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A Special Gift

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A gentle cry woke Buffy up from the wonderful dream she was having. She was surprised she'd even managed to sleep deeply enough to dream. In the week since the twins had come home she'd managed to grab maybe an hour of sleep at most here and there before one of them would wake her back up.

Keeping her eyes closed, she tried to hope that just maybe she'd be lucky and the baby would go back to sleep. She was sure it was Skye. The girl wasn't just Faith's mini-me, she was already starting to show signs of having her Mama's appetite as well.

The second cry was much louder, prompting Buffy to bolt up and over to the bassinet before Skye had a chance to wake up Spencer. Making sure the blanket was wrapped tightly around her, Buffy lifted the baby into her arms and rocked her as they made their way over to the rocking chair.

Situating them just right, the blonde unbuttoned one of Faith's shirts she now slept in and put Skye up so she could nurse. "You may eat like your Mama, but you certainly don't sleep like her. What's up with that?" she whispered into her daughter's hair.

Glancing at their bed, she wasn't surprised to see Faith hadn't even moved since she'd gotten up. "I don't know how Mama does it. I haven't slept that deeply since before your big sister was born."

That time in her life would forever be burned into her soul. The day she became a mother. It was one of the happiest days of her life. She'd forever be grateful she'd had her own mother in those early days to learn from.

She'd been thinking about her mom a lot lately. Ever since she'd given birth, actually before that. She remembered the drive to the hospital and desperately wishing that her mom would be there with her. Not that Faith wasn't great, she was the perfect partner. But there was something about having the one who'd raised you imparting their own wisdom.

Looking down at the baby in her arms, she smiled. Skye looked so much like Vaeh did when she was a baby. Both girls had their Mama's beautiful dark hair and deep brown eyes. Those were the two traits Buffy fell in love with when she looked at her wife.

She wondered briefly who these girls were going to be when they grew up. Spencer would likely give them trouble because she already had Faith wrapped around her little finger. Skye on the other hand, was likely to butt heads with them both. Only a week old and already Buffy could see their personalities shine through. With Vaeh in the mix, she wasn't looking forward to the teenage years.

Skye started wiggling around, signaling she was done eating for now. She hadn't even managed to bring her up to her shoulder to burp before Spencer let out a small wail. It wouldn't be a big deal if they were switched because Spencer burped easily. But with Skye it took awhile.

"Faith, get up," she all but yelled, not wanting to scare either of the girls. Of course Faith would make it difficult though. She watched as her wife just wiggled and settled deeper into the covers. Moving over to the bed with Skye still in her arms, she pushed on an available shoulder. "Faith, wake up."

"What is it, B?" a groggy voice finally mumbled.

"I need you to burp Skye so I can feed Spencer."

Groaning, the brunette sat up and took the offered baby. "You two really need to talk to each other and work out a system," Faith told the baby in her arms, in a soft voice.

Buffy chose to ignore her wife, knowing what Faith was hinting at. She hated the nights Buffy woke her up to help, but the blonde loved it. She felt less alone in caring for them. Plus she still relished the time they spent together after thinking the other woman was dead.

"I love watching that," Faith whispered, almost as if she was talking to herself.

"Watching what?"

"You, feeding our girls. It's beautiful," the emotion in Faith's voice, proving how serious she was. "It was a sight I never thought I'd get to see when I was locked in that cave. It was all I could think about. Wondering if we succeeded, if we were gonna have a baby. And knowing if we were, that I'd never get to see them."

"Oh, baby," Buffy murmured. This was the first time Faith was really being open about the time she was gone.

"It's cool, it all worked out," the younger Slayer brushed it off, smiling down at the baby on her shoulder.

"Still, I'm sorry."

"I know you are," Faith told her, just as a burp rang out through the room. "Well I see how you feel about this conversation," she told Skye, holding her out so she could look into her little face.

"Don't forget to change her diaper before you lay her back down."

"I know, B," Faith grumbled. Every night the same conversation between them. This was probably the worst part of the mom gig, changing a diaper. At least at night they were usually just wet. Faith hated the poopy ones. It was the one thing she didn't mind missing out on during Vaeh's baby years.

After making sure Skye was sleeping peacefully in her bassinet, Faith moved to stand by Buffy and looked down at their baby girl. Placing a light hand on the baby's head, Faith moved her fingers through the downy fine hair. She would never claim to have favorites, but there was a definite pull towards this little blonde girl. If Spencer pulled out the Summers pout on her, she knew she'd be in big trouble. She'd look too much like Buffy for her to ever tell her no. "I can't believe how much she looks like you," she whispered, breaking the silence between them. "It's amazing."

"That's how I feel when I look at Vaeh and Skye," Buffy admitted. "But, actually, I think she looks more like Mom."

"I can see that," the brunette agreed. "Your mom was a looker indeed, but she had nothing on you," Faith flirted, placing a kiss in her wife's hair.

"I miss her."

"I know you do, baby."

Since Faith couldn't help feed the twins, she took over burping duty whenever she was around. After Spencer had finished eating, she took the baby into her arms so that Buffy could get up. Her wife always headed straight into the bathroom to clean and resituate herself. Faith didn't understand it, after all the girls would be awake in another hour begging to eat anyway, but then she'd never breastfed.

She was standing over their bassinets just watching them sleep when Buffy came back out. "She already back to sleep?" the blonde asked quietly.

"Yeah, come look," Faith told her, holding her arm out for Buffy to come stand beside her. Both girls were fast asleep, but their little faces tilted slightly towards the other, as if reaching out for her sister in her sleep.

"They're beautiful girls," came from somewhere in the room, startling both women. Buffy could swear she recognized that voice, but it seemed impossible that it was who she thought it was. She looked at Faith, asking silently if she'd heard it too, but all her wife did was nod her head that she had heard it too.

"I'm so proud of you both," the voice said, but still, neither girl dared turn around. They didn't want to be wrong. Or worse, realize that it was just some demon that had decided to torture them, possibly the First coming back.

Faith finally turned around first, seeing the woman standing there in their room. Wrapping an arm around Buffy, she held on as the smaller girl slowly followed her lead and saw who was there with them. "Mom?" she asked disbelieving.

"Yes, it's me. And yes, I'm really here. Not a trick, or something evil."

"But how… I mean why… I don't know what I mean." Buffy's thoughts were flying a mile a minute, she couldn't make sense of anything.

Joyce moved to stand in front of them. Holding her arms out to Faith first, she gave her daughter-in-law a quick embrace. After they pulled apart, she turned and pulled her daughter into her arms. Buffy immediately relaxed, knowing then that this was really her mother, she was really here and she was real. "I've missed you so much," Buffy cried into her mom's shirt.

"I've missed you too, baby," Joyce whispered, placing a kiss in her daughter's hair. The very act comforted Buffy. It was familiar to her. Her mother used to do it all the time when she was younger, and then when she got together with Faith, the other woman would also often do it.

Buffy pulled back, but didn't let go entirely. "Not that I'm not happy you're here, but why are you?"

"Actually, I've been trying to visit you two since before your wedding. You wouldn't believe the red tape involved for even just a short visit."

"Visit? So you're not staying then?" Buffy said sadly.

"I wish I could, sweetheart. Now, how about introducing me to those grandbabies," the older woman suggested.

"Of course," Buffy said, running a hand over her eyes to clear the emotion from her face. "The one on the left in blue is Skye Marie," Buffy told her, running a hand gently over the baby's brown hair. "And the one in purple is Spencer Joyce."

"Here," Faith said, speaking for the first time. She reached down and lifted Spencer out of her bed and held her out to Joyce. "Say hi to your namesake," she offered.

"Thank you," Joyce told her, as she took the baby into her arms and studied the little face. "She's so beautiful," the grandma said with emotion in her voice. "Just like you were as a baby."

"I was just telling Faith a while ago that I think she looks like you," Buffy told her mother.

Joyce just nodded her heard in agreement. She let herself be led by her daughter-in-law over to the rocking chair and helped into it. Meanwhile, Buffy lifted Skye out and helped settle her into her mother's arms.

Moving to Faith, the two girls wrapped their arms around each other, and just looked on as Joyce studied her two grandchildren. "Skye looks just like Nevaeh did as a baby, except the blue outfit. Buffy always had her in pink."

"Faith won't let either of them have pink," Buffy told her. "She claims one kid who loves pink is enough."

Joyce just laughed at that. "Well either way, you two have some gorgeous kids. I'm so very proud of you both."

"Really?" Buffy asked uncertainly.

"Yes, why wouldn't I be?"

"All these years, I've wondered. I always thought you'd be happy for us. But in the back of my mind I wondered if you would have been against us." Joyce signaled for Faith to come take the babies so she could get up.

Once her arms were baby free, Joyce moved to pull her daughter into her arms. "Why would you ever think that?"

"Faith and I didn't exactly start off with the best relationship. And then of course the whole gay thing."

"While I'd like to think I was fairly open minded back then. Kinda had to be, what with having a Slayer for a daughter and another that was a mystical key. So I believe I'd still have been fine with your relationship now. But being dead, I have an even better understanding. The truth of it is, you two were always meant to be together. Everything that happened to you two in the past, happened so you could find each other."

The older woman paused, as if she was in deep thought about something. "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this, but nobody told me not to, so I will anyway. Mr. Giles and Willow were right about Nevaeh's parentage, but they were wrong too. Not their fault though, the Powers that Be hide their involvement well. There was never a 'third' parent. The body swap gave them the perfect opportunity to create Nevaeh. She's only ever belonged to the two of you."

In a lot of ways, what Joyce had just told them didn't really make any difference. They knew their daughter was theirs and that was all that had mattered. But to hear that she was created for them and not just some amazing accident, that was the best news they could have ever heard.

"Of course, I always knew she was yours, Buffy," Joyce continued. "I couldn't make sense of it, but I just knew."

"You did not," Buffy responded, not believing her mother could possibly have known that.

"I did. She may look just like you, Faith, but I could see Buffy in her too. She was also a lot like Buffy was as a baby. I just knew."

"Wow," was all either girl could say. They shared a group hug, celebrating their family.

"I'm going to go get Nevaeh," Faith finally said.

"Don't wake her up, Faith, she'll be so cranky," Buffy told her.

"Yes, no need for that," Joyce agreed.

"Yes there is. It's not every day your grandmother comes to visit from the dead," she argued. Sometimes she just didn't understand the Summers women. Made her wonder why she ever agreed to join them, she thought to herself, not really serious. She loved being a Summers.

"Hey, Vaeh. Wake up, munchkin," Faith whispered, placing a kiss on the little girl's forehead while she ran a hand through her hair.

"Morning already," the little one yawned.

"Not quite. We have a visitor you need to come say hi to."

"Who is it?" Vaeh asked curiously, trying to keep her little eyes open.

"It's a surprise," Faith told her. Pulling the little girl into her arms, she carried her across the house to their room.

"Grandma!" the little girl squealed as soon as she saw who was in the room. She practically threw herself out of Faith's arms to get to her grandma, who picked her up without any hesitation.

"How's my sweet girl?"

"Wait a second?" Faith interrupts before Vaeh can answer. "How do you know who this is?" They'd showed her pictures of Joyce and of course told her about her grandma, but that was a far cry from the familiarity that Vaeh was currently displaying.

Grandma and little girl exchanged sly smiles with each other. Then Joyce gave the child in her arms a nod, telling her it was okay. "She visits me sometimes," Vaeh told her mothers.

"What do you mean she visits you?" Buffy asked, not understanding. She'd told them earlier she'd been trying to see them since before their wedding, but apparently has been visiting her daughter.

"In my dreams," Vaeh answered. "She's my guardian angel."

"That's right, baby girl," her grandmother said, placing a kiss on tiny cheeks. "It's not for you to understand the way things work up there, not until you, yourself die," Joyce told Buffy, when she saw the questions in her daughter's eyes. "Just know I'm never far from this one here. Nor will I be far away from these two little ones here," she finished, smiling down at the sleeping infants.

The three generations of Summers women found their way on to Buffy and Faith's bed, continuing with their visit. Eventually it was too much for a four-year old and Vaeh fell back to sleep in her grandmother's arms. Joyce just made sure she was comfortable, but wasn't ready to let her go just yet.

The conversation only slowed when the twins woke and needed to be fed again, but once they were settled in Buffy's arms it picked right back up again as they nursed. This prompted Joyce to once again express how happy she was for the two of them, and their little family. Her hopes of seeing her daughter having a life like this were lost when Buffy told her she was a Slayer and then explained to her what kind of life Slayers typically led.

"I'm sorry, girls, but my time is just about up."

"No, you can't go," Buffy whined, not ready for this moment to end.

"I wish I didn't have to, but I must. It has been so wonderful to see you all again."

"What about Dawn? She's going to be so pissed she didn't get to see you," the blonde tried again. Realizing it was the first time she'd even given a thought to her sister all night.

"This visit was for you. Dawn will get her own someday. Let her know that she will see me someday, I promise. And this won't be the last time you see me either. After all the good you've done, the Powers decided you deserved a gift."

It was true her visit was a gift from the Powers, and they'd promised more visits. However, the secret she would carry and never tell them was if they had, had the power, they would have brought her back to life as Buffy's gift. But since she died a natural death, they could not interfere with that. She'd decided she'd never tell them, it would only bring pain to the situation.

"Take care of each other, love each other. You have such a beautiful family, and I'm so glad that I get to see it. I love you all so much. Yes, even you, Faith," Joyce told her, looking her straight in the eye. "You make my daughter so happy, and that alone is enough. I've always known you had a good heart, you just needed to be shown the way to use it."

They could all feel Joyce being called back, knowing their time was almost up, both girls wrapped her in a tight hug. And for the first time in her life Faith felt as if she had a real mother.

"Oh and Buffy, be nice to Kennedy. She is going to make Dawn as happy as Faith makes you. Just remember that." Buffy only smiled. She hated to admit it, but she knew her mother was right. Kennedy was already proving to be a perfect partner for her baby sister.

"I love you all," she said one more time, and then she was gone.

"Did that really happen?" Buffy asked Faith quietly.

The brunette smiled and pulled her wife into a tight hug. "It really did," she whispered into her hair, kissing her forehead. "Come on, we better get to bed, it's almost morning."

"Okay," Buffy agreed, letting Faith lead her over to the bed. They crawled in on opposites sides, sandwiching Nevaeh between them, who was still fast asleep in the middle. And just like they did back in their room in Sunnydale, they reached an arm over their daughter holding on to each other. The feeling of contentment was not lost on either of them as they fell asleep, assured that their family was safe and together in this tiny room.