A Different Homecoming

Author: Nitrowugs

Rating: PG

Pairings: None

Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS and AtS. (Characters, plots, and dialogue from the shows are borrowed with no infringement intent whatsoever.)

Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.

Written: 06/03/2010

Summary: When Buffy returned to Sunnydale after spending three months in Los Angeles, she was not in the mood for a party; she needed to clear the air between herself and her mother.

When Buffy returned to Sunnydale from Los Angeles after turning her apartment and her job over to 'Anne', the last thing she was in the mood for was a party. Even though Willow insisted, Buffy was firm.

"Willow, I am not in the mood for a party. I appreciate that you want to welcome me home, but I need to come to some sort of reconciliation with my mother, get myself reoriented here in Sunnydale, and figure out what I am going to do with the rest of my life. These things are more important to me than a party at this point. Maybe we can have the Scoobie gang over in a couple of days so we can get reacquainted. I'm sure that there are questions that all of you want to ask me."

Willow was disappointed, but she tried to be the understanding friend and gave in to Buffy's wishes.

As soon as Willow left, Buffy called her mother at the gallery. When Joyce saw her home number on Caller ID, she answered the phone right away. "Buffy? What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong, Mom, I just wondered if we could have a mother-daughter talk when you get home this evening. Hugs and kisses and tears worked last night, but I think we need to talk. I don't want things to remain strained between us."

"Of course, honey. I'll be home around six. I'll see you then." Joyce stood there holding the receiver after speaking with Buffy and thought to herself, 'That was a pleasant surprise. It looks like my daughter did some growing up while she was away.'

When Joyce entered her house that evening, she detected the pleasant aroma of food. "Mom, dinner's ready," Buffy called from the kitchen. "Let's eat before it gets cold."

"Chinese. Oh, honey, what a wonderful idea."

"I thought that we would fare better having a serious talk if our stomachs were full."

Mother and daughter ate dinner in companionable ease, each knowing full well that the conversation to follow would be anything but that. After dinner they took seats in the living room. Once they were seated Buffy spoke first. "Mom, I think we need to go back to the beginning, and believe me, I do not want to reopen old wounds, but I need to talk about everything that has been happening to me since I was fifteen. Some of these things you are aware of, but most you have no idea about. All I ask is that you listen, ask me questions, ask me to repeat anything, explain anything, anything at all; believe me, I will not lie or exaggerate in any way."

Joyce agreed. She listened. For the first time in her life, Joyce listened to every word her daughter said. She interrupted often either for clarification or because what she was hearing was just so impossible to believe. At one point Buffy interrupted their talk to take her mother up to her bedroom and show her evidence of what she was saying. Joyce saw it all - the weapons, the bloody clothes, the first aid kit that Buffy kept hidden in her bathroom.

"But Buffy, how can you do all of these things? Why do you do all of these things?"

To show her mother 'how', Buffy demonstrated her incredible strength by bending a one-inch iron rod into a pretzel shape with practically no effort. As for 'why', Buffy repeated Giles' favorite quote: 'In each generation etc., etc.'

After all the questions were answered, the explanations were made, and the demonstrations were done, Joyce walked over to Buffy and took her in her arms. She ran her hand over Buffy's hair and up and down her back. Tears ran down her face as she said, "So you really have no choice in this, do you?"

"No, mom, I don't."

"Honey, I am so sorry. All these years in my ignorance of who you really are I have under estimated you, criticized you, and generally made your life so much worse than it had to be."

"It's O.K., mom. You weren't supposed to know and besides, I was trying to protect you."

"Oh, Buffy." Joyce held her daughter in her arms and in her heart she made a promise to Buffy and to herself: 'Never again will I allow anything to come between me and my daughter. From this day forward my daughter will always know that she has my love, my support and my respect.'

Joyce kept her promise.