Her first thought when she woke up the following morning was that she'd missed the fireworks. She'd been so caught up in being mad that she forgot about them. Willow and Tara hadn't said anything, so either they forgot too or hadn't planned on going to see them to begin with. It was a leftover from her childhood. She and her parents would go see them together. Eventually, Buffy got older and would wander off with her friends, but the fireworks had been a staple in their lives. Until she'd been called.
She glanced at her clock and groaned softly. She did not want to get up and face the day. That meant she'd have to talk to Giles. She pushed back the covers and walked to her full-length mirror, lifted up her pajama top and glanced at her stomach. This was crazy. Stupid really. So easily prevented and yet she hadn't done anything to stop it. Really, they were lucky it had taken this long.
"Tara and I are making pancakes if you want some. There's also something for you downstairs. So, don't sit up here and mope all day."
"I'm not moping."
"Sure you aren't. Rise and shine."
"You're far too cheery, Willow," she said, walking to her door and opening it.
"That's me. Now, come on down for pancakes."
"Yum. I'll be down in a little bit."
She showered and dressed for the day before heading downstairs. She could smell the buttermilk and syrup. They must have found a package of bacon, too. Her stomach growling told her that it was in tune with her brain.
"It smells great, guys."
"Good. Willow and I thought you could use breakfast. Well, we wanted it, too."
"No problem. My house is your house."
Willow had a look on her face that told Buffy she was waiting for her to discover something. She glanced around the kitchen, nothing. Willow shifted, rolling her eyes toward the dining room. There was a huge bouquet of flowers on the table. She'd never seen anything quite like it, certainly not for her.
"The poor delivery guy. I think he was scared of us."
"Apparently, he was told under no condition was he to leave the house without delivering them."
She walked to the bouquet. Her heart did a flip-flop knowing there was only one person who would be sending her flowers at this point. And the day after a fight. She was so excited at the prospect of receiving flowers that she couldn't find it in her to be mad at him for doing something so clichéd.
"Did you read the card?"
"No, not yet," she said, pulling it out of the plastic thing that held the card in place amidst the flowers.
"Whatever the fight was about it must have been a good one. I've never gotten flowers like that."
"Me neither," Buffy said absently as she read. For as flamboyant as the flowers were the card was rather straight and to the point. It read simply I AM VERY SORRY. He signed it in his flourishing style that she'd recognize anywhere. That meant he'd gone to pick out the flowers himself.
"You going to tell me about the fight?"
"Not right now."
"Okay. You want to call him or eat breakfast first?"
"Let's eat first."
"Wow. You must really be mad."
"Do you want us to hang out for a while?"
"Whatever you guys want. We're doing movies and pizza tonight, right? And what's the deal with Xander starting work at the end of the week?"
"They're off yesterday and today for the holiday and I guess they figured to get him started training tomorrow."
"That makes sense, I guess."
The phone rang and she panicked. She didn't want to talk to him. Not yet. But what if it was her mother? She picked it up and couldn't have been more wrong in her thinking.
"Hi Buffy. It's Riley Finn."
"Hi Riley. How are you?"
Willow made a tsk'ing sound with her tongue and went to finish helping Tara with the pancakes.
"I'm doing real well. You?"
"Just tired I guess. Out late last night."
"Too many hostiles to take care of?"
"No, nothing like that. Just spent the day at the beach and the night with Willow and Tara."
"Not like that," she said quickly. "Just, you know, a girls night."
"Oh right. That sounds good. So you're holding down the fort?"
"I'm trying to."
"Good. Well, I just called to check in. Bored I guess. No one here knows anything about what I did with the government. I miss it a little."
"Yeah, I know what you mean." She re-read the card while she was talking to him, felt the unshed tears stinging her eyes. "Listen, Riley, I have to go. Okay?"
"Okay. I'll be back in about five weeks. Maybe we can get together."
"I'm not sure that's going to work."
"Okay. Did I do something wrong?"
"No, not at all. It's just I'm sort of involved with someone."
"Oh." She could almost see the frown right through the phone.
"I mean, I want to see you. You know, as a friend, like we were doing before."
"As a friend."
"I can't say I understand. I haven't been gone that long. I thought we'd kind of gotten beyond friends."
"Well, it kind of started before I knew you."
"I'm not sure you do."
"No, I get it. I knew it was too good to be true. A girl like you could have any guy she wants. Why waste your time on some farm boy from Iowa."
"It's not like that, Riley."
"It's not the guy you were engaged to, is it?"
She burst out laughing at the picture of Spike that entered her mind. "No, it's not him. I told you that was a spell."
"Yeah, I remember you saying that."
"Listen, I really have to go. Willow and Tara made breakfast, and I need to do a few things today."
"All right. Stake one for me tonight."
She hung up and went to the kitchen. Willow and Tara were trying their best to appear as if they hadn't been listening.
"So, he likes you?"
"Yeah. I guess."
"Is that what your fight with Giles was about?"
"No. I'd be sending him flowers if that was the case."
"Well, I say eat some pancakes and then go see him."
"I don't know if I'm ready to."
"He's ready to see you, Buffy. He wouldn't have sent those flowers if he wasn't. At least go hear him out."
"I agree with Willow."
"I'll think about it."
She didn't get a chance to think about it. The doorbell rang almost as soon as she'd finished eating.
"Do you want me to get it?"
"No, I'll do it. Thanks, Will."
She stood and walked to the front door. She didn't need to look to see who it was. She knew. She opened the door and found she was disturbingly happy to see him. If she hadn't accepted before now how deep her feelings ran for him she did now.
"I would completely understand if you slammed the door in my face before hearing me out. But, I hope you could at least give me five minutes. I think I deserve that much."
She tilted her head as if thinking about it. She didn't need to. She didn't want him to go anywhere.
"I was hoping you'd come to me, but I realized after some thought on the subject that it should be me who comes to you. I acted rashly, said things I had no business saying, accusations that had no foundation."
"Yes, well, you're not making this easy on a man."
"Is it supposed to be easy?"
"No, I suppose not. You got the flowers?"
"Yes, thank you. They're beautiful."
"Good, good." He stood there and Buffy wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. He looked so confused. It was rare she saw that look on his face.
"Come in," she said, stepping out of his way.
"I didn't know you had company. Hello, ladies. It smells good. Breakfast?"
"Yes. Do you want some?"
"No, thank you, but I think I'd feel better if we were to resolve this."
"I'm not sure there's anything to resolve."
"Let's go upstairs. Okay?"
"Right, of course."
"We'll be down in a few minutes."
"Okay. You kids talk it out now."
Buffy rolled her eyes at Willow as she led Giles upstairs to her room.
"You surprised me, Buffy. You could have knocked me over with a feather I was so shocked. The thought never entered my mind that you might conceive."
"Well, that sounds romantic."
"I suppose it doesn't. I haven't had very many long-term relationships, so the idea of children hadn't really been a possibility to me. And given my age, I'd contented myself with the fact I would not have any."
"Well, you're obviously still young enough to make them."
"Yes, but chances were, or so I thought, I'd end up with someone my age. Who wants to start a family at this point in their life?"
"I never asked about your methods and I should have. I was just as responsible as you were, in fact more because even if you were on birth control I should have thought to protect you against other things. Not that it's necessary, I assure you it's not. But, caution should have been exercised and I didn't do it. I'm the one with experience, I should know better. It's hard for me to remember at times your experiences in this arena are minimal."
"Yeah, I know."
"Have you seen a doctor?"
"No, I just took the test the other day."
"And you're sure?"
"I took two of them, both said positive."
"Well then. What did you have in mind we do?"
"You believe me that it's yours?"
"Yes. That was never the question to me, Buffy. I apologize if I gave you the impression. I can see what you're saying about Riley causing problems."
"I mean, there's no question it's not his."
"Right, I understand. Are you feeling well?"
"I'm all right. Tired."
"To be expected I hear."
"I haven't done much research."
"I hope you'll let me work with you, Buffy. I want to."
"I'm not sure what to tell my mother."
"You could try the truth."
"I'm not sure how well that would go over."
"You're legally an adult."
"I know, but I'm still her baby."
"Yes, well, I don't suppose you have to tell her – or anyone – right away."
"You're telling me to keep this a secret? Is that really you, Giles?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Buffy. You can't tell the others before telling your mother."
"There is that."
"You don't have to rush into telling anyone. You've only just found out. Give yourself a chance to get used to the idea. And myself as well."
"You want me to have it?"
"Of course. Why would you think differently?"
"I don't know. You just said you assumed you'd never have kids."
"It wasn't a steadfast rule or opinion."
She sat on her bed. She could see the uncertainty in his eyes, on his face. "You can sit if you want to."
"Yes, thank you."
"So, we have to decide what to do and stuff. I mean, I can probably get another quarter in."
"Why don't we take a few days to let this digest and then we can figure out a plan. You're already enrolled, so leave that alone."
"Can I keep slaying?"
"I don't see why not. You should have someone go with you, avoid taking on anything too strenuous."
"Well, I don't have much of a choice."
"True enough. I would say do what you feel you should do."
"That's not saying much."
"Perhaps not." He touched her then, placing his hand against her head. He smoothed back her hair and brought her to him. She didn't fight it. "I'm very sorry, Buffy. Really. If you wish to terminate it, if that's the decision you make while I wouldn't like it I would understand and support you in that decision."
"Yes. You have a lot resting on your shoulders already, a child, having to tell your mother that our relationship has changed. Well, those things would just be added stressors."
"You think I'm ashamed of you. Of us."
"No, you've told the people closest to us about our relationship."
"Well, Xander didn't help walking in on us."
"True. I can understand not wanting to tell your mother. I don't know how she would react, but I've thought about it a time or two."
She laughed, couldn't help it. "I'm not sure what she'd think. I think she'd like knowing I was with someone who treated me nice and wasn't going to go around killing people."
"Yes, I suppose, that's a positive step in the right direction."
"We were going to do movies and pizza tonight."
"Yeah, Xander starts his new job tomorrow."
"Right, I remember he mentioned that. Construction or something, wasn't it? A different company than the one he was with during the school year."
"Good for him."
"So, did you want to join us?"
"If you'd like me to."
"I would. I'm sorry I freaked. I should have stayed and talked it out with you."
"Sometimes time and space apart are necessary, Buffy. I reacted badly. We both should have thought of consequences somewhere along the line. Our assumptions have gotten us here, we'll deal with it."
"So where is this movie night?"
"Here, of course, the only place where there are no parents."
"I don't count as an authority figure?"
"Mm, not so much."
"How ego boosting."
She laughed softly. "Yeah." She stopped when he slid his hand to her stomach. "What?"
"It's hard to believe. You're such a small thing." He looked at her with sincere wonder in his eyes. "I just can't picture it."
"I guess you'll get to experience it first hand."
"It would seem so."
She slid off the bed and sat on his lap, wrapping her arms and legs around him. "Are you going to spend the night tonight?"
"I could if you'd like me to."
"I'd like you to."
"Well, then I guess I'll have to. It's part of the making up process."
"I've been on this end of that process frequently. Or it seems that way at least. So, yes, in my vast experience, you cater to the whims of the one you've wronged."
"Yes. It's a rule, a rather steadfast one or at least I've been led to believe."
"I've heard tell there are other parts to the making up process."
"You have, have you?"
"Mm hmm." She kissed his jaw.
"I guess that gives me more reason to spend the night then."
"I think that might be too long to wait. By then we'll be done with the making up." She nipped at his ear while she worked at unfastening his pants. She was getting better at it so it didn't take that long this time.
"Buffy. Willow and Tara."
"Are adults and can either wait for us or leave. I have to thank you for those flowers, don't I?"
"I suppose since you put it that way."
She slid off his lap and started to take her shirt off, but he stopped her. "Let me."
"Okay," she said, letting her hands fall to her sides.
He took over then, sliding her shirt up and off. She'd never seen him like this. He touched and kissed her everywhere. Sure, he'd touched her, kissed her but this was different. She'd never considered what they did just sex, but there was an element to his attention today that was different. More. It was the only way she could describe it. He lifted her into his arms and set her on the bed. She expected him to undress and join her, but he had other things in mind as he quickly demonstrated.
He was as gentle as he was thorough, lifting her higher and higher. If it was possible to channel their desire for one another they'd accomplished it. Every touch seemed to sear through him as it did her. She'd never realized her entire body could feel so hot and she could cause him to feel it, too. And when his head dipped between her legs, his mouth finding her nub she cried out as her release tore through her.
"Wow," she murmured, still breathless as he removed his clothes and joined her on the bed. He slid on top of her. She saw him hesitate. "What?"
"You're quite certain the tests are accurate?"
"Pretty sure. I don't hear too many stories of false positives."
"And if it is inaccurate?"
"Oh God, Giles, I'm late. Over two weeks and I'm never late. I don't have any condoms here, so if you're worried I'm not and this is going to get me pregnant then we'd better put our clothes back on. Or take a cold shower or something. Because at this point I don't really care."
He smiled then, a smile that lit up his whole face and brightened his eyes. "I was hoping you'd say that."
"Were you testing me?"
"No, just ensuring."
"Stop thinking already."
"Clearly, I've done enough of that for the past six months."
She placed her hands on either side of his face and drew him to her for a kiss to silence him. It worked, and with the silencing he slid inside of her. He held her close, as if he didn't want to risk releasing her. He was always mindful of her, giving her pleasure before he took his but this felt different. She still didn't know how to describe it. She felt cherished as he made her feel pleasure after pleasure.
When he had finished and he still touched her, intent on bringing her still more pleasure she identified what she was feeling. Love. She felt loved. She turned onto her side, caressing his face with her hand. He was watching her as if trying to memorize her.
"I thought I'd lost you. That I'd ruined this with my stupidity."
"You're not stupid, Giles, and you didn't lose or ruin anything."
"I guess I'm a textbook example of someone with lots of accumulated knowledge I don't always know how to apply."
She ran her thumb over his lips, her eyes watching his. "That's what I love about you."
"Well, I can go on doing stupid things for quite some time."
"I wouldn't want it any other way." He either didn't hear what she said or if he did was oversimplifying her meaning behind the words.
He placed a hand against her stomach again. "I still can't believe it, Buffy. It seems impossible."
"Well, obviously all of our parts work. Have there been slayers that have had kids? Families?"
"I know of one. She was one of the two that fell victim to Spike. He was just a young thing when she died. I'm not sure what happened to him after that. He probably stayed with her watcher, but I don't know truthfully. It was twenty years ago and once his slayer was dead he wouldn't have reason to journal any longer."
"She must have been young to have him."
"I think she was, but again I'm not sure."
"Riley called this morning."
"Yeah. I told him I was involved with someone, tried to tell him I had been all along without it making it obvious I was using him for information."
"You think you're how far along?"
"Well, I'm two weeks late. I don't know how it works. A month?"
"All right, well, I imagine if he gets testy about it we will just have to offer him proof. You're talking a six week differential between your night with him and four weeks ago."
"Right, you're right."
"A month, eh? We're looking at a spring baby then."
"If you say so."
"Buffy, didn't you pay attention in biology class?"
"Not anymore than I had to. I was dating a vampire, what did I need to know about reproduction."
He chuckled. "Yes, I'm sure it wasn't high on your list of priorities. Well, it's been some time for me as well, but mid-March or so sounds about right."
"You're not mad? I mean, really not mad?"
"No, of course not, Buffy, how could I be mad? If you'd deliberately set out to do it. Well, honestly, I'm not sure I could be mad even if that was the case."
"It wasn't deliberate."
"I know. I don't think it would have taken this long if that had been your intent."
"Thank you for the flowers."
"You're welcome. I wish I had thought to get you some before now without an argument as the reason."
"Indeed. I did research a weekend excursion for us if the idea of some time in LA appeals to you."
"Yes. Sure. What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I wasn't thinking overly clear at the time, so I'll have to do more research, but I'll arrange for something perhaps the weekend after classes begin. It will give you something to look forward to without your coursework being too difficult."
"I'd like you to think about living with me."
"Well, I imagine Willow and Tara would like to room together, which leaves you ending up with someone you don't know."
"And this means I should live with you?"
"Why not? We're going to have a baby. It stands to reason."
"Giles, I don't want to move in with you because you think I should."
"What other reason is there?"
"Um, like maybe because you want me to."
"Of course I do. I wouldn't have asked ordinarily this soon, perhaps when you were done with school."
"That means I'll have to tell my mom between now and then."
"Yes, it would mean that you would."
"Let me think about it. You're right about Willow and Tara, though. Maybe I can get my own room."
"All right, well, let me know. I don't want to put pressure on you, but you're going to need things for the baby. You're not going to have it in a dorm room."
"Of course not."
"And I won't have you living with your mother when I'm perfectly capable of supporting you and our child."
"All right, if not in the fall, for sure after the quarter is done. I shouldn't be showing for a while, I don't know if I want to tell her that soon. That's less than two months away."
"Right, I understand. Might I suggest you make an appointment with a physician?"
"Oh, yeah. You do know quite a bit about this."
"Well, you don't live to be my age without some exposure to these things."
"I suppose not. And you're sure I can't tell Willow?"
"That's up to you. I think your mother would be hurt if she was the last person to know instead of one of the first."
"Yes, but I need someone to talk to and to eat ice cream with me."
"Well, far be it from me to stand in between a pregnant woman's cravings and the friend willing to join in her indulgence."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com