The Guardian 'VerseChallenge Contribution Date:
6 August 2010 Warnings:
None. No spoilers for anything.Timeline/Authors Notes:
This takes place in the Guardian 'Verse (see link above) and takes place after New Dawn. This will make no sense whatsoever unless you've read the series, especially Four Letter Word. Also, I'm running out of steam so I think a fic a day will turn into a fic every couple of days (otherwise nothing else will get written).Disclaimer:
I own nothing. Buffy and Angel people belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. Anita Blake people belong to Laurell K Hamilton
A feeling of dread washes over Buffy as Richard Zeeman makes his way over to her. This is the third function she's attended where Richard is also a guest and this is the third time he's attempted to approach her with that
look in his eyes.
This isn't the first time a lycanthrope from another city has taken interest in her and it's always an awkward situation. Given the fact that she surrounds herself with lycanthropes, it's a little difficult for her to explain that she doesn't actually date lycanthropes. Some take it well and some... don't.
Normally whenever this situation presents itself her kids are there to run interference for her. Their protective instincts and, well, the need to interfere in her life in every way they can, make this a job none of them can refuse. They understand more than anyone how bad things can get when you offend an Alpha, so they have a series of manoeuvres they adopt in order to prevent anyone's feelings or egos being hurt.
Richard became their latest target when one of his wolves let it slip that the Ulfric was interested in her. At the last two events Luke, Ryan, Samuel and Megan did everything in their power to keep him from talking to her without it actually looking like they didn't want him talking to her. It's not that Buffy doesn't want to talk to him, she does, she just doesn't want to talk to him with an audience. She's heard from some of the local lycanthropes about Richard's issues with being a lycanthrope, so any discussion with him as to why she won't date him has to be done carefully and very privately.
However, it looks like the choice is taken out of her hands because her kids aren't coming to the rescue. Megan is over the other side of the room surrounded by Jason, Stephen and a couple of weres she doesn't recognise. Samuel is talking to Anita Blake and Sylvie Barker while Ryan has been cornered by Jamil and Shang-Da. There's no way any of them can break free without making it obvious that they're trying to keep Richard from asking her out.
The only one not surrounded is Luke. He's leaning against the wall opposite her texting someone and every couple of seconds he glances up at her and Richard. Out of all her kids Luke is the one most in tune with her, so she has no doubt that he knows the exact position she's in. The fact that he's not coming to her aid has her wondering what he's up to.
"Buffy?" Richard's voice breaks through her thoughts.
She drags her eyes away from Luke and turns to Richard. He smiles and she can't help but smile in return. She likes him, and he's extremely easy on the eyes, but she can never date him. Although, her reasons for not dating him are not just because of her rules...
"Are you enjoying the party?"
She nods "Yeah, it's great."
Richard's smile widens and her heart stutters a little at the sight. Her heart skipping a beat causes Richard's smile to widen even more. "Buffy, I was wondering if..."
His words are cut off by the sound of her cell and she prays he doesn't notice the relief on her face. "I'm sorry, I have to take this. It could be one of the kids."
Buffy pulls the cell out of her purse. As soon as she sees the caller's name she knows why Luke hasn't come to her rescue and who he was texting. "Hello Derek."
"Hey babe," Derek greets her. She can hear he amusement in his voice and she mentally plans to kill her son a little later. Involving Derek, especially when it comes to her romantic life, is only asking for trouble. "How's St Louis?"
"Great. How's L.A.?"
"Great and the kids are great." He goes silent for a moment. "I miss you."
The words catch her off guard and her eyes immediately go to Richard who can hear every word. She can't read his expression.
"Yeah, me too," she replies and it's not a lie. Derek is the main man in her life, aside from her sons, and the only reason she's not dating him is because he's Ulfric to the LA werewolves. It's also why she could never date Richard. If she's going to break her number one dating rule for a Ulfric, it would be for Derek.
"You know, I was thinking..."
Buffy glances at Luke who flashes her a toothy grin.
"I know you're not dating right now," Derek says. Buffy's impressed he's being so diplomatic. "But I was thinking that maybe when you get back we could get together for dinner and maybe a movie."
Her eyes go back to Richard, who is now looking at her with a disappointed expression. "I'll give you some privacy," he says before giving her one last smile and walking away.
This isn't exactly how she wanted this to happen but at least Richard is only disappointed, not hurt... and at least she didn't turn him down in room full of people with super human hearing.
"Buffy?" Derek calls to her, sounding a little worried.
"Yeah, I'm just..." She knows Derek's offer of a date was for Richard's benefit only, but she's... incredibly lonely. She's so tired of not dating or never getting past one date. She closes her eyes. "Okay."
"Okay?" he repeats, confused.
"When I get back we'll go out. On a date." She doubts it will work, but...
"Seriously?" he asks, stunned.
They say their goodbyes and she opens her eyes, not at all surprised to see her four children standing in front of her. The expressions on her sons faces are the same; a cross between concern and amusement. Megan, on the other hand, is positively beaming. She's never agreed with Buffy's dating rules.
"He's going to hold you to that. You know that, right?" Luke asks her.
"Even if you change your mind," Samuel adds.
"He's probably booking the restaurant right this second," Ryan says.
Megan snorts. "He's probably booking the hotel room, too."
All three men turn towards their sister.
"Could you please
not make implied statements about my mother's sex life?!" Ryan hisses.
"What implied statement?" Megan asks. "There was nothing implied about it."
Buffy fights the urge to cover her face with her hands. She doesn't need to look past the kids to know that every lycanthrope in the room is watching the exchange.
"Megan..." Ryan growls.
"Oh please! As if you don't know they're going to do it..."
Buffy spins on her heel and starts towards the drink table. Next time she's not going to let her kids run interference.