“A Mother Knows Best” – 4

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series A Mother Knows Best
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And the next part… only a few more to go.

A Mother Knows Best
By angelic_amy

Rating: PG 13
Medium: Fiction

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 4: Divine Intervention.
If Buffy polished her weapons any more, she’d probably start wearing the metal away. She’d followed her mother and Spike for the first few minutes on the trek home, but had quickly grown impatient with the leisurely stroll with which they walked, and the easy-going conversation they shared. Not that attempts to include her hadn’t been made, she’d just ignored them. With the feigned excuse of the need to check another cemetery before she turned in for the night, Buffy had escaped.

Lucky for her, she’d stumbled upon a couple more vamps. None of the battles were life threatening; fledglings weren’t exactly known for their intelligence. Beating heart equalled food. None of them had seen her as the threat to their existence that she was. You would think that after the how many hundreds of years their kind had trawled the earth, evolution would have shown some sort of development and ingrained in them from rebirth the knowledge that strong little girls were dangerous and to be avoided. Hey, it might make her nights more interesting if the regular Joe vamps she fought each night had any clue what a slayer even was.

So after several quick and easy fights, Buffy had finally trudged her way home.

Masculine laughter could be heard as she’d approached the front door, causing a thrill to roll up her spine. Disgust with herself had followed immediately, and Buffy had stomped inside the house and upstairs for a quick shower to remove the vampire remains from her hair. When she’d emerged from the steam filled bathroom a full thirty minutes later, and heard a peal of more of her mother’s laughter, she knew Spike had yet to leave. This only increased her ire further.

Buffy had reached into her closet and removed the large suitcase she used for weapons storage and dragged it out of the room, down the hall, and with great satisfaction thudded it down each step. When she reached her destination of the living room, she spilled the entire contents of the case on the floor, the loud clanging and clacking noises pleasing to her ears, and had begun the somewhat tedious task of cleaning each and every piece.

That was over an hour ago.

Despite the noise she created, her mother had refrained from leaving the kitchen to scold her. This in itself was just as frustrating. Her mother was ignoring the noise she made, which only encouraged Buffy to be louder, her noise-making petulant and bordering on childish behaviour. And still they paid no attention to her.

Each and every weapon now clean to the point that they sparkled, Buffy reached for the remote and pressed the power button. Hopefully there would be something interesting to watch. Or ever better, Spike would leave. The last thing Buffy needed, or wanted, was the… annoying, bleach-haired, leather wearing, cigarette smoking vampire with the soft lips and sexy behi–

“Oh God, I’m losing my mind!”

After he rinsed and dried their mugs from the third, or was it the fourth cup of hot chocolate, Spike decided he’d worn out his welcome. Joyce had been far too hospitable. Judging by the huffs of annoyance and random thumps coming from the living room, Buffy agreed with his conclusion.

When she’d first returned from her ‘necessary’ extra patrol, Spike had tried to excuse himself and leave. But Joyce would hear none of it. “Buffy can sulk about your presence here as much as she wants, but I won’t have her running you out of this house. You’re my guest, Spike.”

Thumps and thuds and clinks and clangs had sounded from all over the house as the pint-sized Slayer had tried her best to annoy her mother into abandoning her ‘guest’. Despite a few choice muttered comments and the pursing of lips when a particularly loud clatter was made, Joyce had refrained from reacting.

The walk to the Summers house from Shady Hill had been… nice. It wasn’t often Spike was given the opportunity to engage in intelligent conversation. Demons, by design, weren’t exactly known for their conversational skills, and neither a fondness for discussion of Literature or admiration of the visual arts. For the sake of his reputation, he kept his passion for knowledge a secret. And he’d missed it. Once they’d reached the house, the easy conversation had continued—uninterrupted, save the odd noise from Buffy.

Somehow, Joyce had coaxed him with relevant ease to lower his defences, although only around her. Nothing was off limits, although there were certain topics Spike had been thankful she’d tactfully avoided.

“Tell me, Spike, how’s your love life lately?”

Apparently her tact had run out.

Spike aimed for easygoing, but to his ears it seemed much more like he was flustered. “Oh, you know, tryin’ to keep my options open.” A nervous smile flickered hesitantly across his face and he had to force himself not to look in the direction of the living room. A good poker player didn’t give tells.

When a broad grin stretched across Joyce’s face Spike knew he’d been made.

Joyce bit back the burble of laughter that rose in her throat. Ever since the impromptu decision she’d made in the cemetery to ensure her daughter no longer mistreated Spike, Joyce had been flicking through memories of her encounters with the young looking vampire and the changes she’d seen within him. Especially those she’d witnessed over the last few weeks.

It was a nagging sensation at the very back of her consciousness that had prodded her in the direction of a more personal line of questioning. A feeling that told her maybe, just maybe, there was something to the fleeting looks the vampire had thrown in the direction of the door before Buffy’s return. That maybe the man sitting with her who was prone to wearing his heart on his sleeve had found a new someone he wished to give his affections.

Right now, the look of trepidation that flooded his features was enough to confirm her suspicions. “How long?” she asked calmly, lowering the volume of her voice ever so slightly, just as a precaution.

A stunned blink and then fear took up residence in the expressive blue eyes that stared at her in disbelief.

Rushed, panicked words tore from his lips. “Joyce, whatever you might be think–”

“Shhh,” Joyce shushed as she gently placed a hand over his on the counter. “I won’t say a word.”

The whispered promise brought a little relief. How on earth Joyce knew, how she had identified his burgeoning feelings for the small, blonde and deadly young woman in the other room, was beyond him. The woman had an uncanny knack of being able to read him like a book. Per’aps I should start wearin’ sunglasses…

The sound of approaching feet found his ears and Spike muttered an apology before he darted through the kitchen door and out into the safety of the backyard for a smoke.

When the television refused to yield a program worthy of viewing, Buffy lifted herself to her feet and padded toward the kitchen. Tired as she was beginning to feel, sleep was not an option while there was still a vampire in the house. Intent on sending Spike packing, Buffy strolled confidently into the kitchen.

And was met with a fierce glare from familial eyes.

The Slayer opened her mouth to question the lack of a vampire-shaped body but was denied the opportunity when her mother launched into a tirade.

“Buffy Anne Summers. I am beyond disappointed with your behaviour this evening.”

“My –” Buffy cut off her own argument at the glower she received.

“After everything Spike has done for you, aft–”

“What Spike has done for me?” Disbelief at her mother’s choice of words was evident in Buffy’s tone. “Spike… Spike is nothing but a pain in the ass! For years, all he’s done,” Buffy snorted before amending her explanation, “all he’s tried to do, is kill me and my friends.”

Outside on the porch, all of Spike’s self confidence shrivelled and died. Any and all respect Joyce may have held for him, the friendship that was blossoming between them, was as good as flushed down the toilet.

Who was he to even contemplate the possibility that Buffy would ever see him as anything more than a soulless, murdering monster?

“Buffy, language!”

“No, Mom, you need to listen to me,” Buffy continued, surprising herself with her audacity. “Spike is a killer. The temporary…” She trailed off as she sought the right descriptor. “Leash, that is stopping him from returning to his normal nature of feeding, and killing, is just that, temporary. At any moment it could malfunction and he would be –”

She’s not going to listen… Joyce thought to herself as Buffy launched into her ‘reasons why Spike can’t be trusted’ list. She won’t believe anything unless she sees…

Joyce rolled her eyes at her daughter’s stubbornness, and looked toward the Heavens for assistance. The call was answered.

Buffy’s rant came to an abrupt halt when Joyce collapsed in a heap on the floor.

Spike was fighting both tears and anger at the same time as disparaging remarks about his character flowed from Buffy’s mouth. He didn’t know what was worse, the fact Buffy’s words were so callous, or that he cared. Turnin’ soft, well bugger that… ‘m not some nancy boy stalker who hides in the shadows. Sticks ‘n stones ‘n all that rot. Anyhow, ‘t’s not like I haven’t said worse in my time…

The decision was made to thank Joyce for the hot chocolate and leave when a sudden thump snapped his attention to the goings on inside the house.

“Mom? Mom! MOM!”

The self-pity Spike had been wallowing in dissipated instantly when the Slayer’s frantic cries met his ears. With a quick stomp he extinguished his cigarette before he reached for the back door, almost tearing it from the hinges with the force he exerted when opening it.

Joyce lay prone on the kitchen floor.

After a frozen moment, while shock set in, Spike was on his knees beside Buffy. He’d never seen her so frightened in all the time he’d known her. “What happened?”

Buffy’s fear-filled eyes blinked toward Spike as quivering took over her hands that were moving forward to brush the hair from her mom’s face. “Sh-she just collapsed. Fainted.”

“Just like that?” As far as Spike was concerned, Joyce wasn’t the fainting type. Something must have caused it. When Buffy nodded numbly in response to his question, he made up his mind. If he was right, and Joyce’s collapse was due to some outside force, they were going to need all the help they could get. If he was wrong, and the collapse was because of medical reasons, there would be people around to support Buffy. “Call the watcher, tell him what happened and to get here as quick as possible.”

Panic widened Buffy’s eyes even further. “W-why? What are you thinking? Is something wrong?” Buffy grasped her mother’s hand and squeezed it tightly, only just managing to control her Slayer strength from crushing as terror gripped her with its brawny strength. Common sense fled her capabilities. “Oh God, she isn’t… she can’t be…”

“She’s fine, pet. Can hear her heartbeat, ‘t’s strong and steady. And she’s breathin’ fine,” Spike interrupted when he realised Buffy’s direction of thinking. “’m just not convinced she fainted, is all. Better safe than sorry, yeah?”

Buffy nodded again, scrabbling to her feet in her haste to retrieve the phone.

A few minutes later the call had been made and Buffy was on the kitchen floor again. Spike had rolled up his duster and placed it beneath Joyce’s head.

“Made the call,” Buffy stated unnecessarily. The duration of the short conversation had managed to quell some of the initial concern she’d felt. Spike’s confirmation her mother was physically okay, combined with Giles’ reassurances they’d get to the bottom of it all, served to calm her nerves. “Giles and the others are on their way.”

“Good.” Spike was at a loss of what to do. The welfare of both Summers women was his primary concern. But when the others showed up he knew his presence would be neither welcome nor appreciated, especially knowing everyone was coming over.

“Uh, per’aps I should head off then? Don’t think your mates would be happy with my bein’ here. Besides, ‘m not s’posed to be out of the watcher’s bathroom and he might have a few choice words to say ‘bout broken bath taps.” Spike smiled ruefully and prepared to stand when Buffy’s hand on his stilled his movements.

“Stay,” she pleaded. “Until they get here?”

Her gentle touch awakened memories from when he’d last been the recipient of her kindness the week before. The strength of want to melt into her touch was frightening, and Spike almost pulled away with a lie of having places to be when he saw the naked earnestness in her eyes. Despite the tough exterior she presented to the outside world, Buffy was just as delicate as everyone else. Right now she was afraid and wanted comfort. And she’d chosen him, even if it was only until her friends arrived. It was more than enough to make Spike stay.

“Let’s move her to the sofa, yeah?”

Buffy nodded slowly.

When Spike moved to lift Joyce, Buffy linked her fingers with his and gave his hand a quick squeeze. He stopped and turned to face the frightened girl beside him. “She’ll be right as rain,” he assured as he squeezed her hand in much the same manner.

The air became electric all of a sudden and twin frowns appeared on their faces. Spike didn’t like it, and reached for Joyce. “Come on, we’ll move –”

The sentence was never completed.

The second Spike’s fingers touched Joyce’s shoulder, he froze.

So did Buffy.

A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who has reviewed so far, your comments have been fabulous.


Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/106612.html

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