out of my lethargy to actually get things done, here we go with the newest chapter, as
I'm still in search of my wandering muse.
Again, as always, comments are encouraged. Please, read and hopefully enjoy.
It took a week, but finally her mom was able to get an appointment with Dr. Lecher, a partner of her own gynecologist. And, to Buffy’s relief, her mom had taken time off from the gallery to go with her. She’d tried to imagine asking Giles to accompany her, but the idea was too far-fetched.
Buffy felt bad about avoiding any extended alone time with Willow this past week. She feigned extra training sessions with Giles, and extra-long patrols. But like she’d told Spike, she didn’t think she could handle little Miss Perky – then or now. Especially since there was no real, actual news yet.
However, if the doctor’s blood test came back positive, then it would be time to take a stand. And once she’d seen the obstetrician that Spike and Giles had found – together, believe it or not – she’d have to make up her mind as to a course of action. ’Cause, really, if she was pregnant with something other than a human child, her options would narrow.
The first thing she had to do is get past this initial doctor’s visit. To find out if she was well and truly pregnant in the normal womanly way.
After confirming her pregnancy status, she’d have to make some of the hardest decisions in her life – whether or not she was going to keep the baby and raise it, or have an abortion. The idea of carrying the child to term and then giving it up just didn’t sit well with her. She’d made hard decisions before; this would be one of her most difficult.
Of course, once that was done, she’d have to let her friends in… on both her condition and her decision. Then she’d have to bear the weight of their reactions. Because they would certainly have reactions – their opinions would be made, loud and clear.
She would just have to stand strong and have faith in her own decisions, no matter what they heaped upon her shoulders: doom and gloom, or undying support.
Lastly, she supposed she would have to tell Spike. For some reason, it felt like the right thing to do. Not that he wouldn’t eventually sniff things out on his own. And, again, eeew. That sniffy thing vampires did always gave her the wiggins.
No, she amended her mental list; the final thing she needed to do was determine just who (or what) the father was.
A quick glance at the clock on her nightstand told Buffy that she could still shower and make it to her appointment on time. She scurried into the bathroom and turned on the water, full blast.
Her stomach let her know in no uncertain terms that she was hungry. However, no breakfast for her today, which really didn’t feel like a hardship. With her nerves, she didn’t think she could keep anything down, anyway.
Ignoring her hunger, it was a quickie shower (for her) – 30 minutes. Afterwards, Buffy threw on her most comfortable outfit, a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt. Considering Dr. Lecher would make her disrobe, her clothing choice was irrelevant. And none of her friends would see her, anyway.
Sitting at her vanity, Buffy finished drying her hair and pulled it back into a messy pony. A little light makeup (slovenly clothes, yes; unmade face, no), some lip gloss and she was ready.
“Time to go, sweetie,” her mother’s voice carried up the stairs.
“Be right down, Mom,” she said, grabbing her backpack and heading down to join her mother.
Buffy sat in the waiting room, silently chewing at her cuticles. The idea of being here wasn’t frightening in and of itself; she’d had regular gynecological exams before. It was the reason for the visit that had her freaking out.
She was barely twenty years old. Even if she’d been in a committed relationship and had a totally ‘normal’ life, the idea of being pregnant would have scared her.
She laid her hand across her abdomen, seeking out the little life that was probably growing inside her. “Who are you?” she whispered. Somehow, she couldn’t bear to ask the other question nagging at her. What are you?
“Did you say something?” Joyce asked. “Are you feeling okay? Do you need the restroom?”
“I’m fine, Mom,” Buffy said, hoping to allay her mom’s anxieties. Her mom was being strong for her and, while Buffy appreciated the effort, she could see how unsettled she was. “I don’t usually get nauseous during the day.”
Her mom smiled softly, patting Buffy gently on the shoulder. “It’ll be okay, sweetheart,” she said tenderly. “No matter what we find out, I’ll be here to support you and whatever decision you make.”
“Mom?” Buffy hesitated for a moment before asking “When you were pregnant with me…”
“When I was pregnant with you…?” her mother repeated, looking at her expectantly.
“You and Daddy were happy, right? I was wanted?”
“Oh, Buffy. Your Dad and I were over the moon,” Joyce enthused.
“Were you ever…?”
“After the thrill of finding out I was carrying my first child, I have to admit that I was terrified!” Joyce nodded slowly, the memories seeming to swamp her. “My first baby. A little life that would be totally dependent on me and your father. If I had been alone, I don’t think I would have made it. Your father was a good man, back then. He was totally supportive and caring. He couldn’t wait to greet you.”
“But that didn’t last forever, did it?” Buffy sighed, the old hurt of her father’s abandonment lashing through her and opening old wounds.
“No, my love,” Joyce replied. “But until your teenaged years, you had the best father any little girl could have.” Smoothing the hair away from Buffy’s face, she continued. “You’re such a brave young woman, my sweet Buffy. Especially with the, erm, rather unusual circumstances of this potential pregnancy. I can’t tell you how proud I am.”
Buffy sniffled, hugging her mother gently. “I’m so glad you’re here with me, Mom.”
“I wouldn’t be any place else, my darling girl.”
“Ms. Summers? Ms. Buffy Summers?” the receptionist called out. “Dr. Lecher is ready for you now.”
Buffy stood, gave her mother a quick squeeze and made to follow the woman.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?” Joyce asked.
“I-I’m good, Mom. Thanks.” Buffy took a deep breath, and headed to the examination room.
When she rejoined her mother an hour later, the shine of unshed tears made Joyce stand up and engulf Buffy in her arms.
“They can’t possibly have the results from the bloodwork already?” she asked, wiping the tears that finally found their way down Buffy’s cheeks.
“It’s fast these days, and Dr. Lecher said the exam pretty much put paid to the question. It looks like I’m about four to six weeks pregnant.”
“Oh, baby… I don’t know whether to console you, or jump for joy. It’s so confusing.”
“Welcome to my world, Mom.”
“I guess now we have to wait for Rupert to set up his doctor’s appointment for you?”
“Looks like it’s time for a full Scooby meeting,” Buffy said, resigned. “Would you mind having it in our house tonight? I would really feel more comfy at home.”
“That fine, sweetheart. Whatever is good for you, is fine by me.”
“Buffy!” Willow cried out as she embraced her friend. “I’ve been so worried. What was with all the silence and not-spending time with you last week? Especially after…”
“I’m fine, Willow. Mostly.” Buffy put her hand up to forestall any babble. “Xander and Giles are already here, so let’s go inside and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Leading Willow into the living room, Buffy took a deep breath and began, “You guys know that things haven’t been quite right with me for close to a month, right? What with the impromptu barfing all over Sunnydale?”
“And we did talk about the probable causes,” Willow said, “from the mystical cancer to pregnancy. But then you left your friends to worry and wonder about you for a whole week without explanations.”
Willow’s hangdog expression stoked Buffy’s ire. “I needed some time alone, Wills,” she said, a little more cattily than she’d wanted to let on. “Not everything is solvable by friendship.”
“Uncalled for, Buffster,” came Xander’s response. “Willow was worried, and she wouldn’t tell me why, so I worried too.”
“Fine, you’re all so hellbent on telling me how to behave?” Buffy fumed. “I went to the doctor this morning, and it turns out that I’m pregnant.”
That shut ’em up, she thought, viciously.
“And on top of that, I have no clue who the father is.”
“Buffy,” Joyce’s censure was soft, but felt nevertheless. “I’m sure Willow and Xander mean well.”
“How’d you like your every move, your every thought. Your Every. Single. Choice – questioned?”
At her mother’s eloquently raised eyebrow, Buffy added, “I mean by someone who isn’t your daughter?”
Noting that Giles was sitting quietly, allowing her to vent, Buffy turned back to her friends. “And here’s some more news for you guys to pick over: I haven’t even had sex in the time frame it takes to make this pregnancy possible.”
Willow didn’t respond to what she already knew, but Xander looked like he was going to have an apoplectic fit.
“But how? Why? Who?”
“If I freaking knew, I’d tell you,” Buffy spat, her indignation not quite spent. “And considering we live on an active Hellmouth, I also have to worry about what the father is.”
“We’re doing our best to answer all your questions, my dear,” Giles finally entered the ‘discussion’. “With Spike’s help –”
“What the hell is the Bleached Menace doing shoving his nose into Buffy’s mysterious sex buddies,” came Xander’s furious interruption. “Unless this is all his fault somehow.”
“Are you calling me a ho?” Buffy asked, incredulously.
“And why would he be helping Buffy?” Willow asked, clearly puzzled, ignoring her best friend’s latest question.
Joyce came to Spike’s defense. “Does it really matter why Spike is helping? If Buffy benefits from his wisdom, that’s all that really matters.”
Xander snorted in derision.
Willow just looked shocked.
“Spike can be helpful,” Buffy said, “when he wants to be. And if he’s pulling some kind of a scam, I can always take it out on his ass.”
“Well, it’s true, Mom. But Spike is also, oddly enough, a vamp of his word. He said he’d help find out what’s wrong with me, and I’m sure he will.”
“How much is Dead Boy Jr. charging you for his services?” Xander just couldn’t seem to keep his nasty tongue quiet.
“How much are you charging me for your help?” Buffy retorted.
“But he always wants something,” Xander insisted.
“And you don’t? Tell me you’re still not trying to get into my ‘good graces’. Well, at least before those graces were certifiably pregnant.”
Xander looked horrified, Buffy suspected primarily at being caught out still lusting after her.
“Buffy!” Willow cried out. “That’s just mean.”
“Well, I’m sorry, not sorry,” Buffy said mulishly. “I’ve really had enough of you guys shoving your opinions at me. Even more tired of you guys insisting I live up to your standards.”
“No buts, Willow. It’s time you realized I’m just as old as you are, and I have a right to live my life in the way I deem fit – not you. Not Xander. Not even Giles.”
“Now see here!”
“Sorry, Giles. No disrespect meant, but the only person whose opinion matters in the end is me.” She paused, then added, “And Mom, though the final say belongs to me.”
Still unwilling to give up the argument entirely, Xander sniped, “And I suppose you’re gonna ask Spike how he feels about all of this?”
With a straight face, she answered, “As a matter of fact, I’m headed over to his crypt after you guys leave.”
Ah, blessed silence.