Written by: Shawn
Summary: It's Xander's turn to take a trip down the river of denial.
Category: Romance/Fluff/Humor Rated: PG-13 Couple: Buffy/Xander
Timeline/Spoilers: You must read, "I am not in love with you... Okay, maybe a little bit" before you read this story. Everything's canon up to the BTVS finale "Chosen," except that Xander never lost his eye and Sunnydale wasn't destroyed. I will never think Xander losing his eye was anything other than a lame ass excuse to have something happen to him. It's stupid and will never, ever be a part of BtVS fanfic I write. For the purposes of this story Sunnydale took a major hit in "Chosen" but now it's all repaired and highly livable.
My personal archive: http/groups. Joss owns it all. I just let them out to play once in a while.
Email: Notes 1: This story picks up ten months after "I'm not in love with you... Okay, maybe a little bit."
Dedicated to: AAAlexie and Brooke
"Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside"
-- Rita Rudner
"I'm not interested in being Wonder Woman in the delivery room. Give me drugs." -- Madonna
"Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit." -- Bill Cosby
"I was cesarean born. You can't really tell, although whenever I leave a house, I go out through a window" -- Steven Wright
"People often ask me, "What's the difference between couplehood and babyhood?" In a word? Moisture. Everything in my life is now more moist. Between your spittle, your diapers, your spit-up and drool, you got your baby food, your wipes, your formula, your leaky bottles, sweaty baby backs, and numerous other untraceable sources--all creating an ever-present moistness in my life, which heretofore was mainly dry"
-- Paul Reiser
Xander's apartment 1200 Western Avenue Tuesday, September 5 2005 9:30 PM Sunnydale, Ca
"In the case of 5 year-old Amber, Ben Foster..."
"You are not the father!" Xander confidently shouted from the office room in his apartment. He listened to the television in his living room as talk-show host Maury Povich yet again proved that a man hadn't fathered the child of a woman who said she was 1000 'Jesus Christ confirmed it in a dream' sure he did. Of course that woman turned into a Olympic track star once the verdict was read, and ran off the stage as fast as she could while the guy danced the dance of a man who won't be paying child support for the next 18 years.
While unable to see the guy dancing, Xander could tell by the audience's boisterous reaction. He hated immature, cowardly men who refused to acknowledge and take care of children proven to be theirs, but the "Maury Povich Show" made paternity tests one of the most entertaining ways to spend an hour watching TV.
Seated at his computer desk, Xander finished paying the fourth and last of his online bills. Of all the things that pleased him in life, making a good living sure made it easier to sleep well at night. His large two-bedroom apartment was a world and a half away from the pit of his parents' old basement, or even the nice but cramped apartment he once shared with Anya.
Hard work had paid off at last.
With a fairly average day behind him and no plans for the evening he figured it was way past time he took care of some fiscal responsibilities. After paying the bills that ensured his Direct TV and telephone services wouldn't be shut off, he decided to partake for a few minutes in an activity every straight guy who owned a computer did from time to time.
Looking up pictures of sexy women.
No matter how you cut it every straight guy on Earth with a computer has a hidden folder with some nude pictures of women and a naughty scene or two in it. While sitting back in his comfortable computer chair, Xander praised his ingenuity and cleverness considering how often Buffy used his computer and yet had never come across his hidden folder within a folder, further guarded by an intricate password. Having an amazingly sexy girlfriend never stopped a guy from appreciating other women, and while he didn't peruse his "guy" links all that often, he took a stroll there every now and then.
'Lookie no touchie' was the rule of thumb and so he felt no guilt.
"Oh forget it," Xander said to himself while scrolling down a page full of thong-clad models bent over cars. He had little use for their overly airbrushed, fake boobage display of faux beauty. He had the real deal in Buffy. These girls just didn't compare. "When did life get so good for the ole Xan-Man that he didn't care to look at hot chicks bent over vintage cars in thongs?" His head shook with pride as the window closed.
Suddenly, Xander heard his front door open. He listened for all the obvious sounds of a break-in. There was no threat here since only one person had a key to his apartment. Now this was a great and potentially 'friendshippy' surprise since he expected a Buffy-less night due to her having an exam in the morning she needed to study for.
"I'm in the office," Xander announced his location while rising from his chair. He walked out of the office and found his Slayer standing dead center in the living room with her hands in her jeans pockets. She wore her gorgeous blond locks pulled back in a ponytail. Her slightly nervous smile accompanied the unBuffy-like foot shuffling she had going on. She even waved at him. Buffy never waved. Uh oh... "Please don't tell me something's baking in the proverbial Hellmouth oven?"
Buffy blinked twice really, really fast after his 'baking in the oven' comment. "Interesting choice of words." When he made his way toward his weapons closet she stopped him. "Nothing Hellmouthy is going on. We're good."
Xander felt like he could breathe again. "Good." In two short strides he captured her was in his arms and kissed her lovingly. Buffy gave off a certain feminine softness tonight that felt just this side of perfect, and so he held her tight to his chest, breathing in the delicate scent of her perfume. "How did I get so lucky? I remember you telling me you needed a full night of studying minus the ole ball and chain of the hunky boyfriend."
Before the insanity to come ensued, Buffy rested her head on his chest while enjoying the feel of his strong arms around her. She felt so safe with him and dearly needed that right now. Her latest dilemma didn't have anything to do with problems she could punch, kick, stab, bludgeon, stomp, body slam, beat down, chop off, or hip toss. "I'm going to have to make up that exam later this week. I have a couple of... uhm, important things to do in the morning."
"And they would be?"
Baby steps, Buffy thought to herself only to smirk at the irony. "Can you get me something to drink?" Xander pecked a big kiss over her forehead and then backed away towards the kitchen.
"I have beer, white wine, Crown Royal, and Pepsi. Choose your poison?"
"Milk?" Buffy hoped he didn't catch the slight tremble in her voice, so she looked away. She was so used to decapitating vampires, breaking the bones of demons, and burning baddies. This real-life stuff was still taking some getting used too. "And some of those Matt's chocolate chip cookies if you have any left?"
Matts made the very biggest, thickest, best chocolate chip cookies in the known universe as far as Xander was concerned. "Someone's got a craving I see?"
"I'm... I'm in a mood," Buffy stuttered just a little bit. Thankfully, Xander didn't make a big deal over her choice of drink. She rarely went the dairy route, but that was all about to change. She stretched her arms out while exhaling a deep breath, and then took a seat on the couch. Her right hand rested protectfully over her stomach, of which there was more than butterflies fluttering there, and waited for the man she loved to return... and for all hell to break loose when she told him what she came here to tell him.
Milk was a very odd choice for Buffy, but then again what else went with chocolate chip cookies? Xander brushed it all aside. She's here with him and that's all that mattered. He re-entered the living room carrying two tall glasses of cold milk and a bag of Matt's Chocolate Chip Cookies dangling from his mouth. His teeth dropped the bag next to Buffy on the couch. "Milk for my lady."
Buffy took the glass from his hand, sat it down, and then she tore the cookie bag open. "Thank you, kind sir." The cold milk tasted so good she wondered what kind of super cow it came from. Yeah, she was in that kind of whimsical mental place. "How's your evening been? Have you cried because you missed me so much?"
"I sobbed for the first three hours after I came home from work. I stood in the dark and just cried my eyes out while listening to my John Tesh greatest hits CD. Luckily I recovered by staring at your picture I taped to the wall when I was in the shower. Then I listened to your voice on my answering machine over and over."
"That's stalker talk."
"Work with me here, okay? I missed you." She smiled when he teased a milk-soggy chocolate chip cookie in front of her. She bit half it off while he took the other. In this very crazy, hectic, and sometimes frustrating world they enjoyed a simple intimacy. She sat next to him with her legs tucked under her. His left arm was draped possessively over her shoulders, anchoring her small body against his. He fed her chocolate chip cookies dripping with milk while stealing kisses from her in-between bites.
As affectionately wonderful as all this was, Buffy knew she couldn't put off revealing to him the... their incredible news any longer. So she gritted her teeth, summoned all her grown-woman maturity, and took the proverbial leap off a cliff into the great unknown. "Honey, we need to talk."
We need to talk...
Men knew to fear those words from a woman's lips. They had good reason to fear those words. Nothing good ever came from them that a man could remember and told other men so that their opinions on those words would change. Yes, the male mind was just that screwed up.
"Uhm... Are... Buff... Can we..."
As thoroughly amusing as his absolute misunderstanding was, Buffy sought to ease his immediate fears. "No, I am not leaving you. No, Angel is not human and back in town to steal me away from you. He couldn't anyway because I love you to much." She continued, "Spike's not back and neither is Riley, nor would I care if they were. I'm not dying and neither is anyone else we know. The Immortal is still very, very gay. I haven't won the lottery and lost the ticket. I haven't figured out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, or if bald people can get dandruff, or why French fries are not considered vegetables since they are just deep fried potatoes. Yes, I still think you're a Sex-God Viking."
Xander's exaggerated delivery only underscored how strange the man Buffy loved really was. "Nothing bad has happened." She paused for a short time. "At least I don't think it's bad." She thought it over for a spell. "Shockingly surprising, nerve wrecking, and unplanned for might best describe what I want to talk to you about."
"You wouldn't by any chance be rethinking your completely straight sexuality and want to bring Faith into our bedroom to experiment, are you?"
"Did you smoke crack this evening?"
Xander shrugged. "My apologies." His humorous dig didn't quite amuse her as usual. She's in a serious place, so he sat up straighter and gave her his undivided attention. "What do you want to talk about?"
Buffy clasped her hands in her lap, and then felt the comforting warmth of his hand cover hers. In a partially meek tone she asked, "We're in a good place, right?"
"Of course we are," Xander replied without a shadow of a doubt. "I'm very happy with you. Like over the moon happy. Even when you drive me nuts, which is daily." It wasn't hard for him to tell something was bothering her. "Are you happy?"
"I'm happier than I have ever been in a relationship before," she told him what she hoped meant the world to him as it did to her. "I'm satisfied and pleased and well fed and well pleasured and..." She embarrassingly ducked away from him, lost in a zany train of thought. "I'm blabbering and I'm sorry."
"Just take your time."
Tonight would serve as a permanent marker for the rest of their lives. Buffy gazed into his warm brown eyes and found her voice in the love she found reflected back at her. "Do you remember a Saturday night two months ago at my house when we were watching Freddy vs. Jason on HBO and..."
"You kept arguing how you would have killed them both inside of twenty minutes," he fondly recalled. "We couldn't even agree on who ultimately won."
Buffy laid her free hand over his and squeezed. "And afterwards?"
Kraft macaroni and cheese wasn't as cheesy as the naughty expression Xander's face took on. "We engaged in ninety minutes of incredible naked circus theatrics all over your living room floor."
"We 'friendshipped' like 'friendshipping' was about to become illegal." Buffy sure wished her foot would stop tapping the floor. It sounded like some nutso version of Morse code. What in the hell was her foot trying to tell the Germans? "We had a little to much to drink as well."
"It was fantastic."
"Oh yes, absolutely. Positively fantastic. We rocked." Buffy nervously lifted his hand and high-fived it. He gave that move a funny look. Nibbling her bottom lip, she bit the bullet. "But remember we didn't cover things up," she gently alluded to with a wink.
"Hey, we sprayed air freshener all over the place and got our clothes off the floor long before Dawn came home."
"Okay, more to the point, 'you' didn't cover things up." Buffy nudged his side. "You didn't cover something up in particular."
"Yeah, okay, I left that one sock under the couch. But I could hardly be accused of failing to cover up our sexual escapades."
He just wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. Men needed the simplicity of a sock puppet and the Bat Symbol flashing in the sky to understand basic things. Buffy knew this was going to take patience. "Honey, we didn't use a condom."
Xander sighed even while grinning. "Well yeah, we did it 'original recipe style'. But that happens to couples sometimes. And you certainly weren't complaining."
Dammit, she really wasn't. Stupid hormones and a Sex-God Viking for a boyfriend. Buffy shook her head and pressed onward. "Do you remember a week later when I spent the night here and you made me that great breakfast in bed? You made me that cheese steak omelet I love and those hash browns with cinnamon?"
"Chef BoyarXander was at your service."
"And then we crawled back into bed and made love?" He had to be catching on, Buffy hoped. "We went au natural both times, remember?"
That was such an amazing morning that afterwards he ran around his apartment naked singing his Sex-God Viking song. "Okay, so we lost our heads, but we're in love. It happens."
Despite the 'be patient' speech she gave herself on the drive over here, Buffy was slowly becoming annoyed with his lack of seeing what she was getting at. "I know you remember what happened two days later at the movie theater? The 'dare'?"
Never had the honor of having such an exciting, uninhibited woman in his life gone unappreciated. "Ah yes, the last showing of Star Wars Episode 3. It was just after midnight in that very empty theater."
Buffy wiggled her brows. "You dared me to..."
Xander wiggled his brows. "And you dared me to..."
"Well, we didn't put a cap on your lightsaber that time either."
"Thank goodness for the pill," Xander laughed. When he noticed Buffy didn't appear to be breathing the fun fled the room like a prison inmate after he just escaped the big house on his execution day.
And then for some strange, inexplicable reason he rose from the couch and gazed down at her. His eyes began twitching... his heartbeat so loud it sounded like a heavy metal band drummer was sewn inside his chest... His throat was dry as the Sahara desert. Backpedaling away, he rounded the couch to clear his head, and then made his way back in front of it to face Buffy.
The words just about choked themselves out of his mouth. "Are you going to ask me to get a vasectomy?"
Buffy flung her arms in the air, signaling her frustration, and then finally shouted, "NO, XANDER. I'M PREGNANT!"
Xander blinked, stopped breathing, and then fainted.
Ten Minutes Later
Slowly coming around, Xander felt the coolness of a wet towel Buffy brushed gently over his face. There was a pillow beneath his head on the floor. His eyes opened slowly, and then fully as the sight of her beautiful face came into focus. "Holy mother of God, you're pregnant!"
Buffy nodded, her lips curled into a bewitching smile. "With twins."
Xander's eyes rolled into the back of his head as he fainted again.
Ten Minutes Later
"Honey... Honey, I was kidding about the twins part."
As Xander found his way back to the land of the living, he allowed Buffy to pull him up into a sitting position on the floor. His lungs rushed to fill with air as he regained his composure. Had he heard her right? Were his ears deceiving him? Did ears deceive? Were his ears traitors? "So you're not pregnant?"
"No, I am. I found out for sure today. I'm two months knocked up, hence our verbal walk down memory lane of all the times we barebacked it."
Before Xander knew it he was massaging his temples. "How do you know for sure?"
"I took a pregnancy test."
"Can't they be wrong?"
"Not six of them all boasting a 99.9 accuracy."
"And there was the doctor I saw today. Her eighteen years of practicing medicine seemed pretty credible too." For a man who had taken as many powerful hits over the years as he did, Xander appeared as dizzy and disoriented he ever had before. It wasn't that he seemed displeased as much as genuinely shocked. Buffy prayed she wasn't reading him wrong.
"My period has been erratic for years. As far as birth control goes, just like cough syrup and flu medicine, my Slayer physiology just eats it all up. There's a very good chance birth control would never work for me."
"Riley and I always used condoms. The Immortal couldn't have children. Spike and Angel, well, you already know the deal with them. So it looks like you were the only one that could have done this. You get the gold star." For every second he mutely stared straight ahead her spirits fell until she was near tears. No, this pregnancy wasn't planned or wanted right now, but once it was confirmed she had felt a special something because the baby was theirs. He looked as if he were about to pass out for a third time in twenty minutes. She wanted to throw the couch at him before running out of his apartment.
Having hoped for more than this, Buffy felt just a little bit heartbroken.
Carefully, she rose from her seat on the floor and dropped the damp towel by his leg. With her back to him she composed herself enough to speak in a calm voice. "Look, I'm going to get out of here so you can think things over. Just call me when you're ready to talk."
"Buffy wait." Xander jumped off the floor after her. Shame swept over him in thick, unrelenting waves over the fact that he had hurt her, something he swore he would never do. Even if he didn't know up from down right now he never wanted to cause her pain. "I'm sorry."
"You have nothing to be sorry for. We're adults. We both did this."
"No, I meant I'm sorry for reacting the way that I did. I just..." With a tender touch he reached for her shoulder and turned her around. His hands rested there, unable to ever let her go. The strongest woman in the world was as vulnerable as anybody else when her feelings were hurt. He could tell they were. "This is shocking news. And by shocking I mean 'alien spaceship landing on the White House front lawn' kind of shocking."
Buffy wiped a lone tear off her cheek. "Trust me, I know. I'm the one carrying our baby, remember?"
"Why didn't you tell me you suspected this sooner?"
"Because I was afraid of the exact reaction I just saw you have."
The sadness Xander found in Buffy's beautiful hazel eyes ripped him up inside. He felt lower than dirt that very second. As quiet as she'd been the past couple of days he had just assumed it was over her heavy class load. Now he realized she had been dealing with this stress all by herself. All the worrying. All the purchasing of the pregnancy tests. She was alone waiting for each one to give her the same answer. She saw the doctor alone, and had feared his reaction to the news.
What was infinitely worse, he had utterly disappointed her.
"Sweetheart," he whispered, and then pulled her into his arms. "My grandfather was a bitter drunk. My father followed in his footsteps. I've always loved kids even though I've never been around them much, but I worried I might pass down that ole Harris loser gene to a child. The thought of that terrifies me."
"You are the most wonderful man I have ever met. I love you more than you know, and I believe in you."
"I need to believe in me, Buffy. And for the longest time when it came to being a father I just wasn't going to go there in the normal ways. I wanted to adopt someday. I didn't want to risk..."
'Being a father like yours?" When the love of her life lowered his head she recognized what he has tried to hide his whole life. The male Harris cycle of self-destruction haunted him to such a degree he feared he might pass it on someday. What he failed to see was his own victory over it. Male insecurities were buried so deep and rarely surfaced. For him to be as vulnerable as he was right now before her spoke volumes.
"Honey, you're not your father. You couldn't be if you tried. You'll be a unique and Xander-like father, but not like him. You're too good of a person and strong of a man to ever be like him. I've seen the best of you and it's incredible."
Her unwavering faith in him, especially at this very moment was priceless. Nonetheless, he had to ask her, "Do you want to keep the baby?"
Buffy paused as she seriously considered the question. "I didn't want to get pregnant right now. Especially not even a year after going back to college. But life doesn't ask you when you can and can't deal with things. I know that better than anyone." Her mother suddenly came to mind. "Our actions all have consequences. Well, we had unprotected sex. This is the consequence. And while I'm Pro-choice, I know I couldn't have an abortion. I just don't want to. So yes, I want to keep our baby."
And there it was. That heavily lop sided grin of his that could always make her feel better.
"Good," Xander offered in a small, shaky voice to the precious mother of his unborn child. "I'm more scared right now than I have ever been in my entire life."
"Cause, you know, us combined is likely to be one heck of a crazy kid."
"Yeah, but he'll be our crazy kid."
Buffy's eyes twinkled. "My Slayer-sense is tingling."
"Is that like the Spidey-sense?"
"Yeah, only better. It also lets me know when it's going to rain."
She's being kissed that very second. Her fears have been erased, at least for the time being. The scary future's long road ahead wasn't one she'd be traveling on alone, and for that she couldn't be happier.
"Okay, so let's talk." Xander led her back over to the couch. They sat down next to each other. "What do you have to do tomorrow?"
"My doctors name is Gail Monroe. We're going to sit down and get my schedule going and all that stuff. There's so much I don't know about all this, so I'll get that information tomorrow."
"I'll take off work and go with you. What else?"
Her smile was as wide and carefree as an early dawning sky. "I haven't told anyone yet, so I guess we can have dinner at my place tomorrow night and tell everyone then."
Xander clasped his hands together while giving her his best pleading face. "Can I please call Angel and tell him myself. Pretty please with sugar on top?"
"Don't you think that's a little mean?"
"All I want to say is something like 'Doesn't it just kill you I got there first.'"
"Why would you say that?" Buffy tilted her head to the side while Xander just grinned and grinned.
"Karma is a good thing, Buff. It really is."
"Okkaaaay." Never mind what that was all about, Buffy settled down and relaxed at last. For the first time since her fears were realized she felt like celebrating. He looked as giddy as she felt, and while there were plenty of serious decisions left to be made they were enjoying themselves because this was the best thing that had ever happened to either of them.
Buffy gleefully tested out the amazing words, "We're going to be parents."
"I know," Xander nodded as the reality of it all soaked in. "This is the best news ever in the history of news."
Hearing that made her feel so good. "Uhm, we haven't discussed living arrangements."
"Whatever you want to do is fine. I just want to be with you."
That made things much easier. "Dawn wants to get her own place, and we're both ready to sell the house. We have so many wonderful memories there, but we're older and need to move on. My mother's life insurance paid off the mortgage, so we own it free and clear. A realtor stopped by the other day and handed me a card. He said he had a couple that was interested in buying the house for $265.000. It's worth more than that, but with me and Dawn splitting the money we have seriously been talking about taking the offer."
"Sell it and move in here. I would love to have you all the time. I want to take care of you and the baby. I promise I'll be cleaner and saner than I've ever been before."
"You're sweet, but I won't hold you to that." Buffy had no clue how they arrived here, or how here became the place she loved the most. Life was so good that for once she stopped asking why. "I would love to live with you. I think it's time. I don't want you to take care of me in a way that'll drive me nuts, but you can to a degree."
"Done. With my fiscally responsible lifestyle and your college tuition paid in advance by the Watcher's Council we won't have to hunt for food in the forest or live in an outhouse."
"Your mind goes to strange places sometimes."
"Ever since I woke up that afternoon next to Willow's doll house that was on fire, I haven't been the same since. Something traumatic had to have happened. I blacked out for an hour." He then whispered, "I see dead people."
Buffy ruffled his hair for the heck of it and laughed. She's stuck with him for the next... well, if she had her way the rest of her life. A life he wanted to share with her and looked so enthusiastically forward too. "We have one last thing to discuss."
"And that is?"
Buffy shifted toward him on the couch while crossing her arms. "A certain folder on your computer called 'Hot Chicks'." That eye-bugging-out thing he's doing was kinda Hellmouthy to her. His utter surprise at her claim was refreshing. "Yes, I know about the folder."
"I... I don't... I mean, its really..."
Stuttering only enhanced the evidence that a man was shaken. Buffy proceeded to lay out her case. "Inside your 'My Documents' folder there is a folder full of recipes you like to cook. Inside that folder is another folder entitled 'Mexicana'. Inside that folder full of Mexican recipes is a folder simply called 'New Folder'. You never named it. Inside of that folder if you right-click and press 'Properties' you can undo the hidden folder thingie and presto, an invisible folder pops up. One that's named 'Hot Chicks'."
How dare she look so self-righteous and smug when he had done all that he could to hide that folder from here? Wait a second. Maybe she was bluffing. He had a very intricate password. This could all be one sneaky female trick. "That folder, if it exists at all, is probably empty."
"No, it's password protected. The password to open the folder is 'I'm a Sex-God Viking who kicks butt on the high seas.'" Her honey looked as if he might pass out again. He was so busted. "To answer your question before you even ask, I figured out the password when I heard you singing that silly Sex-God Viking song of yours in the shower last week."
Damn the showers warm, steamy sprays that made him feel like he could hold a tune. "Curses. Foiled again!"
Intelligent, nosy girlfriend - one. Unsuspecting boyfriend - zero. "I'm not mad in the least. I could care less about those thong-wearing skanks bent over cars. In fact, I would be a hypocrite if I were." She leaned closer to him, a smirk firmly in place. "See, I have a hidden folder on your computer full of the 'California Fireman's Nude Calendar' photos. It has about 90 nude pictures of California's sexiest firemen."
"Nude men on my computer?"
"Nude firemen. Some of them are so hot Faith and I discussed setting fire to an abandoned building just to see if a few of them might show up. Now keep in mind we had a few drinks that night, but still."
"My computer feels so violated."
"I'll delete my folder if you delete yours. Deal?" She extended her hand. He shook it, and then leaned in and kissed her again.
"You know, the same place I get my construction site hardhats from have replicas of fireman's hats."
"Buy one the next time you go and we'll set your bed on fire."
"I am so in love with you."
"Woo hoo," Buffy gave her best Homer Simpson impression before kissing him again. "I love you too."