The Girl who would be God-Princess (Part III)
Everything either belongs to Joss or it should, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I’m not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn’t be worth the hassle trust me.
* * *This is the third of my stories set during childhood of one Rebecca Wyndham-Pryce. Remember that in this universe the Pylean War still rages because this is the timeline she was from, not the one she changed.Hyperion Hotel – Los Angeles – July 2012
Rebecca stuck her tongue out in distaste. ‘Yuck’ she said, pushing the bowl away from her. ‘I want a Happy Meal’ she declared imperiously, mimicking a tone she was very familiar with and not expecting that very same tone to be directed back at her.
‘You will eat what is in front of you and be grateful’ Illyria commanded. ‘There are hellspawn in the more desolate barren dimensions that would be grateful for any sustenance at all’ she told the little girl as they sat together around the dining room table they always ate at. After proudly presenting them with the meal she had cooked specially Faith had been called away to the telephone and was fortunately not present to hear her daughters less than ringing endorsement of the Lehane family Boston Clam Chowder recipe.
‘I agree with the sentiment but not the phrasing’ Wesley told Illyria, ‘try mentioning children in third world countries instead, her speech patterns attract enough attention at school already’ he noted. ‘Rebecca, your mother worked very hard to make that, the least you can do is eat it’ he chided his daughter.
‘Mommy can’t cook’ Rebecca responded. ‘Even Auntie B
is a better cook than she is’ she declared.
‘Rebecca now you know that’s not true’ Wesley told her seriously.
The little girl opened her mouth to argue but realised there was no way she could back up the argument that her Auntie Buffy was a better cook than anybody. ‘I was only trying to make a point’ she said. Her daddy always told her that if she should make a good case for doing or not doing something he’d listen.
‘I’m going to teach you a new word now’ Wesley told her, ‘it’s hyperbole’ he said. ‘Can you guess what that means?’ he asked.
‘Is it a lie?’ Rebecca asked.
‘No it means exaggerating so much it’s almost a lie’ her father told her. ‘Now try another spoonful’ he told her.
Rebecca grimaced at the notion and then realising it didn’t help because her daddy was unmoved by her horrible plight pouted instead. ‘It’s nasty’ she opined, that wasn’t a lie, or “hyperbole”, it was true she decided.
‘Do you want to be sent to bed without any dinner?’ Illyria asked her harshly.
‘Yes!’ Rebecca replied enthusiastically.
Illyria frowned. ‘I didn’t think that would backfire’ she admitted to Wesley. The shells memories indicated that when Fred’s parents made that threat it was usually successful in getting an intransigent child to comply with an order to consume an unappetising evening meal.
‘No bedtime story’ Wesley told the girl. That usually worked, Rebecca loved them, especially from Illyria, “Want 'Lyria story” had been a much heard demand as the girl grew up, though Faith was never too sure whether “Once upon a time, there was an ancient and powerful God-King that laid waste her enemies and ruled the land with a rod of iron...” was really the most wholesome way to start a fairy-tale.
Rebecca looked desolate and regarded the bowl of clam chowder again with dismay. ‘Can I eat some of it and leave the rest?’ she asked hopefully. If outright victory was impossible negotiate the best terms you can she knew, having absorbed the lessons and hidden sub-texts of many of the tales Illyria told her.
‘At least half’ Wesley told her, ‘and don’t upset your mother by telling her you don’t like it’ he added.
‘But if I don’t she might make it again!’ Rebecca responded in horror.
‘Think of it as a test of your character and determination’ Illyria advised.
‘Couldn’t I just fight a vampire instead?’ the little girl pleaded.
‘Don’t be ridiculous’ Illyria responded flatly. ‘You would be vanquished easily, as you well know from watching even a second-rate Half-Breed combatant like Harmony spar’ she said. Harmony had found a way to make extra money by offering to train with the slayers as long as no staking was involved, it had improved her own fighting skills too, she used to be third-rate.
vampire’ Rebecca suggested. ‘I could use a pistol crossbow, you know I’m a good shot Daddy’ she reminded Wesley. She had wheedled for weeks until he finally let her try one out and unfortunately she had demonstrated some talent for it even if she had to handle it like an adult would a full-sized version. Faith had, needless to say, been livid but no more than Wesley had been when he earlier found out that it had been his wife that got Xander to make the small though beautifully crafted wooden stake that Rebecca kept under her pillow. Their original intention for their little girl not to know the true nature of their lives until she was older had fallen by the wayside along with so many other good intentions like not risking their lives on a regular basis.
In some ways they had cleaned up their acts, Wesley had started shaving on a regular basis after a two year old Rebecca protested “Daddy rough”, while kissing his cheek. Faith didn’t swear anywhere near as much as she used to, and never in front of the girl, and Illyria under protest stopped bringing home bloody trophies, not only because seeing them had caused the girl nightmares but also, and perhaps more worryingly, because of the fear that after a while the gruesome sights might stop
bothering her. Wesley and Faith were determined that Rebecca would have a wonderful, ideal childhood and in the opinion of many observers overcompensated a great deal with their daughter because of the crappiness of their own young lives. Although she still had issues with hugs or other physical displays of affection, finding them uncomfortable, Faith nevertheless often went overboard with verbal declarations of affection and fussed over the girl excessively. Wesley for his part recalling his own father’s lack of praise, and dismissal of anything he ever had to say as a child encouraged Rebecca to express her opinions which had reached the point of obnoxiousness until Illyria felt obliged to note that the girl was in danger of becoming a brat and that she was not the only one that thought so.
Rebecca loved her parents, although if they forced the clam chowder on her too often that opinion might change, and she couldn’t imagine life being any different. The other girls and boys she knew had weird families, most only had a mommy and a daddy and some only had one or the other because their parents had “divorced” which meant they didn’t live together any more. Rebecca Wyndham-Pryce simply didn’t understand how anyone could be happy without a mommy, a daddy and
an Illyria. Who would you go to for hugs when you had a bad dream and everyone else was asleep? Who would play with time so you could throw a ball across a room and catch it on the other side, she wondered?
It was nice living in the Hyperion. Auntie D was good for hugs too but she was special, not like most people, and sometimes she was sad so when she was Rebecca always gave her a hug to make her
happy. Harmony was a “blood-sucking fiend”, according to grandfather Wyndham-Pryce who sometimes visited from England with grandmummy, but she wore pretty clothes and was always bright and happy so Rebecca sometimes sat with her on the front desk and Harmony made her hair into plaits or put ribbons in it. Uncle Angel was a grumpy gus and liked to sit alone in his office but Rebecca thought he was only pretending sometimes like when Illyria pretended to look more like Auntie Fred than she really did because most people are afraid of her when she’s blue.
When Faith got back to the table she was overjoyed to see Rebecca eating the clam-chowder. Her own mother had only bothered to make it a few times, but it was one of the few nice memories she had of growing up, her Mom making an effort to do something right for once. ‘Is it nice?’ she asked, starting on her own bowl.
Rebecca blinked. ‘Yes but I’m not very hungry, I ate a candy-bar earlier’ Rebecca lied. She knew that lying was bad normally but sometimes it was better than telling the truth.
‘No candy before dinner’ Faith told her.
‘I’m sorry’ Rebecca replied, looking at her daddy who was smiling at her. He might not have smiled if he’d known she’d lied to him too before about liking bangers and mash when he’d
cooked, although she’d relish a plate of it right now in preference over this “abomination” as Uncle Giles might describe it.
‘What about you?’ Faith asked her husband.
‘It’s good’ Wesley told her, actually it wasn’t too bad, better than he’d been expecting.
‘Needs tabasco’ Illyria opined, ‘or battery acid’ she decided.
Faith rolled her eyes, at least she knew Illyria wasn’t taking a cheap-shot by criticising her cooking in particular, she’d say the same thing about just about any
meal. ‘Buffy wants me to head up to Shadow Valley tomorrow’ she said. ‘I’ll be leaving early.’
‘I’ve got a meeting with Emil in the afternoon or I might have tagged along’ Wesley told her.
‘Can I come?’ Rebecca asked hopefully. She liked going to Shadow Valley, it was full of slayers and you didn’t have to pretend that magic and monsters didn’t exist like you did most of the time in LA.
‘It’s a long drive, you’ll be bored’ Faith told her.
‘Can’t we portal?’ Rebecca asked, looking at Illyria hopefully.
‘The shell is still stabilising after my return from the fighting on Pylea last week’ Illyria told the girl. ‘I should not be using my powers needlessly’ she said.
‘Please’ Rebecca pleaded.
‘No’ Illyria said firmly.
‘So are you coming?’ Faith asked her daughter. ‘We can stop at a diner half way to eat and stretch our legs’ she said.
‘Can I choose what we put on the car radio?’ Rebecca asked.
‘You can for half the trip’ Faith agreed.
‘Deal’ Rebecca replied, putting another spoonful of chowder into her mouth. Oh God she was so cute sometimes, Faith thought to herself, sometimes she liked to sneak into her bedroom at night, slayer stealthiness coming in handy, and just watch her sleep. Somehow it seemed a whole lot less creepy than when Illyria did it to Wes. ‘I’m full’ the girl announced. ‘Unless there’s dessert?’ she added.
‘Why is there always room for dessert?’ Faith asked with a chuckle.
‘Don’t know’ Rebecca replied, well normally she didn’t, right now she did.
‘There’s pie’ Faith told her.
‘Yay!’ Rebecca responded gleefully. It might take away the taste in her mouth.
‘So what are you doing tomorrow?’ Wesley asked Illyria.
‘I will be training for combat, and shopping for clothes with Fred’ Illyria replied.
‘You don’t spend any money though’ Faith remarked. ‘Fred finds something that suits her and because that means it’ll suit you too you just remember what it looks like and morph into it later’
‘Fred also has me morph into the appearance of garments she is not sure about and checks how they will look on her before purchase also’ Illyria replied. ‘It works better than looking in a mirror’ she said.
‘I prefer shopping with Auntie Cordy’ Rebecca declared.
‘So do the shopkeepers’ Wesley observed with a sigh. Cordelia occasionally took it into her head that even girls in kindergarten needed a whole new wardrobe every so often and took Rebecca out to beseige a mall, leaving stressed and exhausted sales staff trailing in their wake, it was a good thing they were disgustingly wealthy but the rank avarice and gross consumerism still made him feel quite queasy.
‘Make sure to wear a pretty dress tomorrow when we go to Shadow Valley and a change of clothes in case we stay over’ Faith told her daughter. ‘I’ll help you pick one out and do your hair in the morning if you like?’
‘Blue ribbons’ Rebecca requested.
‘Why couldn’t she have a different favourite colour Wes?’ Faith asked sadly.
‘It was you that got her that Smurfette toy’ Wesley pointed out.
Illyria smiled. ‘In the end all transgressions against me are punished’ she said. ‘Even if only by fate’ she said smugly.
‘Red ribbons too?’ Rebecca suggested, ‘bright red like your scythe.’
‘I can cope with you in blue and red’ Faith agreed with a smile.
Note from the Author:
Since I was back writing in the Compelled Universe, with the start of the fifth Compelled Story Compelled to Play for High Stakes, I thought I'd throw in another chapter of Tales from the Compelled 'Verse as a bonus of sorts.
Much of the inspiration for the "Girl who would be God-Princess" mini-series is attributable to Kiwikatipo so thanks to her. This chapter in particular was inspired by her comments and observations.