Title: Runs in the Family
Summary: When tragedy strikes Buffy’s family, she and Dawn find out a secret that their mother had carefully kept hidden for the past seventeen years (or, ‘Buffy’s real father’ version 7629). Well, at least Buffy will finally figure out where she got that ‘demon magnetic’ gene from.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all things Buffy. Dan and others own all things Ghostbusters.
Timeline: Post-The Real Ghostbusters and the movies, Mid-Season Two for Buffy. (we will be completely ignoring the Extreme Ghostbusters stint, thought Egon is working over at the college).
AN: There is no one to blame for this but my big brother and his discovery of a DVD of four episodes of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. That was my first real love of a fandom and, after seeing them again, it kind of re-sparked it. Thus, this was born. And, really, we don’t nearly have enough Buffy/Ghostbusters crossovers, so, why not. *said the girl who had more WIPs than completed works* Besides, this is going to be my first attempt at a ‘real dad’ fic. Never tried one of those. I’m hoping it works. Anyway, hope someone likes.
Prologue“No, I-I can’t go to the dance.”
“Says who? Is it written somewhere? You should do what you want. Homecoming, my freshman year of college. I didn't have a date, so I got dressed up and I went anyway.”
“Was it awful?”
“It was awful. For about an hour.”
“Then what happened?”
“I meet your father.”
Buffy and Joyce. Prophecy Girl.
“I can not believe you are doing this,” Joyce hissed through clenched teeth into the receiver.
There wasn’t really a need for her to do so. The gallery had closed an hour ago and her assistant had already left for her weekly night class at Sunnydale University. There was no one to overhear the fight with her ex-husband except for the statue of Roquat the Red and the unpacked animal paintings from Rafiki. As far as she knew, none of them would say anything even if she did start to yell.
Hissing in low voices and snapping in quiet tones were habits though when it came to fighting with Hank. Years of having to do so because of the two young girls in the house had saw to that.
Joyce listened to Hank sigh on the other end of the line. She could picture him clearly in her mind. He would be leaning forward, both of his elbows on his too tidy desk, rubbing his fingers back and forth across his eyebrows, like he was trying to pacify an irate and exasperating client instead of his ex-wife.
“Joyce,” he said in a tone to match.
She was surprised that her teeth hadn’t broken under the pressure she was placing on them. “This is the third time, Hank,” she snapped. “You haven’t seen them since summer.”
“I know.” This time, he did sound remorseful.
The fight drained out of Joyce almost as quickly as it had set in. She had no desire to fight with him. She had enough experience of that to last her several lifetimes, and those fights had just been the ones from their marriage. After that, she had sworn that if she didn’t have to fight him, she wouldn’t. But, sometimes, he made it so damn hard for to keep her word.
Drawing in a deep breath, she sighed through her nose and closed her eyes. “I don’t understand,” she said tiredly. “What’s going on? You were a lot of things, Hank, but you were never a lousy father. Why…?”
She bit her tongue, letting the unfinished question hang in the air.
On the far wall of the dim storeroom, the clock ticked by for several seconds. Each strike of the secondhand sounded unnaturally loud in the silence.
Finally, Hank spoke again. “I can’t do this anymore, Joyce.”
For a moment, confusion clouded her mind. “Do what?”
“You know what,” he said simply.
And she did. Now she knew and her stomach knocked and fell at the admission. No, he couldn’t do this now. Not after all this time. She wasn’t ready. None of them were.
“Hank…” Joyce swallowed hard. He just couldn’t be doing this. “Hank, you can’t - You’re their father!”
“We both know that’s not true,” he shot back.
The anger that she had just felt leak out of her surged back violently within her. “It’s because of her, isn’t it?”
Her. The ‘her’ that’s been hanging between them since before Buffy’s change. The ‘her’ that he insisted was only in her imagination, even when the evidence contradicted him. The ‘her’ that she only brought up whenever she wanted to draw blood during a fight because it had been a very powerful weapon. She didn’t use it often because she knew it wasn’t entirely fair. Joyce didn’t care this time.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Roquat the Red grinning in agreement.
Joyce could literally hear Hank stiffen his back and square his shoulders to deal his own blows in the fight. It was what she was doing, after all.
However, she hadn’t been prepared for his short answer. “Yes.”
If he had literally stuck his hand through the phone and struck her, Joyce didn’t think she could have been more surprised. She opened her mouth several times, but nothing seemed come out.
There was a deflating sigh and he added, “But it’s not what you think.”
Joyce gave a humorless snort. “Really?”
“Then what is it?” she asked.
There was another long pause. Joyce had learned a long time ago that, during a fight with him, nothing good ever followed those. He didn’t prove her wrong.
“Joyce…” Another pause. Must be gathering his courage. “Peggy’s pregnant.”
Joyce felt her chest tighten as she closed her eyes that were suddenly stinging. Peggy. Pretty Peggy, the girlfriend that Buffy had causally mentioned and Dawn had tried so hard not to show that she liked after they had returned from Hank’s over the summer. From what her girls had said, she was smart, pretty, and barely out of college. The prefect midlife crisis girlfriend.
And now she was pregnant.
Roquat kept grinning.
“Preg-.” Joyce cleared her throat and pushed back some of hair as she tried to regain herself. “How - um - how far a-along…is she?”
“Four months,” he said. “We found out right after the girls left.”
There was a crackle under the silence. A thousand different thoughts and reasoning shot through Joyce’s mind about why his having a baby with Peggy should suddenly change everything. Each thought sounded worse than the last.
“I - I still don’t understand,” Joyce said. “Why does that change things?”Unless you want to get rid of your ‘old’ kids because you’re going to be a real father,
she thought bitterly, but kept silent.
Hank sighed, again. He seemed to be doing a lot of that during this conversation. “I don’t know if this will make since, but…I keep thinking about - about…what if she had never told me. What if she had just packed up and left and I never knew that I even had a kid.”
“That’s not what happened and you know it!” Joyce snapped.
“I know, I know,” he said, trying to sooth over the feathers he had ruffled. “But, I’m just saying, what if she had? How would I have felt if I found out I had a kid and no one told me? And that kid didn’t know either? It’s - It’s not fair, Joyce. To any of them. And I can’t help you do it any more.”
She knew he was right. She had known it for years. But that didn’t change anything. “You know why I can’t tell them. What he does - it’s dangerous. And - and not normal. How can I expose them to that?”
“They’re eleven and nearly seventeen, Joyce,” Hank said reasonably. “I think it’s time you let them decide.”
Pressing her lips, Joyce fought against the tightness that had formed in her throat. “They’ll hate me.”
“Maybe for a little while,” he said. Hank never was one for sugarcoating things. “But they love you too much for it to last too long.”
“Maybe,” she said with a sigh.
The sound of the clicking clock caught her attention again and Joyce frowned when she saw the time.
“I have to go,” she said tiredly, glancing around the counter for her purse and keys. “I’ve got to go home and make dinner and make sure that Buffy’s not killed Dawn yet.”
“Okay,” Hank said, sounding glad that the conversation was over. “I’ll talk to you later. Tell the girls…well, tell them I’m sorry and that I love them and will talk to them later, okay?”
Normally, Joyce would have got in one last shot at him for making her do his dirty work when he canceled on the girls, but she was just too tired. All she wanted was to get him off the phone and go home to a warm bath, a glass of red wine, and the newest Jackie Collins’ novel that Buffy had been making fun of her for having. The rest of it she would worry about that in the morning, after she had a good nights sleep.
“Sure,” she said, flipping off the desktop lamp and swinging her purse up onto her shoulder. “Goodbye, Hank.”
She had barely caught the farewell before she cut the connection and placed the portable phone back onto its cradle. Quickly checking over the gallery, Joyce armed the security system, flipped off the lights, and locked the front door on her way out.
It was cool November night and the leaves had just started to change colors and fall off the trees. She kicked at a few that blew across her shoes as she walked to the SVU parked in the empty lot.
How could he be doing this now? After all this time? They were happy. The girls, they’d never thought for a second that Hank wasn’t…
What was she going to do?
Fumbling with her keys, Joyce managed to unlock her car door and climb inside.
Hank had made it sound like she had been deliberately hiding them away, but that wasn’t true. She had tried to tell him. That was how she had ended up with Dawn in the first place.
After five years, she had finally worked up the courage to tell him. She was about to marry Hank and Buffy was already calling him ‘Daddy’ but, before she moved onto that next phase in life, she thought she would tell him. Hank had been pushing her to do so, reminding her it was the right thing to do. So she had tried. She had gone to New York with the express purpose of telling that he had a daughter.
Then she had meet up with him and saw those familiar green eyes that looked so much like Buffy’s, and that sly, flirty smile and heard those some corny come-ons that he somehow made charming and she was suddenly in college again. She hadn’t wanted to end too soon, so she thought she’d tell him about Buffy later. The next thing she knew, they had had too many laughs and too many drinks and, well, oops.
She still would have told him, but a ‘situation’ had come up in her hotel that required him and his friends services. The thing had been large, slimy and mean and very dangerous. She could remember Egon saying that - several times - while that little meter thingy he held screeched at him. They had told her to get away, but she had stayed back and watched. What she saw…
In the end, she knew she couldn’t let Buffy anywhere near this world. She had to protect her. So she had left, never mentioning the little girl she was going home too, and never looked back. Nine months later, Dawn was born.
Pulling up to a stoplight, Joyce tapped her fingers against the stirring wheel. She waited for it to turn green, before pulling out.
God, why couldn’t she have been Hanks? Then maybe she wouldn’t have been in this -
The bright lights coming in through her driver’s side door caught her attention just before the speeding car slammed into her. Joyce didn’t worry about anything after that.
Roquat the Red is the name of the Gnome King from the Wizard of Oz
Rafiki is the little monkey mystic man from The Lion King
who draws on his huts walls.
Peggy was gotten from King of the Hill
because now I can't think of the name Hank without think Peggy along with it.
So, here we go. WIP in process number...fifteen, I think. Yup, I need hlep. :)