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Joy To The World, Woe To Some Others

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Season's Greetings". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: A series of short scenes following up on my story, "All I Want For Christmas…", all dealing with Joy's acclimating to her situation.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralGreywizardFR1312,613182,06928 Dec 1028 Dec 10Yes
Disclaimer: The Scoobies and everyone they encounter all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME.

Time Frame: Approximately a year and a half after 'Chosen,' and immediately following my story, "All I Want For Christmas…"

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: None.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: My muse decided she wasn't finished with Joy meeting the Scoobies

Author’s Note 2: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author’s Note 3: This is canon through the ends of Season Seven Buffy and Season Five Angel.

Author’s Note 4: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

~~~

Faculty housing
The Sineya Foundation
Cleveland, OH

December 23, 2005


"Yeah, Giles, as a matter of fact, I *do* know what time it is in merrie old England right now!!" Xander Harris replied in response to the annoyed question posed by the person at the other end of the phone line.

"But to tell you the truth, I don't really care, and I don't think that you will, either, once you hear what I've got to tell you," Xander went on, ignoring Rupert’s indignant sputtering issuing from the receiver concerning the maligning of his mother country.

"Look, never mind what’s going on in London – last night, a group of Trogs attacked the compound and tried to tap into the Hellmouth's energies so that they could open a portal to their god's realm and let him manifest here, but luckily things didn't go exactly the way they'd been hoping, and…"

~~~

The same place
The next day


"Good afternoon, Joyce – err, I mean Mrs. Summers, uhm, yes, I'm, uh, Rupert Giles, and I-I-I'm delighted to meet you," the very flustered Englishman managed to stammer a greeting to the equally uncertain mature blonde, while a group of widely smiling young twenty-somethings and older adolescents stood around watching, their enjoyment of their elders' uncertainty and awkwardness evident on all of their faces.

"I'm very happy to meet you, too, Mr. Giles, but please, call me Joy. 'Mrs. Summers' isn’t exactly a name I use any longer, at least not where I came from," the still classically beautiful blonde told this version of her former lover with a smile as she took his hand in a surprisingly strong handshake.

"Very well, Joy," Giles immediately returned her smile. "And in turn, I must insist you call me Rupert."

"I'd be glad to, Rupert. Now as Xander’s doubtless already informed you, I'm from an alternate reality – one where things happened quite differently for me than they did here, and I'm sure we both have quite a number of questions for one another about what those differences might be, and certain other subjects that need to be discussed," Joy said.

"But before we get into all that, there's something else I need to do, first," Joy told him, before turning away for a moment to give their assembled audience a stern, unmistakably motherly glare.

"I'm sure that none of you mind giving Rupert and myself some time to discuss things privately, and *without* any interruptions, correct? And I'm equally sure that all of you have something you need to do which will require your full attention for the next couple hours, don't you?" Joy declared firmly, as she took a moment to give each of the assembled Scoobies – Buffy, Dawn, Faith, Xander, Willow, Kennedy and Andrew – a personal look that combined obvious maternal affection with an equally stern 'Don't Make Me Get Annoyed With You' expression that had each of the normally stalwart and unflinching demon fighters immediately dropping their eyes and mumbling semi-comprehensible agreement before they all practically bolted from the room.

"Thank the Goddess. Now would you mind casting a privacy spell on the room before we begin discussing anything, Rupert?" Joy then said as she turned back to address Giles, once they were finally alone. "It's not that I don't trust the little darlings, but if your Buffy and Dawn are anything like mine were, they’ll no doubt view other people's secrets in much the same way a cat views catnip."

"I'd be glad to do so, Joy," Giles nodded his agreement with a wry smile. "As you so wisely indicated, there's no point in tempting Fate unnecessarily."

After ensuring that their conversation would remain unheard by any potential eavesdroppers, *including* Willow, the Scooby Gang's parental surrogates made themselves comfortable in two of the overstuffed chairs and eyed each other the least bit nervously.

"So, uhm, the, uh, the children informed me that my counterpart here died of an aneurysm back in February of 2001," Joy hesitantly opened their conversation.

"And from what little I've been able to determine from everyone’s comments, it sounds as though she didn't participate in the group's nightly hunting activities all that much, if at all," she stated quietly. "Is that correct?"

"Well, uh, yes, that would be a, a rather accurate summation of Joyce's participation in the Slaying," Giles nodded, his forehead wrinkled with a frown as he considered both Joy's tone of voice and her body language as she'd voiced her question. "Since she lacked any semblance of martial skills at all, and, uh...”

“What?” Joy asked, leaning forward.

Giles sighed. “Quite frankly, Joyce always hated the fact that Buffy was a Slayer, from the moment she finally learned the truth at the end of Buffy’s junior year. She never said anything overt to anyone other than myself, mind you, b-but it was obvious even to a blind man that, that the woman wanted her child to have nothing to do with the undead, she was constantly worried for Buffy’s safety and wanted for her oldest daughter to have a normal – that is to say, non-Slayer – life. So she, she focused on providing emotional support, and when necessary, first aid and whatever medical support that did not necessitate an actual visit to the hospital.

"Although, judging by your tone of voice, I would infer that, in your world, you did more than merely attend to the children's injuries, then?" Rupert carefully suggested.

"Yes, you’re absolutely right about that," Joy immediately nodded.

"I found out what was going on in Sunnydale early on – which, unlike in this world, happened shortly after we moved to the Hellmouth, when I was attacked in my own home by a female vampire named Darla," she informed the raptly listening Watcher. "Ah, I see you’re familiar with her – good, that saves us some time on unnecessary explanations. Well, I insisted on becoming a lot more involved in helping support Buffy after that, and eventually my Rupert acquiesced to my demands. I took some self-defense courses and shooting lessons, and I insisted that Buffy and the other children do so, too.

"Despite what that idiot Travers said, even if normal firearms can't kill demons – and he was quite clearly wrong about that fact, too," Joy noted, parenthetically, "we learned pretty quickly that blessed double ought buckshot is a great way to knee-cap someone you don't like and that, without knees to support them, even a demon can't do much other than lie on the ground and scream until someone comes up and either stakes them or blows their head off, at which point, they turn to either dust or a puddle of goo.

"I had expected that those imbeciles running things in England would be delighted to learn various things like that – all right, maybe I was a bit naïve, initially – but instead, all I ever heard from the Watchers, via your counterpart in my world, was that 'tradition' dictated that Buffy should be using a crossbow, and not the 10-gauge I had personally bought for her."

"Fascinating," Giles murmured. "From what you said, I would gather that you had to deal with the Council's board on more than just the one occasion?"

"Oh, yes," Joy confirmed with a scowl. "Once your counterpart informed them about my learning of my Buffy's activities and that I and Buffy’s friends insisted on supporting her in her duties, that pompous asshole in charge of the Council actually had the audacity to show up in my home and insist that I allow Buffy to perform her 'sacred duties' by herself, since that was how ‘tradition’ dictated things be done."

"Oh dear," Giles managed to repress the smirk that threatened to break out at her description of Travers. "I take it he didn't react well when you disagreed with his, ah, rather dictatorial proclamation?"

"You might say that," Joy informed him, the wide and eminently satisfied smile on her face stretching from ear to ear. "I seriously doubt that, once he was finally released from Sunnydale General, that man would have ever been able to consider fathering children again.

"Although a good plastic surgeon and an oral surgeon working together were able to repair his nose and jaw – eventually," the ash-blonde woman added thoughtfully, her eyes alight with a wicked twinkle.

"What a shame," Giles smiled upon hearing her comment. "Speaking from my own experience, I can't imagine anyone more deserving of such treatment than that prat and his cohorts, in this or any other dimension."

"True enough," Joy nodded her own agreement. "Although, after that little incident, we didn't hear from the Council very often, and when we did, it was mostly generic and useless secondhand gossip we'd already learned from other sources."

"Yes, that sounds like much the same sort of thing that the idiots running things here tended to provide to us back then," Giles noted with a frown. "That is, when they deigned to provide us with any information at all."

"Hmm. I think I should also mention that during Buffy’s junior year, something happened so that everyone who purchased their costume from one of the shops in town ended up turning into whoever they were dressed as," Joy confided.

“That happened here as well, so I’m familiar with the circumstances,” Giles nodded.

"Good. Anyway, all that actually turned out fairly well for us, in general, since Dawn had pouted and puppy-dog-eyed everyone in the group into wearing matching theme costumes from one of her favorite cable cartoon shows," she grinned reminiscently.

{ Dawn was actually there, at the time? } Giles asked himself in confusion, since he knew the Key had technically been in Eastern Europe back then. { No, wait – never mind, that can wait for later. Concentrate on what the woman’s actually saying! }

"We all dressed up as various characters from 'G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,' so once the night was over, we all ended up knowing how to fight very well," Joy went on.

"Your counterpart went as a fighter pilot named Ace, Xander was a SEAL named Torpedo, Buffy dressed up as a ninja named Jinx, Willow went as a covert operations specialist named Lady Jaye, Dawn was a tank jockey named Cover Girl and I was a counter-intelligence agent, Scarlett," she recounted.

"All of that training definitely came in handy, later," Joy said. "Especially when Mayor Wilkins tried to turn himself into a pure demon – an Old One, I think my Rupert called him.

"The night he received that special delivery of his – the Box of Gavrock, I think it was called? – we blew up nearly all of his vampire flunkies into little pieces when City Hall suffered a close encounter with several lots of C4 and dynamite.

"Wilkins wasn't hurt by the blast, of course, because he had already undergone that ritual to become invulnerable to harm for a hundred days, up to the moment he started his Ascension," Joy explained to a fascinated Giles, “but he also couldn't get out from under all the rubble either.

"So, whilst your counterpart and Willow were busy destroying that Box, the rest of us dug Wilkins out of the debris and ‘neutralized’ him," she went on, "and once the hundred days were up and he was no longer invulnerable to harm, we chopped him up into little pieces and buried them all over town.

"The end result was, as my Xander put it, Mayor sushi!"

"A brilliant campaign, indeed, I must admit," Giles congratulated Joy.

"From what you've said so far, though, it sounds as though your reality mirrored ours in a great number of instances," the head Watcher stated, a thoughtful expression on his face as he considered what he'd heard so far.

"If you wouldn't mind, Joy, I'd appreciate it if we could start from when you and Buffy – and Dawn, I suppose – first moved to Sunnydale, and then enumerate what might have happened to each of the children over the course of each year, thereafter," Giles then proposed, "so that we might determine the various similarities or differences compared to what occurred here."

"Certainly, Rupert," Joy agreed. "I'd be glad to do so. I think it would help me develop a much better understanding of how things went here, and from what little I’ve gathered from some things both Faith and Andy said the other day, I think that it’s very important that I know everything I can about what each of these youngsters have had to go through, here."

Resisting the impulse to ask exactly what it was that either of the two formerly wayward Scoobies might have said to garner such a reaction from Joy, Giles merely nodded and waited for the woman to being her recitation of her world's history.

"All right then. Buffy, Dawn and I arrived in Sunnydale on January 8th, 1997…"

The surrogate parents of the Scooby Gang, albeit from two differing worlds, talked for a long time, with Giles only intermittently asking questions or providing a contrast as to how certain events in Joy’s world had turned out here.

Among the many differences between the two universes, the two that Giles had found most surprising were that Joy's Buffy had been engaged to an Initiative agent named Jason Bourne (who had, unfortunately, died while rescuing Dawn from one of Angelus' progeny, an even more sociopathic than usual vampire named Penn) and that Xander had never even dated Anya, since the former vengeance demon had evidently regarded the Summers matriarch as far too similar in attitude to herself to run the risk of possibly incurring her displeasure, should the depowered, once-again-human girl and Xander break up on hostile terms.

One other thing that had greatly surprised Rupert, though, was learning that Joy most definitely did *not* have any pleasant memories of either Angel’s or Spike’s counterparts from her universe.

Angel had been regarded as an undead pervert who’d tried to take advantage of a *much* younger and relatively naïve teenager, whilst Joy’s memories of Spike mostly centered around his trying to kill her daughter on Parent-Teacher night, during Buffy’s junior year.

Rupert Giles was not the Head Watcher of the Council for nothing, and so he very wisely decided to let Buffy personally handle explaining her past choice of undead lovers to her mother’s counterpart from another reality.

{ As The Bard had Falstaff note, 'The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life,' } Giles reflected to himself sometime later in the privacy of his own room.

{ After all, Buffy is an adult and is responsible for her own life, as she has so often pointed out when someone has made any sort of comment about her dating habits, } he rationalized his actions to himself as he nursed a glass of single malt. { So I can therefore see no reason why *I* should be the one to inform Joy about her daughter's past dating history. }

After all, Giles had absolutely no desire to end up like the Travers of her native universe.

~~~

The same place
Christmas Day, 2005


"Merry Christmas, Mom.”

Those three words – words that she'd believed she'd never hear anyone ever say again – being said with such fervent enthusiasm by four voices and echoed by three more – were the sweetest, most blessed words Joy knew she would ever hear in this world or the next.

"Merry Christmas, my dears," came in a very close second, though.


FIN

The End

You have reached the end of "Joy To The World, Woe To Some Others". This story is complete.

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