Mostly Sweet (with a few nuts)

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Whew.  This is coming in just under the wire.  For those of you that haven’t heard of me, I posted a little story some time ago. It’s titled Origins and can be found on a few of the archive sites. This is a future pic, set in that ‘verse, so some knowledge of the happenings will be necessary. There’s only a brief Spike/Buffy scene in this, but their relationship is the thread that binds all this together, so hopefully it’ll fit the criteria. If not, the mods can remove it. I won’t be insulted.

Author: Niamh (tangwstyl)
Title: Mostly Sweet (with a few nuts)
Word Count: 6,260
Setting: Post The Gift, veers from canon before Buffy’s return.  Set in the future of the Originsverse (but there’s an explanation in the notes!)

[A/N: What a fool I am.  I said, once upon a time, that ‘no, I’d never write seven stories in the Originsverse’, and ‘I don’t think I can come up with enough plots for seven stories’.  Right.  Feel free, right now, to tell me what an idiot and a fool I am.  Because, lo and behold, I’ve written more than seven stories – counting the one-shots.  So there are: Origins, Origins: Bridge, Revelations, Resolutions, Destinies, I Hate How I Love You, All I Want Is You, God Only Knows, Family, and… now this one.  I’m hoping to keep this one quick, and without much drama – I consider this one to be more of a “catching up with the future” than something lengthy and plotty.  Because heaven knows I can get caught up in a plot.  So, here it is...]

Previously:   Buffy and Spike have been together since she was resurrected by Willow.  Willow’s reconciliation with the group was spotty at best, and she never recovered more than the ability to hover a pencil.  Or make lights dance.  Tara left Willow, and struck up a unique and (for them) satisfying relationship with Oz.  Xander stayed with Cordelia, making side trips back to Sunnydale or helping in Los Angeles whenever he was needed, though his relationship with the Sunnydale scoobies wasn’t always hugs and puppies.  Dawn, after much persuading, snagged Wesley before she was 22.  Giles and Anya stayed together, making much success (translation into loads of money) with the Magic Box.  Quentin Travers retired to his estate in the Cotswolds, leaving Nicholson in charge of the Watchers Council (which was decimated, but not destroyed, by the First in 2004).  Connor has dated his share of Slayers and normal girls, but hasn’t found the ‘one’, which is fine with him.  Jenner never really recovered from the loss of Faith.  It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for our two heroes, though the good times outweighed the bad – Kirsten and Robbie grew up strong and healthy, joined by their sister Annie, who was born the year they turned six.  Ten years later, baby William arrived.  This is part of his story.

If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.’
Jeff Foxworthy
I cannot remember a moment in my life when I have not felt the love of my family. We were a family that would have killed for each other – and we still are.
Richard Branson
Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
Author Unknown
Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
Gail Lumet Buckley

One

“Dude!  Who’s the hottie?”

Will looked up from the grill, glancing to his right.  Two of his new college roommates  were standing there, eyes riveted on the cluster of females on the other side of the yard.

“Seriously.  If I had known Cali girls looked like this, I would’ve been out here sooner.”   Noah nudged Will, his grin widening as his eyes scanned the women.  “I can’t believe all the fine young ladies.”

Will narrowed his eyes, hiding the flare of anger.  Soft peals of feminine laughter rippled through the air and his fierce expression eased.  “Yeah, they are pretty.”

His voice carried over and three heads turned, faces wreathed in smiles.

“I can’t decide which one of them is prettier.”  Devlin chuckled a bit, his blue eyes gleaming.  “Though I am kinda partial to blondes.”

The two boys laughed, neither noticing that their companion didn’t join them.  “Are they all related to you?”

As his eyes focused on one of the women, a strawberry blond with soft blue eyes and the shyest smile, Will shook his head.  “Uh, no.  Not all of them.”

“Who is the brunette with the legs?”

“That,”  Will pointed with the spatula, “is my cousin Vivien.”  She wasn’t really his cousin, but given their ages, it took less energy than explaining she was really his niece.

“No, not that one, the one next to her.”

Will stared at his friend, then broke into deep laughter.  “Dude, that’s Viv’s mother.”

“What?  No way!  She’s – she’s too – damn she’s fine.”

Shaking his head at Noah’s reaction to Dawn, Will almost missed Devlin’s comment.
“She’s all right, but I’m eyeing the petite blonde hottie next to her.”

It was Will’s turn to get all flustered and upset, but his consternation alleviated with the comment that emerged from standing behind him.  “That one’s taken.”

Devlin, not realizing how close to danger he really was, questioned, “Just how taken?  Very or just sorta?”

The speaker stepped forward, his eyes never leaving the blonde in question.  A slight smile played about his lips and he raised one eyebrow.  “Dunno.  Let’s check, shall we?”

Without skipping a beat, the older male called out, his voice just loud enough to carry across the backyard.  “Hey, Goldilocks.”

The blonde turned, her eyes brightening with happiness.  Her smile widened further as she neared the group of males.  Her arms curled around the newcomer’s shoulders and she said, “Hello there,” before bestowing a deep kiss on him.

“Guys.  This is my Mom and Dad.”

“Oh, shit.”

“Dude!”

~~~

They hadn’t been home in nearly five weeks and the strain was beginning to show.  Spike and Connor spent nearly every waking moment either trading insults or trading blows, though none of it was truly intended to hurt; Wesley withdrew into himself, writing up his notes and findings, while Robbie honed and sharpened every weapon they had.  Though they often traveled together whenever the Council needed their particular skills, they’d never had to be away from home for this length of time.

Now, because the job was done, and it was time to head home, their tempers were even shorter.

Spike was the first off the plane, his feet hitting the tarmac at a near run, with Connor and Robbie right at his heels.  Wesley was only a little bit slower, mainly because he was weighed down by all the paperwork.  It was his function to handle the things Spike refused to deal with, so as a result he was always the last one home.

The Land Rover’s engine was gunning, Connor’s foot pressed heavily on the accelerator when Wesley finally made it down the gangway.   Within moments, they were headed away from the airport, past the UC-Sunnydale campus, headed straight for the house on Revello.

“I’m so damn tired of looking at you guys.”  Robbie idly picked at his boots, removing unknown demonic substances from the tread.  “I want a beer and a hot shower.”

“Hey, little brother, what makes you think I wanna look at you?”  Connor swung the Rover into the last turn, barely missing two parked cars.  “I can’t wait to get away from you either.”

“Shut it.”  There was no venom in Spike’s voice, though neither of them felt like testing the waters.

The block was unusually crowded, cars lining both sides of the street and Connor was having trouble finding a big enough parking space, until Spike groused, “Just put the damn thing in the driveway.”

“There’s not much room.  It’s gonna be blocking the street.”  He drove up closely behind the other vehicles, blocking them in.  “Hey?  Is that Will’s car?”

“Bloody hell.  Boy’s home from school already.”  Spike slipped from the passenger seat, easily hopping over the Rover’s front end.   He was too tired to put up with a houseful of people, but that was exactly what he faced the instant he opened the door.

More than a dozen teenagers and young adults filled the living room and kitchen.  The house was crawling with them.  Spike shoved past at least two males he didn’t recognize and couldn’t place by scent and his hackles rose.

“’M not bloody Ulysses.  Not playin’ that game.” Catching sight of Jasper, Wesley’s middle son, Spike grabbed his shoulder.  “Where’s the  Slayer?”

No matter how many years or how many other girls were called, he still used her title, especially when he was annoyed and everyone knew it.  Jasper stared at him, pointing toward the back door.  “Outside with Mom and the girls.”

“Figures.”  Releasing the teenager, Spike slipped outside the back door, holding the screen so it didn’t slam and alert everyone to his presence.  He surveyed the crowd, searching for his woman.

At first, he ignored the group to his left, but the comments finally registered.  Spike nearly laughed out loud when one of the trio remarked,

“Who is the brunette with the legs?”

Dawn was so far out of the whelp’s reach – though Spike had to give him due for having the balls to appreciate her.  At forty-seven, she didn’t look any older than Vivien, except around her eyes.  He couldn’t fault any male for appreciating her – he’d come a long way from growling at her prospective boyfriends – not that this whelp would get the chance.

Unlike his son, Spike heard exactly what the other boy said, and it gave him pause.

That was his woman the puppy was eyeing, and even though he was certain of her affection, Spike still had to stifle a growl.

“That one’s taken.”  Spike stepped between the boys, only his smile indicating his lack of temper.

Obviously he wasn’t scaring the boy, because he had the balls to ask, “Just how taken?  Very or only sorta?”

His smile turned feral and his eyebrow raised.  “Don’t know.  Let’s check, shall we?”

After so many years together, Spike knew the instant she realized he was nearby.  “Hey, Goldilocks!”

Listening to Will explain, while kissing his woman, Spike broke off the kiss.  He smirked at the two gaping teens, lifted Buffy high in the air, then quipped as he carried her into the kitchen, “She’s very taken.”

~~~

Will shook his head, blushing as his parents fled the impromptu party.  He knew where they were headed and why.  More than thirty years together and they still acted like teenagers, especially when his father got back from Council work.

“That’s your Mom?”  Devlin finally recovered his voice.  “No fucking way.”

“That’s my Mom.”  Will flipped the burgers, not meeting his friend’s gaze.

“Damn.  So she was what, fifteen when you were born?”  Devlin was trying to figure out how Will’s mother could be so young.  He didn’t know all that much about his roommate, but this was a bit unusual.

“Ah.  No.”  Robbie and Connor came out onto the deck, giving Will the opportunity to introduce them.  “Dev, Noah, these are my brothers Rob and Connor.”

Devlin gaped at him, disbelief clouding his features.  “Brothers?  Dude, I thought you didn’t have any close siblings?”

“I don’t.  Robbie and Kirstie are a lot older.  So is Annie.”  Will pointed out his other siblings, two of which were now holding small children.

“Your family is strange.”

Will shared a look with his brothers and shook his head.  “You have no idea, man.  Strange doesn’t even cover it.”

~~~

Strange didn’t cover it.  There was nothing normal about his family.

Will hadn’t been home since Christmas and the isolation had nearly done him in.  He hated being away, hated the distance.  College wasn’t as much fun as he’d expected, even in Las Vegas, and while he’d wanted his own identity away from that of his family, he was beginning to suspect he’d made a mistake.

He missed everything.  Missed talking to everyone, having everyone – from his father down to his niece Gemma – being in his hair.

It didn’t seem so odd when he was with them, that his parents didn’t look any older than his siblings.  That his mother still got proofed and that his father – Will knew he was unique, knew most guys didn’t have to worry about getting too angry, or worry about losing control.  He learned the hard way just what happened when his temper was given free rein.

But looking at his family through his friends’ eyes, Will finally understood just how strange they were.

His mother – who was in her early fifties – didn’t look a day older than Vivien, who was only nineteen.  His father hadn’t aged in over a hundred years.

His father was a vampire.  His mother was a Slayer.

It was like the start of a very bad, almost pathetic joke.

Dawn could open dimensional walls.

Kirsten could walk through time.

Connor was stronger than most humans.

Robbie was as strong as Connor and just a bit faster.

Annie was clairvoyant and a powerful witch.  So was Vivien.  Jasper and Gideon were also adepts, learning magic from their father, who was no slouch in the magical department either.

Those were just his blood relatives.   Who knew what the next generation would be capable of?  Annie’s little ones had yet to show any talents, but given their bloodlines, only time would tell.

Will slammed the top down on the grill, needing to give himself a break from the heat.  And from the curious glances of his roommates.

How can I explain this?  This family is weird by even Sunnydale standards.  Forget Middle America.

Yeah.  No worries.  My dad could pass for my brother.  And everyone thinks my mother is barely out of her teens.  Yeah.

This is my life.  Weirdness by the minute.

He reached into the cooler, his hand closing around a bottle of one his father’s imports.

“Hey, Will.  Glad to be home?”  Annie snuck up behind him, purposely bumping into him.

“Sorta.”  He paused, blue eyes fixed on his sister.  “How stupid am I?”

“Depends on the day,”  She quipped back.  “And the subject.  Why’re you asking?”

“As if you didn’t know.”  Will easily lifted Gemma from her mother’s arms.  “Don’t you play dumb blonde, okay?”

Annie huffed out a breath, setting her loose curls shaking.  “You aren’t really dumb and you know it.  You just miscalculated.”  She paused, peering at him over the top of her sunglasses.  “Did you really think it would work?”

Will tried for – and failed miserably – to play the part he’d assigned to his sister.  “What would work?”

“William Giles.”  Her look hardened and he had the grace to shrug.  At least she didn’t use all of my names.

“It was worth a shot.”  He looked away, his eyes lighting on the sight of Devlin chatting up Vivien.  “Wasn’t it?”

“I dunno, little brother.  You tell me.”  Annie moved away, leaving Will alone with Gemma.
And face to face with Taryn.

~~~

They’d barely made it through the door of their bedroom.  Buffy’s hands had been busy unbuckling Spike’s belt and loosening his button fly, and the instant the door closed behind them, the jeans were down around his hips.  Spike’s hands hadn’t been idle either.  The tattered remains of her shredded panties hung around her hips.

As their bedroom door slammed shut, Spike lifted Buffy, sliding up easily into her.  “Christ, love, ‘ve missed you.”

“Me too.  So very much.”  She shivered, then pulled him closer.  “Don’t stop.”

“Not going to.”  He panted heavily into her open mouth.  “Can’t.”

“Too long.  Don’t do this again.”  Buffy shimmied, her inner muscles clamping down on Spike.

He tried to respond, tried to think of something to say, some promise of never again, but Spike couldn’t find the words.  They’d been apart too long for finesse, too long even for any type of foreplay.  Low, rumbling growls filled their room, almost drowning out the music from outside.

It was over quickly and it was barely enough to take off the edge.

Spike was ready for another bout before Buffy had a chance to catch her breath.

The second time, though, he managed to get her completely undressed.

~~~

Connor barely greeted Will’s friends before he spied his own welcoming committee.  His two sons were busy stuffing their faces, Danny stealing chips from his cousin Gideon and his older brother James.  Gideon, Dawn and Wesley’s youngest, saw him first and he broke away from the other boys.

“Hey, Connor.  My dad with you?”

“Yeah.”  Connor gestured over his shoulder.  “He’s probably just getting out of the truck.”

The teen was gone in the next instant, but Connor was focused on his own family, so he didn’t note Gideon’s leaving.  His boys had finally noticed him and Danny was talking rapid-fire while James hung back a little.  It wasn’t that cool for a thirteen year-old to make a big deal of his father’s return.

Over their heads, Connor caught a glimpse of their mother, Ciara, watching them.  They exchanged smiles, and for the first time in years, her eyes sparkled with happiness.

“Hey.”  The greeting was barely audible amid the other noise and confusion.

She drifted closer, her hand brushing across James’ shoulder.  “Hello, Connor.”

~~~

Jasper watched his grandfather stalk through the house, a smirk growing on his features.  He knew the party wasn’t going to last much longer.  Spike was notoriously anti-social the first few days after any of their Council-sponsored trips, no matter how long the trip lasted.  This time, they’d been away almost two months, and it was more than obvious Spike wasn’t happy.  Mentally betting on a two-hour maximum, Jasper headed for the front door.

Both Robbie and Connor blew past him with little more than a quick hello, but Jasper didn’t care.  He was, strangely enough for a sixteen year old, anxious to see his father.  “Hey, Dad.  Need help?”

As usual, Wesley was bringing up the rear, lugging his laptop and reports.  “Grab my gear, would you?”

Before Jasper could move to help, Wesley deftly slung his backpack and wrapped his son in an awkward, but definitely affectionate half-hug.  “Hello, Jas,” he mumbled, in the next breath asking, “Where’s your mother?”

“She’s out back.”  Jasper followed behind, dumping everything into a corner of the dining room.

“No, I’m right here.”  Dawn stepped through the kitchen door, a relieved smile wreathing her face.  “Everything okay?”

“Yes.”  Wesley reached for her, his arms circling around her, then his cheek resting against hers.  “I’m bloody tired, but all safe and sound.”

Dawn didn’t waste any time mincing words.  “Do you want to head home?”

Jasper started to complain, but one look at the expression on his mother’s face had him re-thinking.

“God, yes.  This is lovely, but I’d prefer some peace and quiet.”  Wesley broke away from the hug, gratitude flooding his eyes.

Dawn grabbed his hand, pulling him toward the front door.  “Jas, I’ll come get you boys later.”

“Mom?  Dad?”

Gideon and Vivien converged on them as they neared the front door.  “Don’t worry about the boys, I’ll bring them home.”

“You sure?”  Dawn took the backpack from Wesley, pausing as he hugged their other two children.

“Yeah, I’m sure. You and Daddy go ahead, we’ll be home soon.”

“All right.  Thanks.”  Wesley motioned to his notes and books.  “Mare sure these get put away.”

“On it.”  Jasper scooped everything up, heading for the stairs.  “C’mon, Deon, gimme a hand.”

He grumbled at his older brother, but Gideon’s complaints fell on deaf ears, since his parents were already outside and Vivien was headed back to the party.

~~~

“I think it’s foolish.”

“Why?  Because it wasn’t your idea?” Kirsten stared up at her partner, unconsciously adopting a favorite pose of all Summers women.

“Because I’m not sure it’s going to work.”  Hawkins loomed over her.  “Anything could go wrong.”

Kirsten snorted, then rolled her eyes.  “It’s worked for everyone else.  There’s no reason to worry.”

He didn’t bother trying to convince her he wasn’t worried.  Hawkins was worried, but that wasn’t all of it.  He didn’t understand why she wanted this.  Why anyone would want this – but he wouldn’t verbalize that to her.

This was already driving a wedge between them, he didn’t see how being completely honest would benefit.  The one time he’d tried talking, Kirsten had gotten upset and stormed from their flat, claiming she needed time to think.  She’d headed straight back to Sunnydale, not returning to Bristol for nearly a month.  He’d rather avoid a repeat.

“Look, it worked for Mom and Faith, why wouldn’t it work for me?”  Kirsten dropped her hands to her hips, watching him pace the floor.

“For one thing, sweetheart, both of them were Called, not born.  You and your sister are the only girls ever born as Slayers.  We don’t know what’ll happen.”  He paused, his eyes focused somewhere over her head.  “We just don’t know.”

“Annie has two.”  Kirsten pouted a bit, something Hawkins had to forcefully ignore.

“Your sister married a human.”  Before she could interrupt him, Hawkins raised a hand.  “Robbie’s girls have all been normal and he’s yet to father a child.  Connor’s got two but we don’t know if that’s because Ciara’s part wolf.”

“And Will’s too young.” Kirsten’s shoulders slumped and she turned away.  “We won’t know, though, unless we try.”

Before he could stop himself, Hawkins let slip the comments he’d been suppressing.  “Right.  And I don’t understand why this is so bloody important!  Why do you – what’s the real reason you’re so set on this?”

He could tell by the look on her face that he’d made a mistake, that he’d put his foot in it.   Kirsten’s eyes filled with tears and she pulled away from him.  “So that’s why.”  She stepped back as he tried to get closer.  “You don’t understand.  And you really don’t want to understand.”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.” He ran a frustrated hand over his face.

“I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what you just said.”  Kirsten headed for the door, refusing to look at him.  “Maybe you should think about why I might want this.”

“Where the bloody hell are you going!”  He roared his frustration at her retreating back, halting her momentarily.  “Every bloody damn time we argue over the stupidest bloody thing, you run away.  I’m sick and – Jesus Christ, Kirsten!”

She hadn’t waited for him to finish yelling.  A stake she’d had hidden somewhere went whizzing past his ear, embedding into the wall behind him..  Spinning around, she yelled right back at him.  “Maybe if you didn’t speak to me like I’m five, I wouldn’t run away!  Maybe if you’d listen before you decide anything!”  She spluttered for a moment, then whirled back around.  “Stop acting like you’ve got all the answers!”

“And every time you don’t like what I’m saying, you get violent!  Fucking hell, woman!  You’re bleeding mad!”

His only answer was the door slamming shut.

Hawkins stared at it for a few moments, then lifted his foot and smashed through it.  “Bleedin’ bitch!”

~~~

Nursing her month-old daughter, Anne sat apart from the rest of the party, her attention flitting from one group to the next.  “Oh, look at your Uncle Connor screw up again with Auntie Cee.  He’s a dope.”  Anne directed her running commentary to the baby, who was singularly unimpressed.

“I never understood why they split up.  Dunno where that went wrong.”  Readjusting Gemma a bit, Anne continued.  “But at least now they’re talking to each other.”

Will and his college friends were crowded around Vivien and some of hers, although it was clear her younger brother wasn’t interested in anyone but Taryn.  “Poor Will.  He’s still beating himself up.”  Anne sighed, watching him grow more and more uncomfortable.

“Annie-girl, you need anything?”

She looked up to find her husband of five years standing at her elbow.  “Water?”

“Yeah.”  Like her sister, Dawn, Annie had done the conventional thing and married her significant other.  Jerome Lazaro was a Watcher, and normally he traveled with the others when their particular skills were needed, but because of Annie’s pregnancy, both he and Buffy had stayed behind.  He dropped an oversized cup, filled to the brim with ice-water, at the table on her other side and eased himself into the chair opposite his wife.

“Call just came in from the airport.”  Jerry waited a beat until he had gained Annie’s full attention.  “Your sister is on her way home.”

“Uhoh.”  She shifted the baby to her other breast and shook her head.  “I knew this was gonna be a problem.”

“What was?”  Even since before they were married, Kirsten had been living in England with Hawkins, and though the sisters were close and spoke often, Jerry hadn’t had much interaction with his wife’s older sister.  “I thought things were fine.”

“You and mostly everyone else.  But Kirstie’s,” Annie paused, glancing down at the baby at her breast.  “It’s Gemma.”

“Gemma?  What does Gemma have to do with your sister coming home?”  For an exceptionally intelligent male, sometimes the little nuances escaped her husband.

Another sigh ripped from her and Annie shook her head again.  “She’s thirty-six, Jerry.  And she wants to at least try.”

It didn’t take him long to make the connection.  “And Hawkins has no interest.”

“I don’t know.  Kirstie hasn’t said much, though from what she has said, my guess is you’re right.  He’s not thrilled with the idea.”  Anne laid the now sleeping infant on her lap and set herself to rights.  “It’s probably why she’s coming home.”

“The idea wouldn’t thrill me either.”  Jerry was still focused on Annie’s statement about Hawkins and his feelings on the matter of procreating.  “In order for it to work, your sister might have to die.”

Anne looked at him sharply.  “Well, when you put it that way, I think I can understand his not being so gung-ho.”  Her gaze softened.  “But I can also understand Kirstie’s point.  She loves him and she doesn’t want – I guess she wants to show that.”

“It’s a very calculated risk.  There’s nothing proven that it’ll work.”  He steepled his fingers, concentrating on the conversation between them.  “In his mind, it’s probably not worth the risk.”

“What risk?  It worked with Mom.  And Faith.”  Lifting the baby up so that her head rested on her shoulder, Anne struggled to her feet.

“There’s two cases, right there.”

“And those are the only two.  There’s no proof that the other half of the equation will work.”

Annie snorted at him, sounding very much like her father.  “I think you’re wrong.  The proof it should work is standing right in front of you.  Look at us.  Daddy likes to call us his house full of miracles.  When he’s not growling, that is.”

“Yeah, I know.  But Kirstie and Hawkins are not your mother and father.”  Realizing her plight, Jerry smoothly plucked the baby away, helping Anne to her feet in the same motion.

“True.  But what about all those others?  And none of them were Slayers.  They were all potentials.”

“Potentials, sweetheart.  Not Slayers.  And not born Slayers.”  Jerry placed the emphasis where he felt it was important, suspecting that was also prompting Hawkins’ dilemma.  “You and your sister are the first the Council can prove were born full Slayers.”

“Have you forgotten us?”  Annie waved a hand at the infant in her father’s arms.  “We managed.”

“Because I’m human.  Not a vampire.”  He grinned and pinched her ass.  “It’s supposed to work.  My swimmers don’t need the mystical to work.”

“He’s an Aurelian, like Daddy.”

Jerry barked out a laugh.  “Honey, there’s no one like your Dad.”

~~~

He remembered mumbling something at Taryn, but nothing after that.  They must have talked, because they were still standing there when Noah and Devlin butted into the conversation, yet Will had no recollection of what was said.  Faced with the main reason why he’d decided to go away to college, he was still tongue-tied and awkward.  Not even knowing her his whole life, nor that she returned his feelings made speaking to her any easier.

No, Will knew exactly why he couldn’t talk to her.  Or act on his feelings for her.  And ironically, it had nothing to do with her.
It’s all me.  I can’t talk to a girl.  Can’t get involved.

The one, and only time, he’d gotten involved with a girl hadn’t turned out so well.

He and Kayla Fernandez had dated all through high school, up until Thanksgiving break of their senior year.  That’s when it had all gone wrong.  So very, very wrong.  The night before Thanksgiving, he and Kayla had taken their relationship to the next step, or had tried too.  Will had never exhibited many characteristics of his father, unless he was exceedingly angry.  It seemed that anger wasn’t the only emotion that triggered fangs and claws.  Kayla had nearly been ripped to shreds, her body covered in bites, claw marks and severe bruises.  Disgusted and feeling guilty, Will had brought his girlfriend to the hospital.  Unfortunately for him, none of the staff recognized him, and neither Dr. Thomas nor Maureen Osborne was working that night.

Taking one look at the battered girl, and the boy holding her, hospital personnel had separated the two and called first the Sunnydale Police and secondly, her family.  Kayla’s father arrived first and, after one look at his daughter, accused Will of beating and raping her.

The night had been surreal.  He’d thought they were – he still had nightmares about that night.  Dreams of being covered in blood and unable to stop biting the girl in his arms haunted him.  The moment he realized she was worse than he’d remembered still caught him up short.  Fear of being unable to stop, fear of hurting the next girl – or anyone, ate him up inside.  Will knew he was a mess, knew he needed help, but had no idea where to turn.

Luckily for him, that horrific night hadn’t gotten much worse.  Sunnydale’s Police Department responded quickly, dispatching two detectives; thankfully both of them were half Brachen.  They had quickly assessed the situation and called his parents.  The difficult task of explaining to the girl’s family had been left to Tara, who had finally gotten her psychology degree and worked closely with trauma victims.  In Sunnydale, that meant counseling victims of supernatural phenomena than the more mundane kind, so she was well versed in how to approach the family.

However, even with all the intervention and explanations and assistance, none of that eased the father’s anger at all.  Epifanio Fernandez was still ranting and raging when Spike and Buffy arrived at the hospital, his voice carrying through the hallways and trauma rooms.  The volatile situation had nearly come to a boiling point when Kayla’s father had stepped into the hallway just as Spike was speaking with the detectives.  The enraged Latino had lunged at the vampire, fists and invectives flying.  Only his preternatural reflexes had saved Spike.  Quickly turning the tables, Spike had Fernandez in a headlock before the other man truly knew what was happening.  The harsh words whispered into the other man’s ear had him paling and raising his hands in surrender.

None of them ever learned what was said to Fernandez, and even though the Brachens knew, they weren’t talking.

Kayla had spent a week in the hospital, and William was never allowed to speak to her again.  Her family closed ranks around the girl, not allowing him close enough to even apologize.  Even after her return to school, there was always someone with her, protecting her from William.

In his grief, anger, self-loathing, and despair, William had retreated, staying far away from his friends and dropping out of all the sports and other extra-curricular activities he’d once enjoyed.  He stopped going out.  Stopped socializing.  He blamed himself and his parents for what he was, what he couldn’t control.  William withdrew from everyone, including his siblings, refusing to talk to anyone.  His normally bright and funny attitude did a complete turn-around, and he barely even managed to get to school.  Buffy and Spike tried everything to get him to open up, resorting to provoking fights to get him to at least talk.

Nothing worked.  Not the fighting, not the gentle prodding, nothing.  Until Tara and her daughter  Taryn intervened.  Truthfully, it had been
Taryn who’d done the most for William, and it hadn’t gone unnoticed.  Saved him from the self-destructive path he was heading down and in the process, falling in love with him.  The fact he returned her feelings only made his self-loathing worsen.

Until a chance conversation one very early morning, with this mother.

It was around her birthday, which was always fun and games in their house, and William hadn’t been able to sleep.   His mother had stumbled sleepily down the stairs, her usual light step sounding differently on the stair treads.  Will had not commented until she limped her way into the kitchen, her mumbled complaints drifting softly to his ears.

“Rough patrol?”  The question preceded him into the kitchen, startling his mother.

“Huh?”  She whirled away from the refrigerator, surprise on her face.  “Oh, hey.”  She shook her head, glancing at the clock on the microwave.  “How come you’re up at this hour?”

“Can’t sleep.”  Will reached into the cabinets for a couple of glasses.  “Was patrol rough?”

“Not really.”  Buffy grabbed the grapefruit and orange juice, pouring equal amounts into both glasses.  Hoping to avoid the next question from her eighteen year old son, Buffy pointed to the brownies.  “Grab some, would you?”

“Sure.”  Taking two for himself, William put the rest on the island.  “So if patrol wasn’t rough, how come you’re moving like Pop on a bad day?”

“Ah. . .”  Ohhkay, Buff, how do you answer that one?  Trying to think quickly on her feet after a long night with her vampire, Buffy tried stalling for time.  “Well. . .”

She lapsed into silence, unable to think clearly, or come up with something to change the subject.  And until Will asked the next question, Buffy was sure she was just going to say nothing.

“Did Dad – he did this?”  Hurt, confusion, anger, and other emotions swirled in his blue-green eyes and Buffy knew she had to come up with something to explain her condition.

“Will, you know things,” Buffy dropped her hand on his arm, holding him tightly.  “Listen, okay, just listen.  No one in this house is normal.  We’re all abnormally strong, we all have things we can do that no one else can.  Well, except other people in this family, but you get what I mean.”

He didn’t speak, but he acknowledged her rambling with a nod.  “So your dad and I aren’t – look, that strength doesn’t just go away when you head into the bedroom.  We’re both really strong.  And sometimes, especially when your emotions are running on the crazy train, it’s hard to hold back.”

Buffy held her breath, hoping she wouldn’t have to get even more explicit with the details, because, really?  Will so does not need to know about the way Spike and I get sometimes.  TMFI.

He looked away from his mother, unable to actually look her in the eyes.  William could feel the blush covering his cheeks and his mind went down paths he really didn’t want it to.  Until something clicked inside his head, something he hadn’t really put together before.  “Mom?”
Before she could answer him, the words were rushing out of him in a torrent.  “Is that what happened to me?  Am I – is that why I did that, why I hurt Kayla?”

The catch in his voice on her name drove Buffy to pull him close, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tightly before stepping back to look up into his eyes.  “Probably.  You loved her and your emotions were all over the place and you couldn’t, you had no idea how or what you were getting yourself into.”  Buffy smiled and brushed his hair back.  “It wasn’t entirely your fault.  We should have told you.”

A funny half-laugh broke from him and he shook his head.  “Right.  I can just hear that conversation.”  Will grabbed his drink and in a very good imitation of his father, said, “Listen, whelp, shaggin’ a bird is grand, yeah, but you’re gonna have to mind the fangs.”

Buffy stared at him for a moment, trying to suppress the laughter bubbling in her throat.  The effort proved fruitless when Will held up his hands and growled.

Their laughter died off mere moments later, both of them realizing the seriousness of the conversation.  “Maybe not so graphically, but yeah, something like that.”  Buffy paused, looking up at her youngest.  “You are so much like your father.  Way more than the others.”

Will’s eyes drifted toward the pile of photos on the island, taken the night of Buffy’s birthday.  The only difference between his image and that of his father, was the color of their hair and the scar on Spike’s brow.  Even more than Dawn and Robbie, William had inherited Spike’s features.   He’d also inherited much more.

“Neither of us figured you’d really be just like him.”   Buffy reached up and brushed her hand through his curly hair.  “I sometimes think I didn’t have much to do with you at all.”

She shook herself, smiling up at him.  “Have you talked to him about any of this?”

“Da?  No.”  Will ducked his head, embarrassment flooding his features.  “Haven’t talked to anyone.  What the hell am I supposed to say?  Oh yeah, I get all fangy and grrrr when I – Mom!  I can’t talk about this with you!”

Buffy was silent for a moment.  “Then you really need to talk to your father.  He’ll understand.”

“Ahuh.  Sure.”

“Will, I’m serious.  Talk to him.”

She kissed his cheek and left him alone.

 

Feedback is awesome, and I think my muse is really waking up.  *crosses fingers and eyes*

ETA: Sorry I ran over, but I encountered some posting issues that gave me fits.  Please forgive me?  *bats my pretty purple eyes at the mods*

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/463114.html

tangwstyl

tangwstyl