TITLE: Extra Foamy
CHAPTER RATING: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me.
SUMMARY: One-Shot set 4 years after the end of Frothy Goodness. If you haven't read that, basically Willow and Tara live in Sunnydale, work for the same company, Willow as a programmer (who works from home) and Tara as a HR manager. As of the end of Frothy, they have a 1 year old daughter.
SPOILERS: Only for my other story, Frothy Goodness
FEEDBACK: Yes please
Miranda Thomas walked quickly and with purpose towards the large oval office on the 35th floor of Evanston Dynamics, her place of work for the past eight years, more specifically where she'd been assistant to Tara Maclay, the head of Human Resources with the company. She'd never been to this particular floor before, never needing to disturb her boss from the monthly management in all those eight years but the frantic phone call she'd gotten just minutes ago definitely necessitated the interruption.
"Sorry, Miss, no one's allowed in there," a young man, sitting at a desk, surrounded by computers and open files, outside the boardroom said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Miranda replied, in her most professional voice, "But it's an emergency. My boss is in there and-"
"No one is getting in there," the man cut her off rudely.
Miranda forced a smile.
"It is of the utmost importance that my boss is notified-"
"You're not going in."
"Then can you get a message in there?"
"Not unless it's for the head of the company, Mr. Daniels. Which I think we've established it is not. So if that's all…"
Miranda bit her lip as she thought about what to do.
Right. Have to get in there. Asshole here won't let me in. Oh God, please don't let me be fired for this…
"You know there's ink spilling out of your printer, right?" she said, pointing to a small table to the side with an array of printers.
"What?!" the man exclaimed, jumping up to check.
Miranda took her cue and ran around the desk, towards the large oak door of the boardroom.
"Hey! You're not allowed in there!"
Miranda burst through the door as a pair of arms wrapped around her waist, trying to pull her back. About thirty pairs of eyes stared at the scene in confusion.
"So sorry, everyone," the guy tugging at her waist said, "She just ran in. I've called security."
"No, wait," Miranda said, struggling, "I am so sorry to burst in, but Tara, Willow's in labour."
"What?" Tara replied, jumping up, all sense of professional decorum lost, "Oh god, I have to go, I have to go."
"Come on," Anya said, jumping up as well from a few seats down, "You get to the hospital; I'll collect Emma and meet you there."
"Right," Tara nodded, then suddenly remembered where she was, "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid we need to leave. Please, uh, continue."
Tara ran out the door and grabbed Miranda's hand on the way, pulling her from down the hallway to the elevator as Anya followed.
"What happened?" Tara panted as they waited for the elevator.
"Just got a phone call from Willow. She was screaming a lot, but what I think happened is her water broke at the supermarket and someone called an ambulance so she's on her way to the hospital. She was asking for you a lot, I got up as fast as I could, then that guy wouldn't let me in," Miranda replied.
"Three weeks early. Baby's not due 'til late September. Why are all our kids born in August? Birthdays, back to school, you know financially this is really not a good month for us to have a second baby," Tara rambled as they all got in the elevator.
"You know, she never used to babble on like that," Anya said, pressing the ground floor button, "I don't know whether it's just from being around Willow or what. Tara, you need to calm down. If I know Willow, she will be screaming bloody murder at that hospital and the poor nurses will need you to take the verbal blows so they can deliver your new baby safely…"
"Right. New baby. We're having a new baby! Okay," Tara replied, taking a deep breath, "You can collect Emma?"
"Yes I can. I'll bring her to the hospital."
"I have the personal contacts in the computer," Miranda added, "I can call everyone, let them know."
"That would be so great, Miranda, thank you," Tara said, as her and Anya stepped off the elevator, leaving the assistant in, "You are nothing short of a godsend."
"You got it, boss. Call if you need anything."
Tara nodded as the doors closed and she turned to Anya, who had an expectant look on her face.
"Tara, wife in labour, you need to get to the hospital…"
Tara nodded her head again and bit her lip and Anya shook her head.
"Tara I think considering backing out when you already have a child together is kinda too late-"
"What? No!" Tara shook her head to clear her mind, the reality of everything that was happening finally hitting her, "Oh god, Willow!"
"Yes! Stay with that!" Anya spoke, trying to keep up as Tara started running towards the carpark, "Think about Willow."
They arrived at the carpark, Anya panting as she watched Tara unlock her car and get in, rolling down her window.
"And no matter how much she gives those puppy dog eyes, do not let Em sit in the front seat again, okay?"
"I won't," Anya replied, dejected, "But I can't promise I won't buy her ice cream."
"Get her to the hospital safely and I don't care what else you do."
Anya nodded her compliance as Tara reversed out with a wave and out of the building. She quickly went over to her own car and started towards the school her goddaughter was in, driving as fast as she could. A small smile appeared on her face as she thought of the little girl she was going to collect. The little redhead was the apple of her eye and herself and Buffy made a pointed effort to spoil her rotten, even though neither felt the urge for their own kids, hell, Anya didn't even have the urge to settle down in a relationship, but Emma was the sweetest kid either of them had ever met and they both loved her more than anything, like her grandparents, Uncle Angel and Aunt Nikki, who refused to be called a great aunt because 'it makes her seem older than she is'. She pulled up outside the school and jumped out, going into the small office.
"Hello," a plump woman sitting at a desk said, "How can I help you?"
"I'm here to collect Emma Rosenberg-Maclay. Kindergarten," Anya said in a friendly voice, then remembered the protocol from the last time she had collected the child, "Oh, I'm on the emergency contact list and approved to collect her. Anya Jenkins."
"Oh, of course," the woman said, shuffling through some papers on her desk, "There's no scheduled collection noted, was there some emergency?"
"Well, her mother went into labour. I think that counts."
"Oh well that's wonderful news. Here's a collection slip, just give it to her teacher. Room 3A."
Anya gratefully took the slip and walked down the hallway until she came to the appropriate classroom and knocked quietly before going into the door.
"Aunty Anya!" Emma yelled, running over to grab onto Anya's leg when she saw her walk through the door.
"Hey kiddo," Anya replied, leaning down to pick her up in her arms as the teacher walked towards them.
"This is Ms. Peterson, Aunty Anya," Emma said as she approached, "She's really nice and lets me play with the calculators so I get to press all the numbers and figure out the sums and then in my spelling tests when I get them all right I always get a lollipop and she has pretty hair, right? It's brown, like Mama and I saw a butterfly today and it was really pretty too it had all these colours and-"
"Emma, remember we talked about learning to breathe?" Ms. Peterson said gently.
Emma nodded and took some deep breaths.
"Whole family does it," Anya said with a smile.
"Yes…" Ms. Peterson nodded, "I've met Willow."
"That's actually why I'm here. Willow went into labour a little while ago. I was just collecting Em to go to the hospital. I have a slip here."
Anya handed the slip over with the hand that wasn't holding Emma to her.
"Well give my congratulations. I'll make sure we keep any homework aside for Emma. I know she doesn't like to fall behind."
"What does labour mean?" Emma piped up as her and Anya were turning to leave.
"Well Em, it means, are you ready to meet your baby brother or sister?"
Tara ran to the reception desk and banged the little bell repeatedly until a hand gently covered her own and took it off.
"Sorry," she panted, "Um, need room number. Willow Rosenberg-Maclay. Maternity."
The receptionist gave her a smile and started typing quickly at the computer for a few seconds.
"No Rosenberg-Maclay in Maternity…"
Tara's eyes went wide, wondering what hospital Willow had been taken to if she wasn't here and started to feel her internal panic all over again.
The receptionist typed away for a few minutes before smiling back up at Tara.
"Oh wait. Here she is. Delivery, room 213."
"Delivery. Delivery?" Tara replied, running up the stairs to the second floor and shouting back to the desk, "Oh god, thank you."
She scurried down the hallway until she saw the letters 213 in big letters on one door and burst through, stopping when she saw her wife, her legs in stirrups, surrounded by a team of medical professionals. Willow looked up and glared at her.
"Where the hell have you been?!"
Tara snapped to attention and ran towards her wife, clutching her hand in hers and kissing her on the forehead.
"I'm so sorry, honey, so sorry. I got here as fast as I could. Are you okay? What's happening?"
"I'm pushing a fucking watermelon out of me, what do think is happening?!" Willow screamed.
"Okay honey, I'm right here, okay?"
"You're almost done, Willow, the head is out," one of the nurses encouraged.
"It is?" Tara asked, a delighted smile on her face, "Got a head, honey, we got a head."
"Where's Emma?" Willow sobbed, her pain not overwriting her concern for her daughter.
"With Anya. She's okay," Tara soothed.
"Okay, Willow, one last push."
Willow looked at her wife and felt a warm kissed being placed on top of her head as she strained her body in the final push. A few seconds later, a loud crying filled the room.
"It's a girl," the doctor said, holding up the crying baby.
The couple had decided to wait to find out the sex of this baby, so were completely surprised by the news.
"A girl? We have another girl? We have another girl!" Tara gushed, tears streaming down her face.
"Huh?" the redhead asked, slightly dazed, but making herself sit up.
"We have another girl, honey," Tara said, as the tears continued.
"We do? A baby girl?"
"A very healthy baby girl," one of the nurses replied, placing the baby in Willow's arms, full comprehension finally reaching the redhead.
"Oh Tara, we have another daughter."
"Would you look at that," Tara said, laughing through her tears, "She's a redhead too. Maybe I should dye my hair to fit in."
Willow looked down at the little bundle in her arms, thinking about how every ache, every pain, every discomfort for the last eight and a bit months and the fast and furious labour she had just gone through was so worth it, worth it to go through a hundred times just to feel the new life in her arms. The life she and Tara made, the new addition to their family.
"You should hold her too," she said quietly when she realised they were the only ones left in the room, meaning the afterbirth had been delivered without her even noticing and that it must have been a significant amount of time that she'd been absorbed and hogging the holding time.
"You sure?" Tara asked but her arms instinctively reached out to hold her daughter.
Willow shifted slightly in the bed, wincing but ignoring the little bit of pain she felt and patted the bed with her spare hand, indicating for Tara to sit next to her.
Tara gingerly sat and couldn't control the flood of tears that came again when Willow handed her the baby. She cradled her in her arms, stroking the side of her cheek as Willow held her little feet.
"Hi Taylor," Tara said quietly, before grinning, "You were gonna be called that whether you were a boy or a girl. I think Mommy has a little thing for Elizabeth Taylor."
Willow smiled as she watched Tara talk to their daughter.
"You're so very little. 6 pounds 2 ounces."
"Really?" Willow asked sleepily.
"That's what the nurse said."
Willow shook her head in disbelief.
"So you're telling me you pushed over 4 more pounds out with Em? I think I love you even more than I did before, and I didn't think that was possible."
Tara looked up to her wife with smiling and loving eyes.
"I know the feeling. I feel the same with you and Em every day," she said sweetly before looking back down at Taylor, "And now you too, baby girl. You have so much love around you. I'm your Mama, and that right there..."
Tara paused and raised the baby's head slightly to look at Willow
"Is your Mommy. And you have a big sister called Emma. You know, it's funny, and I have no idea how, but you look just like her. Same hair. Same shape nose."
"You're right," Willow replied, tracing the baby's features lightly with the tip of her finger, "Tara's, she's got your eyes. Yours and Em's.
Tara smiled a little but shook her head.
"All babies have blue eyes…"
Willow furrowed her brow and shook her head as well.
"But not the exact same shade as yours…and the same shape…kind of almond-like…she's beautiful."
"She is," Tara agreed as they both lapsed into silence, staring at Taylor.
"I remember doing this with Em," Willow said quietly after many minutes had passed, "Just sitting and staring. I still do sometimes."
"Me too. I think it might be time for you to meet the famous Emma, little one. She's been wanting to meet you for months. We all have."
"I better take her back," Willow said gently, seeing Tara frown when she did so, "So we can get our other little girl."
"I know. Okay," Tara replied, leaning down and kissing the baby on the forehead, "I love you, Taylor. I'll be right back."
She carefully handed the baby back to Willow, feeling her heart melt when she let a small gurgling sound.
"Tara? You haven't kissed me since we became the parents of two."
"Oh god, you're right," Tara replied and leaned over to capture her wife's lips with all the love she had, "I love you so much. You're an amazing woman and I am so proud of our family."
"Go get our girl," Willow whispered softly, tracing the brunette's lips with her finger, "Honey?"
"Maybe it would be better to let everyone in. Otherwise they'll stay all night and I'll worry."
"Always thinking of others," Tara smiled, "Okay, but I'm telling them doctors orders limit the time. I want some family time."
Tara gave the redhead another loving kiss before pulling back and leaving the room, going towards the waiting room on the Delivery floor. She turned the corner and saw Buffy with Angel, who had arrived from LA with Nikki about an hour beforehand Anya with Emma sitting on her knee, Sheila sitting beside her, Ira pacing and Nikki holding her head in her hands. Emma was the first to notice her.
Everyone turned and rushed towards her as Tara swooped the little girl up in her arms, hugging her tight.
"Is the baby here, is the baby here?" Buffy asked excitedly.
"You're worse than Em," Tara shook her head, "Yes, the baby is here."
Tara put Emma down on the floor and knelt down to her level.
"You've got a baby sister, Emma," she said gently.
Emma's eyes lit up and she looked between all the adults excitedly before settling her gaze back on her mother.
"Yep," Tara grinned, "Would you like to meet her?"
Emma nodded eagerly.
"Okay," Tara replied and pulled her up into her arms again, "Would everyone like to meet her?"
"Oh, can we?"
"It's really a girl?"
"Have you named her?"
"Is she small?"
"All your questions will be answered in a minute," Tara said with a laugh, "But you guys can't stay for long, Willow needs to rest. Okay?"
There was a round of nodding heads and Emma wrapped her arms around Tara's neck. Tara led them all down the hallway and into the small room.
"Hi guys," Willow smiled, lifting her gaze to greet everyone.
"Look at the little baby!" Buffy ran into the room and to the side of the bed, "What's her name, what's her name?"
"Everyone," Willow continued as Tara sat beside her, Emma in her arms, "I would like to introduce you to Taylor. Taylor, meet the whole family. Aunty Buffy…"
Willow stopped and turned the baby to Buffy, continuing onwards as she named people.
"And Uncle Angel…That's Grandpa Ira and Grandma Sheila, Aunty Anya and Aunty Nikki."
"She's beautiful, Willow," Ira said.
"Is it…" Nikki trailed off for a moment in pensive thought before continuing with what she wanted to say, "I mean, this probably sounds stupid considering, but…does she look like Emma?"
"We saw it too," Willow replied, smiling between her two daughters.
"She has red hair…" Anya piped up after a moment, before fixing Tara with a steady gaze, "You're seriously outnumbered, Tara."
"I know," Tara said, ruffling Emma's hair, "Good thing I seem to love redhead's so much."
She leaned over and gave Willow a chaste kiss, before the oldest redhead pulled back, yawning.
"We should all probably leave," Sheila said, stepping towards the door, "But you have two very beautiful girls."
"We know, Mom," Willow replied sleepily, "But thanks."
Sheila nodded with a smile and left the room, quickly followed by everyone else who all reiterated Sheila's sentiment. When they were alone, Willow sat the baby up slightly.
"Taylor, you have to meet a very important person. This is Emma, your big sister. Emma, this is your little sister, Taylor Isabella Rosenberg-Maclay."
"But…" Emma started, furrowing her brow, "No..."
"What's wrong, munchkin?" Willow asked, concerned.
"Isabella is a nice name," Emma said as if it explained everything.
Willow and Tara exchanged bewildered looks, Tara shrugging.
"Is that a bad thing, honey?" Tara asked.
Emma looked at the new baby for a moment, quietly contemplating her existence for a moment before speaking again.
"You're only gonna call her Isabella when she's in trouble like you only call me Juliette when I'm in trouble and I like Juliette but when I think of it I think of being in trouble and I don't want my sister to feel bad about her name 'cause it's pretty."
Willow felt an overwhelming sense of emotion as she registered her oldest daughter's words.
"You're trying to protect her?" she asked, near tears.
"I promise she won't feel bad about her name," Tara said, holding the child to her chest, "And you never should either, okay? You were named after a very special women."
Emma seemed to consider this before nodding again, resolutely.
Emma smiled between her mothers and Willow held the baby up slightly.
"Would you like to hold her?" she asked gently.
"Can I?" Emma replied, her blue eyes lighting up.
"Of course. But you have to be careful, okay?"
Emma set her features into what could only be called a mini 'resolve face' and took a deep breath.
"I will the most carefulest I've ever been. Even more than when we we're doing Mama's surprise birthday breakfast last year and had to be really quiet. And I know stuff! Like I have to hold her head 'cause babies can't hold their own heads 'cause they're too little. So can I hold her now?"
Tara bit her lip to keep from laughing and nodded at Willow to hand the baby over. Willow carefully manoeuvred Taylor into Emma's arms, Tara keeping a hand near the baby's head the other side of the child sitting on her lap just in case, and Emma gently cradled her.
"You're doing great, Em," Tara encouraged.
"Was I this little?" Emma asked in an awe-filled voice.
"You were a little bigger," Willow smirked, "But yea, you were that tiny. And you know, you looked a lot like her too."
"Hi Taylor," Emma said, then looked up at her mothers, "Um, does she know what I'm saying?"
"She might not respond, but I think she does," Tara replied.
"Okay," Emma nodded, "Um, hi Taylor. I'm Emma. Uh, Rosenberg-Maclay… that's your last name too. But my teacher says you should always say your full name when you meet someone. You're really pretty, Taylor. I can't wait 'til you're old enough to play with me. I'll share all my toys, I promise."
Willow and Tara shared a look of unadulterated pride at their two daughters, and Tara kissed the top of Emma's head.
"You are a wonderful big sister, Em," Willow said, stroking her oldest daughter's cheek.
"Thanks Mommy. I've been taking classes."
The couple again shared looks of utter confusion before Tara asked the question on both their minds.
"You've- classes, sweetheart?"
"Yea. From Stacy Harte in my class. She had a baby brother last year so I asked her to teach me. She said you should share your toys and not get angry if they cry a lot 'cause they're just babies and they can't speak like we can. And that your Mommy might not be able to spend as much time with you, but that's okay, 'cause she said nothing about Mama's, so you'll spend time with me, right?" Emma asked, looking up at Tara.
"Emma, baby girl, I promise we're both gonna spend time with you, okay? We'll just be with Taylor too," Willow quickly reassured.
"So it'll be like Mama says, right? Just more love for our family?"
"You are way too smart for a five year old," Tara shook her head warmly. "She is definitely your daughter, Willow."
Emma looked at her brunette mother with an exasperated expression.
"Duh, Mama. That's why I call her Mommy."
Tara sat in the chair in the corner of the hospital room, gently rocking the baby in her arms. She looked downed and smiled when she saw bright blue eyes staring back.
"You're a quiet one, aren't you? Feel free to stay like that, your sister used to cry all night long. All day too. Oh god, baby girl, you must be hungry."
She glanced over at the bed, where both Willow and Emma were lying flat out, asleep. They'd both drifted off about thirty minutes ago and she had lifted three-hour old Taylor from Emma's arms and started walking around the room. She bit her lip and carefully walked over, nudging Willow's shoulder slightly to wake her. Since becoming parents, it didn't take much to rouse either of them from slumber. Willow fluttered her eyes open and smiled, despite her tiredness.
"There's my girls."
"Sorry to wake you, beautiful. I think Taylor's hungry."
"Oh right," Willow nodded and made to sit up.
"No, no stay where you are. I can do it…I just…I wanted to make sure it was okay with you. I totally get it if you want the first feed," Tara said, biting her lip.
"Oh," Willow replied sleepily, "Oh course it's okay. You let me feed Emma first…I think it's kinda important, you know? You didn't need to ask…but I love you even more for doing it."
"Go back asleep, gorgeous. You definitely deserve rest."
"M'okay…" Willow mumbled, already closing her eyes.
Tara smiled and went back to the chair, grateful that she'd decided to do the hormone treatment to produce breast milk, like Willow had done when she was pregnant with Emma. Her wife had said it was a wonderful bonding experience, which she understood since she had been breastfeeding as well, but when the child wasn't genetically yours, even when your heart tells you she's all yours, any extra bonding was of the utmost importance.
"Okay, little one, time for some food," she said, unbuttoning her shirt and sitting back into a comfortable position, "You'll feel better after this."
She gently encouraged the baby's mouth towards her nipple, holding her steady as she stroked her cheek.
"Come on, Taylor, you just need to…oh, that's a good girl," she gushed when she felt the baby latch on, "Very good girl."
She continued for a few minutes until the door opened quietly and she looked up to see a nurse coming in. She nurse spotted the two sleeping girls and Tara in the corner and got an apologetic look on her face.
"Sorry to disturb. I can come back in a bit," she whispered.
"It's okay," Tara whispered back, covering herself so the baby could still feed, "If I know my girls, they'll be out for a while, so you can do whatever you need to."
The nurse walked further into the room and smiled.
"I'm your lactation nurse, but it seems you're not having any trouble there. You underwent hormone treatment to breastfeed?"
"Yea. Willow did the same when I was pregnant with Emma," Tara nodded towards the sleeping child, "It made night feeds a lot easier."
"I think it's great," the nurse smiled, "Being able to share the experience when both parents are women. How long have you been together?"
Tara smiled and looked between her three girls for a moment.
"Seven years. Been married for six. And Emma's five. We, uh, kinda rode on the bullet train with our relationship."
"Well you have a beautiful family. My name is Erica, by the way. I'll leave you to it but if you run into any issue or your wife has trouble starting to breastfeed, just ask for me, I'm on hand, okay?"
"Okay. Thank you, Erica."
Erica left the room with a smile, just as quiet as she had been on entering and Tara looked down to see the baby pulling away from her slightly. She readjusted her bra and shirt, buttoning it up and held Taylor up in front of her.
"I still can't believe you're here. And three weeks early too. You scared me half to death when I found out you were on your way. I bet you scared Mommy too; she doesn't deal well when things go off schedule. Your sister was early as well, Mommy panicked so much she forgot to take me in the car with her. Oh, you're so very beautiful, Taylor. I just wanna hold you forever."
"Can you hold me too?" a small voice piped up from the bed.
Tara looked up and saw Emma sitting up with sleepy eyes, her hair tousled. She manoeuvred the baby into one arm and held out her other.
"I can always hold you, Em."
Emma jumped off the bed and ran over before carefully climbing onto her mother's lap.
"Did Mommy really forget you?" she giggled.
"Yep," Tara giggled back, holding onto her daughter's waist, "She drove off in the car while I was standing in the doorway. She remembered straight away though and came back."
Emma yawned again and Tara held onto her waist tighter.
"We should be getting you home to bed soon, Em. Lucky it's Friday, no school tomorrow."
"But I wanna stay with Mommy and Taylor," Emma pouted.
"I know, sweetie, I do too, but we're not all allowed to stay in here all night."
"But Aunty Anya said we could."
"Um, she did?" Tara asked, confused as to why Anya would say that.
"Yea. While we were waiting for everyone else to come, she went to the lady at the desk and told them that they better let me and you stay the night or she would…um, she said some big word starting with an 'e', but I didn't understand it. But the lady said okay, it was fine."
"Ah," Tara nodded her head, not knowing whether to chastise Anya for threatening a hospital worker or give her a massive hug for making sure she got to stay with her family, because she had not been looking forward to giving up her hold on the new baby, "Well in that case, you can sleep in the bed with Mommy, okay? Are you hungry?"
"Aunty Buffy took me to the cafeteria when we were waiting. I got chicken nuggets," Emma gushed excitedly.
"I'm gonna go get some juice for you, okay? Do you wanna come?" Tara replied, kissing the top of Emma's head.
"Can I stay here?"
"Yep. But Taylor has to go into her little crib, okay?"
"Don't babies cry more?"
"Normally, honey," Tara laughed, "Your sister's been pretty quiet so far…but that might change."
"I hope not," Emma replied and looked warily over at her sleeping mother, "Mommy gets grumpy when she doesn't get enough sleep."
Tara giggled and squeezed Emma's waist.
"I love you, Em."
"I know, Mama. Love you too."
Tara gave her final squeeze, before encouraging her off of her lap and going over to put Taylor in the little plastic crib set up beside the bed. She kissed the baby's head and murmured a quick 'love you' before putting her down and covering her in the little pink blanket.
"Be back in a few, Em."
Emma gave her a wave and went to stand over the baby, watching her. Tara slipped out the door with a smile. She was heading towards the elevator, just passed the nurse's station, when she was stopped by a timid looking young woman in a nurse's uniform.
"Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay?" she asked quietly.
"Yes?" Tara responded with a smile.
The woman reached behind the desk and produced a rucksack that looked like it was full.
"This was dropped in for you. By a, um, Nicola Maclay. She said she was heading back to LA with your friends."
"Oh, right," Tara nodded, taking the bag and peeking inside to see some clothes, a pair of Emma's pyjamas sitting on top. She suddenly remembered what her daughter had told her, "Oh, um, I need to apologise for whatever our friend Anya Jenkins said earlier today. She's very, um, protective."
The nurse seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and nodded cordially.
"It's alright. It's good that you have loyal friends. While you're here, could I ask if you have a name for the new baby yet? We have Baby Rosenberg-Maclay on record still."
"It's Taylor. Taylor Isabella Rosenberg-Maclay," Tara replied, a broad grin gracing her features as she said it.
The nurse nodded and wrote it down in the chart she had grabbed, then read over the pages.
"Beautiful name. There should be no disruptions tonight, unless you require our assistance, of course, but then your OB should be in tomorrow and the paediatrician will be in to check on Taylor again tomorrow. If you get the paperwork filled out before tomorrow evening, I think you should be able to go home tomorrow, provided the doctor's reports are all okay."
"Really?" Tara said, surprised. She'd had to stay in for three days with Emma, "That's safe? For Mom and baby?"
"Yes, it's safe. We try and prioritise families with any other children, we know the sooner you can get back to routine, the better it is."
"Well, that's great, then. I fill out whatever paperwork you need now."
The nurse handed her a variety of forms and a pen.
"A hospital administrator will prepare the birth certificate before you leave. You can just hand those back in whenever you're done."
"Thank you," Tara said, folding the papers and putting those with the pen in on top of the bag, zipping it up and continuing onto the elevators.
Willow fluttered her eyes open and instinctively reached for another body in the bed, coming to full consciousness when she felt only sheets. She gingerly sat up in the bed and smiled when she saw Emma peering over a sleeping Taylor.
"Hi there, beautiful girl."
"Mommy!" Emma squealed, then frowned, "I didn't wake you did I?"
"Don't worry, honey, woke up all on my own," Willow glanced at her watch that was on the small table beside the bed and saw it was quite late in the evening, "It's almost bed time for you, munchkin. It's been a long day. Um, Em, where's Mama?"
"She said she'd be back in a minute."
Tara choose that exact moment to re-enter the room, rucksack in one hand, plastic bag in the other. Her face lit up when she saw Willow was awake.
"Hi," she said coyly and went over to the bed, kissing her wife softly, "I brought food. Anya apparently threatened the staff, so we can all stay here tonight."
Willow chuckled and shook her head.
"Good old Anya. What joyful delights did you bring us?"
Tara sat on the edge of the bed and called Emma over. The child ran over and Tara lifted her up so they were all sitting comfortably.
"The cafeteria was closed…so I had to rely on the gift shop. Apple juice and sandwiches were the best I could come up with."
Willow peered over at the baby and saw she was awake again, quietly moving from side to side.
"I think Taylor wants to be a part of our family dinner," she said, standing up and picking the baby up before settling back into the bed, "You hungry too? Did you feed her, Tare?"
"Yea," Tara nodded, "But I finished up over an hour ago. She's probably hungry again. I can't believe how quiet she is. She's barely cried at all."
"Maybe she prefers to use her lungs less. Is that it, Taylor? We'll see if you're hungry, honey."
Willow pulled at her hospital gown as Tara stuck the straw in an apple juice box and unwrapped a sandwich, handing them both to Emma who started eating straight away.
"Whoa," Willow said after a moment, "She sure knows what to do. I barely had her up to me and she started sucking. You're just like your Mama."
"Willow!" Tara chastised under her breath, nodding towards an oblivious Emma.
"Oh god, I meant smart like your Mama," Willow whispered back, blushing, "I meant she was smart like you."
Tara smiled her understanding and handed her wife one of the juice boxes, holding up her own between the three of them.
"To our family."
Willow giggled and hit her juice box against the brunette's.
"To our family."
"Welcome home, Taylor!" Emma said excitedly as she pushed open the front door of their house and walked in ahead of Willow, who was carrying the baby, and Tara, who was carrying the couple of bags from the hospital.
Willow had been checked over by the OB doctor earlier that day and Taylor had been given the all-clear by the paediatrician, who had said not to worry about her not crying too much, as long as she was feed at least every three hours so she didn't go hungry, and both had been discharged early evening.
Tara dropped the bags in the hallway and gave Willow a peck on the cheek.
"I should probably go collect your car. Don't want it to get towed or something from the supermarket."
Willow nodded, remembering suddenly that she'd been shopping when her water broke and rushed to hospital. They'd bought a second car when Tara had gone back to work after having Emma, family-sized and more suitable for what had been the three of them than driving around in the Mercedes, but Willow still loved that car, so as soon as Emma had been old enough that they didn't need to bring a stroller everywhere they went, as well as all the other baby essentials, she reclaimed it and Tara started driving the other one to and from work. Willow realised with a slight frown that she'd have to give up her car once again but looked down at Taylor and all her gloominess disappeared.
"Um…I was kind of in the middle of things when our daughter decided she'd had enough of my uterus…"
"I'll do a little shopping too," Tara laughed, grabbing her purse and fishing the Mercedes' car keys from the hospital bag, "Bye girls."
Tara left again leaving Willow and the two kids standing in the hallway.
"Can I give Taylor a tour of the house?" Emma asked.
"I think that's a great idea, munchkin," Willow smiled, ruffling the child's hair as she kept Taylor steady with one arm, all her 'new baby' skills that she'd learned from when they'd had Emma coming back straight away.
"Okay," Emma nodded, adopting a serious tone and walking them to the left, "Taylor, this is the living room. We can watch cartoons in here or play if we want. There's some of my toys over there."
She pointed at one of the corners where there were a variety of toys and games all tidily arranged, before moving on to the next room.
"This is the dining room, where we eat dinner. Mommy and Mama usually make it together when Mama comes home from work and I help sometimes. My favourite is macaroni and cheese and I always get to add the cheese when we make it."
Emma looked to her mother, who smiled back and showed her the baby's face, who was looking at Emma with fascination.
"She's listening, Em. Keep going, you're doing a great job."
"Thanks, Mommy," Emma said shyly as she let them to the sunroom at the back of the house, "This is Mommy's study. This never used to be here at all but we got it built on 'cause your room is where Mommy's study used to be. That's her desk and computer where she does her work, and that's my desk, where I do my homework. I never used to get much homework last year 'cause I was only in pre-school but then my pre-school teacher, Ms. Julie said I was smart enough to go to Kindergarten already and I started two weeks ago and now I get some math or spellings like every night, sometimes I get special homework 'cause I already know how to do the things the other kids are doing. And there's seats over here…"
She walked over to where there was a couple of sofa's set up, one against a wall and another against one of the full-length window's that circled the sunroom that had been built just before they'd decided to get pregnant the year before, in anticipation of needing Willow's study, where she was able to do all her programming from home, as a nursery. They'd moved Willow's work things downstairs, putting it neatly in one side of the sun room and putting another small desk beside for Emma, leaving the rest of the room free for its intended purpose of sitting in the sun.
"...Are super comfy. If I'm finished my homework but Mommy's not finished work, I can sit here and watch all the birds outside. And when Mama comes home, she'll sit with us and we can play the plant game where we try and name all the different plants we can see outside. When you learn how to talk, Taylor, we can have competitions. I have to warn you though, I'm pretty good…"
Taylor gurgled in response, which Emma took as positive confirmation of their future games.
"Good. Onto the kitchen," Emma walked back out of the sun room and through the living room, into the kitchen, "I normally eat breakfast in here, 'cause it's kinda busy in the mornings, everyone rushing around, then Mama leaves for work and Mommy takes me to school. Sometimes Mama takes me to school, too, and I like those days cause I get to spend some more time with her."
"You miss your Mama when she's at work, munchkin?" Willow asked with a sad smile.
"Yea," Emma nodded, then smiled, "But it's okay, 'cause I've got you. And Mama is always home in time for dinner and to read me a story."
"You know, she's gonna be home all the time for the next two months. We don't have to work for a little while to settle into life with Taylor."
"Really?" Emma asked, her eyes lighting up.
"Yep. And I'm sure Mama would be delighted to take you into school while she's not working."
"I'll ask her when she comes home," Emma said matter-of-factly, "Come on Taylor, have to show you upstairs."
Willow chuckled and followed her daughter down the hallway and up the stairs. They turned right and into a room with lilac walls, a single bed with a princess duvet set in the corner and filled with toys, neatly arranged.
"This is my room, Taylor. I play and sleep in here. And that's a photograph of me and our parents…" she said, pointing at a photo frame on her dresser, "If we get one with you in it too, I'll change it. And those are all my real toys. I have a play kitchen there, and sometimes when my friends Bobby and Stacy come over, we play Mommies and Babies. You can be the baby sometime!"
"Um, we'll see about that, honey," Willow said quickly, "Only if me or your Mama are in the room."
"Okay," Emma grumbled and turned to leave her room, moving down the hallway and turning into another room, "This is Mommy and Mama's room. I used to sleep in here sometimes if I had a nightmare, but I don't need to anymore 'cause I'm a big girl. Sometimes, on special days, we have breakfast in bed up here. But we're not allowed in here if the door is closed unless we knock, Taylor. That's a very important rule, right Mommy?"
"Most definitely," Willow nodded, having had implemented the knocking rule when a 2 year old Emma had walked in and been very confused as to what exactly her Mommy was doing to her Mama, "Knock and wait for an answer."
Emma smiled and lead them across the hallway.
"And the very last room in the house – well, except for the bathroom, but you don't need to see in there, 'cause you just go in your diaper. Um, I guess I can explain anyway. We have a big one up here with the bath and shower and everything, then a little one downstairs, with just a toilet. But the last room is…" Emma gushed excitedly as she opened the door to a room directly across from Willow and Tara's room, "Your room! I helped decorate. Do you like it?"
Taylor gurgled yet again and Willow marvelled at how the baby seemed to be responding at just the right moments. She did a slow 360° turn around the room, looking at the room that she and Emma had decorated together. Emma had chosen a light-red paint and the bedding matched, lying in the same crib they'd bought for Emma, with the same mobile. There was a new dresser with a photo of an ultrasound photo framed on it and Emma has happily given one of her large life-like teddy bears for the corner. The far wall had the same small sofa against it that they had used before, having found it made night feeds much easier.
"I think she does, Em. And I think she's a little sleepy," Willow said, her heart melting when she saw the baby give a small yawn, "You wanna try out your new bed? You're gonna be sleeping in with me and your Mama at night but you can sleep here for now."
Taylor yawned again and Willow walked over to the crib, putting the baby down gently. She looked and found that Taylor's eyes had already closed and her breathing was steady by the time she pulled back.
"Very tired little girl," she whispered and put a soft kiss on her head, "Love you."
She went over to the dresser and turned both the baby monitors that were there on, hooking one onto the waistband of her pants.
"Let's go downstairs, Em. Give your sister some peace."
Emma nodded and put a finger to her lips, indicating they should be quiet, before slipping out the door and down the stairs, going into the living room where she ran over to the bookshelf.
"Can we read, Mommy?"
"Of course. Choose a book," Willow said tiredly, falling back into the sofa.
Emma picked a boom from the bottom shelf, which housed most of her own literature and crawled onto the sofa, cuddling into her mother.
"The Princess and the Pea," Willow read off the title, "You know you're my princess, right?"
Emma nodded and opened the first page for Willow to read. This was how Tara found them when she walked into the living room half an hour later, having brought the shopping straight through to the kitchen before coming in. Willow looked up when she saw her wife enter and smiled.
"Hey. Em and me were just reading. Taylor's asleep."
"So's she," Tara whispered, nodding towards the sleeping child nestled against Willow.
"Hmm? Oh wow. I didn't even notice. Just kept on reading. Should we wake her for dinner?"
"I took her out for a big lunch while you and Taylor were being looked over. It's been a crazy…day and half. It's only been a day and half?!" Tara asked, the realisation shocking her.
"I'll bring her up to bed. It's close enough to her bed time anyway," Willow replied, picking the child up and standing.
"I'll do it," Tara responded, carefully taking Emma into her arms, "I'll check on Taylor while I'm up there."
Willow nodded her agreement and sat back on the couch.
"I love you Tara," she called quietly.
Tara turned, careful not to wake the sleeping child in her arms and walked back over to the couch, sitting beside her wife and leaning over for a sweet, lingering kiss.
"I love you, too," she whispered, "With all my heart."
Willow smiled happily and sleepily as she watched Tara leave the room and go upstairs. Tara carefully carried Emma to her bedroom and put her on her bed, covering her up with a kiss on the check, and plugging her nightlight in before moving down the hallway to check on Taylor, who she found looking wide-eyed back up at her.
"You're awake, beautiful," she said, picking the baby up, and wincing slightly when a smell reached her nose, "And you need your diaper changed. We're gonna have to keep a close eye on you, quiet girl. It's okay to let us know if you need something."
Tara walked over to the changing table beside the dresser and set the baby down, quickly changing her diaper as Taylor amused herself with clutching at the disposable wipes. Tara dumped the dirty diaper in the Diaper Genie they'd gotten as a present from Buffy before Emma was born and picked Taylor back up, walking the gurgling baby back downstairs. She smiled at what she saw when she got back to the living room.
"Mommy's asleep, Taylor. I think you're the only one who's wide awake in this household. That's okay though, I'll stay up with you. Yes, I will. We can talk about whatever you want. Politics…History…oh okay, yea," Tara giggled as the baby started a sucking motion, "My breasts too. Definitely like your Mommy. I'll just cover her up…"
Tara grabbed a light blanket from the edge of the sofa and covered her wife as best she could, one-handed, and settled down into the opposite sofa, pulling at her shirt and releasing her breast so Taylor could feed.
"That's my girl," she encouraged as Taylor greedily sucked, "I love you, little one. Everyone loves you. And me and your Mommy are gonna do everything we can to make sure you're always happy. You and Em are the most important people in the world to us. You know why, baby girl?"
Tara looked up when she heard a small rustling and saw a now awake Willow walking towards them, sitting beside them with a big smile on her face.
"That one's easy," Willow whispered slightly to the baby, stroking her hair, then turning to Tara, her eyes shining with love and adoration, "Because we're family."