Am I My Sister's Keeper?
Title: Sister’s Keeper
Part Title: Am I My Sister’s Keeper?
Disclaimer: Joss owns the Buffyverse, JK owns the Potterverse. I’m just playing in someone else’s sandbox.
Spoilers: Um, as far as DH spoilers are concerned - there are none. Set before the events in OotP, and this takes place directly after the events of GoF. So spoilers for that, mmkay?
Summary: The Summers sisters are formidable when it comes to hurting one of their own. And why shouldn’t they be? They learned everything they knew from the Bell sisters.
A/N: Okay, set directly after the events in Goblet, and three years (two and a half) before the events of Welcome to the Hellmouth Am I My Sister’s Keeper?
Joyce Summers had enough on her plate without her stepmother’s frantic phone calls about her sister. Buffy was nervous about starting middle school and Dawn was mad that Buffy thought she was too cool to baby-sit her. And Hank - well, Hank was putting extra hours in at the office. The phone rang again and Joyce snatched it up between making Dawn’s peanut butter and banana sandwich and putting a plate of toast between her bickering girls.
“Joycie?” Helena Bell’s voice chirped over the phone.
“Is it Granny?” Dawn squealed, tugging on her mother’s sleeve.
“Why do you have to shriek like that!” Buffy wrinkled her nose is disgust.
“Girls, I’m on the phone!” Joyce cried, pulling herself from her youngest daughter’s grasp. “Mum, what‘s the matter?”
“Your Dad insists on sending our Katie back to that awful place again! Honestly, a boy died there and your father wants her to go back to that school!”
“What’s going on in here?” Hank yelled, looking at the mess Dawn and Buffy had made of their breakfast and the table. “Why are you on the phone instead of keeping an eye on them, Joyce?”
“I am keeping an eye on them. Buffy, go take your sister upstairs and help her change her clothes.”
“Buffy Anne Summers, you will do as I say and you will not complain,” Joyce snapped, her eyes locked on Hank’s disapproving face. She turned her attention back to her stepmother. “Katie -”
“Oh, it’s her
. Tell your father she is definitely not coming here this summer. I don’t want her -”
“Hank, shut up,” Joyce cried, stalking out of the kitchen so she could listen to what was her stepmother was trying to say.
“I’m sorry to be such a nuisance, Joycie,” Helena’s voice trembled. Joyce sent a withering glance back through the kitchen doorway at her husband’s back. He had no right to make her stepmother feel like a nuisance.
“Nonsense. Hank is just being Hank and the girls are in a mood today. As for Katie, you know she‘s always welcome to stay here for the summer holidays.”
“Joyce?” Helena’s voice asked the question she had been silently asking herself for the last three months.
Was it really okay? Hank had never cared for her eccentric stepmother and father. That’s why they lived in California and barely ever visited her family. Her mother had died just before she‘d finished college, and her father had gone on a trip to find himself not long after. Joyce had been shocked when he’d returned for her wedding twelve months later with a young wife and infant daughter in tow.
Hank had expected her to be hurt and angry at his outlandishness and audacity. To be truthful, Joyce secretly thought her mother would be happy that her father had found someone to love. Her mother had been sick for some time before her death, and she’d often confided in Joyce that she hoped her father wouldn’t mope for long once she was gone. Hank had been more upset than she had been. She’d always wanted a little sister. Her older brother and sister, however, were less than thrilled with the arrival of their father and step-mother.
Katie was only three years older than Buffy, but Joyce had never treated her like her daughter. Katie was Katie. She was brash when she wanted to be, and sweet when she wanted to be. She was never afraid to be herself around anyone. Joyce often wished she could be like that with Hank, and that the girls could feel that way too. But now Hank was huffing from the doorway, and Helena was worrying over the phone line. Joyce fixed a smile on her face and spoke again.
“I’m sure we’ll work something out. You know the girls are so anxious to see their aunt soon.”
“Joyce, are you sure Hank will be alright with it?” Helena asked.
“Sure I’m sure. He just needs some convincing, that’s all.”
Katie never did come to visit that summer, no matter how much Joyce had begged and argued with Hank about it. He wasn’t her sister’s keeper after all.