Title: In The Best of Times. . .
Disclaimer - I do not own anything. I do not claim to own anything. Characters from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" are owned by Joss Whedon. Please do not sue me. I have no money.
Summary - This fic is set in 2003, Willow and Buffy's last semester in college. Oz is no longer in the picture (this will be explained later). Xander is still dating Anya, and Giles's house is still the center of operations sans Olivia.
Author's notes: This is my first attempt at fan fiction of any kind. So, please don't be too harsh.
Thoughts are indicated by < >. Emphasis is noted by **.
Rating - 15 for language, nudity and adult content
Distribution – Really? Ask and you shall receive.
Special snaps go out to my beta reader, Angela. She makes me look good.
Buffy and Willow stood in their pajamas together cramped into the small bathroom of their shabby college apartment. They were both concentrating very hard on the counter surrounding the sink. Or to be more precise a small white stick laying upon it.
"Uh, Will?" Buffy asked hesitantly, "What does two lines mean again?" Buffy was certain she must have read the box wrong. Everything was happening way too fast. First thing this morning Willow had woken her up, dragged her into the bathroom and pointed white faced at the small plastic stick on the counter top. It became apparent that Buffy had no idea what was going on Willow handed her a box that had once contained a home pregnancy test. Buffy looked at the box, then down to the stick, to the box, then once more to the stick completely dumbfounded.
"Will," she tried again, "This box says that two lines mean pregnant."
Will hadn't moved, she stood still, starring. Buffy was beginning to wonder if she was planning to do this all day. Slowly she took Willow's shoulders and turned her friend to face her. "You're pregnant?" Willow finally raised her face so she could meet Buffy's eyes. Her face was even paler than usual.
"Apparently," she said in little more than a whisper.
"But Willow?" things just weren't adding up in Buffy's brain, "How did this happen?" Willow flushed. "I know how these things happen, but. . .but. . .you haven't. .." Willow's flush grew deeper.
"Yes, actually, I have."
"But when? Who?!?" Willow tore herself away from her friend and fled out of the room.
"I have to sit down," was all she said. Buffy followed her and sat down beside her on the couch.
"Well?" Buffy urged. Willow stopped wringing her hands together long enough to tuck her hair behind her ear. Buffy could see that she was no longer blushing and had resumed her previous shade of white.
"Do you remember the frat party we went to a few months ago?"
"Which frat party?"
"The Pi Kapps--just before Christmas break." Willow watched as the realization became apparent on Buffy's face, which was followed by a look of sadness.
"You mean the party that was on the anniversary of Oz's. . ." she left the sentence hanging. Willow looked at her gently, but her own pain was apparent.
"Death. It's OK you can say it." Buffy saw the hurt in best friend's eyes. The news of Oz's death just a few short months after he had left Sunnydale at the hands of a werewolf hunter had hit them all pretty hard, but none as hard as Willow.
"Yeah, I remember that night. We all got pretty fucked up that night. Anya could only get me and Xander all the way to Giles's. She said that you told her you wanted to stay and refused to come with us. You told me you just fell asleep on the frat house couch." Willow's eyes were once again focused on her hands. Buffy covered her hands with her own. "What happened that night Will?" When Buffy looked at her friend she could see tears that had started to flow freely down her face.
"I was missing Oz so much. And I was so drunk and then I ran into Adam. You remember him, right?"
"Yeah, he was the drummer in Oz's band," Buffy responded quietly.
"Yeah, well, we started talking about Oz. I told him how stupid I felt. . .still missing Oz so much after four years. Adam seemed to understand, I. . .I wanted to feel like I was with Oz again. So we just kept talking, swapping stories about how important Oz was to everyone and everything. But I still felt sad and lonely. . .we. . .we just started kissing and one thing led to another and we ended up in bed together. I hadn't slept with anyone since Oz, and when Adam was kissing me I just pretended it was him." The blush came flooding back into her cheeks. "I know it was stupid, but I just needed to feel. . ." Willow couldn't finish the sentence, but Buffy understood.
"You needed to feel loved and wanted again," Buffy finished for her.
"Yeah." Willow stayed silent for several minutes, then she deliberately wiped her face. "When we woke up in the morning, we realized the mistake we'd made. We told each other it didn't mean a thing and I left. I'm sorry I lied to you, but it was just so stupid." Willow's voiced became panicked and her gaze shot back to the bathroom.
"We were too drunk to even think of protection. Buffy, what am I going to do?" Willow collapsed in tears onto Buffy lap. Buffy stroked her hair and made comforting noises, telling her that everything was going to be all right. However, she knew she was lying. Buffy had no idea what they were going to do about this. Demons, she could handle. This was a baby. She had never faced anything this scary.
Buffy held Willow until her shoulder stopped shaking and her breathing became even. < The poor baby cried herself to sleep > she thought. Slowly, she untangled herself from her sleeping friend, threw an afghan over her, and headed for the phone. She dialed from memory.
"Yeah Xander, I know it's early, but you have to wake up. Roll over and wake up Anya too. We've got a problem, a big one. We'll meet you at Giles's at three. Yes, I know that's in the afternoon and I could have called you at noon and you still could have gotten there on time. Xander, SHUT UP!! This is important and we're going to busy this morning. Yes, Xander there are things in this world more important than your sleep. BYE!" She then got out the phone book, searched frantically for a few minutes and dialed another number.
By eleven Willow was sitting on an examining table of the local Planned Parenthood clinic. Buffy sat beside her holding her hand, apparently trying to commit everything the nurse practitioner said to memory.
"You are about fourteen weeks along, which is early enough to leave you with several options." The nurse snapped off her gloves, threw them into the trash and looked compassionately into Willow's face. "I am guessing that this was not a planned pregnancy." Willow silently shook her head. "OK, so, as I was saying, options. I'm going to give you some pamphlets on abortion," at the word *abortion* Buffy's eyes shot up to Willow's face, but her hair was shielding her from view, "adoption and single parenting. Do you know if your parent's insurance will cover your expenses?" Again Willow shook her head. "OK then, I'll also give you some Medicaid forms to fill out. They should cover all of the medical expenses of the pregnancy if you decided to carry to term." Once again Buffy looked at Willow for some sort of response, but again there was nothing to be seen.
The nurse also noticed Willow's lack of reaction. She leaned down in her chair, so she could look up Willow's hair and into her face. "Have you thought about what you want to do?" No response. "If you are considering abortion, you should know that you only have a few weeks before that's no longer an option. . .Willow," the nurse said tenderly, "do you want me to set you up an appointment with one of our counselor's. They'll discuss all of your options with you. It's completely confidential and free of charge." After still another non-response, the nurse turned her eyes silently to Buffy.
"Willow? Do you know what you want to do?" She wasn't having any more luck than the nurse. Then a thought struck her. Buffy thought it a horrible thought, but it was Willow's body and choice. "Will, if you want to get an abortion I'll understand. I'll support you."
Only then did Willow slowly lift her head. Her face was no longer pale and her expression determined. "I'm keeping the baby. No adoption. No abortion. This is my baby and I'm going to raise it myself. . . Somehow." Her voice was strangely calm and Buffy knew there would be no changing Willow's mind when she knew what she wanted.
"OK," the nurse said smiling warmly at Willow. "Let me get you all the forms you'll need," and with that she left the room leaving Buffy and Willow alone. Buffy stood up and reached out to hug her friend. Willow accepted her embrace and for a few moments they held each other. Finally, Buffy spoke,
"It will be OK. We are going to meet everyone at Giles's this afternoon and we'll figure out what we are going to do." Willow stared at her blankly.
"WE'RE MEETING EVERYONE AT GILES'S!" she nearly screamed.
"Well, yeah, that's what we always do when one of us has a problem."
Willow shook her head, "This is not your average problem, Buffy! This is my problem. The Scooby gang can not have a research session and figure out a way to fix this. I'm pregnant. It's my problem." Buffy stared at her.
"Don't 'but Willow' me! This has nothing to do with anyone else but me!" It was Buffy's turn to shake her head.
"But that's where you're wrong. We *are* a family Willow, and we love you. This affects all of us *because* it effects you. You are not the only one having a baby. We all are. Aunt Buffy, Uncle Xander, and . . .well, whatever you want to call Giles. We all love you and we will all want to be there for you, especially since you are keeping the baby." She finally paused to take a breath. "And you're not going to be able to keep it exactly a secret for much longer."
Willow looked at her sternly for a moment and then it all seemed to melt away into tears. Willow threw herself into Buffy's arms.
"I love you," was all she could say between sobs. Buffy stroked her back.
"I know. I love you, too," was all she said, but in her minds her thoughts were racing. < God, if you're up there, PLEASE, let everyone feel the way I think they will. Please, make them stand by her. >
Willow and Buffy spent the last part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon going to different government offices so Willow could fill out her applications for Medicaid and WIC.
As the hour crept closer to three Willow started to get nervous. Part of her was still mad at Buffy for calling the Scooby gang together, but she figured it would be better to get them all over with at once, rather than one at a time. Especially since she was
keeping the baby.
Willow had to admit to herself that she had no idea what she was planning to do until the nurse forced the question upon her. It was then that Willow realized that there was no way she could give up this baby. It didn't matter how it was conceived or who the father was. This baby deserved a chance and she deserved the chance to be its mother. < Wow, *mother.* > She shuddered a little at the thought. She, Willow Rosenburg, was going to be--no, is a mother. It was a chilling thought.
After their little meeting at Giles's she wouldn't have anyone left but her parents. . . Oh, God! Her parents! She hadn't even thought about telling them yet. < That's going to be fun. >
"Are you hungry?" Buffy asked, drawing her out of her thoughts. "It is almost three and you are supposed to be eating for two now." Willow smiled at her friend's concern.
"I know, but I don't think I could eat right now. I'm too nervous." Buffy accepted this and they headed to face the music.
Xander was pacing up and down Giles's living room. After he had gotten over the initial shock of Buffy's early morning phone call, he had started to worry. What was wrong and what had Buffy and Willow been doing all morning? He had become so concerned that he showed up at Giles's about a quarter past two and had been pacing ever since.
Xander could tell that Giles was worried, too, but he occupied his mind by making tea instead of pacing. Anya was sitting on the couch leafing through the latest Cosmo, probably trying to find new and different things for the two of them to do in bed. Which, on many levels, Xander didn't have a problem with, but right now her calm was infuriating. He started to say something to her and stopped himself. There was no reason to start a fight at a time like this.
Giles was far more worried than he let on. He had been stirring the same cup of tea for ten whole minutes. Whenever Willow or Buffy kept a secret for any length of time, it was bad. But he had a sinking feeling in his stomach that something was really wrong. . .something he wouldn't be able to fix. He shook his head, moved to put the now cold tea on the counter and took off his glasses to rub his forehead, then the front door open and Willow and Buffy solemnly entered. Xander ran over to them.
"OK, you're finally here. What's the evil? Where's the evil? How do we stop it? And why did we have to wait till three to hear about?" While Xander stared at them waiting for an answer, Giles came to stand behind him studying the two women. They were looking intently at one another and Buffy motioned with her hand for Willow to say something, but she remained silent. Buffy heaved a big sigh.
"There's no evil," Buffy began and was cut off by Xander.
"What do you mean there's no evil!" he exclaimed. Giles looked at Willow and saw that tears were beginning to form in her eyes. He laid his hand on Xander's shoulder to stop him. Buffy began again.
"As I said, there's no evil, but there is a problem, well not exactly a problem, just kind of a sit--"
"I'm pregnant!" Willow announced. Everyone stared at her dumbfounded. Xander was the first to speak.
To which Anya looked up and said, "Oh, OK," and returned to her magazine.
Buffy was about to jump in to answer Xander, but Willow stopped her. She held her head high and spoke slowly.
"I'm pregnant and how is not important. So don't ask me." Xander was silent. "I am keeping the baby." This announcement was followed by even more silence. Giles cleared his throat.
"When?" he asked. Willow looked up at him. His eyes were full of caring and compassion There was no trace of anger anywhere. Willow smiled up at him.
"September," she answered cautiously. "In about five and a half months." Xander's few rare moments of silence ended.
"And you are just telling us about this now?" he was obviously hurt. Buffy stepped in to defend Willow's actions.
"She only just found out for sure this morning." Once again Willow stopped her.
"I suspected for awhile, but I didn't want to think it was true. But, it is, and other than Buffy, you guys are the first to know." This seemed to pacify Xander. Another long silence leaked into the room. Xander and Giles were staring at Willow.
Willow turned to Giles. Other than a one-word question he hadn't said anything.
"Giles, don't you have anything to say to me?" Silently Giles walked over to stand in front of her.
"No," he said simply and embraced her. "Actually," he said still hugging her, "yes, I do. Congratulations, Willow. You are going to be a wonderful mother." At this Willow started to cry and hugged him back as hard as she could.
"Thank you," she whispered into his shirt. Xander reached over and rubbed his hand along Willow's back.
"Yeah," he smiled at Giles. If it hadn't been for Giles he would have forgotten to do this. "Congrats Will. I can't believe it. I'm going to be an Uncle. Uncle Xander."
Willow giggled against Giles's shirt. < Buffy was right. >
< Thank God > Buffy said to herself and joined the other three in a group hug with Willow at the center. Anya looked over at the four of them for a moment, smiled, and went back to her magazine.
< We *are* a family. > Willow thought as she found herself surrounded by love.
The next few of months were a whirlwind to Willow. She spent most of her time concentrating on school. If she was going to support herself and her child she needed to graduate and have some sort of plan for the future. Especially after Willow's parents had been more than clear on how they felt about Willow's decision to become a single mother. If she was going to bring this kind of shame to herself, she would be doing it with out them. Their reaction had stung, but Buffy had convinced she would always have her *real* family to support and everything would be fine.
As always, Willow's grades were extraordinary, and the Psychology department at UC-Sunnydale had offered her a job as a TA (a paid position) and a full scholarship if she stayed to get her Master's degree. Realizing she could continue her education, qualify for benefits and maternity leave, Willow accepted their offer gratefully.
However, she still had to graduate, and last part of the semester had not been an easy one. Morning sickness was hitting her hard. Even though she was in her fifth month of pregnancy there was barely a morning when she didn't wake up feeling queasy. She was working hard on her senior project, finishing her classes, and juggling doctor's appointments. It wasn't easy. She seemed to be tired all the time and the more her stomach grew the more uncomfortable she became. Her protruding belly didn't seem to fit on her tiny frame, but she was so in love with her baby she didn't care.
The hardest thing she had to deal with was the way her life itself had changed. Before she was pregnant her life revolved around Buffy, the Scooby gang, and fighting evil, but now things were different. None of the others or herself for that matter felt comfortable putting the baby in any kind of danger. Buffy and Xander were still full time fighters of evil, but not Willow.
About the only thing she could do was research. At first she still felt like an active member of the group. She and Giles spent hours on end over dusty old books trying to figure out how to stop the latest evil. But as her pregnancy grew more and more obvious Giles wouldn't let her stay up half the night reading. He always told her he could handle everything, not to worry and sent her home to sleep.
And there were still nights where Giles was out fighting for the cause and then she became the one who stayed home and worried. In a lot of ways, this was harder than fighting had been. At times it was excruciating, especially when Buffy or Xander came home injured. Those nights were the worst.
Willow even had to restrict what magic she practiced on Giles's insistence. There were just certain types of spells that weren't safe. So, Willow had to resign herself to practicing "safe" magic, most of which was tedious and boring. However, every time she started to feel bad or left out, the child inside of her would stir or kick and remind her why she was making all these sacrifices. Willow knew that having a healthy baby was her number one priority right now, and would make everything worth it. But still. . .
Here it was, Saturday, and she had spent the entire day at the library. She only had the last section of her big senior project to write and was trying to complete the research. Classes were going to be over next week and she needed to have everything done. She straightened up and adjusted her back and neck. The larger her belly grew, the more the pain in her neck and back grew as well. The baby stirred restlessly. She gently rubbed a hand over stomach as if to calm it. Willow's eyes started to drift shut. She was just SO tired. < Just another week > she silently told the baby, < and then Mommy will make sure we both get more than enough rest. I promise. >
Pain shot sharply up her back and she reached down to massage the base of her spine. It seemed to be worse today. She shook her head and looked at her watch. "Shit!" she said aloud. It was ten till seven, and she was supposed to be at Giles's by seven for dinner. Giles had started making dinner for her, Xander, Anya and Buffy about four times a week. He said it was healthy for them to spend time together when not slaying, but Willow saw straight through his ulterior motives. She knew he wanted her to still feel connected to everyone and it gave him peace of mind to know for a fact Willow was eating at least a few well balanced meals every week.
If she ran the entire way, that is if she could still run, she would be at least fifteen minutes late. Lately, if she was even five minutes late everyone started to freak. She heaved a heavy sigh, gathered her books together and headed toward the library's pay phone. She dialed Giles's number and when Buffy answered informed her she would be a little late. As she hung up pain shot once again up her spine. She headed out of the library absently rubbing her back as she walked.
"That was Willow," Buffy announced, "She lost track of time at the library, so she'll be a little late." Giles looked up from the pot roast in the oven.
"That's fine. The roast won't be done for at least another twenty minutes anyway." Giles saw Xander and Anya busy setting the table and Buffy nit picking at all the food already on the table. They all knew why Giles really had these dinner, but didn't mind the intrusion into their schedules. Hey, it was free food.
Giles appreciated their humoring him. He was becoming more and more worried about Willow. She still had four months left to go and already any outsider could tell the added weight on her fragile body was becoming a strain. She also worked too hard, Giles knew. Willow put everything she had into her schoolwork and what ever was left over was devoted to her friends and fighting evil. Giles had long believed that being Buffy's right hand woman was far too much strain for such a tiny girl, even when she wasn't pregnant. Now, he worried. . .all the time.
He knew that every time he sent her home to sleep: to keep her from exerting herself, she'd simply turned to her own library and continued researching. Giles also knew, up close and personal, the pain that came with waiting for the people you loved to come home from facing the horrors they knew were out there. He knew that all this tension and stress was going to build up in the tiny girl he had grown to admire so much in the last seven years. Giles was scared for Willow. He wished there was something he could do for her, but he didn't know what.
Buffy, Anya, and Xander wasted the time until Willow got there by critiquing videos on MTV. They had coerced Giles into getting cable Buffy and Willow's second year of college. They told him they all spent too much time over here to live without at least a few more channels. Plus, Giles was the only one who could afford it.
Giles waited impatiently, he gaze going from the door to his watch in equal measure. He hated it when she was late. Finally, the door opened and Willow was framed in the doorway.
"Hi guys," she greeted them, "Sorry, I'm late." < She looks awful. > Giles thought to himself. Her face was even paler than usual and the dark circles under her eyes were more prominent than ever. She looked exhausted.
Xander turned off the TV. "It's a good thing you got here Will. Giles was about to call in the National Guard." Willow looked over at Giles who was blushing slightly. She grinned. He had been so supportive of her. It was just *so cute.*
"Come on!" Xander interrupted her thoughts, "Let's eat!"
"Yes," Buffy agreed, "Some food-age would definitely be good." Anya turned to glance at them both.
"Remember, Giles cooked. Don't get too excited." They all shot her dirty looks. Anya merely shrugged and sat down in her usual seat.
"I happen to like Giles's cooking," Willow was quick to defend looking up at Giles fondly. Suddenly another pain in her back racked her. Giles saw the pained expression and was instantly at her side placing a hand gently on her shoulder.
"Willow?" he asked concerned, "Are you alright?" Willow nodded wearily.
"I'm fine. The baby weight is doing a number on my back."
"Are you sure that's all it is?" Xander asked. Willow looked into the concerned faces of all her friends, even Anya's. < I guess Xander is right > she thought, < she really does give a shit. > She was about to smile again and reassure them everything was fine when another pain ripped through her body.
Willow staggered for a second and sat down.
"You are no place in the area code of *fine*," Buffy exclaimed. Willow turned to Giles with a face full of panic and fear. Giles placed a hand on Willow's stomach. Willow flinched. Giles barely touched anyone, much less something as intimate as this. Giles's face turned stoic. Willow's stomach was as hard as a rock. She wasn't just having back pain she was having contractions.
"Buffy," Giles snapped never taking his eyes off Willow, "Dial 911." Buffy looked completely confused.
"But, Giles, what's wron--," she was cut off by Giles screaming. "Do it now!" Buffy flinched. Giles never yelled. < Something must really be wrong. > Buffy ran for the phone and frantically dialed.
"We need an ambulance," she said to the operator, "I'm not sure. She's pregnant and we need an ambulance. Do I have to spell this out to you?! WE NEED AN AMBULANCE!" Buffy calmed down enough to give the address and hung up. She ran over to Willow whose eyes hadn't left Giles's face. "Will, what's happening?"
Willow ignored her questioning. "Giles," her voiced quavered.
Giles forced himself to smile. "I'm sure it will be alright," he told her and leaned down to kiss her forehead, "I'm sure everything will be alright." He could no longer face her scared expression and looked away. < She's only five months along. She's shouldn't be having even small contractions yet. If she delivers now the baby won't > he shuddered < survive. > They waited in horror for the ambulance to arrive.
Xander paced up and down the emergency room's waiting area. Anya was fairly certain that when he stopped a groove would be firmly set in the floor. She needed to say something.
"Xander, baby, maybe Willow just wasn't meant to have a baby right now." By look on Xander's face she could tell that wasn't the something she needed to say.
"How can you say that?" he exclaimed, "Willow loves this baby!"
"I know honey."
"Actually, no I don't think you do. I love this baby, too. Just last week Will let me feel it kick. It was so cool. It was just a little flutter under her skin, but I knew it was the baby. A little, helpless, perfect baby." He sat down next to Anya. "It was a miracle." Anya took his hand. She then realized there was nothing she could say.
Buffy was coping by stopping every doctor, nurse and orderly that looked like they might have been close to Willow's room and demanded that they tell her what was going on.
Giles was not coping at all. He just cleaned his glasses over and over and over again. Willow was in pain and there was nothing he could do to help her. He would do anything he had to do, to keep her and the baby safe, anything. If only there was something he could do. . .
Willow's doctor finally appeared. Buffy, of course was the first to confront him followed quickly by Xander, Anya and Giles.
"Doctor! What happened? How's Willow? And the baby?" Buffy was breathless with anticipation.
"Willow's going to be fine--," he began.
"And the baby?" Buffy interrupted.
"The baby's going to be fine too--"
"THANK GOD!!!" Buffy exclaimed interrupting again.
"They are going to be fine," the doctor continued, "IF Willow makes a few adjustments."
"Adjustments?" Xander asked. The doctor was about to explain when Giles butted in.
"But doctor, what happened?"
"Willow was having premature labor. Most likely begun by stress. I've stopped the contractions and given her a sedative so she'll get some sleep, but she has to change some things to make sure this doesn't happen again. Next time we might not be able to stop it." Everyone looked on the doctor with an expression of equal relief and worry.
"What kind of changes?" asked Buffy.
"Well, first of all she'll be on bed rest for the next few weeks just to guarantee the contractions won't start up again. Once her OB/GYN has determined everything's fine she'll be allowed some restricted activity, but she'll *have* to take it easy."
They all looked at one another. They all had been trying to make Willow take it easy for over two months now, and no one had had much luck yet.
"But Willow has to finish school," Anya spoke up to everyone's surprise. "How's she supposed to do that on bed rest?"
"I'll talk to her teachers," Buffy said. "They all love her. I'm sure they'll understand." Xander remained silent his face white with fear and concern.
Giles turned back to the doctor, "What do we need to do?"
The doctor looked uncomfortable. "I should really be discussing this with her family."
"We ARE her family," Xander piped up, "Now tell us what we need to do for her." The doctor looked resigned at all their determined faces.
"Well, preferably she should have constant supervision, and someone around to make sure she has everything she needs. Does she live alone?"
"No," Buffy said, "She lives with me." Giles considered this for a moment.
"Yes, Buffy, she does live with you, but you aren't home a great deal. What is Willow supposed to do when you are out sla--I mean when you're out?" Buffy looked worried. He was right. She wasn't home a lot, and if some big evil should happen, she wouldn't be able to take care of Willow.
"Is there someone else she could stay with?" the doctor asked, "Maybe her parents or maybe the father?" Xander and Buffy exchanged looks.
"No," Xander said, "Those aren't options. Willow can move in with us," he continued putting his arm around Anya's shoulders. But Anya ducked under his arm.
"WHAT!!!!" she exclaimed.
"Anya! What are we supposed to do? We have to do everything for Willow that we can."
"I know you want to help her, honey, but we have one--ONE--bedroom. Is Willow supposed to sleep on the couch? That couldn't be good for her. Especially with our couch." Xander nodded, knowing she was right, hung his head and embraced her.
"I know. It's just. . .it's just that I'm scared for her."
"She can stay with me." Everyone turned to Giles in amazement. Buffy knew how much he valued his privacy, and because of that knew how much he really did care about Willow.
"Giles. . .?" she began.
"It's the only solution that makes any sense, Buffy. I have two bedrooms and I'm home almost always. It will work." They all looked at each other.
"Well, if that's settled," said the doctor, "then I need to give you some information."
"Doctor, can we see her?" Xander asked.
"She'll be sleeping by now. We're going to keep her here for observation tonight. You can come and see her tomorrow morning." He turned to Giles, "Come with me and I'll get you all the information you need."
"You had better go," Giles told Buffy and Xander, "We'll see her in the morning." They weren't happy about it, but they left and Giles followed the doctor.
< No matter what I have to do > he said to himself < Willow and her baby are going to be fine. >
After Giles received the information regarding Willow's care from the doctor he snuck quietly into her room. He was taken aback by the sight. Machines were beeping and humming all around her, and an IV was stuck into Willow's arm. She looked so small and pale in the stark white room. Giles leaned in close to her and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear as he had seen her do so many times before. She was so beautiful, even like this, it nearly took his breath way. Over the past few years he would scarcely admit to himself how he really felt about her, but after this crisis there was no denying it. He loved her. His hand drifted down her arm and traveled to rest on her belly. And he loved this baby. He didn't care how it was conceived. It was part of Willow and he loved it, and he would do all he could for both of them.
Under his touched Willow stirred. Drearily her eyes opened.
"Giles," she said sleepily, "What are you doing here?"
"Just checking up on you." Willow grinned.
"As always." She yawned hugely. "I know I count on you." Giles thought she was about to fall back as sleep when she took his hand and murmured, "It's a girl, Giles."
"A girl," he responded startled, "How do you know?"
"An ultrasounded thingy. The nurse told me." Willow fell back asleep.
< A girl > Giles marveled. Soon there would be a small version of Willow running around. He could not think of anything more beautiful. He gave her belly an affectionate rub and left the room.
Willow came out of her haze to see Buffy's face smiling down upon her.
"Oh good, you're awake, finally. I thought you were going to sleep all day." Willow shook her head.
"All day?" she said her brain foggy. "What time is it?"
"A little after two." Willow sat straight up.
"TWO!!! I've got to get out of here. I have to get to my pske of serial killers review." She tried to sit up further, but Buffy stopped her.
"Hold it there a minute, Wonder Woman. The doctor said that you need bed rest, which means you only get out of bed to leave this hospital and pee," Buffy instead.
"But, I have classes. I have finals. . .I. . .I have to graduate!"
"Listen here," Buffy's voice took a sharp edge to it, "You aren't going to do *anything* your doctor says you can't do." Willow looked taken aback by her tone, so Buffy gentled herself. "Think about your baby. Your beautiful little girl. You have to do what's right for her."
Willow knew she was right. Then a thought struck her, "How do you know it's a girl?"
"Giles told me this morning when he stopped by the apartment."
"Giles?" Willow asked confused, "How did Giles know?"
"You told him last night." Willow continued to look lost, so Buffy added, "He saw you last night, but you were really doped up."
"Why was Giles at our apartment?" Buffy swallowed. She wasn't looking forward to being the person that informed her they had made all of her life decisions for her, but no one else seemed to be around to pass the task to.
"He and Xander are moving all of your stuff this morning."
"Moving my stuff? Where?"
"Well, the doctor said you needed to live somewhere with someone who could take the time to watch over you. He said we should ask your parents--"
"I am NOT moving in with my parents!" Willow exclaimed horrified.
"It's OK," Buffy reassured her, "That's what we told the doctor and why you're moving in with Giles." She waited for a reaction, but none came. Finally, Willow spoke,
"I'm moving in with Giles?"
"Yes, right after you're discharged."
Willow slumped back into her pillows. "Buffy can you give me some time alone." Buffy was confused but complied.
"OK Will. The nurse said you could leave after you woke up and they got to check on you. I'll be back with some clothes for you and stuff in a little bit. I'll see you later."
Willow never looked up at her. Buffy was worried. < She should have fought me on this, but she didn't. I hope she's OK. >
Willow listened for Buffy to leave and turned all her attention to her belly.
"Well, baby, things are going to be changing a little for us. We're going to be moving in with Uncle Giles. Mommy's not very happy about it, but it's OK. Mommy will do anything to make sure you come out healthy." Both of her hands rubbed over her stomach. "It does make some sense, but don't tell Aunt Buffy I said so. Giles is sweet and nice, and he'll take care of us. He's always taken care of Mommy before, so he'll probably be even better now that he's taking care of you, too."
Willow's thoughts began to drift to all the times in the past seven-year Giles had taken care of her. He was there for her when she was a stupid little teen-ager crying over Xander. She smiled at thought < Imagine that. Me and Xander Harris. > She nearly laughed out loud.
Giles fussed over her constantly when she first started practicing magic. He was so worried she would hurt herself, but she always did it anyway.
He was there when Oz had left her and she couldn't even count the hours Giles had spent holding her after Oz died. She shook her head as she remembered how sick she had gotten on her twenty-first birthday. < That was so stupid > she thought. But Giles never once reprimanded her or even mentioned it after that night.
Giles was never overt about it, but he was *always* there when she needed someone.
She smiled again as she thought about the night before her last Arabic exam. Giles had stayed up with her until five in the morning quizzing her on verb conjugation and obscure vocab words. She would never have passed the test or the class without him.
Giles would do anything for her and she knew it. And she loved him for it. . . Wait a minute. . . Did she? Did she really love Giles?
"Sweetie," she said turning back to her belly, "This is going to be interesting."
Willow laid propped up on what seems like a million pillows in Giles's spare bedroom watching all the commotion. Buffy was arranging the flowers Joyce had sent on the bedside table. Xander was running in and out of the room carrying boxes full of books, and Giles was unloading them into the newly purchased book cases (all of his were already full.)
"Will, I have decided something," Xander announced.
"Your reading habit is destructive and unhealthy." He stretched his back. "To me. Do you have any idea how many books you have?" Willow giggled, and Xander smiled. This was the reaction he was hoping for. Xander needed to know that Willow *could* still smile after the last twenty-four hours' events. "That's all of them. Did you actually read all of those?"
"Oh, at least a page or two, then they become dust collectors."
"Ah Ha! That's what I suspected all along."
Giles stopped shelving to study the pair. Their relationship had changed so much since he had met them. They had both started out as children with infatuations firmly implanted in people they could not have. They had loved and lost and loved again. They had grown up and grown older, but no matter how much time had past, the friendly banter never changed. Giles knew it was how the pair of them, and Buffy, expressed their affection for one another, but he would never really understand it.
He finished the last box and turned to Willow.
"Is there anything you need? Are you comfortable enough? Perhaps another pillow?" Willow laughed again, and Giles let himself marvel for a moment at the beauty of the sound.
"If you try to put another pillow on this bed I won't fit." She didn't lift her eyes to meet his. After her realization in the hospital, Willow didn't know how to face him.
Buffy stopped arranging the flowers and joined the rest.
"All right, everybody out. The doctor prescribed rest and relaxation. You can't get either with all of us hanging around." She ushered Xander and Giles out of the room. "Holler if you need anything, OK?" She turned off the light as she left.
Willow rolled over and readjusted the pillows around her stomach. < If I feel this way now, how am I going to manage in a few months. > She tried to push the thought out of her mind and get some rest, but it just didn't work. Her eyes fell the flowers on the table and then to something she hadn't seen before. There was a book laying beside them. It hadn't been there before. She was sure of it. She reached over, turned on the reading lamp, and picked it up. < The Magic Circle: A Study of Modern Witches and Their Children > she read. < Where did this come from? > She opened the cover and a piece of paper fell onto one of her many pillows. She picked it up and read.
I know you are not happy about this arrangement. I don't think I've ever seen you remain in bed for an entire day, much less a few weeks. I hope this alleviates the boredom a bit.
< This is why I love him. He's so sweet and he thinks of me all the time. He'd make a great father. Now where did that thought come from? You only admitted you loved him, what, like three hours ago!?! And now you're thinking of him as a possible daddy material. Get over yourself. >
Willow turned back to her book and began to read.
Mid May. Six weeks later.
The next few weeks were pure torture for Giles.
After Willow had finished all of her finals (from home of course) he and Willow had settled into a routine. He would bring her breakfast, and they would talk about what she had read before bed. He would sit next to her as she watched the morning cartoons. Willow would update him on the plots of Pokemon, Gargoyles, and Batman Forever. He would bring her lunch and they would discuss what they would be researching that afternoon.
After lunch Willow would nap. About three Giles returned to her room with their research material. By five thirty they would have to hide everything before Buffy and Xander came over at six. Buffy had turned into the Nazi nurse from hell. She would stride into the room and proclaim Willow wasn't getting enough rest or calcium or beta-carotene or whatever else she had read Willow needed the day before in What to Expect When You're Expecting. Xander would lean over Willow's belly and tell the baby to pay no attention to her crazy Aunt Buffy.
They would all eat dinner in Willow's room while Buffy and Xander talked about their day or the latest evil. By eight Buffy would shoo everyone out saying it was Willow's bedtime. After Giles was sure she were gone he would go back up to Willow's room, they would recap what they had researched or discuss the novel she would be continuing that night, and Giles would wish her well and go to bed.
Once in awhile the monotony would be broken by a surprise visit from Buffy during the day, which was promptly followed by a tantrum on her part after interrupting their research. Once a week Giles brought Willow to the doctor. He would wait outside while Willow's doctor examined her and announce she was doing fine, but didn't want her out of bed just yet.
This schedule didn't seem exhausting, but every night he went to bed completely drained. Maybe it was the closeness to Willow. They spent hours everyday talking and never seemed to run out of conversation, even with so many subjects being banned. They did not talk about Willow's health or doctors or her parents--all of these at Willow's request.
They also never discussed their relationships with anyone, but this wasn't normal rule. Neither had brought it up. Giles definitely hadn't. The more time they spent together the more he fell in love with her. < What am I going to do with her? The woman I love spends twenty-four hours a day in the bedroom next to mine, and I can't even tell her. What a child I am. But then, how would she react to knowing a man twice her age, whom she's known for seven years, was in love with her? Willow doesn't need that stress right now. > So, Giles was resigned to stay silent and pine from afar.
"Good morning, Willow," Giles said as he entered her room the next morning carrying her breakfast tray. Willow sat up, so he could place the tray on her lap.
"Did you sleep well?"
"I would have, if the little one hadn't been practicing goal kicks all night." She gently rubbed her belly as she spoke smiling fondly.
"She's active?" Giles sat down beside her as she reached for a cantaloupe wedge.
"More than ever. I think she's getting crowded in there."
"She'll be getting more crowded in the next thirteen weeks I believe."
"That's for sure. I don't know how either of us are going to fit in here soon." She started slightly and smiled. Willow reached over and grabbed Giles hand and placed in on her belly.
"See? Can you feel that?" She looked over at Giles. Giles's face had turned white and his eyes were wide in amazement. The only time he had ever touched Willow was like this was when she was passed out in the hospital. The feeling of his hand between Willow's and her baby was overwhelming.
"Yes, I feel it," he murmured looking up in to her eyes. For moment they just looked at one another, and then slowly, so slowly, then moved closer and closer towards one another until their lips touched ever so slightly.
They jumped back burnt.
"Uh. . .um," stammered Giles.
"Yeah," replied Willow, her fingertips where Giles's lips had been.
"That was. . .was. . ." Giles continued to stammer. Willow saw him struggling to explain away what happened and decided to not give him the opportunity. Willow grabbed Giles's face between her hands and pulled him down to kiss him properly.
Giles resisted at first, but soon he was sitting on the bed with his arms around her returning the kiss passionately. The hours upon hours of tension they had collectively built up in the last few weeks exploded between them. Willow's hands knotted into Giles's hair and his hands roamed up and down her back massaging her. They seemed they would never break away from each other until.
"Hey Giles, Willow? Are you guys up?" Buffy called as she walked up the stairs. They sprang away from one another instantly.
Giles stood up, "In more ways than one," he said under his breath as he went to open the door. "We're in here, Buffy." She strode into the room.
"Hey Giles. . .did you just get up? Your hair's a mess." Giles smoothed down the hair Willow has mussed seconds before.
"Hey Buff," Willow said haltingly, "Watcha doin' here this early?" Buffy sat down on the bed beside her.
"I thought I'd take you to the doctor this morning, so Giles wouldn't have to do it, and to give you this." She reached into her bag and brought out a book of baby names and handed it to Willow. Willow took it.
"Thanks, that's really sweet," there was an uncomfortable pause, " But I've already picked out her name."
"Really?" said Buffy.
"Really," echoed Giles.
"Why haven't you told me? What is it?"
"Kessem." Buff scrunched her nose.
"That's an *interesting* choice."
"It means "magic" in Hebrew. I thought it was appropriate. From what I've read there's a really good chance she'll be a witch, too. Magic flows especially strong from mother to daughter. I figure we can call her "Emmy" for short." Willow looked to Buffy for some sign of approval. Buffy grinned at her.
"It's perfect, Will," and she reached over to hug her friend.
"Yes, Willow," said Giles, "It's a beautiful name." Willow looked at Giles over Buffy's shoulder. His expression was one of gentleness and confusion.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Buffy asked.
"Well," Willow said uncomfortably, "I wasn't sure everything was going to be OK until a few weeks ago, and the doctor still won't let me out of bed. If something did happen, I thought if I didn't name her it would be easier or something." Buffy leaned over to hug Willow again.
"Everything's going to be fine. The doctor is just being cautious."
"Plus, with Giles taking care of you nothing can go wrong. He's our honorary Scooby gang dad." Willow blushed at this statement, but Buffy was looking at Giles, so she didn't notice. Giles took of his glasses,
"Quite," was all he said trying not to look at Willow. Buffy turned back to Willow.
"We've got to book if little Emmy's going to make that doctor's appointment. Get dressed." And with that she left, leaving Giles and Willow staring at one another.
"Willow. . ." Giles tried to begin.
"Buffy's right. I have to get dressed." Giles didn't move.
"Giles, if I get undressed with you still in here it's pretty much guaranteed I won't make my doctor's appointment."
Giles left with visions of Willow's naked body running through his head. < As if it wasn't hard enough before > he thought to himself shaking his head.
Willow sat shivering on the examination table in her paper gown. < Why don't they turn on the heat in this place. >
Soon Willow's doctor entered. She was a tall, dark haired, statuesque woman. She was nice and gentle, and Willow adored her.
"Hey, Dr. Truman." The doctor took a moment to examine Willow's charts.
"How are you feeling?"
"Good, but restless. I think Emmy is, too, she's been moving non-stop."
"Emmy?" Dr. Truman asked, "Is that the name you decided on?"
"Yeah, what do you think?"
"It's beautiful," she smiled and turned her attention to Willow's chart. "Well, let's get down to business. If everything checks out your bed rest will be a thing of the past."
"Really!" Willow squealed.
"Everything has been perfect for five weeks now, and if I keep you in bed any longer it will probably be considered cruel and unusual punishment."
"I've been fine," Willow said completely furious, "for five weeks and you've been making me stay in bed anyway?"
"I was being cautious, Willow. You are little woman with a tiny frame under a lot of stress. You needed the chance to relax for a while and focus on your baby. That happened, didn't it?"
Willow had to admit she was right. "Yeah," she mumbled.
"I'm a doctor Willow. I am an expert in manipulation. There are special classes in med school focused on it. I have to be careful with my mommy and my babies, now lay down so we can get started." Willow resigned herself and laid back.
The doctor finished her exam quickly, snapped off her gloves and waited for Willow to sit up. "Everything checks out, so you can go back to having a basically normal life. Now, don't over do it. We don't want anything going wrong. I still want you to take naps and not exert yourself too much. OK?"
"OK," Willow was nearly giddy at the thought of being able to watch television in the living room.
"Any questions?" A blush came to Willow's cheeks.
"Actually, I do have one."
"Now, you said not to exert myself, but what about. . .well. . ."
"Yes?" Willow squirmed uncomfortably.
"What about sex?" Willow was fairly certain Giles would never think about wanting to have sex with her and her distended belly. . .but she wanted to know. . .just in case.
"Well," the doctor said hesitantly, "I don't think it should be a problem, but I'd be sure to take it easy." Dr. Truman was suddenly curious. As far as she knew Willow didn't even have a boyfriend. "Just be sure he's gentle." Willow flush depended visibly.
"OK," the doctor continued, "I won't need to see you again for a couple of weeks, but you need to sign up for Lamaze soon. The sooner the better."
"Yes, you are still interested in natural child birth, aren't you?"
"Yes, it's just scary to think I'm getting that close." Dr. Truman patted her leg gently.
"You'll do fine. You can sign up for the classes with the nurse before you leave." With that Dr. Truman left the room. Willow dressed quickly and met Buffy in the waiting room.
"Hey. What did the doctor say? Is little Emmy doing perfect as always?"
"Yep, she's great, and Buff," Willow was nearly going to explode with excitement, "Dr. Truman gave me my get out of jail free card."
"Really?!" Buffy jumped up to hug her, "That's great news!"
"Yeah, I still have to take it easy but at least I can get out of bed." < Or possibly stay in it with different motivation. >
To celebrate Buffy, Xander and Anya took Willow out to dinner, saying that after spend six weeks in Giles's company she would be anxious to get away from him for awhile. Little did they know that the only place Willow wanted to be right now was with Giles.
Willow cut the evening short by feigning tiredness. Buffy dropped her off at Giles's and promised to see her tomorrow. Willow came into the house to see Giles drinking brandy and reading a book.
"Hey," said Willow, not really knowing what to say. Giles set his glass on the coffee table and stood to face her.
"Hello. I trusted you had a pleasant time."
"Yeah, it was good to get out of the house for awhile." Giles looked like he wanted to say something and couldn't figure out how to word it.
Willow decided to take things into her own hands. < If he wants me now when I'm all fat and pregnant, maybe he has feeling for me, too. I'm so ugly and awkward right now that if he finds still me attractive it has to mean something. >
"I wanted to talk to you about this morning," she started.
"Yes, Willow, I wanted to. . ."
"No," she interrupted him, "You're not talking right now. I wanted to talk to you about this morning, and tell you how much I wanted to pick up where we left off." Giles stood slack jawed and staring.
Since it didn't appear Giles was going to take the initiative Willow took it. She walked up and kissed him. Giles arms were immediately around her crushing his body to hers. The kiss seemed endless. Their hands roamed over one another's bodies in abandon. Willow gripped the hem of Giles's shirt and pulled it out of his pants, so she could run her hands over his bare chest. Her fingers looped into his chest hair and Giles groaned.
Giles followed her example and let his hands journey under Willow's shirt. He brought his hands up and grazed her breasts. Willow suck in sharply. Giles was about to move his hands away thinking he had gone too far, when Willow placed her hands over his.
"Please," she begged. Her pregnancy had made her breasts extremely sensitive, and she could think of nothing that would bring her closer to ecstasy. Giles took the hint and rubbed his hands gently over her breasts. Willow head rolled back with overwhelming pleasure. This encouraged Giles to bring his hand to the front clasp of her bra and release it making her breasts spill out into his hands. Willow shuddered as his fingers brushed her nipple. Willow was scared she was going to lose all feeling in her legs.
"Giles," she said her breathing heavy, "let's go upstairs." Giles's hands froze.
"Up--stairs," he stammered, "But the baby?"
< Leave it to Giles to be practical at a time like this > she thought. "It's OK. I asked the doctor." Willow took Giles's hand and led him upstairs to the bedroom. Giles shook his head in amazement at her forethought.
When they reached the room Willow turned timid.
"Are you sure you want this?" she asked him.
"Me? Yes. Are you?" he answered confused.
"Yes, I just wasn't sure you would want to make love to me when I look like this." Giles eyes turned gentle. He approached Willow and slowly unbuttoned her shirt and slid it with her bra onto the floor. Giles then stooped down to remove her shoes and socks. He reached up to pull down her skirt and panties. Giles stepped back and gazed on Willow naked body, swollen belly and all.
"I don't think I've seen anything more beautiful," he said and Willow's eyes flooded with tears. Giles gently dried her eyes and embraced her.
They made love to each other sweetly and gently, staring straight into one another's eyes the entire time.
Afterwards they spooned together in the bed. Giles's arm was draped over her belly stoking it protectively. Giles heard her breathing even out. Snuggled into her hair and said,
"I love you Willow. I've loved you for years, but I just couldn't admit it to myself. First you were my student and then there was Oz, and now. . .and now there's the baby, but I love this baby, Kessem," he stroked her stomach affectionately, "I will do anything I can to keep both of you happy and safe. Anything." Willow's shoulders shook slightly. Giles rolled her over to face him. Willow was crying.
"Sweetheart?" Giles said both concerned she was crying and terrified that she had heard him. She embraced him fiercely.
"I love you too," she cried into his shoulder. He hugged her back marveling at the miracle he just received.
They fell asleep holding one another.
The end of August.
The next twelve weeks were a whirlwind for them both. They got everything ready for the baby's room in the spare room Willow had vacated. They saw no reason to keep up the pretense that they slept in separate rooms. They were both adults, and everyone would have to deal. Which they did, surprising well. Willow and Giles both expected to get negative reactions, but everyone was OK about it. They seemed to figure it would happen sometime, and where surprised it took them so long to figure it out for themselves. Xander, however, did make a few crude comments about Giles's kinky tastes in women, but they were ignored as always.
Willow prepared to go back to school and her new job when she got there. She had to get all of her lesson plans done, so everything was ready for her maternity leave. Willow and Giles went to Lamaze and learned how to breathe. They were deliriously happy. They talked about the baby, and Giles's plans to write a book on demonology, but they never talked about the future of their relationship. It seemed to both of them if they talked about it they would jinx it, and things were going so well.
Giles, being Giles, couldn't live with this kind of indecision in their lives, especially with the baby coming. The week after school started Giles had everything in place.
Willow came home from school exhausted and crabby. She dumped her bag on the floor immediately and waddled to the couch to put her feet up. Giles, hearing her entrance, came into the room.
"Hello, dear," he said and leaned down to kiss her cheek before sitting down on the coffee table. "Bad day?" He removed her shoes and began to rub her swollen feet.
"No, not really," she sighed, "it's just that it's so hot and I'm so fat, and. . .and oh, god that feels good." Willow laid her head on the back of couch and closed her eyes enjoying the foot massage.
"I have some news that might brighten your day."
"Oh really, what?" Willow asked without lifting her head or opening her eyes.
"I thought we could use an evening out away from dusty old books, so I made us reservations at La Petite," Giles grinned. < Surprises are waiting for Willow tonight > he thought to himself. He would take Willow to a nice restaurant, tell her again how much he loved her, and on the way home stop in the park and propose on bended knee. It would be perfect--
"Honey, no," Willow insisted. "I'm hot and tired and I have too much work to do." Giles's plan came crashing down around him.
"But Willow it will do us good to get out."
"Giles," she said starting to get upset. "I'm tired. I want to rest. Are you the one who is always telling me that I don't rest enough?"
"Yes, sweetheart, but," Giles tried to interrupt, but Willow was on a roll with pregnancy hormones blazing. She pulled her feet away from his hands and stood up so she was looking down on him.
"Don't try to tell me what to do, Rupert Giles. You and Buffy and Xander and Dr. Truman have been trying to run my life for months now and I am sick of it! I will rest when I want to rest, eat what I want to eat, read what I want to read, and whatever the hell else I want. For god's sake Giles, I haven't actually seen my feet in nearly four months. I deserve some leeway, and I DO NOT want to go anywhere tonight!"
Had Giles been thinking and not focused completely on his plan, he would have known not to argue with a woman in this condition.
"Dear, trust me you will have a good time," he continued on the same thread, "it's important."
"Did you not HEAR ME, RUPERT! I am NOT going ANYWHERE!" Willow screamed. "Nothing is THAT important." Giles hand went into his pocket. He felt the small velvet box nestle there. Since, his plan was out the window now was a good a time as any.
"I thought this was rather important," he said as he stood up beside her and took the ring from his pocket. Slowly he opened the box.
"Oh, Rupert," Willow murmured. In the box was a beautiful platinum ring with a bezel set, square cut emerald set in between two smaller diamonds. Giles knelt down on one knee and Willow's eyes widened. "Willow, I'd be honored if you would marry me. I want to spend the rest of my life loving you and being a father to your baby."
"Rupert, I would," she began and then suddenly stopped. A curious look crossed her face and her eyes grew even wider. "Rupert, I. . ."
"Yes, Willow?" he was leaning toward her with anticipation.
"I think my water just broke."
"WHAT!!!!" screamed Giles.
"I think my water just broke," she repeated. Within a seconds Giles was on his feet and sprinting up the stairs to get her bag.
"This wasn't supposed to happen for a few couple more weeks!" he exclaimed as he flew back down the stairs.
"I think Emmy is anxious to get here." Giles looked wild eyed and panicked. "Look at it this way," she continued, "At least we won't have to put up with Buffy's surprise drills anymore."
Xander, Anya and Buffy ran into the maternity wing to see Giles in the hall talking to Dr. Truman.
"Are we late?" panted Xander.
"No. Not at all," said Dr. Truman. "Willow is nearly eight centimeters dilated and at plus one. She should be ready to push in about an hour." She gently laid a hand on Giles's arm. "She's doing great."
Giles was failing to take everything in stride. "But she's yelling and cursing and. . .and," he stammered.
"That's all normal, Rupert. Trust me she's doing great." She gave a reassuring smile that failed to phase Giles.
"You'd better get back in there, Giles," said Buffy, "She needs you right now." Buffy turned him and pushed him toward the rooms.
The three of them watched him go back into what they assumed was Willow's room.
"Willow never screams or curses," Anya observed.
"I know," said Xander worried.
"Why do think I didn't offer to go in," added Buffy. Without another word they assumed their positions. Xander paced. Anya flipped through the waiting room magazines, and Buffy began to accost anyone in scrubs.
Inside the delivery room Willow was giving a male nurse a piece of her mind.
"IF YOU SO MUCH AS THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ME WITH YOUR COLD ASS HANDS AGAIN I WILL MAKE SURE YOU NEVER GET A WOMAN INTO THIS POSITION! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" Giles was about to turn and go from whence he came when Willow caught sight of him.
Her voice was suddenly gentle and tired, "Honey, come here and hold my hand." Giles complied cautiously. "That was a bad one." She informed him.
"It's almost over," he whispered and leaned in to kiss her forehead, but then another contraction gripped Willow.
"HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT'S ALMOST OVER? ARE YOU A DOCTOR A FORTUNE TELLER OR MAYBE MOTHER FUCKING MERLIN? HUH? WHICH IS IT?" Giles was fearful her grip was going to break every bone in the hand.
Dr. Truman walked into the room.
"I see everything's moving along," she observed. "Let's take a look." She tried to get to work, Willow stopped her.
"Dr. Truman, fuck natural child birth. I want drugs. Lots of them."
"It's too late for that," she told her calmly.
"TOO LATE! I'M IN PAIN! HOW CAN IT BE TOO LATE!"
"Lay back, Willow, I need to take a look."
"You don't have to TAKE A MOTHER FUCKING LOOK. I can tell you what's happening down there. A baby is trying to come out of my body but this MOTHER FUCKING NURSE," she pointing toward the nurse with the "cold ass hands", "is trying to tell me I can't push. I WANT TO PUSH!!!"
"Lay back, and let me see if it's time," she said gently and Willow finally laid back. In about fifteen seconds the doctor was shouting orders to everyone in the room.
"She's ten centimeters and fully efaced. It's show time people. Well, Willow it looks like you got you wish. It's time to push." The pressure Willow was applying to Giles's hand was the only thing keeping him from passing out.
In the waiting room all three turned at the sound of a blood-curdling scream. Buffy ran to her room, knocking over people and equipment as she went. Xander caught up with her, and pulled her back before she could enter the room.
"But Xander, she's in pain!"
"And you running in there is going to solve that how?"
"Plus," Anya added as she reached them, "do you really want to see all the blood, fluid and gross stuff coming out of Willow with the baby?" They looked at each other for a moment and then Buffy sat down outside the door.
"This is close enough," she announced. Xander nodded enthusiastically and sat down beside her. Anya shrugged and joined them.
About twenty minutes later they head another scream from Willow, but his time it was followed by the sound of a crying baby.
"She did it," marveled Xander, turning to Buffy. Buffy embraced him and sobbed into his chest.
"Yes, she did."
Inside the room Dr. Truman was placing Kessem on Willow's chest.
"Congratulations, Willow, you have a perfect baby girl. Emmy say hello to Mommy." Tears flowed form Willow's eyes as she looked into the tiny pink face of her daughter for the first time.
"Giles, isn't she beautiful?" Willow turned to see Giles openly crying at the beauty of it all.
"As beautiful as her mother," he said and kissed both mother and baby.
"Yes," Willow said.
"Yes, what?" Giles asked.
"Yes, I will marry you." Giles took the ring box from his pocket, he opened it, and removed the ring and placed it on her finger.
"This is the best day of my life," he told her, "I love you so much."
"I love you, too," she said and touched the baby soft cheek. "Emmy, this is your daddy." Willow and Giles gazed into each other's eyes and know that the best times were yet to come.
Sequel: Deja Vu
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