by Sandy S.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Joss and UPN.
Spoilers: Through current episode of Season 7 (Storyteller, I think)
Summary: Isn't it weird that the parent's of the S.I.T.'s are not wondering what their daughters are doing? I know that many of them already had watchers, so their parents are probably clued in, but what about Amanda's? She's from Sunnydale, never had a watcher, and is now living in Buffy's house. So, this little ficlet is what happens when Amanda's mom comes to visit. . . Of course, this is B/S. . .
* * *
The doorbell rang, but no one heard the sound because no one was in the Summers' house. The afternoon sun beat down, offering a warm but slightly breezy day, and the slayers-in-training were in the backyard with Buffy who was leading them in training exercises. Willow, Xander, Giles, and Anya had gone to the new magic shop in town to buy supplies.
Carefully positioned in the shade afforded by the small porch, Spike watched the activity with vague interest. There wasn't much he could do in the daytime. Dawn sat near the vampire, flipping through a spell book because Willow had promised to show her a few simple magic spells to add to her small but growing toolbox.
A lull in the noise from the girls brought the recurring sound of the doorbell to the attention of Spike's enhanced hearing. He glanced at Dawn who was oblivious to what he'd heard and then at Buffy who was assisting one of the girls to position her legs properly so she wouldn't hurt herself.
Spike sighed quietly and swung out of his seat to bang into the cool house. Striding through the kitchen, he wondered who would be ringing the doorbell. His first thought went to Principal Wood, and he rolled his eyes at the thought of the man who was intruding on his newly formed relationship with Buffy. He couldn't think of anyone else who would bother to ring. Everyone but the girls had keys to the house.
Anticipating having to act civilly to someone he felt such animosity from, but not necessarily for, he inhaled deeply and swung open the door. He was surprised to see a slender, dark-haired woman in her forties standing in the doorway with an impatient look on her face.
Before he could react, the woman pushed past him into the house, not saying a word. She paused to take note of the multiple sleeping bags and blankets piled in the corner of the living room.
Spike took advantage of her hesitance. "Um, who are you?"
The woman was startled as if she hadn't even been aware of his presence until that moment. She scanned his form and frowned at him. "Where's Amanda?" she demanded.
"Amanda?" Spike knew that was the name of one of the girls, but he couldn't remember which one. They all blurred together for him.
"Amanda. My daughter. I know she's here."
Spike wasn't sure what to do with this haughty woman. "I'm not sure. Do you mind waiting here a minute?"
The woman crossed her arms. "I'm here for Amanda. Not to wait around for her while some punk reject delays me."
"And who are you again?" Spike repeated, fidgeting and doing his best to control his temper.
The woman gave a clipped response, obviously annoyed at having to repeat herself, "Amanda's mother."
Spike was amused by this new fact. "Okay. Wait here."
She glared at him, but he chose not to reassure her that he wouldn't be long. Casually and deliberately walking back to the back porch, he resumed his position next to Dawn.
Dawn glanced up from her reading. "Where'd you go?"
"Doorbell," he stated calmly.
"Doorbell? People either have keys or break down the door around here. Who was it?"
"Amanda's mother." He studied Buffy who chose that moment to make eye contact with him. She hadn't heard what he was saying to Dawn, but with a single look, they communicated volumes. He nodded at her, and she started talking with Kennedy about taking over supervision of the exercises.
Dawn's eyes widened, and she twisted in her chair to face him. "What did she want? I mean, what'd you say to her?"
Spike smirked at Dawn. "She wants to see Amanda. I don't think she's too happy. She's in the living room."
Buffy hurried past the two on the porch, patting Spike on the shoulder and entering the house.
"Oh my go. . ." Dawn jumped up and headed toward the slayers-in-training, the book in her lap clattering to the ground.
* * *
"May I help you?" Buffy asked the woman who was perched stiffly on the edge of the sofa, defensiveness radiating from her.
"Where's Amanda? I've been waiting long enough. And I know she's here." Her arms re-crossed, and she stood to her feet. "What the hell are you people doing in this house?"
"Well, um. Amanda's staying her because. . ."
The woman interrupted Buffy on a rant, "I know you're the school counselor, and I know Amanda's spoken to you about things that she's going through. I called the school. And I demand to know why a high school counselor would have. . ." She gestured at the pile of now disheveled blankets and belongings of the S.I.T.'s, "all these girls staying here. I mean, you've got strange books on the shelf and strange. . .I'm not sure what sort of weapons these are, but I know they're not for young girls to be playing with." She held up a wooden stake. "I don't even *want* to know what's in the rest of the house! I have a half a mind to call the police!" Her voice rose into a tone of hysteria as she ended her spiel.
Buffy stared at her as silence took over the room again. "Well. . ."
"Hello, Mom," Amanda spoke from the doorway behind Buffy with Dawn and Spike at her side.
Amanda's mother turned her wrath toward her daughter. "What the *hell* are you thinking, young lady?"
Amanda, who before had been hesitant in any sort of conflict, drew on a cloak of resolve that she'd only recently attained. "I'm doing something very important here. Something you wouldn't understand."
"And what's so pressing in your life that I haven't seen you in weeks and that you're staying in some stranger's house. . .obviously with lots of other girls?" She glared at Spike and Buffy who had joined the three figures in the doorway. "On top of that, you're staying with your high school counselor and some strange man who looks like he could do any number of horrible things to you!"
Spike snorted at her words. She didn't know how true her words were. In response, Buffy made a face and punched him lightly on the arm.
"And what's so pressing in *your* life that you've just now taken the time to notice I'm gone?" Amanda retorted, imitating her mother's crossed arms.
Her mother didn't back down. "I've been out of town; you know that. I have obligations for work. . ."
Amanda looked defeated as if she'd heard this speech several times. "Obligations for work. Yeah, I know. You *always* have obligations for work."
"I have to pay the bills, you know. Since your father left us, I've had to be really strong and do the right thing for you to raise you to be an independent. . ."
"You *always* use that excuse!" Amanda protested. "Dad left us years ago. You've been successful at your job. We don't exactly have a need for money. Haven't you ever thought what it might be like for the two of us to have a real relationship instead of us being two strangers living in the same house? I have found more support and consideration and caring here than I ever had at home with you! And I've learned more about being a strong woman here than I ever learned at home!"
Buffy, Spike, and Dawn stayed rooted to the spot. Apparently, this confrontation had been coming for some time. . . slayer-in-training or not.
Amanda's mother didn't have a response for her daughter. Instead, her eyes filled with tears, and she buried her face in her hands.
Amanda's expression softened as her own eyes brimmed, and she took a step toward her mother. Then, she tried to speak from her heart, "I just miss you, Mom. I remember what it was like before Dad left. And I could always turn to you then, but since then,. . ."
Her mother fixed her eyes on her daughter and sniffed, running her fingers under her eyes to catch her tears. Then, she spoke neutrally, "Amanda, we really need to talk. . . about all of *this*." She gestured around her. "And before we talk about us."
Amanda hesitated and then replied, "Okay."
"Will you tell me the truth?"
Amanda gave Buffy a quick look, and Buffy nodded with an unreadable expression. Relief swept over the girl's face, and she ushered her mother into the kitchen.
When they were gone, Dawn spoke first, "What are we going to do?"
Buffy sighed. "Tell her the truth. What other choice do we have?"
Dawn raised an eyebrow at Spike, and he shrugged. The next conversation promised to be entertaining.
* * *
Once Amanda's mother calmed down, she turned out to be quite a reasonable woman. . . reasonable as anyone can be upon learning that vampires, demons, witches, and other supernatural beings and occurrences actually existed. She listened very calmly as Amanda and Buffy explained the situation. Their case was further bolstered by the arrival of Giles who commanded respect with his mere presence. Plus, he had experience and training in breaking such news to parents.
Several hours later, Amanda's mother stormed out of the house with the need to "think about some things." They did elicit a promise from her to return.
After the discussion broke up, Willow started cooking dinner with the help of most of the slayers-in-training. Giles returned to his attempt to communicate with the slayers-in-training who didn't speak English. Xander, Dawn, and Anya took a break to watch some television. Meanwhile, Buffy retreated to basement to spar with Spike.
Not quite sure what to do with herself, Amanda followed Buffy to the basement. Quiet as a mouse, she sat on the sidelines, watching the two warriors train. She found their relationship to be quite interesting, and when they fought one another, she was reminded of two lions hunting prey.
Buffy taunted Spike from a ready stance. "Come on. Show me what you got."
Keeping eye contact with Buffy, Spike slipped off the leather coat so that he was simply wearing a T-shirt and jeans. "You want to see what I got, eh, pet?"
"Yeah, I haven't seen the real Spike in a while. Just heard through word of mouth that you're tougher than you look." She looked him up and down in a manner similar to Amanda's mother. "Although, I can't see what they could possibly mean."
He glared teasingly at her as they began circling one another on the mat. "Oh, yeah?"
Buffy returned the mock glare. "Yeah. Heard that you got a soul now. That you don't like to hurt anything anymore. That you'd rather run away from a fight."
"Your sources seem confused, pet." He unexpectedly lashed out at her, attempting to sweep her off her feet.
Buffy gracefully used the force of his attempt to land neatly on her feet and shove him back. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, one set is saying that I'm tougher than I look." Buffy lunged at him, kicking him in the chest. He grinned at her landing her mark. "And the other says that I can't hurt another living thing." He blocked her next attempt with a firmly fisted arm, using her momentum to push her to the ground.
Using her legs, she pushed him away and leapt lightly up, beginning to circle him again. "So show me the truth."
He imitated her motions. "Think you can handle it?"
"I can handle anything you got."
With that, words took a backseat, and Amanda was speechless at the dance laid out before her. The pair fought each other so fiercely that she actually thought they might hurt one another, but she also noticed that each move and gesture was carefully planned so as not to hurt the other. Neither of them attempted to strike the other's head, but at the same time, they held nothing else back. At one point, Buffy twisted Spike's leg roughly, and his vampire visage sprang to the surface with a growl, but Amanda wasn't afraid of Spike, and Buffy grinned at what her actions had brought out of him.
Several minutes later, they landed in a heap on the mat together, breathing heavily. . .although Spike didn't need to breathe. Slipping back into human form, Spike casually reached up to sweep stray hairs off Buffy's forehead, smiling tenderly at her.
"Welcome back," she whispered, pressing her calf against his.
"Thanks, pet." He handed her a towel, which she used to wipe away the sweat on her neck.
"For reminding me of who I am. . .that just because I have a soul doesn't mean I have to ignore the strengths my vampire half gives me."
When Amanda saw that the two might completely lose themselves in one another and not even realize she was there, she cleared her throat. Buffy and Spike sat up at the same time, and Amanda giggled at their surprise.
"Amanda, I didn't know you were there." Buffy clamored to her feet and snagged her water bottle from the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Spike began straightening the mat that was now slightly askew.
"Yeah. I was watching you fight and wondering if I'd ever be as good as you guys."
Buffy nodded assent as she took a large swig of liquid. "Yes, you will. If you become the next slayer and train hard. . . you will."
Amanda suddenly changed the subject as a question that was in the back of her mind popped to the surface. "How did your mom find out about you being a slayer?"
Spike's head shot up in amusement at the question. Buffy swatted her towel at him. "Um, it was rather awkward. Actually, Spike was there, too."
Amanda raised both eyebrows. "He was? But wasn't he evil back then?"
"Yeah, he was," Buffy admitted.
"Then, what was he. . .?"
"I was helping save the bloody world from becoming hell on earth," Spike noted, arriving at Buffy's side.
Buffy added, "For his own selfish reasons."
Spike cocked his head thoughtfully. "True."
"Long story," Buffy said at Amanda's expression. "Now what was your question?"
"Something about how your mum reacted to finding out you were in a rock band," Spike reminded her.
"Rock band?" Amanda was confused.
"I played the triangle," Buffy said, smiling affectionately at the vampire at her shoulder. "Or at least, I said that Spike and I were in a band together."
Spike interrupted, "Um, it was the drums, pet. You played the drums."
"Um, what does this have to do with how your mom reacted to the slayer stuff?" Amanda didn't want to lose them in their memories.
"Well, after I told my mom that Spike was the singer in the band, a vampire attacked us, and Spike helped me kill him."
Amanda's jaw hung open. "In front of your mom?"
"In front of her mum," Spike acknowledged.
"And then, there was this long, awkward several minutes where I was trying to negotiate a treaty with Spike, call Willow who was in the hospital, and explain the whole slayer thing to my mom."
"Wow." Amanda didn't quite know what to say.
"Yeah, and my mom told me that if I left the house that I shouldn't come back."
Spike's hand went to her back. "I didn't know that."
She leaned into his touch. "It happened after you left."
"So, sounds like my mom's doing pretty okay with the whole thing in comparison," Amanda observed.
Buffy shook her head. "I think every case is different. Finding out that your daughter is not like other girls is unexpected. No reaction is worse or better."
"Think she'll come around to the idea?" Amanda searched Buffy's face for some hint of reassurance.
Buffy took a moment to choose her response. "I think, it'll take a while. My mom finally accepted the idea that she couldn't change that part of who I was. . . although I don't think she ever fully accepted the idea that I couldn't get away from my duties someday. But you know one thing that never changed? She never stopped loving me."
As Amanda absorbed Buffy's words, Willow's voice echoed down the stairs, "Guys, it's time for dinner!"
"Okay, Will, we'll be right there," Buffy returned. Once Willow shut the door again, Buffy turned to Amanda. "Go on up. We'll be there in a sec."
Amanda brushed past the slayer and her companion. As she headed up the steps, she paused and turned around. "Thanks."
Buffy glanced up from where she was straightening the weight rack. "Sure thing. And Amanda?"
"If you need to talk about it again, you can always come to me. And Giles. . .Giles is a good one to talk with as well."
"Thanks." With that, Amanda exited the basement, leaving Spike and Buffy alone.
Buffy resumed rearranging the weights while Spike leaned against the wall with a bemused expression.
"What'd you want to talk with me about?" Spike asked.
"Huh?" Buffy shot Spike a quick glance. "What makes you say that I have something to talk with you about?"
"Well, you sent Amanda up before us."
Buffy left behind what she had been doing and approached the vampire without reservation. Before Spike realized what was happening, she slipped her arms around his waist, pushing his interlocking arms aside to lay her head on his chest.
Startled, Spike returned her embrace. "For what?"
"I just realized when I was talking with Amanda that you've been there through most everything. You are a part of some of my strongest memories. . . good and bad. . .like Willow and Xander and Giles. And you're still here. I don't believe I've ever thanked you. Sometimes I guess I just get caught up in my obligations and forget to appreciate what I have. So thank you for not disappearing completely."
"You're welcome." There was more he had to say, but he wanted to hear what Buffy said next.
Buffy broke away. "And I think. . ." She searched his eyes intently, and Spike felt her on the precipice of saying something more. . . something he needed to hear. Instead, she ran a hand over his cheek and then impulsively kissed the hollow she had just touched.
"I think that I'm hungry." She bounced toward the basement exit. "Coming?"
Spike caught her eyes once again, trying desperately to hide away the emotion coursing through his soul. "Sure. I'm pretty hungry, too, pet, especially after I whipped your ass."
And as Spike followed Buffy up the stairs to join Amanda and the rest of her world, she reached back and unexpectedly grabbed his hand.