Our Little Brunette Ball of Kudzu
by Morphea

"You're totally gross, Cordelia."

"Oh, god -- I know. I wish I could just shed my skin like a snake. Damn, it's going to take me forever to get my body back. God, am I actually fat? Why the hell did we ever decide to do this?"

"Cordelia, you're beautiful. You're also breeder now. And, eww."

"Oh, shut up. You were once breeded! Or, bred... "

Cordelia frowned and picked up a feather pillow, "Or possibly neither, in your oh-so-classy case," with a whack. Willow shrieked and snatched the other pillow, tackling Cordelia.

"Okay, okay," Willow giggled, "I guess that at this point I've got to accept the whole spawning part of the affair. We can't just pluck a daughter off a rosebush, stick her in a vase, and file aspirin in the water once and a while."

Cordelia gazed up at the soft face haloed in vermilion of the morning sun streaming through thin red hair. "It's too bad... It's too bad she can't be a red rose."

Cordelia's voice dropped to a whisper, "I wish I could have shared this with you... Just you. It feels completely unfair that I can't look in my daughter's face and see little bits of you as I see little bits of me. I hate whoever decided that two women can't produce a child together, alone. I mean, this is our life. She is our life. Our baby. Our child. Our kid. Our brat. Our pet. Our little brunette ball of kudzu. It just bugs me. It's centipedes and spiders and scorpions and beetles and ants that have crawled under the frontdoor into the fruit basket. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does."

Cordelia sank into the pillows, with a grim, defeated look on her face, "I worry that I won't love her as much as I should because she's not half you."

Willow frowned, the clouds drifting over the sun to darken the room as her voice lowered. "Cordelia, I don't think you have a choice. I don't think that you can stop yourself from being as ferocious as you can about her. I know you, and you'll plow your way through everything and everyone to take care of her. Nothing she can say or do or not do or not be will change the maternal feelings you've got. I mean, Cordelia, you insisted I put enough protective spells on her nursery to stop a small nuclear arsenal. We bless her milk. You love her to pieces. You can't help it. You never will. You're a mother, independent of everything else in the outside world. I want to make you a promise. For every bit of me you don't see in her right off the bat, I'll give her twice as much. I'll teach her how to read the birds in the sky. I'll give her bright colored clothes even if she's all fashionable like you and only wants to wear black or something. Everything. She'll be mine. You'll see."

Willow shifted, uncomfortably. "And there's something I want to get out in the open -- something I want you to know. Straightforward. From me. I don't want you to think for one moment that because she's not biologically mine that I don't love her and cherish her and want to take the best care of her and help her find the happiest life she can. I'll be with you forever, and I'll be with her forever. Cordy, we're a family. I've made a conscious decision about where my loyalties lie, and it is with you."

Cordelia's eyes were closed but she found Willow's hand. Their fingers laced together, gold bands clicking, and Willow leaned over to nuzzle Cordelia's nose.

"Cordelia, I don't think of her as anything but an extension of us. Maybe scientists wouldn't agree, but I'm a mystic. She is mine as I am hers as I am yours. Forever. "

Cordelia pulled Willow down, holding her closely and burying her face in Willow's hair. Willow caressed Cordelia's shoulder as she felt the tight, stifled sobs shake Cordelia's body.

"We're a family, Cordy, for real now, and I don't think this will the last time that'll make you cry."