Title: Caution: Children at Play
Era: Season Five
Genre: Kid fic
Joyce Summers hadn’t been expecting any company. Her youngest Dawn was out for the evening with her best friend Janice and wouldn’treturn until the following day. Her oldest Buffy was off at university and barely came home any more. She was sitting on her setteewith a glass of wine and a weepy movie all set to relax for the evening when she heard the doorbell ring. She set down her glasswith a sigh and got up to answer the door. She gasped in surprise as she saw Rupert Giles there. “Oh, Rupert!”
“I don’t quite know how to tell you this,” he began. He was wearing a nervous expression and that caused alarm bells to ring.
She frowned. “Is there something wrong? Is Buffy hurt?”
He shook his head. “She’s not hurt but –“ He trailed off.
She was getting frightened now. “But what?”
“Buffy is not injured or hurt in any way I assure you Joyce. Maybe you should just see for yourself?”
He moved away from the door and it was then she noticed a little boy. With light brown hair and blue eyes he reminded her of someone. “Oh, he’s just adorable. But what does this have to do with my Buffy?”
The boy’s little face lit up at the compliment and he gave Joyce his best winning grin. “Hullo, Joyce.”
Her mouth fell open. “Spike?” she asked.
A familiar looking little girl stepped in front of him. “Hi Mom, it’s nice that you noticed me!”
“B-B-Buffy?” What in God’s name had happened her baby?
Buffy was rolling her eyes dramatically as she pointed at Spike. “And Mom he’s a disgusting vampire. He isn’t adorable.”
She felt faint now. She reached for the wall to steady herself as spots appeared in front of her eyes.
“Buffy, is that really you?”
Buffy raised her little face. “Uh- huh Mom it’s me and I’m little again.”
The poor woman was too confused to even respond. What on earth could have turned her daughter and a vampire into children? Sheturned to Rupert for an explanation. She had yet become coherent enough to form words, however the Watcher seem to understandher unspoken question.
He was polishing his glasses, as he was wont to do when anxious. “I’m afraid there was an accident. Somehow they got turned intochildren.”
“I can see that,” Joyce managed to say drily. “How?”
“I’m not quite sure,” he confessed. “We’re working on returning them to their usual selves of course.”
She glared at him. “I should hope so.”
“This was completely unforeseen. There were nothing we could do, but we think that a man by the name of Ethan Rayne might be behindit.”
“Sorry,” she said. “It’s just a shock. I didn’t mean to make it seem like I blamed you. I’m just confused.”
“That’s quite alright, Joyce. Initially when this happened they were more like themselves although they seem to regressing into morechildlike behaviour now.” As if to confirm the man’s words Spike gave Buffy’s hair a light tug and she responded by stamping on hisfoot. Joyce raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah –keep talking about us as if we’re not here.” Spike’s tone was short tempered. “I might be a tad shorter, but I still have my vampirehearing.” Her initial suspicion had been correct she surmised. The vampire was getting annoyed at being spoken about as if theyreally were children.
Buffy had crossed her arms across her chest and was nodding. “As much as I hate to admit it I agree with the bratpire.”
“Oi!” He glared at Buffy and she brazenly stared right back.
“I was agreeing with you, dumb ass.”
“You were calling me names.”
Rupert gave Joyce an apologetic smile. “We were wondering if you could look after them, because they are destroying the Magic Box. Noneof us have much experience with young children and to be frank, they have been running wild.”
Spike scoffed. “You think that was bad, Watcher?”
Rupert ignored the little vampire. Joyce could readily imagine what mischief they could get up to, knowing how rambunctious her daughterwas as a child. Add in a restless vampire child and no doubt, mayhem would ensue. Someone had to take this situation in handand it looked like it was going to have to be her.
She sighed deeply and made a decision. “Buffy, go inside and play with William.”
Both slayer and vampire protested – Buffy at being told to play and Spike at being called William. Joyce brooked no argument however. “Buffy, you will do as I say. And William, Spike is not a suitable name for a boy. In my house I will call you William. When you’refully grown again, I’ll call you whatever you like.”
Buffy stamped her foot in a huff, but grabbed Spike’s arm all the same and dragged him inside.
Rupert raised his brows in surprise at Joyce’s seemingly easy management of the situation.
Joyce sighed once more. “Wish me luck.” A sound of broken glass came from inside. “I’m going to need it.”
Giles gave her an apologetic smile. “Good luck, Joyce.”
She watched him walk away. The shouts of angry children were drifting outside.
“I hate you, Spike!”
“I hate you more!”
These two were going to be the end of her. She knew she better get inside before the nosy neighbours would peak out their windows.
“Buffy, William, why are you making such a racket?”
There was a broken vase on the floor. Two guilty faces immediately gazed up at her. She knew when it came to children you had to start asyou meant to go on no matter how adorable they looked. Otherwise they would run circles around you.
She put her best Mom face on. “I’m very disappointed in you both.”
Buffy shuffled her feet a little. “Sorry.”
She looked at Spike and saw that his eyes looked suspiciously bright, but he met her gaze with bravado all the same. “I’m not sorry. Vampires are evil. I may be little, but I’m still bad.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Well then, if you don’t apologise you won’t get any cocoa with marshmallows.”
He bit his lip, but he recovered his resolve quickly. He crossed his arms and looked down at the ground. “I don’t care.”
“Fine,” Joyce said. “Come along, Buffy, and let’s get your treat.” Buffy followed her excitedly into the kitchen. She set about making thecocoa, while her daughter sat on a stool, swinging her legs back and forth.
“Why does Spike have to stay here?”
She turned and smiled reassuringly. “You’re both not yourselves and someone has to keep an eye on you both.”
The little girl pouted. “Couldn’t somebody else look after him?”
“Well apparently you both were so bad Mr Giles had to remove you from the Magic Box.”
Buffy bowed her head in shame. “Sorry Mom. Spike makes me so angry.”
“And you don’t antagonise him?”
“I guess,” she admitted with a sheepish grin.
Joyce finished making the cocoa. She made two mugs on the off chance Spike would apologise. They returned into the sitting room,where the boy was spread eagled on the sofa, shoes and all. He jumped up with what looked like a guilty expression. Joyce waited for theapology. Nothing came.
She waved the cup a little in his direction. “Well then, I’ll just pour this down the sink.”
She turned around to go back into kitchen, catching her daughter sticking out her tongue at him. “Buffy, it’s not nice to tease. Give me yourmug too. Neither of you are getting a treat.”
Both children spoke in unison. “Sorry.” Spike’s apology was so quiet she could barely make it out but it was a start at least. She handedhim the mug and sat down beside him on the sofa, gesturing for Buffy to join them. Joyce decided she would turn on her weepymovie anyway and there was only a half-hearted protest by the vampire. The movie was almost over and the two had dozed off. Spike’s head had fallen onto her lap and Buffy was nestled on her other side. She ran her fingers fondly across the top of her daughter’shead. She was amused to see Buffy was eating her hair in her sleep. Oh my – she had forgotten Buffy used to do that. Shesmothered a laugh and turned to examine the vampire. He was sucking his thumb, which had to be the most adorable thing she hadever seen him do. Mr Big Bad Attitude sucking his thumb. For now though she was too comfortable to move and despite theabnormality of the situation Joyce thought it felt kind of nice. That was her last thought before she too started to drift off into slumber.
Joyce woke up a few hours later with a terrible crick in her neck from her awkward position on the sofa. Buffy and Spike were still fastasleep. She gazed in wonder at them thinking all the while about how bizarre this whole situation was. Before she knew about Buffy’ssecret double life, she had thought that the Summers’ clan led a reasonably normal existence. She knew better now. It was scary inone way to know the danger her firstborn put herself into every night, yet she also knew without doubt how amazing Buffy was at being theslayer and she couldn’t be prouder. She carefully extricated herself from the two tiny bodies. Neither awakened and she contemplatedmoving them. She could put Buffy in her own bed and leave Spike to sleep on the sofa. She picked Buffy up and carried herup the stairs. She took off her shoes and cardigan, and then placed her under the covers. Buffy was still fast asleep and Joyce kissed herlightly on the forehead as she tucked her in.
“Good night, Buffy,” she whispered.
The woman went downstairs once more to check on her other charge. The vampire was lying where she left him. She really should getsomething to cover him up. She didn’t know exactly what it was about Spike that always made her want to mother him. Even as avampire there was something that made her want to look after him. It was ridiculous really seeing as he was meant to be a soullessmonster. Yet he was so human in many ways. She went back upstairs and started rummaging in the airing cupboard for ablanket. She pulled out the first one she could lay her hands on and placed it over him.
He stirred for a moment. “Thanks, Mum,” he mumbled sleepily. His eyes were closed and he said no more so she reckoned he must betalking in his sleep. She chuckled quietly. What was it her Aunt Arlene used to say? Ah yes. Bless his little cotton socks. When Spikewas back to himself he was going to be mortified; she would make sure to remind him. As she went to turn off the lamp she took afirst proper look at the blanket she had laid over him. It had a large picture of a sombre looking, darked haired, angel on the front. Actuallyto look at it now it reminded her of the vampire that broke her daughter’s heart. Her lips twitched upward. Whoops. Spike’s notgoing to be happy when he wakes up to see that on his blanket. She was about to leave the room when she thought better of it. Maybe itwas a bit mean to leave him with that blanket after all. She went upstairs to the airing cupboard once more and fetched a plain blanketinstead. Once she came downstairs and tried to take the angel blanket she discovered he had an iron grip on it. She tried to pry theblanket from his grasp but he held firm to it. She bit her lip to keep herself from laughing. Well I did try. She shook her head amusedand went up the stairs once more to where her comfortable bed called after the strangest day she had ever had.
The following morning, Joyce whistled quietly in the kitchen as she made breakfast. Neither of her two houseguests had gotten up yet. Itwas Sunday, so she had no work to attend. She would have to call Rupert later to find out if there was any development in the researchand to ask him to arrange for someone to look after Buffy and Spike during the week while she was at work. The gallery was really busy thesedays and she couldn’t afford to take more than one day off unless it was really necessary. There was a loud bang from the front door. Joyce winced knowing that Dawn was back. Nobody could bang a door like her Dawnie. Her confused daughter walked into thekitchen.
“Mom, why is there a little boy sleeping on the sofa?”
Joyce quirked her eyebrow. “No good morning Mom?”
Dawn responded in typical teenage fashion with a roll of her eyes. “Good morning, Mom. But can you can answer my question now?”
“That little boy is Spike,” she said pointing the direction of the living room.
“No way! You’re kidding me.”
“Buffy and Spike have managed to get themselves turned into kids.”
Dawn opened her mouth to as a question but Joyce raised her hand dismissively. “Before you ask we don’t know.”
Her daughter narrowed her eyes. “Are you really serious?”
Dawn’s face broke into a smile. “Oh – can I take pictures?”
Joyce nodded. “Take plenty of them.”
The girl rubbed her hands together. “I’m never going to let Buffy live this down. How long is this going to last?”
Joyce looked at her gleeful expression. “We don’t know how to switch them back to themselves. We don’t know how long this is going tolast.”
The girl’s expression fell at this. “Oh?”
Joyce patted her arm reassuringly. “It will be fine. I mean – Mr Giles and the gang are working on it.”
Dawn cheered up at that. “Do I get to babysit? Oh please Mom tell me I can babysit Buffy. I’m the big sister now and she will have to dowhat I say.”
“Dawn, there will be no teasing.”
Joyce shook her head. “You better behave young lady. Now are you going to help me prepare breakfast?”
Dawn sighed but started to help all the same. “Mom, did you have a visitor this morning?”
Joyce frowned. “No. Why would you say that?”
“There was this English dude parked outside our drive. He said good morning to me as he drove off. I thought it was odd but I forgot allabout it when I saw Spike fast asleep.”
The woman’s mouth dropped open. “Ethan Rayne,” she mumbled.
The teenager looked at her in confusion. “Mom, what’s wrong?”
Joyce went over to the phone and dialled Rupert’s private telephone number.
To be continued… here
I will be posting just one more chapter today and if you wish to follow my story I will be posting the rest on my journal
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/797205.html