Here’s the next bit!
A Mother Knows Best
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Buffy hates Spike and Spike can’t stand Buffy. Right? Ever since Willow’s ‘my will be done’ spell, the vampire and slayer have been plagued with thoughts and dreams of their supposed mortal enemy. And neither of them know what to do about it. When Joyce Summers receives a mystery visit from someone in the know, and learns a little about the possible future, the slayer’s mother is set to work – playing matchmaker. Set in early season four, post ‘Something Blue’, and goes AU after that.
Disclaimer: Buffy & Angel and most of the other characters used in these fics belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, et.al. and are being used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made. This web site, its operators and any content relating to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” are not authorized by Fox.
Authors Notes: The idea for this fic is the complete brain child of the wonderful megan_peta. Megan, without your help I doubt I’d have something ready for my due date. Thanks so much sweets! *big hugs*
Betas: megan_peta and just_sue were the lovely ladies who helped whip this into shape for me!
Distribution: seasonal_spuffy, and soon to be added at When Hearts Collide and the The Bloodshedverse. Anywhere else, ask me first so I know where it’s going!
Feedback: is LOVED… I’d love to hear what you think.
Part 2: Shocking Revelations
The words filtered through Joyce’s shock and found her ears, but currently she was fighting the urge to hurl from the sensation of being ripped from one place and then deposited in another, all in the blink of an eye. Travel by that method should be made illegal, in her opinion. In fact, logic deemed it shouldn’t even be possible. A year ago, no, even a few months earlier she may have been able to chalk it up as one of those bizarre things that could not be explained. But not now. Humans could not move in that manner. The prospect that her travel companion wasn’t human did little to settle her frazzled nerves.
After several slow, deep breaths, Joyce felt confident enough to examine her surroundings in more detail.
Minimal lighting, headstones… this is definitely a cemetery. And that’s —
“Buffy!” Joyce exclaimed. Several hurried steps were taken toward her daughter, though she need not have rushed. Buffy was frozen, almost as if someone had hit a pause button. Fury blazed in her gaze and her stance was threatening, fist balled and extended in mid swing, mere inches away from —
Whirling around to face her escort, Joyce pasted on her best ‘don’t-even-think-about-arguing-with-me’ face. “Whatever you’ve done here, I demand you undo it, immediately.”
The smaller man, or demon as it were, shifted his weight from one foot to the other, as he pondered how best to make the purpose of his little visit clear, without angering the Slayer’s mom. “I don’t think that would be the best thing to do at present. You see, we weren’t around as this was happening. If time is restored now, the consequences could be catastrophic.” He was lying through his teeth but he doubted Joyce Summers was a scholar of the space-time continuum.
Folding her arms over her chest, Joyce made her annoyance blatantly obvious. “If this is hurting her…” She trailed off, leaving the threat hanging in the air.
“It’s not, scout’s honour.”
Why she trusted he was telling the truth, she didn’t know. Nodding, Joyce waved a hand to consent that he continue, or begin as it were, his explanation for tearing her from the Gallery in the first place, remembering his name from the brief introduction he’d given before they’d blinked to their current location. “Please continue, Whistles.”
“Whistler,” he corrected automatically, continuing when he saw annoyance flare in Joyce’s eyes. Mother and daughter were more alike than they probably realised.
“I’ve brought you here tonight because this,” he gestured toward the frozen pair of blondes, “is a crossroads. The decision your daughter makes regarding Spike this evening will greatly affect the future. And depending on which choice she makes, it could be a good or bad influence.”
Joyce frowned as she turned her gaze from the man speaking to her, to study her daughter. From what she could gather, Buffy and Spike appeared to be in the middle of a fight. Well at least Buffy did. Spike had barely reacted to the fist that was mid air before him. Joyce surmised that was either because he wasn’t expecting it, or Buffy was faster than he anticipated.
“Is Buffy going to…” she trailed off as she searched for the correct terminology. “Slay, Spike tonight?”
“No.” Whistler shook his head. “Spike is of no threat to the Slayer. The chip in his brain prevents him from –”
“Harming human beings,” Joyce interrupted, details of a conversation she’d shared with her daughter a week or so ago coming to mind. “Then why is Buffy about to hit him?”
Whistler shifted uncomfortably. He had been hoping to avoid this line of questioning. As a rule, he preferred to explain a situation without putting all the cards on the table. Judging by Joyce’s firm expression, he wouldn’t be able to get away with that this evening. “Buffy and Spike were discussing –”
Joyce snorted with disbelief. “Buffy doesn’t discuss things with Spike.”
“Right you are. I should have known better than to try and fool the mother of the finest Slayer the world has seen in centuries.” The praise was in no way subtle, they both knew it, but it was appreciated none the less. No one could deny Buffy’s abilities as a chosen one. Whistler knew the reason she’d managed to survive so long, facing the foes that she had, was because of her independence and resourcefulness. Buffy’s blatant refusal to be controlled by the Council was a source of much amusement for the demon population and the PTB’s alike, and he believed it too played a part in her longevity. A mother’s influence and guidance was also undoubtedly a factor.
“What exactly were they arguing about?” Joyce questioned when an answer wasn’t immediately forthcoming.
Joyce blinked with surprise. “Relationship?”
“Or lack there-of, in Spike’s case.” Whistler smiled kindly. “About a week ago, Miss Rosenberg performed a spell which… had side effects.”
“Side effects? What sort of side effects?” Panic rose within Joyce. The thought that her daughter had been harmed in any way became her immediate concern.
“I apologise for my wording, Joyce. Buffy is quite all right,” he assured. When Joyce breathed a sigh of relief, he continued.
“The spell was one of the will. Meaning, that anything she commanded – eventuated. For the duration of time the magicks were in effect, Buffy and Spike were…” Again Whistler sought the right word. Mentioning their betrothal was probably not the wisest decision. “In the beginnings of courtship.”
“They were dating?” Joyce laughed good-humouredly. “I can’t imagine Buffy –” The realisation that Willow was the cause of any relationship between the pair of mortal enemies, only served to further confuse her. “Why would Willow wish for Buffy and Spike to… date?”
“She didn’t wish it, she willed it. Wishing is the domain of vengeance demons and that’s completely beside the point.” Whistler chuckled quietly. “At the time, Miss Rosenberg was unaware the spell was in effect. Frustrated words were said in the heat of the moment, and bingo! Her will was done.”
Joyce’s brows arched slightly as she began to comprehend what Whistler had explained. “So Buffy and Spike had a pseudo relationship? How long was the spell in effect?”
“A few hours. Not long enough to cause any major damage. Of course, that is dependent on who you speak to.” Buffy’s name hung unspoken in the air between them.
“And the two of them, they’re arguing about that… connection now?”
“You mentioned a crossroads.” Joyce frowned as she tried to piece the information together in her mind. “Considering the argument, and what little I know about Spike, I suspect you meant whether or not Buffy was open to the possibility of dating, uninfluenced this time.”
A whistle of appreciation left Whistler’s lips. “You’re quite the intelligent woman, Joyce. I suspect that’s why you were chosen over the others.”
Joyce blushed with pleasure at the compliment, her lips preparing to ask a question that Whistler continued on to answer. “Rupert Giles and Willow Rosenberg were also considered as possible candidates.”
“Candidate for what?” Joyce questioned suspiciously.
“Sorry, thought it was clear.” He paused for effect, a wide grin stretching his face. “We, and by we I mean the Higher Powers, want you to—in effect—play matchmaker.”
Joyce blinked. She certainly had not expected that answer. “Excuse me?”
“Matchmaker, Cupid, the guiding hand that pushes the pair togeth–”
With a snort of annoyance and a roll of her eyes, Joyce interrupted. “I understand the concept. It’s the reasoning that confuses me.”
“Ah.” Now came the tricky part. How was Whistler supposed to explain that the fate of the world depended on the pair behind him being able to work side by side, without wanting to rip each other’s heads off? That through shared love they would become the strongest and deadliest force of good the world had ever seen? Even harder to explain was the fact that if they didn’t become involved, the world, as he and Joyce alike knew it, would cease to exist. Do you skirt around something like that, or just come right out with it?
“Out with it already. Whatever it is you’re holding back, tell me. I like to think I have an open mind; it was only a short time ago I was still unaware that Slayer’s and vampires existed and I’ve come to accept both as facts.” Joyce’s voice was clear and confident, the complete opposite of what she felt inside. Of all the words that had come from his mouth, the simple utterance of ‘ah’ held the most weight.
“You’re an admirable woman, Joyce Summers.” With a deep inhalation of breath, he began the explanation in the clearest way possible. “The fate of the world depends on them.”
If Joyce was shocked by his statement, she didn’t show it, and Whistler’s admiration for her grew in that moment. “I’m sure you would have been informed of the numerous apocalypses your daughter has averted?”
“Without Spike’s assistance, Buffy won’t survive the next.”
This time Joyce couldn’t contain the jolt of terror his words inspired. “But as you said, Buffy has averted so many, what makes this one different?” Her voice trembled as the possibility of losing her daughter began to sink in. To lose a child was every mother’s worse fear.
Whistler’s tone was deadly serious. “Because it’s not your regular kind, not just some demon with an urge to end the human race. It’s the apocalypse. The end, not only of this world but of all the worlds. Dimensional walls will be ripped down and hell will literally exist on earth.”
A quiver of cold fear ripped right through Joyce and caused her knees to buckle beneath her in response. Whistler knew the weight of the situation would affect her at some point, although honestly he’d expected it sooner. As such, he’d prepared by assuring he was within reaching distance. Before Joyce had the chance to drop to her knees, Whistler had her by the upper arms and led her toward a park bench.
“H-how?” she finally asked when her voice returned to her.
“A crazed hell-god, mystical key, and a whole list of things I really shouldn’t get too in depth with right now.”
There was no way to break this gently. “She’ll die. And not only Buffy, the whole –”
“I’ll do it,” Joyce responded firmly. Her baby’s life was on the line. And Buffy’s life meant more to Joyce than her own. If it meant coercion to convince her stubborn daughter to give Spike the chance he apparently deserved, she’d do it.
“I knew you were the right person to approach,” Whistler commented gently. The more time he spent with her, the deeper his admiration for the woman grew.
Whistler shook his head. “I can’t answer that question. The less you know, the better. In fact, this conversation will be wiped from your memory the moment I leave.”
Joyce frowned. “Then how –”
“Will you remember?” Whistler smiled as he finished her thought. “You’ll be left with a strong urge for making sure it happens, but won’t be able to explain why.”
Mild relief washed over her. Knowing her daughter could possibly be dead soon was something Joyce was glad to be spared from, so long as her involvement would alter the outcome. Whistler stood and prepared to leave. When Joyce stood to follow, he waved for her to stop.
“But you said before about the continuum…” She trailed off when she spotted the sheepish smile on his face.
“A little white lie,” Whistler admitted. “Even if you followed me, when time restarts and your memories are righted, you’ll assume the location dictated by the PTB’s to kick start your ‘matchmaking’.”
Joyce nodded, watching as the messenger began walking toward the exit of the cemetery.
“Oh, and Joyce?” Whistler called over his shoulder. “Make sure you don’t miss the doctor’s appointment you’ve got scheduled for next week.”
“Doctor’s appointment? But I don’t have an appoin–”
In a flash of blue light, Whistler disappeared and time restarted.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/106102.html