TITLE: Family Confidential
RATING: PG-13 (Though some chapters will be NC-17, consider yourself warned!)
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: The promised sequel to Hacker Confidential. How are Willow, Tara, JJ and all their family getting on 4 years into the future?
SPOILERS: Perhaps minor references to the show or stealage of dialogue, but mostly just spoilers for all of Hacker Confidential. If you haven't read that...well, you really will have no idea what's going on.
FEEDBACK: Yes please
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey guys, I'm back with the sequel to Hacker Confidential. I'm trying to make these chapters longer, so I'll only be updating weekly, so check back next Wednesday! This is set 4 years from the end of HC, so JJ is 5 years old, Alex is 4 and a half and Willow and Tara are 30 - I never really gave the others specific ages, but you can assume they're all in and around that age too, except Ira and Michelle who are around 55.
GREAT BIG HONKIN' NOTE ADDED FEB '13
I've recently gone back and edited most of my fics to change Tara to what I believe is her rightful brunette. This took a long time, and none were anywhere near as long as this were almost 1200 'blondes' I would have had to manually change. Therefore, she remains blonde here. I plan on changing that in-series at a later date and hope it doesn't annoy anyone too much.
"Hamburgers or tacos?"
Jacob James 'JJ' Rosenberg-Maclay pursed in lips in serious contemplation from his position sitting on the countertop in the kitchen for a moment before nodding decidedly.
"Hamburgers. With extra cheese!"
Willow laughed shook her head.
"My boy wants extra cheese, then my boy gets extra cheese."
"Cheese is good for your teeth and your bones," JJ replied knowledgably, "'Cause it has calthium."
"Calcium, little man," Willow corrected with a smile, "And you're right, it's very good for growing boys. Are you gonna help me get everything ready?"
JJ went to jump off the island but Willow fixed him with a stern glare, before lifting him down.
"You can't jump down from there, honey, it's too high. You might hurt yourself. And you can only sit up there when there's an adult in the room, okay?"
"Okay, Momma," JJ replied apologetically, "I promise."
"Good boy," Willow replied lovingly, ruffling her son's blonde hair, "Okay, now what do we need for hamburgers?"
JJ flung the refrigerator door open.
"We do indeed," Willow smiled as JJ handed her a package of ground beef, "And..."
"An egg!" JJ said proudly as he tried to remember the ingredients, "And, and...an onion."
His face distorted into disgust as he mentioned the last item and Willow bit back a laugh.
"You can't even taste it, remember?"
"I know," JJ agreed reluctantly, handing the items he had named, "We need buns!"
"I got them," Willow replied, holding up a pack of hamburger buns, since they had been too high for JJ to reach, "Can you hand me the big glass bowl?"
JJ opened one of the lower cupboards and carefully held the bowl his mother was asking for in his arms.
"Thank you," Willow said warmly, reaching down and taking the bowl, "Wanna sit back up here and help me?"
JJ nodded eagerly and Willow lifted was about to lift him back up onto the island when the sound of a car pulling up in the driveway outside was heard. Both of their faces lit up.
"I wonder who that is," Willow said teasingly as JJ started bouncing up and down excitedly.
"Is it Mommy?" JJ asked, his tongue poking out between his teeth.
Willow pretended to be unsure, shrugging slightly.
"Why don't you check?"
JJ bounded from the kitchen and into the foyer just in time to see Tara walking through the front door. The young boy threw himself at the blonde, wrapping his arms around her legs.
"Hey, little man," Tara said, tiredly but warmly as she scooted down and pulled her son into a hug.
JJ hugged back for a moment before grabbing Tara's hand and pulling her into the kitchen.
"Yay, it's Mommy!" he exclaimed excitedly at Willow.
"Yay," Willow grinned, wiping her hands against the apron she was wearing and walking over to her wife, throwing her arms around her neck, "It's Mommy."
Tara smiled and held onto the redhead's waist as she leaned down and kissed her softly. JJ waited good-naturedly for a moment, quite used to seeing his mother's kissing, before the general impatience a five year old has exhibited itself and he pulled on Tara's pants.
"Mommy, I drew a picture today in school, wanna see?"
Tara pulled away from her wife and looked down with a nod.
"You bet, Jakey."
JJ ran off with a squeal and Willow laughed.
"He's very proud of this picture," she said, not letting up her hold on the blonde, "Spent all morning on it apparently. How was work?"
"Work," Tara replied with a sigh, before smiling again, "But I'm home now. And very glad to be."
Willow smiled and moved her arms down to wrap her wife in a hug. She knew Friday was Tara's worst day, since she stayed late to make up for the other days of the week that she left early so she could collect JJ from school.
Willow, in turn, left work at lunch-time on a Friday since JJ's school let out early on that day. They'd devised the system the year previous when their son had started Kindergarten to avoid him having to go to any expensive daycares after school and kept it up when he had gone into the 1st grade just a couple of months previously.
Willow squeezed her wife tightly to try and relieve any tension from the day and turned her head to place a lingering kiss against the blonde's cheek.
"Me and JJ were making hamburgers."
Tara smiled as they separated from their hug.
JJ rushed back into the room at that moment, proudly holding up a piece of paper. Willow went back to preparing the hamburgers while Tara crouched down to her son's levels and admired the picture he was showing her.
"Wow, sweetie," she said as she took in the different lines and colours and tried to make out exactly what the picture was and pointed to a stick figure, coloured over in red, "Is that you?"
"That's me as a fire-fighter!" JJ exclaimed excitedly, pointing to a long, yellow line that was beside the stick figure, "That's my hose! So I can put out all the fires."
"Oh I see," Tara replied with a smile, "A fire-fighter huh?"
She glanced up for a moment at Willow who just smiled knowingly back; JJ's preference over his future career changed on a weekly basis – a few days previously he had been hell bent on being a astronaut and the week before that it had been a shark trainer.
"Yep," JJ nodded eagerly, "See, I'm putting out the fire and saving all the people and the animals. There's a little baby and there's a puppy and there's you and Momma, but you guys are safe 'cause I don't want you being in a fire."
Tara smiled and kissed her son on the side of the head.
"Good thinking, little man. What's that?"
Tara pointed at a squiggle of gold on the paper.
"That's a half-camel," JJ said as if it was obvious.
"A half-camel?" Tara asked, stifling a giggle, "What happened to his other half?"
JJ rolled his eyes.
"Nothing, he never had one. That's why he's a half-camel."
"Oh. Well it's good that you saved him then. The world deserves to know about a half-camel," Tara replied before ruffling the boys hair, "So are you gonna be a fire-fighter for Halloween then?"
JJ's face lit up and he stared at his mother, wide-eyed.
"I'm sure we can find a costume," Tara smiled as she took the picture, "Can I put this on the refrigerator?"
JJ nodded and Tara reached into her pocket, taking something out and hiding it in her hand.
"I got you something, JJ..."
JJ looked down at his mother's hand, then back into her face, grinning.
Tara unfolded her hand to reveal a small, shiny green toy car, the size of a matchbox and JJ squealed, grabbing it and throwing his arms around his mother's neck.
"Thank you, Mommy, thank you! And it's green, I needed a green one! I have to go introduce it to all my other cars!"
JJ ran off and loud footsteps could be heard on the staircase.
"Wash your hands while you're up there, JJ," Willow shouted after her son before smiling and shaking her head at Tara, "You spoil him with those cars."
"He gets the love of cars from you," Tara retorted playfully, straightening up, "And he said thank you straight away. He's not spoiled. Besides...you know I can't resist those big green eyes. Never could."
She walked over and wrapped her arms around Willow's waist as she spoke, feeling the redhead lean back into the embrace as she chopped an onion.
"Can't resist, huh? I'll have to use that to my advantage later."
Tara turned her head into the smaller girl's neck and kissed the skin there.
"That a promise?"
Willow wiggled her ass against Tara's front suggestively.
"You bet it is."
Tara grinned and trailed her lips upwards, to below her wife's ear.
"I'll start on a salad."
"No," Willow replied, putting a hand over Tara's to keep her in place, "Hold me for a little while."
Tara smiled and rested her chin on Willow's shoulder.
"You like me holding you?"
"No, we've just been married for almost 6 years 'cause I can't get enough of your rack," Willow joked, before her tone softened, "I love you holding me. Something you very much weren't doing when I woke up this morning, by the way."
"I'm sorry," Tara replied genuinely. They had a general practice of not getting out of bed until both of them were awake so they had a few moments of alone time before facing the day, but the blonde had had to get up early that morning, "I put the cereal in the wrong cupboard yesterday and JJ couldn't find it this morning."
"Forgiven," Willow sighed as she threw the chopped onion in the bowl with the meat, "But come back to bed next time. I felt naked waking up without your arms around me."
Tara chuckled and squeezed the redhead's midsection playfully.
"You were naked. I had my wicked way with you before we went to sleep last night, remember?"
"I meant naked emotionally," Willow replied, bumping her hips backwards against her wife's, "And I do seem to recall it was a mutual having of the wicked way."
Tara gave a murmur of agreement.
"Mmhh, yes it was."
Willow giggled and turned her head to the side so she could peck Tara's lips lovingly.
"I adore you," she said as she quietly nuzzled into the blonde's neck for just a moment before continuing to make the hamburgers, "I should add some basil to this...can you hand me some leaves?"
Tara inhaled the scent emanating from her wife, smiling at the easy way Willow had switched from affection back to continuing in her task.
"You just gonna stand there and sniff my hair or are you gonna help me make dinner?" Willow asked teasingly when the blonde failed to move, "We have a son who needs to eat, you know."
"You were the one who asked me to hold you," Tara replied, not letting go just yet, before her tone became decidedly playful, "And it's Friday, which means you went to the park after you collected JJ from school and he got at least one ice-cream."
Willow's hands stilled as she kneaded the meat together for a moment before she cleared her throat.
"He wasn't supposed to tell you about that."
Tara shook her head to herself and chuckled.
"I don't know why you keep thinking I'm gonna have an issue with him eating some candy. He must think I'm some big meanie if you keep telling him 'not to tell Mommy'."
Willow lifted her hands from the bowl they were in and wiped them against her apron before turning in the blonde's arms.
"Shit, Tare, I didn't think about that. I just know you like him eating healthy..."
"And he does," Tara said pointedly, but with a smile, "Hence the not minding that he has some candy."
"Okay," Willow relented, also with a smile, "No more secret ice-cream buddies. Or secret cookie buddies. And no more making our little man think Mommy is a food Nazi."
"What's a Nazi?"
Both girls jumped back at the sound of JJ's voice and looked down to where he was standing next to them.
"Jeez, sneaky boy," Willow laughed, picking their son up between them, "Since when are you at all quiet?"
"What's a Nazi?" JJ persisted in a whine, getting a pout on his face.
"It's a bad person," Willow answered, deciding JJ was too young to understand if she tried to explain fully, "Did you wash your hands?"
JJ opened his mouth to say yes but thought better of it and shook his head. Willow put him back down on the floor.
"Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, go wash up."
JJ ran off again and Tara looked at her wife pointedly.
"He learned that pout from you."
Willow just rolled her eyes.
"Well you can't say it's genetic."
"Evidentially not," Tara laughed, "Which means the entire world could learn it. God help all the people who fall under its spell."
"You've survived pretty well," Willow grinned before spinning back in her place, "These should have been made up ages ago. Stop distracting me with your pretty face."
"I'll go set the table," Tara replied with a final squeeze of her wife's hips, "Is he still using the Batman plate?"
JJ's career choice wasn't the only thing that changed on a regular basis, he also had a variety of different superhero and TV character plates and cutlery sets that he would refuse to eat off of if it wasn't the right one.
"Yea," Willow nodded as she balled the meat in her hands, "And the twisty straw for his milk."
Tara nodded as well, smiling as she gathered the appropriate items in her hands and walked into the dining room. Part of her thought they should be more firm with their son and refuse to give into his dish whims, but it was really the only thing he ever threw a tantrum over and for the sake of sanity in their household, she was willing to concede the one point.
She figured he'd grow out of it eventually anyway, but was stopped from any further contemplation on the issue when she felt something wrap around her leg.
"Thank you for my car, Mommy," JJ's voice piped up from below, "It goes really fast. And now I have every colour."
"Your very welcome, little man," Tara replied, crouching down to her son's height and ruffling his hair, "You have every colour now, huh? Does that mean you don't need any more?"
JJ's eyes went wide and he shook his head.
"No, now I need trucks!"
"Trucks," Tara said with a small laugh, "Of course. How could I forget trucks? You washed up didn't you?"
JJ held up his clean hands.
"I even used extra soap!"
"That's my boy," Tara smiled as she straightened up again, "Wanna help me set the table?"
"Okay," JJ nodded, climbing onto a chair and grabbing some of the cutlery, "Knives on the right and forks on the left, right?"
"That's right, sweetheart," Tara replied as she set the other two places and watched as her son looked between the cutlery, "Do you need some help?"
"No," JJ shook his head before placing the knife and fork down in the correct place, "See?"
"Well done," Tara beamed, knowing the boy had just been learning his lefts and rights and has been struggling with it.
JJ stuck his tongue out between his teeth proudly.
"Momma taught me! See, your left hand makes an 'L' shape when you hold it in front of you!" he said, holding out his hand in demonstration, "L for left!"
"Momma's very smart," Tara replied, kissing the top of JJ's head, "And so are you. I'm very proud."
"What are you very proud of?" Willow asked as she walked into the room, carrying a plate with hamburgers on it and a bowl with salad.
Tara grinned as she took the plate from her wife's hand and put in on the table.
"He got his lefts and rights."
"I used your trick, Momma, look!" JJ squealed, holding his hand out again, "L for left!"
"That's it, baby boy," Willow said proudly as she high-fived her son, "Next up, shoelaces!"
JJ's eyes widened.
"You think I'm ready?"
"You bet. Oh, forgot your milk," Willow replied as she put the salad down beside the burgers, then looked up at Tara, "Drink, baby?"
Tara just shook her head and Willow slipped out of the room, returning moments later with a carton of milk, pouring herself a glass and then filling JJ's glass up and putting his twisty straw in it, then took one of the burgers that she'd set on the side of the plate and put in front of her son.
"One hamburger with extra cheese," she smiled, ruffling his hair as she took her seat and Tara dished the salad out, "Did you tell Mommy what you learned in school today, Jakey?"
"Dittion!" JJ said, chewing.
"Don't speak with your mouth full," both Willow and Tara said at the same time before grinning at each other and clasping one set of hands together between them on the table.
"Sorry," JJ replied sheepishly, swallowing the food in his mouth, "We're learning dittion!"
"Addition?" Tara guessed with a smile and got a discreet nod off Willow.
JJ nodded excitedly.
"Two plus two is four and four plus four is eight!"
"That's right," Willow said and JJ beamed.
There was a comfortable silence around the table for a few minutes as everyone ate until JJ slurped the last of his milk loudly.
"Can I go watch TV please?"
Both women nodded and JJ picked up his plate and glass to clear them before scurrying out of the room. Willow turned her head to the side to watch Tara and smiled at her.
"You make eating hamburgers look sexy."
Tara smiled sweetly and moved her chair and plate so they were sitting next to each other and picked up a piece of chopped tomato and holding it up to her wife's mouth, who dutifully took it between her teeth and chewed.
"You make eating anything look sexy."
Willow almost choked on the tomato in her mouth and managed to swallow it after a moment of struggling, then gaped at Tara.
"Did you even mean that the way it came out?"
"No," Tara softly laughed as she suddenly realised what she'd said, "But I have no problem with it being interpreted that way."
Willow grinned and waggled her eyebrows.
"I might just have to interpret later."
Tara grinned back.
"I might be open to interpretation."
Willow burst into giggles before putting both hands in front of her in a 'stop' motion.
"Our thinking is really far too pun-y."
Tara gave a nonchalant shrug.
"I dunno, right now I'm not thinking very pun-y," she replied before her grin became entirely devilish, "I'm thinking more about pu–"
Willow quickly pressed two fingers against her wife's lips, effectively cutting her off.
"There is a 5 year old child in listening distance," she said in mock-scolding, though her grin matched the blonde's as she threw a wink in Tara's direction. She used her fingers position to trace them around her wife's lips, licking her own in response, "C'mere."
She leaned her head forwards so their lips met softly for a few seconds before she nuzzled their noses together and speared a piece of lettuce on her fork, bringing it up to feed her wife.
Tara felt her heart swell at the intimate gesture and took the offering as they continued to feed each other the last of their meal and softly kissed again.
"Wanna fool around later?" Willow grinned between kisses.
"Do you even have to ask?" Tara grinned back, "Already told you I can't resist those beautiful green eyes."
Willow's eyes shone excitedly and she glanced at her watch, sighing slightly when she saw the time.
"Remember when that meant we were gonna be wet and naked together?" Tara quipped as she picked up her plates and started towards the kitchen.
"It can still mean that," Willow protested, following with her own dishes, "Let's do it, tonight. We'll light some candles and everything."
Tara smiled as she pulled the door of the dishwasher down.
"Never let it be said you ever let the romance slide."
"So you're in?" Willow asked as she put her plate in the dishwasher.
"Of course," Tara replied, taking her wife's glass from her, "I'll clean up in here. Can you look after his bath?"
"Definitely," Willow responded, excited by their plans for the night as she turned to walk back out of the kitchen, "JJ! Bath time!"
She walked into the living room where she saw her son intently watching what looked like the news.
"Why are you watching the news, honey? Aren't there any cartoons on?"
"There was a fire truck!" JJ said, his eyes never leaving the screen, "There was a real fire and the firemen put it out and they showed the big hose and everything! It was so cool!"
Willow hunched down next to her son.
"I know you love the fire trucks and everything, but you know it's really serious if there's ever a fire anywhere, right?"
"Uh huh," JJ nodded seriously, his eyes wide, "People can get hurt. I don't want them to get hurt, that's why I wanna be a fireman!"
Willow smiled and pulled JJ to her, happy her son's ambitions were rooted in altruism and not some latent pyromania.
"It's bath time, little man," she said as JJ wrapped his hands around her neck and she straightened up, walking towards the stairs.
"Today's Friday, right?" JJ asked with a pensive look on his face as they ascended the stairs and walked into the bathroom.
"That's right," Willow replied as she started filling the tub, "Which means no school for the next two days."
"I like school," JJ answered, before his eyes lit up, "But that means tomorrow's Saturday! I get to see Alex, right?"
Willow nodded with a warm smile, knowing her son loved the times he got to meet up with Xander and Anya's little boy. Their six month age difference had never mattered to either boy, they'd been best friends since they'd been in diapers.
Alex had just started Kindergarten, being that little bit younger than JJ, and his parents had opted to send him to a private school, so weekends were when they boys most often had their playdates.
"Well I'll have to give Aunty Anya a call, but I'm sure you can. Now, arms up."
JJ diligently lifted his arms up and Willow whipped his t-shirt off as he got rid of his clothes himself and climbed onto into the tub, instantly grabbing the green and red toy boat from the small basket on the side of the tub and splashing it into the water.
"Whoa, chill out there, Jakey," Willow said, holding up a towel between her and the errant water spraying out at her.
"Sorry, Momma," JJ replied absently as he ran the boat along the water and made engine sounds with his mouth.
Willow grabbed the jug from the side of the tub and filled it with water and gently it poured it over her son's head.
"You gonna wash yourself or just pretend you're a boat?" she asked playfully as she lathered the boy's hair with shampoo.
"Pretend I'm a boat," JJ answered seriously, not taking his attention away from his toy.
"Oh ha, ha," Willow replied good-humouredly, rinsing the shampoo out, "Soap, little man."
JJ protruded his bottom lip for a moment before agreeing reluctantly.
He let his boat float away from him and grabbed the bar of soap from the basket, rubbing it between his hands and started washing himself. Willow smiled at him.
She quietly washing the parts of her son's back she knew he wouldn't be able to reach until JJ turned to her, beaming.
Willow laughed and reached for the small blue towel robe, holding it out. JJ stood up and carefully stepped out of the bath and into the robe before stepping onto the small plastic step-ladder positioned in front of the sink so he could brush his teeth, quite used to his nightly routine.
Willow too was used to the nightly routine and braced herself as her son's loud voice starting ringing out to the tune of "Do Your Ears Hang Low".
Are... your... teeth clean and white?
Do you brush them left and right?
Do you brush them in the morning?
Do you brush them every night?
Do you brush them up and down?
Do you brush them round and round?
Are your teeth... clean and white?
JJ continued to hum and sing some of the words as he brushed his teeth diligently. He'd learned the song in Kindergarten and had sung it every morning and every night since.
"Done," he proclaimed proudly a moment later, grinning to display his pearly whites and jumping off the step ladder.
"Careful, honey, the floor's a little wet," Willow replied, grabbing a hold of JJ's side to steady him, "Okay, now jammies!"
JJ scurried off into his bedroom and over to his dresser, opening the bottom drawer and picking out his Spiderman pyjamas. His room was simply decorated, with just his dresser, a bookshelf and the race-car shaped bed he'd gotten when he upgraded from his crib to his 'big boy bed', and his variety of toys scattered neatly around the place.
Willow followed into the room as JJ was pulling his pyjama top over his head, his robe dropped on the floor. She was about to ask him to pick him up when he did it without being asked and hooked it onto the knob of one of his dresser drawers to dry.
"You're an angel," she said lovingly as she knelt down beside her son.
"I'm not Uncle Angel," JJ said in confusion, "I'm JJ."
Willow stifled a laugh and feigned amazement.
"So you are. You're getting so big I get confused sometimes. You wanna pick a story?"
JJ shook his head, much to the surprise of his mother.
"You don't want a story?"
"I want Mommy to sing instead," JJ explained, "Will she?"
Willow smiled and nodded, straightening up and walking over to the door.
"Baby?" she called out, "Can you come up here?"
She heard what sounded like 'sure' come from somewhere downstairs and walked back over to where JJ had settled himself into bed and beneath the covers.
"You nice and comfy?" Willow asked, tucking the blanket more securely in.
JJ nodded and brightened when he saw his blonde-haired mother appear in the doorway. Tara leant against the frame with a smile.
"Uh huh," Willow smiled at her wife, "Your singing expertise has been requested."
"Ah," Tara smiled back, walking into the room and perching herself on the edge of her son's bed, "And what would you like me to sing?"
JJ looked off in contemplation for a moment before deciding.
"Song from Anas...Anasta..." he trailed off for a moment as he focused on saying what he wanted, "Anastasia!"
JJ, like Willow, had a passion for anything and everything of the animated film varieties, particularly loving the music from the classic movies.
"Okay," Tara replied and felt her wife sit behind her on the bed as well, resting her chin on her shoulder, "Am I singing for both of you?"
"Yes," Willow whispered quietly, moving her hands around to rest on Tara's stomach.
Tara chuckled softly for a moment before focusing her attention on her son, smiling at him as she began the song.
Dancing bears... Painted wings... Things I almost remember. And a song, someone sings ... Once upon a December...
JJ instantly started to relax as he listening to his mother sing and Tara covered the hands on her stomach with her own as she continued through the chorus.
Someone holds me safe and warm, horses prance through a silver storm. Figures dancing gracefully, across my memory...
Tara hummed the interlude and watched as JJ's eyes started to flutter closed before repeating the chorus and launching into the next verse.
Far away. Long ago. Glowing dim as an ember. Things my heart used to know, things it yearns to remember...
Both women saw their son's breath even out completely and Tara whispered the last line.
And a song someone sings... Once upon a December...
She leant forwards and placed a light kiss against JJ's head before silently taking Willow's hand and leading her out of the room, stopping only momentarily to turn on the Batman nightlight next to the bed.
"It gives me shivers when you sing," Willow whispered as she carefully closed JJ's bedroom door, "And it gets him to nod off so quickly. Normally it's at least 3 stories before he'll even consider closing his eyes, but with you singing, less than 2 minutes and he's out."
"Singing has always soothed him," Tara replied with a fond smile, "Remember when he was a baby? He even got his name from you singing to him. At least partially."
"Thank god he realised you were the singer in the family," Willow joked before coyly nodding towards the bathroom.
Tara bit the side of her lip excitedly.
"Our bath time?"
Willow nodded with a smile.
"Our bath time."