Side Effects by Shyfox

Disclaimer: All characters in this story belong to Joss Whedon and others...not to me, unfortunately. This story was written merely for pleasure, not for profit.
This is a Willow/Buffy story. If the thought of two women together upsets you, please don't read this story.
Sequel alert: This is the sequel to Sappho's spell.
Comments, questions, criticisms are as always welcome at shyfox30@hotmail.com

Side Effects
by

Shyfox

Darkness. Darkness all around her. Pitch black all the eye could see. The very air around her gave no clue as to where she was because there was very little current moving around her. The only sound her ear could detect was a faint murmuring sound. Kind of like a chorus of voices in a hushed crowd or the trickle of a brook as it ran down stream. She strained her hearing trying to detect where the sound was coming from, but it seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Completely confused, she tried calling out, her mouth opened but no sound emerged. 'Help me' she thought, before she abruptly awoke, gasping out a breath of air as her green eyes took in the early morning light of her dorm room.

"Will? Are you okay?" Willow heard Buffy's husky voice in her ear as two warm arms encircled her shaking form. She nodded jerkily, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. "Same dream?" Buffy asked, being kind of an expert on the recurring dream theme.

"Yeah." Willow breathed, as she allowed herself to relax around the comforting warmth of her lover. "Except..." She stopped, not quite sure how to put how she was feeling into words.

"Tell me." Buffy whispered, stroking the back of Willow's neck with gentle fingertips.

Willow took a deep breath and tried to form her jumbled up feelings into coherent thought. "It's the same dark void, almost impenetrable by light. I don't know where I am, or how I got there. There were a couple of differences in this dream though. When I first started having the dream the air was so cold...freezing. I've never been so cold in my life." Willow remembered, shivering a little in Buffy's arms.

Buffy remembered waking up one morning not long after she and Willow had first made love, to find her shivering uncontrollably. Willow's teeth had been chattering in her head, and she had her arms wrapped firmly around herself as she tried to get warm. Buffy, alarmed at the state her lover was in, had taken her immediately into her arms, surprised to find her body temperature perfectly normal. In fact it had been a little warmer than usual. Buffy thinking Willow might have had a fever, forced Willow to sleep in that morning not leaving her side until she had insisted that she was perfectly fine. But when Buffy had woke up the following morning and found Willow in the same condition, she forced her to tell her what was wrong. Willow told Buffy between shuddering gasps, about her dream. The dreams had been going on in this way for the past two weeks, and Buffy was getting extremely worried. She continued to support her lover and hoped that they'd find an answer to her strange dreams.

"But in tonight's dream it was warm...so warm and comfortable. And...there was this sound I couldn't quite make out. It was like a murmur of a thousand voices or a dozen bees droning. But in this really weird rhythm." Willow tried to describe the sound, but was frustrated when she realized she just couldn't do it. She knew she'd recognize the sound instantly if she ever heard it again, but to describe it...she just didn't have the words to do it.

She shook her head in frustration, sighing deeply. Buffy pulled her closer into her embrace, holding her tight against her chest and stroking her hair gently. "It'll be okay." Buffy whispered, kissing Willow on the top of her head. "I'll go talk to Giles, see if he's found out anything. He wanted to talk to me about something he found out about that spell of yours anyway." Buffy was pleased to hear her lover snort gracefully into her chest. Willow knew exactly what spell she referred to. The one that had changed their relationship for the better, though neither of them had told anyone about the change in their relationship. Not even Giles. They wanted to get used to the newness of the relationship first.

Willow looked reluctantly at the alarm beside Buffy's bed, knowing that it must be getting late and that she had an early morning class that morning. She groaned at the confirmed knowledge, as the red glowing numbers confirmed that it was seven thirty and she had to get up. "Ugh, I have to go to class." Willow complained, clearly not wanting to leave the warm spot that was Buffy.

"I remember a time when you used to like going to class." Buffy teased gently, not wanting to leave the comfortable embrace she was in either, but knowing that they had to get moving. Buffy was curious as to what Giles had found out.

"I still do! I just don't like leaving this bed." Willow pouted, a look that made Buffy weak in the knees every time.

"So...what fascinating subject is it this morning? Anthropology? History? Biology?" Buffy teased.

"I'll have you know it's much more interesting than that." Willow stated imperiously.

"Oh yeah? What is it?" Buffy smirked, enjoying their game.

"Human sexuality and reproduction." Willow enjoyed how Buffy nearly choked on that one. That is, before Buffy returned the favor.

"Didn't we just do that?" She asked, forcing Willow to raise a red haired eyebrow at her. "Well...except for the reproduction part." Buffy chuckled at her lover's shocked expression.

"Well, I'd love to be able to lay here and do this all day, but I really do have to get to class." Willow sighed, starting to climb off of Buffy.

"No, I guess I wouldn't want you to miss your class. But..." Buffy got a wicked gleam in her eyes and Willow could swear she knew where she was going to go with this. "Do you think they give extra credit for at home participation?" Buffy asked, starting to nibble on the sweet skin of her lover's neck.

"Buffy!" Willow exclaimed in protest. "Really Buffy...Buffy I can't. I don't have time this morning." She said, as she tried to squirm out of her amorous lover's embrace.

"Are you sure?" Buffy asked, watching the redhead through amused eyes, who had finally managed to stand up next to her bed.

"I'm sorry. Maybe later?" Willow answered the entreating look in Buffy's eyes. 'Please don't give me the pout, you know I can't withstand the pout.' Willow pleaded internally as the corners of Buffy's mouth started to turn downwards. "I really have to go." Willow practically ran to the closet as she grabbed an outfit to wear and threw it on. "Sorry." She called over her shoulder, as she threw open the dorm room door and quickly left. She leaned up against the wooden frame, waiting for her heart beat to slow down a bit before, smiling to herself, she headed off to class.

"Oh well," Buffy said to herself. "I guess I really shouldn't keep Giles waiting." She sighed, then chuckled at the way Willow had practically bolted from the room.

********

Willow was just about to leave the dormitory, when a sudden attack of queasiness hit her. 'Oh no, not again.' She thought, dismayed, before running into the nearest bathroom hoping to make it to the closest stall before she lost the contents of her stomach all over the bathroom floor. She quickly closed and locked the door of the stall before leaning over and heaving into the toilet. This early morning ritual was quickly becoming detested. Willow was sure it wasn't something she ate, and yet she didn't think she was getting sick, after the initial bout of queasiness it seemed to fade for the rest of the day. She hadn't told Buffy about this, not wanting to make her worry anymore than she already was, and she vowed to herself that if it didn't go away in a couple of days she would go to see her family physician and get it checked out. After rinsing her mouth and washing her hands and face, Willow made her way out of the bathroom and continued on her way to class.

********

"GILES?!" Buffy called out, slamming the door to Giles apartment as she entered. Giles was just coming out of the kitchen, holding a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea.

"Oh, Buffy, you're here. Excellent. Would you like a cup?" Giles offered, knowing that Buffy probably wouldn't take him up on it.

"Uh no, maybe later, Giles." Buffy said, as she flopped down on Giles couch and looked at him expectantly. "So...you wanted to tell me about the spell?" Neither Buffy nor Willow wanted to take the chance of researching the spell themselves. As far as Buffy could remember, all Willow had done was read the spell before she was under it. So, Buffy had brought the spell book to Giles, hoping that he would be able to safely say what the spell was, where it had originated from, and what the purpose behind the spell was, having informed him as little as possible of what had happened that night. Luckily, when Buffy had found the spell book it was already open to the pages Willow had been reading, since Willow had no memory of what had happened that night at all. So, it was really only a matter of Buffy asking Giles to determine what the two spells on the pages were for. Giles had ruled out the first spell right away, it being a simple levitation spell that Willow could do in her sleep. The second spell had captured his attention, and he had taken the book without hesitation, muttering something about researching as he walked away.

"Buffy, that was a very...uh...interesting spell you asked me to research." Giles started, noticing the look of anxiety that swept across Buffy's face before she hid it.

"Really? Did you find out anything?" Buffy asked, examining a freshly painted fingernail in pretended disinterest.

"Well, for one thing..."Giles sighed, "It's a very old spell. How it wound up in that book that Willow had is quite frankly beyond my comprehension. If my research is correct it dates back to the time of the Ancient Greek civilization. It's also extremely powerful. It's a good thing Willow hadn't finished reading that spell."

"Uh, really? Why's that?" Buffy asked, unable to hide the subtle squeak in her voice.

"Well, any love spell is dangerous, but this one was supposedly graced by the Greek Goddess of Love Aphrodite. As you've already witnessed someone under a love spell can be incredibly dangerous." Buffy nodded, remembering the time that Xander had tried to cast a love spell on Cordelia, and it had affected every woman but Cordelia, Buffy included. "This spell is much more powerful than the one Xander and Amy cast. The effects could have been....I can't even begin to fathom it." Giles said, noticing Buffy shudder. Buffy wondered what Willow would have done if she hadn't gotten carried away by the passion of the moment, or if she had tried to restrain Willow the way she had wanted to at first. The power that Buffy had felt while they were making love was astronomical and she truly believed what Giles said.

"And I believe I've stumbled upon some possible side effects of the spell." Giles continued, noticing Buffy's distracted look.

"Side effects?" She asked, dragging her attention to Giles worried face. "What kind of side effects?"

"Well...I'm afraid I haven't...I mean I'm not entirely sure..." Giles stumbled.

"Spit it out Giles." Buffy said, her impatience starting to show through. If Willow was going to experience some unforeseen side effect, Buffy wanted to know about it. Then Willow's dreams popped into her head and Buffy thought that she knew what one of them might be already.

"Well, the spell is strange in that it is dedicated to somebody. Two somebody's actually. It states the wish that the two people's threads never be cut. Now in Greek mythology, a person's life was decided by the three fates. Clothos, Lachesis, and Atropos, or as they were sometimes called, The Mother, the Maiden, and the Crone. They each had their own jobs. One was the weaver and she wove the thread of somebody's life into this big rich tapestry. How she weaved determined how somebody's life would go. One of them simply held the thread, and dealt it out to the weaver. I suppose, she decided how long someone's life would be. And the last was responsible for cutting the thread. A person's life ended when that thread was cut. Now, how this affects the spell I'm not quite sure. It may have been a spell for the two to live out their lives in immortality, having the fate never cut their thread, or it could have been talking about their descending line. It may have been a wish that the Warrior and the Follower's descendants never die out, and this spell may have been used to see that they never did."

"In English, Giles." Buffy said, having lost the Watcher after the whole three fates bit.

"Right. I'm thinking this spell was either used to bring two soul mates together. Or to ensure the continued line of the Warrior and Follower by...um...urging the descendents to...uh...mate." Giles got out, blushing furiously.

Buffy looked at him strangely, her face turning white. "That's um...really...strange, Giles."

"Yes. Quite." Giles agreed, thinking about the spell once more.

********

'Just when you think you know all there is to know about a subject, you find out you're wrong.' Willow reflected silently, as she paid attention in her human sexuality and reproduction class. 'I mean, after sleeping with a were-wolf and a Slayer, you would think I would know it all.' Willow always found the class discussions extremely fascinating, and she loved to hear the various students stories about their own love lives, and the questions they evoked, although she had never opted to share any of her own stories. She probably would have been lucky to get two sentences out without stuttering uncontrollably.

Today they were starting the section on reproduction though, and Willow sat glued to her seat, fascinated about the many changes a baby went through before it was ready to be born. The professor had brought a film to class showing the developing baby from time of conception through the ninth month. It was fascinating to her how everything about the baby formed.

"And this, is what a baby's heart beat sounds like inside the mother." The professor said, playing a tape of the last sonogram she had. The sound nearly rocked Willow out of her seat, as she sat wide-eyed and listened to the sound she had been hearing in her dreams. 'I'd recognize that sound anywhere.' Willow had said that earlier to Buffy, and now she was hearing it in her reproduction class. She didn't quite know what to make of it. She didn't know why she was dreaming of a baby's heart beat. But, she intended to find out.

**********

Dr. Wiseburg had been Willow's family physician for as long as she could remember. He had probably been her doctor since she was a baby. So she felt a little self-conscious now, coming into the doctor's waiting room with the problem she felt she was having.

"Hello, Willow." Nurse Brackett called out to her, seeing her enter. "It's been a few months since I've seen you. Everything going okay?" Willow had known Nurse Brackett for about as long as she had known Dr. Wiseburg. The kind faced, slightly chubby nurse had taken her measurements since she was old enough to walk. "I don't see your name in the appointment book, are you sure you're due for a physical?" The nurse asked, her eyes looking up at Willow questioningly.

"Um, no. I know I'm not scheduled. I know it's short notice. But, I was wondering if Dr. Wiseburg had some time between patients." Willow murmured, trying hard not to run back out the waiting room door.

Nurse Brackett looked concerned as she glanced down at her appointment book. "Well, he has an appointment at one. I'll see if he can squeeze you in Willow, okay?" Willow glanced at her watch. It was twelve thirty now. She supposed she'd have enough time to blurt out her secret before Dr. Wiseburg's next patient showed. Willow nodded and Nurse Brackett paged the doctor, telling him who was waiting for him, and before Willow knew it, Dr. Wiseburg had come out and collected her, bringing her into his office.

Dr. Wiseburg's office was a normal Doctor's office. Diplomas on the wall. An examination table in the middle of the room. Medical equipment on trays spread around the office. He had a desk sitting in one corner, which he sat down at and motioned for Willow to take the visitor's seat. Dr. Wiseburg was an older man, who Willow guessed, was somewhere in his late fifties.

"So, Willow, what can I help you with?" Dr. Wiseburg asked, expecting to be hit with some innocuous teenage problem.

"I think I'm pregnant." Willow whispered, unable to meet his eyes. That had not been what the good doctor had been expecting, anything but that. He had known Ira Rosenberg's daughter since he had delivered her. He would never have expected her to have unsafe sex. But here she sat, in his office, looking as troubled as he'd ever seen her. The doctor in him took over before he could think too much about it.

"Well, why don't we find out, huh? Then we can take it from there." He said kindly, then buzzed the nurse through his intercom. "Nurse Bracket, postpone my one o'clock to two, all right?"

"Yes, Doctor." Willow heard the reply through a haze, as well as everything that happened after that. The examination itself was a blur to her, which was good in a way because she probably would have found the whole thing completely embarrassing otherwise. Dr. Wiseberg took some blood and had it sent to the lab, then told Willow that the results would be available in about a half an hour and that if she'd like to get comfortable and wait in the waiting room, he would call her when they were ready. Willow nodded, waiting for him to leave before she got off of the examination table and got dressed. Her fingers were shaking so badly she could hardly button the buttons on her sweater, but sooner than she would've thought she was back in the waiting room, her stomach in knots as she waited for the results.

She tried thumbing through the year- old magazines that were sitting on a table in the waiting room, but she kept feeling Nurse Brackett's concerned eyes resting on her and she found it hard to concentrate on the words. Also, her mind kept flashing to Buffy, wondering what in the world she was going to say to her if it proved her suspicions were correct. Worse yet, she couldn't imagine how in the world she would've got in the position she was in. She hadn't slept with a guy since Oz had left a month ago, and she had gone through her period the day after he left, a fun experience if there ever was one, although she was due for her next one in about a week. She had a sneaking suspicion this one wouldn't be coming on time though.

Willow was so deep into her thoughts that she never even heard Dr. Wiseburg calling her name until a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder. "Come on into my office, Willow." He said gently, and Willow nodded, avoiding the questioning glances of the Nurse. Feeling more queasy and light-headed then she had ever felt, she followed the Doctor into his office, swallowing hard to keep the contents of her stomach in place.

"Well?" She asked, nervously. Her voice squeaked in fear. Dr. Wiseburg looked at her soberly, his kind, gentle brown eyes looking at her sympathetically.

"Well, I'm not quite sure how you knew it...but you are two weeks pregnant." Dr. Wiseburg said, confirming Willow's darkest fears.

Willow's eyes closed upon the tears she felt building up in them. She brought a trembling hand to her mouth, holding in a sob as the tears overflowed her eyelids and dripped down her cheeks.

"Willow, I know how overwhelmed you must be feeling right now. And you shouldn't make any decisions at this time, but there are three choices that you can make about your situation. They should each be discussed with your parents and your partner, then you'll be better able to come to a conclusion about what it is you want to do." Dr. Wiseburg said, trying to be supportive, and give some much needed information to the young person.

Willow looked up at him, question in her eyes, and he continued. "It's still early in your pregnancy. We could just end the pregnancy." The shocked and offended look in Willow's eyes told him that wouldn't be an option she would consider, and he should have known just from her being Ira Rosenberg's daughter, but he felt it should be mentioned anyway, just to cover all the bases. "Of course, if that's not a viable option for you, there are always good families waiting to adopt a baby. A family who could love and support a baby, but maybe can't have children of their own." This suggestion didn't bring as much as an offended look to Willow's face, though he could tell that she wasn't sure if this was the way that she wanted to go. "Then of course, you could always keep the baby. I'm sure you have enough emotional as well as financial supports around you to help you to raise the baby yourself." The doctor was thinking of Willow's parents, but Willow's thoughts flew immediately to Buffy. Buffy was the only person who ever completely emotionally supported her. She supposed they would find some way to go about the financial part.

"I'd like to set up regularly scheduled appointments for you during your entire pregnancy, to help ensure that you and your baby remain healthy and also to discuss prenatal and post natal options with you, all right?" Dr. Wiseburg asked, once Willow had composed herself.

Willow nodded, and then stood not wanting to take up any more of Dr. Wiseburg's time then she already had. "Thank you." Willow said, although she wasn't quite sure what she was thanking him for.

"It's all right, Willow. Everything will be okay, you'll see." Dr. Wiseburg responded trying to reassure the young woman. "Please see Nurse Brackett about setting up your next appointment, and try not to worry, okay?"

Willow nodded, not knowing what to say, then stepped out of the office. She quickly set up an appointment for the next week, then left the doctor's building. She wasn't quite sure where she would go, but she needed to take a walk and clear her head.

Willow walked through the park on the way to the dorm, struggling to find a way to tell Buffy what had happened. She didn't notice any of the other college students that were having lunch there, or the students that passed by her talking to each other. She was wound up in her own little daze of misery. 'I mean, what do I say? I can't just walk up to her and say...Guess what, Buffy? I'm pregnant.' Willow thought sarcastically. 'She'll probably think it's Oz's or that I cheated on her. I really hope she doesn't think I cheated on her. I'd never cheat on her.'

'What if she freaks? What if she doesn't believe me? What if she doesn't want children and thinks that I should end the pregnancy?' They had never really talked about children, or if Buffy really wanted any. And then there was the whole passed down from generation to generation thing of Buffy's. Buffy might be worried that any child she had would be destined to be the next Slayer. What if Buffy thought that it would be better off not even being born?

Willow wasn't even sure what she herself wanted. The only thing that she did know was that she did not want to end the pregnancy. She couldn't. Her parents would never look at her the same way again. If she told them that is. But beyond that, Willow wasn't sure if she could end a life...any life...especially not a life that was taking root inside of her. She definitely could not end the pregnancy. So, that left her with two options. Adoption, or keeping the child to raise herself. She wasn't sure how she felt about either of those options. Part of it, she knew, would be hinged on Buffy's reaction to the whole situation. Willow knew that she couldn't make a decision without her.

Willow had always wanted to have a child when she was growing up. She had always fantasized about some day marrying Xander Harris and having a child with him...maybe two. The fantasy had changed as she had gotten older. Oz had taken Xander's place in her heart and her dream. And then, Oz had left and the dream had turned fuzzy for a while. Until the morning she had woken up in Buffy's arms and she had finally known where she was meant to be. And now it looked like the dream she had from childhood was coming true. It wasn't the time she would have chosen, she would have liked to finish college first, but if this was the time it had to be then she wouldn't begrudge it.

*********

Letting herself into her dorm room, Willow was surprised to realize she was completely exhausted. She went over to her bed and lay down, pulling the covers over her head as she curled up into a fetal position, her hand resting on her stomach, and immediately fell into a deep sleep.

Willow dreamed again of the sound of a baby's heart beat. Yet this time, not all was dark. She was amazed when she saw the shape and definition of a fetus. It's not quite formed features swam in a protective pool. Willow was engulfed in a feeling of such love and devotion for the unborn child that it overwhelmed her. She knew at that moment that she would do anything to protect this child.

*********

Buffy came back from Giles place and found Willow curled up in her bed. She was mumbling something in her sleep, but Buffy wasn't close enough to make it out. She looked at the position her lover had chosen to sleep in, and her eyes shadowed with worry as she walked over to Willow's bed. "Will?" She called out gently, moving red hair off of her friend's face.

"mmm, bring the bottle." Willow mumbled in her sleep, her eyebrows scrunching up as she twitched in her sleep.

Buffy grinned slightly at the comment, wondering what her lover was dreaming about. "Will, you're dreaming." Buffy whispered, stroking a freckled cheek. She watched as green eyes blinked open then focused in on her own blue eyes.

"Buffy?" Willow sat up, confused. She wondered how long she had been asleep. She glanced at the clock on the bedside table, shocked to see that it was four o'clock and that she had slept for several hours after she had come home from the doctor's office.

"Will...are you okay?" Buffy asked. It wasn't often that she came home to find Willow in bed during the middle of the day. She could only remember one instance when Willow had the flu.

Willow thought blearily about that question for a little while. Was she okay? Well, it depended on how you looked at it, didn't it? Buffy was starting to get worried at the silence when Willow finally answered her. "Uh, yeah. I'm okay. I mean I'm not sick or anything...it's just..." She started babbling then made herself shut up before she just blurted it out. She didn't want to bowl Buffy over while she was still standing.

"Just what?" Buffy asked, an uncomfortable feeling starting to rise within the Slayer.

"Um, I kinda need to tell you something, but I don't want to do it with you standing up. Can you come here?" Willow asked, moving over a little to give Buffy room to sit down. Buffy sat down next to Willow, her body tense as she waited for whatever she had to tell her. Their eyes met and she saw the fear in Willow's green eyes.

"What is it?" Buffy asked, a thousand possible answers running through her head.

"You remember when I told you that I'd remember that sound in my dreams if I heard it again, anywhere?" Willow started, not quite sure where she was going with this, but she knew she had to start somewhere.

"Yeah?" Buffy said, as confused about where Willow was going with this as Willow was.

"Well, I heard it today. In my sex and reproduction class." Seeing the confused look on Buffy's face, Willow continued. "My teacher played a tape of a sonogram. It was the same sound. The sound of a baby's heart beat." Willow could see confusion mixing with a dawning realization swimming in the Slayer's blue eyes.

Buffy's mind flashed back to her conversation with Giles and the sudden realization almost knocked the breath out of her. "Will...are you..." Shock immobilized her mouth as she saw Willow nodding at her.

"I'm going to have a baby." Willow whispered, seeing the shock fill the beautiful blue eyes beside her. "The doctor says I'm two weeks pregnant. I'm so sorry. I don't know how it happened." Willow gasped out, starting to cry as she anticipated Buffy's anger and rejection.

Buffy shook her head as she tried to let the news sink in. "This is unbelievable." She whispered. The news took it's time settling in between the layers of disbelief and shock that were protecting her. 'I'm going to be a 'father'? This is really unbelievable. If I didn't know it were true, I wouldn't believe it.' Buffy thought to herself, the enormity of the situation sitting squarely on the Slayer's shoulders.

"Buffy, please say something." Willow pleaded after Buffy hadn't spoken for what seemed like forever. The Slayer was being too quiet, like the calm before the storm, and Willow was just waiting for Buffy to freak out and start yelling and screaming at her.

Buffy finally pulled away from her internal thoughts enough to notice the flow of tears that were streaming down Willow's face. "Oh, Will. I'm sorry. Come here." Buffy whispered, pulling her lover into her arms.

"You don't hate me?" Willow cried, her arms wrapping tightly around Buffy.

"Why would I hate you, Will? This is all my fault." Buffy said, wiping the tears off of Willow's cheeks.

"What? I don't understand." Willow said, the expression on her face showing just how confused she was.

Buffy's face was intense as she looked into Willow's. "It's the spell, Will. Something happened to me that night. I've never felt anything like it before, or since, that night. At first, I just thought it was...you know...being with you. It was bound to be intense. But that night, Will, I felt different." Buffy saw that Willow's confusion hadn't cleared and swore softly. "I wish I knew how to describe it to you. I wish you could remember." Buffy said, running her fingers through Willow's red hair and cupping her cheek. "Whatever went through me went into you too." Buffy remembered that moment so clearly in her head. The slow build-up of whatever force that had been in control that night, and the moment it had merged the two together for a timeless instant. Buffy shook her head, shaking off the still startlingly clear and pleasurable memories of that night.

"Anyway...from what Giles said. This is the purpose behind the spell." Buffy said, gently resting her hand over Willow's abdomen.

"Does he know?" Willow asked, wondering if Buffy had told Giles the whole truth while she had been there.

Buffy shook her head. "No. I wasn't quite sure how to bring that up. Besides, I kinda wanted to be sure before I went into the 'let's see if we can make Giles stutter uncontrollably' stage." Willow shared a smile with Buffy at that, imagining what Giles reaction to that would be.

They sat in contemplative silence after that, each wondering what the other was thinking. Finally, Willow's hesitant voice broke the silence. "What do you think we should do?"

Buffy took a long breath and let it out slowly. "Well...I guess I could quit college and get a job. We'll probably have to move out of the dorm, although I definitely think you should continue going to college. The baby should be here sometime around July...I think. That would give you almost a month before your next classes started, and I could stay home and take care of the baby while you were in classes...either that or get a baby sitter. I wonder if my mom would be able to help out sometimes." Willow watched Buffy in amazement. She had obviously given this a lot of thought.

"Buffy, you want to keep the baby?" The surprise in Willow's voice made Buffy stop and look at her.

"Well...I just assumed that's what you would want, too. Do you want to give her up?" Buffy asked, the very thought of not knowing her own child tore at the Slayer's heart. But if Willow wasn't ready for the responsibility, Buffy supposed she would have no choice but to go along with it.

Willow shook her head. "I guess I just didn't think that you would want to keep her."

Buffy looked at her with soulful eyes. "Why wouldn't I? She's mine." She said, her hand curling protectively on Willow's stomach.

Willow smiled at how possessive Buffy was already. She rested her head on the Slayer's shoulder, and they rested back on the bed. "I guess we have a lot of decisions to make, huh?"

"Yeah, like how we're going to tell our parents....and Giles." Buffy said, wrinkling her nose.

Thinking about telling her parents made Willow shudder. "Yeah. But at least we made the most important decision." She said, resting her hand on top of Buffy's on her abdomen.

"We're going to have a baby, Will." Buffy whispered, awestruck. Willow smiled serenely at her, and for the first time felt good about the news she had heard that day. She kissed Buffy gently and then snuggled into her, content to just lay in Buffy's protective embrace and watch the shadows on the floor move their way across the room as the sun set on the prospective parents.

The end (Till next time)

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Telling Giles

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