The Blood Line

IsabelleB.

There Are Always Choices

Summary: Giles had taught Buffy Summers to ask questions but for the sake of his sanity he hoped she had no questions to ask. "To each generation a slayer's born. She alone will stand against the dark forces of nature. But for that to happen the previous Slayer must procreate with the chosen line of the Aurelius clan." Her mate: The infamous William 'Spike' Stafford.

Disclaimer: Characters not mine.

--

It was authoritative Council talk.

Of course, Buffy Summers hated her obligations to the Council in general but especially hated doing weekly patrol summary. Rupert Giles critiqued everything and examined all of her mistakes. He was British and as expected, it reflected in his guardianship. For the millionth time today, she wondered how Giles had become her guardian. She remembered her mother, though vaguely, as a strong independent woman who had care for her deeply. As a little girl, she recalled her mother picking her up from daycare and taking her to the neighborhood park. Not a single day would go by that Giles wouldn't remind her of how much her mother really loved her.

When she was six, her mother Joyce had disappeared. Giles, who she had known as her distant uncle at the time, had said that her mother had died of cancer. Buffy trusted no one in the world more than Rupert Giles, but she knew that was a lie. She knew it was a lie because she didn't remember her mother being sick. She didn't remember doctor's visits. She didn't even remember any kind last words that would be expected of a dying mother; someone forced to abandon their child. If her mother had died of cancer, there would have been a moment, big or small, that would have given her some indication that her mother was going to die.

That is why she knew Joyce had been taken from her.

All she remembered was that one day her mother failed to make it home to her. And it wouldn't be until ten years later that she would understand why.

On her sixteenth birthday, her Watcher Rupert Giles had given her a picture.

She had one picture of her father. In that picture, her mother had looked so happy. Her parents were on the beach somewhere, her mother had been wearing a tasteful one piece, while her father wore some eccentric neon color swimming trunks. He was hugging her, and she was lovingly embracing him. It was really her mother's smile that stood out the most. There was no way to deny that she had been happy in that moment. From what she understood, her mother had just found out that she was pregnant.

Little did she know that mother had cursed her that day.

That her father and mother were apart of a thousand year legacy that would affect her life to this day. On her birthday, Giles sat there and explained to her the ideology of the slayer lineage. He had explained to her that mother had been a slayer; that she, too, would inherit her mother's dreadful fate. He explained how a couple of old men had decided millenniums ago to infest a family line with demon blood. Each chosen female in this line would become a slayer; she alone would be the sole protector of the world and mankind's only defense against demons, gods, and vampires.

She thought it was a curse.

Since the age of sixteen, she had been forced to put the needs of mankind above her own. The realization never truly hit her until she was expelled from school. Then Giles had thought it would be a good idea to move to Sunnydale. He had failed at the time to mention that Sunnydale sat on the top of a hellmouth. Two apocalypses later she was still fighting the good fight and trying to live up to the legacy her mother had left her.

Never once had she asked for details in the life of a slayer. She never asked how her mother had carried out her responsibilities. Never once asked for information as to what it took to completely fulfill her duties as a slayer. And she never wanted to know. She was seventeen and to everyone around her she was incredible. Buffy had succeed in being the loving surrogate daughter, the supportive friend to her essential Scooby Gang and the perfect girlfriend to her boyfriend Riley Finn. To everyone around her, she had fulfill their every expectation.

It wasn't until her seventeenth birthday that she found out that she had failed at her most important duty of all. She had failed to produce an heir to the Slayer line --

--

"Buffy," he started, and she knew he realized with every tear that it be best to cooperate with her wishes. Giles sympathized with her. She pictured it was just as hard for her hear his words as they were for him to say them to her. He told her it was practiced tradition of the Council to reiterate the words spoken to a Slayer on her seventeenth birthday. Regarded an honor by past Slayers, mating was considered one of the few luxuries of being a slayer. A soulmate for a slayer destined to die too quickly to find one on her own. A fate of motherhood and mate to protect that claim. This should have be a proud moment for him – for her. But she was too much of a nonconformist. She hadn't been born into traditions. He hadn't raised her to be. And he wasn't one to force her into it. "I'm sorry," he said with grieving eyes. "I should have said something sooner."

Buffy raised from her seat in the Sunnydale High School library.

She understood his disposition, but it hard not blame him nonetheless. She shook with disbelief at first and then after a moment of silence, she looked to him. "You knew all this time that I would be forced to have a child and you said nothing?"

"You were happy," he sighed. "I did not want to ruin that."

She shook her head as she eyed him. "Then why my seventeenth birthday?"

"The Council gave me no choice," he responded, picking up the letter from his desk which seemed to hold his feelings of discomfort. The coercive letter had been sent to him two days earlier. Buffy had unknowingly been the bearer of bad news when she had carried the letter from their mailbox. "They have decided that your inability to produce an heir has jeopardized the entire foundation of the Slayer legacy."

He seemed to already know the question forming on her lips. "It was easy, in the past, to put aside your responsibilities when your sister was well. But with Dawn hospitalized, it is difficult for them to believe that the slayer line is not at risk." It was true. Her sister was sick. With cancer. It was losing battle that she preferred not to talk about, but now it seemed to be the only issue to talk about. As long as she was alive, Dawn would never inherit the Slayer traits and unavoidably remain human. Because she was alive, Dawn would eventually die. But now it seemed that Dawn's impending state would also change Buffy's fate as well.

It was more bad news she didn't need.

"What would happen if I didn't do it?"

He maintained silent. The scenario wasn't good.

"What if – " Buffy started, nervousness painfully displayed on her face. "What if Riley doesn't want to have a child?"

He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion though she thought her question had been simple enough."Maybe you're not understanding me," Giles uttered slowly.

"What is there to understand?" She said, blinking in dismay. But when he took his glasses off to clean them, she knew that it was an inclination that things were about to get worse. The way he looked at her, his expression so cold and vacant of the emotions he had showered on her over years. He seemed like a stranger.

With a frown he said, "Riley? I never said anything about Mr. Finn."

William Stafford closed his soft-covered copy of the Prince, he realized he didn't need her love or respect. As his chauffeured car reached the end of its journey to Sunnydale High, it was only right that he reflected on the journey that brought him here. It was after a successful watcher's retreat in the Moroccan desert of Marrakesh. They were a group of want-to-be Watchers who had trained for years to be initiated in a ritual that had taken place for thousands of years: etcetera, and so forth. Unimportant information when compared on a scale of things.

There should have been nothing but honor to gain on that night. But it was on that night, that his life had changed forever. He did not want to say he was disgraced. As they stood there, in the extreme heat of a hundred and seven degree weather, waiting for the Headmaster to be named, he expected it to be himself. They all did. He was the strongest and boldest, a quick learner from the start. Regardless of personal feelings, they all knew he deserved the honor above all else. He supposed to lead them into the next generation as controllers of the mystical world.

Except - he wasn't chosen.

He displayed no emotion as Wesley Wyndam- Price was designated as Headmaster of the entire Watcher's council. The upperclassman showed an initial look of confusion but did not want to question his perceived luck. The rest of the inducted Watchers seemed to laugh at him secretly for his inability to claim what should have been his. He did not say a word. They were all inducted except for him but he did not rise an eyebrow. They all wined and dined, under the dessert's dark sky in celebration of what was and what wasn't. Most hadn't even bothered to look at him; albeit, his close friend Clem had taken the time to express his condolences: once for his denied acceptance, another for his ruined birthday. He laughed at that one. He didn't need pity or compassion or a constellation. Even in his defeat he knew he had been chosen for bigger things. It came when the retiring Headmaster Quentin Travers rose to make an announcement.

He introduced the man standing next to him as Hank Summers.

There was warmth in his voice as he said it, even as he explained the man was a vampire. He quickly went on to explain that the vampire was the mate of the current slayer. A vampire with a soul. A soul. Everyone stood frozen in awe, never having encountered one before. Travers went on to explain that Hank was there to deliver a mate to his eldest daughter.

But of course, there was a process.

How a mate was chosen for a slayer was not as simple as it sounded. The Watchers Handbook said it was a seventeen-year process, starting with the procreation of a slayer. Her father would start his search for her human mate at her birth. The chosen boy would be aged somewhere between eight and eleven. That being the only mandated criteria, the rest of the boy's characteristic were left in the air.

Omit - his eyes had to glow; had to respond to the elder vampire's call.

And as his eyes locked on Mr. Summer's, he knew by the surprised gasps from his fellow Watchers that his eyes had done just that. His eyes had silently whispered that they had met before. In his repressed memory, he had called out to Hank. They had connected and at the tender age of eight, he had promised to protect this vampire's daughter with his life. He also promised his twenty fifth birthday would mark his death; to be turned and condemned.

The night of the Watchers retreat, it had been his birthday. The night of the Watchers retreat, he had left his life and friends behind. The night of the Watchers retreat, he had died.

Oh, no. He didn't need Buffy Summers to love him.

From what he knew, that wasn't in the contract.