Damned If I Don't, Damned If I Do
Part Three of The Damned Series


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PART NINE: 5th July to 23rd September 2004
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Chapter Seventeen: Be My Baby

Buffy was going to have a bad day. She just knew it. When a day started like this one, there was little point hoping it might get better. Which was shame, because bad days had been few and far between for the last week or so, ever since she'd told Faith a few home truths and embarrassed them both in the process, and she'd have really preferred that the run hadn't ended so soon.

"Yes, Giles! I'm still listening!" she groaned into the phone.

Not that her little truth-telling session hadn't had a few darker consequences. The postcard she'd received in the mail a few days later being the main one. She didn't even know how he'd found out, because surely Faith hadn't blabbed. The message had been short and not so sweet:

"If she had agreed, Heaven would have been too much to hope for this time. Do not think you could ever run far enough that I would not find you."

He hadn't signed his name, but then he hadn't had to. As death threats went, it was less creative than the volcano, but somehow more inspiring. As evidence, right now it only proved that Troy was jealous of her and was warning her off. Faith would probably even think it was sweet, or at the very least, funny. Later, though, it might come in useful, so she'd stuck the card into the back of Toni's diary and tried to forget about it.

"But I'm not the pregnant one!" Buffy whined in frustration. "Why do I have to get a sonogram? ... No, I'd know! It's been four months!"

As Giles went on to remind her again that mystical pregnancies worked differently to natural ones; and that the word 'blah-de-blah' in whatever language the prophesy was written in definitely meant 'baby of heroic destiny', she threw her head back against the couch and rolled her eyes at the ceiling.

Enough time had passed and enough shit had happened since the baby bombshell had been originally dropped, without any actual proof, that Buffy just saw the whole thing as ridiculous now. She wasn't pregnant! She'd know if she was. Women knew these things. There were signs, and not just skipped periods and morning sickness and getting fat, weren't there? The subtle signs that let the mom-to-be know there was a little life growing inside her; the sixth sense that made you nest and glow, for instance?

Okay, she was guessing, she didn't know what it felt like to be pregnant, but she was convinced it made you feel more than nothing. And those were the only signs she was getting, the nothing signs, plus the little nagging feeling that she was trying too hard to convince herself she wasn't.

But that was stupid, because of course she wasn't! But then the little nagging feeling would say that, wouldn't it?

This feeling came mostly from the fact that the prophesies she had a piece of had a nasty habit of coming true with less than fun results for her. Even the ones she'd crushed generally found some way of biting her in the ass instead of just going quietly. If this one came true, and she could believe Quantiaro's dire warnings, it wouldn't just be her ass that got bit, it would be everyone's. Plus if this one was coming true, well... it was already coming true. The deed had been done; the seed had been planted at Easter. It was too late for crushing. Damage control was the only option, hence why Giles was suddenly insisting on an ultrasound, for party of two.

And, at the end of the day, Faith didn't look or act any more pregnant that she did, so who was she really to argue that it wasn't her with the baby-bun?

"So Faith's going in straight after me? Isn't that going to look a bit suspicious? Even more suspicious than getting her checked out for internal bleeding that, if it existed, would have killed her over a month ago?"

Giles explained that Faith's appointment would be in the evening, about nine hours after Buffy's was scheduled, so that the shifts at the clinic would have changed. That way hopefully no one there would recognize Buffy and say anything as unfortunate as 'Hello Miss Summers; back for another one?'

"How am I even gonna convince her to go?" she asked.

In a nice, British way, he told her that was her problem, but hey, she had all day to come up with a solution.

"This really sucks, Giles!"

He informed her that he was well aware of that; and gave her the address of the clinic and appointment times.

*****

"Thanks for coming with me, guys," Buffy said sincerely as she changed into a gown behind a fold out screen in the corner of the room.

She didn't know why she had to put this thing on anyway. Wouldn't it have been easier just to let her pull up her t-shirt? But when she'd suggested that, she'd gotten a bunch of non-reasons and a look that was hard to argue with.

She was pretty sure the nurse was just hoping to get a look at her butt through the stupid, draughty open back of the gown. A year ago that thought would never have occurred to her, proving that discovering you were bi-sexual wasn't all upside.

"No problem," Dawn called over. "Just as long as you remember how cool I'm being about your possible unplanned pregnancy, just in case it ever happens to me."

Buffy sharply poked her head around the screen. "You're not even allowed to have sex unless you're planning on getting pregnant!"

Dawn grinned at her, "You know, your sex-ed is even worse than my school's; and way different to Mom's."

"You know what I mean," Buffy muttered, ducking back behind the screen to tie the gown strings in a bow behind her. "I want you married to a nice accountant and planning a serious two point four family before you have sex."

"Christian's thinking of being an accountant," Dawn told her cheerfully.

"I didn't mean accountant," Buffy backtracked quickly. "I meant stamp collector, and model train enthusiast, who works in a... in a comic store and is more interested in Spiderman's webby adventures than sexing up my little sister!"

"You want me to marry Andrew?" Dawn laughed.

Buffy came out from behind the screen in time to see the offended reaction.

"Hey! I resent that. I don't collect stamps."

Buffy chuckled and patted his shoulder on the way to the bed that looked way too much like a hospital bed to be comforting.

"Actually, that small factor aside, I think you'd be perfect. Especially if you decide to be gay. Very, very gay."

"You have such high prospects for my future," Dawn grumbled good-naturedly. "When's this thing supposed to start anyway? Do we have time to go buy popcorn?"

Dawn had been far more pleasant to be around since they'd moved into Toni's apartment. Buffy had a feeling it was more to do with being able to call her boyfriend back home whenever she wanted than the extra space. Buffy was dreading the phone bill when it arrived, but it was nice to have her happy sister back again. Plus, over half of the expensive calls were going to a number in Japan anyway, and she couldn't blame those on Dawn.

"Hospitals don't sell popcorn, do they?" Andrew asked, not getting the joke. "I only saw a coffee vending machine in the hallway."

"It's not a hospital," Buffy said, settling herself as comfortably as possible on the narrow bed and looking with mild horror at the stirrup-type things attached to the end of it. "This is a clinic."

"So the brochure says, but it looks more like a hospital to me," Andrew argued as he looked around the room at all the scary equipment.

It did to Buffy too, but she was trying not to think about that. She didn't know why she was so nervous; it wasn't like they were going to operate on her. She was only here to get a sonogram, prove she wasn't the pregnant one, and then go about her merry day again.

The sonographer bustled back into the room again, making Buffy jump at her abrupt entrance.

"Hello..." The woman checked a chart she was carrying. "Buffy Summers?"

"Yeah, that's me." Buffy held her hand up slightly.

The sonographer grinned at her. "I'd never have guessed. Quite the disguise you have there, lying on the bed in the silly clinic gown."

Buffy rolled her eyes at herself, smiling. "Yeah, I guess this look doesn't exactly project innocent bystander, does it?"

The doctor's grin softened as she came closer. "Don't worry; nerves aren't uncommon at a time like this. Is this your first antenatal sonogram?"

Buffy nodded.

"Okay, well, I'll talk you thought it. There's nothing to be scared of except the coldness of the gel." She checked her chart again and apparently found it lacking. "Uh, how far along does your doctor think you are?"

"I haven't been to a doctor." Buffy started the lines she'd practiced with Dawn earlier. "I don't have one here in Rome and my Italian isn't that good. It was a Godsend when I found out about this place."

Giles had waited until he'd found an entirely American owned and run clinic before springing this fun little outing on her. She was actually grateful for that much. At least she didn't have to go through this ordeal and fight the language barrier at the same time.

"Okay, we'll figure it out. When did you last menstruate?"

"Three months ago," Buffy lied automatically.

"What's menstruate?" Andrew asked.

"You really don't wanna know." Dawn grinned at him.

Andrew's eyes rolled to the ceiling as he tried to remember his biology classes, and then he looked sick. "Never mind, I think I worked it out."

The sonographer gave him an amused look. "The father, I presume."

Buffy burst out laughing, feeling some of the tension break and wash away. "Oh God."

"No, no, no, I'm not... I didn't..." Andrew stammered, backing away from the bed some.

"He's just a friend," Dawn explained. "And I'm her sister." She offered her hand. "And Auntie-to-be."

The sonographer shook her hand and then got down to business with her machine. Buffy took the time to smile gratefully at Dawn. She was being very cool about all of this. And if this didn't turn out to be the farce Buffy was hoping it was, she really did feel lucky to have Dawn by her side. For someone who could be a real sulky little brat when she wanted, she had an amazingly compassionate and supportive side too. She was so much like mom it was scary...

Oh crap, she was getting all emotional now; maybe she was the pregnant one.

Buffy tried to block all that out and concentrate on the technical side of what was happening.

"Okay, if you could just raise your gown above your tummy for me?"

Buffy's eyes went wide. "Are you serious? I'm naked under here!"

The professional smiled to put her at ease. "That's okay. I do a lot of vaginal sonograms; you're not going to show me anything that will embarrass me. Although, really the nurse should have mentioned you could leave your underwear on."

She'd known the nurse just wanted to perve! "I wasn't worried about embarrassing you," she muttered, slowly pulling the gown up. "Andrew!"

"Already facing the wall with my eyes closed!" he promised her. "Or I could leave if you like?"

He sounded like he actually wanted to, but Buffy wanted the extra proof that she wasn't the pregnant one, plus all the encouragement in this she could handle. "That's okay; just keep facing that way until I tell you otherwise."

"I'm starting to rethink my supportive role," joked Dawn. She didn't turn away, but she did raise her eyes to the ceiling and kept them there.

In the end, the doctor fetched her an itchy white blanket so that Buffy could cover up a little. Andrew was given permission to turn back around, which he grudgingly accepted.

Next came the gel. Squeezed from a giant tube and rubbed liberally across her belly. It was cold, but not too bad. Mostly it just didn't look very nice.

"Okay, here we go." The Sonographer turned her equipment around a little so that Buffy had a better view of the monitor and then pressed the transducer to her skin, slowly moving it across her lower abdomen.

As Dawn and Andrew automatically moved closer to the bed to watch the screen, Buffy grabbed their hands and closed her eyes.

"Well?" she said after a few seconds.

"I can't seem to..." The doctor muttered, pressing harder and moving the hand-held scanning-thingy back the other way.

"Buffy!" Dawn began excitedly. "Buffy, there's nothing there!"

"Really?" Her eyes popped open to check.

Andrew was leaning over her, getting in the Obstetrician's way to really search the screen. "There's nothing on the radar, captain."

Buffy looked at the one with the experience for her opinion before letting the relief flood in.

"I'm afraid I can't find any evidence of a fetus..."

"Oh, thank God!" Buffy reached over and excitedly hugged her sister, as Andrew bounced happily on the other side.

"You seem awfully pleased that it's a false alarm." The doctor smiled as she wiped the gunk off of her tummy with some wet wipes. "Not ready for children yet?"

"Not for a long time yet," Buffy admitted, although it didn't really matter what she was ready for, the baby was coming. But thank God she wouldn't be the one giving birth to it! "Plus me and the mo... dad aren't together any more, so a kid would just be awkward."

Will be awkward, she added to herself.

"Well, okay then. Another satisfied customer. You should really get yourself a doctor here though if you're planning to stay in the country for any length of time. We have some excellent primary care physicians here at the clinic. Your period may have been late due to anxiety over thinking you were pregnant - the body can be weird that way - but three months is a long time. You should get yourself properly checked out."

Before the woman was even halfway through her speech, Buffy was up and behind the screen, changing as fast as possible. By the time she'd finished, Buffy was reappearing fully dressed.

"Well, I was going to say, I'll leave you to get changed, but..."

"Thank you, Doctor!" Buffy said, shaking her hand. "You have no idea how much I thank you."

"You're welcome," the Sonographer said, slightly bemused.

"Come on guys," she called to Dawn and Andrew. "Let's go do something fun for a few hours before I have to come back."

As she held the door open for them, she noticed the woman watching them leave; now looking even more bemused.

"To ah... to ah... make an appointment," Buffy nodded quickly, ushering Andrew out the door faster with a shove to his back. "Which I can't do until I've, uh, checked my schedule. Bye!"

Wincing inside, Buffy ran for it.

*****

"Where are we going, B?"

"It's a surprise."

"Where are we going, B?"

"It's a surprise."

Faith huffed. "You're not gonna tell me are you?"

"What gave it away?" Buffy smiled. "The first seventeen times I didn't?"

"When you said you wanted to take me on a play-date, I figured we'd be going to a nice romantic restaurant. One where you'd bribe a violinist to play that Lady and Tramp tune and tease me by slurping up your spaghetti." Faith joked.

"Sorry to disappoint you, Effie." Buffy smirked as she led the way through the just-dark streets towards the clinic.

She'd chickened out of telling Faith what she had to do tonight, so she was using trickery instead.

"Effie?"

"It sounds nicer than F." Buffy explained.

"And what, Faith is just too long a name?"

"Yeah, almost as long as Buffy."

"So where are we going?"

"It's a surprise."

Fifteen minutes later they were standing outside the clinic and Faith wasn't happy.

"You gotta be kidding me?"

"It's just a quick ultrasound. You'll be in and out in ten minutes."

"I don't need no fuckin' ultrasound." Faith started to walk away, but Buffy jumped in front of her.

"Please, just wait a minute. I told Giles about you getting stabbed with the stupid knife gun and he was worried. Really worried, like I am."

"I'm fine!" Faith insisted, throwing her arms up.

"Yeah, you look it, but what if... what if some bit of tubing attached itself to the wrong other bit of tubing. Maybe Asklepios did a bang-up job, and I hope he did, but he's still not a professional modern-day doctor!"

"He sorted your foot out fine, didn't he?"

"As far as I know."

Buffy was pretty sure he had. It had actually taken less than the week he'd predicted to heal. She didn't know if that was her Slayer healing or his ability as a medic, but apart from the re-grown skin being slightly paler than the rest of her, her foot was as good as new.

"But that's a foot! Feet are more resilient than internal organs."

"I can't believe you dragged me away from my X-box for this," Faith muttered, looking up at the elegant clinic building.

Buffy bit her lip as she pondered what to try next. She knew this was nothing. The shit-fit Faith was going to throw when she found out she was pregnant was going to be massively worse. It had to be done though.

Moving closer to Faith, she put one hand on the girl's waist and the other on her cheek, gently coaxing her around for eye-contact.

"I know you don't like places like this. I don't either and God knows you've got more practical reasons than me for the phobia, but... sometimes they're useful. And this is a nice place, with nice professional people who got they're medical degrees in the last couple of decades. Giles knows one of the guys on the board apparently, he's ex-Council, and so we're getting the appointment for free. What harm can it do?"

Faith was looking up at the street lights now, anything to avoid eye-contact. Which showed just how pissed off she was with this idea. She sounded pretty resigned to it though when she asked,

"Is this really about me getting stabbed?"

The question surprised Buffy more than it probably should have. She'd assumed Faith had forgotten all about her wild accusations of pregnancy, seeing as they hadn't been mentioned pretty much the whole time she'd been here.

She wasn't really sure how to respond. She didn't want to lie, but if she admitted the truth, Faith could run off and she still knew the city far better than Buffy did.

Buffy moved in even closer, and in a way that was an answer in itself, and in another way it was also more trickery. Buffy-closeness still had the habit of making Faith's mental acuity stutter and stumble. It wasn't something she was proud of using against her... well, maybe a little.

"I'll buy you a McDonald's after. One of everything off the menu. I'll even slurp up my fries to tease you." She promised into Faith's ear as she hugged her around the waist.

"One of everything to eat in and nuggets and a chocolate shake to take home?"

"Hey, why not?" Buffy grinned, pulling away. "It's essentially your money anyway."

"Okay." Faith was still dubious, or maybe nervous, but she gestured at the doorway. "Lead the way, girlfriend. But if they try and stick me with needles and shit, the deal's off."

"They won't," Buffy promised, opening the door and letting Faith go through first so if she changed her mind she'd be there to catch her.

"How do you know?"

"Oh, I read a book on it... in college... very informative." Buffy breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed behind them and Faith walked to the reception desk without doubting her.

*****

They hadn't had to wait the twenty minutes Buffy had that morning. Obviously the evenings weren't that busy and an expensive place like this probably didn't get all that many walk-in's off the street.

Buffy sat in a plastic chair while Faith changed behind the screen. It was the same room she had been in, but so far Giles had been on the money and she hadn't seen any staff that looked familiar. It was just a case of hoping now that her sonographer wasn't working overtime tonight.

"You can keep your underwear on," she called over.

"I was gonna," Faith called back. "Although, gotta say, coming from you that sounds kinda strange."

Buffy laughed, shaking her head slightly. She and Faith had been getting on better than ever since the night Buffy had been introduced to Troy's anti-fan club. It was like her marriage proposal and Faith's refusal had somehow cleared the air between them. A lot of the tension had evaporated. Not the sexual kind necessarily, but certainly the 'Is this going anywhere?' kind.

They both knew where they stood now. They both knew where the other stood too. Buffy knew that conversation had left both of them raw, but it had been worth it. It was the beginning of a bright new era, or something, and with that re-awakening they'd become stronger than ever... just not in a togethery kind of way. This new easy, non-sexual friendship would have been disappointing, if it wasn't such a relief.

Faith came out from behind the screen, looking self-conscious in her gown.

Buffy grinned. "Cute!"

"Say that again and I'm leaving," Faith warned.

"So, so cute!" Buffy jumped from her seat and grabbed Faith's arms as she strode purposefully to the door. "I don't think so, Twinkie!"

She stopped, her nose scrunching in a frown.

Faith grinned, "Yeah, you really can't pull off Twinkie."

"I'm getting that. What about Blondie?"

"Not exactly accurate."

"Well, Brownie just sounds offensive somehow. Ooh, I know, what about Scrappy-Doo?"

"Scrappy-what-the-hell?"

"You know, 'cause I'm like Scooby, 'cept not really cause I'm not a big dumb dog that likes to eat everything in sight, but Willow and Xander, they're my Scoobies, meaning I'm Scooby, and you're like my scrappy, slightly crazy, little sis... Scrappy-Doo!" Buffy grinned.

Faith had been eye-ballin' her all the way through that, more so towards the end. She bit her bottom lip as she processed it, and finally said,

"Stick to Effie."

"You like Effie?" Buffy asked, surprised.

"Like it better than I like Scrappy-fuckin'-Doo."

Buffy grinned at her. Then the doctor came in and Buffy turned sharply to the door. She breathed another sigh of relief when she saw it wasn't the same woman.

"Hello, Miss..."

"Miss Lehane," Buffy interjected quickly.

"Yep, that's what I have written down here." The lady said, smiling.

Faith gave her a strange smile.

"Just didn't want you to think I'd forgotten it," she said quickly.

Faith chuckled and hopped onto the bed when she was instructed to. "So what happens now?"

"We're just going to take a little look to see what's going on in there," the Sonographer said.

There were none of the questions about menstruation dates or fathers. Buffy assumed that Giles had already informed someone that Faith had to be treated with care, so to speak.

"I just need you to pull your gown up over your stomach."

Faith did so with no preamble. Buffy instantly jerked her eyes away to the wall; just because Faith was wearing underwear didn't mean it was okay to look.

"Hey, don't miss this golden opportunity, B. Might be the last one you get," Faith teased.

Buffy felt herself go bright red, but nonchalantly turned her head back around anyway. "Like your underwear is so enticing, Faith."

Oh God, it was! Plain black cotton panties shouldn't look so hot! She let her eyes linger though, because she could see it was making Faith fidget now, while mentally remembering all the times she'd accidentally seen Andrew in his Spiderman underpants while they were sharing a room. It didn't have quite the same affect as a freezing shower, but it did stop her from turning into a quivering mess on the floor.

"Are you two a couple?" The doctor asked, sounding amused by their carry on as she finished setting up the equipment.

"No!" They said strongly together.

"Okay," she obviously didn't totally believe them. "Now I'm gonna spread some of this gel stuff on your stomach, Faith. It just stops any air getting between your skin and the transducer which helps me get a better reading, okay?"

"Yeah, bring it on." Faith was leaning forward slightly away from the back of the bed, watching everything that was going on and seeming way more relaxed than Buffy had earlier. She soon changed her tune, wincing away. "Oh jeez, that's freezing!"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "It's not that cold."

"How would you know? Is it on your skin?"

"Well, obviously I wouldn't know," Buffy said, not meeting her eyes. "But it can't be that cold, surely?"

"Take a look at my nipples and tell me otherwise."

Buffy chuckled. "How 'bout I just take your word for it."

"Cluck, cluck..." Faith started to make a noise like a chicken, but then the doctor pressed the scanner to her tummy and she urgently asked, "Now what are you doing?"

"This is what lets me see inside you," the woman said soothingly, pulling the instrument away for a minute while she explained. "It sends sound waves down into your womb and from the echo I can get a picture of what's there; which allows me to see if there is anything untoward going on."

Faith put her hand out to stop the doctor from resuming. Buffy held her breath, hoping she wasn't about to get too difficult.

"Is that safe?" Faith asked.

"There is no radiation involved with sonography. It's one hundred percent safe." The doctor explained, perfectly patient.

"But... you're sending sound waves into me? Could that, like, damage any of my insides, or... or damage the hearing of... of anything in there, like, I don't know, my intestines or something?"

The sonographer smiled tenderly. "Your intestines don't rely all that much on their hearing, but they, and everything else that is in there, won't be in any way affected by this procedure. You have my word."

"Okay," Faith agreed, but she still didn't sound too sure.

"Do you want me to hold your hand?" Buffy blurted out.

"Uh, hardly." Faith began sarcastically, before muttering, "But you can come closer if you want."

Buffy rushed to stand as close to the bed as she could. "You ready?" she asked, resting her hand on Faith's shoulder.

"Yeah, let's see what all this fuss is about."

The doctor pressed the transducer back to her stomach and started to cheerfully push it across Faith's tummy. Buffy fixed her eyes to the monitor display, holding her breath without even realizing it.

The scanner did a sweep across and then came back the other way. Buffy felt a little squeamish, knowing she was looking at Faith's womb, but by the time it went back the other way she was mostly just feeling confused.

"What am I supposed to be seeing here?"

"My insides?" Faith had her head tilted to one side as she watched.

"But where's the...?" Buffy began and looked to the doctor for an answer.

The doctor caught her eye before looking back at the screen and moving the transducer back over again. "This is a perfectly healthy, empty womb."

"Empty?" Buffy echoed, her voice hollow.

"So no tubes wired up wrong?" Faith asked cheerfully.

"As far as I can tell, everything seems to be as it should." The doctor told her, going across once more just be sure.

'Not as it should!' thought Buffy. 'It shouldn't be empty!'

"And no baby?" Faith checked, just as cheerfully.

"Definitely not." The Doctor gave up looking, put her equipment away and wiped the gel from Faith's stomach. "That's it, we're done. I'll leave you to get dressed."

As she left the room, Buffy stayed frozen against the side of the bed, still staring at the now dark screen. What the hell did this mean? Was the prophesy false? Were they not having a baby together?

Faith suddenly leaned into her, one arm going around her shoulders. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Buffy muttered distantly.

She came back to her senses as Faith kissed her temple. When Buffy turned to face her, she was surprised to get a small kiss on the lips too. Then they were resting forehead to forehead.

"We dodged a hell of a bullet here, babe," Faith murmured. "You should be happier. Sure as hell neither of us are ready to be parents yet, especially not together. Think of the fun that'd be."

"I have," Buffy admitted quietly. "And you're right; fun was not to be seen, but..."

"But...?"

"Just but." Buffy smiled sadly and placed her hand on Faith's exposed tummy, still a little tacky from the gel. "You know, when I found out it wasn't me, not this morning but when I did a test months ago, it nearly made me cry." She rolled her eyes, embarrassed. "Stupid, huh?"

Faith didn't make fun of her. "I let myself think about it," she admitted. "Just once for like five minutes or so, before I reminded myself it was fuckin' crazy and got angry at you instead." She paused, biting her lip. "It was a nice fantasy, Buffy, but it would have been a frickin' crappy reality."

Buffy nodded slowly. She couldn't even make sense of the way she was feeling, because it didn't make any sense! She hadn't wanted this prophecy to be real for heaven's sake, but maybe, a little part of her had liked the idea of them having something special together; and you didn't get much specialer than giving life to and raising a child overlord who was gonna bring fire and torment to the nations of Earth...

Aaaand... she was feeling better.

She leaned away from Faith, breaking their semi-cuddle and patted her stomach a few times. "Right let's go get this filled up. And now I know for sure you're not eating for two, you're only getting half the menu."

"No way!" Faith sat forward indignantly. "You promised!"

"Meh," Buffy shrugged. "I think I'll be able to live with myself."

Faith gave her a dark look as she hopped off the bed altogether. "Fine, if you're okay with disrespecting your little-sis like that."

Buffy wrinkled her nose as she ogled Faith's panties through the open back of the gown. "Can we maybe not call you little-sis anymore; I'm finding it a little disturbing considering... you know."

"Sure, but it beats the hell out of you calling me Baby-Momma," Faith said easily as she disappeared behind the screen.

Buffy just giggled at that, and it reminded her she had a very pleasant phone call to make. "Faith, can I borrow your cell?"

It was flipped over the screen; Buffy stepped forward and caught it. She scrolled through for the number of the house in Cleveland and hummed a cheery little ditty while she waited for someone to answer the phone.

"Hey Giles, it's me. Guess what? Nobody's pregnant. Well probably somebody's pregnant somewhere, but nobody in this room in one of those somebody's. We've checked my baby-grower and Faith's and they're both completely empty. What do you say to that, Mister?"

There was spluttering on the other end of the line that made her grin.

"Obviously you're oh so infallible prophecy translating skills are a little fallible after all."

"Buffy, that's impossible. This has been verified by experts, not just myself. There has been a chain of events, plain to see if you know where to look, that leads up to the Slayer who wielded the Sagaris falling pregnant on the equinox. There has been no link broken in that chain...."

Buffy remembered something that Quantiaro had said, something about there being three Slayers able to bear this child. But the Scythe had always been with her; ever since they'd closed Sunnydale down. Sure Faith had actually used it during the battle. She'd passed it over herself when she'd fallen with little hope of getting back on her feet; that's why Faith was as eligible for motherhood as she was, but no one else had touched it since...

...Someone had thrown it to her! When she'd beat the odds and gotten back up someone had called her name and chucked her the Scythe, and it hadn't been Faith. Buffy could vaguely remember seeing her kicking off a pile of Vampires, and the scythe had come from the other direction. From someone throwing awkwardly because they only had one good arm...

Buffy sighed heavily. "Giles, its Rona! She just requested a year off from active duty, didn't she? Something about spending time with her family? I bet it's maternity leave."

"Good Lord!"

Buffy smiled. "Track her down and you'll find your miracle bump."

Faith came out from behind the screen rubbing her tummy exaggeratedly. "Finish it up, B. I'm starving."

"I have to go, Giles. Gotta feed the baby."

Buffy ducked, giggling, as a handful of vaginal swabs were launched at her head.


Chapter Eighteen

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Part Nine Quick-Jump:

Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen || Chapter Seventeen || Chapter Eighteen || Chapter Nineteen || Chapter Twenty || Chapter Twenty One || Chapter Twenty Two || Chapter Twenty Three || Chapter Twenty Four || Chapter Twenty Five || Chapter Twenty Six || Chapter Twenty Seven || Chapter Twenty Eight || Chapter Twenty Nine || Chapter Thirty || Chapter Thirty One


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