Oh, maybe, maybe I'm gonna have a baby
We was a duet - oh, we do it all night
Precious by the Pretenders
Xander’s hair was a riot of shower-damp curls - way too long for working on a construction site in the heat of summer. But since he couldn’t be seen in public at the moment he’d had to take a leave of absence, so that was one problem solved. Spike had offered to cut his hair more than once, but he didn’t trust the blonde menace with a pair of scissors. That was a four-car pileup just waiting to happen. He’d simply have to wait until he could go to his favorite barber without people gawking and staring at the human oddity.
Turning to the side, Xander surveyed his silhouette. There was a very unusual lump in his usual ‘svelte’ form. Svelte. That was a Spike word. He’d used it in Scrabble just last week. Hey, shacking up with the semi-evil undead had been good for his vocabulary, so there were some benefits. But aside from increasing his chances of winning a fifth grade spelling bee, he couldn’t think of any at the moment, because - he glanced back at the mirror for one last check – yep, still pregnant. Sighing, he sat down heavily in front of the full-length mirror, where Spike had thoughtfully placed the kitchen chair with the big, fluffy pillow on the seat.
“Look! I can see my swollen feet and ankles, and my oh-so-lovely varicose veins!” At least he had feet and ankles. He shivered. That had been one unsettling dream. Of course Willow had warned him that his dreams would be extremely vivid and possibly disturbing until sometime after the birth. It kind of made the nightmares easier to take. He thought about that for a moment.
“No, not really.”
Nightmares were nightmares, whether you were chasing after your unborn fetus with a butterfly net, telling it to get back in your body or you’d ground it for life, or if you were discovering that your feet were amputated above the ankles, and had been replaced by webbed duck feet.
“If I had duck feet, maybe Spike wouldn’t yell at me for going swimming while pregnant,” he told his reflection.
“I don’t care what Willow says,” Spike said from behind him, “chlorine is a harsh chemical; it can’t be good for the baby.”
Xander jumped at the sound of Spike’s voice. Damned, dirty, sneaking-up-without-making-a-sound vampire bastard.
“No, what’s not good for the baby would be giving me a heart attack before he can be born.”
“She,” Spike corrected absently, running his fingers through Xander’s damp curls.
“That is an Old Victorian Wives’ Tale. You can’t tell what sex the baby is by where I gain weight during pregnancy. You just like telling me I have a big ass,” Xander said snippily, crossing his arms, and staring into the mirror at the empty space where inviso-vamp was hiding. “Besides, wasn’t it you who said that your mother also told you that if you carry a baby high, it means a girl, and if you carry it low, it means a boy? Because I’m definitely carrying this baby low.”
“It’s all a load of bloody bunk, anyway.”
Xander could practically hear Spike’s eyes rolling.
“None of it means anything,” he continued. “How can anyone possibly predict the gender of the baby, when the gender of the person carrying it is all wrong?”
Xander felt Spike’s words like a blow. He clutched his belly, fighting back the tears that flooded his eyes. “You think I’m all wrong?” He hated the way his voice wavered, but he couldn’t help how he felt.
“No! Of course not!”
Was that panic he heard? No matter how hard Spike’s words had hit him, Xander had to admit, deep inside a part of him was crowing. ‘Hah! Get out of that one, you undeadbeat father, you!’ He couldn’t help it. He knew it was spiteful, but sometimes it felt good to put Spike through a little of the hell he’d put Xander through by wishing for a family in front of the one wish demon in the whole universe who made housecalls for vampires.
Spike massaged Xander’s perpetually stiff neck and shoulders. “You know I’m perfectly happy with you exactly as you are!” Spike was quick to remind him. “You and Pugsley,” he added, using one of their pet names for the baby.
“Thing,” Xander corrected him. Oh boy, was that his lower lip resting on his belly there? He needed to watch the pouting. He couldn’t do that when he went back to work. He’d be the only foreman in town that pouted at his crew when his feelings got hurt.
“Pugsley,” Spike disagreed.
Xander didn’t fight it. At least Spike wasn’t calling it Wednesday, this week.
Spike walked around and got between Xander and that damned lying mirror. He grabbed Xander’s hands, pulling him to his feet, without the moaning and groaning that he usually teased Xander with. He drew Xander into a hug, and even if he couldn’t reach all the way around these days, Xander felt better with Spike’s arms around him.
“C’mon, love. Come sit on the couch with me. It’s almost time for Passions.”
“I hate that show.” Oh, yeah. That was definitely a pout.
“But you like it when I rub your feet, don’t you?” Spike smiled encouragingly. “And afterwards, we can watch that episode of Deep Space Nine you were telling me about. The Vic Fontaine episode, remember?”
Xander was sold at foot rub, but it wouldn’t do to seem too eager. “It’s Only a Paper Moon. That’s the episode where Nog comes back after he lost his leg. I love that episode.”
“That’s the one. So c’mon, let’s get you off those sore feet, and I’ll give ‘em a rub down. What d'ya say?”
As Spike led him into the living room, Xander casually mentioned, “My hands are all puffy today, too.” He showed Spike his swollen hands.
“Poor things.” Spike kissed them, gallantly. “I’ll massage them after.”
Spike settled Xander on the couch, then he fetched them both something cold to drink, and a pint of Chubby Hubby with two spoons. Xander guessed there was one good thing about being pregnant - Spike treated him like a king. Yep, he thought, as Spike pulled Xander’s feet into his lap and began massaging them with his strong vampire hands, it was good to be the king.
Xander awoke with a start. He clutched his stomach in horror, but it was flat and rather toned. Construction work was good on the muscles; he’d never been this fit in his life. Relief flooded him as he realized that he’d been dreaming. It had only been a dream.
He’d never been pregnant, and he never would be. He was a man. A manly man that had never even had buttsex, no matter how many times Anya had suggested it. He didn’t care how strangely erotic she’d looked in a strap-on, she was gone now, and he’d never know if she was right about the effects of buttsex on the prostate. And it didn’t matter how sexy a certain blond vampire of his acquaintance might be, he wasn’t ever going to have buttsex, not after that dream.
He never should have let Spike talk him into that second order of spicy Buffalo wings. That and the blooming onion thingie hadn’t gone down so well with the beer. That’s it – it was the heartburn talking. That’s what caused the dream, the nasty, awful, scary dream. But it was over now, and he could go back to sleep. A serious yawn hit him in the middle of that thought, and his jaw creaked loudly. He glanced at the alarm clock and moaned piteously, he had to get up in three hours. Yes, sleep would definitely be of the good.
He took a deep breath, and closed his eyes, sighing as he finally began to relax. He was safe, he told himself. There was no such thing as male pregnancy, and no matter how many times he’d watched Junior, he was not Super-Mega-Pregnanto Man. He was safe. Xander checked his belly one last time. Stomach! Not belly. Pregnant women had bellies, macho men had stomachs. And it was flat. There was no baby there. Not for the Xan-man. No siree, Bob.
As he drifted off, a thought ran through his mind on tiny little baby feet – Spike does foot rubs? Nice. Because even manly men could use a foot rub from time to time…