Website: Strangebint.com Rating: Pg-13 Pairings: Spike/Buffy Summary: Fluffy Angst. Angsty Fluff? Future-Fiction. Some people in Sunnydale have a bratty Goth daughter.

Winner of "Remember Me" The Feels Like Haven Hurts Like Hell Future Awards.
JOAN by Strange Bint

"Capitalism has made it this way, old-fashioned fascism will take it away ..The beautiful people..the beautiful people!" Joan Summers sang at the top of her lungs to the music she was blasting. It was Ronnie's first day working at the snack shop. At first she was so thankful that she got a job where she could meet some people she would be going to high school with, but everything seemed to be getting as complicated as it was in her old high school. And school hadn't even started! Joan Summers did a little spinning head banging dance as she took all of the dishes in. Ronnie was fascinated by her. They were all supposed to be cleaning and closing up the snack shop. But, all Ronnie was doing was watching Joan dance around to this music.

"I told you she was a freak! I think this music is this devil-worshipper from when our parents were our age. Freak bitch! She thinks she's such hot shit with her black nails and devil music! Its sad when people don't know what losers they really are!"

The other girl Terry whispered to Ronnie. Terry had been pulling Ronnie aside all day and telling her things like this. She would give Ronnie a background of everyone that walked in. Terry either thought a person was totally cool or totally a geek, or even worse a freak, which is what she called Joan Summers. Terry's group of friends came in and mostly ripped on Joan's friends who came in.

"You think that's Joan's boyfriend, but he's a fag. Joan hangs out with all the boy fags and freak girls. They all wear black which is a total freak color...I don't know where they get those clothes...Not at the GAP, I know that."

"I heard they cut themselves with knives."

"I heard they're witches and devil worshipers and they caused the last principal to die."

"I heard that Joan has this drug dealer boyfriend who is like waay old and he disappears on her for months."

"I heard he hits her.", "I heard him say to her once 'As long as you stay in my house, you'll do whatever I say.'"

"That is really screwed up." "I thought she lived with her lesbian Mom who does steroids or something."

A knot was growing in Ronnie's stomach ever since Terry's friends' mentioned Joan's boyfriend. She asked them softly if they it was really true about Joan's boyfriend. She said if she was living with him and only 15 wasn't there something somebody could do to help her?

"Like call a social worker? Why bother? She would just be back with him in three years."

"Oh no! Not that then you end up in a foster home that is a million times worse!" Ronnie exclaimed

Terry's friend's looked at Ronnie like she was a freak herself. It was the most Ronnie said all day. After that she felt like something heavy had followed her to Sunnydale. But, that wasn't true. Ronnie and her mother had left everything behind for good.

Ronnie tried to talk to Joan to find out if the boyfriend thing was true. But, Joan was mostly busy working, which was something Terry wasn't very busy doing as much. When Joan did talk to her she asked Ronnie where she was from. Terry hadn't asked Ronnie anything about herself. When she said New Orleans Joan was very impressed. So was Ronnie with all Joan knew about New Orleans. Still Ronnie could see why other people thought Joan was weird.

"New Orleans is one of the places where they have more than a hundred vampires left. Did you ever see one?...Well, you will here CreepyDale still has the highest count of vampires..It goes Sunnydale, LA, Prague, Argentina, New York, Romania and then New Orleans." Joan said happily and ran to take a customers order before Ronnie could respond.

But, it seemed that Terry was also right that Joan didn't realize she was a loser. She bounced around happily reminding Ronnie of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh (if Tigger believed in vampires). Ronnie would run to do something and Joan would already have done it, and be chatting up a costumer. She wasn't very depressed or gloomy like Terry's friends said she was.

Maybe it wasn't true about Joan and her abusive boyfriend. People with abusive boyfriends weren't as happy as she was. They defiantly weren't as outspoken and loud. Ronnie still found it very hard to speak unless someone asked her something, and she had merely been an innocent bystander to abuse. Ronnie didn't like that innocent bystander thing, was the center- stander guilty? But, why would anyone care about what she had to say?

Ronnie followed Joan and Terry into the kitchen. Joan was scrubbing pots now still signing to the music she put in.

"And I miss you.. Like the deserts miss the rain. And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain .. Could you be dead? You always were two steps ahead, of everyone .. We'd walk behind while you would run.." Suddenly Joan stared banging the pots around angrily. Ronnie put her hand on her shoulder when she noticed Joan was crying a little.

"Oh man, sorry..it's this bloody song it gets to me..I am right as rain really..I shouldn't subject you to my love of oldie music anyway..I'll kill the stereo." Joan said smiling apologetically.

"No, it's fine..I like lots of oldies..I know most of these songs..Just not the really loud cursing ones."

"Well, we can change that." Joan laughed heartily now. It didn't seem like she was pretending to be happy, but she seemed like she was hiding something sad.

"Are you from England?" Ronnie asked her as she helped scrubbed the pots.

"Why do you ask that?" Joan smiled but looked sad.

"You use those words..Those words they use on that show from England." Ronnie tried to explained. She thought she would be able to explain better, but couldn't.

"I am not from merry old England, Love..But my relatives are." Joan said in a perfect English accent. Ronnie laughed.

"Or were." Joan muttered in her real voice and went back to scrubbing the pots.

Ronnie came in from taking the trash when she saw something that made her stomach flip. It was a guy standing in the kitchen. He had bleached hair and was wearing lots of black. He was standing behind Joan who was at the grill scrubbing. She didn't see him, and it was like he was just standing there watching her until she would. The snack bar was kind of isolated at night and Ronnie, Joan, and Terry were hear alone. Ronnie realized that she had let out a scream. This made both the guy and Joan turn around. They both looked like they wanted to hit something.

"Christ on a stick!" Joan barked loudly and angrily, "They invented something called a phone in the 20th century! Some years later they even invented a cell phone. You bought me one, remember? You can call people instead of scaring the bloody shit outta them!"

Joan took her cell phone from her pocket. Ronnie winced as Joan flung it at the guy's head, but he managed to catch it.

"Love, the phone was invented in the 19th century 1876..You should know that." The guy said in an English accent. He sighed sounding sad.

"And you should know that I want you to bugger off!" Joan spat and she scrubbed the grill like she wanted to hurt it.

"I missed you too, baby." The guy laughed and put his hands in his pockets and stood next to her at the grill. Terry was nudging Ronnie in the gut making her want to throw up even more. Its the boyfriend Terry mouthed. No shit! Terry was a regular genius.

"Could of fooled me you never called!" Joan said more quietly.

"I was busy, Love. I couldn't call from the pit I was in really..I am sorry, baby."

"Your always a sorry sod! Its not like we weren't worried! Its not like you do anything life threatening!"

"We need the money, Joni." He pleaded lowering his head. He looked like a sad kid then. He was still defiantly too old for Joan though.

"No, we don't! You just like to be the big bad to all that scum!" Joan yelled. The guy stopped looking sorry and looked angry now. Ronnie was watching him very carefully. She wouldn't know what to do if he did anything to hurt Joan, but she would do something.

"So this is how you're gonna be!..At least look at me." He ordered. Joan ignored him.

"Joan, look at me!" He roared. He hadn't yelled until now. Ronnie could see it coming like a storm cloud. That's when he grabbed Joan and turned her around. Ronnie thought of screaming again. She saw Joan's face which looked far more angry and fierce than the guy's. That was right when the music went up really loud and the lights flickered, and the blenders that were plugged in went off. There was an electrical short at the snack bar. The owner told Ronnie about it before she started. He joked that it always seemed to go off when Joan and Terry were fighting.

"JOAN!" The guy yelled really angrily now over the noise. Ronnie hated the way he stared right into Joan's face with his intense eyes. Joan looked back unafraid. But, then Joan looked away as if he said something to her with his eyes. The electrical short stopped.

"Keep that up and you won't be workin' here much longer!" He scolded. Joan bit her lip like she had done something wrong. Keep what up?

"I can work here if I bloody want to." She told him, but there was sheepishness in her voice. Ronnie wished she would keep standing up to him.

"Not if I say you can't..I don't know why you want to work in this sodding place..You don't have to..I don't know why your mother allows it." He muttered.

"You don't complain when I get you bloody meat!" Joan folded her arms.

"Its good..Still no girl of mine should work!" He muttered.

"Like hell, Mr. My-sexist-19th-Century-thinking-was-invented-waay-before- the-phone! You think you can just March in here after a month and start ordering me around!" She laughed at him. She really didn't seem afraid of him at all.

"Yes, I do." He said plainly. Still he was a total jerk.

"Sodding wanker." Joan sighed at him.

"Talk like that to me again and you won't see the light of day for a while." He threatened.

"Yeah, whose gonna make sure of that!" She challenged.

"Me..You walk out over my dead body." He told her flatly

"I won't have to walk over it...I'll just wait until it's out the door and not calling." Joan smiled bitterly.

"Right, well I set myself up for that one..But, your grounded, pet..Just you 'n me not leaving the house for a sodding weak." He told her. He had this sick little smile on his face. Joan smiled too. Still this was so wrong. Joan had to get away from this guy.

"Can Aunt Dawn come over with the baby?..Can we play scra-

"You can't ground her! You're her boyfriend not her father!" Ronnie yelled her voice shaking.

The guy and Joan looked at Ronnie, then each other. Then they both burst out laughing. Then they hugged each other and began whispering in the embrace. Terry took this moment to shoot Ronnie a conspiring look.

"Stop, teenagers are traumatized by public affection from authority." Joan said pushing the guy away.

"Right, sorry." He said.

"Ronnie..This is Spike-"Joan began.

"Your boyfriend's name is Spike." Terry said in disgust.

"Make them stop saying that." Spike pleaded to Joan.

"No, my father's name is Spike...Spike is pretty much my father." Joan smiled.

"Pretty much?" Spike demanded.

"Well, you're away a lot!..Spike is my- Well he- Okay. My father was a real wanker bastrad-

"Hey!" Spike yelled.

"Would you let me tell this sodding story!" Joan barked, "My father as I said was a real Dick. But, he loved my Mom. He treated her really really well. But, he had killed a lot of people...And my Mom couldn't deal."

"Oh my God!" Terry said dramatically.

"Yeah. He was a real bad...So, he went away." Joan explained.

"To prison I hope?" Terry demanded.

"Prison, Africa..WHERE EVER HE WENT HE NEVER BLOODY CALLED!" Joan Yelled.

"Stop it." Spike said to Joan.

"So, then my father's wittle wittle brother comes along...and he is like...all the good parts of my dad with none of the bad...So, even though he was so young..He's very mature...yeah, we'll go with that. And my Mom falls in love with him and they get married.

The end." Joan grinned.

"I am mature." Spike insisted.

"OH my God! This guy is you're uncle..You're uncle is your step dad and like 15 years younger than your Mom?" Terry demanded.

"Something like that." Spike said while Joan was too busy laughing to answer. Ronnie was confused but relieved. It was a weird story. Ronnie's family had a weird story too. Ronnie's Mom had only been 15 when she was born. A lot of people assumed she was Ronnie's older sister. Sometimes they got sick of correcting everyone and just let it go.

"You're lying! Something stinks in this story!" Terry said annoyed.

"You're right Terry..Should I tell her, Dad." Joan laughed.

"Whatever, Pet..They're your high school years not mine." Spike sighed. Spike looked as old as Ronnie's Mom. Maybe he had her when he was 15, and they decided to make up this crazy story instead of telling people like Terry the truth. It seemed like they were having fun, but it wasn't worth it. Didn't Joan realize how much Terry would gossip about her now?

"Ter, Spike IS my father. He's was an evil vampire who fell for my Mom, the vampire slayer, and then he got a soul..I know what you're gonna say...'Joan vampires can't have kids.' But, then I'd say 'They used magic, Terry. I'm telling you the short version of the story 'cause the long one is really complicated. Involving my being taken away and my parents freaking out and a the destruction of a law firm.. All you need to know is. Joan's Daddy ..good vampire who can't age- not controlling boyfriend." Joan said sarcastically.

"You think you're so cool! Well, you not! You're only a freak with freak friends..And the rest of us are sick of all of you...I don't know what is wrong with this stupid town, and it's obsession with all this retro-Goth crap, but everyone knows it has something to do with you and your weird ass family!...You people are the reason our property values won't go up!" Terry spat.

"Oh. Just shut-up and leave her alone..She doesn't have to tell us every detail of her life if she doesn't want to!" Ronnie snapped at Terry. Terry was about to say something when

Spike interrupted.

"You right little-"Spike began but Joan covered his mouth.

"No swearing at the kids, Dad." She warned.

"Who is she? Is she evil?" He demanded.

"She's Terry. She's the girl that is popular, but everyone really hates. She's not evil enough so we can kill her and not go to jail." Joan said. This made Ronnie laugh and Terry storm out.

"I am really sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you're uncle..or you're dad..or your uncle-dad..I thought-"Ronnie stammered. Unlce-dad did not seem so weird, it was like Ronnie having a sister-mother.

"It's okay. Thanks for looking out for me...Spike this is Ronnie..Ronnie this is Spike. Ronnie is from New Orleans." Joan said as she went around to either side of Spike and took everything out of his coat pockets.

"New Orleans..Back in-"He smiled but then stopped when he saw that Joan took his cigarettes out of his pocket and stuck one in her mouth.

"Get that out of your bloody mouth right now or you really will see me turn into brassed off vampire." He said to her in a chilling whisper that almost made Ronnie believe it.

"That the most hypocritical thing I ever heawd." Joan said doing a Grouch Marks impression with the cigarette.

"When your dead you can smoke all you want." He told her.

"Relax..I am looking for my present." She said as she continued to go through his pockets.

"Oh, here it is, right?" She asked with sarcasm as she held a pair of brass knuckles. He rolled his eyes.

"Pow..Pow." Joan said childishly as she put the brass knuckles on and punched the air.

They made Ronnie uncomfortable. Joan regarded them as a toy.

"EW! What is this green stuff on them?" Joan whined.

"I'll tell you later..Now put them back or no present." He scolded. He really did sound like a dad. She put them back quickly.

"Waiting for present now..You came back we fought, we hugged, we alienated others, it's time for the present in the tradition Summer's Family reunion." Joan said impatiently. Spike sighed, but then smiled. He wordlessly handed Joan an envelope. She looked inside and screamed, and jumped into his arms.

"Oh how I love my big bad Daddy, even if he doesn't call me." She said hugging him.

"I love you too Joanie...I thought public affection from family was traumatizing." He said.

"It's null and void when you get a bunch of Tori Amos tickets and..I think it's null and void in Alabama, but that is because the fathers are really the boyfriends." Joan joked.

"Tori Amos tickets, But they don't go on sale for like a week!" Ronnie exclaimed.

"Spike's a hit-man. He knows people." Joan stated simply. Ronnie was nervous again.

"Joan!..Don't listen to her I'm not. I just know people." He blushed.

"Well, you are a hit-man, a bounty-hunter, but you only kill evil souless things like you used to be." Joan said casually as she counted all the tickets that were there.

"Again..she's kidding..I work for the CIA..doing really boring stuff and Joan just has an imagination." Spike looked at Joan and not at Ronnie when he said this.

"Ha! Like you could have government job with your past..You kinda did though with that chip and that trigger thing they did to you." She snorted.

"Joan stop it!" He said under his breath.

"So, you like Tori Amos too?" Joan asked Ronnie.

"Yeah she's really cool. My Mom was pregnant with me when she saw her in concert and Tori was pregnant with her first kid."

"That rocks!" Joan exclaimed.

"I always thought Tori would be a cool Mom herself, like she would take you fairy watching and she'd teach you how to kick a guy's ass, and then you'd write poetry together." Ronnie babbled and then blushed.

"Actually that sounds like my mom..accept my mom's not big into poems..Dad is more the poem type." Joan said to Ronnie as she had taken all of the things out of her Uncle-Dad's pockets again and spread them out on the counter. She was touching each of the things like she was trying to figure out what he'd been doing while he was away.

"Where is your mum, Joanie?" Spike asked smiling as he watched her examine all of his things.

"You haven't seen Mommy yet?" She exclaimed looking up at him.

"I wanted to see you first." He said.

"Bullocks! You just looked for her at home and in the cemetery and you couldn't find her." She smiled, "Maybe she's hiding from you because you didn't call."

"Not really her style, pet." He smirked.

"Maybe she's stalking you waiting to stake you because you didn't call." Joan smirked and held up a very sharp piece of wood and stabbed the air. Ronnie was really trying not to notice the things that Joan had gotten out of Spike's pockets. Because that sharp piece of wood was one of them. Ronnie still managed not to look.

"That would be more like it, but even she understood about this bloody trip more than you." He sighed.

"That's because you told her more abou-

"Joanie, I'm here are you ready!" A called woman's voice called to Joan from the front of the snack shop. Spike rose from the counter he was sitting on.

"See how Mommy announces herself and doesn't lurk around?" Joan said to Spike.

"We're back here Ma!" Joan called. Joan was intensely focused on a letter she was reading from Spike's pocket. Ronnie started to stair at it to, because it was really weird. Ronnie could see that the letter head was from some place in England called the Watcher's counsel. She could make out of the letter from where she was

"Dear William...need assistance from you..Argintina..flood gates to hell....would appreciate your wife's assistance as well ... have a child who in the worst case scenario deserves one surviving parent. If we can only have one of you, we chose you because of your past experience in.."

"Dad's back Ma." Joan said casually. Ronnie and Joan were both intensely staring at the letter when they heard Joan's mother open the door. Ronnie looked away extremely embarrassed at her own snooping when Joan looked up from the letter.

"So, yeah Ma..Dad's back..as I see you've noticed, and it's okay just go on and make out if front of my friend..because I've explained Dad to her..And it so doesn't gross me out or anything..so yeah go right ahead..suck face." Joan said sarcastically, and looked at Ronnie at her own embarrassment. Joan hadn't really noticed that Ronnie was looking at the letter. A blonde woman, who was small like Joan, was in Joan's Uncle-father's arms kissing him.

"See, I told you he would be fine." The blonde woman said to Joan, as she whipped away a tear.

"The watcher people weren't as sure as you." Joan said as she handed her mother the weird letter. Joan's mother smashed the letter into a ball and caressed Joan's cheek.

"Your mum has more knowledge in her bloody pinkie than that whole counsel." Spike muttered. Joan's cell phone rang and she ran off to talk.

"Hi, your Joan's new friend? I'm Buffy her Mom." The tiny woman said. She looked older than Spike but not old enough to be Joan's Mom. Sort of like Ronnie's own Mom.

"I'm Ronnie." She said shyly.

"I am sorry for the scene just haven't seen my husband in a long time. He was on a

business trip." Buffy said.

"Joanie's been writing and directing all the bloody scenes since I showed up. She was screamin' at me in front of this poor girl..Tellin' her what a bad mean man I am. She's being a sodding brat. Scarin' you to death, right?" He asked Ronnie.

"No, I'm fine..I was- I mean- I'm fine." Ronnie stammered.

"She's 15 and your daughter."Buffy chirped.

"No, she's 15 and your daughter." Spike insisted.

"Okay..yeah Tori..Dad, can Alex and Jamie come to Tori with us?" Joan called from her phone.

"As long as they don't wear those bloody giant crosses they can come with us anywhere." Spike said.

"We think advertising your religion is tacky." Buffy said to Ronnie quickly. Joan walked over to her parents and looked at Ronnie.

"Actually, can Ronnie come to Tori? It'll be her first time outside her mom's body, right?" Joan asked her.

"Right!" Ronnie exclaimed.

"Bring as many people as you want. I got plent-a-tickets..Gonna take the rest and sell 'em." Spike smiled until Buffy glared at him.

"Sell them at really reduced prices to adoring fans." Spike said hopefully as he looked at his wife who still glared at him.

"And give the money to save some cute little puppies." He continued as Buffy stared him down.

"So the puppies can go to poor children in orphanages?" Joan suggested.

"Right." Spike pointed at her and rolled his eyes. Ronnie laughed, but Joan's Mom still looked angry.

"Love? C'mon..We can use the ticket money to go on vacation..I got 50k for this, but it might be the only one this whole year." Spike pleaded with adoring eyes.

"God, I bloody hope so!..Before you yell at him Mom, Can I show Ronnie the Bronze?" Joan asked.

"No, your grounded." Spike exclaimed.

"Is you name Mom?" Joan asked.

"Why is she grounded?" Buffy asked.

"She..I..I don't remember..but she is!" Spike insisted.

"Ha." Joan exclaimed.

"Spike, you need to give her a reason, or else it's pointless." Buffy said.

"She threw her phone at my bloody head!" He whined.

"I did not you bloody caught it!" Joan insisted.

"Don't throw things at your Dad's head after he's been on a mission, Joan." Buffy scolded.

"Nothing ever hit him." Joan insisted.

"Still you did a surge. I am really brassed off about that." Spike said. Ronnie was confused, more so.

"Joan!" Buffy said in surprise.

"I did not. There's an electrical short here. It had nothing to do with me." Joan blushed.

"Right, an electrical short..The light go up and down. The music goes way up. Some kitchen do-dads go nuts at the exact moment you want to kill me..That was you doin' a serge at your own dad!" Spike said firmly.

"Well..you needed to know how I felt and..besides- You said that I shouldn't work because I was a girl again!" She accused.

"WHAT!" Buffy roared.

"He did Ma, He was like 'No girl 'a mine should bloody work.'" Joan said triumphant.

"Balls!..I didn't mean that, Love..I just don't..OW!" He yelled after Buffy threw a cell phone at his head.

"I can't believe you. We've talked about this..Let her be a nomal kid with one thing!..Joan we'll drop you friend off at the Bronze." Buffy said. Ronnie followed the family to the car.

"I just don't believe you sometimes.." Buffy muttered to Spike.

"You two don't understand my intentions at all..Why is it I am a pig if I don't want thought lot of you flipping burgers..When did women's lib and the fast food industry unite? You should be than-"Spike was pleading

"Shut-up..Okay, I'm picking you guys up at 11. Be careful." Buffy said.

"Can I have some money? I didn't get paid yet." Joan grinned. Spike groaned and handed Joan three twenties. She kissed him. He gave her a begrudging smile.

"Joanie wait." Buffy said and handed her something Ronnie couldn't see.

"Aw, Ma. I don't need this..All those jerks know who I am. They see me and run." Joan said.

"I'm old fashoined..Take it in case." Buffy said, "We love you, baby."

"Bye." Ronnie and Joan waved at them.

"You told on your dad." Ronnie chided Joan.

"No, I got to go out so my dad could be alone with my Mom, and I gave them something to make up over." Joan smiled, "Anyway less parent talk. More Party talk."Ronnie could see Joan quickly slip a piece of sharp wood into her pocket.

END