, too? Maybe between you and Giles, something will click and we’ll figure out what’s happened?”
“You sure, Slayer? It’s a mite personal and you’ve never wanted me up in your business before.”
“For some reason, I feel calm around you. And that’s something I can really use right now. Unless you have other things to do…?”
“Nothing I couldn’t put off for another time,” he admitted.
“Then it’s all settled,” Joyce stated. “I’ll put the kettle on.”
“I’m here,” Giles announced himself as he entered the house. “Would someone mind telling me what’s so vitally important that you couldn’t tell me by phone?”
“We’re in here, Giles,” Buffy called out.
The ‘we’ that he found in the living room was not the ‘we’ he expected. Joyce, Buffy and Spike, of all creatures.
And then Buffy stood up.
Looking for all the world like a young woman in the final stages of pregnancy.
Giles felt his legs wobble and feared his knees would buckle.
“Spike!” Buffy shrieked in dismay.
In a flash, Giles felt Spike at his side, holding him upright.
“Wha-what the bloody hell is going on here,” he demanded, shaking off the vampire’s help and stumbling to a chair.
“I’m so sorry, Giles,” Buffy soothed, pulling a rounded pillow out from under the blouse. “I just couldn’t think of any other way to break the news to you without breaking into tears, myself.”
Holding his hand to his chest, Giles tried to get his pulse under control. “Now that you’ve managed to nearly give me a bloody stroke, would you mind giving an actual explanation?” he asked, annoyance and fear bucking for precedence in his voice.
Buffy blushed. “Well, I’m sure by now you’ve heard through the grapevine that I’ve been having a pukefest for nearly a month – usually at night.”
“Yes, yes… Willow informed me, but she said you felt fine, otherwise.”
“Well, she’s right. Most of the time I feel fine, and then suddenly: Whoops! There goes erupting Buffy.”
“And just who is the young man responsible for this?” Giles asked. “You’ve not mentioned anyone of note lately.”
“That’s just it, Rupes,” Spike interjected. “The chit has no clue about the father. Or how and when the sprog was conceived.”
“Oh, come now, Buffy. Surely you’ve…”
“Mr. Giles!” Joyce’s indignant tone cut through the room. “I’ll trust you to be more respectful when talking to my daughter.”
“Sorry, Joyce,” Giles was mortified at his unguarded comment. He hadn’t meant anything disparaging.
“It’s okay, Giles,” Buffy said, glaring at Spike. “Spike’s unnecessarily blunt but he’s right. I shouldn’t be pregnant. I haven’t had the sex necessary to get pregnant. So, why am I pregnant? And with what?”
“Oh, god!” Joyce exclaimed. “With what? My daughter could be pregnant with a what?”
“I-I’m sure Buffy will be fine,” Giles stammered. “Inter-species pregnancies are extremely rare. I think we can safely assume that Buffy is carrying a perfectly normal human child, unless something tells us otherwise.”
“You know what they say when you assume, old man,” Spike snorted with derision. “I’m not sayin’ the Slayer’s carrying a Hell god’s spawn, but it’s better to cover all your bases than get caught unawares.”
“If I want your opinion, Spike, I’ll-I’ll never want your opinion.” Giles removed his glasses, buffing the lenses until they shone. The nerve of that vampire – telling me how to care for my Slayer.
Spike simply shrugged. “I’d say it was your funeral, Rupes, but that would be a lie. Your girl’s life could be on the line and you’d rather play Snippy Miss with me.”
“You know, I’m right here,” Buffy said, sounding quite annoyed. “And since I am the one who’s pregnant, I should have a say in my care.” Facing the room, she continued, “And I agree with Spike, because he’s making sense for a change.”
“Don’t make me sorry I’m taking your side in this,” Buffy chided. “But I’d rather check out everything than have something unexpected bite me on the ass. And don’t you dare say another word, Spike!”
“Well, I say my daughter needs to see an obstetrician to at least confirm that she’s pregnant,” Joyce said. “A home pregnancy test still leaves the possibility that the results are false.”
“I took two tests,” Buffy said meekly. “The first was two weeks ago, and it was negative. I took the second one this morning, in case the first was taken too early. Sure enough, this one came out all Buffy-with-a-baby.”
“You’ve kept this to yourself for two weeks?” Giles’ ire was roused. “How can I be of any help to you at all, Buffy, if you hide important information from me?”
“But there was no information to give you,” Buffy insisted. “You don’t tell me every time you get indigestion, do you?”
Joyce looked at her daughter with warmth in her eyes.
“I-It’s not the same,” Giles argued, “and you know it.”
“Okay, that’s enough from all of you,” Joyce intervened. “I’m calling for an appointment for Buffy with one of my gynecologist’s partners. That would be the first step here. The second would be finding an obstetrician who is in the know about the… the demon world, I suppose. I’m afraid that’s a little bit out of my depth.”
“I can always ask around,” Spike offered. “If you’d like, Joyce. If that’s okay with you, Slayer?”
Buffy nodded her approval. “Thanks, Spike,” she said softly. “And Giles, if you could ask your contacts as well, I’d appreciate it. The more the merrier, I always say.”
“I’ll do my best, my dear. There are a few people who come to mind.”
Joyce straightened her dress as she got to her feet. “Well, that didn’t take as long as I feared. Is anyone ready for dinner?”
Buffy’s rumbling stomach answered for them all.