Teach Your Children Well
Teach your children well,
And feed them on your dreams.
Don't you ever ask them why,
--Crosby, Stills and Nash
Willow sipped dejectedly at her decaf mocha, glancing around the Sunnydale Mall's Food Court and wondering what happened to that wonderful Saturday that she, Buffy and Mrs. Summers were supposed to be spending together. One half-hour inside the mall, shopping for maternity clothes, and she and Buffy were at each other's throats.
Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but dammit, it seemed that bad to her. She knew with all her heart and soul that she loved Buffy, that her love was returned, and that they both were excited by the prospect of becoming parents. Unfortunately, she was the one who was pregnant, with all the positive and negative baggage that came with it. Her moods were erratic, and every little upset was magnified a hundred-fold. And the person most likely to get caught in the blast of Mount Saint Willow was Buffy. Like what happened fifteen minutes ago.
And of course, to top it all off, her figure had finally begun to show physical signs of her pregnancy. Her belly wasn't rounded much, not yet, but already she had to struggle to fit into her blue jeans. She was starting to feel heavier, more bloated, and there was Buffy, just as dazzling, just as svelte, just as beautiful as ever. Just to make the comparison worse.
Fine, then, Willow thought testily, next time, Buffy can try to decipher that damn spell and get pregnant herself! She regretted the thought almost as soon as she thought it. She didn't blame Buffy for what had happened. Neither of them had any idea what Willow's leafing through that spell book would unleash. Nor, if they had known, would they have changed a thing. One single spell had brought out the passion, the love that they had always felt but feared to say. Now they were together, and nothing would change that. Willow was, on the whole, happier than she had been in her life, she had Buffy, she had Mrs. Summers' support, and she had a new life to care for.
But she still didn't have her parents' support and it hurt her. When she told them about her pregnancy, they exploded. They refused to entertain the notion of her keeping the baby, and almost insisted that she give it up for adoption. In retrospect, she was glad that she didn't mention the minor fact that the father of the child, and the person she loved more than life itself, was a woman. They would have had coronaries on the spot.
Thank whatever God or Goddess was responsible for Joyce Summers. She was more open to her daughter's relationship with Willow, and understanding of their impending motherhood. More than likely, dealing with the fact that her daughter was a Vampire Slayer may have conditioned her to accept pretty much anything. Thankfully, she had accepted Willow. She didn't even mind (too much, at least) when, after Willow and Buffy moved back into Buffy's old room at home, she had caught them in bed, naked as the day they were born, luxuriating in what could only be described as an incredible afterglow. Mildly awkward having dinner with her later, but she seemed cool. The two lovers had promised to make sure the doors were locked the next time.
She took another sip of mocha, lost in her thoughts, when she sensed someone sitting in the chair next to hers. "Hey, Willow," a familiar, mature voice greeted her.
Willow turned to acknowledge the speaker. "Hey back, Mrs. Summers."
"Willow," the older woman smiled, "I think that at this point in our relationship you might as well start calling me 'Joyce'. I mean, you're carrying my grandchild. You're practically my daughter-in-law."
"Thanks, M--Joyce." She went back to sipping her mocha.
"You haven't seen Buffy, have you?" Joyce asked.
Willow looked up, glanced around the mall, saying, "I think she said something about heading to the WB Store. New shipment of 'Charmed' t-shirts."
"Oh," Joyce pursed her lips. She looked closely at Willow's face, studying the worry lines that were etching her normally elfin features.
"Okay, Willow, let's try this again. What's going on?"
"Not even a fight, really," Willow started, "more like a squabble. But with definite fight overtones."
"Ah. And what was the fight about?"
"A candy bar?" Joyce asked, mystified.
"Hey, I know that this doesn't sound big, but chocolate is--well, chocolate!"
'Don't I know it?" Joyce smiled. "When Buffy's father and I broke up, I went through so many candy bars, I got Christmas cards from Hershey, Pennsylvania."
Willow chuckled at the thought. "But Buffy got on my case about it. Too much caffeine, she said. Bad for the baby."
"Well, yes, chocolate does contain some caffeine, but not that much."
"Yeah! That's what I said," Willow defended herself, then fell silent. "Of course, I said it real loud, and real mad. Geez, I hate hormones."
"Hey, been there, done that," Joyce kidded. "It's part of the package. The miracle of birth does come with certain side-effects."
"Yeah, my mom always said that if men had the babies, the population
would drop off dramatically. Couldn't stand the mood swings, or the pain of
Willow started to laugh loudly at the image. "Scary visual place, Joyce." Joyce patted Willow on the hand, and Willow smiled.
"Don't worry about it, Willow," Joyce assured her. "Buffy's not going to let a candy bar come between the two of you. I've never seen Buffy so happy as she's been these last few weeks with you."
"Yeah, and chocolate issues aside, she's been great about taking care of me and the baby. Making sure I eat my veggies, keeping me off of alcohol. Of course, she's had no problem steering away from beer, since the Cave Slayer incident--"
"Hold it," Joyce interrupted, "the Cave Slayer incident?"
Willow blushed crimson, realizing that she was treading on an issue which Buffy didn't inform her mother. "Uh, long story. And rather funny in retrospect."
"I'm sure," Joyce commented skeptically. "Anyway, you've been just as good for her. I'm grateful that you're a part of her life."
"Hey, it's easy for me, I love her so much." Willow looked back at Joyce, saying, "And I can only hope that I'm as good a mom to my baby as you've been to Buffy."
Now it was Joyce's turn to be silent. She said nothing in response
Willow's statement, prompting Willow to ask, "Is something wrong?"
"Joyce? Don't say that," Willow scolded. "Given all that's happened, I think you did good as a mother."
"Yeah, right," Joyce muttered, almost to herself. "Hmph. 'If you walk out that door, don't even think about coming back'."
"That's what I said to her," Joyce admitted painfully. "It was when she first told me that she was the Slayer. She had to confront Angelus, something about saving the world from a demon or something--"
"Acaltha," Willow supplied the monster's name. She remembered Buffy's battle with the one she once loved, all too well.
"Yeah, whatever, the point was that she needed me to understand, and I was too busy feeling betrayed to even notice. I found out that Buffy was leading this whole other life, one that I couldn't be a part of, and--well, I didn't take it very well."
"Yeah, Buffy told me about your blow-out. Hey, this isn't the kind of
thing that's covered in the Mother's Handbook."
"Look, Willow, take some advice from someone whose made her share of mistakes. If I could give you one good piece of advise--"
"Wear sunscreen!" Willow chimed in. "Sorry, couldn't resist."
Joyce smiled at Willow and continued. "Willow, no matter how much you and Buffy love your child, there will be times when your child will bug the hell out of you. Homework issues, curfews, he or she decides to join a band, she's the next Slayer, whatever. No matter what the crisis is, always speak from your heart. Never speak from your anger. It was my anger that nearly lost me Buffy that night. And I swore that I'd never do again."
"Is that why you've been so cool about me and Buffy?"
"Yeah. And I owe her a big-time apology," Willow decided.
"Trade ya apologies," a chipper voice caught Willow from behind. Willow turned around and grinned broadly at the sight of Buffy.
"Hey, Buffy, I'm sorry about--" Willow started, but Buffy held up her hand, silencing her.
"No, Wills, I'm the bad in this scenario. I shouldn't have given you such a hard time about some candy bar. I just had a mental image of our baby revving around your womb like it was at Nascar." Buffy held her hand behind her back as she spoke, then suddenly took her hand forward, handing Willow a box. "Here. A piece offering."
Willow looked at the box, and her eyes widened. "A Tobler Orange!"
"Hey, nothing but the best for my girl," Buffy announced. Watching Willow tear into the box, she added, "Save some for later, that's about five candy bars worth in there."
Willow unwrapped the foil-covered ball, revealing twenty chocolate wedges. "I'll save some for tonight," Willow promised, and Buffy definitely caught a wicked gleam in her lover's eye. "I'll even share some with you, if you ask nicely."
Buffy couldn't help but chuckle evilly at the implied erotic promise. Her chuckle turned into a coughing fit as she caught sight of her mother. "Sorry, Mom, just chatting," she grinned, adding under her breath, "awkward, awkward."
"Don't worry, Buffy," Joyce assured her. "Just make sure you lock your door when you, uh, hmm, have your chocolate."
"Right," a mortally embarrassed Slayer said, as Willow's face turned redder than her hair.
"Okay, now that the Chocolate War is over," Joyce said, "How about I take my three favorite girls out to lunch?"
"Three? Oh," Willow remembered. "You seem assured about our daughter's gender."
"Hey, you don't have a Y-chromosome," Joyce observed, "Buffy doesn't have a Y-chromosome; as you two have been known to say, do the math!"
Buffy looked at Willow and said, "She's got a point."
"Okay, lunch, then we'll finish shopping for maternity wear. We haven't
checked out the Gap, have we?"
"Why wouldn't they?" Buffy commented.
"You ever see a pregnant woman jump, jive and wail on one of their commercials?" Willow observed.
"I've never seen you jump, jive and wail, either."
Joyce looked at the two lovers and smiled. Buffy had Willow and all was right in the world. But one thing was still bugging her.
"Buffy," she asked, "What exactly was this 'Cave Slayer'
to the Next Story in the Series by Kirayoshi
to the Next Story in the Series by Shyfox (takes place after This is to Mother