- Fic -Home Is Where They Have To Take You In
- Fic -Home Is Where They Have To Take You In Chapter Two
- Home Is Where They Have To Take You In – Chapter Three
Okay, it’s open posting day and I’m following rahirah – not my favorite thing to do. Try to avoid comparisons, okay? LOL
This is a future fic that totally ignores the comics, so no issues there (except for people who want to take the comics as canon for post show stuff, in which case, just think of it as an AU fic) I’m going to post the first couple of chapters here, then shift to a link to my journal. I’m six+ chapters in to what is probably going to be a fairly long story (just based on where it is right now). Oh the up side, the chapters are fairly long, so there won’t be as many of them as there could be if they were really short. Good for readers who want to get through the story quickly, not so good for those with short attention spans. *g* The fic was inspired by some art work that kudagirl put up some time ago. I asked her if I could use her picture for a fic and she said yes. This is the result.sult.
Title: Home Is Where They Have To Take You In
Rating: No idea right now. It’s barely PG ATM, but I suspect at some point it could get raunchier.
Summary: Buffy lives in London where she and Giles are running a Slayer/Watcher school. She has found an old house that used to belong to the Pratts and has used some “found” money to buy it and refurbish it to live in. A very weak and badly injured vampire, who claims to be harmless, hides in her garden and she, somewhat to her own surprise, doesn’t stake him right away.
Home Is Where They Have to Take You In.
“Giles, I’ve been thinking…”
“Never a good sign,” he said with an indulgent smile that belied his words.
“Funny. Not. Okay, here’s the thing… I’m not really needed here except when I’m teaching or we have a meeting, right?”
“That is correct.”
“So, I’m thinking that instead of living here, I should get myself a flat… or maybe even a house… and start being a grownup.”
“I would think you might have had quite enough of that during your last few years in Sunnydale,” he said. “None of us were as helpful as we could have been during those trying times, and I doubt your first venture into home ownership was a very pleasant experience.”
“Well, yeah. But the thing is, I’m old enough to be a grownup now. And I have a good job, that pays me actual money, and I like it here in London where I don’t have to drive a car to get places, and I saw this awesome house the other day and yeah, it’s kinda run down, but it’s for sale and it’s gotta be cheap because it needs paint and stuff and I thought—”
His raised hand brought her babble to a halt. “Does this have anything to do with the research you were doing the other day? About William the Bloody?”
She sighed. “Maybe,” she said, her eyes narrowing. “What of it?”
“And what did you find out?” He ignored her question.
“I found out where Spi—William used to live.” Her expression became even more stubborn. “But that’s got nothing to do with all my reasons for wanting to move out. It’s just a coincidence that the house I want happens to be the one William used to live in before he was turned.”
“Yeah. You know, when one thing seems like it made the other thing happen, but it really didn’t?”
“Giles, I’m going to do this. You can help me, or you can sit on your hands, but don’t try to talk me out of it.”
“I wasn’t planning to. However, I do want to be sure you know what you’re doing. And I would also like to take a look at this house and make sure you are not buying a fire trap.”
“Oh. Okay then. Thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome. Why don’t you contact the estate agent and see what you can set up for sometime tomorrow morning?”
“Giles, you’re the best!” Giving him a quick hug, Buffy left his office before he could change his mind.
After calling the agent and setting up an appointment to see the house again, this time with her “uncle”, Buffy couldn’t resist visiting it once more. She stood outside the garden gate, gazing at the seedy-looking entrance and boarded up windows, trying to picture it as it had been in William’s time. She tried to imagine him going in and out the solid-looking door, maybe with his mother on his arm or even a female friend…
She shook herself, remembering that the only female friend Spike had ever brought home was Drusilla, and shuddered to remember that conversation. With tears in his eyes, recently-souled Spike had tried to tell her why she had to slay him, now that they knew the First was making him kill. He’d described in great detail bringing Dru home with him to meet his mother, and how she’d eaten her way through the few servants they’d still had at that time. And what he’d done to his own mother. What he hadn’t realized, as he talked about that night, was that his love for his mother and his real reason for turning and then killing her had come through loud and clear.
He’d done it for love. Just as so much of his behavior in the following years had been for love of Drusilla, and even, to some extent, Angelus. She really didn’t want to try to understand his love/hate relationship with Angel – especially now that she knew that connection had gotten him killed for a second and undoubtedly final time – but she understood to a greater extent than she’d ever let him know, how hard he’d worked to be the kind of vampire Angelus and Dru had wanted him to be.
As she stared at the house in which William had grown up to become the man he’d been before turning, she smiled at how quickly he’d changed again after he couldn’t kill anymore and after he realized he’d fallen in love with the slayer.
“You were a good man, William,” she murmured to the house. “In spite of yourself, you were a good man.”
Buffy followed behind Giles and the realtor (estate agent she reminded herself), listening with half her brain as they discussed inspections and broken windows and heating systems. When Mrs. Reese turned to include Buffy in her question, she had to repeat it.
“I asked you if you would wish me to help you find a crew to remove all the old furniture and personal belongings stored up stairs? Assuming you decide to take the house, of course.”
“Oh,” Buffy said. “Sorry. I guess I was busy thinking about paint colors and stuff.” She smiled as Giles and Mrs. Reese stared from her to the boarded up windows and battered furniture still remaining on the first floor. “Um, no, the stuff in the attic is fine. I’ll go through it some day and chuck what’s chuckable. If you can just tell me where to find cleaners….”
“So, you are determined to live here?” Giles’ voice held just a trace of disapproval and Buffy bristled immediately.
“I just heard you guys say that it’s basically sound, just old and dirty. When those boards come off the windows and we can get some light in here….”
“And, if and when it passes a survey,” Giles said. “There is nothing in this house that isn’t very old – including the electrical system. Between that and the plumbing, all added at some point in the last seventy years or so, there are a myriad of things that could make it uninhabitable.”
“Well, we’ll just get them fixed and make it… whatever the opposite of uninhabitable is.”
“That would be ‘habitable’, and you cannot think of moving in until that has been firmly established. Nor should you put down any money until we have been through the house with the surveyor.”
“Xander already said he’d look at it for me,” she grumbled. “Quit trying to smush my excitement.”
Giles sighed and turned back to Mrs. Reese. “We will have the appropriate surveys done, and let you know when we’ve spoke with the surveyors. If Mr. Harris is going to be in town at the right time, we will probably want him to be present for the surveys.”
Xander stood in the living room, gazing around at the tattered rug and worn furniture. With the boards off the windows, the grime and signs of hard use were even more obvious than they’d been before.
“Wow, I don’t think the last people to live here were… actual people?”
“I think the last time anybody lived here was in the seventies or eighties. Mrs Reese said it was rented out to some group home that turned out to be a bunch of druggies. I guess it’s lucky they didn’t burn it down…”
“Yeah, lucky.” He grimaced and walked over to look at a dust-covered portrait over the fireplace. A blond woman wearing old fashioned clothing and a simple hairdo stared out into the room with bright blue eyes that seemed slightly disappointed in what they were seeing. He cocked his head and stared at the face for a long time, finally turning to Buffy. “Is there a reason she looks so familiar?”
Buffy cleared her throat. “Uh, yeah, you know that thing I said I’d tell you about after you told me if the house was okay?” He nodded and she continued. “Well, see, here’s the thing… that’s… that’s Anne Pratt. She used to own the house, back in the 1800’s. “
“And she looks familiar because…?”
“Because her son’s name was William.” Buffy waited a second, then added, “William Pratt, aka William the Bloody, aka—“
“Spike. That’s Spike’s mother?” He looked around. “This is his house?”
“Well, not anymore. It’s been bouncing around their distant relatives for a long time and the ones that own it now want to get rid of it. Hence the Buffy buying.”
“I’ll be dammed,” he said, gazing around the shabby, but clearly formerly genteel surroundings. “That lying son of a bitch,” he continued. “Told me he’d always been bad. ‘Raised in the slums’ he said.”
“Yeah, he said that a lot. Wasn’t true though. Dawn knows even more than I do about him when he was human. She said he wasn’t anything like what he wanted us all to believe. Everything was fake – the clothes, the accent, the crude manners. He wrote poetry, if you can believe that. Poetry!”
“You think you know somebody….” Xander glanced at her. “You didn’t know any of that stuff? I thought when you and he….”
“We didn’t do a lot of talking,” she said curtly, then sighed and shook her head. “That’s not really true… I knew a little bit. I knew how gentle and sweet he could be – not that I ever let him show that until…. And I knew he was educated. Giles told me that a long time ago.”
“So I’m the only one who didn’t know the Big Bad was a fake?”
“There was nothing fake about the demon he was when we first me him. He was just as big and bad as Dru and Angelus had wanted him to be. Trust me, William was buried way inside him by then. If it hadn’t been for the chip and—”
“And falling in love with you.”
“And that,” she said with a sad smile. “We would never have known anything about him except what a dangerous vamp he was.” Her voice strengthened and got colder. “I’m damn sure Angel wouldn’t have admitted how much he had to do with making Spike what he was.”
Xander nodded. He’d long since learned not to interject his own opinions of either of the vampires in Buffy’s life, although he hadn’t been able to bring himself to utter anything but the barest acceptable condolences when the news of the final battle in LA reached them.
“So,” he said, changing the subject quickly. “What’s the plan? I talked to the inspectors and went around with one of them. The house is really well-built and there’s no dry rot or termite damage or anything like that. Most of this is just cosmetic stuff. A couple of broken windows to fix, some doors that need to be rehung, stuff like that. The electricity works – but it isn’t up to current code, so you’re going to have to have it completely rewired before you can move in. But it’s safe enough for now, and you’re going to want to update the fixtures anyway. The gas is going to be connected after they give you a safety certificate, but you’re going to need to buy a new stove. That one isn’t up to modern codes.”
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, I’m going to be shelling out a lot of money for appliances. The estate agent told me that. Even the ones that still work are so old they’re obsolete.”
He nodded. “The plumbing was my big worry, but it’s surprisingly okay. Again, it’ll need some updating, but it’s usable the way it is.” He looked at Buffy’s serene face as he rattled off all the things she was going to need to spend money on. “What aren’t you telling me?” he asked finally.
“What? What do you mean, ‘not telling’ you?”
“Buffy, I know the Council has money, and I know they pay you well enough to keep you in fancy shoes and expensive Italian sweaters, but… we’re talking big bucks here, and you aren’t even blinking. This is not the same woman who fed Dawn Doublemeat sandwiches all the time because they were free.”
Buffy sighed and sat down on the couch, bouncing up again immediately when a mouse ran out of the cushion.
“Eeek! Did you see that?”
“It was a mouse. A little, bitty, run-of-the-mill mouse. Jeez, Buff, you’d think it was a demon.”
“It could have been a demon-mouse,” she muttered, settling for leaning against an old desk. “You don’t know.”
When he just looked at her and shook his head, she sighed again. “Okay, here’s the thing – and this is not something very many people know, okay?” He nodded his understanding and mimed zipping his lips. “Spike knew he wasn’t going to live through the battle Angel’d gotten them into. And he had some money put away. That’s another thing he lied to us about. He always had money, he just liked to steal things and liked to make us pay him for help.”
“Jerk,” he said, shrugging an apology at Buffy when she glared. “Come on, he was a total fake and he lied to us. What part of that isn’t jerky?”
“He was just protecting himself, Xan. Trying to keep up his image.”
“Right. That all-important image as a thief and a killer and… Sorry. Go on with your story. So, Spike had money?”
“He did. And he made a will, leaving it all to me and Dawn.”
Heedless of any remaining mice, Xander fell into the couch with a thud. “You’re rich?”
“Well, a lot closer to it than I’ve ever been before in my life. I don’t think I’ll be buying a yacht any time soon, but Dawn can go to school pretty much anywhere she wants to, and I can afford to buy a neglected old house and fix it up.”
“I’ll be dammed…” He jumped to his feet. “All right then, let’s get this project rolling.” He grinned at her with genuine delight. “Here I was worrying that you were going to be in debt for the rest of your life and trying to think of ways to save you money… This is going to be fun now!”
“Uh, Xander, did you miss my subtle hint that I’m not a billionaire?”
“Oh yeah, I got it. No yachts. No problem.” He pulled out a note pad and started jotting things down. “Okay, cleaning crews first. Clean it out, get rid of all the old furniture—”
“Giles says a lot of them are antiques.”
“Fine, get an antique dealer in here to identify which ones to keep.” He didn’t even slow down, just made another note. “Strip wall paper, scrub painted walls–”
He interrupted himself. “Better get the outside done up first. Want the neighbors to know you’re fixing up the eyesore.” He made another note. “Clean and paint exterior, check and repair mortar between bricks…” Buffy trailed him around the house as he wrote down the things that required repair or replacement before she could move in. When they’d made it to the third floor and he gestured at a narrow staircase, she shook her head.
“It’s just an attic. There are boxes of clothes and other… stuff up there that belonged to Spike and his mom. I don’t want anybody up there until I’ve had a chance to go through it.”
He shrugged. “Okay. Both inspectors said the roof was sound and the floor up there was okay, so I guess it can wait.”
They made their way downstairs again and he handed her the list. “I’m sorry I can’t stay around to oversee all this, but I’ll check in every time I’m back in London. Maybe the real estate lady can help you line up some good people?”
Buffy nodded and took the list from him. “She said she would. And some of the girls from the school have offered to help. It’s not like I need to pay anybody to do the heavy lifting.”
“You’re good to go, then.” He hesitated. “I hope you know what you’re doing, Buffy… I know it’s hard to let go, but sometimes you just have to move on….”
She smiled, a bit sadly, but with sincerity. “I’m not planning to live here and wallow,” she said. “Spike wouldn’t have wanted that. I needed a place to live, that’s all. It just so happens, I found the house he used to live in and it was available. I’ll be fine. Really.”
Mrs Reese was true to her word, and once all the papers had been signed, and Buffy had turned over a cashier’s check for the asking price, she gave her a list of contractors to hire and cleaning crews to work on making the house a pleasant place to live. Buffy was in and out whenever she wasn’t working at Council Headquarters, checking on the progress and bothering the head contractor for a definite move-in date. Finally, more, she was sure, to get her off his back than to provide good information, he gave her a date of mid-March.
“Not until then?” Buffy’s lip came out in what even the foreman could recognize as the beginning of a major pout.
“Ms Summers, the house is okay to be lived in anytime you want to move in. I’ve just been assuming, since you have somewhere else to live right now, that you’d rather not be trying to live in a house with strangers running in and out at all hours.”
Buffy sighed and nodded. “You’re right. I’m sorry. And yeah, I don’t want to have to worry about stepping out of the shower and onto the plumber. Okay. But I’m moving in in March, ready or not.”
By March Buffy was very grateful for her job and paycheck from the Council. Repairing and refreshing the old house had eaten a major hole in her disposable income. Giles had explained, more than once, that her money would make her money if she was patient and left it alone. And she really hadn’t dipped very far into what he called “capital” to get the house in working order. But now, with the rooms all scrubbed, floors polished, and walls painted, it was painfully obvious that she was going to have to put out even more money to furnish it.
“First things first,” she said as she and Dawn entered the furniture store. “We need a bed for you, and living room stuff – a couch, couple of chairs, and… what?”
“Buffy, you don’t need to buy me a bed right away. I won’t be around that much after I start school, and I don’t mind staying at the Slayer school.”
“But… don’t you want to live here… there? With me?”
“Of course I do. But I’m going to be gone a lot once I finally start university, and then I’ll be getting a place of my own when I get a job, and….” She stopped when she noticed the expression on Buffy’s face. “Oh my God. You didn’t do this for me, did you? Did you buy a house instead of a flat because you thought—”
“No, no. Don’t be silly. I bought it because I… well, honestly? I bought it because of who it used to belong to. Don’t tell Giles that, though. I think I’ve got him convinced it was just a coincidence that I decided to buy a house just when this one came on the market. But I did think you’d be sharing it with me….”
“Which I will! For a long time yet. But you remember what it was like when you moved into the dorms. You only came home to do your laundry or for holidays. At least until Mom got sick. And you were younger than I am and going to school in the same city. Who knows where I’ll be?”
“You’ll still need a bed,” Buffy said, her expression brooking no argument. “If and when you don’t need it to come home to, I’ll just call it a guest room.”
“Okay, fine. But why don’t I use some of my own money to buy furniture for my room? Then I’ll already have some stuff when I’m ready to get a place of my own.”
Hours later, when they had sat on twenty or thirty sofas, and almost as many chairs, they sprawled in exhaustion, feet up on a rustic-looking coffee table.
“I like this one,” Dawn said, her eyes shut and her head leaning against the padded back of the couch.
“You’re just saying that cause it’s comfy,” Buffy said, also resting her head. “And cause we’re sitting on it.”
“Comfy. Wouldn’t that be, like, the most important thing?”
Buffy sat up and blinked. “Dawn, that’s brilliant!”
“Good. Can we go home now?”
Waving the saleswoman over, Buffy ignored Dawn to begin negotiations for having the couch in question, or one just like it, covered in the fabric she’d already picked out. Fending off suggestions for end tables and other pieces, Buffy paid for the sofa and matching chair and pulled Dawn to her feet.
“Okay, let’s go. Dinner first, then home. ‘k?”
“Home” for Dawn was still Slayer Central, although Buffy had moved into the house as soon as she’d purchased a new mattress for the four-poster bed she’d found still in good shape in one of the upstairs bedrooms. With the assistance of several equally strong girls, she’d begun moving pieces of furniture around as soon as the interior of the house had been cleaned, repaired and repainted.
Since there seemed no way to move the bed with which Buffy had immediately fallen in love without taking it apart, she had declared the room it sat in as her “master bedroom”. This, in spite of the obviously true master bedroom across the hall, which was much larger and airier. She’d given Dawn a smaller, but still generous room at the end of the hall and really had no plans for the larger bedroom, ending up using it as a holding area for all the pieces of old furniture left in the house that hadn’t been used somewhere else. Good furniture cleaner and polish, as well as slayer elbow grease, had made many of the tables and chests more than usable in the finished rooms of the house.
“So, how’s it going here, Henrietta Homeowner?” Xander smiled and looked around the living room, surprised at how much Buffy had accomplished since his last trip to England.
“Slowly,” she responded with a sigh. “It’s a bigger house than I thought.” She brightened. “But, all the rooms we have to have done right now are okay. The kitchen is all finished and usable, all the bathrooms work, and I have a nice, cozy living room to sit in.”
“It looks nice, Buffy.” Xander nodded as he walked around the newly painted and furnished room, remembering what it had looked like when he first saw it. “Lot of hard work, huh?”
“It was, but it’s kind of fun too. I just wish….” She shook her head and laughed at herself.
“Nothing. I was going to say I wish I had somebody to share it with, but really? I’m pretty happy for the alone time after all those years of living surrounded by other people.”
“Dawn’s not here?”
“Oh yeah. Technically, she lives here. But she spends most of her time at Slayer Central or the Council offices. I think she’s going to be a Watcher. After she goes through some snooty English University that Giles is pushing.”
“So…” He gazed around the room, then fixed his eyes on Buffy. “Pretty big house for one person, isn’t it?”
Buffy shrugged, refusing to meet his eyes. “If I get too lonely, I’ll just rent out a room to one of the slayers or instructors. Right now, I’m really enjoying being by myself. I never have, you know. Always a roommate, a sister, or a bunch of baby slayers. It’s… different, but I think I like it.”
ETA Both my wonderful betas, alwaysjbj and , (at whom I threw four chapters of this fic at the very last second when I saw the reminder that today was open post day) have gone over this chapter and helped me use appropriate UK terminology for some of the house-buying related things, so there’ve been a few minor changes since I first posted it several hours ago. The other chapters will be all spiffied up before anyone else sees them. *g*
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/469934.html