Softball - Buffy POV
It feels like so long since I was able to relax and laugh like this. It feels good. These past few days have been really fun. The whole Scooby gang hasn't gotten together for anything other than the usual impending apocalypse for...well it's been so long I can't even remember anymore. We are all gathered here at my house. We've had some food, we've talked, we've hung out and now we're just relaxing. It's nice.
The last couple of months have been getting a lot better. I think Xander is coming out of...whatever it was that he was in. Spike-- Spike of all people managed to help him out of it. I guess I shouldn't be as surprised as I am. He's been helping us for years now, but every now and then he manages to surprise me. He's laid his life on the line for us more times than I can count now. Okay, I need to change my train of thinking here. Too many nice thoughts about Spike cannot be good for my health.
I can't believe how big Xander is getting. He's way bigger than most women are at five months I think. Willow asked Xander's doctor about it, and she didn't seem worried. She said father and baby are well, and it probably has something to do with the fact that he is a guy. Of course I'm paraphrasing here. Willow put it in all these medical terms that went way over my head.
I think I can say without a doubt, that out of all of us, Xander was not the one I expected to have kids first. It's weird, but after all we've been though, a pregnant man is just not as shocking as it probably should be. I mean, we've seen Zombies; Hyena people; Mayors who want to be big giant snakes; Frankenstein creatures and Gods. A pregnant guy? Pfft, that's nothing.
At least Xander's fashion sense is finally coming in handy. Most of his clothes were so baggy already that he hasn't needed any new ones until now. Willow, Tara, Dawn and I took him shopping yesterday to get new ones. The four of us just can't stop fawning all over him.
I think he was a little self-conscious about leaving the apartment. We all managed to convince him that he didn't look strange, at least no stranger than normal. He just looked like he was fat, not pregnant. Of course, that just made him pout and sulk and it took another half hour of coaxing in order to get him outside.
Spike was really pissed that he couldn't come out with us, it being day, and all. I swear he is like a mother hen the way he fusses over Xander all the time. I mean, I'm the slayer: who better to protect Xander than me? I guess it's sweet in a surreal kind of way. I know Spike is protective of Dawn, and I like that he would guard her to the end of the Earth. It's actually reassuring for me, but to be protective of Xander too? It's weird. When I think of the two of them all I see is their constant bickering. I sometimes get to the point where I want to ask them to fight, because having them be nice to each other so much, just freaks me out.
Of course, while we were shopping for him, we just had to stop by a few sales looking for bargains. I mean we were at the Mall, what do you expect? Xander was so funny. Willow had picked out a new skirt that she wanted to buy. She already has the perfect pair of shoes to go with it. The color matches perfectly and they had these little tassely things...well anyway, Xander came up to her and took the skirt and started to talk about how the length was all wrong for Willow, and it would just make her hips look bulky. Then he started looking through the rack for something more suitable.
Have you ever had those moments of sudden realisation? It's like you're outside of your body and you can see yourself and it's like "What the hell are you doing?" I think Xander had one if those moments. He just froze in place for a second before dropping the skirt like a hot potato and clamping his hand over his mouth. The rest of us just stared at him, dazed for a moment before we all fell about laughing. The look on Xander's face was just too precious.
After that he made us go to the sports supply store across the way for an hour, while he talked non-stop about football, or baseball or...I don't know, some kind of ball, in a voice just slightly lower and more manly than normal, trying to get over the embarrassment. Afterwards he just blamed raging hormones. He's been doing that a lot lately.
Willow told me the other day about when she and Tara were watching movies at Xander's place with him and Spike. They rented Terminator 2. I think it was to please Spike more than anything, you know lots of carnage and random property damage. Anyway, Xander started crying at the end when Arny has to destroy himself to save the future, or something. Willow said that he tried to hide it but he kept sniffing and sobbing softly. None of them said anything to him. I don't think they wanted him to feel uncomfortable. He would have just blamed that on the raging hormones too though.
No weird mood swings tonight though. He and Spike have spent most of their time after dinner tossing a softball that he'd found, between them. If mom were here, I just know she would be trying to quickly hide all the breakables from the line of fire. I can't bring myself to stop them though. Xander looks like he's having so much fun.
Oh shit! Not again...Ha! Got it. "You'll never catch me out Alexander LaVelle Harris. I am the almighty slayer, may all others tremble at my feet."
"Dammit! How in the hell did you catch that? You weren't even paying attention, hell you weren't even looking this way. I'm so gonna get you next time Slayer, for I am um...Swollen Feet Man."
He has been doing that all evening. He is determined to beat my slayer reflexes so every so often he throws the thing at me. I haven't missed one yet. Of course! As if Giles hasn't done this sort of thing to me all the time in training. Hell I've even done this blindfolded standing on one hand. I am a finely tuned slaying machine.
Speaking of Giles, there he is, trying to act as if all of this is beyond him. Like he is too old and stuffy to enjoy it. I know he's just a big faker. He loves it just as much as the rest of us. I can see he's trying desperately not to smile at Xander and Spike's antics. Knowing him, he probably sees it as a good training opportunity.
It's actually really cool to be able to see someone go through this pregnancy thing. I mean maybe, someday, far in the future, if I ever get a boyfriend, or a life outside slaying, I might have a baby. It's good to be able to see what I would have to go through. Okay, I know Xander's a guy and I'm...well not, but it can't be all that different.
Over the past couple of weeks, just since he started to get pretty big, it seems like he has had to go to the bathroom to pee about every twenty minutes. I can't remember how many bathroom breaks we had to make at the mall yesterday. Of course it doesn't help that Xander seems to have hollow legs when it comes to his consumption of soda. I really don't know where he puts it all.
The morning sickness has been pretty brutal for him. Can you even call it morning sickness if it's not in the morning? It's 9pm every evening without fail. I swear you can set your watch by him. He starts to sweat a little and his skin turns just a slight shade of green. After that you gotta make sure you're not in the path between him and the bathroom, unless you want a really expensive dry cleaning bill. As Giles found out much to his annoyance, and our amusement last week. Yeah, that part definitely doesn't look like a lot of fun.
The food thing though, looks...interesting? I know a lot of women can get weird cravings when they're pregnant, but what Xander does is just gross. I mean, chunky peanut butter on pizza. Ewww! I don't understand how he can eat it. One thing that does puzzle me though is: how did he find out that he liked it in the first place? Okay, I can see him craving one or the other, but how did he get to the mixture of both? I think he delights in making us all watch him while he eats it. He should be arrested for crimes against food. He got his though. He just recently found out that now, chocolate gives him chronic heartburn when he eats it. That made him miserable for days. Not that I like seeing Xander miserable, but peanut butter and pizza? Come on!
"Hey Buffy, what time is it?" Willow looks up at me from her position sitting on the floor in front of the couch. She has been going through photos of the Scooby gang from years ago, with Tara and Dawn. I can't believe my hair in some of those pictures. What was I thinking? Huh, what time is it? Oh God, it's nine: I almost missed it.
"Hey Xander." I get his attention away from Spike and start to countdown the seconds on my wristwatch. " Ten...Nine...Eight..." He's looking over at me like I'm a crazy woman. I see him looking at his own watch, realisation dawning on his face. Hehe, he has this bunny caught in the headlights expression. "Seven...Six...Five..." I can see little beads of perspiration beginning to form on his forehead. "Four...Three..." Here comes the hint of green. "Two...One!" He slaps his hand over his mouth and he's off. See, what I mean...like clockwork. Nope, that morning...um evening sickness thing does not look like fun at all.
Uh oh, Spike's giving me one of his stony 'leave him alone' looks. I'll just counter with my 'me slayer, you vampire, me use stake, you go poof' looks. Not that I would actually do it...I think, but the look usually works like a charm.
"Buffy, leave Xander alone. I think he has enough to go through, without adding your teasing to the mix." Oh, there is a look I have no counter for. The 'I'm your Watcher, I know best, do as I say' look. Maybe if I pout a little?
"Come on, Giles. I was just playing." Oh look here is Xander back again. "You don't mind do you Xan?" I mean if anyone can take a joke, it's Xander. The guy practically lives on them.
"Yeah sure Buff. Just playing." Cool! Now I can use my 'see I told you so' look.
Hmm, he does look a little down I guess. A Buffy hug should do the trick.
"You forgive me right? I go over to him and stretch my arms out. He steps forward and wraps his arms around me.
I try to wrap my arms around him but it's hard going. "Jeez Xan, have you been using the pregnancy thing as an excuse to start eating like a million calories a day or something? You're big as a.....Ow!"
I look back to see the softball land on the floor after bouncing off my head. I look around at a sea of innocent faces. "Hey, who threw that?"
Crush - Dawn POV
I know a secret.
It's kinda obvious once you know what you are looking for. I doubt anybody else has noticed, but then again, they don't pay quite as much attention to them as I do. I have had a crush on the same two guys for so long, and now they only have eyes for each other.
It's subtle, I don't even think they realise it themselves, but the past couple of months they have been focusing more and more on each other.
Like now. We are all in the living room, relaxing after the meal. I'm sitting on the floor in front of the couch, pretending to look through old photos with Tara and Willow. Buffy is sitting at one end of the couch, lost in thought. Giles is at the desk watching us all with that almost paternal look he gets sometimes.
But Spike and Xander-- Spike is sitting on the other end of the couch and Xander is in the chair across the room, and they are tossing a softball back and forth between them. It's just another way of them blocking out the rest of the world and concentrating on each other. I think the only time I have seen them break eye contact is when Xander periodically throws the ball at Buffy to try and catch her out, and dammit if she hasn't caught it every single time.
Buffy could do with some sense knocked into her. Okay, she's the Chosen One when it comes to slaying vamps, but I don't think she was chosen when they were handing out a clue, 'cause she hasn't got one. She acts as if everything is all better now. Okay, yes, Xander is better than he was. He gets dressed now, he leaves the apartment (when Spike will let him), and he talks to us. That doesn't mean everything is fine. He's still in all kinds of pain, he's just back to hiding behind humour, so Buffy thinks everything is normal.
She acts as if Xander's pregnancy is just for her education and amusement. I mean, Xander's emotions can be all over the place sometimes, and I know he's really self-conscious about the way he looks, but she just thinks it's funny. Like yesterday at the mall when Xander started acting all...well kinda girly, is the only way I know to describe it. He was really embarrassed, and she thought it was such a big joke. She couldn't stop laughing. Willow and Tara just smiled sympathetically to Xander. I tried to give her one of those, 'Hello? Shut-up' looks, but she didn't notice. Oblivious much?
I think that morning was even worse. Xander didn't want to leave the apartment, because he thought he looked ridiculous. In his words, he thought he looked like he'd swallowed a small European car. Willow, Tara and I had just about convinced him that he looked fine, and that under his baggy clothing you could hardly notice he was pregnant. Then Miss Bottle Blonde had to open her big mouth and say that he didn't look pregnant at all, he just looked really fat. I think if it wasn't for the chip, Spike would have hit her. Xander retreated to his room for half an hour, and only came out once Spike talked to him. Buffy thought Spike was mad because he couldn't come along on the mall trip, but really he was mad at her for upsetting Xander...and also because he couldn't come along on the mall trip.
I don't think he likes letting Xander out of his sight for too long. He really is turning into a total worrywart. I think it's sweet. I'm surprised sometimes that he even lets Xander out of his sight to go to the bathroom. Xander doesn't seem to mind though. He gripes about it a bit, but it's half-hearted. In fact, I think inwardly he actually likes it.
It's nice to know that someone cares. I complain all the time the way that Buffy can be so over-protective of me. Okay, she can be a big pain, but I know it's because she loves me, so I guess I don't mind really. But she's my sister. She would think there was something wrong with me if I didn't complain. It's in the little sister rulebook.
It's the little things I think I notice the most about them, the things that no one else pays any attention to. The way that Spike brought the light back into Xander's eyes a little, and how they get just that little bit brighter when he steps into the room. The way Spike can't stop grinning at the back of Xander's head when he thinks that no one is watching
They touch a lot more now too. Just friendly pats on the back. A casual hand on the shoulder. All lasting just that little bit longer than you would expect of two guys who were nothing more than friends.
Here she goes, making a joke out of it again. Xander has been having a hard time with this sickness thing. It usually doesn't last too long though, and Spike fixes him some dry toast or crackers to help him. Afterward he comes out of the bathroom and he just gives a little smile and reassures everybody that he's okay. Sometimes he'll maybe make a gross vomit joke.
Yesterday though, after our shopping trip, we went back to Xander's for a while, and he had his usual nine o'clock mad dash to the bathroom. I went to check on him, to see if there was anything he needed, and I was about to knock on the bathroom door when I heard him sobbing inside. It must be so scary for him to just completely lose control of his body like that. I wanted to go in there and hug him better, but I know he wouldn't let me because he always has to be the brave guy in front of me: afraid I'll lose some of my hero worship. As if! Instead I went back and whispered to Spike that Xander might need him. He looked a little surprised at first, and then quickly slipped away to the bathroom.
There he goes. Poor Xander. Buffy actually has a proud look on her face, just 'cause she actually managed to time her silly countdown right. Ooh... Spike is giving her one of his 'hurt him I may kill you' looks. I think a part of him wants to go and comfort Xander, but he's probably too embarrassed to act so concerned, with the rest of us here.
"Buffy, leave Xander alone. I think he has enough to go through, without adding your teasing to the mix." I've never heard Giles sound so exasperated with her.
Oh Xander looks so pale. Unsurprisingly I guess. I'm sure I would look pale if I just yakked up the contents of my stomach. Buffy is getting up to hug him. Like that is just going to make everything all better. He's too nice. I would probably tell her to get lost.
Giles is trying to get my attention. I look up and he indicates the softball that Xander and Spike were tossing around. It has rolled next to my feet after Xander dropped it, in his rush to get to the bathroom. I pick it up and gently toss it to him. I wonder what he wants with it?
"Jeez Xan, have you been using the pregnancy thing as an excuse to start eating like a million calories a day or something. You're big as a.....Ow!"
Oh my God! Giles threw the ball at Buffy! She turns away from Xander for a moment to look at the rest of us. The look on her face is priceless. It's sort of a mix between hurt, and wounded pride.
"Hey, who threw that?"
I can't believe how innocent Giles can make his face seem. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
"Spike! You threw that, didn't you?" She's facing Spike now. Her face is bright red, and I don't know if it's more from anger or embarrassment.
"I'm at the wrong end of the bloody room, Slayer. It's a ball, not a boomerang." Spike just looks like he's sick of the whole situation.
"Who threw that?"
"God Buffy, chill, will you? It was just a little softball. Your head's hard enough to take it." It's really hard to keep the smirk off my face.
"Dawn! Did you do this?"
"It wasn't me. I was just saying it was only a joke. Relax." She stomps off to the kitchen in a huff. I'm not really watching her though. I can see Xander whisper something to Spike. Spike looks a little worried.
"Okay people. Me and Xander are off. Thanks for the fun and all that. Bye." With that, he just marches himself and Xander out the door. Does my sister know how to bring a party to a crashing halt or what? I hope Xander is okay. He should be. I know Spike will take care of him.