Baby Makes Three – Beginnings
It was almost two months since Buffy's infamous night with Parker Abrams, and she was still in a funk over the whole thing. Willow and her mother had tried everything they could to bring her back to the land of the living (emotionally, not physically) but with little to no success.
Giles did his best to help, but between the generation gap and his Britishness, didn't fare very well. This was uncharted water for him and when he does bolster his courage enough to speak with her about it, the normally articulate man became a gibbering mess, reminding the gang of Hugh Grant but to the Nth power.
The only one who managed to get any sort of response from her was Xander, who had made it his mission to get a genuine smile out of her if it took the rest of his life, and with the way that Buffy had been acting it may just take that long.
In an effort to help her out on the slaying side of things, Xander had been exercising more than he ever had before, which wasn't really saying a lot as up until recently his favourite exercises were all Twinkie related, in an effort to be more useful in the slaying department as her mind was definitely not on her calling.
Giles had been training him with a sword, something he had taken to rather surprisingly in the Watcher's opinion, in an effort to give him an advantage during patrols. They both knew that he was at a disadvantage in the slaying department, given that he was fighting opponents who were several times stronger and faster than him, and Giles thought that a sword would help even the odds.
Willow guessed that Xander's affinity with swords has something to do with his love for the Highlander films and TV series and was half expecting him to purchase a coat like the ones they all wear.
His latest job, working construction, was also proving to be a benefit to him, as he was beginning to develop a more muscular physique and his level of endurance was also starting to rise.
Spending so much time around Buffy had awoken feelings in Xander that he thought had been put to bed a while ago, or at least he had convinced himself they had, and his love for the blonde Slayer is now greater than ever, causing his interactions with her to become bittersweet.
He had become her sounding board, diligently listening as she condemned all men as complete wastes of space (Xander's title as 'one of the girls' and Giles' pseudo-Father status making them exempt) and how she envied Willow's new sexual orientation as she wouldn't have to deal with the 'lying, cheating, testosterone engorged bastards' that make up half the world's human population.
Strangely, Xander was starting to believe that his chances of a romantic relationship with Buffy are on a par with his chances of winning the Indy 500 on a skateboard. With only three wheels. Going the wrong way. Blindfolded.
Spending so much time with Buffy meant that he was the first to notice that she was sick almost every day, something that he considered bringing up (not in that way) with the others, but knew that Buffy would only deny all knowledge if they asked, making it all the more difficult to deal with.
That unfortunately left only one option and while he didn't want to do it, he knew he had no other options open to him, so he steeled himself and decided to fall upon his sword (again, metaphorically) and talk to Buffy about it.
Fortunately for him, Buffy had beaten him to it.
She'd been waiting at the edge of the site where Xander was working for the last ten minutes, hoping to catch her friends so she could have a quick chat with him. Several of his colleagues had sent her appreciative glances, as well as the occasional wolf whistle and while part of her found it degrading, she couldn't help but get an ego boost from so many men taking notice in her. Of course, she'd deny it point blank if anyone asked.
She finally spotted him and called out to him, hoping that he'd hear her. "Xander!"
Xander spun round upon hearing his name and once he saw who called, ran straight over. "Hey Buff, what's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing," she replied quickly, a little too quickly for Xander's liking, "I just wanted to have a chat with my Xander-shaped friend."
"Cool, if you can wait my lunch break is in a couple of minutes."
"Of course I can wait silly."
He smiled and then went back to work, a couple of his colleagues patting him on the back. They presumably thought that they're together, and she could see if not hear Xander denying it, his smile dropping slightly as he did so. If it weren't for her enhanced senses she wouldn't have noticed, and felt a pang of something she couldn't quite identify. 'No matter how hard he tries, he just can't seem to get over his feelings for me. Is it wrong that I like that?'
Filing that titbit away for a later date, she waited patiently for him until the siren sounded indicating lunch. He came bounding over like a dog waiting to be taken for a walk, a wide smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
"So, what can I do for my favourite Slayer?" he asked.
"Xander, there are only two Slayer's and the other one is in a coma, a coma that I put her in need I mention, after she tried to kill us all. You calling me your favourite Slayer doesn't mean much when you take that into account."
"Okay, so how's my favourite girl? Is that better?" he asked with a smile and an eye roll.
"Much." Buffy noticed the pleased look on his face when she said that and realised how that could have been taken. 'He looks so happy.' "There's a small café just a block away; how about I treat you to lunch and we can chat."
"There's nothing I'd rather do than have lunch you Buff." She could see the sincerity in his eyes and is surprised by the warm feeling that gave her. Shaking it off, she started walking towards the café, Xander following close behind.
After sitting down and ordering their food, Xander waited for Buffy to start talking, but with her obvious reticence to begin the conversation, he decided to get the ball rolling for her.
"You know I've always got time for you Buff, so what's the what?" he asked, thinking of the best way to bring up the subject, 'by the way Buff, done any pregnancy tests lately?' he thought would be a little too blunt, even for him.
"I'm pregnant," she said emotionlessly, her silence coming to an end. She looked like she had just given him the weather forecast, but he could tell that was all for show. He could read her better than he could read himself and he was able to see the maelstrom of emotions swirling behind her eyes.
"… Could you say that in my good ear, I think this one's playing tricks on me," he quipped, falling back on familiar territory by making a joke of things that frightened him. He's not frightened for himself, he's frightened over the effects this will have on his friend's life, and wanted time to think on how to proceed.
"No tricks Xand, you heard right. I'm pregnant."
"Are you sure?" he asked, knowing that if he let on he had already figured it out, it would make things that much harder.
"I did the test, it went blue, then I went to the Doctor's and they confirmed it," she informed him, still in that emotionless tone.
"Wow, I mean, wow. I can't believe this but I'm speechless, I have absolutely no idea what to say." He knew he might be laying it on a bit thick, but his improvised babble-fest was giving him time to think of what to say. "I suppose the first thing I want to know is how you feel about it?" he asked eventually, knowing that her thoughts on the subject were the most important, and would give him an idea of how to help.
"To say that I was shocked would be the understatement of the millennia; I never thought that I would get the chance to have children, what with being a Slayer and all. I mean, I have thought about what it would be like to have kids, but there was always a husband and a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence involved."
"You have some strange notions of childbirth there Buff," he quipped.
"You know what I mean."
"Yeah, I do, but none of that told me how you feel about this Buffy," he pointed out, trying to find out what's going on in that brain of hers. Until he knew what she thought on the subject, there was little he could do to help.
"I know," she agreed, a little annoyed he figured it out so quickly, "but at the moment I really don't know how I feel, I guess it'll take time to sink in."
"I can understand that, this is life-altering stuff you're dealing with here, but I don't think time is something you have in abundance."
"Abundance?" she asked with a smile, the first he'd seen this conversation.
"I'm trying to pad out my vocabulary, but seriously you have a lot of decisions to make here Buff and there is one that you simply can't delay," he said, asking the question he wanted to without actually asking.
"No matter what mistakes I made, this baby shouldn't suffer because of it," she pointed out, answering the unasked question.
"I take that to mean you're keeping it?" he asked to be certain he wasn't getting his wires crossed, hating to use the term 'it', but not knowing any other way.
"I don't know about that, but I do know that I won't have an abortion. This baby has the same right to live as anyone else and I'd feel wrong to deny it that," she stated firmly, unconsciously raising her voice.
"Hey, whatever you decide is cool with me," he said soothingly, " and I'll support you 110 you know that. I just want to make sure that you have the opportunity to consider all the options available to you, instead of having the decision made for you by waiting too long and resenting it. I know from experience what it is like to be born to parent's that resent you from birth for changing their lives without their control; it isn't conducive to a happy childhood, believe you me."
Buffy could see the pain in his eyes and she once again marvelled at how someone so good came from somewhere so bad. She moved round the table to sit beside him and brought him into a comforting hug, saying in actions what she could never achieve with words, before getting back on topic.
"I know how important the decisions I'm going to make are Xander, that's why I'm talking to you about them first."
Now he was shocked; he knew they had been getting closer, but he never thought he'd be her first port of call in this type of situation. "I don't know what to say, I would have thought that Willow or your mom would have been your first choice, not that I'm not flattered as I am, but…"
"I get what you mean Xan," she said, cutting him off, "but you're the only one I can talk to about this who I know won't try to impose their opinions on me about the whole thing. If I went to mom we'd go from her yelling at me for being irresponsible enough to have unprotected sex, to her all but ordering me to have a termination so I don't ruin my life."
"You know Joyce loves you Buffy."
"Yeah I know and I love her too, something I should probably say more often come to think about it, but I also know that she would never consider keeping the baby as an option and she'd do her best to make me see that as well."
"You maybe right," he said with a sigh, although he didn't really believe Joyce would think such a thing, "but I do know that once you've made your mind up she'll support you like she always has."
"That's why I can't talk to her about it until I know what I'm going to do."
He nodded in acceptance of that, understanding her reasoning if nothing else, before he continued. "Don't get me wrong here, I'm not trying to fob you off to someone else or anything, but why can't you talk to Willow?" he asked, pretty much knowing the answer but needing to hear it from someone else.
"Willow wouldn't yell at me for being irresponsible; we know each other too well to think otherwise. I do know that she'd think the same as mom and want me to get rid of it as well, and while she wouldn't order me to like mom would, she would try her best to convince me that it was for the best. Before you ask, I briefly thought about going to Giles about this but we both know how he would react; he would try to be understanding about the situation, he knows from experience that you make mistakes when you're young, but he would end up wanting me to put my duties as a Slayer first, something I wouldn't be doing if I kept the baby."
"You do know you can't keep this from them, right? You know I won't say anything if you don't want me to, but this isn't something you can hide for long, especially once you begin to show."
"I know and I don't intend to keep it from them forever, I just want to be certain about what I'm going to do before I tell them."
He can tell that she'd already made her mind up; she just didn't want to voice it yet. That made no difference to his answer. "I'll do whatever I can to help. Have you told Parker?" he asked, desperately trying to keep the growl out of his voice when he said his name.
She had to suppress a grin at the way Xander had said Parker. He's never liked anyone she's gone out with, nor has he been able to hide it well. "I don't really see him as the father type, do you?" she said, evading the question.
"No, but that doesn't change that fact that he is the father. I know I would want to know."
Buffy heard the conviction in his voice and knew that he would never turn his children away. She didn't know too much about his childhood, he never brought it up and she never felt comfortable to ask, but she knew that it wasn't a bed of roses by any stretch of the imagination.
She could tell by the look in his eyes that he was determined not to make the same mistakes as his parents and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that he'd be an excellent father. It's a shame she couldn't say that about all men.
"Well he didn't; first he tried to give me two hundred dollars to pay for an abortion, and then when I refused he said that it probably wasn't even his, as I've no doubt been opening my legs to half the men on campus."
"I'll kill him." Buffy pales slightly at the tone in Xander's voice, remembering when he had used that tone with her.
When he had promised to kill her if Willow had been hurt when she and Giles were abducted as part of the ritual to resurrect the Master, she knew that he was being serious and would keep that promise no matter what it took.
The prospect of Xander going to jail for the rest of his life for murder caused her to be almost overwhelmed by feelings of fear and loss. She knew how important Xander was to her, but she never imagined that the thought of losing him would be so devastatingly intense.
"Please Xander, don't do anything foolish." She almost didn't recognise her own voice, it sounded nothing like the confident and fearless warrior that was the Slayer, but more like the troubled young woman that was Buffy Summers. She could see that he was still determined to carry out his statement so she decides to play dirty, "Please don't, for me?" She knew she had him from the moment she said it, he could no more deny her a request than he could stop breathing.
"OK." She wasn't a fool; she knew how he felt about her, it wasn't as though he was all that good at hiding it. She sometimes wished that she felt the same way for him, it would have certainly prevented a lot of the heartache she has gone through over the years, but for whatever reason she hasn't. "So, what now?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well it sound like you've made up your mind to keep the baby, otherwise you would have gone to see your mom sooner. That makes me think you want moral support when you do tell her, so when do we go?"
She didn't answer; she just hugged him for all he was worth.