Bad Eggs, part II
A/N: Disclaimer, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1; spoilers are through “Bad Eggs”.
On the other hand, Snyder had focused on Xander so much he hadn’t been on Buffy’s case much for two whole weeks. So yay for taking the fall for the Buff.
Willow took a picture of Buffy’s egg too, and took it over to Buffy. “Buffy? Why weren’t you in class?”
Buffy scowled, “Still haven’t found Vampire Yokel yet. Did Mr. Whitmore notice I was tardy?”
Xander said, “Umm, I think the word you’re searching for is ‘absent’.”
Willow nodded in agreement, “Tardy people show. And yes, he did notice, so he had me bring you your egg baby.”
Xander said, “You have to take care of it and keep it safe and teach it solid Christian values.”
Willow glared at him, “Our baby is Jewish.”
Buffy grinned at him, “Didn’t you two work all these details out before you got hitched? Oh, the difficulties of inter-faith egg raising.”
Willow pouted, “And now we have to decide on Hanukah or Christmas!”
Xander said, “I always liked Hanukah better.”
Willow said, “That’s just ‘cause you liked the idea of getting a present for eight straight nights, instead of just one day.”
Buffy asked, “You can’t do both?”
Willow said, “We’re gonna have to talk it over. Maybe my rabbi can give us some advice.”
Xander pointed out, “It’s an egg. We don’t have to buy it presents yet.”
Buffy helpfully added, “And you don’t know if it’s a boy egg or a girl egg. What if you buy it something pink and it turns out to be a boy egg? You could destroy its fragile eggy gender orientation!”
Willow frowned and said, “Fine. But as soon as I diaper her and feed her and fill out my egg diary-”
Buffy froze. “We have to keep an egg diary too?”
“Yep,” Willow said. “Feeding times, burping the baby, changing times, putting the baby down for a nap, bedtime, everything. And if you leave your egg, you have to have a sitter lined up.”
“Sounds perfect for a Slayer,” Buffy grumbled.
Willow said, “Well, I cut out a little cloth triangle and got a tiny safety pin so I could make her a diaper.”
“Her?” Buffy asked.
“Her,” Willow insisted. “I just know I’m going to have a girl.”
Xander touched the egg on its top and said, “I hereby dub thee ‘Egberta’.”
“Xander! That’s a horrible name! Our egg baby is not gonna be named Egberta!” Willow fussed.
“Okay, okay! It was just… a suggestion,” Xander hastily backpedaled.
Willow pulled out a sheet from her backpack and handed it to him. “Here are ten choices for baby names.”
Jeez, Willow was kind of freaking out over what was just a raw egg. He looked down the list. “Eyren? What kind of name is Eyren?”
Giles stepped over and glanced at the list. He said, “Eyren. Native English for ‘eggs’, from the Dutch ‘eieren’ and the German ‘Eier’.”
Buffy asked, “You’re naming your baby ‘eggs’ and you didn’t like Egberta?”
Willow insisted, “Egberta is a terrible name. Eyren sounds… mystical.”
Xander shrugged. “Fine. Eyren it is.”
Willow smiled wickedly, “Cordelia was asking for baby names and I told her ‘tamago’.”
Buffy asked, “Isn’t that sushi?”
Giles said, “It is the English transliteration for the Japanese word for egg, so yes, it does appear on sushi menus.”
Buffy snickered into her hand.
Xander said, “Well, Cordy’s a bad egg, and you know what they say. The egg doesn’t fall far from the chicken.”
Willow complained, “Xander, they don’t say that at all!”
“Well, they ought to.”
While Willow fed and diapered and burped ‘Eyren’, Xander listened to Giles. It seemed he and Buffy had just found her Vampire Cowboy Yahoo. Lyle Gorch, who traveled around with his brother Tector. Apparently their combined IQ was low enough to make Eyren look like a baby genius, and they had been badguys in the late 1800’s even before they got vamped.
Willow said, “Come on Xander, we have to get to classes. I’ll keep Eyren with me until science class, and you can keep her with you in chemistry that period. Just put her in the middle of your desk so she doesn’t get stepped on or anything.”
He nodded, but as soon as Willow stepped out of the room, he whispered to Giles, “Egberta’s gonna be on your desk in your office that period. Don’t drop a book on her.”
After school, Xander walked Willow and Eyren home. Willow was mad at him, though, because she’d found out he had left their egg with Giles during one class.
He insisted, “Come on, Willow! I left the egg with a babysitter! That’s totally legal. And who’s gonna be more responsible than Giles? You’d have to find Dr. Spock to get someone more responsible. Or maybe Mister Spock.”
But Willow was taking the whole thing so serious she was about to explode. Or maybe egg-splode. He decided she wasn’t in the mood for egg-related humor, so he didn’t say that out loud.
“Xander! Don’t make jokes about this! It’s important! Giles isn’t a suitable babysitter for Eyren! He nearly dropped a big book on Buffy’s egg today! He’s a bad eggsitter!”
“Will? Don’t you think that maybe you’re over-reacting? I mean, just maybe? A tiny bit?”
She fumed silently the rest of the way to her house. She said, “I think I’m going to design an egg carrier tonight. We’ve got a couple old baby carriers up in the attic, and the tiniest one might be just about right if I pad it with my tricycling helmet from when I was a toddler, and some shaped aerosol foam.”
Xander asked, “Are we supposed to do parenting together, or just trade off whenever one of us feels like it?”
Willow calmed down a little and said, “Okay, maybe parenting together would be good. After all, we need to talk about what religion we’re going to raise Eyren, and public or private schools, and college, and-”
Xander interrupted, “I hate to be Mister Downer here, but I don’t think Eyren is going to have good enough grades to get into college. In fact, I think she’s going to flunk out of kindergarten. You’re sort of forgetting something. She’s an egg. I don’t mind playing house with you and caring for an egg baby, but I’m not contributing to a college fund.”
Willow grumbled, “Okay. Eyren can be on the counter in her basket while you start dinner and I work on her carrier.”
“Wait, I have to cook dinner?” he choked. “Do you know what my cooking tastes like?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ll tell you what to do. It’s just going to be pizza and a salad.”
“Meat pizza?” he checked.
She said, “Only on your half. And you’ll have to put the pepperoni and sausage on the pizza yourself.”
Okay, that meant a veggie pizza. He heated up the oven and pulled the frozen pizza out of the freezer. Yuck. The veggie pizza had broccoli, green pepper, onion, sweet red pepper, pepperoncini, and mushrooms. He picked broccoli and green pepper off one side, piled it on the other, and then put lots of pepperoni and sausage on ‘his’ side of the pizza. Even if it was turkey sausage and soy pepperoni, because Willow’s family wasn’t big on the pork products. Then he waited for the oven to make that ‘bing’ sound.
Willow came in, checked on Eyren like the egg might have decided to go crawling around on the counter, and then told him where the salad fixings were. That part was easy, because Willow already had a big baggie of torn-up lettuce, a baggie of salad toppings, and a small baggie of cooked, chopped real turkey bacon. Mmmm, bacon. Willow’s salad got diet Italian dressing, and his got ranch dressing. And bacon. After all, he was just a growing boy.
By the time he pulled the pizza out of the oven and cut it into slices, they had eaten their salads. And Willow had ‘fed’ Eyren and burped her and changed her with that tiny cloth diaper. If Mr. Whitmore didn’t give Will extra cred for that diaper, Xander was gonna have words with him.
Willow had one piece of pizza, while Xander had three. So there were two veggie slices left, and Xander wasn’t interested in them. Instead, he watched Willow make an egg carrier that would probably stand up to tank barrages. The baby carrier was all padded and braced to start with. Willow had a tiny ‘baby cycling helmet’ inside that, and the helmet had a hard plastic outer layer over rigid styrofoam over foam rubber padding. Then Willow had a ring of some sort of aerosol foam in a plastic liner inside the helmet, so the egg would sit in that and be safe against everything up to nuclear attacks. He thought she was totally overdoing it, but he also thought he ought to keep his big mouth shut, because Willow was really touchy about baby Eyren.
He wondered if Willow would be even worse with a real baby. He wondered if maybe Willow was overcompensating for her mom and dad never being around to protect her from anything. He didn’t remember her folks being like that when he was little, and he wondered what happened that they changed so much.
After ice cream, Willow insisted on washing the dishes and drying them. So he helped. He got to bump into her hip lots while they stood together, and he even made her smile after a while.
Then they did studying in the den while Eyren sat in her basket in the corner. He wondered if they would ever get back to the ‘serious kissing instead of studying’ thing they had right after Halloween. He went home when Willow decided to put Eyren to bed in her ‘crib’, which was just putting the egg basket on her nightstand.
That night, he had a totally freaky nightmare. The egg hatched, and Hope came out of it. Gabrielle’s baby Hope, only it looked just like Willow did when she was ten, and then she grew into full-grown Willow and tried to kill him with a giant pink mace that was the size of a weather balloon.
Man, he was so not going to eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream after salads anymore.
Those salads were pure evil.
The next morning, he was not feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when he got up. That nightmare was just way too creepy. He still got up and rushed over to Willow’s house. His mom had gone shopping, so he grabbed a couple poptarts and ate them on the way over.
Willow opened the door after he rang the bell. She looked kind of out of it, so he said, “What? You have the father of your egg locked out of the house? What kind of parenting example are you setting here?”
She just yawned and trudged into the kitchen, where Eyren was on the counter next to the egg carrier and Willow’s backpack.
Xander said, “Wow, did the little one keep you up all night?”
Willow said, “I… No. I just… feel kind of out of it. Maybe it was all that ice cream on top of the pizza.”
“More like too much salad and nutritious veggies, if you ask me. Your body was working too hard processing all that nutrition.”
Willow asked, “Have you had breakfast?”
“Oh sure,” he said. “Two delicious strawberry poptarts with extra icing. So I got the fruit food group and the dough food group and the icing food group covered.”
“Xander! Icing isn’t a food group! And neither is that ‘dough’ stuff. And the strawberry-flavored filling doesn’t count as a fruit serving either. Here.” She gave him a banana.
He took a bite of the banana and said, “Mmm. Thanks. Now I got the jungle food group covered too.”
Willow tucked Eyren into the egg-slash-baby carrier and carefully put it on so it sat on her front. She slung her backpack over her shoulder, and they walked in to school together. Xander wondered what was going on, because Willow was going a lot slower than usual, and she wasn’t chattering away about stuff.
“Willow, you didn’t stay up watching little Eyren, did you?”
She frowned, “No. I just… Maybe I had some weird dreams.”
He said, “Man, I hope it wasn’t as weird as mine. I had this dream where Gabrielle’s baby came out of the egg and grew up into an evil you, and she tried to kill me with… I dunno. Maybe it was a baby rattle as big as a pickup.”
Willow just glared at him. “Is that your way of telling me you don’t want to be Eyren’s daddy anymore?”
“No! That’s not at all what I’m saying! I’m just saying I had a weird dream, because it sure looks like you had a bunch, because you’re way more tired than my normal Willow.”
She still looked grouchy at him. She asked, “Are you gonna take Eyren for chemistry class?”
He said, “No way. I’ll go with our trusty local babysitter again, because my guy street cred is already shot over that Snyder thing. If I wear that baby carrier around, I’m just asking to have a couple football players stomp Eyren into the pavement. While they’re stomping me into the pavement.”
She just frowned at him and made a ‘hmph’ kind of noise, which wasn’t a good sign.
When they got to school, it was nearly time for health class, so Willow headed straight there. Most of the other girls oohed and ahhed over Willow’s front baby carrier for Eyren. Even Cordy looked a little jealous. Xander figured Willow needed the attention, because most of the girls at school kind of treated Willow like she was some freaky computer disguised as a person.
Then they waited around… and nothing. Mr. Whitmore pulled a Buffy. After ten minutes, people started slipping out. After twenty minutes, even Willow was ready to call it quits. Which was totally not like her. Xander didn’t say anything, but his Willow would sit there the whole period, just in case the teacher came in with ten seconds left before the bell. He wondered if the egg baby thing was really stressing her out even more than he thought.
Buffy was looking pretty tired too. Come to think of it, even Cordy and Harmony were looking trudgy. Was this what having a baby just did to girls automatically? Way freaky.