Chapter Four

Faith rested back on the cot in the examining room, folding both of her arms under her head in the perfect posture of relaxation. Buffy was sitting at her side, flipping through one of the magazines in the rack next to the cot.

“Ooh look, we can save thirty-five cents on Shake-n-Bake,” Buffy feigned enthusiasm, folding the page back so Faith could see the coupon she was looking at.

Faith tilted her head so that she could read the page and laughed aloud before resting her head comfortably once again.

“That thing expired in 2000, B. Looks like we’re gonna have to pay full price.”

“Or we can just order pizza,” Buffy said. She flipped the pages a few more times before setting the magazine back in the rack and leaning forward to rest her head on the edge of the cot.

Faith moved one of her arms from behind her head and brushed Buffy’s hair from her face.

“So we still taking bets on the sex of the rugrat?” she asked, smiling when Buffy raised her eyebrows at her.

“All bets are off until it’s actually born. We all know what happened last time.”

“Yeah, but I’m askin’ the doc to check anyway. Betcha it’s a boy though.”

“What? You’re so wrong. We need a girl so I can dress her up in pink and purple and put little pigtails in her hair.”

“Nah, Jack needs a brother. Besides, if ya want a girl that bad I’ll get ya a Barbie doll. You can dress her up and do her hair while I teach the boys to ride skateboards and make mud pies.”

Buffy began to protest but a quiet knock on the door interrupted them. A young female doctor with curly brown hair and a white jacket walked in with Faith’s chart in her hand, smiling apologetically.

“So sorry the both of you had to wait so long, we’ve had a busy day. How are you feeling, Faith?” the doctor asked, her kind smile keeping both Buffy and Faith at ease.

“Five by five and ready to find out if junior is a he or a she, Dr. Darcy,” Faith said easily.

“Well let’s see if we can’t find that out for you.” Dr. Darcy stepped over to the ultrasound machine and pressed a few buttons, then grabbed the tube of gel and squeezed it on Faith’s already exposed tummy. “You’re lucky; your tummy is so small. You’ll probably stay pretty small throughout your pregnancy.”

“Figures,” Buffy said. “I was as big as a house and she’s going to be all cute and compact.”

“Yeah, but you were a cute house,” Faith said with a wink.

“Have you been experiencing any morning sickness, swelling, fatigue, insomnia?” Dr. Darcy asked.

“No, no, no and no. Been pretty much normal with the exception of the baby bump,” Faith replied easily.

“Wow, definitely very lucky. When I was pregnant with my son I couldn’t keep any food down for the first four months. Then when I finally could eat, I had kidney problems and started swelling up all over. My husband teased me that I had Hobbit feet.”

All three women had a good laugh at that while Dr. Darcy slid the transducer wand over Faith’s belly, trying to find the best possible angle to see the baby. Suddenly the baby’s rapid heartbeat sounded though the speakers and soon thereafter a fuzzy image appeared on the monitor.

Buffy squeezed Faith’s hand as she watched with a huge smile on her face. Two little feet were easy to spot and Dr. Darcy printed a picture of them before gliding the wand around to get a picture of the baby’s profile. Faith watched on in wonder, squeezing Buffy’s hand back just as tightly now.

“Kinda looks like a deformed jelly bean with arms,” Faith said, tilting her head to the side.

“It’s not a deformed jelly bean! It’s a perfect jelly bean,” Buffy cooed, tilting her head to the side like Faith was doing.

“There’s your baby’s head and heart, and there’s an arm, and if we swing around this way . . .” she paused as she moved the wand again, trying to get a view from the bottom up, “. . . we should be able to determine the baby’s sex.”

The baby’s legs appeared to be crossed though, seemingly protecting his or her modesty.

“Definitely your kid: its legs are crossed,” Faith said to Buffy, earning her a nudge with an elbow.

“Ahh, there we go,” Dr. Darcy said as she printed another picture. “Nice and clear shot. Would you like to know the sex?” At Buffy and Faith’s nods, she continued, “You’re having a little girl.”

“I’ve heard that before,” Buffy said skeptically.

“You sure, doc? Was kinda getting a manly vibe from the jelly bean,” Faith said.

“Well,” Dr. Darcy began, checking the screen more intently, “I can honestly say that I haven’t been wrong yet. If I’m not sure I’ll tell the parents as much, but I’m definitely going with ‘congrats, it’s a girl’ on this one.”

“Guess that means you’ll get your own personal Barbie doll, B,” Faith said with a small smile.

“Yeah, but you can teach her how to skateboard too,” Buffy said, leaning down to give Faith a chaste kiss on her lips.

“Well, everything looks great here,” Dr. Darcy said and placed the wand back on the ultrasound machine. “You’re almost twenty weeks along now so you’re just about half-way done cooking. You’ll start to see more changes now. You’ll feel the baby moving more, your belly’s going to get bigger every week, and your breasts are going to become fuller.”

“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,” Faith said with a grin.

“I’ll see you back here in a few weeks and until then, please don’t hesitate to call our patient care line if you have any questions or concerns.”

“Thanks, doc,” Faith said with a smile, followed by a quick goodbye from Buffy. When they were alone in the room, Faith sat up and wiped the goo from her belly with some paper towels Buffy handed her. “You really think it’s a girl?”

“I don’t know. I mean, the doctor seemed pretty confident. I probably won’t believe it until she’s born with a complete lack of Surprise-Penis.”

Faith could only laugh as she stood up and got dressed properly, anxious to get home and relieve Andrew of babysitting duty. When she was finished she let Buffy grab her hand and lead her out of the office. She couldn’t wait to tell Jackson the news. A smile crossed her face then as she realized something.

“Yunno, Jack’s gonna be so upset when he finds out that not only is he having a sister but that she’s not a dinosaur, either.”

“So much for a dinosaur brother,” Buffy replied with a giggle.

Buffy and Faith entered their house as quietly as possible, knowing that Jackson was probably napping. If there was one thing they’d learned as parents, it was never to wake a sleeping two-year-old. However, instead of silence, they were greeted with the sounds of Jackson laughing hysterically from the living room.

Walking quietly through the hallway, Buffy and Faith peeked around the corner to see Andrew doing a headstand while Jackson threw raisins at him, trying to knock him over.

“See, my mother always used to tell me that having a flat head would come in handy for something,” Andrew said, his voice straining as he struggled to stay vertical.

Jackson started singing a very babble-filled song that sounded vaguely like “London Bridge is Falling Down.” He danced around, still pelting Andrew with raisins when he caught a movement from the corner of his eye. He looked over and saw Buffy and Faith peeking around the corner and his face lit up even more.

“Maaaaaa!” he yelled as he ran over, throwing one arm around Buffy’s leg and the other around Faith’s, squeezing them tightly.

“’Sup buddy?” Faith asked, rustling his hair.

“Andrew gived me candy!”

Buffy and Faith looked over at Andrew who finally lost his balance and toppled over, right into the couch. When he finally managed to right himself and fix his rumpled clothes, he gave Buffy and Faith a pathetic look.

“I know you said he’s not supposed to have it before his nap but you try telling him no. Last time, I ended up with a tail that didn’t go away for four days. I had to cut holes in my pants and -- for the record -- the young slayers are very unforgiving when it comes to excess body parts.”

Faith practically exploded with laughter and Buffy did her best not to laugh in Andrew’s face, though the damage was already done. He sighed and collected his things before making his way toward the door to head back home.

“Andrew?” Jackson called out, though it sounded more like ‘Anj-woo’ coming out of his mouth.


“You come back an’ play wif me tomowwow?” he asked, putting on his big, cute puppy-dog eyes that had absolutely everyone wrapped around his little finger.

And just like everyone else, Andrew was caught up in cuteness.

“I suppose so, my little prince. I can introduce you to the magical world of ‘The Neverending Story,’ which ironically has a pretty good ending.”

Offering them a quick wave, Andrew turned and went out the front door, leaving Buffy and Faith alone with Jackson. Faith walked into the living room and plopped onto the couch, using her foot to push some of the raisins from the floor into a nice little pile. Jackson followed quickly after her and crawled around on his hands and knees picking up some of the more far-to-reach raisins. Buffy was the last to enter the room a few moments later, two bottles of cold water in one hand and Jackson’s dinosaur cup in the other.

“So Choo-Choo, your Ma and me went to the doctor today,” Faith began as Buffy put the drinks down on the end table.

Jackson stopped crawling around on the floor and sat up facing them, a mess of squishy raisins in his hand.

“You get a shot?” he asked, his bottom lip coming out in sympathy. There weren’t many things Jackson didn’t like. Shots were one of them.

“Nope, but the doctor put a funny little machine on my tummy and was able to look at the baby that’s in there,” Faith explained.

Buffy sat down on the couch next to Faith and against her side, smiling happily when Faith lifted up her arm so she could snuggle against her.

“My dinosaur brudder?” Jack asked excitedly.

Buffy and Faith shared a look with one another before Buffy cleared her throat quietly.

“Actually, not this time, Jack,” she said gently. “This time you’re getting a sister. A human sister.”

Jackson pondered that for a few moments before tilting his head to the side. It was clear that behind his big brown eyes he was trying hard to figure it all out.

“Not a dinosaur brudder?”

“Sorry, Chooch,” Faith said. “She kinda looks like a jelly bean though. And hey, you like candy.”

“I wuv candy,” he said with a smile.

“Then do you think that maybe you can give your lil’ sis a chance?”

Again he took a few moments to ponder it before putting the entire handful of raisins in his mouth and shaking his head, earning a double-grimace from both Faith and Buffy.

“I can wuv the jelly bean too.”

And that was how they appeased a two-year old, relating his unborn sister to candy to get him to love her. Sometimes this parenting gig was easier than it looked.

They’d just let the whole ‘eating raisins from the floor’ thing slide by this time.

Faith was just over six months along when it was mutually decided by everyone excluding herself that she would no longer be allowed to participate in any slay-related activities. While she’d been okay with leaving the actual slayage to slayers who weren’t pregnant, she didn’t like the fact that they didn’t want her teaching classes any longer. They didn’t even want her working out in the gym with the girls because they feared that the horseplay that usually broke out could put Faith at risk of being injured.

So while Buffy and Kennedy went slaying and trained the girls, while Willow worked with the coven and Xander kept expanding their facilities and Dawn and Andrew began training to become Watchers, Faith was left with Jackson as her entertainment. She didn’t mind spending time with him. In fact, she downright loved it.

But Buffy seemed determined to ruin all of her usual fun even when she wasn’t around.

The blonde was running around the house looking for her running sneakers and favorite hooded sweatshirt while simultaneously shouting out directions to Faith who was sitting in the living room teaching Jackson how to play Mario Kart Double Dash on the GameCube. They were too busy having fun and laughing to fully listen to Buffy but Faith got the gist of it and was able to answer back vaguely enough to make Buffy think she’d been listening.

“Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes, just listen for the timer and take it out of the oven. Before you ask, I didn’t make it, Dawn did. It’s some kind of natural or organic casserole that’s supposed to be full of protein and extra healthy. There’s green beans in the microwave, just nuke them for thirty seconds to warm them up. Faith, are you even listening to me?”

“Green beans waiting to be nuked, check,” Faith replied, trying to help Jackson steer his car along.

“I won’t be home until late because we’re taking the girls out on a nighttime training exercise. Just make sure he doesn’t eat any candy, okay?”

“Yes ma’am. And be careful. You come home with any bruises or cuts, I go back on active duty,” Faith said, turning her attention to Buffy who was hopping around trying to get her sneakers on.

Buffy stopped hopping and took her shoe off, holding it upside down and shaking it until a plastic toy soldier came tumbling out.

“So that’s where Captain Slappypants went to,” Faith said, causing Jackson to smile excitedly when he saw the toy soldier in Buffy’s hand. He jumped up from the couch and ran over to Buffy, giving her a tight hug before taking the toy and running back to the couch.

“Have fun tonight. Call me if you need anything and I’ll be back before you go to bed,” Buffy said before leaning over and giving Faith a chaste but lingering kiss on her lips. Before Faith could open her eyes Buffy was running out the door, already late for slaying duties.

“Later, B.”

With the house now quiet again except for Jackson’s laughter and random yelling at the video game, Faith settled in to have a quiet yet uneventful night. Sure, she missed slaying and definitely was itching to let her slayer have a bit of fun but the tradeoff seemed pretty decent. More time with Jack – especially without Buffy hovering around and making them behave – was always welcomed.

The timer on the stove broke them out of their game-playing daze and Faith went into the kitchen to get dinner together. She vaguely remembered something about green beans so she cranked the dial and hit the start button on the microwave before putting on Buffy’s ridiculously girly oven mitts and pulling the casserole out from the oven.

Casserole, yeah right. It smelled vaguely vegetable-like with a hint of barf and armpit for added effect. How the hell was she supposed to eat it, let alone make Jackson eat it?

She heard the pitter patter of little feet enter the kitchen and turned around to see Jackson standing there plugging his nose and scrunching up his face with disgust.

“Smells gross,” he said.

“Can’t argue with that,” Faith replied as she stuck a serving spoon into the casserole dish and plopped a helping of it onto her plate. It slid around and fell apart until it looked like some kind of demonic omelet from hell. “Jesus Christ. They can call this whatever they want but it certainly ain’t ‘natural.’”

“Not natchral,” Jackson repeated, shaking his head.

“But hey, you like green beans, right?” Faith asked. She spun around to turn the microwave off and as if on cue, the green beans exploded all over the glass door before she could hit the stop button. “Holy sh . . . think they’re a little bit well done, buddy.”

Leaving the mess in the microwave at least for the time being, she scooped another helping of the casserole onto Jackson’s Thomas the Tank Engine plate and carried it over to the table so that they could sit and attempt to eat together. They sat awkwardly, both of them poking and prodding the food and looking at it like it was the foulest excrement ever imaginable.

“Smells gross,” Jackson said again.

“Got that right. Probably tastes pretty good though. Go on buddy, give it a try and tell me what it’s like.”

Yeah right, like that’d work.

Jackson set his fork down and crossed his arms over his chest, looking up at Faith with a defiant look on his face.

“You first.”

Faith glared at him playfully before turning her attention back to the hideousness that was in front of her. She’d dusted vamps, skewered demons, and slayed all kinds of big bads. Surely she could handle a mouthful of whatever the hell Dawn had made for them.

Raising her fork up to her lips, Faith swallowed her pride and took a mouthful of the creation. She chewed and grimaced and chewed some more but no way was this going to go down as easily as her pride had. She quickly picked up her napkin and spit the food into it, wiping her lips completely clean before guzzling down half a bottle of water.

“No way am I makin’ you eat that slop,” Faith said breathlessly, sliding his plate away from him so he didn’t have to go through what she just had. “Maybe we can take an impromptu trip to the pizza place and hit the game store on the way home, get you some kinda fun kid game for the GameCube on the way home. How’s that sound to you?”

“Pineapples and hammy!” Jackson exclaimed happily as he slid off his chair and ran over to the counter, fetching the cordless phone for Faith.

Faith smiled happily and took the phone from him, dialing the all too familiar number to St. Angelo’s pizzeria. She leaned down and stole a kiss from him as she waited for the line to answer.

“Yeah, I’m gonna need a large pizza with ham and pineapple and another large with pepperoni, bacon, sausage and ham.” She smiled down at Jackson who was busy poking her rounded tummy with his plastic fork while she waited for her total. “Twenty minutes? Great, thanks.”

She hung up the phone and quickly scooped Jackson up in her arms, knowing that they’d have to hustle if they were gonna make it to the game store and to pick up the pizza on time.

Faith rested back on the couch with her plate resting on her tummy, a half-eaten slice of pizza on it that she just couldn’t manage to finish. She wasn’t upset though; at least she’d gotten the first seven pieces down without getting too stuffed.

“You enjoy your pizza, Choo-Choo?” she asked Jackson who was sitting on the floor with an empty plate and a happy look on his face.


“You want any more?”

“No tank you.”

“Can you be a good boy and watch TV for five minutes so I can clean up the kitchen?”

“Okay Mama.”

Faith smiled another one of those big smiles that only two people had ever gotten her to smile: Buffy and Jackson. She wasn’t sure how she’d gotten so lucky to have the girl of her dreams and a handsome kid who was perfect in every way, but she sure as hell wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Hopefully baby number two would be just as awesome and make them a happy little foursome.

She couldn’t complain; so far the little jelly bean was an angel. She hadn’t made her sick or unnecessarily fat. So far things were looking good!

Taking their plates into the kitchen, Faith emptied the entire casserole dish as well as their still full plates into the garbage and immediately took the bag outside to the trash cans. There was no way the house was going to lose that smell any time soon. The microwave was fairly easy to clean since most of the green beans had stayed in the bowl and only the top few had exploded. The only evidence of their pizza splurge was the few remaining slices of pineapple and ham that she wrapped up and stuck in the fridge.

Sure, Buffy might be upset for a while that they’d ditched the supposedly healthy food for pizza, but after coming home from working out and finding her favorite kind of pizza in the fridge? She’d soon get over it.

When the kitchen was back to normal, Faith turned off the light and made her way back into the living room to find Jackson trying to figure out the new game she’d bought. He was holding a small microphone in his hand and right up against his mouth, breathing heavy into it and coating it with a nice layer of drool.

“How dis work?” he asked Faith when he saw her walk in, earning an instant laugh from her.

“Well first we gotta plug it in, Chooch, and then we gotta turn the game on.”

She picked him up and plopped him down on the couch, smiling at how hard he was trying to stay awake despite the fact that his bed time had passed a half hour before. She didn’t want him to go to bet yet though; she liked this alone time with him.

Wiping the microphone off on her pants, she turned the game on and stood in front of the TV, ready to give him a lesson on GameCube karaoke.

“Listen and learn, buddy. Mama’s about to give you a lesson on rockin’ the house.”

A familiar song started up and Jackson clapped excitedly. It was one of his favorites.

“Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?” Faith sang, then quickly handed the microphone over to Jackson who sang the next part.

“I gonna get get get you drunk, get you wuv drunk off my hump!” Jackson sang, then began clapping as Faith began to dance around while singing the rest of the song.

“My hump my hump, my hump my hump my hump, my hump my hump, my lovely BABY bump!”

The changed lyrics weren’t lost on Jackson who laughed hysterically, pointing at Faith’s round tummy.

They were so wrapped up in their fun that they never heard the front door open, nor did they see Buffy smiling and watching them from the hallway. Her heart swelled as she watched Faith and Jackson play and smile, wanting nothing more than to be in there with them, having fun.

While Faith took a singing break to do a little dance for Jackson, Buffy took a running start into the room and slid in front of them on her socks, taking over the lyrics.

“So don't pull on my hand boy, you ain't my man, boy, I'm just tryin’ to dance boy, and move my hump.”

Faith started laughing as Buffy moved up behind her and started dancing, both arms wrapped around her baby bump.

It was a far cry from their nights out dancing and having fun years before, but they wouldn’t give any of this up for anything in the world.

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