Review @ Jinxgirl
Story 11: Instinct
Author notes: Thanks Lupo for the idea…if anyone else has ideas for Callie stories, let me know!
Callie had been lying in her crib for perhaps five minutes before she started to cry. Glancing over at Faith, Buffy moved to lift her, shushing her softly as she cradled her to her chest.
"She's not hungry again, is she?" Faith asked somewhat worriedly, frowning as she stared at Callie, as if she had no idea what to do to soothe her. Which, given her behavior with Callie over the past few days, Buffy was fairly sure by now was true. "How can she be hungry…I just fed her fifteen minutes ago. Is she serious?"
"She's not hungry, Faith…I think she needs her diaper changed," Buffy determined, and she held the baby out toward Faith for her to take. "Here, hold her, I'll go get her diapers and stuff…"
"Uh…I'll get the diapers," Faith said quickly, starting to turn away, and Buffy made a sound of protest.
"Faith, I'll get them, hold her for a minute for me."
"Looks like you've got her alright, B-"
"Faith, just take her!" Buffy said impatiently, and Faith hesitated before reluctantly taking Callie from her, awkwardly holding her in a cradle against her chest. Callie only seemed to scream louder as Buffy began to gather up a diaper, wet wipes, and baby powder to spread on the changing table. She glanced over at Faith as she set them there, spreading out a blanket.
"She likes to be held up higher on your shoulder, Faith…her face turned into it. Here, bring her over now."
As Faith came over and set her gingerly on the table, on her stomach, Buffy gently flipped Callie over onto her back, taking the snaps apart on the baby's onesie.
"On her back, babe… here, why don't you come do it?"
"Nah, you've got it," Faith said quickly, backing up again, and Buffy rolled her eyes.
"Faith, it's just pee. And you've only changed her diaper twice in three days, come try it."
"Yeah, and the first time I put it on backwards and the second time I made a total mess, so I'll let you do it," Faith maintained, keeping her distance and crossing her arms.
Buffy huffed, starting to give Faith a look of pointed irritation, but when she looked over at her, she saw that the younger woman's eyebrows were knitted in a look of faint anxiety, and she looked noticeably bothered. Buffy sighed, beginning to change Callie herself without further pushing, but she was beginning to realize something.
Callie was three days old now, had been home from the hospital for two days…but Faith had not really handled her very much in this time. She fed Callie, of course, and she had held her, attempted to change her…but not nearly as much as Buffy had, or even most of the others. Dawn and Willow and the others had been in and out constantly since Callie was born, eager to hold, talk to, take pictures of, and even change her- one activity that Buffy was more than generous with passing on. But Faith…the more Buffy thought about it, the more it dawned on her that she had been hanging back, passing Callie off to others to care for her at most opportunities. It was almost as if she were afraid to touch her…or maybe that she would make mistakes in caring for her.
"Faith... "Buffy said quietly as she took out the wet wipes and began to clean Callie, trying to hold her still at the same time. The infant was still wailing, and now squirming feebly as well as Buffy tried to change her as quickly as possible. Callie was already expressing strong-willed tendencies in many areas, and having her diaper changed was something she had made her displeasure clear on from the start.
"Faith, why are you avoiding doing things to take care of Callie?"
"What? I'm not-"
"Yes you are…you've hardly touched her unless you had to, baby," Buffy said in the same soft tone, but she was persistent as well. "Tell me what's wrong. Are you nervous?"
Faith's eyes skipped away from her, and she played with the cuticles of one hand as she answered several moments later, her voice low, awkward.
"Well, yeah…I mean, look, B, I don't know what to do with her, I don't' know how to take care of her. You've seen me- I don't even hold her right. She cries when I hold her, and I'm her mother. She knows I don't know what the hell I'm doing…hell, I might drop her or break her or something."
For once Buffy decided to ignore her language, even though it was in front of the baby. She smiled at Faith reassuringly as she turned Callie to powder her bottom, her voice gentle.
"She's tougher than she looks, Faith…we made her, after all. You won't hurt her…and you're doing fine. This is just new to you is all, but you'll be fine. We've read the books, we know what to do. How hard can it be? Especially with everyone helping. I never killed Dawn when she was a baby."
"Yeah, but Dawn was never actually a baby," Faith pointed out. Buffy shrugged, putting a new diaper on Callie.
"Yeah, but I still have the memories, which means the not-killing-babies skills are there too. We'll be fine…wont we be fine, Callie girl?"
She reached to stroke Callie's cheek, smiling down at her…but suddenly Callie's eyes opened wide, and she began to choke, gagging. It looked to Buffy as if she couldn't breathe…
Buffy froze, her eyes widening, and her hand stilled against Callie's cheek as her eyes scanned her body frantically, as though looking for signs of what was wrong. Faith's eyes widened as well, and she hurriedly stepped closer to the changing table, examining Callie anxiously.
"What's going on? Why is she making that noise? She can't breathe! Oh god, she can't breathe, why can't she breathe?" Buffy said shrilly, her face draining of color. Her mind was going blank, and she could think of nothing to do, no reason why this was happening… why was this happening?
"Oh shit, they said this might happen," Faith muttered, her eyes as big as Buffy's, and with that she turned abruptly, running out of the room. Buffy turned her head frantically, her heartbeat speeding up. Callie was clearly choking now, her face a deep red…and Buffy didn't know what to do, she could barely bring herself to move.
"Faith! What are you doing- she can't breathe! Oh god…FAITH!"
It was probably only a few seconds at most, but it seemed an infinitely long time before Faith hurried back into the room. In her hand was a nasal bulb suction for babies, one of the items the hospital had given them for Callie. Buffy had totally forgotten its existence…and in the moment, couldn't remember how to use it. Her panic increasing, she continued to chant shrilly, not even aware that she was doing so.
"Oh god oh god oh god…"
But Faith pushed her out of the way, albeit gently…and opening Callie's mouth, eased the bulb's tip down the back of her throat, holding her head back with one hand. With the other hand she squeezed the bulb, suctioning the mucus blocking Callie's breathing.
Buffy was holding her own breath, unblinking; a minute later Callie gasped, her color beginning to return to normal, and she began to cry loudly, obviously now able to draw breath. Watching her with vivid relief flooding through her, the child's wailing sounding almost magical to her ears, Buffy burst into tears, unable to keep from thinking what could have happened. Callie hadn't been breathing… her baby had stopped breathing, and she hadn't done anything. If Faith hadn't been there…if she hadn't…
Ignoring Buffy for the moment, Faith scooped Callie up and began to rock her back and forth, bouncing her slightly, cradling the infant's face to her shoulder- the way Buffy had shown her, she noticed. She rubbed Callie's back gently with one hand.
"Shh, baby, you're okay…it's okay, Mama's got you, you're okay…just a little snotty nose…"
Sniffling, tears still tracking down her cheeks, Buffy came to stand beside her, laying a shaking hand on Callie's back. She needed to feel her, to know she was okay. Faith covered her hand with her own and squeezed it, and Buffy looked Callie over with eyes still round with lingering shock.
"She's okay…but she wasn't breathing…"
"The doctors said we'd have to clean her nose out like that sometimes, remember?" Faith said, kissing the top of Callie's head. The baby's cries had quieted, and she continued to sway her as she held her close. As Faith looked at their daughter, her eyes were wide as well with amazement. "B…I helped her. I saved her. I just did it…
Buffy smiled slightly, squeezing her hand. She knew Faith would be fine…but now she was kinda worried about herself.
Story 12: Quiet moment
Buffy smiled as she came to stand in the living room entrance, watching the pair inside the room before her. Faith was sitting on the couch, cradling their week-old daughter in her arms, and smiling down at her softly. Callie was asleep, quiet and still for a change, and the picture she and Faith made for Buffy to look at was so sweet that Buffy almost hated to do or say anything for fear of altering it.
The baby was a week old now, and had been home for five days, but Buffy still loved to watch Faith hold her. For her to see Faith, who was so clearly a woman of great strength and power, who usually presented herself as a total badass and non-girly person, holding a small, helpless infant against her chest so gently made something twist and squeeze itself painfully but pleasantly in Buffy's chest. That this infant was her child- THEIR child- made it all the more breathtakingly amazing for Buffy to see.
Faith had been awkward with Callie at first, of course, especially if she thought someone was watching her handle her. As an only child tomboy who had very seldom been around young children or babies throughout her life, and who had had no real desire to, she found holding Callie strange and second guessed herself on everything having to do with caring for her. Buffy, having had had the memory of helping care for Dawn when she was a baby, if not the actual practice, had found it more natural, if also overwhelming. Between Dawn, Willow, and the others constantly being around in those first few days, more than eager to hold and care for the baby, Buffy hadn't realized at first that Faith was passing Callie off on everyone else to hold, diaper, and soothe every chance she got. It wasn't until Faith had saved Callie from choking on her own mucus just a few days ago that she had started to gain more confidence in herself as being capable of being a decent mother.
But now as she watched Faith hold Callie, Buffy smiled, thinking to herself how right and natural they looked. Crossing the room, Buffy sat close to them, smiling first at Faith, then down at their daughter's swaddled form. Callie's hair was still fine and dark, though Willow had told them it may fall out and change colors within a few weeks, as most babies' did. Her eyes were a cloudy blue, but that too, she had told them, would probably change when she was older. Right now, as far as her resemblances went, she was still mostly a blank slate… except for the dimples. Though she rarely made anything even close to a smile at her age, Callie, they could tell, would have Faith's dimples.
"Hey, baby," Buffy said softly to Callie, her face hovering over her, her voice a gentle coo. "How's my little girl?"
"Shh, she's sleeping, which means she's great and we want her to stay that way," Faith said quickly, and Buffy grinned. It still amused her sometimes to hear Faith saying in all seriousness something that sounded so utterly Mom-ish.
"Okay…keep sleeping, baby," Buffy said to Callie in a mock whisper, and Faith smirked.
"Thought I was your baby…I see how it is, my kid's gonna upstage me now."
"I got room for two, BABY," Buffy smiled, knowing Faith wasn't serious, and she wrapped her arms around her, resting the side of her head against Faith's. It was a good feeling, to hold Faith as she held their child… it felt complete, a full circle of their family. And that was what they were now…a family…
Buffy leaned to kiss Faith, resting her forehead against hers tenderly before looking down at Callie again, watching her small sleeping face in continued awe.
"We did good, Faith."
"WE? You didn't do shit, B, I was the one carrying her around in my gut all year and then squeezing out the kid that had to fight coming out every step of the way," Faith snorted, though still in a soft voice, and Buffy protested.
"I put up with your cravings and puking and crazy mood swings…and I let you break my hand and threaten to never have sex with me again, and I didn't' even complain!"
"You just screwed it up right now B- you just complained!" Faith said with a gleeful little smirk. "And by the way, totally doesn't compare. I could have died having this kid, you totally owe me."
"I could have died- you could have killed me when you were in one of your snits- but neither happened," Buffy griped, pouting slightly, but then she sighed and smiled, kissing Faith again.
"I love you…and I'm so proud of you. She's beautiful, Faith."
Faith smiled, looking down at their daughter with a softness that made Buffy just want to start kissing her all over. "She is beautiful, isn't she?"
Buffy chanced to bend to kiss the top of Callie's head…clearly a mistake, for Callie immediately woke up. Her eyes slitting, small face reddening, she began to cry in the loud, shrill, demanding way she always used to voice her displeasure- a behavior that each woman insisted she had inherited as a personality trait from the other. Giving Buffy a pointed look, Faith began to rock her, holding her close, but it was obvious that this would not be enough to please Callie.
"She must be hungry…little pig, I just fed her like two hours ago," Faith muttered, "she just wants to gum me raw, don't you? Isn't that what you want?"
Buffy snickered when her voice rose up to sing-song; the snickering stopped when Faith immodestly shoved up her shirt and bra, holding Callie to nurse. Buffy watched, grinning…for some reason she always found this so incredibly sexy to witness. Seeing her expression, Faith smirked.
"And you call me a perve. What are you, Xander?"
"Don't do this in front of him or Andrew- OR Kennedy," Buffy said quickly, and Faith laughed, dimples flashing.
"Giles or Willow might be fun though, huh?"
"Oh, ew! No, no one sees this except me," Buffy said hastily, and Faith grinned.
"What, you jealous? I got two, you know…you can have your turn later. I know how much you like-"
"Faith! Not in front of the baby!" Buffy said hurriedly, her eyes darting to the blissfully suckling child, and Faith laughed again, shaking her head.
"She's a week old. She doesn't understand."
"Well if you don't watch it, her first five words are gonna be 'fuck,' 'wicked,' 'five by five,' and 'sex,' whether she understands them or not," Buffy muttered, and Faith snickered.
"That's six words, B…hope she doesn't have your math ability."
"I said five twice- that only counts as one word!" Buffy protested, but she was grinning too as she tightened her arms around Faith, continuing to watch her hold her daughter as she fed. Yes, they had done good.
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