Andrew was busy pacing around with a phone in his hand in front of a surprisingly calm and cool Faith. She was wearing a t-shirt now but still had the sheet wrapped around her lower body, thanks to his prudishness. He eyed her warily just about every twenty seconds, like he was waiting for something to come slipping out and attack him.
“Now might be the time to consider leaving for the hospital.”
“Forget about it, I ain’t goin’ anywhere without B. Try again.”
Andrew sighed at Faith’s reaction but, having expected it, dialed the phone again and anxiously held it to his ear. The call went straight to voicemail, just as it had the previous seven times before. The same thing had happened when he’d called Willow, Giles, and Xander as well.
“Voicemail again. They must be mid-battle because all communications are down. I’ve left messages on all of their phones though so hopefully someone will call us back soon.”
“I’m not too worried ‘bout it,” Faith said casually.
Andrew looked at her with wide eyes then, stopping his pacing to fully face her. Faith actually grimaced when she saw the look on his face but that didn’t stop him from continuing to freak out. Panic was setting in – no, it had already set in -- and was now kicking him into a weird kind of uber-panic.
“Since you’re being so cavalier, can I be worried for the both of us?”
Faith thought about it for a moment and shrugged.
“If it makes you feel better.”
“Surprisingly, it doesn’t. How are you not panicking? A small child is going to leave your body and you’re ‘not worried about it?’ I’m terrified for you. I’m terrified for me!”
“Well it ain’t so bad right now,” Faith said easily. “Kinda feel some pressure and some cramping but it ain’t as bad as a knife in the gut.”
“It’ll probably get worse before it gets better,” Andrew noted.
“I’ll deal. This kinda thing usually takes hours, right?” At Andrew’s tentative nod, Faith continued. “It’s already like nine o’clock. B’s gonna be back in a couple hours; I can hang ‘til then.”
She knew that Andrew wasn’t just going to let the issue go like that; he was already too nervous as it was. Sure enough, he continued to pace and ramble anxiously; trying to focus on the positive instead of the fact that he could be up to his elbows in placenta at any moment. At one point he even mustered up every ounce of courage he had and offered to have a look at ‘the situation’ as he called it, but the glare he got from Faith spoke volumes.
He was to stay away from her more intimate parts at all costs. She only had to remind him once of what she’d told him months before when they’d moved into the house: he didn’t ever need to be that close to her ever again. The massage had been the one and only exception, and look where that had gotten them!
Nearly two hours had passed by and they’d still received no word from Buffy or any of the Scoobies. Not only did that make Faith nervous because she thought maybe something bad had happened during their mission, but it made Andrew even more nervous than he already was. Sure, Faith was still calm and relaxed and not complaining with the exception of a deep breath or a quiet grunt every now and again, but that could change at any moment. In fact, Faith was starting to continuously take deep soothing breaths now that did anything but soothe Andrew.
Deciding to take a page from her book, he started to take deep soothing breaths right along with her until she shot him an annoyed glare. He offered her an apologetic smile before taking a few steps closer to her.
“On a scale of one to ten, how bad is it?” While Faith mulled it over, he decided to be more helpful. “Is it like when Luke lost his hand to Vader’s lightsaber, or more like when the alien burst out of the guy’s chest in ‘Alien’?” Faith raised both of her eyebrows at him and he smiled nervously. “‘Alien’ it is.”
“Actually, it’s not as bad as I thought it’d be, like B’s been preparing me for,” Faith answered truthfully. “When she was in labor she was big with the screamin’ and yellin’ and stuff. Kept tellin’ her I wasn’t gonna get like that but she didn’t believe me.”
“Well to be fair, you’ve been doing some yelling.”
“That’s what happens when you try to move the sheet without warning, yo.”
“I was only trying to be helpful.”
“Yeah, well . . . ya might have to get helpful again real soon.”
“Why?” Andrew asked warily, unconsciously taking a few steps back.
“Cos it’s gettin’ a little intense over here,” Faith answered from her position on the floor. She had her back resting up against the sofa and was looking pretty calm despite what was going on.
Andrew couldn’t help it then. He put his hands on his hips and looked at her accusingly. He knew he should’ve taken her to the hospital earlier! His delicate nature wasn’t meant to deal with things like this. Add to that the fact that he was pretty sure that placenta didn’t wash out of clothing very easily and he was wearing his favorite Star Wars sweatshirt.
“I told you we should’ve left for the hospital hours ago!”
“Yeah, but we both know how stubborn I am and I’m pretty sure it’s too late now,” Faith said with a chuckle.
“Then I’m calling 911. Despite my vast knowledge of other topics, my data is limited when it comes to the lady parts and the things that come out of them.”
He reached for the phone that was now resting on the couch cushion but Faith beat him to it and quickly pulled it out of his reach. He looked annoyed but Faith didn’t seem to care. The last thing she wanted was for an ambulance to show up and take her away. People had kids at home all the time. Not that she felt like the time was now or never, but she knew that if Buffy didn’t get home reasonably soon, there was no stopping the baby coming.
“No ambulance, Andy. We’re gonna play this one fast and loose, see how it all pans out.”
“I don’t even care that you’re a Slayer and can beat me up for saying this, but that’s just irresponsible.”
“It’s not irresponsible . . . yet. Listen, what we have to do here is get an idea of how fast things are movin’ along.” She took a deep breath and readied herself for what she was about to say. “You’re not gonna like it – and neither do I, for what it’s worth – but you’re gonna have to take a look.”
“. . . a look?” Andrew asked, confused.
Andrew suddenly paled. He hadn’t thought she’d actually take him up on that when he’d offered earlier! Oh, he was definitely in way over his head now. Why had he ever taken out that massage book! It served him right for not having the patience to wait for the knitting book to be re-stocked. Oh god, now he was feeling faint . . .
“Yo, Andy, I need you to keep your shit together,” Faith said, trying to hide her sudden amusement. “All ya gotta do is sneak a peek, check out the sitch.”
“What exactly will I be looking for?” he asked as he began to roll up the sleeves of his sweatshirt.
“A baby, Andrew. You’re gonna be looking for a baby.”
“Eww. What do I do if it’s sticking out like a turkey thermometer?”
“Grab on tight and give it a yank? I dunno. Let’s just see what happens. I can always shout ya directions from this end,” Faith said with a wink.
Andrew sighed, then took in several deep and soothing breaths. He watched Faith slouch down a little bit more, her knees coming apart under the sheet.
Definitely his worst night ever.
Bracing himself, he met her gaze before stepping forward and kneeling down in front of her. The sheet seemed to go on forever but he finally managed to lift it up . . . then promptly stood and stumbled backwards with a look of pure horror on his face while covering his eyes with his hands.
“What?” Faith asked, panicking. She reached down and felt around, noticing that nothing seemed out of place or was awkwardly sticking out. “Ain’t nothing happening down there. What the hell are you talkin’ about?”
“It’s still horrible!” he said, unable to pull his hands down from his eyes.
Ah, right. Gay man pretending to be straight. Of course it was horrible to him.
Faith shook her head and sniggered quietly as she pushed the sheet back down. Part of her felt bad for Andrew but the other part was just wickedly amused. She couldn’t wait to tell Kennedy and Buffy about what she’d made him do. The teasing would never end!
Speaking of Buffy, there was a quiet jangling of keys as the front door pushed open, seemingly sucking all of the pressure out of the room. Faith remained seated on the floor in front of the sofa and out of view; it wasn’t like she could exactly get up and see who was there. She did, however, hear a very disgusting squishing sound as footsteps approached the living room.
Andrew sighed with relief as he watched Buffy stand in the doorway, careful to stop there and not mess the floors in the living room too.
“Oh, sweet savior!” he cried as he ran across the room and into Buffy’s arms, colliding with a loud squelch that made Faith wince even though she hadn’t seen it. He looked down between them, then calmly pulled away and tried not to get too upset over the slime on his Star Wars sweatshirt. “What happened to communications? Geez, I’ve been calling for hours!”
Buffy merely pulled her slime-covered cell phone from her pocket and handed it to Andrew, letting the yellow slime drip over his hand and onto the floor.
“Someone apparently didn’t do their research. No one knew that Gar’al-nesh demons explode on contact with steel. Factor into that a small army of Slayers with swords and axes and, well . . . you get the slime-covered picture.” Buffy suddenly seemed to realize something then and her tone quickly changed. “Wait, why were you calling me for hours?”
Andrew didn’t need to answer; Faith’s arm shot up from the other side of the sofa and Buffy was at her side in a moment, checking over her frantically.
“What happened?” Buffy asked.
“It was that massage. Andy was all gung-ho about rubbin’ my dogs and then I was pissin’ myself without any actual piss involved.”
“Ugh, that’s lovely, dear.”
“Hey!” Andrew whined. “You said you’d take responsibility!”
“But you should’ve know better than to listen to her; she’s the biggest schemer we know,” Buffy said to Andrew before turning her attention back to Faith. She took a quick gander under the sheet and then easily lifted Faith into her arms. “Come on, we’ve gotta get to the hospital before it’s too late.”
“No, now we both need to shower,” Faith said with a grimace as some slime pooled on her thigh.
“Forget about it, Faith. How far apart are your contractions?”
Faith shrugged, “No idea. Ain’t really been counting.”
“How is that even possible?” Buffy asked. “And how are you not screaming in agony right now?”
“I dunno. Gotta be honest; I think you’re kinda a big baby, B. This has been a walk in the park compared to the normal bumps and bruises and stab wounds.”
Buffy just glared at her before starting to walk back toward the front door.
“Yeah, well . . . I’m lodging a formal complaint with someone. Easy pregnancy, easy labor; no one should have it as easy as you.”
She was busy helping Faith into the car when Andrew jogged out of the house with some fresh clothing in his hands. Squeamish or not, the kid was definitely helpful in a cinch. Buffy looked around the darkened street and made sure no one was watching before she quickly stripped down to her bra and panties and started dressing in the fresh clothing.
“Andrew, I need you to do me a favor and stay at the house tonight. Wendy is bringing Jackson back in the morning and I’ll probably still be at the hospital with Faith. There’s food in the fridge and you know he loves spending time with you so you should be set. Call Giles if you need any help and he’ll send over some reinforcements.”
“No problem. You should probably go before Faith explodes in your lovely new car.”
Realizing that Andrew was right, Buffy just nodded and jogged around to the other side and hopped in the car. They were out of the driveway and down the street in a flash, leaving a waving Andrew behind in middle of the darkened driveway. He waited until they were well out of sight before dropping his arm down and walking back toward the door with his shoulders slumped.
It had been a long night. He’d done and seen things he’d never thought possible. The massage, that sheet, Faith’s . . .
He suddenly shook his head violently and screwed his eyes closed tightly.
“I’m never going to get that visual out of my mind.”
The delivery room was buzzing with activity as Dr. Darcy came in to check on Faith for at least the fifth time. Faith was hooked up to all kinds of monitors and there were wires coming out of places where there should be no wires, but the atmosphere was surprisingly calm. That was due in large part to Faith, who was taking the whole labor thing like a champ.
“Hey Doc, how much longer you think this is gonna take?”
“Why, do you have a hot date?” Dr. Darcy teased as she briefly looked over a paper readout from one of the machines.
“I wish,” Faith said, earning a small smack on her shoulder from Buffy. “I’m just afraid that if we make this chick here wait any longer, that pout on her face is gonna be a permanent fixture.”
Buffy pouted even more then, despite Faith’s joking manner and the quiet laughter from both Dr. Darcy and the nurse.
“Hey, I can’t help it. You’ve had the easiest pregnancy known to man, and now you’re making labor look like some kind of a cake walk. I know you have a high-tolerance for pain but this is just ridiculous.”
Faith smirked and folded her arms behind her head casually. “What can I say, B? This kid likes me. She doesn’t want me to suffer; she’s savin’ that for her teenage years.”
“That may be the case,” Dr. Darcy interrupted, “but she’s also not making this easy for you. You’re just not dilating enough, Faith, and you’re not responding to the meds we’ve given you. I’d like to take the baby out before we run into any complications.”
“Yeah, if you think that’s best, I’m all for it,” Faith said, stealing a nervous glance over at Buffy for support. “Guess it’s a bonus for my naughty bits too.”
It was just like Faith to find the inappropriate silver lining in a potentially bad situation. Buffy took Faith’s hand in hers and squeezed it, offering her a quick smile as the nurse began to prep Faith to move.
The staff really didn’t seem to mess around when it came to the serious business. Within five minutes Faith was in an operating room, properly anesthetized, and Dr. Darcy was assuring both her and Buffy that everything would be fine. As one of the nurses held out a scalpel to the doctor, Buffy brushed her fingertips through Faith’s hair, offering her a comforting smile that went unseen through her sterilized mask.
“Okay, Faith, you’re going to feel some pressure . . .”
And before Dr. Darcy could even finish the sentence, Faith was feeling said pressure. It wasn’t painful but it was definitely weird, a bit uncomfortable, and judging by the look of horror on Buffy’s face, it wasn’t a pretty situation on the other side of the surgical curtain. Some squishing noises followed soon thereafter and Faith could practically hear Buffy’s grimace, but that didn’t prepare them for the noise that came quickly thereafter.
A loud wail filled the room as the baby was pulled from Faith and her little mouth and nose were suctioned out. She actually wailed even louder when the bulbous little suction device was removed, making even the doctor wince a little.
“You have a daughter, and she has a great set of lungs!” Dr. Darcy exclaimed as one of the nurses used a sterile sheet to wipe the baby down.
“That was disgusting!” Buffy said distastefully but quickly changed her tone when she looked down at Faith, her hidden smile apparent in her eyes. “But she’s here, and she’s beautiful, and she’s got more dark hair than I’ve ever seen on a baby.”
“Hear that cry, B? She sounds like a pterodactyl. Jack-Jack would be flippin’ if he was here right now, thinkin’ he had a dinosaur sister.”
“She kinda does,” Buffy said, pulling her mask down so she could steal a kiss from Faith’s lips.
They both turned their heads simultaneously as a nurse brought the swaddled baby over for them to meet. She was still screaming her pretty little head off and didn’t even seem to take notice of Buffy and Faith staring at her.
“Look at her, Faith; she looks just like you.”
“Yeah, and screams just as loud too.” She looked up at the nurse who was watching the scene with a big smile. “That natural?”
“Perfectly,” the nurse replied. “What’s this gorgeous little girl’s name?”
“That’s been an issue of much contention,” Buffy said with a bit of a sigh.
“Kinda thinking about sticking with Jellybean,” Faith joked.
The baby was screaming so loudly though that the nurse had to strain to hear them and ended up hearing it wrong.
“Oh, Jilly; how lovely. I’ve always loved the name Jillian,” she said. Buffy and Faith both began to correct her but she continued before they could. “Well I promise I’ll bring Jillian back to you just as soon as possible; we just need to check her over and make sure everything is okay. Congratulations!”
Buffy and Faith watched her disappear across the room with the baby before they finally looked at one another, a short silence passing between them. After a moment Buffy raised her eyebrow a little and Faith shrugged as much as she could in her prone position.
“I don’t hate it.”
“It’s actually pretty nice,” Buffy said, mulling it over.
“And she won’t be all confused after hearing herself called Jellybean this whole time.”
“We can’t actually give her the middle name Bean, of course. I have to draw the line somewhere.”
“Don’t worry, B, we’ll come up with something good. I was thinking about Rain.”
“After the weather? Think again.”
“Then how about Jade?”
“I vetoed it for a first name; I’m vetoing it for a middle name.”
“Yeah, but ya love me.”
Buffy smiled and leaned down, kissing Faith’s lips softly. “Yeah, I really do.”
It was well after noon when Buffy walked in the door at home, having spent the night at the hospital with Faith. She was running on absolutely no sleep and still had slime in her hair, but she couldn’t keep the smile from her face. Faith was recovering nicely – Slayer healing had already kicked in – but Buffy made sure to be on baby duty that night when the nurses brought her in the room.
It seemed that the staff was having a hard time getting the baby to stop crying so they decided to leave it up to the mommies.
Buffy, on the other hand, had no problem. The minute she picked the baby up and held her, Jillian calmed right down and fell asleep. Of course she woke back up the moment Buffy laid her back down in the bassinet, so she just decided to hold the baby until the morning so Faith could get some sleep.
In the back of her mind, Buffy snickered to herself. Easy pregnancy, relatively easy labor; difficult baby. At east Jackson had been a quiet little guy . . .
That didn’t seem to be the case now though as she followed the sound of his laughter through the house and found him playing upstairs in his room with Andrew. Andrew was wearing a baseball catcher’s mask and Jackson was throwing Nerf footballs at his head, laughing when they’d bounce off and scatter across the room.
“Looks to me like someone forgot he’s not supposed to be throwing balls in the house.”
Jackson suddenly looked up and smiled when he saw Buffy standing there. He jumped down from his bed and leapt into her arms, hugging her tight. Buffy wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight in return, burying her nose in his freshly washed hair.
Andrew really was an excellent babysitter.
“Andrew said it okay, Ma. He has helmet like Darth Vader!”
“Oh yeah, just like Darth Vader,” she said sarcastically, shooting a coy smile at Andrew. “Well I guess so long as he doesn’t mind . . .”
“I’ve suffered through worse,” Andrew said as he lifted the mask up and let out a relieved breath. “How did everything go?”
“Great. She had to have a C-section but there’s a happy healthy baby so all is right with the world.” She turned her head and looked at Jackson who was playing with the button on her blouse. “Would you like to go and meet your baby sister?” At Jackson’s enthusiastic nod, she set him down and looked back to Andrew.
“Can you keep an eye on him while I shower? I won’t be long.”
“Of course,” Andrew said with a smile which faltered as he lowered the catcher’s mask again.
Buffy had barely made it to the bathroom when she heard Nerf balls bouncing around and Jackson laughing again. It was good to be home; she just couldn’t wait until they could all be there together.
Jackson excitedly bopped along as he walked down the hospital corridor holding Buffy’s hand. She’d taken him out for a late lunch to spend a little much-needed one-on-one time with him but they were both anxious to get to the hospital to see Faith and the baby. Jackson had insisted on stopping in the hospital gift shop to pick out a gift for the baby. It was pretty clear when he picked out a stuffed green turtle, however, that he had himself in mind rather than baby sis.
They rode up to the maternity floor in the small elevator with Jackson still bopping around excitedly the whole time. He fought the strong urge to hit the buttons for every floor in the hospital because, while Faith would ride up in the elevator with him all day long, Buffy was definitely the less playful parent. She loved when her little boy was cute and sweet and not getting into trouble.
With that in mind, he side-stepped over to her and slid his hand into hers. She immediately looked down and saw his big smile and just like always, her heart melted for him.
“Are you excited?” she asked as she bent down to scoop him up in her arms. She braced him on her hip and smiled impossibly more when he started to play with her long hair.
The elevator dinged and the door opened to reveal the maternity floor.
“Then let’s go meet your baby sister.”
The walk to the nursery area was a quick one as it was only just down the hall a short way. Nurses smiled and waved at Jackson as they passed by, having heard so much about him from both Faith and Buffy. The sound of crying babies got louder and louder as they neared the nursery and one cry seemed to be exponentially louder than the rest. Buffy knew before they reached the glass that it had to be Jillian.
Jackson’s smile got smaller and smaller as the crying got louder and louder and finally turned into a frown as they reached the glass and were able to look in on the crying babies.
“So loud,” he said, pressing his head against Buffy’s shoulder to cover one of his ears.
“You’ll get used to it,” she said, kissing his forehead. She tapped the glass and pointed at the baby closest to them, wrapped in a tiny pastel pink blanket. “That’s your baby sister, Jack.”
Jackson lifted his head and looked down at her, his frown growing as he realized she was the loud baby that was offending his ears.
“That my dinosaur sister?”
Buffy laughed and held him a little tighter as she looked between the two of them.
“No, that’s your human sister, baby. She’s just a little bit loud and fussy right now.”
Jackson studied the baby for several long moments, tilting his head this way and that as he tried to figure out exactly what was going on.
“Sounds like a dinosaur,” he said distastefully.
Buffy laughed again and smiled as a nurse approached Jillian’s bassinet from within the nursery. She waved at the nurse who pointed to the bassinet, then to the back door. Guess it was time to soothe the crying baby again.
Faith’s room was just a few doors down the hall and Buffy could already hear Willow and Xander’s voices from within. She rounded the corner and walked in to find Faith chowing down on a burger and fries that Xander had brought for her while Willow and Xander asked her a barrage of questions about what had happened.
“So then Andrew lifts up the sheet and he’s all like, howlin’ like a baboon, and I . . .” Faith trailed off as she looked over and saw Buffy and Jackson enter. “Hey guys!”
Buffy set Jackson down and he ran over to Faith, immediately hovering over the side of the hospital bed and checking out all of the buttons on it.
“We sawed the jellybean and she sounded like a dinosaur!”
“She kinda does,” Faith said, rustling his hair.
Jackson smiled excitedly but they didn’t get much more of a chance to talk as a crying and fussy baby was wheeled into the room. Willow leapt up and peeked into the bassinet; she couldn’t hide her smile when she saw the thick dark hair like Faith’s and the cute little nose that looked so much like Buffy’s.
“She’s adorable, guys!” Willow cooed.
“Definitely has some good genetic material,” Xander added as he made a stuffed elephant dance above the bassinet.
Jillian continued to cry despite their best efforts and it was finally up to Buffy to go and scoop her up. The baby fussed for only a few moments more, then eventually settled into Buffy’s arms and took a few shuddery breaths to calm down.
“Holy cow,” came a voice from the doorway. Everyone looked up and smiled as Kennedy entered with Giles, a ridiculous over-sized pink stuffed pony under her arm. “Was that wailing coming from her?”
“Sure was,” Faith said. “Kid’s like fifty-percent Slayer, fifty-percent Banshee.”
“Sounds about right. So what’d ya end up naming the little bundle of pooping and puking joy?”
Buffy smiled as she looked down at the baby, then up at her friends.
“This is Jillian Jane, affectionately known as Jellybean.”
Everyone cooed and seemed pleased as they gathered around Buffy and touched the baby’s little hands and feet; that is, except for Kennedy, who tilted her head to the side and watched as everyone crowded around the baby.
“Yo, you named her Jillian?”
“And you have a son named Jackson?”
“Yeah?” Buffy replied, raising her eyebrow. What exactly was Kennedy getting at?
Kennedy just looked at her with both eyebrows raised, waiting for her to figure it out. Buffy turned and looked at Faith and they shared a confused look before reality dawned on them and Buffy’s eyes widened comically.
“Oh my god, our kids are named Jack and Jill!”
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