It was the middle of the night inside their apartment in the ancient Scottish castle which was the current headquarters of the New Council, when a low voice whispered, "Xander? Wake up, honey."

The only reaction to this by the sleeping man sharing the bed with his wife was a soft snore, followed by him snuggling up closer while keeping his hands tenderly cupping the woman's just-showing belly, all without him regaining consciousness. Dawn allowed herself a fond smile at Xander's actions, but she still wanted him to leave dreamland, nevertheless. Which lead to the pregnant young woman lying on her side sending a hand back to firmly poke her spooning husband in his ribs.

"Uh!" grunted Xander, whose remaining eye fluttered open, to at once tensely scan the bedroom for any potential enemies there who were stupid enough to endanger his mate and their unborn child. Not seeing anything alarming, Xander relaxed slightly, and he leaned his head forward to bury his face in Dawn's hair, mumbling through this an inquiring, "Mmmm?"

"It's time, Xander, just like the books say," patiently replied Dawn. An instant later, she felt the man's body pressing up against her move, and right after this, the bedroom lamp came on. Blinking at the sudden bright illumination, Dawn turned her head to stare right into the gaping crater in her husband's features where his left eye had been before a crazy priest destroyed this years ago. Calmly ignoring something she'd become used to long before, the nightgowned woman watched Xander yawn, rub at his face, and then questioningly smile at her while he propped himself up on an elbow.

Correctly guessing he'd like an actual explanation, Dawn grinned back at the man she'd married fourteen months, three weeks, and five days previously, to then chuckle, "You know all those pregnancy books we read, that said around this time I might be starting to develop weird food cravings? Well, it turned out to be true. Right now, I'm really starving for a snack, and it's got to be something in particular to eat and absolutely nothing else will do!"

Rolling off the mattress, Xander smoothly straightened up to stand in his boxers by the bed, at the same time fervently declaring, "Whatever it is, Dawnstar, you got it! Just tell me what you want, and I'll fetch or make it for you! Our kitchen's already stocked and prepared."

Xander's last statement was utterly true. Weeks before, he'd emptied his wallet at a very well-known Food Hall in one of London's swankiest upmarket department stores to purchase virtually every known type of provisions and foodstuffs on sale there. Just to be prepared for what the baby books had spoken about, in which pregnant women acquired a craving after - the sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and any possible taste combination thereof. Even the most common cliché of them all: pickles. God, did Xander ever buy pickles, enough to supply an entire kosher deli. It wound up with their kitchen refrigerator and cupboards stuffed full to bursting. Still, it'd all be worth it, being able to feed Dawn whatever she desired.

In their room, a proud Xander expectantly regarded his wife, ready to get hard at work the instant she told him her request for tonight.

"A toasted English muffin with peanut butter, and a glass of milk," Dawn hungrily demanded.

There was then a short interval of absolute silence in the bedroom, with the pair of Scoobies staring at each other. Dawn's eager expression soon shaded into mild confusion at seeing Xander's own bewildered face across the bed. Just before she got around to asking him what the problem was, Dawn heard from her husband a disbelieving, "Ummm…just that? You don't want something else on the muffin, like your usual goose liver pâté, mesquite barbecue potato chips, or leftover Christmas candy canes?"

Dawn momentarily frowned at the big lug there looking a bit perplexed, before shrugging in annoyed incomprehension, "Nope, that'll be fine, what I said." She further hinted with a touch of impatience now in her tone, "Ah, could you get started?"

Giving his own baffled shrug of acceptance, Xander turned around to head towards the bedroom door. Pulling this open and leaving it ajar, Xander was halfway through the doorway before he came to a dead stop, as if something had just now occurred to him. Glancing over his shoulder, this man thoughtfully asked, "Should I drop a pickle in the milk-?"

Whump! came from the hurled pillow bouncing off the bedroom wall next to the door, as an interrupted Xander hastily continued onwards to the kitchen, muttering under his breath, "Okay, okay! It was just a simple question!"

A few minutes later, a still-mystified Xander was back again, perched upon the foot of the bed, as he incredulously watched his wife greedily devour every scrap of the pair of toasted muffins. Dawn went so far as to pick up and carry to her mouth the smallest crumbs of bread on the plate resting atop the food tray. Once she finished drinking the last of the milk, Xander got off the bed and stepped forward to where Dawn was sitting up against the headboard, with the tray in her lap. When he bent down to gather the tray and its used plate and glass, Dawn impulsively gave him a grateful kiss on the lips that had a distinct flavor of peanut butter.

Returning to the kitchen to put everything in the dishwasher, Xander paused, just before turning out the lights and leaving the room. He now gave the extra-large refrigerator placidly humming away in its corner his most baleful glower, which this electrical appliance most certainly didn't deserve. After all, it was doing its job quite properly tonight, keeping cool every portion stored inside of the extremely expensive food and other cuisine from all over the world. All of which the one-eyed man had earlier brought on the off chance his dearly beloved might want an especially unusual snack. Instead of what she'd asked for, a downright mundane meal that any kid home from school might wolf down.

The next day, Willow was tolerantly listening to her yellow-crayon friend yet again prove he had absolutely no clue about women. With evident bafflement in his voice, Xander continued to describe the strange events of the past night, all without noticing how his redhead bestest bud was smiling into her cup of coffee. Finally, cutting him off in mid-word, Willow leaned forward in her armchair in one of the castle's sitting rooms, to give the man next to herself a few gentle pats upon his cheek. This was accompanied by her cooing to this startled guy, "There, there, Xan. You'll figure it out sometime soon, I bet."

"What're you talking about, Wils?" frowned Xander to the Red Witch, who was beginning to quietly snigger at his incomprehension.

Lifting her eyes to the heavens to show what she had to put up with, Willow gave Xander in return a truly wicked grin. Realizing then that the joke had gone on far enough, she deigned to explain, by starting with, "Xan, what'd you both have for breakfast this morning in your apartment?"

"Huh?" gaped Xander. Gazing blankly at his fellow Sunnydale survivor smirking back at him, Xander uncertainly continued, "The usual for me, bacon and eggs. Dawnie had her own typical meal with a stack of buckwheat pancakes topped off with a handful of lychee nuts and slathered with a whole bottle of Tabasco sauce- Oh." Ruefully sighing the last word, Xander slowly shook his head over how he'd completely missed it.

"The light dawns!" crowed Willow, whooping with laughter for the next couple of seconds, before she calmed down sufficiently to say with real glee in her voice, "Given that most other pregnant women start off eating ordinary food and then develop the most unusual appetites, you should've figured out from the first, that our Dawn who'll already as a rule happily eat the weirdest stuff possible will switch to wanting the most commonplace and plainest food for her baby!"

"Yeah," groaned Xander, who spent a few moments glumly contemplating what exactly to do next. At length giving his life-long companion in the other armchair a very considering look, the man with an eye patch tentatively said in a growing-hopeful tone, "Hey, Wils, you interested in cleaning out my refrigerator? Among everything else there, I've got a pheasant under glass from Harrods that I don't need anymore…"