Buffy knew that something was going on. She might play at being an airhead, but she wasn’t, except when it came to certain things; and her friend’s behaviour was not one of them.
Dawn had moved her stuff back into the house four days ago, and despite living there again, she spent most of her time at Vi or Andrew’s dorms. Not that she’d have to divide time for much longer, Xander was almost finished building a house for Vi and Andrew to share. Either way, Buffy knew that between her sister and her friend’s behaviour something was up.
Oz was out buying groceries when Willow arrived, and Buffy had planned for Oz to be absent when she tore into his ex-girlfriend – even if they had patched everything up. Turning on Willow before the front door had even finished closing behind the red head, Buffy demanded to know what was going on.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Willow stated calmly.
“That’s the same bullshit Dawn gave me a few days ago, and I want answers. Why do I get the feeling that the two of you are cooking up some sort of plan?” She ranted.
“I don’t know Buff, because we aren’t up to anything. I swear, if we were I’d even let you put me in a frog tank for a whole day. See, I can’t be lying.” Willow pleaded with her.
She sighed, her arms crossed in front of her chest before giving in, “Fine, but you guys have both been acting weird.”
“I don’t know about Dawn, but I will admit that I’ve been trying to convince Graham to come visit.”
“So you have been cooking something up!” Buffy cried out.
“Not really, I said that I was trying, and the man is really stubborn.”
Buffy’s pain at hearing that wasn’t hidden from her friend. She remembered, even if it was a false memory, having hoped that she’d have a baby brother instead of a baby sister. But having a big brother was in some ways cooler than having a little one, and now that big brother didn’t want anything to do with her and it was all really unfair. She felt like stamping her foot in irritation whenever she thought of his childish behaviour.
“Had you heard that he’d come by while you stood in for your double in Italy with the Immortal?” Willow asked cautiously.
“Yeah, he even waited until Dawn had done to Scotland to help divert a possible country sized Apocalypse.” She humphed.
“Well he seemed worried that you were with the Immortal, so one of my evidentially failed methods was to try and make him think you were in trouble.” Willow explained, “He still seems to care, it’s just like he doesn’t know what to do about anything.”
“Maybe, but Dawn and I don’t either. It’d just be really nice if we could all sit down and try and figure this out together.” She whined.
“Well, I’ll keep working on it.” Willow assured her. “So I was talking to Riley – mainly to see if he could help find a reason to get Graham to visit – and he mentioned that Sam had invited you, Dawn, and Oz to dinner tonight. Are you going?”
“Yuppers, as much as I envy Sam I just love seeing those cutie-pies of hers.” She said, her mind beginning to think about how many kids she wanted to have and what they might look like and who their father might be. She always saw them with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes.
She was pulled out her trance when Willow had to shake her by the knee. “I’m sorry what were you saying?” She asked.
Willow smiled as she asked carefully, “I wasn’t, and you just looked like you were lost in space or something. Everything alright over in Buffy-world?”
Buffy nodded before she finally answered, she was still mesmerized by the sight of her imaginary offspring running around the living room, “Yeah I’m fine just decided to go visit Obi-Wan Kenobi. Back when he was a padawan, though, he was a whole lot sexier then. Maybe it was the short hair, or the brown hair, or maybe the lack of beard, or maybe it was all three.” She mused in true Buffy fashion.
“Well I’m glad that no serious thought was occurring, we wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” Willow joked just as the front door opened.
Smiling, they rose to help Oz bring in the groceries. Buffy smiled despite herself when she noticed he had purchased her favourite kind of salad, even though she informed him not to. Evil werewolf.
Four hours later, they met Dawn outside of Sam and Riley’s house, which was across the street, and walked up the driveway together. After a few minutes of quick debate, Dawn knocked on the door. Someone started crying inside, and Buffy inwardly cringed. That was one thing she didn’t want from her kids, when she eventually had some.
They heard Riley trying to soothe whichever of their kids it was, even as they saw him come to answer the door through the window. He gave them a tired looking smile as he wordlessly waved them inside. Good, despite the fact that the only vampires to ever visit Fellowship were Angel, Spike, and Harmony, and on that one occasion Drusilla, everyone still knew not to give a verbal invitation.
“Riley, Luke needs his diaper changed, can you do that please?” Sam called out from wherever she was. “And his guys, dinner should be ready in a few minutes!”
Buffy watched her ex hang his head and sigh before tiredly calling back that he would. He was just about to turn away from them when she asked which of the kids was crying. Smiling, Buffy bounced into the living room and scoped Tabitha up into her arms before she started swinging her around. The toddler, who would turn 3 next week, quickly stopped crying and began laughing.
She saw Dawn head for the kitchen out of the corner of her eye, but ignored her weird sister, unless she planned to try her thieving ways again. They had mostly broken Dawn of that after the Sweets debacle, but every so often she would pick it up again. To keep herself sharp, as she liked to claim. Andrew always laughed it off, even though he was almost always her target, and said that things could get boring around here and they needed the excitement.
When Riley returned, she handed Tabitha over to him before taking a seat on the couch next to Oz. Riley sat his only daughter on his shoulders before taking a seat as well, “So how have things been working out for the two of you?”
She caught Oz raise a brow before he shrugged – Oz speak for ‘why do you ask, but it’s alright.’ She suddenly realized that even back in Sunnydale she hadn’t been that good at deciphering his unique language, maybe she had been spending too much time with the stoic werewolf.
Mentally shaking herself, she answered the question since Riley wasn’t going to get much more of a response from Oz, “It’s alright I guess.”
Riley broke into a goofy grin as he began to ask something only for Sam to call out, “Why do you say that?” Riley rolled his eyes but indicated that he was going to ask something similar with a wave of his hand.
“There was an incident or two near the start, but I think we’ve got it ironed out now.” She answered with a casual and nonchalant shrug.
Sam finally emerged from the kitchen, Dawn close behind, “What are these ‘incidents’?” Sam asked slightly concerned.
“Nothing big, just enough to probably scar Oz for life, though.” She joked, elbowing the werewolf that was noticeable trying to not smile. He did manage to shake his head, whether it was in denial of her statement or exasperation, Buffy wasn’t sure though.
“What happened?” Dawn asked intrigued.
“I just forgot that we had company.” She explained, “I had my robe on but there was some other stuff that was kind of embarrassing.”
“Towel the second time.” Oz added his smile breaking though.
“Headphones while shaving?” Dawn asked exasperated. Oz nodded, “At least she had something on, though. Last time we had a male in the place, Andrew wasn’t so lucky.”
Everyone, even the stoic Oz, broke out laughing at that. Once they had calmed down, Sam told them that dinner was ready, and they all filed into the dining room.
Later that night, as Buffy was sleeping, she kept dreaming about what it would be like to finally have the sort of family that Sam did. Except in her dream, she had her sister and even her older brother gathered around the dinner table. A toddler with strawberry blonde hair sat in a highchair as she tried to feed it some mashed potatoes. As someone wordlessly approached her from behind, she turned to accept the just woken infant as the father kissed her. She woke up right after Oz’s lips left hers.