Familial repercussions and Frightened Vampires
Author’s note: It has been pointed out to me that Simon has definite Gary Stu tendencies. I either hope to remove some of these impressions in coming chapters, or, if he becomes too annoying by general vote, I will kill the series after the re/write of the first season. The following few chapters will lean far more heavily on the episode dialogue than previous ones, the reasons for this will become clear I hope. I also hope that the changes to these scripts are sufficient for this to warrant as an AU still… Chapter 16: Familial Repercussions and Frightened Vampires
Joyce was rather surprised to see her youngest daughter standing in the doorway to her new study in the basement. She turned her revolving chair, the real leather one Simon had bought her despite all her complaints and to her secret delight, with a slight push of her foot.
“Dawn? Is something wrong?”
“Miss Mellowes is sick…” *Oh dear…that’s not the Miss Mellowes has a cold voice…*
Joyce held out her arms and Dawn sat on her lap. “I-its real bad…some sort of bug…”
Joyce made a quick calculation in her head. Dawn had blithely informed them at the breakfast table two weeks ago that Miss Mellowes had a stomach bug and there was going to be some substitute for a few days…
“Oh dear…would you like to send her some flowers?” *A fruit basket would not be a good idea…*
Dawn nodded. “We’re going to get her one from the whole class too…”
“We can do both dear.” *Simon does rather like her… I wonder if he can help with the medical side… Does she have medical insurance?*
“And the new substitute is this weird guy who smells of fish.”
Joyce smiled, careful not to let Dawn see it. “I see. Can he teach?”
“He’s not Miss Mellowes...”
Joyce smiled again. *Yes, but I’m not going to admit it because I’m loyal…*
“Well then, I’ll come to meet him tomorrow, hmm?”
“You don’t have to… Miss Mellowes should be back soon.”
“Well, if she stays ill for another two weeks, I do want to meet him, okay?”
“’Kay Mom. Mom?”
“Ummm…Nothing…” Dawn stood up. Wiping away a final tear.
Joyce heard the kitchen door open and soft, stealthy steps upon the floor.
Joyce sighed and then sent forth a maternal warning. Albeit a loud one. “STAY OUT OF THE CHEESE WILLOW DANIELLE!!!”
The loud “Eeeeep” from upstairs made Dawn howl with laughter.
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Joyce took a deep breath as she picked up the phone and pushed the memory button, *Lolly first, then Arlene, then Mom and Dad. No…Arlene first. Arlene’s always been the most level headed of us.*
She pressed 5 and Arlene’s phone started ringing.
“Dr. Arlene Ellis.”
“A-Arlene? This is Joyce.” *Confidence Joyce! This is your life, not theirs.*
“Joyce? Are you alright, sis?”
“Yes, I’m fine, I just have some news.”
“What, you gettin’ hitched?” Arlene sounded amused.
Joyce giggled. “Not yet no. Simon and I’ve taken in a foster son and we’re working on getting a foster daughter.”
There was a Momentary silence. “Well… You always wanted a big family…How old are these children?”
“They’re classmates of Buffy.”
“Well, well… I assume my foster nephew and niece have names?” Joyce noted a quaver in Arlene’s voice.
“Alexander Harris, he goes by Xander. His father beat him. And Willow Rosenberg, whose parents are never there.” Joyce was amazed at the vitriol in her own voice.
“Oh. Well good for you.” *Disappointment? Why is Arlene disappointed by the names of Xander and Willow?*
“Arlene? Is everything alright?”
“Joyce… can I come and stay over for a bit in a few weeks time?”
“Of course… Arlene, what’s wrong?”
“Joy… your Simon… he’s… the Meier houses, that’s him, right?”
“So he’d be able to get into foster children files… adoption cases?”
“Well, not without good reason. Simon’s very ethical about stuff like that. So no info just for your nature versus nurture debate.” she said it teasingly.
“I know. Joy… I’ll talk to you later… I-I’ll be by soon.”
“Sure Arlene. I look forward to it.”
“Soon. Love you Joy… and thank you.”
Joyce looked at the phone in confusion. She’d expected Arlene to be accepting of her choice to foster… but there had been something more there… She sighed and dialed Lolly.
“Well hello Joyly… called to tell me about boyfriend’s latest gift of jewelry or apparel?”
“No. I’m calling to tell you that we’re taking in some foster children.”
“Aha! Willow and Xander I take it?”
“Well you always wanted a larger family.” Lolly sounded quite complacent about the matter.
“You don’t seem surprised…”
“Joyly…even my maternal instinct kicked in over those two. And yours is way more developed.” Joyce winced at the pretend cheeriness in her twin’s voice. It was not by choice that Lolly and Harry had only one child.
“Ah. Do um… Did you tell...?”
“No, I haven’t told Mom and Dad. You get to do that.” Lolly’s voice was dry.
“I intended to call them after you. So… you don’t mind?”
“They seemed like good kids. Dawn and Buffy don’t mind, I take it?”
“Heh. Dawn always wanted a big brother. They’re supposed to be way cooler than big sisters. Also he can lift her for ballet practice.”
Lolly giggled. “Poor Xander. So can I ask what subjects to avoid? Why are you taking them in?”
“Physical abuse in Xander’s case and neglect in Willow’s.”
“Right. Well you’ll tell me what not to joke about and when to shut up?”
“Of course. Don’t I always?”
Lolly chuckled. “Yes, you do. Well, I’ll come and admire my new niece and nephew in a few weeks, after you’ve all settled in a bit, ok?”
“Sure. Bring Harry and Celia.”
“I most certainly will. Take care Joyly, love you.”
“Love you too sis.”
Joyce hung up and took a deep breath. Now for the difficult bit…
“Dad? This is Joy.”
“Joy, hello dear. Is everything alright?”
“Yeah Dad, fine. Is Mom near?” There was a noise as Cecilia got on the extension.
“Joy? Did he leave you?”
“Cecilia. Be quiet.”
Joyce blinked. Her father spoke repressively to her mother on very rare occasions and it gave her courage. “No Mom. He’s moved in with us. And he’s moved his work office from New York to Sunnydale. And I love him and if you make one more derogatory remark about him without having bothered to invite us over, you can go without seeing your grandchildren for a year or so. And speaking of grandchildren, we’ve taken in a foster son and are working on getting a foster daughter. And you’d better be nice to them because Buffy and Dawn love them.”
“Joyce Marie! What do you think you are doing?”
“Living her life Cecilia, the way she wants to, like a responsible adult.” Her father again.
“Cecilia! We will discuss this later. I want to speak to Joyce in private.”
There was a humph and her mother hung up. Her father chuckled. “Well done dear. It’s long past time you stood up to your mother. I do hope by the way your dis-invitation to see the grandchildren does not extend to me? And I’d like to see my foster grand children as well…”
“Dad… I love you.”
James Ellis chuckled. “I admit that it helped that your not so young man…” Joyce could hear the teasing in his voice. “Is familiar to me through some of my Pro Bono cases.”
“Yes. Remember that case about Indian lands, where the so called owner absolutely refused to give the land up? This was in the seventies.”
“Oh, yes, they settled eventually, right?”
“Well settled is the wrong word. The owner refused because he wanted assurances the land would never be built upon because it was the site of a Native American massacre… And he wanted it to be remembered. There’s a small monument there, with the name of the man who commanded the unit on it…”
“Oh dear…I do wish Simon wouldn’t feel so guilty about things he didn’t do.”
“I find it admirable really. And of course he’s very active in child protection and the Meier Houses have come up in my cases frequently…and I don’t think a man who spends so much time and money doing good things can be all
bad for my daughter.”
“Gee, thanks Dad!” Joyce replied mock offended.
“So when do you want me to convince your mother to come and meet her new future son in law and her new foster grandchildren?”
“Well we’re working on the foster daughter… So until after that is arranged?”
“Very well... I can sell her that.”
“I love you Dad. Good luck placating Mom.”
“I’ve got plenty of experience. Love you Joy, give my love to the kids and regards to Simon and the new kids.”
“Thanks Dad. Speak to you soon.”
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“Five days.” Joyce voice was level and cold. “FIVE DAYS!!!” She screamed an incoherent scream of animal frustration and threw the council letter against the wall. Buffy peeked around the door, taking in her mother’s face. There was more disbelief and disappointment than anything else in her face.
“Mom? You alright?” <br> <br>
Joyce sighed, sitting down. “Disappointed dear.”
Buffy looked uncertain. “S-something I did?”
Joyce chuckled. “No dear… not you or any of the others… Just me.”
Buffy, relieved at the sight of he mother’s humour, came in. Willow and Amy followed.
“So…what’s the screaming about?”
Joyce leaned back. “I lost a bet.”
Buffy gave the other girls a look. “Did ya loose a lot of money?”
“Simon gets to pick my Halloween costume…” Joyce groaned again and laid her head on her folded arms.
Buffy grinned. Willow and Amy giggled until Joyce glared at them. “It’s not funny. Who knows what depraved fantasy he’s got… I could end up dressed in a Leia Slave Bikini for heaven’s sake!”
“You’d look great in it Mom…Don’t worry…we’ll be there for moral support.”
Joyce closed her eyes and sighed. “Just do me a favour…never make stupid bets like your mother just did, ok?”
Only the fact she had her eyes closed prevented her from seeing all three girls nodding their heads.
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Xander sat on a lounger in the garden behind his foster parent’s house as Patrick Madison’s men were digging a trench next to the back wall, to get at and repair the foundation. Pat had determined it was not the actual foundation that had collapsed, but rather a number of wooden supports of the house itself that had sagged and rotted and needed to be replaced. They were also going to extend the back a bit, to enlarge the kitchen and dining room and possibly build a deck on the new roof. French doors for all the back bedrooms were being considered. Rose trellises were to separate the balcony into individual areas.
Another group was raising the roof height of the garage loft, what was going to be Willow’s room and a third was constructing the glassed arch passageway that would connect that loft to the main house.
Willow was watching the work, a smile on her face and a hunk of cheese in her hand which she nibbled on occasion.
Pat himself was building a new staircase to the basement, more solid than the slightly rickety one currently there. Joyce and Simon had offered to turn the garage itself into another bedroom for him, but he rather liked the cool basement. And the showers were closer.
It had amazed Pat how swiftly Simon had managed planning permission. Apparently showing up with a Vernon DeMars designed addition to a house and a willingness to pay a nice sum to every neighbour to stop complaints as well as the waiving of a quarter’s payment for water rights to the city really speeded up the local bureaucracy. Several of the neighbours had accepted the offer of having their homes remodeled instead, which Pat was going to be working on and Simon was going to be paying for.
Simon had spent more money in the past few weeks than Xander had ever seen him do, and without a single worry. It was a strange notion. He’d known, intellectually, that Simon was rich. But he hardly seemed to live the life of a rich man, no expensive jewelry, no Rolex watches, fast cars, big houses. Instead he lived quietly on unremarkable street, bought groceries that were good quality and had, indeed, bought him good clothes and all of them those phones. But he just didn’t act
rich. At least, the way Xander imagined someone rich should act.
He sighed and shook his head at the dichotomy. Then shook his head at the fact he knew the meaning of the word dichotomy. All the tutoring, the talking, the reading, was getting to him. Joyce and Simon had very firmly told him he was not stupid, not a moron, not anything his birth parents had told him. And that since he shared classes with Willow, who was taking AP classes, and he was actually passing those, with a rising grade average even, he really couldn’t be as dumb as Tony Harris had told him. He grinned. He hadn’t known about the AP classes. Willow had signed him up for those and he’d just bumbled and stumbled along with her. He may not be dumb, but as Buffy said, he was fucking clueless. That remark had earned his elder sister
a light flick on her ear and a “Buffy, Language!” from Joyce, the tap as Dawn had been in earshot.
Life was in a word, good. He heard a soft step behind him and smelt the wonderful vanilla scent that was, to him, part of the essence of Joyce Summers. She put a hand on his shoulder as she walked around the lounger to sit next to him. She was dressed in a smart skirt, shirt and jacket and was wearing her contacts. No doubt sometime later in the evening she’d put on her glasses. Part of what Patrick’s crew was doing was soundproofing. Buffy had jokingly griped a bit one evening and he’d never seen Joyce blush so much, ever. He grinned up at her.
“Good afternoon Ms. Summers. How was your day at the gallery?”
“Good afternoon Xander. Fine.” She sat and gave him a look he would have described as nervous. She put her hands together in the gesture he knew meant she was uncertain. It made him feel queasy. Frightened.
“I-is something wrong?”
She laughed nervously and shook her head. “No, not at all. Ummm. It’s just. I feel uncomfortable with you calling me Ms. Summers now. And you are uncomfortable with calling me Joyce; I think.
Xander nodded. “Yeah. Sorry.”
“Want to try for Mom? Or is that too early?”
Xander gawped. “Ummm… can I like, work up to it? Through Ms. Summers? I mean, my image of ‘Mom’ doesn’t quite match with how I think of you.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “In that you actually are a Mom to me, but I need to get rid of the memories before I…” Joyce put a gentle hand on his arm.
“I understand Xander. I can live with Ms. Summers for now, or Joyce.” She saw him wince a little. “Ms. Summers it is then?”
“Yeah. Sorry. Again.”
“Don’t be sorry Xander. All this is a great change for you. I just want you to be as happy as possible, in all this…” She waved a hand in the air, looking for a word.
“I have no idea what that means.”
Xander waved his hand through the air vaguely. “All this.”
Joyce gave him a mock glare. “You’re already picking up all Simon’s bad habits.”
“Sons do sometimes take after their fathers.” He said it mockingly, but with a touch of seriousness.
“Which is why Simon does not drink. At all. So that he never ever will be like that.”
Xander’s eyes widened. “Oh. I see. Damn.”
Joyce lightly tapped his arm. “Language Xander.”
“Sorry, Ms. Summers.”
“As an apology you can help me cook on that horrible thing Simon insists will work.” She glanced with some trepidation at the camp cooker and cutting board stood underneath a tarpaulin beside the tree that held Dawn’s treehouse. Xander grinned.
“I did some camping; I can get the ‘horrible thing’ working.” He gave her air quotes and she gave him a glare.
“I was never good at camping. I’m just very glad Simon actively despises it.”
“He does? He seems to like the woods and nature stuff.”
“He muttered something about not being a bear in the woods when I asked him about it. He also pointed out that mankind had been moving away from living in tents for thousands of years and who was he to stand in the way of the march of progress…”
“Heh. Anyways, this is how you light a camp cooker…”
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The Fumigation party was in full swing. Xander had been shot down by three different girls and had so far traded insults with Cordelia on two separate occasions. He considered it a good night. Simon had very firmly taken him to what he called a ‘gentleman’s outfitter for young gentlemen’ while Buffy, Willow, Dawn and Joyce had visited an old lady in LA. He therefore was not wearing a Hawaii shirt, anything too colourful or clashing and had been given very firm instructions on the treatment of ladies, with the possible exception of Harmony, who Simon had in an uncharacteristically severe manner, categorized as the walking witless. Buffy had come back from her visit both thoughtful and exhilarated. This night however she was mostly thoughtful, and was now contemplating the cockroaches on the floor. Xander joined her and Willow at the table.
“Heya little sister.”
Buffy glared at him. “Xander! That’s no fair, even if you are the oldest.”
“It’s not all about age Buff; I’m also bigger than you are.” Xander pointed out.
“My wit is better!”
“Hah! I resemble that remark. I have daily battles of wit with vampires.”
“Who have no dress sense and the strange habit of visiting the favourite hangout of the Slayer? Real smart vampires, just full of coruscating wit.”
Buffy glared. “Aaugh! I give up.”
Xander blinked. “Buff, you okay? I never win this easily.”
“Just…” Buffy gazed at the dancing couples, hand holding couples, kissing couples and sighed. “Nothing. I need to go, see you later guys.”
Xander looked after his foster sister. “What’s the matter with her Wills? She in need of male companionship?”
“Xander…” Willow wondered how she could diplomatically tell Xander that Buffy might be looking for male companionship, but that he was not what she was looking for when Xander spoke in a gentle voice.
“Willow… I liked-liked Buffy. A lot. But, since the Hyena thing… And her now being my foster sister…and the fact that in Hyenadom I had an urge to mate with her mother before her…I got over it. Very quickly.” Xander shuddered.\
Willow blinked. “Y-you’re over Buffy?”
He shrugged. “Weird, but yeah. The notion I’d force myself on her…or mo-Ms Summers.” Xander looked physically ill, ready to be sick
Willow smiled, sadly. “You can call her Mom, Xand. She told you so.”
“Yeah Wills, I know.” He reached out a hand and took hers. “But you can’t. Do you ever think about what we would have been like if your Nana hadn’t had that stroke?”
“Yeah. I just wish she’d lived.” Her eyes teared up. “I miss her Xand. I really do.”
“So do I. C’mon let’s do the roach dance. I can do with a cappuccino.”
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The three vampires were hot on their heels as Buffy and Angel ran, turning into Revello Drive and managing to open the door just before they were grabbed. They stood in the foyer, gathering themselves as the Three rattled the doors and windows, obviously hoping to make them nervous, force them to make a mistake.
Angel looked at the ugly deformed face in front of him. “It's alright. A vampire can't come in unless it's invited.”
“I've heard that before, but I've never put it to the test.” She leaned on the door, her eyes widening as she took in his bloody shirt and the wound below it. “Oh... I'll go get some bandages, just... take your jacket and your shirt off.”
Buffy walked into the kitchen, very glad that the wall was still intact even if the kitchen was partially gutted. Angel looked out the window by the door one last time and followed her into the kitchen, taking in the building work. Grimacing he removed his jacket and his T-shirt. Buffy looked at him, her eyes lingering on his broad, muscled shoulders, seeing the tattoo of a griffin straddling a large "A"
below his right shoulder. She picked up the first aid kit, her hands trembling ever so slightly.
“Nice tattoo.” She exhaled, expelling a breath she was holding for various reasons, some of which she was not quite ready to own up to. “I was lucky you came along. How did you happen to come along?”
She started to bandage him, then realised that she had to clean the wound first and took the hydroxide out of the fridge. Almost Simon’s first action upon moving into the house had been to vastly expand the first aid kits and medical supplies. She splashed a good dollop of hydroxide on some sterile gauze kept in the large aid kit and then applied it to the wound. Angel hissed. His skin was cool underneath her fingers and she hoped he wasn’t going into shock. It was amazing what medical knowledge you could pick up if your Mom’s boyfriend was a doctor.
“I live nearby. I was just out walking.”
“So, you weren't following me? I just had this feeling you were.” She gave him a look she hoped wasn’t to obvious of her hope that he felt just slightly more for her than a convenient means of vampire disposal.
Angel smiled. “Why would I do that?”
Buffy resisted the urge to stick her tongue out or roll her eyes. “You tell me. You're the Mystery Guy that appears out of nowhere. I'm not saying I'm not happy about it tonight, but... if you are hanging
around I'd like to know why.” She had finished with the peroxide and quickly bandaged the wound, running the roll under his upraised arm and trying not to touch him too much as the nearness of him brought a little wobble to her knees.
Angel looked down at her, his eyes hooded. “Maybe I like you.”
Buffy swallowed, hoping he didn’t notice. “Maybe...” *Oh please! Yes!*
Angel smiled at her and she smiled back. Buffy heard the door open and the low voiced of Joyce and Simon. She headed into the foyer quickly, frightened that the Three were still outside and might harm them. Simon had opened the door holding it for Joyce, and looked surprised when Buffy pulled her mother inside quickly, closing the door quite forcefully with her foot, while hugging Joyce.
Joyce blinked at her daughter in surprise. “Hi yourself! What are you doing? Not that I mind of course…”
Buffy had let go of Joyce and gave Simon a look. “There's a lot of weird people outside at night...”
Joyce looked fearful. “Oh dear…anyone dangerous? Simon, we should call Willow and Xander…I’ll call Susan and ask her if Dawn and Janice are alright.” She went towards the kitchen where she usually phoned. Buffy moved quickly to intercept.
Buffy spoke a bit haltingly. “I-I’m not sure...I just feel better with you safe and sound inside. You must be beat.”
Joyce blushed a little glancing sideways at Simon. “A bit. We're a little gallery. You have no idea how much...”
Buffy interrupted her mother, spotting the discomfort. *Ok…At least part of the late night at the Gallery had been spent elsewhere doing non gallery stuff, but…not going there. Oh god…I hope it was elsewhere.* “
Well, then why don't you go upstairs and get into bed, and Simon or I can bring you some hot tea?” She gave Simon a pleading look, but the man’s gaze was speculatively turned towards the kitchen.
“Aww honey, that’s sweet!” Joyce’s eyes narrowed and then she spoke, her voice just a touch suspicious. “What'd you do?”
Buffy tried her most innocent ‘what ever are you talking about look’. Sometimes it worked. “Can't a daughter just be concerned about her mother?”
Angel came into the living room, standing behind Buffy. Joyce gave him a searching look, stiffening slightly.
“Good evening. I see you finally decided to come in. I imagine the garden gets…uncomfortable after a while.” *Well, well…so that is him in the light of…well my lamps, but anyway…hmmmph. Much too old for her…But I can see the attraction…another broody one, like the Thurman boy…Why can’t she pick someone nice and cheerful?*
Angel blinked, surprised. “Hi. Umm? Yes?” *She saw me? Did Buffy see me? Oh boy… If looks could kill…I would be dust…*
Buffy groaned inwardly. “Oh! Okay... Um... Angel, uh, this is my Mom and her boyfriend Simon. Mom, Simon this is Angel. Uh, we ran into each other on the way home.”
Angel tried to meet the penetrating stare of Buffy’s mother and the intimidating glare of the man beside her as they crossed their arm in synchronous movement. He managed to stammer a greeting. “Nice to meet you.”
Joyce looked slowly upwards from his feet, taking in the torn t-shirt, her eyes widening slightly. “What do you do, Angel
?” It was clear from her looks and the tone of her voice she did not approve of her daughter’s friend. Or his name.
Buffy tried to intercede before her mother went ballistic. “He's a student.”
Joyce gave her a disbelieving look, both her eyebrows raised and Buffy winced.
“Uh,first year community college. Angel's been helping me with my history; you know I've been toiling there.”
Joyce gave her daughter and Angel a warning glare. “It's a little late for tutoring
. I'm gonna go to bed, after I call Susan…and, uh, Buffy?” She started up the stairs, giving her eldest daughter a significant look.
Buffy nodded quickly. “I'll say good night and do the same!”
Joyce looked back down at her daughter and nodded. “See that you do.”
Joyce gave Angel another hard look and spoke to him. “It was nice to meet you.” The unspoken ‘finally’ made him wince. “Are you coming to bed Simon?”
“I’ll just let Angel out dear. Have a word with him about his…studies. While I wait for Willow and Xander to come home. No, on second thought I think I’ll go get then in the car. I’m sure Angel won’t mind waiting a bit…” Angel and Buffy both winced and Joyce suppressed a slightly wicked smile. *It’s nice actually being able to share the parenting.*
Once Joyce was safely away Buffy rushed to Simon. “Simon, there were three Vamps out there… Really big bad vamps. Angel saved me, but he got wounded. But Willow and Xander…they’re out there alone.
Simon drew in a breath. ‘We’ll go get them.” He glanced at Angel, taking in the size of the cut under the shirt. “Did you clean that?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Like you showed me.”
Simon nodded at Angel. “There’s a spare bedroom downstairs. You’ll be staying there.”
Angel opened his mouth; then shut it at the glare he got. “Now Buffy and I will get Willow and Xander. Don’t sleep in… Xander’s
room by accident, hmmm?” He gave both of them a glance. “It’s a bit late for… tutoring
, as Joyce said.” Buffy blushed. Angel looked exceptionally uncomfortable.
Simon called up the stairs. “I’m just going to get Xander and Willow in the car, love.” There was a soft yodel from upstairs that he and Buffy interpreted as Joyce under the shower agreeing. Simon opened the door for Buffy and they left together. Angel stood looking at them through the front window, rather forlornly.
Willow and Xander were a touch surprised when Simon drew up beside them, and even more surprised when he relaxed visibly when they got in. The drive home was faster than normal and Buffy and Simon were silent until they got home, then quickly led the other two into the house. Angel was seated on the couch, brooding. Simon gave Willow and Xander a quick hug each, with a kiss on her forehead for Willow. Angel was about to say something when Simon ran a hand through his hair and sighed.
“I’ll take you downstairs and have a look at that wound.” The younger looking man looked ready to sulk but gave in.
Simon led the two younger men down the stairs, picking up his doctor’s bag and Xander went into his own room. The spare room was sparsely furnished with an old camp bed that had been in the garage loft a rickety nightstand and a bare bulb. Simon waved Angel inside and closed the door behind them.
“Not the most comfortable of places, but better than ending up as the bitch in a game of tag with the Three.” Angel blinked. Simon gave him a dry smile. “The description Buffy gave me was fairly clear, together with catching a glimpse of them while in the car. I should have made the connection earlier...” Simon sat on the bed and gestured for the other man to sit.
“Do you have a tattoo on your back? Griffin straddling an A?”
Angel’s eyes widened. “You know who I am.”
Simon shrugged. “Of course you’ve been hanging about and my bodyguards have you on film. And I think I once saw you in Chicago, trying to catch a rat. And in the words of my children, can I say ‘Eeeew’?”
Angel snorted in spite of himself. “They do it better.”
“I know. Now, what is the vampire with a soul doing on the Hellmouth stalking my daughter?”
The glare he directed at the vampire made the half demon visibly swallow. “I was told to come here.”
“Oh great. The Powers that Be?”
“Any other reason?” Simon’s voice was suggestive and the vampire flinched.
“There may be some… attraction.”
Simon opened a file he took from his bag, took a paper from the file. “This the alias you’re using for the rent and backstory? And yes, we know where you live.”
Angel took the paper and read it. “Yeah… your people are good, I never noticed them.”
“You’re over confident. You claim to be twenty-two?” He looked the vampire over. “That might just work... In bad light… You had pretty rough life before you were turned… lots of wine and song, not so much of the women.”
Simon pursed his lips. “I’d say you need to get more sun as well, but that would be sort of counterproductive…”
“You’ve not really done very much in the past fifty years or so. I’m rather disappointed. You looked to be on your way to get yourself in somewhat better shape after World War II. I suggest you find a good psychologist. Marcel Ovrion might be interested; I don’t think he has a vampire among his clients… plenty of victims, but no remorseful perpetrators. I know a few more who might be willing, but none closer than him.”
“What the hell are you doing?”
“You have feelings for Buffy. Buffy has, at the very least, a teenage girl’s interest in a handsome man. I’m trying to make you presentable and acceptable... as far as that is possible.”
Angel gave him an astonished look. “Y-you don’t mind?”
Simon muttered some choice words under his breath before leaning against the wall behind him.
“Of course I mind! Vampire with a soul in love with my oldest, fifteen year old daughter, who is also the Slayer. And looks several years older than she and poses as a student. Badly. You already noticed Joyce is not pleased.”
Angel again squirmed under his gaze. “That was pretty clear, yeah.”
“But… you saved Buffy’s life, she likes you and I will do my utmost to keep my children happy, within the bounds of reason. Even if that includes making sure you shape up. Understood?”
Angel nodded. “Yes.”
“And if you hurt her… you will feel my wrath.” He spoke the words in a pleasant warm tone that made shivers run down Angel’s back.
“Very well.” Simon looked around the sparsely furnished room.
“We’ll put up some black out curtains and you can stay here until tomorrow. I don’t want you out there with the Three around.”
“How do you know them?”
“They killed some friends of mine.”
“Not your fault, you didn’t make them, nor did any of your Childer.” He took a deep breath. “And you saved Buffy. For which, again, you have my thanks. But I have three words for you, which I want you to consider very, very carefully. Age of consent. Remember those words, Mr. O’Connell”
Angel started. “You know…”
Simon got up and looked Angel. “We chased your Sire from New York, before that we chased her from the Virginias. Do you honestly think that if I know the real name of the one you call Darla, I don’t know yours? Or your Childe’s’? Or your Grandchilde’s? My family have been the Guardians of the East for generations.” He leaned forward and looked the vampire in the eye. “Remember Mr. O’Connell, Age of consent, oh and emasculation… Remember that as well.”
Angel sagged back against the wall, eyes wide, face blanched.
“And you might want to tell Buffy what you are before she finds out by accident.” He closed the door softly behind him and went upstairs.
Angel sat looking at the closed door for several minutes before shrugging out of his jeans and jacket and going to sleep. Or at least, trying to.