Life With Mother and Father...

Life With Mother and Father...Part XVII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")

Part XVII...

"Here are the most recent large buildings purchased in Sunnydale..." Willow spread a list out on the table of the Magic Box...The adult gang now regrouped, with the exception of William, now off to retrieve the Walthrop offspring...Along with Abe and Sarah Giles, reluctantly allowed by their Slayer "aunt" to attend the planning session...

"None of these associated with the Mechamber Trust, I'm afraid..." she noted... "Though Mephy has been pretty clever about covering his financial tracks all these years...We've never been able to spy anything wrong with poor ole Sidney's trust...And he'd learned enough about magics the last times I was here to mask his and his "children" from a vamp tracking spell..."

"Our last trace of him..." Buffy began...Eyeing a Dawn engaged in oohing over Xander's wonderful super-suit with a frown... "Outside of the other evening...Was McGarvey Cemetery..."

He'd taken over a bunch of the larger crypts and some abandoned homes near the grounds...Drove out or destroyed some of his own kind who wouldn't follow him...Even some who weren't peaceniks...

"We oughta have a flame thrower too..." Dawn noted to Xander as he showed her the old freeze ray...Invisibility belt awaiting young Phil's return with his dad...Anya nodding in agreement...Fire and ice...To match those demons who can adjust temperature sensitivity...

"Guy likes to run his own show..." the Sister noted to Buffy...Who nodded...

"We persuaded him to vacate...But lost track of him and his after that...He's been clever about avoiding cemeteries and the usual places since..."

"How many still keep the peace?..." Angel asked...

Could get one brought up from the warehouse...Xander nodded to Dawn...

We use 'em for burning brush, sometimes diseased trees for growers...

"About forty to sixty percent, depending on the season and the blood supply..." Buffy told Angel...

"They get the strongest urge to hunt in the spring...So right now, it'd normally be sixty...But we have a blood shortage in the local banks that's hurting a bit...So Will figures about half currently..."

"Course they'd all join him if they came to believe he stood a chance...But a good number of our vamps seem to have learned their lessons over time..."

I'll call the warehouse...Anya offered...There oughta be one around...They can drive it up in half an hour...



"Guys..." Willow called across the room...

"Brainstorming locations here...Xander, I need your most random comments..." she grinned...

Had he ever tried to contact his old co-star, Ms. Marsden, again?... Sister Tara-Dru asked Buffy...

The others came over a little reluctant to leave the toys...Dawn heaping Anya-seconded praise on a somewhat bashful Xander...

One more thing to show when Will gets here...he told Dawn...

"Not after we nearly killed him that time he had her..." Buffy noted... "You know our vamps...They hate to leave the area...Especially if they rose here...And most of them lose interest in former potential mates from their past lives fairly quickly..."

"Can't bear to lose that warm, familiar glow of the ole Hellmouth, eh...?" Willow smiled...

"Even old-timers like the Master, Spike, and It found the Mouth had a pretty strong lure..." Sister Tara-Dru noted...

Course Spike had an additional influence pulling on him...she smiled at Buffy...And William wasn't about to forget his former mate...

"So that's why Drusilla..Ummn...It...?." Abe paused, a bit sheepishly...The Sister giving a kind nod and smile...No problemo, sweetie...

"That why she stayed on in LA?...I always wondered why she didn't run and leave for good..."

Too scared of the Slayer to risk Sunnydale much...Too fond of the Hellmouth power emanations to get far enough away...Sister Tara-Dru noted...

"Fortunately for me..."

Indeed...Angel agreed...And quickly acted to shift the subject...

"Are there any specially good choices on your list, Willow?..." he eyed her...

"Well..." she frowned... "The larger the better, probably...And a few are relatively close to hospitals or cemeteries..."

Fuel or new recruits...Or both...Are probably important to our vamp king...

"We probably should give the major cemeteries another once-over if nothing pops up fast..." Buffy noted...

Willow nodded...Got em down...

"I don't care if it's not your job!..." Anya called into the phone... "Get to the warehouse, find a flame thrower, and have it brought over here..."

Or I will have...Mr. Harris speak to you...she smiled at Xander...

Dawn blinked...

"Ever since I killed that friend of Halfreck's she sent after Anya and me at a site...That two-headed flesh-dissolver?...In front of my crew...The guys have kinda..." Xander explained...

"Maids..." Anya groused as she hung up...

And our other employees too...he noted...With a slight grin...Which Dawn returned...



They'd do well to avoid the wrath of the fearsome Mr. Harris...

"Well...We'll have our flame-thrower..." Anya beamed...

"Ok..." Willow called... "First recent large purchase...Sodgen Tool Works...Near McGarvey Cemetery...Big..."

Been there on Patrol in the last week, nobody...Probably too much light by day...Buffy noted...

"Here's one...The Sunnydale Cold Storage Warehouse...Big, nice and cold, and well-sealed against light...Not too far from Sunnydale General..." Willow eyed Buffy...

"Haven't checked that one in a while...It's been in use as a legit business pretty steadily..."

"Cold..." Anya nodded... "The vamps'd like that..."

"Doesn't he have humans too...?" Xander asked...

"Not ones likely to voice complaints about the heat..." Buffy noted...

"Maxwell Auto...Large auto dealership building..." Willow continued...

"Mephisto always did like his cars..." Xander smiled...

Too open to sunlight...Buffy replied...

Nix...Willow nodded to Sarah, taking notes...

"Richard Wilkins' Elementary..."

"You've gotta be kidding..." Dawn glared...

"Hey, the man was mayor a long, long time..." Willow noted...

"No...I mean, I went there...Don't you remember...In fake memory, anyway?...They can't seriously have sold it..."

Gone with the wind, kiddo...Willow patted her...

"Supposedly bought by a contractor for condos..." she paused...

Hey, wait a sec...

Oh...Anya looked at Xander...

Oh...he looked back...

"I don't think we need to do this one..." he began...

"Harris Construction!?..." Dawn read the screen...And glared at the Harrises...

"You guys are turning my school into condos...?"

Affordable housing, Xander noted...Young families, low to moderate incomes...

There will be a day-care center...Anya pointed out...Education will go on there...In a way...

"They've expanded Sunnydale Elementary...Don't need the old place anymore..." Buffy explained...



My school...Dawn sighed...

Scratch it...Willow turned to her daughter...Right, Ma...

"Ferengi Brothers Scrap and Salvage...Big junkyard, with enclosed large warehouse..."

Haven't seen the place...Buffy noted...

A keeper...Willow noted to Sarah...

Abe moved over by a Xander still engaged in a long, apologetic look to a sad-eyed Dawn, mourning her lost, if phony, childhood...

"So....We can't just storm these places, right?...How do you guys plan to handle this...?" Abe asked his "uncle"...

"Oh...We come up with some cock-and-bull story, a few of us knock on the door...Walk in like the happiest of happy meals...Buffy or Will in the rear, the others waiting nearby...They try to kill us or capture us..."

"Or when they're really clever...Date us..." Buffy, listening, eyed Dawn with a grin...

Geesch...C'mon, sis...Dawn looked back...

I'm thirty-two years old...Let me have a social life...

"Or, if they try to brazen it out...Say the Master Plan isn't quite ready and their leader has the brains to want to avoid trouble too soon...Will or Buffy or I or Willow when she's home generally sense the supernatural vibes..." Anya noted...

"And my Xander always knows when the human ones are up to no good..." she beamed...

Like that Senator who was cutting a deal with that demon Harrik five years ago to rule the state and perpetually win re-election...

"Xander averted a threat to the whole nation that time..." Anya proudly concluded...

"It's not James Bond...We kinda just stumble in and see if they fight us or try to have us arrested..." Xander explained...

Sometimes they do both...Willow grinned...

***

Back at Sunnydale Elementary, waiting outside for dear ole Dad's ride with the little ones, Amelia glared at her brothers...Who were discussing their little money-making scheme...

"You know it'll be Mom and Dad buying most of this crap..." Joycee sighed...

"We'll go door to door..." Phil insisted... "And with Will to back me up...Driving me around..."he eyed his older brother...

And it's to benefit our school he noted solemnly...

"You'll look idiotic selling kids' school candy..." she eyed Will Jr...

And if word gets out at our school...I won't be able to show my face...

"Ask Dad to give you the cash...Tell him you'll work it off in the store..."

"I'm already doing that towards my car...Don't worry about it, we'll do it in neighborhoods where nobody knows us..."



"Crazy...All for a new suit to impress Annie Faux?..."

Guys...Joycee sneered...

Idiots...Right, sis?...she turned to little Buffy...

"Id..ots..." Buffy Jr. nodded...

Although candy being the matter at hand...She was not entirely unsympathetic towards the project...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XVIII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Josh Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")

Part XVIII...

As use of one of the Walthrop family cars was an essential element, Phil gave his father a detailed outline of his sales campaign as Will Sr. drove the waiting Walthrop clan home...

Hmmn...Traveling in unfamiliar neighborhoods, even if of good rep and by daylight...Not exactly something Mother would be enthusiastic about, he noted...

"Will will be with me..." Phil pointed out...

And it's all for good ole Sunnydale Elementary...

Hmmn...

On the other hand, if the boys didn't go...He knew who would be buying the damned stuff...

"Maybe your mother or I can come along...She might go for that..." he smiled at the boys...Who groaned...

Having Dad might be ok, especially with Spike offering useful advice on how to "high-pressure" clients...And making satiric comments on the clientele as Dad and opportunity allowed...But Mom would surely never allow Dad to spend so much time out in daylight, at risk of spell failure...

Uhnnn...

Mom...Insisting on driving them, making sure they didn't pester people...So much for a hard-hitting sales drive...

But...On the other hand again...She was a determined campaigner...They'd be sure to cover the entire perimeter Phil'd mapped out...



"We might even find some vamps en route...They'd be sure to buy everything when they saw Mom coming..." Phil hissed to Will Jr...

"Wanta sell candy too...!" Buffy Jr. insisted... "I'm in the school, too...Don't wanta hafta wait til next year..."

Cute lil' sis coming with them...Might be a draw...Phil reflected...

"Sis, Mom, or I will take you around our neighborhood, pet..." Will Sr. told her kindly..."Phil won't mind letting you take a few boxes...Right, Philip?..." he eyed his younger son...Who nodded diplomatically...

Me...? Joycee groused...

***

"You'll be playing indoors this afternoon, honey..." Buffy explained to her namesake...

"But Joycee and Will and Phil and Cousin Sarah and Aunt Dawn will be here and Alex and Sallie and Alysia will all be staying over...Mommie and Papa have to do some work this afternoon with Auntie Willow, Auntie Anya, and Uncle Xan..."

And Cousin Abe...Abe thought proudly...Sarah glaring...

"Why does Abe get to go?..." she quietly groused to Willow...

"Because the top job is defending the house if Mephisto gets his humans or daylight-capable demons to attack..." Willow hissed back... "And you're the only other person in our group who has any Wiccan training..."

"Aunt An..."

"Isn't a vengeance demon anymore...And her magics are very limited now...This is non-negotiable, girlie..." Willow was firm...

"Believe me...Your brother is gonna be twiddling his thumbs in the car the whole time, kiddo..." she grinned...

"Now, lets go over the protective spells for the house barriers..."

Will Jr. communicated a similar frustration to his father...Who was more to the point...

"Kid...Your mother would stake me then and there if I let you come..."

But...he grinned at his namesake...If you can persuade her...

Buffy looked over...Telepathically sensing...Maternal telepathy, that is...A "ha, you kidding?" look on her face as she stared at Will Jr...

"But..." Will Sr. offered a consolation prize... "I will speak to her in favor of your little sales campaign with Phil..."

Phil waiting for his moment...Will Sr. turned to him...

"Buffy?...Could Phil and I see you a moment?...In the bedroom?"

She blinked...Telepathy not functioning on this one...And nodded...

Anya sat with her babies...Oh...She looked up at Xander...

Why doesn't it ever get any easier...? her look said...Sallie catching her parents' exchange, came over for a hug...

"Is something wrong?..." Alysia looked at her dad...Just reaching the questioning when-Mom-and-Dad-got-all-solemn-and-then-disappeared-for-hours stage...



Nah...Xander smiled... "Mom's just got a deal pending..."

A horn blared...Angel and Sister Tara-Dru...

Buffy emerged from the bedroom...Wearing something...And looking a bit...

Phil beaming...Will Sr. with his arm round him...

"New belt from Phil..." Buffy smiled at Alysia who stared...

"He make that in shop or something...?" she hissed to Joycee... "Your mom can't wear that...Looks awful..."

She won't mind...Joycee smiled...Nodding at Phil...As did Will Jr...

"Ok..." Buffy called... "Guys...Money for pizza on the counter...Phone numbers on the refrigerator..." she paused...A slight trembling...

"And we expect your best behavior while we're out..." Will finished...

"Absolutely..." Anya echoed...Taking Xander's arm a moment as she stood up...Just needed a little help...

Oh...Willow blinked, tensing...I am not gonna make it unless we go now...

"Bye..." she waved...Taking Abe's arm...

"We'll be back in just a bit..." Xander's hearty boom...Anya clutching his arm...They left...

William came back in...Staring round...The children and teens looking at him...

"Just making a final inspection..." he grinned... And signaled to Will Jr...Who came over to the door...

Not a move...Not a peep...However long we take...Call Giles after four hours, but that's all...Understand?...

"Got it, Dad..." For the third time...he did not say...

Ok...

"Spike's a good half-dad...Whatever else he is..." he whispered...Kissing his father quickly and returning to the group...

***

"People, people..." Mephisto sighed as he and his remaining vampiral and demonic minions attempted to restore some order to the group, now mostly enthralled humans...

Harold weaving helplessly through the crowd, clearly in an agitated state at the ruckus caused by the threat to their Master...

"C'mon, you brain-dead twerps, our Lord needs some cooperation!..." Rona yelled...

The tumult stilled...

"Thank you, my dear..." Mephisto nodded to her...

Ahem...he addressed the microphone...Set up in the middle of the hall...

"We are here...On this special occasion...To celebrate two important events...As well as to commemorate our..." he looked at his watch...



"Soon-to-fall comrades..."

Gretchen, standing in the crowd of mostly humans sighed...Poor Cheryl...

Oh well, that's Unlife...

"First...We celebrate our escape...And the imminent death of the Slayer..." he gave a nervous Harold a careful look...

And secondly...he affected a solemn pose, then...Beamed...Waving his hands...

"It's my birthday..." a somewhat wan but definite cheer rose...

"So..." he waved to several newly enthralled waitresses and waiters...Who began bringing food and drink out...

"All of you...Take your seats...Enjoy yourselves...Dine well..."

And then...So will I...he smiled...

"Great place..." Harold noted to Rona...Stopping by a moment at her table as Mephisto made the rounds of the room, clinking glasses and shaking hands with his "subjects"...

"The boss is having a ball...Must remind him of the old acting days..."

And who'd suspect we'd be spending the night in a function hall...

***

Well...Xander looked round the burned out remains of the Cold Storage Warehouse...

A group of surrendered wounded and dead demons in the center of the vast storehouse...And vamp ashes everywhere...

"The good news is...Our suits and Buffy's invisibility belt worked just fine..." he noted to Anya beside him, having just entered...Nodding to Willow likewise in suit...

Bad news...Mephisto had wind of us...And vamoosed...

"You're sure he wasn't among the..." Anya looked over at the piles of ash...

Nah...Willow sighed...I scanned for his aura...He's slipped out on us...

Buffy appeared suddenly out of nowhere...Frowning...

"No sign of him outside..."

William emerged from an upper level office...And came down to them, shaking his head...

"They cleaned things out pretty well...They were obviously ready to pull out..."

"Well..." Willow sighed... "We did nail a lot of vamps...Nice work with that flame-thrower, Xander..."

"How's Abe...?" Buffy asked her...

"Still throwing up...My poor guy..." Willow shook her head...

I shoulda made him stay in the car until we cleaned things up...

"So..." Anya looked round...



"What'll we do now?...Willow?..."

Can't trace him beyond a short distance...He's too well screened...

"Willow, Will, and I will make another sweep...But I doubt we'll find him tonight...He's just disposed of his excess baggage and now he can hide in any house or building..." Buffy sighed...

Still it'll take some time for him to regroup...And we might get lucky...

"Willow?..." she turned... "Wanta call Giles and see if the Council wants to accept a few dozen surrendering demons...? Else I'll give Riley a call..."

"Xander and I could do the third degree..." Anya suggested...

We're good at that...she indicated the surviving demons...

"Go nuts..." Buffy nodded...

Will looked at her...Buffy...

"Within the proper limits..." she frowned...

"Unless..." William added... "Any of them really seem to know something..."

Buffy looked at him...

"Our kids..." he noted...she nodded...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XIX...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Josh Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")

Part XIX...

A call taken by Buffy from Angel with Sister Tara-Dru, who'd detached from the main team after the Cold Storage Warehouse had been made reasonably secure, confirmed all was well at the Summers-Walthrop home...And that the LA part of the team...The "clerics", Willow noted, grinning at William as they listened...Were on their way to check out their assigned areas...Beginning with a certain infamous watering hole...

"Are they allowed to go to such places?..." Willow shook her head...

Who knows...? Will smiled back...Nice Anglican boy here...



Buffy frowned with a slight Cicely glare...Guys..My religious mentor on the phone here...

"Let us know if you find out anything...Willow will be on Patrol with us to do what aural sweeping she can..." she spoke into the phone...

Yeah...she sighed...I know Angel...I do give thanks that everyone's well...

She hung up...

"Just wish a certain vamp wasn't..." she noted to Willow...

"We'll run him down..." William patted her arm...

"You think it was a good idea to send Angel to Willie's?" Buffy looked at Willow... "I know they've always had...Issues...And Angel hates letting his violent side emerge these days..."

But...she noted...Tara-Dru is with him...She'll keep him calm...

Willow nodded... "Our dear Father Angel?...He'll be gentle as a..."

She winked at William...

A howl from one of the captured surviving demons...

"Guys?..." Buffy looked over at Xander and Anya...A large fellow on the ground beside them was moaning...

"Ah..." Anya waved at the demon... "Just put some hydrogen peroxide on his boo-boo to clean it..."

"Stings, Slayer..." the demon wailed, waving his arm...Buffy rolled her eyes...

"Now I gotta play Mommie to captured demons?..." she looked at William...

Your overwhelming maternal instinct betrays you, dear...he grinned...

"Mephisto was scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one..." Willow noted...

"Well, talk...you..." Anya growled, glaring at the wailing demon... "Or I clean the other arm..."

"All of you will get it...And...She'll make you all eat tofu..." Xander threatened the others...

"Tofu!!?..." one blanched in fear...

"What kind of humans are you?!..."

***

"Willie?..." Angel lifted the barkeep's head from under his own beer tap...Sister Tara-Dru keeping a pleasantly smiling eye on the clientele...All quite content to remain quiet spectators of the hapless Willie's misfortunes...

"Where is Mephisto...? For the third time..."

Willie gave a wobbly grin...

"I dunn..." Angel jerked him up to face him...

Willie desperately looking at the Sister who gave him a politely reassuring beam...Best to spill it, my son...she nodded...



"Willie, Willie..." Angel sighed...

"Children's lives are at stake here...Children I love dearly...Children you know...How can you be silent, my son...?"

"Angel...er...Father...If I knew any..."

Back under the tap...Ugg...Glug...

"A fine way to drown, son...But drowning is drowning..." Angel noted as Willie choked...

He jerked Willie up again...

"Now, my son...You know...And I know...That you're lyin'...Mephisto was here tonight...We found one of his humans behind your bar, dead..."

Coulda...been...any vamp's...Willie tried to begin...Angel lifted him...By the throat, a foot off the floor...

"Sister?..." he turned to Tara-Dru...

"Mephisto leaves a very distinctive aural trace, Willie..." she sighed up at him... "Like Drusilla's...Probably from his telepathic gift...Very easy to spot on his sired victims if caught before they transform..."

"Now Willie..." Angel sighed in his turn as the barkeep struggled helplessly.... "You not being a Catholic and all, I stand in a way as your priest...And I can promise you that anything you choose to tell me now will be held in strictest confidence..." He lowered the choking Willie, retaining his hold...

Willie looked over at the clientele scattered about the bar, all watching with interest...Any one of whom would gladly tell Mephisto of any betrayal...Hell, most would claim he'd sold him out in any case...

"Willie..." Sister Tara-Dru eyed him... "I wish I could help you...But you're part demon and I can't make you talk the easy way...So please...The Father and I will protect you...And you wouldn't want to see children hurt...Or have their grieving parents and friends...Including the Father and I....Coming after you..."

He...Willie gasped...Angel loosened his grip...

"He left his old place..."

"Old news, my son..." Angel frowned...

"Something more up to date, please..."

"I dunno..." the grip on throat tightened... "Exactly...But...One of his people...Said...Somethin' about...Waterfront property..."

Specifics, Willie...Angel eyed him...

"I d..dun..." Gasp as the Father lifted him again... "Maybe...Lake...Sun...Nydale...the old fairgrounds..."

"Better..." Angel nodded... "Anything else...? His plans for the future, perhaps...?"

"They...were...tal...talking...About gettin' the Slayer..."

Willie...Angel sighed...What vampire doesn't?...

"Somethin'...special...But...that's...Ugg....all..." his eyes rolled over...

"I think he's telling the truth, Father..." the Sister eyed him...



"I agree Sister..." Angel nodded...And released him...

Willie dropped to the floor in a gasping heap...

"My friends..." Angel eyed the crowd, mostly demon... "Our friend Willie is under the protection of the Church...Specifically in the form of the Sister here and myself...And no harm is to come to him...Or we shall be forced to return and dispense the Wrath of God to you all in extremely physical form..."

Aye, Sister?...he turned...

Indeed, Father...she nodded...

***

"Was that really your old girlfriend?..." one demon looked at his mate, a fungus demon...As they watched Angel and Tara-Drusilla leave...

Willie gasping his way back to his usual self...Hey, a business to run here...And Angel...Rarely...Went for permanent damage...

Yeah, the fungus demon sighed...Before she got her soul back and religion...She was quite the wild chick...

***

Having left Anya and Xander to continue their interrogation of the prisoners, Willow, William, and Buffy reached the old fairgrounds on Lake Sunnydale to find Father Angel and Sister Tara-Dru somewhat discouragedly poking around...

"Can't believe our Willie would deceive us..." the Sister sighed to them... "I had such hopes for his redemption..."

And yet...

Hmmn...Angel frowned...I may need to employ sterner measures with him...

A crash from within one of the old, boarded booths...Buffy was off...Will in immediate pursuit...

"Arghhh!..." A howl...The others looked to see Buffy dragging a forlorn-looking vamp while Will held his human companion, one of Mephisto's enthralled...

"That's my Willie..." Sister Tara-Dru beamed...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XX...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")



Part XX...

News of the destruction of his former HQ...And a hefty number of his sacrificed followers reached Mephisto and his minions at their function hall shortly after he'd sat down to his own dinner...He sighed up from the attractive blonde woman...A former actress and guest star on his old TV series, taken, at some considerable difficulty and expenses, as a special treat for his birthday by his loving minions owing to her considerable resemblance to the Slayer... at Harold who'd come with the news...

Not unexpected news by any means...In fact, rather favorable as it meant the Slayer was not on her way to interrupt his party...Still, to lose so many of one's own at one fell swoop...And unfortunately, it appeared from the reports of the few who'd escaped that Ms. Summers-Walthrop and her followers had not been fooled by the efforts made to make it appear that he had been destroyed in the midst of his comrades...They were quite aware that he'd made good his escape and were still actively seeking him...

But...he beamed at Harold...Like a son to him, he noted...Soon the Slayer's husband and friends would have their own cause for mourning...And their hands full defending themselves...

If all went well...he pointedly noted...Harold nervously gulping...

"Yeah..." Rona eyed Harold...If...

There'd be no problem, the former teacher assured his sire and lord...Amy had been sure she'd gotten what she needed from the Slayer's discarded clothing...

Hmmn...Mephisto nodded...Well...We'll see...He returned to his meal...

Wow...Harold looked at the woman now being prepped by the Boss for transformation...

She does kinda look like Buffy, doesn't she...? he noted to Rona...With a little make-up.

Oughta be fun for the Boss...Gretchen, watching from another table, noted to her rather battered but still kicking dear Cheryl, one of the few survivors of the Cold Storage Warehouse massacre...He can dress her up like the Slayer, even send her over to torment their kids after we kill the real one...

Kinky...Cheryl frowned a little...Shaking her head...Sometimes the guys really overindulge the Boss' weird side...I mean having a Slayer near-lookalike at his side all the time from now on after the real one's finally dead...Geesh...

"Lil' bonier than the Slayer..." Rona looked the corpse of the Boss' soon-to-be new girl over as she replied to Harold.

"Anyway be nice to have her around...I loved the Scooby-Doo movies..." Gretchen concluded to

Cheryl.



***

At the abandoned fairgrounds near Lake Sunnydale, Buffy, Will, Willow, Angel, and Sister Tara-Dru confronted a battered minion of Mephisto and his human companion.

The human, a young man in his twenties, clearly out of it...Vaguely calling on Mephisto's aid...The vamp, a bit more practical, attempted to brazen it out...

"Lemme go, Slayer!...Or our Lord will kill you all!..." he insisted.

"If keeping you'll bring him out to meet us...I'll gladly oblige..." Buffy sourly eyed him... "But I'm afraid he's got a little more sense than you..."



The Sister suggested she speak with the wan young human...With just Willow in attendance to keep him from getting too anxious or upset...Poor guy was apt to be rather embarrassed when he snapped out of thrall...Willow nodded and they gently escorted the man to a spot somewhat closed off from where the others stood.

Buffy sighed to William...Lets hope there's some progress with him...

However...she returned to her prisoner...That does mean we can afford to take a few chances with you...she eyed him...

"If we should 'break' you...Accidently, of course...we'll have a fall back..."

"Yeah, mate..." Will came up to the vamp...

"And believe me...Both of me...We'd like nothing better than to make an example of you to your pals..."

Oooh...I'm scared, Trai...the vamp gasped as Will lifted him off the ground, squirming...

"Hardly traitor, lad...my soul never signed with your team..." he noted.

Well...he grinned at Buffy, holding the vamp up by the throat with one hand...I know I could do this all night...

"And I guess it won't kill you...Just yet..." he politely nodded at the struggling vamp... "Still, does feel a lot like the old sensation of choking to death, doesn't it...? Minus the merciful release when your neck snaps in human life..."

"Best to let Mr. Walthrop have what he wants, my boy..." Angel shook his head at the vamp...

"Your leader's sure to assume you ratted on him in any case...Especially when we spread it about town that you did...Why not save yourself needless suffering and earn an amnesty from the Slayer herself?"

"Nev...er...Bet...Betray...Lord..." the vamp gasped, struggling in the deadly grip of a loving father...Two loving fathers, actually, Buffy beamed at the hubs...

Whatever else Spike was...

"Fine sentiments, my boy..." Angel nodded... "But, surely an unworthy lord to give such allegiance to..."

After all, he continued...All we want to know is when exactly your friends are gathering here...And why.

"I dunno..." Buffy eyed the vamp... "He seems the loyal type...Care to do the honors, Father?" she turned to Angel, offering Mr. Pointy...

"Delighted..." he gave a slight bow...

"Last chance, mate..." William hissed...

"Willow!?..." Buffy called...To a Willow coming round from where she and Sister Tara-Dru had been in conversation with Mephisto's enthrallee.

"All set..." she called back... "We got all we need from him...!"

Buffy looked up at the vamp...Sorry, friend...her look said...

The vamp gasped...Ummn...

"He...Knows...No...Noth...Nothing..."

Oh...? Buffy eyed him brightly...As Willow came up...



"My friend seems to think differently..."

Father?...she turned to Angel...Who gave the squirming vamp a quick look...

An Angel look...

"Wait...!" the vamp gasped again...

"Well?..." Will eyed him...

"There..." he pointed towards some boarded-up booths...

Entranceway...

Will lowered him.

"Entranceway?..." Buffy asked...

"Yes...Yeah...To the new lair...Underneath the fairground...An old mine...Tunnels..." the vamp choked out, still in William's iron grip...

"Look...You gotta promise...Protection..." he eyed them wildly...

"If your info's legit..." Buffy nodded... "Amnesty, blood supply...Providing your behavior is satisfactory..."

"As for protection..." Will smiled... "Best way to let us know exactly when the Boss will be showing..."

The vamp looked round the group, sighed...Ok...

"He's hidden...I don't know where, I'm only a scout, just a few of us are down there now...But he'll be here with the others tomorrow night..."

"Good...Then you can be our guest til then..." Buffy smiled... "Anya and Xander ought be able to fit one more in..." she looked at Will, he nodding...Best to refrain from a premature strike.

Angel eyed Willow...Who gave a solemn look...

"Bless me Father for I have sinned..." she hissed, grinning.

"Three Hail Marys and contemplate the sin of lying, my child..." he smiled faintly back...

"Six for the Sister...For coming up with the idea, no doubt..."

The vamp stared...Set-up?...his blink at them wanly asked...

'Fraid you should've had more trust in your human friend's cluelessness, mate...Will smiled benevolently at him.

"I did say... 'seems...to think differently'..." Buffy noted...As Sister Tara-Dru appeared, gently leading the young man back to them...

"Did he...?" she eyed the vamp...

Did...Thanks...Buffy grinned...

"Sorry for the stratagem, Father...The poor boy knew nothing..." the Sister sheepishly sighed to her superior.

"The Lord does work in mysterious ways..." she looked round...



"Indeed...Six HMs...An hour's mediation...And you split watch duty here with me tonight..." Angel replied... Yes, Father...she nodded...Moving by Willow...

"Twelve for me...And I'll take first watch..." Angel sighed at Buffy... "Afraid I gave poor Willie a bit of a hard lesson tonight, God forgive me..."

How does "Hail, Mary" go anyhow?...Willow hissed to the Sister...

***

"You're awfully quiet..."Alysia Harris eyed Will Jr., Sallie Harris, and Sarah Giles...The teen crew...Coming over from where Buffy Jr. and her brother Alex were watching TV with Phil Walthrop and Auntie Dawn...

Auntie Dawn herself not exactly the life of the party...Casting nervous glances back at the teens...And the phone...

"Is something wrong...?" Alysia stared...My Mom looked worried when she left...So did your moms...

And Dad...

But Dad looks worried whenever he and Mom leave the house...she noted.

"Nah..." Will Jr. cheerily smiled at her...

"We're just being moody...It's what you're supposed to do at our age...Like in the movies..."

Uh-huh...Right...she grumbled, looking over to the girls...Amelia-Joyce giving her a bright smile...

So much for female solidarity...young Ms. Harris thought, glaring at her "cousin"...Having inherited her mother's clear-eyed ability to view things from outside the box.

Someday...Soon...I will get to the bottom of this...she promised herself...

But something in Sarah's deep, quick glance at her suddenly made her grateful...For the little time she'd have yet, not knowing...

***

Angel, with cell phone, now positioned in a safe monitoring spot at the fairgrounds, and them having dropped the vamp at Anya and Xander's hastily improvised demon POW camp, magics-secured by Willow...And picked up Anya, Xander, and a somewhat embarrassed Abe...Spent half the battle waiting in the car and the rest throwing my guts up, he sighed to his rather content mother...The adult gang headed home, reasonably please with the evening's outcome...

"You did fine, sweetie...Dad would be proud..." Willow patted Abe as they rode in the Walthrop minivan...William at the wheel... A slightly disappointed Buffy...Never seem to get to drive when the gang's around, she thought...Having been maneuvered into a strategy conference in the middle seat by Anya and Xander...Who desired to have this so-far successful evening end safely...

Nothing at all wrong in using just a leetle magic to keep my baby...Rup's only son...Safe...she reassured herself...

Willow...Tara-Dru beside her called telepathically, while fixing her with a reproving look...

You made the poor kid sick tonight, didn't you?...

All moms make their kids sick from time to time...Willow replied as innocently as telepathy would allow...

Rupert would be grateful...the Sister beamed back...Five Shemoneh Esreis...she frowned...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXI...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")

Part XXI...

"Hey...!" a beaming Buffy boomed into the house...As the adult gang began to file in...

"If the place is trashed, you lot better be long gone...!" William, called, cupping his hands into a megaphone...

Amelia, Sallie, and Will Jr. hurried over to the front door...Looking...

"All's well..." Will Sr. smiled...Buffy Sr. seconding with an eager nod...Anya nervously rocking on her heels, looking for her babies...By the TV, utterly unimpressed by her and Daddy's safe return from the jaws of...from a little business transaction she mentally corrected, getting into proper "causal" Mom mode...Her Sallie however looked appropriately relieved...Though she made a fine effort to display no anxiety...

Just needed to see Mom on the porch...And Dad if he'd...She looked back...Alex and Lys still firmly glued to the TV...Sure, Anya nodded...Dad's still looking over his new suits anyway...Which performed magnificently, naturally, she proudly noted in a whisper... "Aunt" Buffy agreeing...

Sarah came over, Buffy Jr. in tow, looking anxiously for her...Phew...Willow came in, Abe in tow...

"Everything ok...?" Miss Giles asked, with as such British reserve as she could muster...Lil' Buffy demanding a lift to Papa's shoulders, Will Sr. obliging as Buffy absently patted her while quizzing Amelia as to the evening's events...All quiet on the home front, Joycee noting...

"Piece of cake..." Willow replied to her daughter...Eyeing Abe, who nodded causally as well...No problem...

"Anything here...?"she looked round...

Not a peep...Sarah shook her head...

To think I once considered resuming demonhood, Anya sighed contentedly on the porch as Sallie desperately hugged her, reaching to grab at a startled Xander who'd just come up to them...What?...He looked at them anxiously...

Nothing...Sallie sighed, smiling through some tears...

My parents...The non-magical...If you disallow Mom's demonic past...Non-superhuman...Outside Daddy's incredible power of Love...And therefore at far greater personal risk, team members...Who are always on hand to provide that vital missing element that wins the day...

No offense towards "Aunt" Buffy and "Uncle" Will...And "Auntie" Willow...But all things considered, I would say it's the Harrises who are the unsung heroes of this outfit...she thought proudly...Pulling her Mom close, then Dad...



"Aw...Honey..." Xander patted her...

"Ya mustn't get worked up over this kind of thing...We always come through in one piece..."

"What you should worry about is your dad's diet...And stop slipping him those Doublemeat Specials..." Anya noted...

***

"Oh...Please...Mighty Mephisto..." the attractive fortyish blonde dropped her hand, releasing a stake to the ground... "Spare me...I'm helpless against your power..."

"Incredible sexual power..." Harold, standing behind her, hissed to the former actress, now transformed and in one of Mrs. Summers-Walthrop's recently discarded...Hopefully, she thought, cleaned...Outfits...

Right... "Your incredible...Sexual Power..." she eyed Mephisto as he stood in front of her in a position of haughty grandeur...Worthy of Dracula, Harold loyally thought...The real Vlad the Impaler Drac, not that fop of a young descendant...

"Well...Mrs. Summers-Walthrop..." Mephisto eyed his latest acquisition coolly...Not a bad little actress, this one...Much improved from when she was doing those awful movies...Though I do remember her doing a nice guest turn on our "Mona..." show once...

"I shall spare you...If you accept my gift of eternal life...And vow, on your knees...To serve me as your Lord, Master, and God..."

Geesh...Cheryl watching from further back in the large function hall where Mephisto's surviving "family" enthralled human and vampiral were sitting out the evening's assault by the Slayer and co on their former lair, sighed to Gretchen...

Sometimes...The Boss can be a leetle...

Yeah...Gretchen nodded, apparently not so bothered by the kinkiness...

The new member of the "family" however was herself a bit put out...Not that she wasn't utterly ready to die for her beloved sire...Just...She'd been hoping for a little more class...After all, she had to put up with a lot of this kinda thing back when she was getting started...And now, to have to mouth lines like these... With a former actor of the late Sidney Mechamber's quality as her leading...Whatever...Well...This sort of thing was a bit...Much...

Still...My own fault, I'm here, after all...she sighed to herself...How could I have believed it really was my ex on the phone, suggesting we do a fifth Scoody Doo as our joint comeback film...?

"Ummn...Sir?..." she paused... "Might I request...A cut?..."

"Certainly, my dear girl..." Mephisto smiled back warmly... "Cut..." he called...Waving the various minions back who'd been "closing in" on "the Slayer"...The two vamps assigned to video duty halting their taping as well...

"Anything wrong...?" the vamp lord asked his latest "daughter"...Whom of course it need not be said...He loved as he would've his own...

"Ummn...Well...Ummn...Sir...? Do I gotta kneel to you?...I mean..." she hastily interjected...Sensing a slight wrath...

"From what you told me of this "Slayer"?...She isn't the type to kneel so easily..."

I mean...If we're going for a reasonable degree of accuracy here...

"You do realize this is a scene of Mrs. Summers-Walthrop's final defeat and humiliation?.." he stared at her...

Yeah...Sure...she nodded carefully...



"And...That I am conferring a great honor upon you, dear...By allowing you to stand in for Mrs. Summers-Walthrop until her time has come...Young to our little "family" as you are..."

Oh, yeah...she nodded fervently...As he looked at her coldly...Clearly a bit put out...

Hmmn...How to put this right?...Like when I was doing those teen slasher movies before my triumph in the Scoody-Doo series and wanted to dodge the nude scenes...she thought...

Again, not that I'm buckin' the Lord of us all here...Just...The way he was originally gonna do it...Was kinda...

Hmmn...What did I say to my director that time?...Oh, yeah...

"Likely to be detrimental to proper appreciation of his talent..." Yeah, that was it...Course my ex rolled his eyes when he heard me back then...But...It did get the director to do the scene my way that time...Hmmn...

"I think...Sir..." she gave him a sweetly seductive smile... "The scene would have a lot more punch at the end if I put up something of a fight..."

Which you quickly ended, of course...Master...she added hastily, beaming...

God, they get this blouse out of a garbage bag or what...? she wondered, sniffing discreetly.

Yes...Well...Mephisto eyed her narrowly...

Even a dead actress can't help scrambling up a bigger part...he thought sourly...

"I suppose your idea has some credit...Dear girl..." he smiled coolly...

But the scene does end with your more or less voluntary submission to me...he noted...And the "Slayer"'s death and transformation...

Absolutely...Sir...she nodded firmly...But, see...

"Having this "Slayer" submit too easily would likely be detrimental to proper appreciation of your talent...Sir..."

Hmmn...Mephisto considered...

Well, when my beloved new "daughter" and "Slayer stand-in" puts it that way...

Hey, she's good...Gretchen noted to Cheryl, watching from the back...With that kind of ability to soft-soap the Boss...And looking so much like the Slayer...She may be a keeper...

Eh...Too bony for Buffy Summers-Walthrop...Cheryl groused...Eyes slightly narrowing at the new competition...

"And I already got the transformation bit down pat..." the "Slayer stand-in" grinned at Mephisto...Assuming work face...

Oops...

"Say...My Lord?..." she eyed him nervously...

"This demon face thing...? Does it screw up old plastic surgery...?"

Not that I've ever had plastic...I just wanta know for the future...she added quickly...

She does look a lot like the Slayer...Cheryl conceded to Gretchen...I guess that might be helpful someday...

Just wish he'd show us a little consideration and can the kinky stuff...In front of the human pets, I mean...she noted...



"Well...Perhaps we should have a bit more fight in our Slayer...Yes...I think it's not a bad idea at all..." Mephisto smiled at his costar...

So long as she loses...he noted firmly...

Thanks...Sir...she beamed...

"Oh...?" she looked at him, a thought occurring...

"Any chance I could go look up my ex...? Later on, after we've finished the scene?..."

Now that I've acquired this forceful new evil persona...Thanks to you, Sir...she smiled at him...He and I have some...Issues...To get straight...she grimly noted...

"I usually don't allow my "children" to take mates outside this town..." Mephisto replied...

"I'm not looking at him as "mate" material..." she shook her head...

Oh...?...Oh, yes...He looked at her...

"He ran off with my old co-star and would be mate, Ms. Marsden...Didn't he?...Five or six years ago?..." Mephisto gave her a sympathetic look...

Yeah...Six years ago...she replied coldly...

"And they're still co-starring in your old TV show..." she noted...

Yes...I still watch every Wednesday...he smiled...

Nice to see old Job Wescox has managed to keep the quality of the writing up...Well...

Perhaps we'll discuss a trip to LA to see them both...After the real Slayer has been dealt with...he kindly nodded...

"Well...Are you ready, my dear?..." Mephisto asked...The former actress nodded...Taking up a "Slayer" pose...Stake again in hand...

"All right...Take two..." Harold called as the Boss fixed his eye on him...

"It's nice to have a fellow actor in the "family" again..." Mephisto kindly told his new acting partner...She shyly smiling back...

"Some "actor"...Bunch of lousy slasher movies and the Scoody-Doo series..." Cheryl groused again...

Cher...Gretchen hissed nervously as the Boss glared over...As did their new "sis"...

The Boss likes her...Watch it...

"Quiet on the set..." Harold called...

***

"So..." Buffy summed up the evening's battle to a Dawn who seemed a bit preoccupied...

"Bottom line...We got a bunch of his expendables but the Big Baddie...Your beau..." she gave her sis a sardonic grin... "Slipped through our fingers..."

Still, we know where he's headed...Angel's covering the fairgrounds lair...



"I'm sure we'll get him..." Dawn nodded...Still rather...Bemused...

"And he's not my "beau"...C'mon..." she frowned...

One lousy date...Actually one not so bad at all date she did not say...Til he went vamp on me...

And now...I gotta face tonight as well...Dawn sighed...

"Did Aunt Dawn tell you Wesley, Cordelia, Winifred, Clement, and Connor were on their way?..." Sarah came over...

Yeah, she did...Buffy nodded...

Wait a minute...Ah...she thought...That's what eatin' her...

Clement...

Oh, Dawn...My poor lil' sis...she eyed her...

My poor narrow-minded lil' sis...

Hard to believe she was made from me sometimes...Not to take a chance with a sweet guy like Clem back then...

And I was for him...Even if William had reservations...

Still, gotta be fair...If Spike hadn't brought William to Sunnydale...I'd probably have gone strictly for pure human myself...

Nah, she smiled over at Will...Who looked back...We do something right?...He wondered to Spike within...

Whatever it was...Keep doin' it...Spike replied internally...

Nah, she thought contentedly...Cicely would have taken over...Eventually...Dragged us around the world in search of him...

And we did think...Somewhere in our subconsciousness...For a little while...That human-souled Angel...Liam, after all...Might be...

Phew...Thank God for evil ole Drusilla...she beamed at Sister Tara-Dru who was engaged in rolling on the floor with Buffy Jr., Philip, Alex, and Alysia...To the detriment of her wimple...Which Phil now paused to suggest he put on the table for her...Thanks, kiddo...

And for evil ole Dru's noble human soul, Tara...Who in escaping Dru's clinging embrace of her poor "soul sister" in 1977 for rebirth as human Tara had caused the incident that wounded vamp Dru and led Spike to bring Drusilla...And William...Home...

But...She had to admit...She'd not played much of a role in her beloved Will's initial salvation...Even if her role had been crucial later...

She gave the sad-eyed Dawn a kindly pat...

"Sorry to go on about the other night...I just hate to see you so down on yourself you resort to personals..."

"It ain't that easy to meet fellas these days, sis..." Dawn sighed...

Clem...Oh...she thought...

"You oughta know..." she grinned a little wickedly at Buffy...

Parker...Ben...she teased...



"Ok, ok..." Buffy raised a hand... "I wasn't the greatest example of success in dating..."

But you will find someone...The right someone...Someday...Dawn...she noted...

"Tired of waiting for...Someday...Sis..." Dawn shook her head...

"What's up, my ladies fair?..." William kissed Buffy as he came over... "Sweet...I think I should go over and see how the good Reverend Father's watch is going in a bit..."

"Not without me..." she instinctively replied, looking him squarely in the eyes with her "Buffy/Cicely brooks no opposition" look...Dawn sighing involuntarily as she looked at them...

God damn true love...she sulked a bit...

Ah...Hangdog, sulky expression...Dawn's search for love again...William noted silently to Spike, smiling at Dawn kindly...

Idiot Nibs...Spike groused...She's worth a thousand of most girls...Human or demon...She should have most of the eligible New Yorkers, male, groveling at her feet...But she lets them walk all over her...Damn...Buffy and Joyce were the same way...Speak to her, bro...Shake some sense into our sis...

Summers girls...Never realize their worth...he concluded...

Indeed, bro...William agreed internally...Eyeing Buffy with his "something must be done..." look...

She returning her "damned if I know what to do for her..." look...

God...Dawn thought sadly, watching the exchange...Romantic telepathy again...Not a word needs be spoken...

Bet Clem does the same thing all the time now with his....&%$@!-ing Winifred...Shit...

Oh...Clement...

How could I have let a little loose skin, big dog ears, and you're being a member of a minor demonic...A benevolent demonic...race...Affect my judgment like that...Dawn sighed to herself...

Well...Maybe they're not all that happy...She is some kinda big-time physicist, right?...Probably treats him like an idiot child...A life of constant humiliation and nagging...My poor great-hearted Clem...

Maybe he's up for a leetle comforting appreciation from a dear old and loving friend...she smiled at the thought...

She seems better...Will's look to his beloved said...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...



(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters")

Part XXII...

"Ya look...Radiant..." Dawn tried to maintain a bright note in her tone as she nodded at a very pregnant Winifred, now carefully sitting beside her on the Summers' living room couch, Clem standing by on watchful guard duty...Mineral water, he noted to Joycee's request as to Winifred's wish for coffee, tea, etc...

"I look...Enormous...But thanks..."

Bear...Winifred turned to frown slightly at Clem... "A lil' coffee ain't gonna kill Junior you know..."

Mineral water...he frowned...

Grr...she hissed back...

"Bear, eh?..." Willow, perched on a chair, talking to Wesley in chair at her left and Dawn, Winifred, and Clem to her right...

"Big, grouchy, growly bear these days..." Fred grinned at her protective mister...

Protective dad mode...Rupert's the same...Willow nodded...

I wish I was dead...Dawn thought, sulkily...

"Still...I'll never forget it... I come out of my coma, look around, and who's in the "hospital" room with me but...Drusilla..." Cordy grinned at Sister Tara-Dru as they sat with Anya, Connor, the various teens excepting Will Jr., Sallie Harris, and Abe Giles the three of whom had insisted on heading out with William, Xander, and Buffy to check on Angel...

Great way to run a surveillance operation...William had groused to Buffy on leaving...Downside of running a family business, dearest...she'd patted him...

The youngest members of the group, Buffy Jr., Phil, Alysia, and Alex Jr. all snug in bed...Albeit reluctantly...

"I should have had someone with me..." the Sister sighed... "But we didn't think at the time you were gonna come out of it for a while yet..."

Thought I was gonna have a heart attack...Cordy continued...If I wasn't already vamped...

"When will Buffy and the rest be back...?" Wesley asked Willow...As Dawn continued to narrowly watch Clem and Fred, the expectant mother gratefully sipping her mineral water...Clem happily and cluelessly beaming to his ole babysitting charge as he noted Junior's inutero progress...

"With three teenagers in tow...I expect them to keep their check on the Father a pretty quick one..." Willow grinned...

"So...Must be a leetle hard on you, all that fur...Inside you, I mean..." Dawn eyed Winifred... "It's gotta...Itch...Something fierce..."

Hmmn...?...Fred stared...

"I mean...Half demon...And all..." Dawn continued...

"Oh, she...or he...Will be almost hairless til after birth..." Clem cheerfully noted... "Then we'll see..."

"Then I saw the rosary beads and the wimple and I figured I had to be in Heaven with Drusilla's soul ...Couldn't quite figure out just why she'd come to welcome me in, but I supposed that must be what heavenly nuns do..." Cordy went on, hands waving as she spoke...Tara-Dru chuckling...

"Actually we do do that, if what little I remember of Heaven after Tara died is correct...But we lose the costume...So as not to offend non-Catholics..." she noted solemnly...

Come on...Sarah and Amelia shook heads.

"We decided not to check sex or extent of humanity..." Fred explained to Dawn... "It'll be human enough in any case and I got no fears about the distaff side with Bear as the Dad..." Clem blushing gratefully...

"Wish most guys could be as human as he is..." she grinned at her bashful husband.

Yeah...Dawn sighed...

"My ole babysitter's one of the best..." she nodded, smiling at him, a bit sadly...Then over to a slightly staring Willow...I know, I know...Can it...her look saying...

Oh, Clemy...

"So Dad and ye ole gang give this Mephisto character what for?..." Connor smiled at Anya...

"KO'd his support staff...But they were a red herring...The big bad escaped for another day..." she sighed...Unless your father and the others do well tonight...

"Well..." Connor grinned, a bit of swagger... "Maybe it's time to throw some LA weight around...I think maybe Wes and I oughta go over with the Sister when she relieves Dad and show the locals how it's done..." A slight smirk...Which disappeared under Anya's cool stare...And turned a bit sheepish as he looked to see Dawn glancing over quickly then turning away...

"I'm sure she'd appreciate the help..." Anya nodded...A bit more kindness in her look, having seen Dawn's look...And Connor's...

So...He's still carrying that torch...Carrying though with something...For once...she thought...Glancing from one to the other...

Poor kid...Always, he manages to blow it with her...Even in her current state, when she was ready to jump at Mephisto in makeup just a day or so ago.

"Then Angel came in and told me about what'd been going on in the world, including his decision to take holy orders and I knew I was either dead...Or back in the demon dimension..." Cordy laughed...

Till Wes made me see I really was in Heaven...she beamed over at him...

"Don't blush Wyndham-Price..." she called...As he did.

***

"The trick..." Buffy noted carefully as she led Sallie, Will Jr., and Abe across the fog-shrouded fairgrounds, following a bit behind William and Xander...Dodging from tree to bush to bit of battered shed or crumbling old fair ride for cover...

"Is to always maintain..."

Bloody Christ, Harris!...William shouted...Watch your feet, there!...As he turned back from a quick look to Buffy and the teens...

"What?..." Xander looked at him from the opposite side...

GRRRRR!!!!....The demon who'd stumbled into William from the other side, howled...Lifting his horn covered face to below a challenge.

Which was taken so quickly and deftly as to invite a modest degree of critical praise from none other than counterpart Spike within...



Hardly sporting for a self-proclaimed "gentleman", poof...You never gave him a fair chance...

You're learning...Thank the demon gods...Maybe all my hard work in the thankless task of getting you up to defend Buf and the kids is finally getting somewhere.

Thanks, bro...Rare praise indeed...William noted...As Xander likewise offered congrats...

But...It's my opinion you lot will be dead within a week...Spike continued...

Unless...Possibly...You love our Buf enough to make the "Ultimate Sacrifice..."

Like a certain loving demon I know all too well...Prince of an Undead fellow that he is...

Spike...For the last time...I will never consent to letting you run the show again...Not voluntarily...

Buffy would rather be dead...And see the kids dead as well...And you damned well know that...

"Spike?..." Buffy, now caught up with the teens in tow, looked at Xander as they stared at a slightly out-of-it William...

Spike...Xander nodded...Unless Will's gone in for mysticism...

"Spike..." Buffy called to Will... "Let William be...He is not gonna let you have control again...Be polite and show me you still care and maybe the next kiss is yours..."

"C'mon...If he gets destroyed cause you kept him off guard...You're headed for Hell and you know you'd miss the kids' birthdays...."

***

Back at the function hall of the damned, Mephisto's latest "daughter/bride" and acting partner was enjoying her first vampiral dining experience on one of his well-fed pet humans when a knock at the side door caused a minor degree of panic...

"It's ok..." Harold strove to restore order among the more nervous...Mephisto relying on his years of training to maintain his stance as calm, collected Prince of the Undead...

"I think it's Amy...With our secret weapon..."

Oh, the joy...Rona sneered...

"Well..." Mephisto beamed expansively...Generous host that he was... "By all means, lets have the young lady in at once..."

His new "Queen"...Having assumed the title at least in her own mind...Frowned as she looked up from her meal...A fellow bearing a liking resemblance to her ex-...Little "wedding/birthday" gift specially chosen for her by her new Lord...

Sounded like competition...And even a "retired" actress hates competition...

Especially a vampiral "retired" actress.

"Amy..." Harold gave a welcoming beam...

Glad you found the place ok...No problems?...he eyed her...

"All set..." she nodded... Holding up a box...

"That...?" Rona came over...



"Odorless, tasteless, colorless...Except for the chocolate, which is quite yummy...And harmless to almost every human being on this planet but one...Even her sister wouldn't have more than a mild tummy ache..." Amy grinned...

The rest of the boxes are in my car...she waved a thumb.

"Gentlemen..." Mephisto eyed several... "Assist our fair Wiccan..."

Whoa...Amy caught of the newest addition to the "family..."

Buf...fy?...she blinked...No, wait a min...

"You?...You're..."

If she says "what's her name" I will kill her, whether my Lord sanctions it or not...the former actress thought...

"Who is she?..." she turned to Gretchen near her side...

"The witch Harold found to help us kill your twin...The Slayer..." Gretchen explained...

And don't bother trying...She's protected against us...Plus you'd piss the Boss off...

"How's she gonna help us kill this...Slayer?"

"Cursed candy...Courtesy the Slayer's own kids..." Gretchen grinned...

Neat idea...If it works...she sighed...

"But if not, we'll get permission to try and hunt Amy down...When she drops her guard and all..."

So win-win for us...the former actress noted...

"If the Slayer doesn't survive and finds out we used her kids against her...Else...Heaven to pay..."

Hmmn...

Amy and her gallant group of vampiral gentlemen and a few human pets re-entered the hall bearing cases of packed candy...In the usual tinfoil and paper wrappings, "Sunnydale Elementary Candy Drive" emblazoned on top...

"How's our record against this lady been so far?..." the "retired" thespian asked...

"See..." Amy bit off a piece of the bar she'd been holding, chewed, and swallowed...As Mephisto, Harold, and Rona watched... "Perfectly safe...To most of us...And pretty good candy at that..."

0 for...A lot...Gretchen sighed...

But, we've always managed to come back for more...she brightened.

And it would be fun to watch that twerp Harold bite it, if he fails...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXIII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies as Mephisto would say...)

Part XXIII...

The fairgrounds at Lake Sunnydale...

"Sorry about the ruckus, Angel...We just wanted to make sure things were ok out here..." Buffy sheepishly apologized as he came out of the shadows at the various sounds proclaiming her group's arrival...

"It's fine...All's been quiet, except for that one fellow there Will just took out..." he smiled...Though, he noted as he eyed an embarrassed Abe as young Mr. Giles recovered from stumbling noisily over a trash barrel.

"It might be best for us to pull back a little in case more show..."

He looked at William as his fellow vamp came alongside...Buffy carefully supervising the teens in her charge with Xander watching their rear as the group moved back to some abandoned stalls ashort distance back from Angel's former watchpost near the booths concealing the lair entrance...

"Not exactly the old days...eh, Will...?" he grinned...Looking ahead to where Buffy was cautiously checking the stalls with Will Jr. by her side...Ok, she waved to Sallie...

Just a trace of sadness in his voice that even made Spike hesitate...A moment...

Alas, poor broodo...Never to even have had a real chance with our poor, briefly confused Cicely, temporarily blinded by that soul until I brought us to Sunnydale in all our glory..I could really just slob...er sob...my eyes out...If I still had eyes...

Enough...Will crushed him down...

"Thank God..." Angel continued, winking... "But then you always were the family man in our little group..."

"All clear..." Buffy hissed back to them...Xander catching up to them, still watching behind...

"After you, Papa..." Angel waved William on to the first stall...Where the teens and Buffy were now waiting...

"Age before beauty, Grand-dad..." he grinned back...

Eh...Send the kid here in...Angel nodded at Xander... "He can go get his elders a drink of water...Dagnabit..."

A wry look by Xander...Ok, I get it...Vamp guy talk...He went in.

"So much for another full-scale offensive...Tonight anyway..." Angel smiled at William as they scanned the grounds once more, just by the stalls... "Your Missus is quite the little schemer, letting the kids come..."

Tunnels make her nervous...Will nodded...Only places underdweller ambushes ever had a chance with her...

"How far in did you get, anyway?..." he smiled at the Father.



"About 500 feet...Barricaded beyond...We'll need a few extras and our man Harris' assistance to get through..."

"Your favorite spiritual client would be distressed at you taking risks alone like that, you know..." Will shook his head...

Not to mention your clerical assistant...

"I'm sure Buf and Tara-Dru know I didn't stand around waiting in that booth all evening...I'm afraid it's pretty obvious I still lack that patience I should cultivate..."

"Well...Thanks, Angel...As always..."

Just tell Spike...Angelus still gloats about getting there first...he eyed his vampiral grandson...Who stared... "After you, of course...Will..." he grinned... "Allowing for Cicely..."

A groan within...

"And here I was all set to say something nice like... "Darla's waiting for you..."..." Will grinned back... "Just how many prayers do you have to say after pulling one like that?..."

"Fellas?...Get in here!..." Buffy hissed, standing at the stall side doorway...

Enough with the self-sacrifice...This is supposed to be a stake-out.

"I couldn't begin to calculate..." Angel looked out one last time, turning to follow William...

"But God has infinite mercy, even for my many failings...And picturing Spike right now...It's worth a few centuries on one's knees..."

A priest...And struggling to do my best by the Almighty...But never a saint by any means, William...Angel grinned to him...Will nodding back with a return grin...As they entered to Buffy's relief.

"You know it might be wise not to always be inviting vampires into your hiding places, girl..." Will groused to Buffy...

Hmmn...She considered...A quick smile to Will Jr. as Angel and Xander pulled off to quietly discuss the obstacles to penetrating the future lair...

Worked out pretty well for me so far...she coyly grinned... But gave Angel a frown having heard his description of the tunnel as far as the barricade...

"You went in there without any back-up?..." Never underestimate those ole Slayer senses, boys...she eyed them.

"God...Pardon the language, Father...You and this idiot of mine...When are you gonna grow up?...Geesch, Angel...You're a priest..."

"I suppose you're right, Buffy...I should set a better example..." Angel sighed... "But I thought it might spare you all some risk later to know what's down there before our friends move in en masse and get entrenched...."

"No good if you don't live to bring back that info...Besides...Who else am I gonna get to baptize this one...?" she nudged William.

Angel grinned... "For the sake of experiencing that delightful, blessed moment, Buffy dear...I will promise to be more circumspect..."

"And the best way to begin is for you lot to be heading back to entertain our guests..." William cut in...

"The Reverend Father and I can deal with things here until the Sister takes over..."



Not without me...Buffy frowned...Firmly...Especially after Angel's little escapade...

"There is no way in Hell I'm leaving you two clowns here alone to relive old battle memories...And try to show me up..."

"Well...Far be it from me to deny the beauty of true love, my friends..." Angel sighed, shaking his head... "Or fail to express my appreciation for your kind support..." All looked at the sound of Sallie's yelp as she tripped on a loose board in the stall...

"But I think if we want our enemies to ever show their heads we'd best keep this a limited operation..."

***

"Well..." Mephisto beamed at Amy and Harold as he reviewed the battle plan...Rona, key element that she was, in attendance...

"Tomorrow our dear Rona will bring our special candy to Sunnydale Elementary, while we..." He looked around the function hall at the newly restored ranks of his vampiral family...Must secure some additional replacement human pets asap... "Sit tight here until nightfall and then move on to our new home at Lake Sunnydale..."

Waterfront property...Rona nodded thoughtfully...Always a good investment...

"And, with any luck, by the time we reach our new place and are well moved in...Joyous news regarding dear Ms. Summers-Walthrop will have reached us..."

"And then I get to take her place with her kids...?" his new co-actor/mate, listening by his side, eagerly chimed in... "'Cause I'm gonna need a little more background on them if I'm gonna play their mom before I kill 'em..."

"Of course, dear girl..." Mephisto beamed... "We'll go carefully over the whole role today while we await our liberation from the sun..."

"Liberation?..." she frowned... "You mean that stuff about sunlight and vampires is true...?"

"Yes, afraid so, my girl...One good beam and we're toast..."

What a kid, Harold groused to himself...They come up so ignorant these days...

Shame...We could've had her take a stroll into downtown Sunnydale...Gretchen hissed to Cheryl as they stood barely in earshot range, listening...

Shame...I look...er looked...So good filmed under natural light...the former actress sighed to herself.

***

Despite Willow's cheerful insistence on driving the Sister over for her shift about an hour later...Strictly anxious Mom Rosenberg on this one, she noted...Both she and Tara-Dru showed clear relief at Cordy's offering to ride over as well...Willow noting that her years in England had made her a bit fuzzy as to the correct side of the road, especially late at night...While the Sister, rarely having driven even in her Tara days...

Cordy kindly accepting that as the source of their skittishness at being alone together...And anxious on her part to see her former boss and lover rescued from his well-meant "support team"...

"How's Giles these days?..." Cordy asked as they moved through downtown Sunnydale to the freeway...

"Stiff-upper lipped as ever...And determined to raise his children as such..." Willow grinned...Turning up the freeway ramp...

And Wesley?...she gave a hasty glance...

"The Watchers' Council raised good husband material..."Cordy beamed.



Absolutely...Tara-Dru chimed in from the back...Willow giving a slight, involuntary frown...

That wasn't meant to press, Rosenberg...the Sister gave a quick, telepathic apology...

Thanks...

"But, you couldn't find a better than Giles..." Cordy grinned...Sorry, I get any telepathy and then some, not meaning to eavesdrop...she thought to her companions.

"Did I mention I hate telepathy as a form of communication?..." Willow smiled...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXIV...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXIV...

The Lake Sunnydale fairgrounds...Nearing one am...

"Well...This brings back memories, eh boys?..."

Sister Tara-Dru grinned at her startled...And rather sheepish-looking companions, particular the Reverend Father...As she, William, and Angel observed the new lair entrance of the Mephisto pride from their vantage point...Buffy having finally been persuaded to return to her guests with Willow and the teens on Will's solemn promise...Backed by the Sister's to hold him to it...To avoid anything approaching even mild heroics.

"Sorry..." she put a hand, shaking her wimple at them...Angel looking more guilty by the second as he stared at her...

""I don't mean to rake up the past..." she glanced around the grounds, nothing in sight or heightened sensation range... "But I don't forget what I sensed from both of you, gentlemen...Even then...The kindness in you, Will...The sorrow and regret in you, Angel...I knew, I did...I felt it, even trapped as we all were..."

"And we were a family, too, in a way...Our souls I mean...As limited as our contact was..."

You both did what you could for me...she smiled at them...I sensed it then, I know it now...

Sorry...she eyed Angel, then Will...But one of us had to bring it up one of these days...

"Not really something we can keep wrapped up and forgotten forever, you know..."



"Dru..." Angel sighed... "When you talk like this, my heart breaks...You are, as you always were...A true angel..."

Amen...William smiled at them...

"Well..." she gently grinned back... "I am, after all, in part a daughter of the Angel clan...So I suppose...I can accept..."

"Now...Girl..." Angel patted her, a touch she did not flinch from, slight sternness in his voice but a beam in his eye and a tear on his face...

"It's simple cruelty to get Angelis to thinking his moment is nigh..."

***

"So...Ya shee...See..." Dawn carefully explained to Clem...Dear ole Clement...My sweet ole babasitter...she patted...

"In New York...We kinda move beyond the tra...tradishonal confines ofa relashionship..." she waved her drink a bit in emphasis...Clem nodding kindly but with a slight look of concern...And disapproval..Fred engaged in conversation with an eager returned Willow regarding some dimensional transport experiments.

Buffy giving an occasional, frowning look over...Matched rather surprisingly by her daughter and son...

Auntie Dawn has gotta let this go...Will Jr. and Amelia eyed each other...As Dawn continued her description of the non-traditional NYC approach to relationships...

Allowing, as she had been hinting for some time...Following her third martini...For more flexible relations between consenting adults...Even those already engaged in such trashid...tradish...er things like good ole marriage...Which was a fine instit...thing...she noted...

But often required...And benefitted from...Loosining up...She gave dear Clem a careful, if wavering look.

Loose like her bra...Buffy sourly thought as she came over...

"Dawn?...It's getting late..." she stared at her sister...

"Wha...?...It's early..." Dawn frowned back...Holding Clem's arm...

And the other guys aren't back yet...she noted...We gotta hold...De fort...For em...Till they come marchin' home.

"They'll be fine...It's time you called it a night..." Buffy glared...

Clem patted his old charge gently... "We should get headed home...And you should get to bed, Dawny..." he smiled at her...Sorry, he grinned...Ole habits die hard.

Wha?...she looked at him...Holding on to his arm...

Not yet...she shook her head...We're havin' a good time...A good time...she looked over at Fred, still talking to Willow...

Freddy's busy...she noted...Pointing...

"I don' wan' ya to go, Clemy...Please..." she stared at him...

Please...

"Well..." he smiled at her, looking over at Buffy...Wesley and Cordy now giving careful glances their way...Xander as well...Anya and Sallie engaged in collecting the young ones for departure...



"We'll be a few more minutes...But only ten, Miss Dawny..." he eyed her sternly... "Then you keep your promise and hit the hay..."

Yeah...she nodded happily...Sitting down beside him.

Thanks, ole fellow...Buffy smiled at him...He returning the slightest of nods...Xander moving over to Buffy, a smile likewise for Dawny's dependable ole guardian...

Poor kid, he sighed to himself, eyeing the happily prattling Dawn...Thank God I grew a brain, he eyed Anya, now carrying a sleeping Alex to the car.

A poetic resouled vampire...And a fuzzy Harvey of a demon...he thought, shaking his head slightly...Only my sweet Summers sisters could have love lives like this...

"All set..." Anya tapped him... "Lets go...(Make whoopee...her voice dropping to a whisper)..."

Only my sweet sisters...And me...And...He grinned at Fred, Willow, and Cordelia, now chatting their preliminary goodbyes...A few dear friends...he thought...

Wise us...To see beyond the traditional relationship.

***

Will and Angel having safely returned to a nervous, if half-dozing Buffy, seconded in her vigil by her first-born son and paternal namesake, a hour after the guests had departed...The Summers-Walthrop home was at last quiet, except for one pacing inhabitant...

Whose own first-born, male...Found her at 4:30 am preparing to head out...

Just in case the Sister needed a little back-up as she got pooped towards shift end...And in case the pride made an attempt to move in in the last predawn hours, Willow noted to her Abe.

"Ok if I come?..." he eyed her...Blinking as he wavered a bit in the living room...

Yeah...Sure...Willow nodded...Somewhat eager for company, actually...And not just in terms of keeping awake on the ride over...

Just didn't like her being all alone over there...she noted as they got in the car...A quick cell phone call having confirmed that the Sister was in fact quite well and unbothered.

"I understand, Mum..." Abe grinned wanly at her...A gentle pat as they pulled out...Willow halting the car abruptly...And sobbing on the wheel...

"I love your Dad...I love him...You know that..." she sobbed...As he patted her...

"He knows that, Mum..." he hugged her... "He knows..."

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXV...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)



Part XXV...

Lake Sunnydale fairgrounds, dawn...

"Ok..." Willow nodded at Tara-Dru...Who beamed at her and Abe as the three stood in the dark booth near the would-be new lair...And carefully removed her wimple, letting her hair fall...

Wait...Willow nervously called as the Sister headed out to the waiting dawn...

"Tara, wait!..." she hurried out, Abe following...

"Look at it Willow!..." Sister Tara-Dru gazed at the rising sun, lighting up the clouds... "I can never get tired of it...God in all his glory greeting us..." she held her spell-protected arms out to it...

Not hard to see why ancients worshiped that big ball of hydrogen...she grinned...

"Just don't push it, ya know..." Willow murmured... "I know you've used it lots of times, but it only takes one failure..."

And even with the spell working it's not good to stare at the sun directly...

"I'm so grateful to you and Giles, Wil..." the Sister smiled at her...Still feeling the warmth on her face and hands... "Angel and William too, I know..."

At times like these...she sighed to her companions...I mourn for all of them...she shook her head...

"All my...Our...Brothers and sisters trapped in that horror..." she indicated the lair entrance...

"A lot of them are safe in Heaven, Sister..." Abe noted... "And some souls voluntarily merged with their evil natures..."

Not Heaven, Abe...she sadly eyed the sun...Then him... Not most of them...

"Limbo..." she shuddered... "Limbo...Where the soul watches the horror, helpless..."

Never question what Buffy and the rest of you guys do...she suddenly turned to them...

"Every soul you free from that...Nightmare...Honors you..."



"I wish we could do more..." Willow sighed wistfully... "Giles and I have talked it over with the Council, attempting a large-scale version of your spell...Or whatever restored Darla...And William..."

But they all have their drawbacks...And it seems using so much mystic energy...Necessarily coming from Hellmouth gates around the world...

"No..." Tara-Dru eyed her firmly... "Don't take the risk...Besides, most would not appreciate life as a human-souled vampire, particular those few who have moved on to Heaven at last..."

But I am content...she hastily added...Smiling at them...

"Dru has what she wanted most...A life of service and a chance to make amends..." Willow frowning, she grinned back...Ok... "Well, a chance to help those hurt in the struggle..."

And Tara...she paused... Has her family back...

"And knows she's finally done what she came to Sunnydale to do...Help Cicely and William..."

Willow eyed her...Standing in the dawn sun...

"Look..." Abe pointed, a smile on his face... "You're casting a shadow, Auntie..." Tara-Dru looking in wonder...

They say back home...If you cast a shadow, it's your soul showing...he grinned at her...

I remember...the Sister nodded...

Can we have five alone, Abey?...she looked at him...He nodded and with a smile at the Mum, headed over towards the car...Willow glancing after him, a hair nervous for her first-born...Nope no daylight-capable demons closing in, visually or by aural sensation...she carefully noted...

"Wil?..." she took Willow's hand... "You know Tara loves you..."

But you also know the situation's still the same...?

"Yeah..." Willow sighed, nodding... "I know..."

Marrying Rupert...If you want to...the Sister carefully went on...Is not rejecting Tara...

"It's my decision..." Willow hastily noted... "And I'll decide what's best for me...Like you did for you..."

Though...she grinned wanly... I do appreciate you're takin' an interest in my love life...

"Can't stand by and see you end up like poor Dawny..." Tara-Dru smiled...

Poor kid...they both sighed...

"She was drinking again last night...All over poor Clem..." Willow shook her head...

No wonder Mephisto found her an easy mark...

She'll find her way...Tara-Dru insisted...Just give her some time...

She's a Summers...They always find their footing again...

They walked along, occasionally checking the grounds, Willow waving to Abe by the car...

"When you live...And Unlive...As long as I have, girl..." the Sister began...



"You realize we don't...We can't...Expect to live all our lives with one person...Or two, if we do ok with parents...Even if one person can sum love up for us..."

Even Cicely-Buffy and William have loved other people...And the love was sincere, believe me...

"It doesn't mean they aren't the soulmates they know they are...Just that there are aspects of them in this infinite universe that can reach out to others..."

There's a part of me...Of Dru...That's in love with William...she eyed Willow...

"I'm sure you...And his Missus...Know that..."

How could poor Dru help but love the man who forgave her and tried to help her all these years...Who reached out to save her when no one else...she paused...Misting...

"I'm sorry, Dru..." Willow looked at her... "We never should have left you like that...All those years..."

Sorry...the Sister waved a hand...A Sister, not a saint...But I know what you...Angel too...Faced these years...I couldn't be a priority when the world was in danger...

"Still...You understand?...A part of Dru...The girl like any other innocent, romantic girl...Can't help loving William...The knight in poetic armor...Leaky poetic armor, perhaps..." she rolled her eyes at Willow who chuckled... "But a knight all the same...Who helped to keep her soul alive, helped it escape to find life and love as Tara...And led the charge to free her from the darkness..."

"I understand..." Willow nodded... "And Buffy understands..."

"But keeps an occasionally sharp, if loving eye on me..." the Sister grinned...Willow chuckling a bit...Well...

Dru loves God...Tara-Dru resumed...And lives to serve him...

But being able to occasionally see her William...Free, happy, and loved at last...Is not something she finds difficult to take...

Just as Tara loves to see her Willow content...

"Do what you want, Wil...What's right for Willow...But don't decide based on trying to prove something to me...To Tara..."

I know you love me...And that part of you will find that part of me in Heaven...And that part of you that loves Giles will stay with him...

"It's a big universe...And our lives lead many paths...At once..." she smiled... "It's confusing, but it will all get sorted out in Heaven..."

Just ask Buffy...she grinned...

Eh...Willow grinned back, waving a hand...Buffy never took notes...I'd have to try Cicely under hypnosis...

"Thank God...Buffy-Cicely, and William the Bloody...I met you...and found you again my Tara..." she smiled at her...

"Don't worry about me...My love...My other loves will take care of me..." she glanced over at Abe...Now watching them, obviously a little nervous...

"But my heart will never close on you..."

I should hope not...the Sister sniffed... "I was always a little worried you were just experimenting back in college..." a sly grin...

***

Master bedroom of the Summers-Walthrop home...

"7:15 am...Up and at 'em, pet..."

A low moan from the female member of the Summers-Walthrop writing and matrimonial team as the other half's disgustingly cheery voice announced the time...

Never again...Buffy solemnly promised herself...Forcing one eye open at a time...To find at least one pleasant sight...Hello, there my beauty, she thought briefly before resuming groan mode... in the form of one William Soames Walthrop lying next to her...Apparently exhausted by said cheery effort...His usual valiant attempt...for me...she thought...Well...

Never again am I ever having guests over on a school night...Some slight signs of life in her distaff side...Hmmn...

Sounds from around the house suggesting that duty...Parental duty...Was about to call...Arggh...

She eyed her husband's back...His head now moving a bit...My treasure, my reward for two lifetimes as Slayer, she beamed a little...And worth every moment of danger or suffering...

God, I sure made the right choice in 1880...Even if panic and shame lead me to a nearly irretrievable disaster...

My own true...My soulmate in all Eternity...My immortally loving partner...With a heart so big that even his vicious demon couldn't fight it off in the end...She smiled at him a bit...Then winced as a wave of head aching hit...Ohhh...She opened her eyes again...Light...Bad...

Hmmn...She eyed his back again...An arm moving now... "Buffy..." he gave a brief whisper...My loving sucker, she thought slyly...Not that I should take advantage of his generous human nature...Too often...

But God, my head is splitting...

She groaned a bit more loudly...He turned over, raising a head on one elbow...

"Sweetheart?...You ok?..."

Uhnnn....She groaned again...

"Stayed up too late, Slayer-girl...You're not getting younger, you know..." he grinned at her as she opened her eyes...The green emeralds of his personal treasure chest...More precious than any gem could ever be...

She whacked him on the arm...Jackass...He groaned...

"Always the way with you..." he shook his head... "A recourse to violence...Girl, check yourself in for some therapy, pronto..."

"After I kill you...Uhnnn..." she moaned...

"Well...Let me rephrase...You're not getting younger but you're getting...More grumpy and a bit senile...Old biddy Buffy I shall start to call you, soon..."

Ow!...he curled into a defensive ball as she whacked...Then resorted to tickling...

"All right...I give..." he twisted helplessly under her torture...

"Insensitive...Little...Jerk...You lose your soul this mornin' or what?..." she briefly suspended punishment...

Uhnnn...She closed her eyes...

"You all right?..." he asked, a bit more seriously...



"Awful...And my husband giving me just what I need..." she groused...Miserable cheery daylight...

Holy Shit!!...She jumped up...William!...She pointed, shrieking... "Duck, baby!!...We left the damned curtains open!!..." She threw the covers over him... "Oh God protect my poor husband's soul!...Forgive him any transgressions!..." she hastily mumbled...

"Honey...I'm fine...Xander's UV resistant glass, remember?..." he sighed from under the covers...And his wife... Say?... "What's with the 'transgressions' bit?...I do something Spikean at the party last night?..." he gently pushed her off...Poking head out to stare at her...

"Keep down till I pull anyway...I still don't trust that stuff..." she moved over him...Sorry...And the bed to the main window, pulling curtains...Phew... "All clear..." He looked up at her... "Transgressions...?" he repeated...As she crawled back across the bed to him...

As in...Do I need to pick up flowers, etc...Or what?...Spike...? he hissed inwardly...What the hell did you do last night?...

What?...I didn't do anything...Spike groused within...

Though of course I could've easily brushed your poof soul aside if I'd wanted...And committed unspeakable acts...he noted...Only my incredible love restraining me...You do know that I taught Harris everything he knows about incredible world-saving love...?

Buffy sighed...

"Sorry...Cicely fugue...Wants to have all the bases covered, Will...As does the Buffy part of this lady...Which by the way..." she began...

"Buf...I am not going to let that brooding imitation of Christ pour blessed water over my head...My burning head I might add...." Damned straight, Spike noted within...

Though...If our Buf really insists...And assuming it would lead to several nights' incredible bliss...I, the demon condemned by evil could nobly see my way clear...At considerable cost in suffering...

Shut up, you...This is a matter of principle...Will noted inwardly...Principle, schinciple...What's a few minor convictions earnestly held by a poof poet to making our Buffy-Cics happy?...

"Only mild burns...Maybe nothing, considering your soul and recent career...William...." she whined... "Honey...This matters..." She eyed him...Sensed his distraction...Good ole Spike...she thought, beaming...

Knew he'd cave...

"What does Spike say?..." she asked innocently...As he stared at her...Hmmn...

Hitting below the belt appealing to the Condemned One...Even Spike was mildly annoyed at the obvious assumption of his gullibility...Ooops, she instinctively realized she'd shot past the mark...A hair too quick to exploit the opening...She fell back on pleading...

"This is important to me...To Cicely..."

Ah...Will smiled...

Heh, heh...Both Spike and Will chuckled inwardly at the opening...been waiting weeks for her to slip up...

"You're becoming much too indulgent of Cicely, Buffy..." William noted as solemnly as he could as she began kissing him, starting at upper right shoulder and working across... "It may be psychologically unhealthy for you..." Absolutely...Spike solemnly echoed...And we once consulted Sigmund Freud for poor Dru...(But don't interrupt her at her current activity, please...)



"Oh, please..." she sneered at him, head up and staring into his face... "I'm the psychology major and that's the biggest load of..."

"Moooooommmmaaaa!...You up?!...I can't find my..." Phil began, calling from the hallway...

Will looked up at her...And they both looked at the door, then each other...

"We can either argue baptism for our last five minutes alone...Or we can cuddle..." he eyed her...

Cuddle?...Hell, what I could do with five minutes, poof...Spike muttered within...

I am a weak, weak person...Buffy sighed five minutes later as she got up to brush teeth...

But I'll get him there yet...A Slayer gleam...Like hell I'm leaving any chance of my soulmate winding up there with Dru's demon...Darla's...Or my own...

Some things sisters just can't share...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXVI...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXVI...

Likewise that morning...About 7:30...The function hall where Mephisto and co continued his 'birthday' bash...

"Hello, Abigail, honey...It's me...Mommy..." a gentle smile to the 'girl' across from her...Though something harsh in the back of those green eyes... "Camere and give me a big..."

"Amelia..." Harold hissed... "The oldest girl's name is Amelia..."

Oh, right...Amelia...the blonde vampiress nodded...Sorry...The brown-haired 'young girl' across from her gave a frown...Thought she was a trained actress...If she can't keep a few simple names straight we're dead meat trying this even with the Slayer dead...

Mephisto patiently watching from his chair...She's certainly got the Slayer's body movement down from our videos he noted to Rona...Now finishing up for her candy run to Sunnydale Elementary...She just needs a bit more practice interacting with the character's family...

Does look like her in that outfit, Rona had to admit...Seems kinda undeadishly overacting though...



"Well...She is supposed to be dead...And back..." Mephisto noted... "My hope is that she'll kill the children with Walthrop convinced his turned Buffy is the monster who carried out this hideous crime...Thanks to his lack of caution in having her checked throughly enough after her mysterious death..." He dropped voice to a whisper for the sake of sparing his new mate... "Forcing him to hunt his own beloved down...And destroy her..." No need for the poor girl to know the final act of his little playlet...He eyed the blonde as she resumed her mark...Ok, she nodded to Harold...

"If that doesn't get him to contemplate suicide..." the vamp lord grinned... "What will?..."

"It is me, Amelia..." the blonde gave a sad smile to her scene partner... "I've come back to be with you...Don't be afraid of me...It's Mommy...You know how I always manage to find my way back..."

Four times and counting...Though maybe it havin' been hypothermia that saved her the time those guys almost drowned her in that New England lake when she was on vacation that one doesn't really count...Damn the bitch...Rona sighed...And I've no doubt she'll dig her way out of her grave again, even if we nail her with this crazy plan...

Well, worth it to see ole Harry there bite the big one...she beamed at Harold, now fussing over his direction of the 'actress' vamp... "Ms. Summers-Walthrop pitches her voice a bit higher...Joe, play that tape of the Slayer's voice again..."...Her most winning and sales-landing smile...Enjoy yourself, jackass...By tomorrow night when this one flops you're history...

A vamp entered the function hall from the outer hallway...Still swathed in bandages with heavy overcoat against the early morning sun...He approached Mephisto after being checked over by several guards at the door, kneeling as he reached the Presence...

"Frederick..." Mephisto acknowledged him, motioning him to rise... "Alls well at Lake Sunnydale I trust...?"

Several other vamps, Gretchen and Cheryl among them, looked over...A report from the new lair...A lair at last equipped with beach, they'd happily noted to each other earlier on being informed of their new projected homesite....

"So far, quiet, sir...Except..." the short vamp hesitated...Clearly nervously anticipating being counted among the ranks of Mephisto's 'sons'...

Except...? a deep sigh...As Mephisto eyed him...Uneasy lies the head...Both of the messenger bearing bad news and him who wears the crown...

"Two of our people...And a human...Are unaccounted for..." Fred eyed him...

"One was Reggie, our Bantha demon...He was out hunting and never returned...The others were a little more worrisome...Edgar and his dinner went to make a circuit last night and vanished..."

Though we did sweep the fairgrounds above around two am when they hadn't returned and found nothing...

Doesn't bode well for our moonlit nights on the lake beach...Cheryl sighed to Gretchen...

"A bit worrisome indeed..." Mephisto nodded...Well... "I should hate to give up on our new home without reason...But caution is clearly indicated..."

"Keep a few of my pets posted above...Have them report throughout the day until we're ready to come tonight...Surely the Slayer and her followers won't be able to resist saving a few poor enthralled humans if they should be watching..."

And by tonight, her followers should have larger concerns occupying them in any case...Such as waiting by her deathbed...he smiled...

"Hey...(Philip...Harold hissed...) Philip..." the blonde back-from retirement-as-well-as-the-grave actress took a more natural tone, from the video recorded at no small cost the night of the mall attack on Buffy and her younger son... "It's Mom...I'm here, honey...Everything's gonna be fine now...Camere and give Mommy a big hug..." she put her arms out to the male (young adult, there being no Anointed Ones available...Or tolerated...) who with slight reluctance came over... "Oh...Mom..." he sighed, a bit woodenly...



"It's gonna be just fine..." the false Buffy, hugging him, repeated, a rather good murmuring tone, the group watching noted...Gee, I shoulda had kids myself, she noted to herself...Donning vamp face and diving for the neck...Stopping just short of contact...

"And cut..." Harold waved his hands... "That was great..." he gave a thumb's up...Kid's definitely got potential, he noted to an assistant...Who rolled eyes as the proud director of three elementary school plays turned to give his attention to other matters...

In particular to looking to ensure the successful outcome of the little murder scheme on which his existence depended...

"Excellent job, my dear...The voice and manner are reaching perfection..." Mephisto beamed at his new mate, clapping a bit...As the former actress beamed...Well...

"Just give me a few more rehearsals to get some more of the kinks out and I really think I can give you what we'll need...Lord..." she happily and proudly noted...

She is never gonna pass with those kids...Cheryl, in a reasonably safe from reprisal rear spot in the hall, shook her head...Cher...Gretchen beside her hissed...Watch it...

Kinda be nice to have a few kids of my own at last...the imitation Buffy thought...Acknowledging the more or less sincere applause of various vampiral peers around the room...And this way sure avoids the usual months of pregnancy down time...

***

"Mom...?!...I need to use the bathroom!..." Amelia knocked at the main bathroom door...

"Sorry...A couple of minutes...Your dad's doing his 'morning thing'..." Buffy called back... "We'll vent the room out and be right out...

Hmmn...Why 'Auntie' Willow and 'Uncle' Rupert had to come up with a daylight spell that ends with smoke and noxious gases...Amelia fumed...

Still, better here than in my new basement room like they useda do...It'd stink up all my stuff for weeks...

Course, it is odd none of us have ever actually smelled the gases or seen the smoke...And Auntie Willow did seem surprised when I mentioned it to her, wondering if she couldn't, ya know, tweak it a bit towards the more ecofriendly kind of spell...

"We should've got up an hour earlier..." Buffy hissed to William, patting him in the shower as he finished reading the spell... "It'll just take a few minutes..." he pointed out... "And we did warn her when we let her have..."

"I mean we coulda had some more time in here...It's hard enough getting the kids to still buy the stuff about the spell after-effects..." she replied...Jabbing him a bit... Lil' more romance there, Walthrop...You're gettin' kinda smug about your standin' with your Slayer, boy...

"Like you'd've thanked me for waking you up a hour earlier?..." he grinned at her... "And as Spike just said...Letting you sleep when we wanted you so badly was the romantic gesture..."

Yeah?...She grinned back...How...badly?...

Like letting Evil destroy the world so long as I get my girl...Badly...he gave her a hard stare...Yeah?...Ummn...She waved hands like a balance...Not bad...But...I've seen better...

From me, poof...Spike noted within...See, I still be champ when it comes to wanting our blondie girl...

"Like running to Africa to fetch a soul no matter what the consequences...Badly..." William smiled...

Ummn...Thanks...Spike, a bit startled...Not used to receiving open praise from his counterpart...



Don't mention it, brother...And thank you...Always...

"You've made Spike's month with that one, I'll bet..." Buffy grinned, seeing his slightly distracted look... He nodded, a wry smile... "Yeah...Well...For what he did for us that day, I think he deserves the occasional pat on the back..."

"And kiss..." she nodded in turn, kissing him... "But only for that, Spike..."

"Anyway...Badly enough to risk door pounding?..." she stroked his arms and embraced him... "Not to mention she's gonna catch on that there's no smoke or smell..." Though the open window and vents carrying it fast explanation might work, she noted..."Maybe we should do it on the front porch from now on in the morning, if we can..."

"Risk door pounding, eh?...By our own mistress of impatience?...Oh, yeah..." he nodded...Turning to embrace her... "Spike likes the front porch idea by the way..."

Indeed, do...the demon noted within... "Yeah?...I thought he'd like that..." she grinned... "Though I bet he'll be the one to double check all the interior window curtains facing that way were closed..."

I thought she was talking about the spell...Spike gasped within...Now, brother...Will grinned inwardly...You're a big boy demon...You know we don't go to all this elaborate trouble for a spell that takes ten minutes...

Just one sec...Will opened the shower door and held a hand out to the open window as she watched, a little nervous...Never quite trust that damned thing...

"Seems fine..." he pulled the hand back, smiling at her... "And I should tell you, Mrs. Summers-Walthrop...My demon is shocked at your lewd suggestion...If he'd known you'd be leading us down this dark path..."

She was kidding, right?...You wouldn't?...I mean where the kiddies might see...

"Will?..."

"I think he really is..." he blinked at her, grinning... But then, he having such intimate knowledge of what you're capable of, darling...

Whoops!...he stepped back from her whack... "And that one's definitely for you, soul-boy..." she noted...

And definitely deserved...Spike called within...

She turned the shower on...Hugging him as the steam rose...

"See...Honey...This is sorta like a baptism..." she coyly noted... "You can't say this is so bad...."

Girl...he frowned...

I could live with it...the demon called...Poof...What's a little burning and moral compromise to pleasing our girl?...

"Mom!...Dad!...C'mon!..." Amelia called...Banging on the door...

***

Lake Sunnydale fairgrounds...Morning, about 8 am...

"Ladies?...And gentleman?..." Angel carefully hissed as he entered the stakeout booth...

Hey, Angel...Willow gave a wave...Abe as well...Tara-Dru finishing her wimple replacement...

"Father..." she nodded, smiling as she stepped forward, headpiece in place...Alls well...she noted...Very quiet since that one outing round 2 am...No new arrivals yet...



"Good...Sounds like they aren't moving till nightfall then..." he nodded...Raising a bag... "I took the liberty of bring you all some breakfast...Bagels, coffee, orange, grapefruit, and...For you, Sister...Cranberry juice..."

"You are a Prince, sir..." Tara-Dru smiled...

"Willow?..." he turned to her... "My never-ending thanks to you and Giles...For the chance to enjoy this beautiful morning..."

"If you brought my favorite cheese bagels...The debt is paid, Father..." she grinned...He giving a slight bow in return...Her cell phone buzzing, she moved off...

"It's Xander!..." she called out... "Hey, Xander..."

"So...You got to see what this work is mostly all about, eh Abe?..." Angel gave him a wry look as they grabbed coffee...

"Ninety-...Often ninety-nine...Percent watching and waiting...Punctuated by a few minutes' action..."he explained...

"And the less 'action'...The better..." the Sister noted...

"And of course one must always listen to their speeches..." Angel smiled... "No matter how unoriginal the defiant pronouncements of violent vengeance and doom may seem...It's a courtesy thing..."

"And have suitable witty banner on hand..." Tara-Dru added...With a grin...

"Anyway the research can be quite fascinating..." she noted... Right, Father?...Catching Angel in a major eye roll...

Ah, well...he chuckled a bit sheepishly...Not my best strength...Shame as it is for a priest to admit...Scholarly study has never been my forte...

"I can however lift heavy things, like these..." he eyed the hefty book on the booth table... "So I am of some help to the Sister in her work in areas besides violence..."

God makes the best use of us for His purposes...the Sister patted him...

"We've been going over some of the demon forms..." she raised a page of the obviously ancient demonology book...One of Giles' collection, recently given to his son as a gift...

"Anyone we knew listed?..." Angel eyed the book... "Quite a rare one, that...Hope you're taking care of it..."

"Mum's put some kind of an anti-wear-and-tear spell on it...Else she'd never let me handle it..." Abe noted...

Hmmn...Think I roomed with him around 1800 after a spat with Darla...Angel pointed out a large, slit-eyed hard-red-shelled demon...Looks like a humanish lobster, Abe blinked...

"Yeah, but not much good boiled..." Father?...the Sister frowned...As Abe stared...

So they...Say...Angel smiled benevolently...

***

Mephisto's function hall...

"Ok, then..." a nervous Harold eyed the candy Rona was preparing to have loaded into her car by several of Mephisto's pet humans... "We're all set, right...?"

Yeah... "Less your partner the strung-out witch screwed this one for you, Harry..." Rona smiled benevolently... "Sorry ya can't come and see to things yourself...But you having a leetle prob with being deader than a post and all..." Hmmn, much as I must want this one to succeed for my Lord's sake...she thought...To see Harry bite it big time...



"I'm sure it'll all go well...Just make sure the Slayer's kids get plenty to take home..." he noted...

"I'll keep my ass up, pal...Don't worry...If this stuff is what your Wendy claims you'll be riding high tonight or tomorrow...If not..." she waved a hand at the zombie-like human pets... "You know our Lord loves you like a son...Of whom he can get many..."

Hmmn...Harold watched her stride off...Bitch...If our Lord ever takes the whammy off her...I won't even kill her for the sheer joy of watching her relive the past seventeen years of thralled slavery...

Well, ok...I would kill her...But not until she'd really suffered, received therapy, and just started to recover the hope of a normal life...

"Good luck, Rona..." he called as she headed out...Waving as she glared back at him, then bowed to Mephisto who waved as well... "Break a Slayer's neck..." the former actress called from her place by her new mate...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXVII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXVII...

8:00 am...The Summers-Walthrop home...

"Hey there, Puss..." William stroked the family cat...Puss by name... "Buffy" having been rejected outright by the Missus years ago...

Grrr...Spike growled within...Sensitive Puss returning in kind...Though continuing to tolerate Will's petting, having long ago grown used to the presence of the Spiked One within...

Don't growl at my cat, Spike...William frowned inwardly...Ahhh...The demon sneered...The fur balls are just annoying nuisances...And an early-warning system against our... Your, Will firmly corrected...Kind...

Besides...I do so love the little dears...Deep fried...

"Sp...ikkke..."A Buffy returned from carpooling the two youngest, tapped the somewhat-distant William out of his stare... "Will, is Spike pestering Puss again?...Tell him to knock it off or we'll let the older kids know he doesn't like Puss..."

Not like Puss?...Spike glared within...I just said I'd love to have her over for dinner...Maybe one of those smoothie things?...I mean, Kittys:Blenders-They just naturally go together, right? he noted...



Spike...For your own sake...The Mis...sus...Will noted...Right, the demon sneered back...And like she's gonna break off relations with you to hurt me, poof?...I'd say my damned position is pretty damned secure...he chortled within...Concentrating...As Puss snarled a bit...Aw, Pussie no like demonic ultravibes?...Heh, heh...

"Spike!..." Buffy fumed, grabbing the cat... "You keep this up and you never get another kiss specifically for you...I mean it...Plus I will tell Amelia and Will Jr what exactly makes Puss so jumpy round William, so help me...And you know Amelia, at least, loves Puss..."

Hmmn...No more personal smoochies?...And Joycee on non-speaking terms for a bit?...Though Will, Jr. might see his side...Spike pondered his grim and, of course, unjust fate...The typical demon's lot in existence...Of which he made his usual loud complaint to his soul 'bro'...

Sounds damned fine to me, bro...Will beamed within... Spike grumbling...Can't even torment a cat now?...Look what you've done to me, poof...Reduced me to bargaining over kitty torture...

"He'll stop, dear...The kiss and kids threats got him..." Like hell, poof!...

Buffy glaring...Hmmn...Does look bad...

She isn't gonna tell Joycee is she?...Quick, reminder her of that story I told you about the impressions I picked up from her demon when she and I were together in the crypt...What I did to Puss can't compare to the humiliation her demon would do to Xander Harris if she ever got the chance...Not to mention those Giles fantasies...

And tell her the glare's adding wrinkles by the dozen...

Bro, you don't want me to do the last bit, I promise you...Will noted within...Hmmn...Perhaps not...

"He's promised to back off Puss, sweet..." Buffy now cuddling Puss in her arms... "Nasty Spikey won' bother our Pussie again, no...no..." ...Ok, she glared again...

Right, I should know better than to play with my food...Spike noted...Hmmn...

Say, that Pussie crack doesn't mean we're out of her pants for a while again, does it?...Like the time you...We, William corrected...forgot her birthday?...Quick, poof...Come up with something endearing and remind her my evil nature is irrepressible in spite of your best efforts...No cause to cut off your daily dose of Buffy...

Spike...

I know, I know...Crash dive...The demon faded out...

"He gone below...?" Buffy eyed William, who nodded...

"Maybe we should review the latest stuff on exorcism again...?" she noted... "That always keeps him quiet even if there's never anything safe to use with you..."

"One of these days we're bound to find something to push him down permanently or I will...What?..." he looked at her somewhat less enthusiastic expression...Ummn...She stared...

"You don't want him gone for good, do you?..."

"The kids in the know would miss him..." she innocently noted... He eyeing her sternly as she let Puss down... "He does make them laugh..."

Ok, ok...I would too...she sighed... "But it's only what I see of you in him...And the occasional appropriate sarcastic commentary...Which is good for our writing ...You're too sweet to be that good at sarcasm, honey..."

Heh, heh...A cackle within...Down, boy...Will crushed the demon down...Hey!!!...



"Did I mention the interesting things Spike had to say again about your demon?..."

"I would never do what he says to Xander!...And I never fantasized about Giles!...Demon or no...!" she hastily replied...

C'mon we gotta get to the shop...she quickly shifted gears..And then I should take Sarah over to see how Willow and the others are doing at Lake Sunnydale...William glaring...Lets go, sweetie...she patted him...

Oh, baby mine...I am the Demon...Spike chuckled within...OW!!!...

***

The stakeout booth at Lake Sunnydale...Same time...

A groaning Anya entered, lugging one end of a large crate...Xander revealed at the other end a moment later...

"Hey?..." Willow eyed them...

"Brought a few things for the assault..." Anya explained... "Freeze ray, protective suits, crossbows, dart guns, flame thrower...And Xander's favorite new toy..."she frowned as he beamed... "A new type of concentrated UV projector, a large-scale version modeled on the ones on our suits..." "You guys gotta see this in action..." he nodded eagerly, lifting out what looked like a large flashlight mounted on a shotgun-like barrel...

"Keep that thing away from Angel and Tara..." Willow noted nervously...As the Sister came forward, rather eager herself to view the new toys...

"It's great Xander, but we are supposed to be on surveillance here...?" Angel pointed out... "We may not have anyone to 'assault' if we don't let them move in unmolested..."

"We were careful...Nobody saw us..." Xander insisted... "Besides, c'mon...As soon as we know they're in we're gonna need this stuff, right?...We don't wanna hit them too late like last time..."

Nobody ever sees the Harrises...Anya sighed a little...We could be the ones wielding the super Apocalypse-causing thingy...And no one would ever even notice...

Though there's something to be said for having one's spouse and family safely out of the limelight...she brightened as the Sister, catching her slightly depressed look, praised the Harrises on their new arsenal...The supernatural's all very well but nothing like having Science on your side...she grinned...

"Goodness..." she peered at the new weapon... "This reminds me of this lamp I helped my uncle build once for the miners back in my old days...It was such a beautiful thing...A kind of arc lamp it was...Saved a lot of lives, it did..." she unconsciously slipped back to an English accent... "Always thought if I didn't become a nun it might be jolly to be a lady inventor..." she smiled...

"Well..." Xander noted... "It still does have some bugs...Tends to slip out of the proper wavelength on wide angle settings..."

Long as we're not going on the warpath for a bit...Care to get greasy, Sister?...he smiled at her...Aye...she grinned back...Pulling sleeves...Ummn...She looked over at Angel...With your permission, Father?...By all means, he waved a hand, smiling...

A side of Dru I never knew...But thank God and her strong soul, never died...he thought...

"Just don't turn that thing on when you're anywheres near the front of it..." Willow nervously insisted...

***

En route to the Magic Box...8:30 am...



William quietly driving the family car, a somewhat concerned Buffy beside him...He was awful quiet the past ten minutes...Sarah in back, fortunately wearing headphones...

"Will...About Spike...You know it's not that I ever...It's just that I'd hate to see any part of you suffer..." she began...

He glanced quickly at her coolly... Aw, c'mon...she sighed... "You know it's you I waited for...Not Spike...Anyway, he's a part of you..." she tried...Uh-huh...As in?...The part that makes your hot lil' heart go...

"William!?..." she stared...And went for the ole reliable way...Bursting into tears... "How can you say that to me...?"

God knows she didn't manage to save poof little you in 1880...Spike poked up tentatively...And was immediately crushed down... Quiet, you...Will noted within...As he patted his sobbing wife... "I coulda let Spike transform me you know...I didn't die for Spike in 1880...Or come for him in 1981...or 2002..."...I know...It's all right, sweet...he sighed...

Hmmn...A thought occurred to her...She looked up... "You know baby...The baptism might even drive Spike out..." she noted... "No proof of that, but ya never know..."

Drive me out?...Ridiculous...Spike was nonchalant...This demon essence is a permanent resident...

Ummn, right bro?...I mean...After helping you and our girl the way I did...Above and beyond the call and all...

I don't know, bro...I have heard it sometimes does have an exorcisey effect...Maybe I really should consider it...Will noted...

And violate our dearly held moral beliefs and principles!?...Spike noted...Hell forbid...

"I don't deny I'm fond of Spike..." Buffy continued... "But you know it's only cause of what he's gotten from you...He was all I had left of you until you fought your way back..."

Sounds like evasion to me, Will...Why not let me run the show for a few days and see which of us she wants to keep?...OW!!...

"We're headed for Heaven if I've any say about it, sweetheart...Minus Spike...And this baptism is one of the ways to guarantee it..." she tried... "Would I push so hard for it if I preferred your darker half?..."

Sarah discretely turning her headphones off...Having noticed something interesting going on up front between "Auntie" Buf and "Uncle" Will...

Hey, poof...Better the occasional cry for her beloved Spikey during the hottest throes of passion than for you know who?...Right?...Hey!!!...

***

Sunnydale Elementary, main auditorium...9:00 am...

"All right then..." the beaming principal eyed the eager faces scattered round as the candy drive rally hit more or less high gear... "Who's ready to give their all for SES!...Yes...!..." he raised a fist as Rona, seated by him, looked out over the crowd with her best PR smile...There they are, the little dears...she noted Buffy Jr. and Phil sitting in different areas...

Image of her mother, she eyed the younger Buffy...The little bitch...Great, we kill the mommie and a few years from now...

Though if Our Lord's little playlet comes off and our Buffy can get her teeth into the role...And them...

Might be kinda nice to have a couple of kids round the lair at that...If Lord Mephisto doesn't decide to have em over for dinner instead...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXVIII...



PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)



***

Part XXVIII...

The stakeout booth at Lake Sunnydale fairgrounds...9:00am...

Things remaining quiet and the day well along...With strong support from an anxious Willow...Never too trusting of spells on which a friend's life or existence depends...Angel and Sister Tara-Dru were about to head back to the Summers-Walthrop home...

Bout time we checked in with our superiors Angel noted...The bishop wanted a report on the status of the Mouth post our sanctification...

"And our fair Sister looks about ready to drop..." he smiled at Tara-Dru's weary, yet beaming face...Rather pleased with the results of her morning labors with Xander on his latest weapon...Now much improved as in the broadfield setting...Willow and Anya having assisted but kept back, enjoying the spectacle of a eager, somewhat disheveled Drusilla buried in the works with Xander...

Not quite a picture that would have come to mind 18 years before...Willow'd quietly noted on a run to the car with Anya for several critical tools...

"Hey...Add a few more years to that and no one could've guessed I might one day be fighting with the good guys...And free..." Anya smiled...Pausing... You know...she began...

"While I do thank my Xander every day...I don't say it nearly enough to the rest of you, Willow...Thanks for saving me..." she grinned... "Cause I'm the one you folks really saved...Dru and Will were never in the danger I was with my miserable little soul involved in my crimes..."

If I escape what I deserve...A stretch in Hell forever...It's all due to you guys...

"All due to one Alexander Harris...Who saved me too..." Willow patted her...Ah, got it...Anya triumphantly pulled out the socket wrench Xander had requested...Passing it to her companion..Who placing it among the other recovered tools to be taken, gave her a wry smile...



"Say, Anya...?" Willow eyed her... "There's just one question that's been troubling me...All these years...?"

I mean it was kinda convenient...For you...

"No..." Anya replied firmly, looking at her squarely...A smile following... "But would I have done a 'gay, now' spell on you if I thought you were gonna try with Xander again back then...If I coulda?..."

You bet your sweet Wiccan life I woulda...she nodded...

***

Sunnydale Elementary Auditorium...same time...

"I can't really add much to what your principal has just said, guys..."

Rona with a bright smile at the microphone, just introduced as the new candy drive's sponsor by the beaming principal...

"Except that I know you'll give it your all for SES..." she eyed the two Walthrops, Phil and Buffy, Jr. in the sea of faces... "And let me know if I can do anything to help make this drive a success...Extra candy's available for those who exceed their quotas...The rest depends on you...Lets get out there and sell, sell, sell!..."

Yeah...she gave a warm smile to lil' Buffy as she moved to resume her seat...It depends on you, you lil'...Get home, give em a whine, and stuff this crap down Mommie's throat...

Hate to admit it, but with her on our team, Harold's little plan might just work...she thought...

***

Hmmn...Buffy pondered...Eyeing her beloved's face...A bit anxious, she noted...

A customer's arrival at the main counter of the Box pulling him away...

A Holmesian one, eh...Me...er Cicely...the Holmes...And him the Watson...Well...

Sweet of him to let me have the lead...But then, he always did...

Customer satisfied and sent off, Will returned...Scanning her face for her decision on his idea...After all, this was a partnership...

And he'd shot down his share of her proposals over the years...

She don't like it...Spike noted within...When she likes em, you can tell right off...

"If you don't like it, pet ..." he began...

"Well...No, I like it..." she replied... "It's just..."

She hates it...Move over, poof...Let a true poetic essence try his hand...Ow!...

Your villain...she hesitated...

Knew she'd hate him...Poof, to rake up our girl's hideous old memories?...Even I call that insen...

"Sounds like what I remember...Or Cicely does...Of that..." her face darkened... "Miserable bastard of a Watcher of mine..."

A fine candidate for villain...Don't get me wrong...she waved a hand...

"Didn't mean to bring up bad old memories, girl..." Will looked at her apologetically...



Stick a fork in this one, poof...A sneer from within...

"Actually...Seeing a version of ole Farris finally get his...And me doing it..." she grinned... "I'd enjoy that..." He smiled... "Just maybe a bit too much..."

I knew she'd like that...he noted inwardly...Cathartic...

Right, Spike groused within...It's cathartic when you people commit your imaginary murders...But when I so much as try to recount a single delightful kill...Even one of my more imaginative ones...With a view to helping you two out inspirationwise...

But...The other thing is...she paused...

"...I think we've done something like it before...I wouldn't want to get repetitious..."

Da...da-da...Dee-da-da...Spike began humming taps within...

On the other hand...she paused, considering... "It was one of our most popular ones...And if we maintained the same tempo and quality...With some new twists, like you were suggesting...And a strong villain whom I'd say we know well enough to flesh out pretty well...People might like it..."

"Could even lead to a mystery series..." she noted... "Though lets kill Farris in this one...I don't want him poppin' up over and over...He's haunted my dreams long enough..."

"I am sorry, love..." Will sighed... Nah...It's time we wrote him up...And out of our lives at last...she waved a hand... "Like I said, I'm just afraid I'd enjoy the killing too much...Offend our readers with a long, drawn-out torture scene..."

That's the Slayer I love...And I'd be glad to help out with that, Spike noted happily...

"Spike likes that, I'd bet..." she smiled... Oh, yeah...Will nodded...

"Well, maybe we could do it just for our own amusement...And something reasonably humane for our readers..."

A simple axe through the head when she catches up to him?...Spike suggested...Humanely quick and reasonably believable, even if fictional Cicely ain't the Slayer...

In fact...she grinned...Now that I think it through...

Remember it was my idea initially...Spike noted within...Making you the idiot poof Watson I mean...

"I'd like to try it...In fact I had some ideas along those lines back home earlier..."

Just was afraid you might think it was too soon for a sequel..But since we're on the same wavelength...As usual...she beamed...

I'm composing the torture scene even as you two speak...Spike called within...Get ready to take down the first draft, poof...

"You're making Spike very happy..." Will noted...Hey, she waved, grinning... "I'm sure my demon's loving the idea...Wherever in Hell and my id she is..."

Now...She eyed him slyly... "I've accepted your proposal, babe...How's about..."

Hang that 'Closed' sign and head for the stockroom!...We are gettin' some!...Spike joyfully called within...

"...Acceptin' mine?..." she put a hand to his chest...

Done and done!...Both 'brothers' cried within...

"It's only a leetle thing, Will..."



Oh, God...he sighed inwardly...

We no gettin' some?...Spike groaned...Tell her we agree, anything!...Caving is what you do, poof...It's your way!...

"Buffy...I would...And have...Died for you, you know that..."

Please...she eyed him...Her most innocent and pleading stare... "For me, William?..."

"Sweetheart...A man must stand by..."

"Right..." she pulled away from him, glaring furiously... "God knows you'd put principles before me any day..."

"Buffy...You're not being fair..."

"If you love me and the children...You'll do this for us...If not..." she turned away...

I'm available...Spike called within...Just a soul-removing spell away...

"When did the kids ever?..."

"You know what I mean...And they would take it seriously if you would...And they will...Too late...If not being baptized screws things up for you later..." she moved to the far side of the counter...Refusing to look at him...

Several entering customers followed by others forced them to break off and paste smiles...Buffy giving him the occasional hard glare when opportunity allowed...

Pity she couldn't just've settled for beating you unconscious, then dragging us to the font...Spike noted sadly...

Spike...

Well, no one asks infants if they want water poured over them, right?...Who says it's gotta be voluntary...

The clock struck noon...

"Lunch, dear?..." he tried as she strode past...

"I'm going out to meet Willow and Dawn and check on Xander and Anya...Have some blood with Spike, you selfish, inconsiderate..." she fumed...

Ummn...she blinked at the startled bespectacled customer standing by the counter...

"Blood pudding...My brother and I love the stuff..." Will explained pleasantly...

Yeah...And he'd make a fine one...Spike noted within...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXIX...



PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXIX...

12:20 pm...

In the Spikemobile, a rather pissed Buffy at the wheel adding her obvious distraction to Willow, Sarah, Abe, and Dawn's fears as they drove along...

Angel and Tara-Dru at the house, Angel needing to make a detailed report to his bishop, the Sister desperately in need of a little rest...

Hands folded, lily sticking up, she'd joked to Abe on her way to bed...

"Damned insensitive little son of a..." Buffy fumed...

"Buffy, watch that...!" Dawn called...The car slammed to a halt at the stop sign...All jerked violently forward...

Sorry...The Slayer noted... "Didn't see the sign..." Little posturing twerp... 'A man has his principles'...she muttered sarcastically...

Willow eyeing her children...Her endangered children...Ok, that's it...Mind-control spell time...One guaranteed to make Slayers hate driving...Yeah, something where the idea of driving his old car makes her ill...

The Spikemobile roared off...

"Buffy...Either pay attention to the road or pull over and let us off..." Dawn hissed...As she swung past a dodging car...

Yeah, yeah...Buffy waved a hand... "I'm sorry...Willow, you can stop chanting, I'll behave..."

It's just...she glared at the road...

"I know...Men are assholes...But learning that fact is no reason to commit suicide and kill the rest of us..." Dawn noted...

Present company excepted, Abe...she called back...And as the car stopped at a red light, turned to find Buffy glaring at her now...

"My husband is not an asshole..." she said coldly...



"An insensitive jerk...And former killer, sure...But not..."

"He'd be pleased to hear that...But if he's not, then you must be...Cause you're gonna get us killed over him..." Dawn replied stoutly...Returning glare...

Hmmn...Dawnie's got the glare down over the years...Willow quietly noted to Sarah...

Buffy sighed...Yeah...

"Guys...Willow...I'm really sorry...I know I shouldn't get upset like this...It's just...So important to me and he takes it so..."

Damned free-thinking mum of his...she shook her head...If he'd been baptized human, he'd never object to a second dunkin'...

"Makes sense, right Wil?..." she turned back...

"Buffy...Get out and let me drive...Or put a lid on this till we get to the restaurant..." Dawn told her as several cars behind started blaring horns at the car blocking the intersection...

Yeah, yeah...Sorry...I'm fine...she stepped on the gas and the car lurched forward...

And suddenly pulled to the side and stopped...Buffy putting her head to the wheel and bursting into tears...Handing Dawn the keys as she sobbed...Mumbling incoherently about Heaven, death, undying love, and William's doomed soul...

Abe staring as Dawn, Willow, and Sarah did their best to pat her from their respective seats...Though Dawn being careful to keep a firm grip on the keys...

Years of careful training by his father, learning to deal with agitated young women being a Watcher prerequisite, now benefitting him as he stifled the impulse to ask what the big deal was...Or to put the practical question...How do you know it would help him reach Heaven, anyway?...

***

Sunnydale High cafeteria...12:25 pm...

"Sallie..." Amelia Joyce waved to Sallie Harris...

"Hey..." Sallie took a chair and set her tray down...

Carefully avoiding noting the presence of Will Walthrop Jr across the table...

"Any word from your mom and dad...?" Joycee lowered her voice...

"I spoke to Mom...Alls well at the fair..." Sallie nodded.... "You don't think anything could happen in daylight, right?...This vamp..." Amelia gave a cautionary look as her friend's voice rose a hair...

"The guy doesn't have anybody workin' in daylight for him, right?..." she looked a bit anxious...

"They'll be fine..." Will Jr. told her... "They've done this sort of thing for twenty plus years...They're professionals..."

Yeah...Amelia chimed in... "And we've got the Sister and Father Angel standin' by...I pity this creep when the Slayer's team corners him..."

He has been slipping away from them all these years...Sallie worriedly pointed out...And even a soulless vamp...she lowered her voice at Will's look... "Has to learn a few things over time...That stunt with Aunt Dawn and all..."

Well...The guy's clever...I grant ya...Will Jr. nodded...Amelia frowning at him...Moron...We're supposed to be reassurin' not...



"And..." he continued... "It's likely he's got some daylight support..." Jackass...Joycee moved to full glare...As Sallie blinked...

"But it can't be much or he'd've tried something by day before...I was talking this over with Dad earlier...The guy must have somebody watching things by day...A few demons, some good enthrallee who can still think clearly..."

"I think I wanta call Mom..." Sallie got up... "Sallie..." Joycee took her hand... Frowning at Will Jr...Several other students nearby noting the Harris girl and the Walthrops acting weird again...

Like the time that Amelia brought a stick to show and tell back at Sunnydale Elementary and told us all she'd seen her mom used it to kill bad people...One told his neighbor...

"Moron boy don't know what he's talkin' about...Don't freak...They're fine, I'm sure..."

"I don't mean to scare you, Sal..." Will Jr. gave an apologetic look...Moving to her where she stood... "In fact, I was thinkin'...Maybe we could do something..." The girls looked at him...

"Look, his daylight guys must be handling things for him...Purchasing buildings, managing his finances...We know he uses money...Aunt Willow and Dad have been tryin' to trace his financial steps for years without luck...But more than that...They must be watchin' us...If we think this out, we might be able to make use of it..."

"Dad and Mom must have thought of this before..."Amelia frowned... "What makes you think we'd do any better..."

"We're not the famed Slayer and her husband...Or her fellow team members..." he nodded to Sallie... "Heck everyone in the underworld knows them...But, if we started looking around..."

Hmmn...

"This sounds like the idiot plan you came up with when Mom told you about her 'work' and you wanted to stay up all night and guard the yard with crosses..." Joycee shook her head...

"No vamps got into our yard for that month, right?..." he pointed out... "And all we'd have to do is watch out round the house and the Box...We could start this afternoon, after school..."

"Don't you got...Candy...To sell..." Amelia smiled sarcastically...

Candy?...Sallie stared... "My brother's going into partnership with Phil to sell candy...A real wheeler-dealer..." she explained...

Hmmn...Sallie thought, considering the possibilities...Candy, eh...Lightweight, low overhead if you don't get too fancy on the stuff or the packaging...

"So..." Will eyed his sis... "You guys take the first shift...Tell Mom and Aunt An you're mall bound...And I and Phil and maybe Abe can take over when we get back..."

Well...Amelia considered...Couldn't hurt, I guess...

I still wanna call Mom...Sallie noted...

***

The stakeout booth at the fairgrounds at Lake Sunnydale...1:00 pm...

"Why do you think Sallie was upset...?" Xander asked...Scratching an arm as he scanned about for...Ah...He grabbed at his shirt...

"She knew we were here alone...She's a Jenkins...Well, Aud-(having had only one name in my past human life)...Harris...We're Lovers with a capital L..." Anya smiled... "Natural and unavoidable that she'd be concerned for us..."



Sweet kid...But I hate to think of her worrying about us all day...he noted...Especially when...

"Things are not exactly..."

"I told her everything was quiet...And we were just trying to keep from falling asleep here..."

Hmmn...

"You know..." Xander sighed, rising a bit where he lay to look at his wife... "Technically...This could be considered dereliction of duty..."

Only took fifteen minutes, Anya noted...Pulling on her blouse... "We are entitled to a lunch break, after all..."

And you could say...Thanks for another round of the best sex on the planet...she eyed him...

"Unless of course...You found it somewhat..."

"Best sex in the universe..." he beamed... "And thanks..." Ummn...he hesitated... "Though you know...I wasn't..."

Prepared...

"Oh, I'll take care of things..."

An...? he stared at her... "That's what you said when Alyssa..."

"Are you saying you regret...?" she put on a woeful look...

I knew it...he sighed within...

"An, we're getting a mite old to be thinking of..."

"Four is such a nice, round number, Xander..." she smiled winningly...Her best 'close-the-deal' smile... "Alex could use a younger brother to take care of...Pal around with in the male tradition..."

"He can take care of his two sisters...And I 'palled around' with Buffy and Willow in school...And came out just fine..."

She eyed him...An eloquent silence...

An...?

"Yeah...Absolutely..." After a massive effort on my part she did not say... "But come on, Alexander...You can't say another chance to have a little guy to show your stuff to sounds all that bad..."

And it's not like we ain't got the cash...she noted...He blinked...

"An?..."

"Well..." she moved to the open window of the booth...No one of any species...

Some things are more important than money...

"And if you make a joke about that now, my love, I'll slug you..." she turned back to him...

"Anya...You're forty one...Give or take 1000 years..."

"I'd be fine...Come on, Xander...Just one more before I get all hot flashy and bloat up like a pillowfish..."



Please?...she eyed him...

I guarantee it'll be a human boy or girl...she grinned...

"It better be..." he gave a mock glare...Then grinned...

"Can we call him?...Mark...I always wanted to be named...Mark..."

'Mark Harris' just sounds so...Adventure Guy...

"Mark...Not bad...Not as good as Alexander...But not bad..." she noted, looking out again...Whoa...

"Say, father of 'Adventure Guy'..." she turned to him... "Get over here and bring something guaranteed to insure your long life as parental mentor..."

Hmmn?...he looked... "Vamp, demon...?" he eyed his weapons...

"I think human..." she noted...Watching the two dazed-looking types...One male, one female...Wandering out from the lair entrance... "But..."

He came over, bearing several items... "They look..." he eyed the two...Now stumbling into each other and resuming their stroll, vaguely reaching to each other as if trying to seem a couple...

Thralled, yeah...she nodded... "Our vamp king may be trying something...We better go slow on this...Call the house and see who's available to come..."

He pulled his cell phone out...Punching a redial to the Summers-Walthrop home...

Hey, Angel...he explained the situation as Anya carefully watched the 'couple'...Now wandering in a wide circle...

"Of course they could just be two junkies who were using the lair entrance to shoot up...But considering the place and time..."

I agree...If they are human, they've gotta be bait for us...he sighed to the phone...

"But I hate to leave em like that...Especially in daylight..."

Call the cops...Anya suggested suddenly...He stared, phone to his ear...

"No, I mean it...Tell them you're a caretaker...Or an innocent bystander...And you saw those two staggering around, trespassing..."

Long as we don't get caught here, that should work...And not get our friend Mephisto too antsy...

"That's a damned good idea..." he smiled at her...Passing it on to Angel, who agreed...

As was your other one...he beamed at her as he dialed 911...

"Well...Every now and then..." she replied...

***

At the restaurant, a still-teary Buffy was in apologetic mode...

Didn't mean to let my little upset nearly get us all killed, she noted...

"But you gotta understand guys..." she looked down... "William was murdered and condemned because of my brilliant little scheme as Cicely back in 1880...And when we finally found each other again, I didn't do a thing to save his soul..."



"He'd be the first to dispute that..." Willow noted... Well...Buffy waved a hand... "I didn't curse him or take him to Africa...Hell, by rights I should at least have staked him and given him peace..."

Love works in mysterious ways...Abe hissed to Sarah beside him...

"Now...At last...There's one thing I can do for him...One little thing...Besides protecting him from all things evil while letting him do just enough heroics to earn his wings and feel like he's fightin' the good fight with his honey...And he won't let me..."

Can't he see why I'm pushin' this so hard?...Dawn?...Willow?...she looked at them...

"Abe?..." They all turned to look at the representative male...Who gulped slightly...

What the devil would Father say?...Ah, right...

"Well, Aunt Buffy..." he paused, pasting a pensive look on his face... "I'd say..."

You are right...he nodded solemnly...

"Good man..." Willow patted him, Buffy beaming now...Sarah looking surprised yet a tad sardonic...

"Clever son of a clever Englishman..." she hissed as the others turned to their meals...He giving a Gilesian smile back...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXX...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXX...

The Magic Box...1:30 pm...

William tapping fingers nervously on table as he nibbled at his lunch...A chicken salad from the deli nearby plus a glass of his 'special' nutrient...

He looked at the clock...Hmmn...Did not seem likely she'd be back this afternoon...The kids being due home soon and both of them on reduced hours during the Rosenberg-Giles' visit...

Screwed the pooch big time, poof...Spike called from within...

Enjoy dining alone with your 'principles'?...he sneered...When we were all set to have a wonderful time in the stockroom...Just like...Remember when we got Phil?...



God, yes...Will noted...That was Paradise...Or all I ever could imagine it would be...

Well, she'll get over it...

In a century or two, Spike sneered...

You suddenly anxious to get baptismally ejected?...Will pleasantly inquired within...

Hmmn...Did forget that part...But hey, no way...This demon has claws extended and entrenched...No way is a little water sending Spikey to Hell's fiery playgrounds...Or the deepest, most unreachable recesses of the id depending on your view of the demon-soul relationship...

After all, the older kids would miss my cynically sardonic take on life...

And if you can hang on to me for a century, poof-boy...Ole Spike is a permanent resident for all Eternity...

Especially with someone like Buffy-Cicely to hang on for, eh?...Will noted kindly...

Yeah...Both agreed...

Look...Spike took on a tone of sweet reason...It's no big deal...Tell her you've thought it over and I'm ok with it so it must be...

"Look..." the rather annoyed customer standing in front of the counter waved his desired purchase... Will blinking at him...Oh...

"If you're not selling things in here...Maybe you wouldn't mind if I walked off with this..."

Please...Out of it or no, we'd kill you before you reach the door, clown...Spike noted...

"Very sorry...A little lost in my thoughts there..." Will apologized, taking the book...

See...Spike solemnly noted within...This is hurting our business...Taking the food from out of our babes' mouths...

Keeping us from getting any...

"Thanks...Please allow me to sign it..." he looked the book over...

"It's an herbal cookbook...Why would I want you to sign it?..." the customer frowned, taking the book and checking his change...Carefully...

Right, sorry...Well...Please come...The man left with a humpf...

Well, at this rate, that sodden actor-vamp and his boys will kill you by tomorrow anyway, so what does it matter?...Spike sighed...

***

The shuttered function hall, conveniently closed during daytime hours, where Mephisto and 'family' had celebrated his birthday/latest mating...About 2:30...

The new Queen of the pride continuing her rehearsals for the role of Buffy the vamped-Vampire-Slayer, back from the dead...With the bracing encouragement of her enthusiastic Lord and mate...

Though he was now a bit preoccupied by a bit of news...

"Arrested...?" he eyed the demon in more-or-less human form who'd brought the news...One of his very few daylight capable demons and therefore somewhat less dispensable than most of his 'children'...



Yes, sir...the demon nodded...Allowing his gnarled and twisted true face to show now...

"The police came, questioned them, took them away..."

"But there was no sign of the Slayer or her minions...?"

"Nothing we could see or sense..."

"Then...Jerome...You and your comrades are absolute fools..." Mephisto sighed quietly...

Of course it was the work of the Slayer and her people...And all of you utterly failed to detect them...

"But...You are daylight capable...And therefore, precious in my eyes...So I will spare you...Kill the vampires who failed me yourself and find me some followers with less than half-rotted brains in their dead skulls..."

Ummn...Everybody at the lair?...Vampiral?...Jerome asked... "Or just the ones on guard duty...?"

Since everyone vampiral there failed to detect the Slayer and her comrades, Jerome...I think you should be able to interpret my wishes...Mephisto noted patiently...

Right, sir...he nodded...Everybody...The demon bowed and headed for the door...

"There go the only three guys here worth considering as mate material..." Gretchen, hearing, sighed to Cheryl...

Not to mention a quarter of our people...

The new Queen, hearing, had come over...Honey?...she stared at her Lord...

"We're not going to our new home?..."

The lakeside resort thing having sounded rather neat...As long as a Pacificside beach house was out of the question for now...

Hmmn?... "Oh, certainly, dear girl..."...he waved a hand... "Once Jerome has left nothing but ashes in the lair and Ms. Summers-Walthrop is convinced we've abandoned the idea of taking the place..."

After all...He looked over to where Harold was nervously awaiting Rona's phone call on the success of her morning's mission... "If all goes well the Slayer and her people will not be in a position to plague us after this evening...And this place has worked out very well as a temporary home..."

A little patience, dear...he smiled at his ersatz Buffy...Now somewhat more comfortable in the role following a hearty meal and careful study of several videotapes of the Slayer in action...

"Oh, I'm fine with it darling..." she nodded hastily... "Just wanted to be sure there was no threat to you, Lord..." Mephisto nodding kindly...

Cheryl rolling eyes to Gretchen...She's good...She's...Awful good...

"Ok!..." Harold held a thumb up...Remnant of his midday meal...

"Rona's delivered the candy...The Walthrop brats have taken theirs..."

A round of applause round the room which Mephisto pleasantly joined... "Excellent news, my boy..." he beamed...

Yeah...His new mate echoed... "Good job there, kiddo...Ummn...When will we...?"

We should be receiving the grim news by this evening...Mephisto noted...According to Amy it should only take a small amount of the stuff to kill her...



Oh...Well, then...She moved back over to her improvised rehearsal stage...Waving to Harold to take his place as director... "Lets get this right, guys...My big scene should be coming up tonight..."

"Ok, places people..." Harold called... "Walthrop children to the center, friends and other victims take the sides...Ok...Action..."

"Willow?...My best friend...It's me, Willow, Buffy...I've just made it back..." the actress-vamp approached a reluctant Gretchen cast as 'Willow'... "I'm fine, Wil...See..."

She leaped on 'Willow' with a roar... "Here's the deal, old pal!!..." Struggling on the floor a few seconds...Then releasing a rather annoyed Gretchen...Who moved to join Cheryl in the ranks, muttering...

"Well done, my girl..." Mephisto clapped...His new mate beaming shyly...Well...Not quite Scooby-Doo level but...she noted...

"She doesn't stand a chance...If Walthrop doesn't kill her immediately...That Wiccan friend of Buffy's'd fry the bitch magically from ten feet off..." Gretchen fumed... "So?..." Cheryl noted... "Is that such bad thing?...Long as they think it's dead Buffy back from the grave when they do it?..."

Hmmn...True, Gretchen thought...

"Hey...Real nice job there..." she beamed to her coactor...

***

The fairgrounds at Lake Sunnydale...2:30pm...

"Ok...Nothing aboveground since the cops pulled those two folks in an hour ago?..." a somewhat testy-looking Buffy eyed Xander...Dawn, Willow, Abe, and Sarah eyeing Anya...

Slayer in pissed mode...

"Not a peep..." Xander nodded...Except the two poor enthrallees crying on their Lord Mephisto to rescue them when the cops took them...Which did at least confirm they were Mephisto's...

"We outta go in and settle this..." Buffy noted curtly... "Without William, Angel, and Tara-Dru?..." Xander looked at her...

Not that I'm against any chance to strut my stuff in front of the Missus...he noted...But as long as we got the extra firepower on hand...

"Fine..." Buffy shrugged... "Call the house or Willow can go and pick em up...But long as we know they're in there with humans, we may as well waste no more time while we got the daylight..."

I thought the plan was that we shouldn't move too fast...he began...I know Will was...

"William won't be joining us..." Buffy stated firmly... "I've worked just fine without him before and it's damn well time he remembered that..."

Anya looked at her...Xander at Willow...

"Buffy..." Willow said quietly... "I am your best friend, not counting the currently unmentionable one...And I would generally trust you and follow you anywhere...But I am standing here with the two people who mean more to me than anything else in this world and so, my dear, dear friend, I'm telling you...Knock it off...Cause there is no way I am risking my children in some foolhardy assault just because you're pissed at Will and wanta show him up..."

"What Willow said..." Anya noted firmly... "Ditto..." Yeah...Dawn nodded...

Buffy stared...Trembling a little...Xander shaking his head quietly to her...Sorry, Buf...



"Besides..." Willow grinned... "Don't you have two guys waiting at home for you to take them to sell candy?...I believe you did say at lunch you'd promised to take them round before we made our massed charge...?"

The Slayer sighed...Yeah...

"Guys...I'm sorry...You're absolutely right...The plan was to wait and we are gonna wait...Anya, Xander...I'm sorry..."

I'm just so...Uhhh...she shook herself...

"Apology accepted?..." she looked round... "And thanks for having enough good sense to buck Buffy in fanatic idiot mode..."

Anytime...Dawn nodded...

"Anya?..." Buffy looked at her... "No telepathic activity since the arrest...?" She shook her head...

No vibes I felt...

"And my babe still got the rhythm..." Xander noted...

"They may have bought the arrest for just that..." Anya suggested... "I dunno..." Buffy shook her head... "I'd think there'd be a lot of panicky communication if they thought something was wrong but believably wrong...This smells like they're on to us..."

"Meaning?...They'd what?..." Abe looked at her... "Give up on this place?..."

"Possibly..." Buffy nodded...She turned to Xander and Anya... "Course you were right to save those people...Calling the cops was a great idea...Don't think I don't know you did the right thing, guys..."

As opposed to irrational wifey here...she grinned wanly... "If they don't choose to come here we'll just catch em later...Don't worry..."

"Yeah..." Dawn agreed... "And it's time you guys got home...I have the next shift with the good Father...We'll push the panic button if my late date shows..."

And speak of the Angel...she grinned as Angel carefully stepped into the booth...Hat firmly clamped on his head...Hands slightly reddened...

"Angel?..." Willow frowned... "Didn't you use the spell?..."

"I had some parish duties to perform, Willow...The spell residue seemed to be holding and I'm afraid I ran too short of time to repeat the ceremony..."

"Angel...You're gonna forget once too often and get yourself burned to death..." Buffy frowned...

And think what a howl Spike would have over that...

Yeah...Dawn, Anya, Willow noted..

"I will promise to try and do better, ladies..." he sighed... "In any case I came through quite well...Are things still quiet?...Xander?...Everything went well with those two poor lost souls?..."

"Safely in police custody..." Xander nodded...

"Long faces, I see...Are they on to us?..." the Reverend Father eyed the group shrewdly...

"I think so...But hopefully not..." Buffy nodded... "In any case, even if they give up the move here, they'd hafta pull their people out and even that may be useful for us..."



He nodded...And grinned at Dawn... "So, Ms. Summers...We may at last get to see some action together...About time we got to handle things together the right way...And show em how it's done..."

Absolutely...Dawn nodded...

No crazy stuff...Buffy firmly noted...Eyeing her sis, then Angel...

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXXI...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)



Part XXXI...

The Summers-Walthrop home...3:20 pm...

"Where's your father...?" Buffy asked a puzzled Will Jr, looking round the living room...Clearly expecting a contrite William, rose bouquet and candy in hand, on bended knee...At the very least...

Ummn... Isn't he still at the shop?...It's not time yet...

Yeah...Buffy nodded curtly...That's where he must be...She spun on her heel and went into the kitchen...

He eyed the others just come in with her, focusing on Willow...What?...

Willow gave an eye roll...Whadaya think, kid?...All sat down...

Buffy emerged now, smile pasted, tray of cookies in hand...Coffee's on...she noted... "Will, take the other tray and the fruit punch down to the Harrises and the guys downstairs...Tell your aunt and uncle to come up for coffee..." Right, he nodded...

Ummn...Mom?... "I haven't forgotten, we're leaving soon as we finish coffee..." Great, he nodded...

"Who can take a rainbow?..Sprinkle it with dew..." Amelia sang to him sarcastically from her seat... Enough, Buffy glared... "Your brother's helpin' his brother out and trying to see something through...I wouldn't mind seeing my eldest daughter make a little effort like that...Even just to clean her room and make a few As..."

"The Sister?..." Willow eyed Amelia, sitting across the coffee table from her... "Forty winks upstairs..."

Good...Just make sure none of the little ones goes up and tries to take her pulse...she grinned...

"Is that for real?..." Joycee stared...No pulse at all?...

"Not a beat...Though the heart is the warmest in the world...." Willow smiled fondly...

"Dawn?..." Buffy had pulled a cell phone and punched its redial... "Anything going on...?"

Will Jr returned, mission accomplished...Xander and Anya following...

"Alls quiet..." Buffy hastily closed the phone...Scanning the living room window...Hmmn...Her face fell a little...Willow eyeing her sympathetically...

No William...Damn...

"Don't see why he had to keep the place open on his own...We've been closing early all week..."

"I'll call him..." Amelia suggested... No...her mother shook her head...Wouldn't wanna pull him away from his work...

"He being a man of principle and all...No, he'll come home when his duty's done..." she glared...

***

Buffy Jr, bearing a bag marked "SES Candy Drive", followed by Phil and Xander bearing boxes with the same label, emerged from the basement door...

"All right..." Buffy smoothed the map of the local area now spread on her kitchen table, the boys and lil' Buf crowding round...Anya watching from just behind them with rather keen interest...

"Here's how we'll cover the town...This area is a high-density neighborhood with lots of senior housing...Little competition, unless some of your schoolmates or their parents have their acts together, a generally vulnerable elderly target population...We'll hit them first, covering the territory as quickly as we can before word of us gets out..."

Will Jr. eyed Phil...Anya giving a shrewd nod of approval to Xander...Nice to see the Slayer's skills can be adapted to other fields...But then there'd been more of a kinship between Anya and Buffy since Buf'd demonstrated her skills in targeting her and Will's readership and used that readership to help further the success of the "Magic Box" chain...

"I'll be watching from the car...Boys you watch me...If I don't like the looks of a place and wave for you to come back, you darn well better or I'll be up to drag you back...Both..." Buffy eyed Will Jr. firmly...Mommm... "So fast you won't believe it..."

I would, after seeing Mom that night at the mall...Phil thought...But it'd still be incredibly fast...

"But whatever you guys do, you do not push...If they don't wanna buy, that's it...And we don't take advantage of any nice old folks who don't look like they can afford it, got me?..."

Right, Ma...Chorus...

"Now you, honey..." she beamed at Buffy Jr...Who frowned...Being like her namesake, nobody's fool...To realize she was obviously not gonna get to go with the brothers... "Are gonna go with Auntie Wil and Daddy..." A slight darkening look on Buf Sr's features... "If he ever gets home..."

"Wil?..." she eyed Willow who'd joined them... "Thanks again for offering to make the rounds.."

"No prob...Inflicted this sorta thing on my Mom enough in the ole days...Time to pass the torch..." Willow grinned...Quite a battle plan she noted to the boys, eyeing Buffy's campaign map...

"Let Joycee and Sally help you get ready, Buffy..." Buffy sent her namesake off in her eldest's and Sally Harris' care...Leaving only those in the know...Alysia and Alex Jr having chosen to remain down in Amelia's new room with Abe and Sarah Giles...

"Perfect neighborhood, but I'd suggest hitting Schofield and Burke here, just over your boundary..." Anya tapped the map... "Two big adult day care centers you shouldn't miss the first day...Including the one with the residence Xander and I volunteer at...Where the wealthy evil ladies who tried to take young bodies including mine and yours, Buffy, a few years back still live, remember?...They see you coming and they'll fork over like nobody's business..."

Hmmn?...Will Jr eyed his mother who shrugged...Long story...We won, they were evil but human and powerless at battle's end, I spared 'em...

"Or so we hope..." Willow gave a sly grin... "I still wonder sometimes if maybe those ladies were just better actresses than we gave em credit for..." Phil and Will Jr blinking slightly as Buffy gave a slight sour frown...Terrify my babies why doncha?...

"Course you would've made out ok, either way..." Anya poked Xander...Who gave a sheepish look...(Ummn...Willow sheepishly eyeing the boys... "Just kidding guys...Your mom's not possessed by an evil old lady...Honest...") "They were all crazy about him..." she explained to the boys, now staring at Xander, then their Mom...Who couldn't resist smiling at Xander now...Who looked very anxious to be anywhere else... "Which woulda been interesting had they succeeded and taken both of us..." she grinned at Buffy...Who nodded, grinning... "He would've made out well..."

("She already had an old lady in her...Cicely was just too much for em..." Willow grinned at Will Jr... "Cicely?..." Phil asked, interested...Ooops...She caught Buffy's renewed glare... "I'll tell you guys the story later..." she hissed...)

Well...Buffy looked out of the kitchen to the front door in the living room... "Lets give your dad a few more than we'll move..."

Hey...A smiling Tara-Dru, hair loose, entered from the living room by way of the stairway she'd just quietly descended...

"Outta uniform, Sis...?" Phil grinned at her...

"Won't tell if you won't, kiddo..."

"Didn't you wanna sleep some more?...You've been up most of the night..." Willow eyed her....

A slight grimace... "Not all that crazy about daytime sleep...Bad memories..." the Sister noted...

Oh...Willow paused, eyeing Phil...Then a nervous-looking Buffy the protective Mom...Enough, already with the business talk...No need to expose my baby to more than he has to know, her slightly anxious expression saying... "I always have trouble sleepin' by day myself..." she hastily checked her next would-have-been-not-ready for-prime-time statement...

Yeah...Tara-Dru gave a wry grin...Likewise eyeing the Slayer in Mom mode as she came over to see the map...

"So what's up?...Anything new goin' on?..." How's me cutie?...she squeezed Phil in a tight hug...

"Operation Candy about to commence..." Willow indicated the map...

Oooh, candy...Tara-Dru grinned at Will Jr...Wanna box?...Phil innocently asked...

"Sold..." Oh, he's good...the Sister winked at Buffy... Wil?...she hissed, pulling Willow back from the table...Wishing herself to avoid discussions of the main business of the day in front of the boys...

"Nothing much new...Dawn and Angel are fine...We'll all go after Buffy and the boys, and Will, lil' Buf, and I get back..."

Hmmn...Buffy looks a bit...? "Yeah, Will turned her down on baptism again...She's fumin'..."

"Men!..." Buffy suddenly, having again turned to stare at the front door... "Well, boys...We better just go...Dad will come when he's able to tear himself away...C'mon, lets go..."

"Men..." Willow nodded in support...As Buffy headed out to the car...Phil and Will Jr. carting candy boxes...Whatda'd we do?...Their looks saying...

"Amen..." Tara-Dru sighed as the door closed, eyeing Willow...

Though occasionally the little fellows are tolerably appealing!...the Sister grinned as the door shut...An unintelligible mutter back from Buffy...

"Not that either of us had all that much...Experience..." Willow began...

Hey...Tara-Dru gave a mock frown...

"I did have one feller...Sylvester Doode, a boy who worked round our place...He kissed me, once...When I was 14...On the lips, the bold laddie...I've never forgotten that kiss..."

Poor Sylvester...Me unc had caught him hangin' round me and gave him the beating of several lives...But he came back as soon as unc was gone...And kissed me..."

Willow stared...A slightly pensive look on the Sister's Drusilla face...

"I hafta try not to relive that memory too intensely...Makes me a wee bit too happy at times..."

"Dru..." the Wiccan sighed... "And this is for you...Not Tara...I'd never say this to Buffy...But I'm ashamed sometimes how little we did for you...And Harmony...How long we waited to even try and help you via staking, soul restoration, whatever...I know Buf feels the same way about Will, and maybe we were doing all could at the time, so I don't mention it...But I do feel badly about it sometimes..."

"I was already free and alive in Tara, thanks to William...And when It got hold of my soul again, you guys freed me...No, Wil...If you'd tried something before you'd developed your power, It would've sensed you and killed or taken you...You...And Buffy...Had to learn and grow...And now you do what you can to help whenever the possibility exists..."

"Harmony hated us, you know..." Willow sighed... "Blamed us for letting her demon kill her family..."

"She blamed herself...And you guys were convenient stand-ins...She's at peace now in Heaven, which maybe is the place she belongs...I would guess, if you ever reached her by seance, you'd find she's long forgiven you..."

Not all of us can bear existence here like this...she indicated her vampiral body...With a soul and the memories of the torments and sufferings we've inflicted...And no one has the right to question what decision some of the restored make...Especially given the curse and its limitations...

"But..." she smiled wanly... "Angel and I have our work...The chance to do good we've both craved, in our own ways...And you guys to bring all the joy we can safely bear...And then some, so watch out...Into our lives..."

Life is good for me, Wil...And a blessing...

Buffy re-entered... "Gotta say bye to Buffy..." she explained, a bit apologetic at having nearly forgot in her irritation... "You'll make sure she doesn't...Wil?..."

"At the door everyplace with em...Ready to teleport at the slightest hint of Evil from your next-door neighbors..."

On the two blocks of street you lived on for twenty-five or so years...she did not say, grinning slightly at the Sister as Buffy went upstairs...

***

The Magic Box...3:30 pm...

This is ridiculous...

William polished the countertop for the third time, eyeing the clock once again...

Uh-huh...

Plain childish...I for one am embarrassed, I gotta tell you...

Really?...

Poof, you are deliberately dragging this out...Trying to make our girl call...

And you object to that?...

Well...Spike pondered within... No, I suppose not...If it works, I mean...But hell, if it doesn't...and my money's against it...I want it strictly understood by our Missus I had nothing to do with it...I was all for total and unconditional surrender...

Besides, the demon noted...Our lil' Buf's waitin' for us...Candy or whatever crap to sell?...

Right...Will sighed...Again eyeing the clock, then the phone...

Well...Guess we had best be heading home...

Flowers, candy...Well, she'll probably be stuffed to the gills with candy driving the boys round...A nice bottle of wine...And an abject, well-rehearsed apology...That's the ticket...

Spike...

Though all but the apology was not a bad idea at all...Will admitted...Locking the cash register and a few of the bookcases...

No apology?...Are you crazy?...

"I'm not giving in on this one!..."

Mate, no one but me here...No need to yell to yourself...Especially with the door unlocked...

He grabbed coat and hat and went to the door, shutting lights and turning the "Closed Early, Come Again" sign...

***

3:45 pm...The Riverton Heights area of Sunnydale...Home to a hefty number of Sunnydale's over fifty's crowd...Given the demographics of the 2020s, the political and financial power-brokers of the nation...

Buffy engaged in a slight altercation with one of the elite, a well-maintained seventy-five year old anything but a kindly grandmotherly type...

"Lady...Your dog tried to bite my son...All he did was come through the front gate ...A community gate for which we had clearance to come through, I might add..."

Mom, it's ok...Will Jr sighed... "Leave this to me, honey..."

"Girlie...My Rufus only snaps...He never bites unless provoked...Or if he senses a dangerous person..."

"My son is not 'dangerous'...!" Ma...Please...

"He looks like a pervert to me...What's a boy his age doin' selling candy?...And how do I know you got permission to wander round here?..."

"Listen you..." Buffy eyed the lady, then the dog...Who stared at her intently...Hmmn...

"Camere, boy..." she waved to the dog... "That is, if you don't want the Slayer to rip your demon essence out of there..." The dog gave a sidelong look to its owner...

Ma?...Will Jr stared...

"Nice...Demon dog you got there, lady..." she gave the now slightly nervous owner a hard stare...Ummn...

Sl...ayer...Watch it, Mavis...the dog hissed...

"He...Talks...?" Will Jr stared...

"Demon essence...As is our sweet lady here..." Buffy waved a hand...Mavis blanching slightly... "Ok...Mavis...You and your boyfriend are in deep dodo..."

"Mercy, Slayer...It's a dead body...No possession, I bought it from the dying owner..." Mavis hastily explained...Careful, Mavis...the dog whispered... "Shut up, Rufus...Slayer, I got the receipt and everything...She wanted her family taken care of financially when she went, I wanted a human body..."

Heard that before...Buffy frowned... "It's true, ma'am..." the dog insisted... "Mavis, get the receipt from our place...Slayer, we got documentation...Letters from the owner testifying to her accepting the agreement..."

Wolfram-Hart, Inc handled our arrangements...

"For being their clients alone, I oughta kill you both..." Buffy glared...As a returning Mavis anxiously waved a folder...

Hmmn...Buffy leafed through...Mavis giving Will Jr a bright smile...

"Bizarre...But it looks ok...Family's been informed and keeps their distance..." she noted to Will Jr... "And what some poor terminal lady does with her corpse...So long as no evil's done with it...Is her business I guess..." the Slayer nodded...The dog rolling eyes in relief...

"Now...As my son was about to explain...He's selling candy to help out with the Sunnydale Elementary rebuilding fund..."

Will, honey...Give the nice...Lady...Your pitch...

Ummn...Well...He gulped...

"I'll take five boxes..." Mavis nodded...Noting the Slayer's tight gaze...

"Ten might be better..." Buffy smiled...

"Like Mavis said, ten..." the dog replied hastily... "And I'd bet a few of her human friends would be willing to take a few if she spoke to them about this wonderful cause...Right, honey?..."

"How's it going?..." Phil eyed the two as they returned to the car...He just back from a quick sweep of several apartments in a building prechecked and pronounced demon free by Mom...

"Your brother made out pretty well..." Buffy beamed... "Forty boxes..."

Whoa...Phil blinked...

Just tell me the dog and the lady aren't...Will Jr hissed to Buffy as they entered the front of the car...Philip taking the rear...

"Facts of life are your father's domain, honey..." she patted him... "Just ask him tonight..."

***

Life With Mother and Father...Part XXXII...

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Cicelyverse tale: 18 years after the events of Romance Palace...The Walthrops are dealing with life...and its tribulations...

Well...Trying to...

(Some of the events described here as in the past are occurring...slightly differently...in the parallel Buffy Rebecca universe story "Mona and the Monsters"...So there's no reason to assume that BR verse "Mona..." will follow the course outlined here...

You have my sympathies...)

Part XXXII...

Having moved on to the next target on the assault list, Buffy and Will Jr awaited Phil's return from a small cluster of carefully Slayer-screened homes of more of Sunnydale's senior citizens/power elite...Mom having ruled that with Will Jr well in the sales lead, courtesy dear Mavis and Rufus, Phil should have this well concentrated and safe one to himself...



Will Jr however was more concerned just now with his mother's clearly upset state than his sales competition...Which state had progressed from fumin' annoyance at Pops to...

Mom?...

"I was just thinkin' 'bout the time when I was pregnant with you and sent your dad to look outside the house for burglars..." she sighed, sniffling and wiping her eyes with the tissue...Thanks, honey...he'd provided...

Oh, no...Will Jr rolled his eyes...Not that again...

"Mom, he's not..." "It was the worst thing I've done to him since..." she paused...Hmmn...

Don't really think I'm quite up to telling my son I used to beat his father...At least not the post-chip-and-love-declaration beating...I mean he understands the fighting mad killer-vamp Spike thing...But to...Even his demonic, soulless form...While I was his lover...

Yeah...Lil' area of our past I'd like to keep buried for now...

"...since I had to fight Spike before the chip..." she noted hastily...

Ma, Dad underst... "...I told him he was best suited to deal with humans...It was so thoughtless of me...He hid it but I could tell right away...We have a link..." she noted solemnly......

I would hope so after 140 or so years of marriage, punctuated by resurrections from the dead and reincarnation to find and rescue your spouse...Will Jr thought...

"He was so...Hurt..." she teared up... "It was so insensitive of me..."

I don't think sometimes...It's my greatest fault, but I'd always had to handle things quick with my enemies...No time to really empathize with their suffering...The ones who were innocent victims, I mean...Like Daddy...

"I've tried to improve since your dad and I got together, what with there being two of us usually...And he's so anxious to try and help them if we can..."

"You mean like... 'Mona' on TV?..." Will Jr grinned...She rolling her eyes...God no... "Though Sister Tara-Dru does like her praying after each kill...And I suspect she wishes I might try it once in awhile..."

But I got kids...I can't stand around, a big target, praying away while vengeance-seekin' minions are still hangin'...

"Course not, Mom...We wouldn't want you to... 'Mona and the Monsters' is just TV...She'd be long dead in Sunnydale..."

Nearly was...Buffy grinned... "But that's another story..." [being told in a different universe, to boot...]

"Dad's not hurt over this thing, Ma...And he's long gotten over the other, I promise ya..."

"He mentions it...?" Buffy stared, a woebegone look... Ummn...

No...Never...I'm just guessing, Ma...

"But as for today's thing...He's..." "He oughta be hurt...I'm furious..." Buffy resumed her former state of fume...

"I'm doin' all I can to leave no stone unturned for him Heavenwise and he acts likes it's membership in some elitist country club no decent person would wanna join..."

"Ma...You know there's no guarantee it would get..." "Exactly!...You're right, honey...No guarantee...Which is why we gotta do everything possible to get his ticket stamped..." she eyed her eldest son...

Apple of his father's eye...Not that Will played favorites, of course...Just...Eldest son and namesake...

Hmmn...

"Will?...You know how important this baptism thing for your daddy's sweet soul...And for us..."

Oh...no...Will Jr frowned...

"Ma...I am not gettin' dragged into this...I'm not sidin' with you against Dad..."

Hardly...Against...Your father...she sniffed... "I am trying to complete his salvation..."

But...If you don't think that's a goal worthy of a little effort on your part...

"Mom...Please..." he sighed...Shaking his head...

"Fine...Fine" she sulked... "You're a man of...'principle'...Like your dad..."

Ma...

"Hey!..." Phil cheerily called as he reached the car...Buffy opening the door to him...

"Ten boxes..." "Wonderful, sweetie..." Buffy beamed...

"Amazing what we can do when we...Help each other..."...she narrowly eyed Will Jr...

Ma...he closed his eyes...

***

Mephisto's temporary lair at the function hall...Same time...

"We had her...Under our skin...

We had her...Deep in the heart of we..." Mephisto sang for his audience of minions, offspring, and enthrallees...While dancing with his new mate next to the microphone...She...Unfortunately...Joining in from time to time...



"So deep in my heart

(at times) She'd nearly parted me

We've had her under our skin...



Both: (Mephisto wincing at her high notes....But as a new bridegroom was inclined to cut some slack)



We have tried so not to give in

I have said to myself my affairs

Never gonna go somewhere (while she lives)

But how could we even try to resist

When Slayer we know so well

That I've had you under my skin



I would sacrifice anything

Come what might

For the sake of having you near (in kill range)

In spite of a warning voice

That comes in the night

It repeats and it shouts in my ear



'Don't you know Lord Mephisto

You never can win

Use your mentality

Wake up to reality'



But each time I do

Just the thought of (killing) you

Makes me stop before I retreat



'cause I've had you under my skin..." Fervent or in the case of the enthrallees, wan but well-meant...Applause...The new bride beaming happily...

Always knew I coulda had a second career as a singer...she eagerly noted to her mate...Mephisto struggling to be supportive...

"Are you crying?..." Harold eyed Rona as they watched the happy couple from their seats...Shut up and pray your little candy scheme works, jackass...she glared, wiping eyes...

***

Will Jr off on his rounds, Buffy was eyeing the boxes by her seat in the car...

Course normally I says no to candy...But with my Slayer metab...She grabbed a piece...

"Mom?..." Phil frowned from where he was counting receipts carefully... "Are you eatin'..."

She hastily tried to hide the bar...Ummn... "Jusa tas..." she swallowed the bit, still holding the bar under her skirt...Hmmn...Melts fast...She tried to wipe her chocolate-covered hands on the seat...Phil's frown deepening...

It's good candy...she smiled...

Mom...

"Hey, it was only one...I'll pay for it..." she sheepishly sighed... "Though really, it does melt a little too fast...Most of it's on my hands..."

Yeah, so I see...Phil eyed her...

***



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