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Hide and Seek

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Younger Mother". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy learns how she is both Buffy and Mary. Then she begins her search for her sons.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Buffy-CenteredBerserkerNWFR1525,5803188,65929 Dec 0631 Dec 06Yes

Chapter One

First off, let me say that I own nothing. Except for the Buffy/Mary theory. Also, I have never been to Ohio. I don’t know how the geography works, so please cut me some slack while reading this. Oh, and this soul/heaven thing explained later is not my actual view of things, I just thought it would be interesting and would make things work better.

- § -- § -- -- § -- § -

Where are we?
What the hell is going on?
The dust has only just begun to form crop circles in the carpet
Sinking, feeling

Hide and seek
Trains and sewing machines
All those years
They were here first

-- “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap

- § -- § -- -- § -- § -

“Giles?” Buffy called out as she knocked on the door. She heard him mutter something resembling an ‘enter’, so she did. She found her watcher and father-figure seated at his desk, surrounded by books and stacks of paper. Being the Head Watcher made him a very busy man.

“Do you have a minute?” she asked. He glanced up, still distracted, then smiled when he saw his Slayer.

“Of course, Buffy. What did you need?”

“Well, I was wondering about how the old Council found the Potentials.”

“Ah, well, they performed a, uh, spell that located the girl as an infant. She was then taken by the Council and raised as if she would become the Slayer someday.”

“Then how did they miss me? I mean… if their method was so full-proof, then why didn’t anyone know about me until after I was called?”

“No one knows for certain. All we know for a fact is that the spell directed the Council to a newly-wed couple in Kansas. They didn’t have any children.”

“Do you… I mean… Do you remember their names?”

“Buffy, my dear, it has been nearly thirty years since all this occurred. I was still getting over my addiction to dark magic. Why do you ask?”

“Because I think I was that young woman. Well, not me me, but another me?” Buffy then explained about her experience as a spirit and everything she could suddenly remember. About half-way through the explanation Giles got a strange light in his eye, as if he had a theory, but he didn’t interrupt her.

“That is interesting. I will have to research a few things, but if you will meet me in the Scooby Conference Room in about an hour, I should have something more for you.”

The Scooby Conference Room, or SCR, was a large room on the third floor of the International Slayers and Watchers Council Headquarters (ISWC), which was a large, five-story castle-like mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. It held a long, oval-shaped table in the center of the room, a four-foot high set of cabinets stretching across one wall, and bookcases lining the other three walls. None of the younger Slayers or guests were allowed in the room for any reason. Only those who were given the designation of ‘Scooby’ was allowed inside. For emergencies requiring the other residents, they used one of the larger dining rooms.

The rest of the third floor housed weapons, a small (20’ x 24’) training room, and the bedrooms of the Scoobies. The eleven current Scoobies – Buffy and Dawn Summers, Rupert Giles, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, Daniel “Oz” Osbourne, Andrew Wells, Faith Lehane, Rona Marks, Chao-Ann Fei, and Robin Wood – each had his or her own room, leaving another four rooms available for guests.

The fourth and fifth floors housed all of the other Slayers, Witches, Warlocks, and human-looking demons who fought on the side of slayers. The first floor held the two kitchens, three dining rooms (two large in a mess-hall style, one a smaller room used when school was not in session), entryway, lobby, living room, and med unit. The second floor was one-half training area and weapons storage; one-half guest bedrooms. Each of the five floors had two rec rooms for everyone to relax and play games in. The friendly demons who could not pass for human lived in the basement or attic.

After an hour of wandering around the mansion and grounds, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Dawn, and Giles met in the SCR. There was a few moments of uncomfortable silence as Giles cleaned his glasses and Xander adjusted his eye-patch. Finally, Giles cleared his throat and looked across the table to Buffy.

“I believe I have determined what happened, Buffy. Have you explained to the others why they are here?” Buffy nodded in response. “Good, then I shall get started.

“As you know, the old Council would cast a spell to find the girl. The spell was cast once every six hours, so that they would not miss any. Now, for a reason unknown at that time, Buffy was not found by that spell. Instead, the spell led the Council to a young couple in Kansas. They could not understand why they were being sent to the home of a woman too old to be the Slayer by a spell meant to find infants. They adjusted the spell to find that one girl and cast it once a day for the next five years. It always led them back to that woman. After those five years, the Council gave up and returned their focus to training the girls they had. They believed the issue with that woman to be some small fluke in the casting, and did not think of the incident again.

“Now, Buffy claims that she can remember a life as the young woman. She can remember marrying a young marine by the name of John Winchester, and bearing two boys. She also remembers dying at the hands of a yellow-eyed demon. I am inclined to believe her.

“Not many people know this, but after a person dies, the soul is not confined to a linear time line any longer. It can go backwards or forwards as needed. I believe Buffy’s soul was needed as the Slayer, so when she – as Mary Winchester – died, her soul went back in time eight years to allow her birth to coincide with the choosing of another Slayer.”

The younger Scoobies all had questions about the choosing of the Slayer, and all were vocal about them. Giles raised his hands to quiet his ‘children’ down, and tried to explain.

“The girl is born with the potential, but in order for Buffy to fulfill so many prophecies, I believe they are also predestined at birth to either become the Slayer, or to grow past the age in which she can be chosen. Buffy, from her birth, was destined to be a Slayer, as was Faith, Kendra, Rona, Chao-Ann, Vi, Molly, India, Amber, and the others.

“My theory as to why the spell led the Council to Mary Winchester and not Buffy Summers is fairly straight-forward. Because they shared the same soul, the spell sent the Council to the female with the more powerful spirit. As a grown woman, even a normal one, Mary would have more strength and character than Buffy as an infant, even though Buffy was destined to be the Slayer. The Council stopped casting the spell two years before the soul was fully reunited, so they failed to locate Buffy until after she was Called.”

“Wow… Okay, well that certainly explains some things,” Willow announced.

“Like what?”

“Like why sometimes you seem so much older than us, but others you still act Dawnie’s age.”

“That could just be her maturity level,” Dawn interjected. “I mean, maybe she never grew emotionally past being a teenager.”

“Hey!” Buffy cried.

“Don’t knock immaturity!” Xander called out.

“Yes well, back to the matter at hand,” Giles broke in before the younger people could begin bickering. “I believe Buffy had a request to make.” Everyone turned to face the blonde.

“This is more a request for Willow, Dawn and Giles; no offense Xan, but you’re not really that big on this part of things. I want to find my boys. Well, I’d like to find John, too, just to… see him. But I really want to see my sons again.”

“Say no more. We’ll get right on that,” Willow affirmed.

“You said they were in Lawrence, Kansas, right?”

“Both boys were born there, but I got the feeling from watching them that they hadn’t been back in awhile. Poor Dean looked so scared when he looked around the room. I think he remembers the night I died.”

“Okay, so we’re looking for John, Sam, and Dean Winchester. We’ll look for them and let you know what we find as we find it.”

“Thanks guys. And Xander, I was hoping you’d help me figure out something to get them when I see them again.” Buffy and Xander walked out of the room, arms linked and heads bent together in thought. Willow and Dawn headed for Willow’s room and the computers, determined to have something concrete for Buffy by the next afternoon.

- § -- § -

“Argh!” Willow nearly screamed in frustration. “This is more difficult than hacking into NASA!” She cast a sideways glance at Giles, who had raised an eyebrow at her. “Not that I’ve hacked into NASA since that last time you told me not to,” she added meekly. Giles merely ‘hmm’-ed in response.

“What’s wrong Wills?” Xander asked as he walked in. He set the many cartons of food on the table and moved to lean over Willow’s shoulder. “I thought you were all with the knowledge retrieval.”

“It’s just this-… Buffy’s family. I don’t think any of them have had a stable home or steady job since she… Mary, that is, died. It looks like they’ve been all over the country. And look at this, I think they’ve been dabbling in the supernatural.” She looked behind her and caught the worried look Xander flashed in the direction of Buffy’s current class. “Not bad dabbling, just… I mean, look at this: It shows Dean Winchester as being accused of the murder of multiple women. His brother Sam identified his body. But that was two months ago, and Buffy only died last month.”

“So what are we looking at here? Skin-stealing demon? Shape shifter? Some kind of mage?”

“I would go with shape shifter just because of the autopsy report. It says that he was killed by a silver bullet in the heart. That would just piss off a demon. And a mage would just erect a force field or something.”

“So Buff’s kids are fighting a shifter. Wonderful.”

“Not just a shifter. There’s another report on a Dean Winchester in Jericho earlier this year. From the sounds of the report, it almost looks like they were looking into that Woman in White legend. And then here, two men matching their descriptions were here in Ohio this past November. And just last week Dean’s profile was looked up. There’s nothing going on with that one, but still… After twenty-two years under the radar, they’re popping up all over the place. Well, Sam and Dean are. I’m not finding John anywhere.”

“I found a few mentions of him,” Dawn announced. “It’s really just ‘man admits son to hospital’ or ‘man is admitted to hospital’ type deals, and they all have different last names, but I know it’s him.”

“How?” Giles asked, curious.

“Well, for one, the first names are always the same. It’s always some combination of Sam, Dean, and John. And the last names I know from hanging out with Spike. I mean, Hetfield, Ulrich, and Hammett are all from Metallica. Ward and Wakeman are part of Black Sabbath. Not to mention Torrance, Nicholson, Ullman, Markway, Sanderson, Woodhouse, and Hutchins, who were from “The Shining”, “The Haunting”, and “Rosemary’s Baby”. It looks like these guys were all about the eighties.”

“So what are we telling Buffy?”

“At this point, all we can hope to tell her is that her men live like nomads and hunt ghosts. I can we could eventually do a locator spe-”

“Oh, oh, oh! I think I found something!” Willow interrupted. Dawn, Xander and Giles looked over to see her bouncing in her seat. “There’s this website based in Texas. It’s uh… ‘Hell-Hounds-Lair dot com. It looks like something your nephews would investigate,” she told Dawn.

“So we stake out the town and hope they were interested?”

“Oh… Well we could’ve, but it looks like they already got there. See here? The house it was referring to was burnt to the ground. No more haunting….” All four Scoobies heaved a sigh. Willow clicked a few more buttons and typed some more before getting excited again.

“I think we may have a match!” she announced, grinning broadly.

“How so?”

“Some girl in New York just updated her online journal about this really sweet, cute young man she met at her father’s auction house. He just called to ask her on a date.”

“And we think this sweet, cute young man is important to us because?”

“He and his older brother were extremely interested in an ugly painting that had just come in. The couple who owned the painting had had their throats slit during the night. Sounds a lot like a spirit.”

“How do you figure?”

“Doors and windows shut and locked. No forced entry. Alarm on and not tripped. They were in their bedroom on the second floor. There was no one else in the house. Plus, I saw a copy of that painting, and the dad is making my neck tingle.”

“So… Road trip?” Xander asked.

“Road trip,” Willow agreed.

- § -- § -

“What if they don’t like me?” Buffy asked. “Or worse, what if they don’t recognize me?”

“How is that worse?” Xander scoffed. “If they don’t like you, then they’re rejecting you as their mother and probably blaming you for not trying to find them sooner, or for leaving them in the first place, whether that was by choice or not. If they don’t recognize you, however, which, let’s face it, they were six months and four the last time they really saw you, then you’re just another crazy lady walking the streets of New York.”

“But they just saw me two and a half months ago,” Buffy protested.

“Not true. They saw a ghostly visions of you and if that ‘psychic’ they were with is anything to go by they think you destroyed your spirit when you fought that evil spirit in your old house. Besides, I think your biggest trouble will be the age difference.”

“Why? I’ll just explain.”

“Whether you get explain-ey or not, they’re still going to see a thirty one-year-old claiming to be the mother of two men who are twenty seven and twenty two.”

“In their line of work, they should be used to this kind of thing.”

“In their line of work,” Xander countered, “they’re probably more used to the shoot first, question later mentality. I mean, you did say your son was aiming a gun at spirit-you.”

“He dropped it when he saw me.”

“So not the point.”

Buffy huffed and sat back in her seat, arms crossed. “Are we there yet?” she asked.

“No, and if you ask me that one more time, there will be no dessert for you tonight young lady,” Xander answered. “Now do something to amuse yourself. Like singing. Singing is always of the good. Unless there’s dancing too. We don’t like the singing and dancing combo.”

“Hey, I just had a thought!” Dawn announced.

“Alert the press,” teased Buffy.

“Ha ha. Jerk. You know how Buffy’s love life has been more violent and grotesque than a train wreck?”

“Oh thanks!”

“Yeah. Point?”

“What if it was because she was subconsciously trying to find John Winchester? I mean, think about it. They were all tall, and most of them had really dark hair. Riley had that military thing going for him, and Angel, Spike, and the Immortal were all romantics. I mean yeah, it always ended badly, but that’s because it wasn’t the right guy.”

“They weren’t all bad.”

“We’ll get into that later.”

“Well ladies, welcome to New York.”

“We’ve been in New York for awhile now, Xander. What’s with the welcoming committee?”

“We’re now in New Paltz, home of the haunted paintings, Sarah Blake, and – while supplies last – Sam and Dean Winchester.”

“So where do you think we should look?”

“According to what we managed to learn about them, our best bet would be a cheap motel near the dead couple’s house.”

“And how do we know we’ve found the right motel?”

“Because we know what car will be in the parking lot.”

“We do?”

“1967 Chevy Impala. A gleaming black with four doors. I’m pretty sure at least one of those boys are in love with the car.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The way the cop in Jericho described it. That car has been well-loved.”

“So now we drive around the city until we see that car?”


- § -- § -

“Alright, so I got all our gear in the car, you’ve said your goodbyes; all we have to do is check out and then we’re gone.”

“And where are we going now?”

“I don’t know. I think I found another Woman in White deal over in Maryland. We could check that out.” Sam hummed in acknowledgment. “Or we could always stay an extra day or two. You could go on another date with Sarah. Pump her for different information this time.”

“Different? Dean, I really don’t think Sarah knows anything about the woman in Maryland.”

“Not job information, Sammy! Her information! Come on!”

Both turned at the hesitant knock on their door. They exchanged a look and Dean crept up next to the window, one hand going to the small of his back, where a gun was held in the waistband of his jeans. Sam moved to the other side of the door, also preparing for a confrontation. Dean slowly pulled the window shade back a few inches. He saw four people about his age standing at the door. The man had dark hair and an eye patch. The tallest woman was a few years older than him and had bright red hair falling in soft waves to her waist. The shortest woman was blonde, and her hair reached about mid-back. The third woman had straight brown hair with chin-length hair and shoulder-length bangs. They all looked harmless, so Dean motioned to Sam and then slowly opened the door.
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