Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Giles/Joyce, Spike, Buffy
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike: Mod's Choice: "What did you do?!"
Word Count: 1,897
Date Written: 19 September 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
“What did you do?!” Buffy demands the moment she has Spike within her eyesight.
He stops and looks at her in surprise. “What did you mean what do I do?” The girl should be thanking him, but as usual, she seems ready to stake him instead!
“You know damn well what I mean! I just went by Giles’ and my Mother was there! She was kissing him!” Buffy makes a face as though the sight was enough to leave her scarred with nightmares for life, regardless of all the Demons, Vampires, corpses, killings, and other monsters she’s witnessed in her life as a Slayer. “And she said to tell you thank you! What the Hell did you do?!”
Spike sighs. He should’ve known getting this girl to ever show any gratitude would be impossible. The only way she’ll ever thank him is if he drops dead at her fashionably clad feet. “Buffy, your mother is an adult capable of making her own decisions.”
“Yeah, her screwed up decisions! Have you seen the guys my mother dates?! She almost married an android once!”
“One, she didn’t almost marry him, and two, anybody can make a mistake.”
Slack jawed, she stares at him. “You know about Ted?”
“I know about Ted,” he answers, “and your other father, and a lot of other mistakes your mum’s made in the dating scene both before and after you.”
“You mean -- “ Buffy struggles for words, but her face makes her thoughts completely clear, if a little tinged with green. “You and my Mom talk -- talk dating?!”
“We are friends, you know,” he retorts with a shrug. “I know you find that hard to believe -- “
“I told you to stay away from her!”
“I don’t mean her any harm, Buffy, and Joyce is a grown woman. She can make her own decisions.”
“Stop saying that!”
“Buffy, you may be the hero of the world, but you’re still her child. When are you going to realize that your mum has a life beyond you, just like you have one beyond her?”
“No, it’s not,” he says as gently as he can. “Look. Joyce is a wonderful woman -- “
“I am not hearing this!”
“You came to me, not the other way around.”
“Yeah, I came to you! I came to you because Mom said to thank that ‘darling’ Spike! I’ll thank you all right!”
He’s relieved to see she’s not wielding a stake -- yet --, but he still catches her wrist as her fist comes down to strike him. Holding her still with his tight grip, Spike looks directly down into her eyes. “I would never hurt your mother,” he tells her, but he sees the way her wide, green eyes follow the flash of his fangs that are out because of his frustration. “She . . . She reminds me of mine too much, and the relationship we used to have.”
“Monsters have mothers?” Buffy shoots at him.
He narrows his eyes at her. “We were humans once, Slayer. It’s not like I signed up for this life,” he says, surprising both of them, her because she didn’t expect such an admission and himself because her surprise finally causes her to fall silent and give him a chance to talk. “My Mum and I were close, real close. It wasn’t until I was turned -- and made some mistakes afterward that she turned from me. I didn’t ask for Dru to bite me, you know. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Just like most of these dumb wankers around here, I only saw a beautiful woman who actually wanted me, and by the time I realized what I was getting into by following her, it was too late. I lost my Mum because of her, and because of my own stupidity.”
Slowly, he releases Buffy’s wrist. When she doesn’t move to attack him again, he continues carefully, “I admit I started hanging out with your mum to get at you, but that was before I knew her. Joyce is lonely, you know.” He shakes his head. “‘Course you don’t know,” he answers for her, not giving her a chance to speak. “You can’t see how badly she’s hurting because you’re always busy. It’s a good cause and all, saving the world, but it keeps you from seeing the pain right in your own home.”
“A parent doesn’t just give up their life when they have a kid. They choose, if that kid’s lucky, to make their life center around that child, but they still have a life. They still have needs, desires. They don’t just go away because they birth a brat,” he glances meaningfully at her, “no matter how spoiled that kid may be. Joyce got into the mess she did with Ted, and with others, because she’s still looking for a connection, but she’s not looking to exclude you, Buffy. She’s looking for somebody who can be there for you both, be there for her to help you keep from feeling so bloody lonely but be there for you, too, because you’re kind of a package deal even at this stage in your lives.”
They’ve been walking, but now he turns back to her. “You know what it’s like to be lonely, Slayer. ‘You’re the one girl in all the world’, yadda, yadda, yadda. We both know what it’s like. You really want your mum feeling that?”
Buffy’s eyes are on the ground. She’s too embarrassed right now to meet his gaze. He’s seen pass her defences, seen her as the true daughter she is, not just as the Slayer who should have staked him when they first met. But this is the Vampire, she remembers, who helped her save the world not because he had to or because he wanted to keep having plenty of “Happy Meals” freely walking around to dine on, as he’d said, but because he hadn’t been ready to let go of the love he’d shared with Drusilla. She’s never heard him talk truly bad about her, or about regretting anything, until tonight. “No,” she says softly, quietly, still not daring to look up at him.
But then, once more, she remembers what she’s seen. Her stomach roils, and her eyes fly up to his before she can stop them. “But why Giles?” she demands.
He counters her question with one of his own, “Why not Giles?” She looks at him in confusion, and he carries on to explain, “He’s already a part of your life, Buffy. He knows the worst details about you, the scariest ones. Joyce hasn’t gotta worry about him running off when you come crashing through the walls killing some creature. And they have feelings for each other, real feelings that they’ve fought since that one Halloween -- “
“I thought that was part of the spell,” Buffy mumbles.
“No,” Spike says gently. “You’d hoped it was part of that spell, but it wasn’t. They’re both adults, Buffy, with feelings just as real as yours or mine. That night was one of the scariest nights of Joyce’s life, but spell or no spell, Ripper was there, protecting her, being strong. And he’s continued protecting her and you and being strong ever since she’s known him. There’s a lot in that bloke to pull a girl to him.”
Buffy peers up at him. Searching his eyes, she asks, “How do you know all this?”
“‘Cause I listen. You can learn a lot about people if you just listen. It’s a habit I picked up back when -- “ He stops himself. “You don’t wanna know how,” he admits, “but suffice it to say, knowing your prey comes in handy to any hunter.” He sees the anger flash in her eyes. “But I’m not trying to hurt anybody now, least of all your mum. I like her. I do -- as a friend --, and that’s why I enjoy our little hot cocoa times so much.”
“Hot cocoa times?” Buffy repeats incredulously.
“It’s what your mum calls ‘em.”
“I know.” Her voice drops to a whisper as she admits, “We used to have hot cocoa times when I was little.”
“She’d like to have them again, you know, very much so. She wants to talk to you, Buffy, but she doesn’t know how. Hmph. I’m a poor substitute really for the cocoa companion she wants.”
“Yeah. She’d much rather be talking with you, but that means you have to talk with her, too, Slayer, not just at her. You have to listen to her and be willing to hear what she’s got to say without judging her or pitching a fit.”
“I don’t -- “
Spike cocks an eyebrow at her.
“You have been talking to her a lot!”
“She needs someone, Buffy, someone to talk to, someone to share her secrets with, her doubts, her fears . . . Much as I enjoy our times together, I’ll gladly step out and let you two have the time you both need, you both want.”
Buffy glowers at him, but she doesn’t deny the truth of his words. “I guess you’re right,” she says after a long moment. “Mom does need friends. And I guess you can keep coming by. It sounds like your hot cocoa times are good for both of you. But if you ever hurt her, I won’t stop at staking you.”
“If I ever hurt her,” Spike counters, aweing her by the truth she hears in his tone, “I”ll walk out into the bloody sun myself. Hurting her’s the last thing I want to do.” He doesn’t say aloud that too often in his life, he’s done the very last thing he actually wanted to do, just as he’d turned his own mum against him. He just fades into the night, and she lets him go before continuing her own solitary walk home.
The trek seems longer tonight, and she has too much time to think in between dusting a few more Vampires. By the time she reaches home, the sun’s starting to come up, and her mother’s waiting for her on the steps, a white mug held in her hands. Another sits beside her, and she lifts it up in a silent offer as Buffy approaches.
The mug is still warm when Buffy takes it into her hands. She looks up at Joyce in surprise. “How’d you know I was coming home?” she asks, wondering if Spike beat her in coming by.
“A mother just knows some things,” Joyce answers quietly. She sips her own cocoa, lets it warm her insides, and takes a deep breath. “Buffy, if you really want me to, I’ll stop seeing Rupert.”
“No.” Buffy’s quick reply surprises them both. She looks up at her mom, remembering both Spike’s words and all the sacrifices her mother has already made for her, so many for which she was never grateful until now. “I want you to be happy, and if he makes you happy, I want you two together, but -- “
“But if something happens,” Joyce concludes for her as Buffy pauses to find the right words, “he’s still your Watcher. I know. I won’t come between you two.”
“That’s good, Mom,” Buffy says, sitting down beside her, “but the Slaying gig’s not coming between us either, not any more.” Joyce’s answer comes in a tight hug that leaves Buffy feeling warmer than she has in days.