Faith sat on the edge of the living room sofa, one arm wrapped around her midsection while she anxiously bit the fingernails on her other hand. The entire gang was standing around, silently chatting and doing their best not to wake the younger slayers throughout the house. All eyes were on Faith though she didn’t even seem to notice it. She was too busy staring at the floor, her mind in some far off place.
The chatting completely died down when Giles entered the room with his robe on and a few books tucked under his arms. He looked over at Faith who seemingly hadn’t noticed his entrance, then over at Willow and Buffy.
“What do we know?” he asked quietly.
“There was some kind of spell cast on the night of Jackson’s birthday party,” Buffy answered.
“There are spells cast quite often in this house,” he replied.
“True,” Willow said, “but they’re all cast by me. This one wasn’t.”
“What type of spell was it and why is this the first we’re hearing of it?” Giles asked, puzzled yet concerned at the same time. He wasn’t used to being pulled from his study this late in the evening without at least a brief rundown of what was going on. Surely it was a bit silly for him to be playing guessing games this late at night.
“We’re not sure what kind of spell it was,” Buffy answered, her arms wrapped around her slender body. “Faith and I thought we knew. We were wrong.”
Giles sighed and took off his glasses before pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration.
“I’m not sure I understand the need for an emergency meeting. Everyone is here, alive and well. Surely said spell hasn’t caused much harm . . .”
“I’m pregnant,” Faith uttered, her eyes still focused on some far away place.
“Oh. Erm, well . . . I suppose congratulations are in order,” Giles said while slipping his glasses back on, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
“Thanks,” Faith said blankly, then finally looked up at Giles with red-rimmed eyes. “Now how do I get it outta me?”
And Giles’ glasses were suddenly off again. When he looked at Faith again the anguish written across her face nearly took his breath away.
“I’m not sure I . . . why would you want to . . .?”
“If it wasn’t Red’s spell then who the fuck knows what the hell’s growin’ inside of me? I want it out and I want it out now.”
“Let’s not be rash,” Giles began but stopped when Faith stood up from the sofa looking scarily like her old self.
“Baby, wait,” Buffy said as she walked the few steps over to Faith and took her hand. Faith’s posture became less rigid then and she glanced over at Buffy who was looking at her with so much love and concern that she felt herself calm down a little. “Before we make any decisions, we need to figure out what happened. Just because Willow didn’t cast the spell doesn’t mean this still isn’t possibly a beautiful miracle. Let’s do what we do best: research.”
“It’s true, we research like no others,” Willow said. “If you can just tell us a little bit about what happened that night, I’m sure we can get down to the bottom of what caused this.”
“Can we just give it a try, Faith?” Buffy asked, her eyes pleading for just a little more time. “Please?”
Faith looked Buffy in the eyes for several long moments before leaning forward and giving her a chaste kiss on the lips, followed by the tiniest of a nod. Without another word, she went back to her spot on the couch and wrapped one arm around her stomach, her eyes fixed on that far off place once again.
The gang got down to the research without any further hesitation. Buffy explained the fight they’d had the night of Jackson’s birthday party, followed by the conversation they’d had when they made up. She tried to be brief and vague when going over the part with the hot lesbian sex though Willow made sure she noted every detail.
The fact of the matter was, they glowed blue that night; the same blue that happened with the spell when they’d conceived Jackson. And once again, they conceived another child. There was only one person who knew for sure the details of the spell used the first time around and that was Willow. It was a spell that she’d come up with on her own, hence it couldn’t be duplicated unless she’d taught it to someone.
Stumped, everyone sat back and ran through all of the details in their minds, trying to figure out exactly what they were missing. Buffy was next to Faith, a soothing hand rubbing her back gently. Every now and again Faith would look back at her and Buffy would try to offer her a comforting smile but both girls were nervous and that much was obvious.
Just when everyone thought all hope was lost for the evening, Andrew mumbled something that got the attention of everyone in the room.
“You know, most gods and goddesses in these old texts are described as being pretty hung up on themselves. I don’t think it would be crazy to assume that maybe she imprinted a bit of herself on Jack so that she could sit back in the ether and admire her own handy work.”
All attention shifted from Andrew to Giles.
“What’s an ether? And is that even possible?” Buffy asked, her eyes hopeful. Even Faith managed to look up at Giles with something more than self-disgust in her eyes this time.
Giles pondered it for a few moments before replying, “Yes, I suppose it is. Both you and Faith are the biological parents, though the goddess could have added simple aspects to Jack when he was created. I’d almost be willing to place money on it.”
“So Jack’s a . . . goddess?” Xander asked, then frowned at his own question.
“I’d rather think not,” Giles answered, clearly working out the details in his mind now. “He’s a human child; we’ve already determined that much in the past. I believe that he’s simply, erm, enhanced with magical powers, perhaps.”
“How do we find out?” Faith asked. She was acutely interested in the conversation now; anything that involved Jackson was her top priority.
“We’ll have to test him,” Willow said. “He’s still so young so he probably doesn’t have control over his powers if he has any. All of his magic now would be cast purely on instinct. He won’t know how to actually use it yet.”
“And how the hell do we test him?” Faith asked, not liking the idea of anyone poking and prodding her little man. “He’s two years old. I think it’s a bit early to send him off to Hogwarts.”
Buffy chuckled at that and took Faith’s hand in hers, squeezing it tightly as she offered her a warm smile. Faith actually managed a little smile back this time and even gave her hand a squeeze in return.
“Well, I’ll teach him a really basic spell and see if he can copy it. I’m not sure he has the focus yet but it’s as good a place to start as any.”
“I don’t know if I like the idea of my son learning magic,” Buffy said with a bit of concern. “I want him to grow up with a normal life.”
Willow offered her a friendly and reassuring smile.
“Trust me, Buff. It’s better he learns to use it and control it now than to struggle with containing it later on.”
They further discussed things just a while longer, Willow going over which spell she would teach Jackson while Buffy and Faith paid close attention. There was no way they’d allow him to be taught something dangerous so they all agreed on a simple levitation spell. When Willow was learning magic, she’d practiced floating a pencil. She was just going to give him something that would catch his attention a bit better.
Tingaling the Tyrannosaurus – or Ting as Jackson liked to call his favorite plastic toy – was set for take-off the following afternoon and was expected to make a safe journey three inches above the floor.
Temporarily appeased that she wasn’t going to give birth to the newest baddie, Faith took a deep breath and sighed in relief. She gave Buffy a quick kiss on the forehead and excused herself from the group, disappearing upstairs without an explanation. Part of Buffy thought that maybe she was tired and needed a break from the drama, but the rest of her knew exactly what Faith was doing.
It was almost an hour later when the gang was finally done discussing the possibility of Jackson having powers. With Giles’ permission Willow put in a call to the coven to see if they had any other thoughts or suggestions that might help out in the situation. From that brief conversation, it seemed as though the coven believed Jackson to indeed be imprinted with some aspect of the goddess. They were sure that he hadn’t meant to recreate Willow’s spell; he’d probably accidentally picked up on the magical footprint it had left behind like most spells do. With children being ruled by such strong emotions, it was likely that he was happy or excited and the spell just . . . sorta . . . happened.
With a lot more on her mind than the excitement she should’ve been feeling at their earlier good news, Buffy traveled up the stairs and headed towards their bedroom, stopping just for a brief moment outside of Jackson’s bedroom door. She stepped back and peeked in through the barely opened door and sure enough found Faith laying back on the sofa with Jackson curled up on her. Faith’s eyes were closed and her nose was pressed to the top of his head, just taking him in while he was so peaceful and innocent.
Just as she was about to walk away, she saw Faith’s eyes open and look up at her. An almost shy smile appeared on Faith’s face as she realized she’d been caught once again sneaking into Jackson’s room just to hold him. She lifted one hand from his back and beckoned Buffy in. Buffy stepped into the room and gently closed the door behind her. The sight alone of Faith and Jackson laying like that nearly took her breath away and she had to concentrate on just making it across the room on her suddenly wobbly legs.
She gingerly sat down on the edge of the sofa and put her hand on Jackson’s back, feeling it rise and fall with his deep breaths.
“Can you believe this shit?” Faith asked, her voice barely a whisper.
Buffy could only shrug a little in response. Honestly, she was used to dealing with weird things. Her life was a series of dealings with weird things. The only difference now was that it was that it involved Jackson, one of the two people in the entire world she loved the most.
“I don’t care if he has powers. The more protection he has against the bad things in this world the better,” Faith continued. “But he’s two, yunno? His biggest problem should be learning to pee in the toilet and not on it, not about accidentally makin’ his Ma pregnant or makin’ Xander’s pants magically disappear.”
“Well at least we know that Xander was telling the truth now,” Buffy said.
No one would ever, ever forget the day Xander had to run through the house with a pillow held behind him and McGregor’s Compendium of Demon Lore held over his front. It was a sad day for Giles when he had to burn that book but he couldn’t see any other way around it.
No one wanted a wiener-book in the house.
“Aren’t you scared for him?” Faith asked as she stole a glance down at Jackson’s sleeping face.
“Of course I am,” Buffy said. “Just like I was scared when he started eating solid foods and when he took his first steps. It’s a challenge because it’s unknown. He’s gonna learn though, and we’re gonna learn too. He’s got the best teacher in the world. It may be scary now but it’s just another bump in the road. We’ll get past it.”
“And this one?” Faith asked, indicating her stomach.
Buffy smiled warmly and did something she’d been dying to do since they’d found out the baby wasn’t some kind of demon. She slid down off the couch and onto her knees, then slid her hand under Jackson’s tummy to rest on Faith’s stomach.
“Not really a bump yet but I have high hopes.”
Startled by the feeling of a hand under his stomach, Jackson sleepily blinked his eyes open and looked up at Buffy and Faith.
“What not bump?” he asked, still partially asleep.
Both Buffy and Faith chuckled as they looked down at him. Faith kissed the top of his head while Buffy moved her hand to caress his back.
“Your mama’s tummy,” Buffy explained. “There’s a baby growing in there and pretty soon you’re gonna have a little brother or sister.”
Seeing the completely puzzled look on Jackson’s face, Faith decided to take another approach. An approach that his two-year old mind would have a better chance of understanding.
“See, mama’s got a dinosaur egg, Choo-Choo. And it’s gonna grow big and round and when it’s ready, it’s gonna hatch and you’re gonna have a little brother or sister.”
Jackson was silent for a few moments as he pondered what they’d just told him. Buffy and Faith held their breath as they waited for a response. They just hoped he took the news well.
“I want a dinosaur brudder,” he said and instantly Buffy and Faith laughed, Faith hugging him a little tighter.
“I’ll work on it, buddy, but you might have to settle for a human brother. Or hey, possibly a dinosaur sister. Never know what might come outta me.”
Seemingly appeased by that response, Jackson rested his head back on Faith’s chest and held his hand out to Buffy. She smiled and got up off her knees, then slid onto the couch next to Faith so that they could all lay together. Jackson pulled her closer until he could wrap his chubby little fingers around her hair and twirled it gently as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep again.
And by that time it was too late to even think about getting back to their own bedroom so Buffy and Faith lay there with Jackson the rest of the night, silently talking and planning until they all fell asleep together.
Jackson sat at the kitchen table the next morning between Buffy and Faith, looking up at a smiling but nervous Willow who was seated across from him. She knew that she had to keep Jackson safe; there was no measuring his possible power yet. That being said, she didn’t know how well teaching him an actual spell would go. Levitating a toy dinosaur could suddenly turn into running and screaming in terror as an actual dinosaur floated though their kitchen and Xander would really get cranky if he had to replace the cupboards again.
“Okay, Jack-Jack, Auntie Willow has a really cool trick she wants to show you. And maybe after she shows it to you, you could try it out too. How does that sound?”
Jackson looked up at Buffy and when she smiled warmly at him, he looked back at Willow and nodded.
“Great!” Willow beamed. She grabbed a pencil from the table and held it in her hands, getting Jackson’s full attention when she began to try to balance it on the tip of one of her fingers. “See, Auntie is special, Jack-Jack. Just like when Kenny and your mama took you too see the magic show at the park, I can do magic like that too. Mine’s a little bit different though. When I think about it and focus, I can do certain things that other people can’t.”
It was then that she focused on the pencil and made it stand straight up on the tip of her finger, balancing perfectly now. She spared a glance over at him and smiled when she saw the wonder in his eyes. Stepping it up a notch, she began to spin the pencil slowly on its tip.
“The cool thing is, I think you might be special too. And I bet that if I show you how, you could do this, too.” She chose that moment to slip her finger out from under the pencil, letting it float in the air before her.
“Wicked,” Jackson said in awe, his eyes never leaving the pencil.
“That’s right, it is pretty wicked! Now I’m going to put the pencil down and maybe you can try with Tingaling,” she said and Faith took that moment to put Ting on the table in front of Jackson. “All you have to do is pretend that he’s as light as a feather; that he’s so light he can just float there in the air without anyone holding it. Do you think you can do that?”
“Okay, good! I’m just going to . . . let me just . . .” Willow began, her focus on the pencil suddenly intensifying. “. . . I can’t get it down. It’s stuck.”
Her brow furrowed as she concentrated on lowering the pencil but it continued to float in the air, mocking her in its pencily stubbornness. After a frustrating few moments, she finally reached out and grabbed it but it wouldn’t budge.
“Something weird is going on here. I . . .” she moved to look over at Buffy and Faith but that was when something caught her attention. “Umm, guys?”
Buffy and Faith, puzzled by what was going on, looked down at Jackson and were shocked to see his eyes glowing a bright smurf blue as he focused his gaze on the pencil. His little lips were pressed together in a tight line as he concentrated, seemingly unaware of the concerned looks all three women were giving him.
“Baby, are you doing that?” Buffy asked, her hand instinctively coming up to feel his forehead. Sure, as if magic suddenly caused a fever.
“Wicked,” Jackson replied again, his voice straining.
“How do we make him stop?” Buffy asked looking up at Willow who merely shrugged at her. This was definitely not a planned part of the lesson!
“There’s gotta be an off-switch somewhere,” Faith said. And then it hit her; she knew what she had to do. Dropping to the floor, she lifted up his shirt and pressed her lips to his tummy, blowing a loud raspberry on it.
Jackson laughed loudly and tried to push her head away, his focus on the pencil temporarily distracted. The pencil didn’t drop to the table though; his sudden outburst of laughter and emotion sent it flying across the kitchen with a surge of power, impaling it in the wall right next to Xander’s head as he tried to enter the kitchen to see what the commotion was about.
“Holy monkey!” Xander exclaimed as he ducked down, covering his head with his arms. “Give a guy some warning next time you start throwing ninja-pencils. I’ve only got one eye left to spare.”
“It wasn’t us,” Buffy said as she checked Jackson over. “It was Jack. I don’t think we need to test it out any further. He’s got more magic than a . . . help me out here?”
“A magic thing?” Willow offered.
“Exactly,” Buffy said. “He okay?” she asked Faith who was now holding a wriggling and giggling Jackson.
“Hmm. Ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes . . . I’d say we’re five by five.”
“One two free four five,” Jackson said quickly and smiled as Faith gave him a little high-five.
“Maybe I speak for myself here but I prefer sneaky pant-stealing Jack to pencil-flinging scary-making Jack,” Xander said as he pulled the pencil from the wall.
“It’s all about control,” Willow began as she stood up from the table. “It’s gonna take some practice – and some non-pointy objects – but I think I can work with him. Might have to ask the coven whip up a little something to keep his magic from accidentally going kablooey in the meanwhile, but I think I can help him.”
Faith – who was now holding Jackson upside down by his ankles – hoisted him up in the air and caught him, setting him the right way up.
“Ya hear that, Choo-Choo? You’re goin to magic school.”
A month had passed by before anyone had known it. Jackson continued to have magic practice with Willow every other day which gave Buffy and Faith a good opportunity to get the last bits of packing done for their upcoming move into their own house. After the first week of lessons, they stopped tagging along altogether so that Jackson wouldn’t be so distracted by their presence. He was doing well so far and most catastrophes had been avoided though a few pantless people had been spotted running throughout the house on more than one occasion.
Control, obviously, was still a bit of an issue.
No one had been injured, though, and that was the best part of it. No more flying pencils, no dinosaurs coming to life, and no major reconstruction for Xander to do. Another issue was trying to get Jackson to stop using magic when he wasn’t with Willow. Now that the floodgates had been opened, he liked to try his magic whenever he could.
It started small at first. A toy crossing the room so he wouldn’t have to get up to get it. Vegetables mysteriously disappearing from his plate. The television turning back on when Buffy had said he’d had enough TV time and turned it off.
And then it got a bit bigger.
It was late one night when mostly everyone was already sleeping and Buffy and Faith were doing the last bit of their packing and prepping to move when they heard a shriek from down the hall. They ran out of their room in their pajamas, weapons in hand and ready to take on whatever baddie was there, to find Kennedy and Willow running out of their room dressed only in bedsheets.
They were glowing a very familiar blue.
“Before you ask, this isn’t my blue. We were blueless, and then there was blue, and it wasn’t my to do!” Willow exclaimed.
“You mean you didn’t cast . . .?” Buffy began.
“Hell no!” Kennedy replied, pulling her sheet just a little higher over her chest. “I’m twenty-one years old. The only kid I want in my life is yours and that’s because I can give him back when I’m bored or when he starts to smell.”
“There’s only one other person that could’ve . . .” Faith began, her voice trailing off as all four women simultaneously turned their heads towards Jackson’s bedroom door. “So, when you turned blue . . . were you like, mid-hump?”
“Faith!” Buffy scolded.
“What? It’s a valid question!” Faith defended with her arms up in the air.
“We got interrupted before the good stuff got started,” Kennedy said.
“I’m just gonna . . .” Buffy said, nodding her head towards Jackson’s room. The other three women followed after her, all of them remaining completely quiet as Buffy opened the door just a crack so they could peek inside.
The faint blue glow coming from Jackson’s crib was just enough to illuminate the room and the several items that were floating around in it. One of his toy trains was circling in the air on an invisible track and Tingaling was chasing it around. Jackson was so wrapped up in his magic that he hadn’t even realized he was being watched until he heard a very distinguishable gasp from the door.
The toys dropped to the floor in a flash and Jackson looked at his audience, startled but doing his best to look innocent.
“Jackson Thomas!” Buffy said as she walked into the room and turned on the light. “What did we tell you about doing magic all by yourself?”
“That’s right, mister, ‘that bad.’”
“But I said it not bad, it fun,” Jackson said innocently, earning a laugh from Kennedy.
When everyone turned to look at her she just shrugged.
“What? It’s funny. He’s like a little carbon-copy of Faith but with a penis.”
“Penis!” Jackson shouted excitedly, smiling when he heard Kennedy laughing at his little outburst.
“Well that’s just fantastic!” Buffy said sarcastically as she glared at Kennedy.
Always the one to try to avoid arguments, Willow stepped in and tried to save things from getting any more unpleasant.
“Listen Buff, we’re just gonna go back to our room and . . . de-blue. I’ll do a reversal spell in the morning and make sure that neither Kenny or I are unseasonably fertile. Until then we’ll just maintain a proper distance and hope we’re shooting blanks.”
“What?” Kennedy asked, annoyed. “The sprog gets a little magic happy and my sex life suffers?” At Willow’s sympathetic look, Kennedy grumbled, “That bad.”
Taking Kennedy’s hand in hers, Willow led her out of the room, leaving Buffy and Faith to deal with Jackson. Faith, who had been quiet the whole time, quietly picked up Jack’s toys that had fallen and placed them on his dresser. She kept Tingaling in her hand and walked over to the crib, walking the toy along the rail while avoiding eye contact with Jackson. She just watched the little plastic dinosaur bob about, choosing her words carefully.
“You know you’re in trouble, right buddy?” she asked quietly.
Jackson didn’t say anything. Instead he reached out and touched the dinosaur, his little hand brushing against Faith’s. Buffy stayed silent as she watched from a few steps away with her arms crossed over her chest, knowing that Faith could get through to him better than anyone else.
Faith sighed and let Jackson take the dinosaur, then leaned down and rested her chin on the side of the crib rail. They looked at each other for a moment, her silence saying more to him than her words could.
“Ya gotta listen to what your Ma and Aunt Willow say, Jack. They’re not tryin’ to be mean, they’re tryin’ to make sure ya stay safe. If something bad happens . . . I don’t even know what I’d do.”
Jackson put his hand on Faith’s cheek and looked into her eyes.
“I’ll be good boy, mama.”
Faith smiled a sad smile, hating that it had to come to this. She didn’t want her son to have to restrain himself but that’s exactly what he had to do to ensure his safety and that of everyone around him.
“That’s a good little man,” she said. “Now gimme some sugar.”
She puckered her lips and Jackson leaned in and gave her a little kiss, then climbed back under his blankets when she nodded her head down at the mattress. Buffy walked over and made sure he was tucked in, then kissed her fingertips and brushed them over his cheek.
Feeling confident that he was done with magic – at least for the night -- they turned off the lights and left the room. They were silent as they walked back to their own bedroom before Faith finally spoke up.
“He’s gonna have to start practicing with Willow every day.”
“I was thinking the same thing.”
“We’re gonna have to get him one of those kid beds when we move into the new place. He’s gettin’ too big for that crib.”
“I was thinking the same thing.”
Faith stopped walking and pulled Buffy against her, wrapping her arms around her lower back as Buffy’s arms went over her shoulders.
“Gotta say, I’m glad we didn’t get hit with the blue mojo this time around though. I was thinking that maybe we could . . .” she leaned down and whispered the rest into Buffy’s ear, a lascivious smile on her face as her hands started to grope the girl’s backside.
Buffy just grinned as she listened and when Faith was done, she started tugging her backwards into their bedroom.
“I was thinking the same thing.”
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