Author's note: Hi, everyone please don't kill me i have a perfectly good reason for not updating for two months. Seriously its not even writer's block. A storm hit my city and it was really bad, city wide black outs no water etc etc, and for a few weeks I had no internet AND on saturday I have SATII so wish me luck I've been studying for that. There those are my excuses and the next chapter will be up and coming soon, I promise.
Also, most people like to immortalize Joyce as the perfect mother so I was a little worried about this chapter, but remember that Buffy and joyce did not end on good terms and even Joyce manages to bungle things up once and again. Tell me what you think. :)
Chapter XXII – Sunnydale: 100 things NOT to do when your daughter Comes home
The silence was complete. Neither woman moved a muscle, much less chanced a word.
Neither was sure what to say and both wanted to see what the other would. Both waiting for the other to make the first move.
Not even Kittie was talking, she knew something was up and was watching curiously. Not even the goofy picture her Daddy made as he shifted the painting around to hold it more comfortably distracted her. She was too busy studying this middle aged woman who seemed to be a major player. Kittie however didn't recognize her.
Next to her, Spike had lowered the absurdly large painting and had changed a look around. He could sense a deluge of humans all of a sudden. It seemed that the people of Revello Drive were interested in what happened in ol' 1630 and that was the last thing his slayer needed.
"Uhm, we should take this inside, yeah?" he said hesitantly shattering the silence and earning three grateful looks from all the Summers girls.
Joyce instantly snapped back to herself and unlocked the house, pausing at the door for only a mere moment before opening it wider to accommodate them. The damage was done, however, and Buffy flinched. She didn't move until Spike sidled up next to her. He gave her an encouraging smile and gently pushed her into the house. Mother and daughter went to the living room and sat across from each other stiffly. Silence reigned once again.
Spike put the painting down where it could lean against the wall and then turned around just it in time to scoop Kittie up into his arms before she barged into the living room. He thanked the powers that be for Vampiric reflexes.
"Oh-ho no, Sweetling," he whispered into her ear as she struggled. "Your mum needs some alone time."
"Who is that, Daddy?" Asked Kittie in Dutch.
"That would be your grand mum, nibblet."
Kittie peered at her supposed grandmother curiously then after a few moments shook her head.
"That's not my grand mum," she said levelly. "She and mummy would be hugging if she was my grand mum."
Spike smiled and shook his head. She was sharp as a tack, his Kittie. He adjusted her weight and smiled wryly.
"Don't you worry, bit." He said, glancing back towards His wife and her mother. "I'm sure they'll get to the huggin' part in just a little bit."
But they didn't get to the hugging. It felt as if it had been forever and yet they still sat across from each other.
Buffy had never felt more awkward in-well, she wasn't sure which was worse, seeing Angel again or this-she hadn't felt so awkward in twenty four hours. She mentally reminded herself that if she survived this she was going to kill-no, she could never do that-irreparably maim Spike.
That was if she survived this.
She glanced at her watch. FIVE MINUTES? There is no way FIVE MINUTES had passed. It had to be more than that.
And then just like that it got worse.
Joyce suddenly launched herself across the room and engulfed Buffy in a bone-crushing hug.
She knew that she really should have hugged Joyce back, but she couldn't bring herself too. So she just stood there stiff as a board until the elder Summer's girl finally pulled away, her face darkening with righteous anger.
"Seven years! Buffy Anne Summers! SEVEN!" she bit out. "Do you ever scare me like that again do you hear me? Seven Years!"
Spike put Kittie down and she ducked behind his duster as the yelling commenced. He patted his daughter's head comfortingly but said nothing, feeling the surge of rage from his mate through their connection.
And yet Joyce seemed completely oblivious to her daughter's tumultuous feelings and continued on her tirade.
"Do you have any idea how worried I've been? Seven years! All the others-they-oh! God, Seven years!"
At this point Spike decided to step in.
"Uhm, Mrs. Summers-"
Joyce turned on Spike lethal fire shining in her eyes.
"That would be Misses Summers to yo-"she stopped when she realized that the crass-looking punk standing in front of her had addressed her just as respectfully as she would have liked. Despite the slip up she recovered quickly and adapted a lofty tone. "Who are you?-and-" she peered at him closely. "Haven't I seen you before?"
Spike ducked his head.
"My name is William." He said with a shy smile. "William Raleigh."
Joyce waited for him to continue the polite address. Spike seemed about to do so but Buffy cut him off.
"You have met Spike before." She said coldly. "And don't patronize him, mother. He's much older than you are."
Joyce looked puzzled for a moment before it all clicked in her head. William the Bloody the one she had hit over the head with an axe all those years ago. The one who she had met before her daughter had left.
Buffy stood abruptly, suddenly needing to be near Spike. She needed the touch of her mate.
"Mom," she said ignoring the light in her mother's eyes as she called her 'mom'. "A lot has changed in these seven years. I've changed. Spike-" she looked at him tenderly and then slipped her hand into his. "Spike is my husband."
"H-husband? Buffy? What? This is-"
"Too much?" Buffy asked. "Like it was too much seven years ago?"
Joyce had the grace to cringe before casting a black look at Spike. She had obviously been spending sometime with Giles and the Scoobies.
"He's a vampire, Buffy!"
"Oh, really?" Buffy asked sarcastically she put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. "You think? You know, I've been married to him for five years and yet I never ever noticed!"
"He's evil, Buffy!" Joyce said backing away suddenly from the seemingly polite man Buffy called her husband. "A killer!"
Buffy's face closed up immediately.
"This killer, as you so eloquently put it, mom, was the one who told me that I needed to come here to see you. He was the one who insisted I give you the 'courtesy'." She said coldly. "I wanted to respect your wishes and never come back to your house again."
"Buffy you have to understand-"
Buffy wasn't listening.
"He wanted you to meet your granddaughter."
Whatever Joyce was saying she faltered at that. Buffy's face didn't change.
Kittie peeked out from behind Spike's legs at the mention of her nick name. She looked up fearfully at her grand mum.
Joyce was struck speechless as the little girl peeked at her timidly.
She opened her arms to give her a hug but Buffy shook her head.
"No, mom." She said. "We need to go. See Giles about this Apocalypse."
"No." Buffy repeated firmer now. "Things aren't alright between us. You're Mrs. Summers remember? I'm not-" she looked down. "I'm not saying that you'll never be grandma. I just- I just can't. Maybe some other-eventually. I think eventually I can do this but right now I just- where are the others?"
"The Magic Box." Joyce responded quietly.
With a curt nod, Buffy turned and walked out of the house she had once considered her home.
Spike took one more look at Joyce, seeing that the woman was starting to tear. She would crumble into full blown sobbing any moment now, but Spike needed to see to his mate.
He urged Kittie to go outside to her mother. Then he turned back to Joyce sympathetically.
"I left the painting in the hall." He said simply, and then hesitated before he added. "I'm sorry, Joyce."
She didn't both to correct him.
He thought the woman was too far gone to reply but she managed to choke out, right as he was at the door.
"It's my fault, Spike."
Outside, Buffy wasn't faring any better. Kittie was hugging her tight but The slayer seemed to be inconsolable anyway. Spike reached out and drew both his girls into his arms. As soon as she was in the comforting embrace of her family, Buffy had dissolved into tears. For a while they just sat there, together as Buffy cried. After a moment, however, Kittie pulled away and studied her mother intently, her head cocked to one side and one eyebrow slightly raised. She looked so much like her father that Buffy had to laugh. She pulled her daughter back to her and closed her eyes, letting the tears leak out anyway.
"You didn't give her an inch, love." Spike said gently.
Buffy sighed and looked down.
"She told me never to set foot in her house again."
Spike rolled his eyes.
As soon as Spike got that tone of voice, Kittie pulled away.
"You're going to talk about grown up-y things aren't you?" she asked.
Spike and Buffy traded looks.
"Something like that." Buffy answered.
"Sweet bit, why don't you go colour in your book?" he suggested gently.
Kittie thought for a moment then nodded solemnly.
"Mum, are you okay?"
"course, sweetie." She said. "I'm just a little shaky."
She hesitated for a moment before walking back to the car.
"I swear she's older than six." She said softly.
They ere silent for a long moment.
"That night that you were in the house, Spike," she said in a small voice. "was not the first time I mentioned Vampires."
Spike arched an eyebrow.
"What is this now, pet?"
"The last time I mentioned it, I was Kittie's age." She said. "It's a potential Slayer thing I think. I was institutionalized for a year." Spike's blue eyes widened. "Why do you think I never told them about my being a slayer? Don't you think it would have been so much easier for me if they knew? I couldn't tell them until I had proof and that night- we dusted a vamp right in front of her and she still didn't- I just can't-"
Spike held her tighter. Burying his face into the golden drown of her head.
"I'm so sorry, pet." He said. "You never told me. I wouldn't have pressed if I had known."
Buffy smiled ruefully.
"Yes you would have." She said. "But its okay. We'll work through it She just started yelling and I saw red and- let's go to the magic box?"
Spike made to argue but wisely shut his mouth and nodded.