Review @ Jinxgirl
Story 21: Traumatic experience
"So you be a good girl and go to sleep, Callie, and when you wake up, the Easter bunny will have come and left you a little basket with candy, just like last year. Remember?" Buffy smiled down at her daughter as she sat on the edge of the bed, looking into the child's sleepy brown eyes. "You've been a good girl this year, so you'll get chocolate and Peeps and plastic eggs with little surprises, won't you? And a nice basket with grass…and you'll get to dress up and look so pretty-"
"Don't wanna dress up," Callie muttered, her voice soft but insistent, even as her eyes half closed. Buffy smoothed a hand over her soft blonde hair, glossing over that quickly.
"Well, we'll see."
What she meant was that she would try her hardest to get Callie into her new little Easter dress, but that her knowing her daughter and her disdain for such things, she would publically go naked until she let her wear pants. Faith really was such a bad influence sometimes. Well, at least Faith had stopped walking around the house naked once Callie was old enough to start asking her what all her body parts were called, but obviously she hadn't stopped soon enough, because the three-year-old stripped rather frequently now.
"Anyway," Buffy said quickly, diverting the child's attention before thoughts of dressing up for Easter could snatch all sleepiness away from her and cause her to sit up and start arguing. "You'll get all kinds of good things from the Easter bunny, and you'll get to go hunt for Easter eggs on the playground with other kids. Tomorrow will be lots of fun."
"Yeah…" Callie murmured, her eyes closing, and Buffy kissed her forehead, smiling as the child already began her descent into sleep. "Night mommy…"
"Good night, baby," Buffy replied, and she waited until Callie's eyes were fully closed before backing out of the room. It was her turn to put her to bed tonight while Faith patrolled, and as she waited for the other Slayer to return, she began to arrange the eggs she had dyed with Callie earlier on the table. After fifteen minutes she went to stick her head into Callie's room to check on her. Seeing that the little girl was asleep, breathing evenly, she returned to the living room and began to set up the "scene" for the next morning.
"B, what the hell are you doing?"
Buffy looked up at the sound of Faith's voice, from where the other woman was standing in the doorway, staring at her. She had a scrape on one cheek and her tank top was grass stained, but other than that she looked none the worse for the wear.
"Setting up Callie's Easter basket, obviously," Buffy replied. "Don't worry, I have one for you too, but I'm not putting it out right now. You'd eat everything in fifteen minutes."
"No, I mean what's with the grass trail starting at the doorway, leading to the basket, and then circling back to the door again?" Faith gestured, rolling her eyes. "That's REAL grass, B, is this supposed to be more decoration? Did you run out of the fake kind?"
"No, this is just part of the setup," Buffy explained, as if it were very expected that she would do such a thing. "This way Callie will really think the Easter bunny came. It's like he had grass on his feet and tracked it in, see? He left tracks."
Still standing in the doorway without shutting it, Faith just gawked at her for several seconds before shaking her head, giving a sharp laugh of disbelief.
"Oh god B, you SERIOUS? First you spend all week getting her to color pictures of eggs and bunnies and chickens…then you dye Easter eggs with her, even though she just spilled dye everywhere and splashed it out of the cups every time she dropped an egg in and broke like six of the eggs…and now you're going out of your way to convince her there's a real Easter bunny? You're planting fake evidence of an Easter bunny?"
"Well, yeah, why not?" Buffy said a little defensively, standing up. "Close the door, Faith. And yeah, I am. She only gets to be little for so long, why not let her have fun?"
"Because you're totally lying to her about something stupid?" Faith replied as she shut the door, coming over to Buffy and rolling her eyes again at the grass trail. "You're gonna confuse her. If you lie to her about THIS being real when it's not, she might not believe that demons or vampires or something aren't real later, and she might end up getting hurt."
"She's not going to do that. I believed in the Easter bunny and Santa as a kid, it was just a fun thing," Buffy argued as she looked over her arrangements, making sure Faith hadn't messed them up.
"Yeah, well, I never did, and I think that's better," Faith shrugged. "That way you're never disappointed. Come on, it's stupid. A giant rabbit hopping around giving out chocolate, how freakin' ridiculous is that?"
"I think you're jealous," Buffy smirked, pulling at the end of Faith's hair as she turned toward the kitchen. "So what do you want first- food, shower, or bedroom?"
"Oh, what a decision," Faith smirked as she grabbed Buffy's wrist and pulled her close, turning her toward the hallway. "Wanna help me make up my mind…"
A few hours later they froze, both hearing the distinct sound of rather odd footsteps from outside the house. Their eyes held each other's quickly, and they immediately jumped up, pushing aside the curtain of the bedroom window.
What they saw outside it make both women freeze, sharp gasps escaping, and Faith's mouth dropped…there was a rabbit, moving steadily towards their front door. Not any ordinary small wild rabbit, but a huge rabbit as tall as either of them, hopping not on all fours, but on its two large hind feet.
"No…no fuckin' way, NO," Faith said in total disbelief, blinking rapidly, her voice strained as her face paled. "No WAY…I'm crazy. I'm seeing things. Acid trip…or something…no WAY…"
"It's the Easter bunny!" Buffy squealed, her eyes wide, excitement quickly flooding her features. "Faith, it's the Easter bunny! He's real! He's actually real, I KNEW it!"
"How the fuck did you know it, you buy our candy every year!" Faith sputtered, rapidly shaking her head. "No way! What the fuck, is this a joke? It's a costume!"
"No it's not, you saw it, you KNOW it wasn't!" Buffy said in shrill near joy, almost dancing before the window as her eyes remained glued on the rabbit. "That is NOT a costume, there's really an Easter bunny, he's really here! Come on Faith, let's go let him in!"
She tore through the house toward the front door, leaving Faith skulking after her much more slowly, scowling as she called out angrily. "If his ass is real, then why the hell didn't he leave me a basket ever when I was a kid?"
"I still don't believe in the fuckin' Easter bunny, no way is that real," Faith was still griping to herself as she entered the living room, just as Buffy was unlocking the front door. "Just NO, it doesn't' exist, it doesn't-"
"Faith, come on, it's a giant rabbit on its hind legs, here the night before Easter! What else would it be?" Buffy exclaimed, turning her head toward the brunette briefly.
"It doesn't even have baskets!" Faith shot back, coming up behind Buffy and still scowling darkly as she crossed her arms. "If it's the Easter bunny, where the hell is all its Easter bunny stuff?"
"Well, maybe it makes them appear magically, I don't know," Buffy shrugged carelessly before opening the door and calling out. "Hi Mr. Easter Bunny! Come on in- I'm Buffy, and this is Faith. But you probably know that, right, since you're the Easter bunny and all…should I call you Mr. Easter Bunny, or something else? You ARE a Mr, right…"
The rabbit-like figure continued to hop down their driveway, finally reaching their front porch. Faith continued to half sulk, half scowl behind Buffy, again muttering to herself.
"It's not an Easter bunny, it's-"
As the figure came to the front door, standing face to face with them while Buffy grinned, exuberant, its face suddenly changed. Opening its mouth, sharp red teeth emerged, and its eyes turned red. Buffy's eyes bulged, and she froze, just as Faith too did a double take, her voice lowering as she finished her sentence.
As the large rabbit snarled, leaping forward, Faith kicked it hard in the stomach. Maybe it was a good thing she'd been starting to have some pent-up aggression toward the thing….
Five minutes and eighteen blows to the neck, head, and crotch later, along with a timely decapitation and a frantic phone call to Giles, Buffy and Faith stared down at the rabbit hanging half in their doorway. It was not, as Buffy had feared, an Easter bunny who was possessed, but rather Malik, a demon attracted to small children. The irony of a demonic rabbit coming to their house the day before Easter to eat their daughter was staggering, but then, this was their life.
"This..is still kinda strange," Buffy muttered, shaking her head. "Disturbing."
"Aw, you're upset to have another childhood fantasy blown," Faith teased, draping an arm around her. In contrast to Buffy's disappointed, slightly pouty demeanor, she was smiling, almost cheery. "Be glad about it, I probably would have killed it even if it were the real bunny for ignoring me all my life."
"Yeah…guess we should get rid of it," Buffy said, leaning into her. "In case-"
"MOMMY! MAMA! YOU KILLED THE EASTER BUNNY?"
"…in case Callie wakes up and sees it," Buffy finished in horror, as their daughter, standing behind them, burst into tears. This would be one long night.
Story 22: School
"Callie, be careful, and safe, and, and be good," Buffy said hurriedly, her voice fretful, her face pinched with anxiety, eyes wide as she tried to think of everything she wanted to be sure to say to her daughter. She held Callie's hand tightly as she looked down at her seriously, instructing her. "And listen to all the rules…unless you're in danger, or someone else is. Or unless the teacher is evil. God, I hope the teacher's not evil…"
"All teachers are evil," Faith interjected as she shifted her weight impatiently, standing beside Buffy and their daughter and crossing her arms. It was obvious to Buffy that she wasn't taking this day nearly as seriously as she should, and Buffy ignored her, continuing to address Callie earnestly.
"We taught you how to tell if a teacher is a ghost, remember? Or a vampire…or a zombie…or a worshipper of ancient gods…or a praying mantis or a mummy…you know, right? You remember how to tell?"
"YES, Mommy," Callie said with heavy exasperation in her tone, rolling her eyes in a distinctly Faith-like attitude that only deepened the brunette's smirk. Callie was five years old, and this was her first day of kindergarten…but judging from her attitude, you would have thought school was a very unexciting and ordinary thing for her, something that she'd been taking part in for years.
She was wearing old jeans and her favorite old red shirt, despite Buffy's attempt to get her into something new and cute for her first day of school. Again, the little girl had adamantly insisted on having her way, and her way usually did not include wearing frilly dresses or even girly, feminine shirts or skirts. If it wasn't for the blonde hair, Buffy would have wondered sometimes if Callie was really her child at all, or if she had just sprung directly from Faith and Faith alone.
"Remember, Callie, if anyone dies, or if you see anything weird or scary, call us," Buffy continued, undaunted by her lover's and daughter's responses. "You know how to use the cell phone I gave you, right?"
"Uh, I think so," Callie replied, and Buffy's eyes widened further, her grip on the child's hand tightening a she looked down at her sharply.
"What do you mean, you think so? Do you remember how, Callie? It's very important that you remember how! It's very-"
"Yes, yes, I remember! Now can I go inside?" Callie burst out with as she turned toward the school's door, looking at it longingly. She was obviously anxious to go inside, maybe to get away from her parents. But Buffy wasn't quite finished yet, and she didn't relinquish her grip on the little girl.
"And don't hit or push people, Callie…and don't talk about Mommy or Mama and their real jobs, people might not understand. And wash your hands after using the bathroom…oh, and put toilet paper on the seat before you sit down. And-"
"B, chill…jeez, she's not gonna live there, we'll see her this afternoon," Faith cut her off, rolling her eyes just as her daughter had. "She'll be fine, won't you, Cal?"
"Uh huh," Callie said quickly, sensing an ally. "Can I go in now?"
"I know…" Buffy bit her lip. Her voice was hoarse, and she was blinking back tears but trying not to show it. She could only imagine how embarrassed and impatient Callie would be with that, and how amusing Faith would find it. "It's just, you're so big now, honey…you're growing up, and I just-"
Knowing she wouldn't be able to finish the sentence without crying, Buffy pulled Callie into a hug, holding her tightly. The little girl squirmed, her eyes moving around uneasily- no doubt afraid someone might see. Buffy heard Faith snicker but ignored her. She couldn't help it if the woman had no heart when it came to dropping off their baby for her first day of school.
"Mommy…can I go now?"
"You're just like your mama," Buffy muttered, but she was able to laugh a little, blinking back tears as she released her, kissing her on the cheek. Callie was already turning toward the door when Faith gave her a quick one-armed hug and ruffled her hair.
"See ya, Cal…knock 'em dead."
"Not literally, though!" Buffy called out quickly as Callie practically ran to the door, lest her mother change her mind and tell her to come back.
"You sure you don't want me to walk you to class?" Buffy called, her voice cracking slightly, and Callie didn't even look back, already through the door as she replied.
"Yes, I'm sure, Mommy! Bye Mommy, bye Mama!"
"Cool kids don't have their moms walk them to class, B, get with it," Faith smirked. Buffy didn't look at her; she was too busy trying not to cry to respond. Faith slipped an arm around her shoulders as she started to walk her back to the car, kissing the side of her head and giving her another squeeze before opening the passenger door for her and going around to the driver's side, slipping behind the wheel and starting up the car.
"She'll be alright. She's excited. Give her a few days and she'll realize there's nothing to be excited about, so be glad for her now."
"Faith, she's so BIG now," Buffy sighed, slumping back against the seat as the brunette backed up. "She's up to my ribcage. Five years old and up to my ribcage! Don't give me wisecracks either about how short I am either, you're only two or three inches taller, that isn't exactly statuesque. Which means tall before you ask…I think. I heard Dawn say it, and if I asked her what she meant she'd think I was stupid. But yeah, I think she's going to be as tall as me by the time she's ten, and that's just scary. God…I don't even want to think about her becoming a Slayer…that's only in ten years at the most, do you realize that? Only ten years, and probably way sooner!"
"Mm," Faith grunted, her eyes carefully on the road, but Buffy didn't' notice, carrying on with empathic gestures.
"FIVE…she already lost a tooth last week. She's going to learn to read…and then before you know it she'll be dating. Dating BOYS. Or, or girls, whichever…but Callie is going to be DATING, do you realize that?"
"Mm," Faith muttered again, and again, Buffy barely noticed her response.
"Damn, we're getting old, Faith! You're 26 now…and I'm 28…28! That's almost thirty! We're the oldest Slayers that ever lived! And Xander's married and Willow and Kennedy might as well be, and Giles is REALLY old, and even Dawn can legally drink…god, how did this happen?"
"Mm," Faith repeated, the noise noticeably strained this time, but Buffy was so caught up in her monologue that she didn't' even glance towards her.
"Did you see how she didn't even cry? Callie's just like you, I swear. What kind of kid doesn't even cry or get worried on her first day of school? My teacher had to pry me off my mom's leg…I swear, she NEVER cries. Who would have thought it, it seemed like she was always crying as a baby. Did you cry much as a kid, Faith? Ha, of course not, stupid question, this is you we're talking about…hey Faith? FAITH?"
Her voice rose slightly, stunned, as she finally glanced over. Her eyes widened, and she spoke with incredulous dismay.
"Faith, are you CRYING?"
"NO," Faith said fiercely, glaring, hands tightening around the wheel as she stared straight ahead, denying the tell-tale tracks on her cheeks. "Dust in my eye. Happens. Leave it alone."
Buffy gawked at her for a moment, still shocked, and then smiled slowly, shaking her head as she reached to cover and squeeze Faith's hand on the steering wheel.
"I love you, baby."
"I'm watching the road," Faith muttered, but Buffy's heard her take a slow breath, and her hand shifted slightly on the wheel to squeeze back.
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