The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, and Charmed
do not belong to me. (If they did, the characters of Andrew and Paige would never have seen the light of day.) The lyrics to Mandy
and Can't Smile Without You
are the property of Barry Manilow. Summary
Buffy agrees to babysit for Cole and Willow. Author's Note
This story is part of my A Willow in Thorns
universe/series. The demonic words in my story actually come from Sumerian. I didn't want to just make up some words, so I apologize for any Sumerian grammatical errors. All Sumerian words were taken from the following source: www.ping.de/sites/systemcoder/necro/info/sumerian.htm What Was I Thinking? What was I thinking? I must have been insane to agree to this... Earlier that evening...
“Are you sure, Buffy?” She heard Willow ask her for the umpteenth time. Buffy smiled, chuckling to herself. Willow wouldn't be Willow if she wasn't constantly second-guessing things. She looked into her best friend's eyes and smiled encouragingly. The little demon boy on her hip started to squirm as soon as he heard his mother's voice. He could be so hard to handle. It wasn't that he was really that much larger than other kids his age. (He was.) It was his strength and his nature. When this kid got an idea, it was really hard to convince him otherwise.
“Of course, I'm sure, Will.” Buffy replied as she tightened her hold on little Ninigiku
. She looked up at the couple in front of her. Cole, Willow's demonic husband, was leaning against one of the art deco columns in the hotel lobby. She never knew what to think about him. He was very handsome and incredibly sexy. And, of course, a demon. That was the part she could never get past. Willow was standing in front of her wearing a beautiful black and gold metallic cocktail dress. She loved it. It was very simple and it made Willow look like some kind of movie star from the 50's or 60's.
It was always surprised her. These changes. She knew a lot of it was Cole. He was a very elegant man... well, demon. Still, though, she didn't think the real Willow had changed. She was just a lot more elegant now. “Will, you have to go. It's your anniversary, you're all dressed up, so you have to go! We'll be fine. Ben... I mean, Ninigiku
... and I will be just fine. I've babysat before, you know. Plus I've got the whole vampire slayer stamina thing that should help me. Right?”
Cole chuckled while inwardly he cringed at Buffy's word. He'd much rather have asked the Alchemist or someone that didn't instinctively attack demons. He realized that Buffy was still very uneasy with the thought of a demon being raised here. Not to mention how they felt about his relationship with Willow. “Willow, kitten... We do have reservations. Anyway, Buffy can always get a hold of us if there's a problem.”
“Yeah, Will, no problem. You can trust me. It'll be okay. Sheesh! It's your anniversary – you deserve to celebrate!” She leapt up, shifting the boy to her hip, and began to shuffle them away. “Now, go! Go! Go! C'mon, Cole, do that shimmying thing and take your wife out.”
It'd had taken a few more whines from Willow but eventually she and Cole shimmered out. And that's when it hit her. What she had done. What she had agreed to. Damn! Later that evening...
She'd really been quite insane, she'd decided. She never really realized just how much a little boy could get into. He certainly was a very energetic kid. She'd been quite wrong... the whole Slayer stamina thing... it hadn't been enough. Not nearly. It really made her think. If he was this much trouble as a child, what happened when he got older? What happened if... as she and Xander feared... she had to fight him because he turned evil? She shook her head to dispel the dangerous image. She really wished she was more like Giles. He seemed to just accept the little guy. More than he had ever accepted Angel or Spike. He really loved the little guy.
” She jumped at the sound of his voice. She was really going to have to ask Cole for some list of words. She never understood half of what he said. She knew a few words of course. Gasisu
was what he called her, but whenever she asked Cole what it meant he just smiled. She didn't think it was bad or even naughty, but still... She'd like to know.
“Alka Ninigiku! Alka!
” She called out as she ran out to look for him. Not that he ever came. She always had to find him. She thanked God that he hadn't figured out shimmering yet. She dreaded that. Where would he go if he did shimmer? The Underworld? Or would he just go straight to ama
She found him in Willow's pantry, arm outstretched as if he could make it reach. She followed his eyes and saw that he was reaching for the candied ginger. (Willow, ever the organic mommy, thought it was better for her blessed offspring than anything with – GASP! – refined sugar.) The boy was concentrating, his forehead wrinkling, as if he could make his arm stretch. She saw that the jar of candied ginger was vibrating slightly... but that was all. Buffy smiled. Willow's probably put some kind of anti-demon whammy spell on her pantry. She chuckled.
Unfortunately, that was all she needed to do to get the little guy's attention. He turned to her and grasped at her. You'd think after fighting nearly every evil thing in Creation, she'd be faster. This time, though, she wasn't fast enough. She cringed as she felt his little claws sink into her leg. She tried to spin around and grab him, but once again she was too slow. He scurried up her back until he was on her shoulders and ready to leap up to the shelf. So, she did the only thing she could think of. She let her legs collapse beneath her. As soon as she hit the ground, she heard the little imp screaming in outrage. “Libbi ubla! Libbi ubla!
She'd had way too much. “NO!” She screamed at the boy. It did no good. He was still screaming, his black obsidian eyes glinting with anger. No way was she going to let a juvenile demon get the better of her. And, there was no way in HELL she was going to let this kid go all hellfire and brimstone on her while she was in charge. She grasped his arms and forced him to be still. Damn, this was hard! She tried to use sign language to get her point across. That was an exercise in futility. “Ninigiku
! Shush, sweetie, shush.” She'd taken him kicking and screaming out of the pantry, and sat down with him forced between her arms and tried to watch TV – maybe this would distract him.
He began to quiet down, but she could still feel the tension in her arms as he continued to fight. (It's just too bad that Willow never taught me some kind of binding spell.) As she flipped the channels, she tried to coo at him – she even tried to sing. Puff the Magic Dragon. Joy to the World. Even the Yellow Submarine. None of it worked. (And she was sure Puff would've worked – it worked for her.)
It's just too bad Angel wasn't here. She was sure he could've helped. For one thing, he probably knew some of this funny language. Then, there was his
singing, if you could call it that. Whenever he sang Mandy (or really any
Barry Manilow tune), everyone erupted in laughter. If only... hmmm... maybe that goose and gander thing'll work here. So, she opened her mouth.
“Well, you came and you gave without takin'
But I sent you away, oh Mannn-dy!
Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shakin'
And I need you today, oh Mann-dy!”
She smiled as she felt the little guy relax in her arms. He was still a little tense but he wasn't really fighting anymore. She paused in the music and smiled down at him. As soon as she stopped, she knew it was a mistake! He started to open his mouth, she cringed as she got ready for the roar. “O! Man Dee!” She giggled. He wanted to sing along. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to keep going.
“Standin' on the edge of time
Walked away when love was mine
Caught up in a world of uphill climbin'
The tears are in my mind
And nothing is rhymin', oh Mann-dy!”
“O Mann Dee!” She laughed as he chimed again. Not really in tune, but neither was Angel.
“Yesterday's a dream
I face the mornin'
Cryin' on a breeze
The pain is callin', oh Mann-dy!”
“O Mann Dee!”
She was really getting into the swing of it now. She had started tapping her foot. She picked up her singing partner and started to swing him around as they danced about the room.
“You came and you gave without takin'
But I sent you away, oh Mann-dy!”
“O Mann Dee!”
“You kissed me and stopped me--”
” She started at the tone of his voice.
“No, honey, Barry. Barry Manilow.” Although in her head, she knew he wasn't really trying to say Barry. She'd heard the word barra
before. He usually said it while pointing it at the vegetables his ama
insisted on trying to get him to eat. (No matter how many times Cole insisted that demons were carnivores, she still insisted.) Maybe it meant “bad” or “icky” or--- Wait a minute! She had been so busy trying to quiet the little guy when she realized her Slayer sense was trying to get her attention.
“Bite me!” She spat out. That's all she needed. Vampires – or worse!
” Great – another new word. She really needed a Demonic-English dictionary, it would really help a lot. She started looking around. She had to do something with the little guy. She needed to hide him somewhere he wouldn't get hurt. But she'd have to get him to stay. And how was she going to do that?
KER-PUMP! Great, just great – they're trashing the lobby now. It wasn't like they didn't try hard to keep every--
“Alal? Daku Alal!
” She looked down at Ninigiku
– what was he asking? He called her Alal
a lot, but he seemed to want her to do something. She looked nervously around, looking for a way out – somewhere to stow him away, somewhere safe. Yeah, right. Like there's anywhere safe around her. She could try a closet, she supposed. Still, if they found him while she was fighting one of the others... And she would rather face the First again, than face Willow and Cole if anything happened to him.
She felt his arm snake around her back. She reached but he already had her stake. “Daku! Daku!
” He screamed as he mimicked knifing someone with the stake. Of course! Daku
must mean to kill or fight! Well, great! She's learned another demon word. Now, she just needed to teach him how to say “please” in – Yeah, right! Like there's even a demonic word for please.
She spun towards the door. She could hear them making their heavy-footed way up the stairs. Well, she was just going to have to keep little Nini
with her. If she could only have some sort of armor or flak jacket, she could strap him to her chest. Looking about, she realized this room wasn't the best room to have a battle in. The only other rooms to retreat to were the bathroom and the bedrooms. She'd have to go out into the hallway to get to the pantry or kitchen.
She could hear them in the hallway. She put a hand over Nini
's mouth. “Shhh,” she whispered. She took the stake from him and shifted him to her left hip to free up her right side for fighting. She didn't realize that she or Nini
had been holding their breath until she heard the undead goons pass them by. Well, apparently they weren't here to kill her, either that or they were really bad at sniffing her out. They were really pathetic, actually. Or they just didn't care. Any vamp worth his salt couldn't help but sense her. She looked down at Nini
. She was going to need his help if she was going to take these guys out. She could hear them ransacking Giles' room. Damn! He's going to be pissed.
Well, she was just going to have to bite the bullet. There was no way she was going to let them trash HER Watcher's stuff! First, she had to stow Nini
somewhere safe. The only thing she could think of was the bathroom. After all, it's the place you're supposed to go in case of a tornado, right? Well, it would have to do. She ran down the hall to bathroom to stow the kid away. The trick now was to convince him to stay put. She placed several towels on the bottom of the tub and then gave him soft toys. They were the kind of toys that are bath toys and soft. Now, she had to convince him to be quiet. Pretty tough considering their communication problems. She was going to have to insist on one of those Star Trek translator things Andrew was always whining on about.
She set him down and then put a finger to her lips. “Shhhhhh... Nini
, Buffy needs to...” Then she took her stake and slashed it downwards a few times. He giggled and clapped his hands... quietly! She couldn't believe it! Could it be she finally got through to him? She clapped her hands and nearly shrieked with joy. But, then Nini
reached out and put his finger to his lips.
“Suharruru, Alal. Daku, daku!
” He whispered urgently, pointing at the door. She chuckled quietly and leaned down to kiss the little boy. Great! Time to get staking! She pulled the shower doors closed and sped from the bathroom, praying to whatever gods that protect the children of witches and demons to protect that kid. There had to be a patron saint for supernatural kids, right? Later... dinnertime...
Now, that she thought about it, there must've been a patron saint for supernatural kids. After all, what were the chances that those vamps hadn't known where they were attacking? She had noticed quite a while ago that vamps rarely (almost never, really) attacked the Hyperion. And she didn't think it had anything to do with a Slayer being there. It was most probably Angel. Very few vampires could even be a threat to him – and those few that were were actually related to him.
Anyway, these vamps didn't know where they were and they certainly hadn't known who she was. Hell, they hadn't even what a Slayer was
. She didn't know why that pissed her off so much. Guess she just figured that if it was evil, it should shake in terror at her presence. She shook her head and chuckled at herself. Ninigiku
had been playing happily when she returned. As soon as she opened the shower door, he'd leapt happily at her, snaking his pudgy little arms around her neck. She'd never been so happy to see him. (Until she realized that she had to change his diaper. She shuddered at the memory. Baby demon doo-doo was not a nice experience. She'd always thought demon guts and blood were bad, but demon doo-doo beat them all out.)
“Alal Akhkharu! Alal Akhkharu!
” He chanted happily as she lifted him up. Now she only had to take care of him and erase every bit of evidence that they were attacked. If Willow saw that, she'd go postal! She'd decide she could never leave him alone. She certainly didn't want that. She wanted her friend to be able to have a life. Ever since she got pregnant, it seemed as if Willow identified herself as a mother and wife first, and an individual second. It bothered her. She didn't begrudge Willow's joy as a mother. Of course not, she just wanted her to feel comfortable and go out and be herself. No Cole. No Nini
. No Scoobies. Just crazy, sweet babbling Willow. “Akalu! Akalu!
. Now this was one of the words Will or maybe Cole had
told her about. She was pretty sure it meant something like hunger or I want to eat. Her own stomach rumbled at the thought of eating. Well, maybe they could eat. Still, she had to clean up the hotel before they got back. Especially Giles' study. It could probably be declared a disaster area by FEMA. She definitely had to clean it, and check on the damage in the lobby. She hadn't had the nerve to check that first. Maybe Cole and Willow will shimmer straight upstairs? No, she shook her head in denial, she couldn't be that
After a good twenty minutes in Willow's pantry and another fifteen in the kitchen, she eventually settled on some chili that Willow had made and jarred previously. She knew there was no way she was going to be making something from scratch. Everyone had insisted (ad nauseam) that she had absolutely no domestic skills. Well, she was hardly one to dispute that. She had decided long ago if she had used so much brain power and talent on violence and killing tactics, something like cooking was bound to fall out along the way. Pouring something into a bowl and re-heating, though, shouldn't be beyond her culinary skills. (She did take care and select the jar marked For Ninigiku
, and not the one marked For Belthazor
. Very important, that. I imagine that the heat intensity is considerably different for the fully mature demon.
Looking back at it, the chili went over really well. Apparently, Willow snuck vegetables into little Nini
's diet by sneaking them in the chili, because there were way more vegetables than your average chili had. Not that that was bad. It was really good chili, if not way spicier than she liked it. Then again, if you're feeding a little demon kid – hotter is probably better. She'd been very pleased with the Nini
's table manners. She'd not been looking forward to have chili all over him – or her, for that matter. It's not like she didn't have other problems. Like cleaning up the lobby and – more importantly – Giles' study!
It had been a really good chili actually. Although, she did wonder if the little guy had actually ingested any. It seemed to be all over the place. She had tried to feed him herself, but that hadn't worked. He seemed to be so delighted with the chili that he just dug into it – literally. His little fists actually seemed better designed than a human's for such things. But it didn't seem very clean. When she'd cleaned him up, it seemed as if there were chili everywhere. He seemed well fed though. She was so happy with the little guy, she decided to get some of the candied ginger he'd tried to steal earlier. His little eyes opened wide and she noticed that they weren't solid black. At first glance, they were – however, when you spent some time with him, you noticed that there were little golden and turquoise flecks that sparked all the time. It was really like one of those mood rings her mom had had once – before Sunnydale became a crater in the ground – they seemed to reflect his feelings.
“Libbu Neperdu! Libbu Neperdu!
” She really was going to have to write down all these things he said. She was sure they weren't just gibberish like you'd get with a mortal child. They really meant something. Daku
, for instance, it definitely meant something like “attack” or “fight” or maybe even “kill.” She shook her head and picked him up. She handed him the candied ginger and decided to meet her grim fate... cleaning things up before his parents showed up. Vampires, demons, hell gods were one thing... Dark Willow on a maternal rage was not something she wanted to face. She laughed and cuddled the kid in her arms, as she began to whistle...
“O Mann Dee!” She laughed as he started to chant while sucking on the ginger. Very early the next morning... around 2 am...
The air in the lobby rippled momentarily as the couple appeared suddenly in the hotel. Willow giggling and trying to keep quiet... she was quite, quite drunk. Drunk on love, she thought and giggled some more on the triteness of that thought. But it was true. She didn't like to disrespect her memory of Tara... but she'd never loved anyone like this man.
“Mmmmmm...” She intoned as she felt his arms tighten on her, he nuzzled her neck. In an instant, though, the man was gone. She could feel claws piercing the thin material of her dress, fangs nipping gently at her flesh. She tried to pull away... but her heart wasn't really in it... One hand reached up for him and she let the dark magicks within escape. She could feel the darkness when she heard... music?
“Cole. Cole. Cole!”
Belthazor's head looked up and then was replaced by the hurt face of his human counterpart. Frowning, he tried to reach down and kiss her outburst away. She'd been so close... he'd felt the dark magicks leaking out... The kishpu
of their joining was incredible and he wanted to...
“Listen! Do you hear that?” She breathed. He sighed and cocked his head. Frowning, he did hear it.
“It's from upstairs darling, Buffy is probably listening to a CD or something.”
“Well, we need to go up and check on her anyway. Our little masu mimma
has probably been running her ragged. She'll want a break.”
He nodded – his face creased in a serious look. “Yes. I don't know why she volunteered anyway. She can't stand our son.”
Willow sighed. Cole was always stepping on eggshells in this strange household of theirs. But, she knew what he was saying. She knew that Buffy was worried that one day she'd have to fight their son... or worse – Dark Willow and Belthazor. Sometimes she wanted to leave so she didn't keep putting Buffy in this situation. Still...
Cole frowned as they made their way onto the second floor where all the living quarters were. The music was much clearer up here. It wasn't coming from Buffy and Angel's, nor was it coming from their rooms, but that wasn't the worst... It was WHAT music was playing...
They exchanged a look of horror. It was Barry Manilow and it was coming from Giles' study. Cole raised an eyebrow and chuckled. “Funny, I wouldn't have pegged Giles for a Barry man myself. More Bay City Rollers.”
She giggled. “Actually, he has all their albums – silly. But, Giles isn't due back until this afternoon. It's probably Buffy.”
“She'd better not be exposing my son to that-- that-- abomination.” He spat out grimly. Willow giggled and took his hand as they quietly approached Giles' open study door. What they saw stunned them, paralyzing them in the doorway.
Buffy and their son were curled up asleep in Giles' rocking chair. Her cheek rested on the top of their son's head and, grasped in little Ninigiku
's hand, was Mr. Pointy. And Barry sang on... You came along just like a song And brighten my day Who would have believed that you were part of a dream Now it all seems light years away And now you know I can't smile without you I can't smile without you I can't laugh and I can't sing I'm finding it hard to do anything You see I feel sad when you're sad I feel glad when you're glad If you only knew what I'm going through I just can't smile
“Aaawww!” Willow sighed. “Isn't that sweet?”
Cole sniffed and shuddered as the music went on to play another sickening Barry Manilow tune... “I was going to say nauseating.” He whispered so as not to wake them up. He was still hoping to get laid tonight, and waking up his son would definitely kill the mood.
“That's not what I meant you dope. I'm so glad that Buffy had a nice quiet evening. I do hope they bonded.”
,” Cole purred. “I wouldn't mind a little bonding of my own.”