AN: Okay, here's the first chapter of 'The Trials of Motherhood'. Four years have passed since the end of 'Promises', so Sophie is 9, Lily is 5, and Jesse is 4. I will continue to update 'Scooby Family Snapshots' to fill in the gap between them. Enjoy!

"Balloons?" said Anya, consulting a list.

"Check" Xander replied.



"Party favors?"





"Uh.. Almost check."

"Almost?" Anya yelped. "What do you mean almost Xander?"

"You asked Tara to make the cake" Xander reminded her. "She's bringing it over Tomorrow." Two years previously, Xander and Anya had conveniently managed to buy a house in the same street as the other Scoobies (minus Dawn and Connor, who had moved out into their own apartment), meaning Tara now lived just up the road. This comforted Anya, but not for long.

"Okay.. but what if something happens? She could get attacked by a bunny on the way here, and the cake could be destroyed.."

"Living near a Hellmouth, and you still jump to a bunny attack as the most likely cause of trouble" Xander chuckled.

"It's not funny!" Anya snapped, slapping his arm before sighing. "Jesse's four. Our firstborn tiny human is turning four years old tommorow, Xander."

"He's not so tiny anymore" Xander smirked.

"Excactly!" cried Anya, throwing her hands in the air. "This is the first birthday that he's really, really, going to be able to remember, and now we know, the last one he's going to be an only child for. I still blame you for that, by the way." A few days earlier, Anya had discovered that she was carrying their second child, concieved one night on their recent honeymoon when they got a little carried away and had forgotten to use protection.

"Hey, that wasn't all my fault!" cried Xander defensively. "Besides, it'll be nice for Jesse to have a new little brother or sister to play with."

"I know" Anya sighed, "But I still want his party to be special for him.."

"It will be" Xander smiled, pulling her into a hug.

"What's gonna be special Daddy?" said a sleepy voice from behind them. They turned to see their son, Jesse Alexander Harris, brown eyes drooping and dark hair messy from bed, standing there in his Snoopy pyjamas and clutching a well-loved stuffed yellow dog which he had named Spike, after his favourite Uncle. While Xander wasn't entirely happy with the bond those two shared, he could see that the former Big Bad truly cared about Jesse, his 'Little Rebel', and he couldn't in good conscience keep them apart.

"Hey, little man" he smirked. "What are you doing out of bed?"

"I had a nightmare" Jesse replied.

"Oh, my poor little human!" Anya cried, scooping him into her arms. Xander bit back a warning to be careful, not having told their son or anybody else their baby news yet. "Was it bunnies?"

"No, not this time" The little boy shook his head. While not afraid of bunnies to quite the extent his Mother was, they still unnerved him, Jesse being of the belief that anything that scared his Mommy that much couldn't be good. "I dreamed that scary people took Lily away.."

"Don't worry about Lily, buddy" said Xander, taking him from Anya's arms. "You'll see her at your party tomorrow. Now, let's get you back to bed."

"Okay Daddy.." Jesse yawned.