Everyone was quiet, not calm, but quiet. Joyce watched as Spike went over weapon after weapon with Xander and Giles. They were sharpening blades and adjusting things on the crossbows. The three men, working with deliberation and confidence, seemed unruffled by this latest fiasco, but Spike hated missing out on the good fight, and the others were never far from the action. Buffy so rarely went into battle without them at her back. Joyce stared at them trying to see the motivation behind her daughter's battle plans. Why had she left three of her strongest supporters behind? Oz was used to the life and nearly as strong as Buffy, but Hank? What use could he possibly be?
"He knows her Joyce. He knows how he thinks to a certain extent. She took the team she needed and left us because he will expect us to be with her. She did it because she knows him far better than he knows her. We are the second front." Giles looked up at her with a sad smile. "She left us here to defend the home he will attack because she couldn't figure out a way to minimize the risk to those she loves most. Don't worry about it. She is the best and Oz will bring her back to us."
"He's right, Love." Spike smiled. "Think it's time you learned to use a weapon?"
"Am I really going to need it?" Joyce watched as Spike closed this eyes in frustration. He didn't look that way very often, and it made her nervous.
"We've kept you from the heart of the action for most of the big battles," Giles said patiently. "Buffy was reluctant to endanger you by dragging you into this world, but the luxury of standing on the sidelines can't last forever."
"You're not just the slayer's mum anymore, Joyce." Spike put the dirk down and stood up. "I love you. I want to keep you out of danger, but this is the front line. You need to be able to defend yourself."
"I almost brained you with an ax," she huffed.
"I wasn't after you or you never would have gotten the drop on me." Spike growled. "There aren't many creatures that scare me, most of them fight on our side, but I have enemies."
"I've been the slayer's mother for years. How much worse can it get?" She snorted derisively.
"I'm a member of the most powerful vampire family in history, and I fight for good now. That's bad enough, but what if Drusilla comes for you, Love? Quick, decisive action would be the only recourse available. Ask any of them." He gestured to the room. "If she were sane, Angelus would look like a fluffy puppy in comparison."
"He's telling the truth." Anya said. "Knowing how to fire a cross bow, or swing an ax could save your life. I also think you should learn a few little tricks, not serious magic, but stuff to help in an emergency. I could teach you or Tara."
"None of you have worried about this before." Joyce looked at their determined faces And realized that there was no truth to her statement.
Anya smiled at her and shrugged her shoulders before heading toward the window. Joyce sat next to Spike and covered his pale hand with her own. He looked at her with a gentle smile.
"You can handle a bladed weapon in a very basic way, slice and hack, but that won't keep you safe from a stronger, faster opponent unless you're lucky. I can't trust in luck with you, so you need to become familiar with some longer range weapons." Spike opened his hand beneath hers and their fingers laced together.
"You don't have time to teach her, Spike. Get her an ax. Now." Anya yelled. "Everybody get a weapon, right now."
"Why?" Giles stood and moved toward Anya as she stared in horror at the street below.
"Because I was right. There are living nightmares and they're here." Anya said as she moved toward the weapons cabinet.
Giles looked down through the window, and darted after Anya his lips pressed together in a firm line.
"What is it, Giles?" Willow asked as she stood.
"Bunnies, it's bloody bunnies. The sick bastard made killer rabbits."