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This story is No. 2 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The second (much longer) installment in the Waifs and Strays AU. Covers season 1. Please READ THE SERIES INTRODUCTION!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR1598780,0851591501417,06528 May 115 Jul 14No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR7

A quiet week and wading pools of vengeance

Author’s note:


Well I just busted through the 20 recommendations line with Ahindle and sistercity…Thanks guys!


Thanks to all my reviewers as well. As always, more reviews are welcome. This chapter is best read after A Note from Mother: READ THAT FIRST!!


Chapter 36: Quiet week and Wading pools of Vengeance


The phone at the Gallery rang and Joyce picked up. “Sunnydale Fine arts, how may I help you?”


“Hello Joyce, how are you?’


“Mom? I’m fine. Is anything wrong?”


“Yes and no dear…I called Arlene on Monday…”


“Yes…” *Oh great Arlene went ballistic?*


“Who told me she’d be by this weekend…”




“And your eldest sister called…Joyce…can James and I come by this weekend? With Clarice…she had a breakdown…a friend of hers thinks its post traumatic stress disorder…and well…she really enjoyed herself last week…” Cecilia sounded uncertain yet hopeful.


*Ahhh…Therapy for Clarice…* “Mom! It’s fine. All three of you are welcome. More than welcome. When will you be here?”


“Friday evening…Dinner time…Clarice sleeps really well on the backseat…We noticed that when we got her from San Diego. She’ll need to talk to Simon about help; you know her medical leave…”


“I’ll talk to him about it mom…he can pull in some of those favours he’s owed and never cashes in.”


“Thank you.”


“You’re welcome mom. I’ll call Charlotte later and ask if she wants to be there too.”


“I love you honey, and I’m proud of you. And I’m sorry.”




“Joyce…I told you I’d be saying it for a while…and considering what I did…that might just be the rest of my life…”


“I love you mom…see you Friday.”


Joyce hung up. About twenty minutes later the phone rang again.


“Sunnydale Fine arts, how may I be of service?”


“Joyce? It’s Prue, You know, err…”


“Prue, yes…I seem to recall an annoying cousin Prue…” Joyce teased. “My memory isn’t that bad yet.”


There was a chuckle, even if it was slightly nervous. “First I’d like to thank you ever so much for setting up a meeting with the Bealls’. And I’m supposed to give you their regards and thanks for the flowers and that you sent them while you were having such a difficult time yourself…and they’re letting me catalogue the collection and we’re putting on an exhibition, including the Korea ware!”


“Prue…deep breath.” *Apparently the babble gets reinforced from both sides of the family…Poor Willow…*


She heard the breath being taken. “I’m sorry I’m just so excited…but ummm…can I ask another favour?”


“What Prue?”


“Well the Sunnydale Museum will be putting on a special on the Inca’s in a couple of months…and I promised I’d help…and errr…well…there’s no budget…”


“How long do you need a place to stay Prue? ”


“A couple of days after Halloween? To begin with?”  There was a noise in the background that sounded awfully like  “Me too!”


“Was that Piper?’




“We’ve got enough spare rooms dear…and Simon still has that apartment, and then there’s the manor…” She rolled her eyes at the thought of the manor.


“Phew thanks…I’m really sorry but. Wait, manor?”


“It’s really not a problem Prue. If Phoebe and Aunt Penny want to come to, let them. We’ll just break out the camp beds again for the weekend. And we can show you the manor while you visit.”


“You’re the best! Joyce!” There was another whisper of “Intern!” and Prue groaned.




“I heard Prue.” Joyce’s voice was amused. “An intern?”


“Yeah, a girl from Lima who won some sort of prize…Amata something or other. “


”Juarez!” Piper supplied


“Well you’re all welcome…but remember, all work and no play…”


“Oh, we want a rematch…and we’ll bring our own supersoakers this time!”


Joyce chuckled. “I look forward to it. Let me know when you think you’ll be there…”


“Thanks again Joyce! Bye!”


“Bye Prue, bye Piper.”


Joyce hung up, shaking her head. If they had family gatherings like this more often, she might have to convince Simon to move to the Manor…




“Ummm…Willow/” Dave asked as he carried Willow’s bookbag to the exit of the school.




“Would you mind…ummm…could I take you somewhere. The Espresso Pump maybe?”


“Ummm…that wouldn’t be wise…err mom and dad have banned me from caffeine…so not unless, it’s you know, like hot chocolate?” She looked hopeful. “I-If that’s okay with you?”


“Willow…it’s not the drink that matters…it’s the company. Tonight?”


Willow blushed, but happily. She reached out and took his hand as they walked down the stairs towards the waiting car. Joyce grinned at the sight, but carefully hid it as Willow got in.


“Heya mom.” Willow kissed her mother’s cheek. “Buffy not here?”


“No, she took Dawnie to visit Emily.”


“Oh, about…” Willow fluttered her lashes, put her folded hands to the side of her tilted face and sighed theatrically. “Mikhail…”  in a dreamy voice.


“Yes…Mikhail.” Joyce smiled amused at her middle daughter’s antics.


“Well, Emily can’t run so she has a captive audience…”


“I doubt Emily minds…she seems to be a ballet enthusiast.”


“Yeah…true. Mom?”


“Yes dear?”


“There’s something Wiggy going on…stuff dropping on people…Attacks…but nobody’s there…”


Joyce stiffened. “In you? Or Buffy? Xander?”


“No…other girls. Cordelia, Harmony, the other Cordettes…”


“Hmmm…not the nicest girls in school…could be poltergeist activity, what with this being the hellmouth and all…”


Willow blinked. “M-Mom?”


“Really Willow…did you think I’d stop at Vamp 101?” Joyce gave her an amused if arch look.


“No…it’s just…”






“I’ve got a Slayer and a witch for daughters…who fight demons…on a Hellmouth?”




“Well. We’ll tell your dad over dinner and you did tell Giles?”


“Well, he’s in the school…he thinks poltergeists might be it too…”


“Want to bet your chores that’s going to be your dad’s first guess too?” Joyce asked teasingly.


“Nope. I’d lose. And I need the money for extra memory.”


“Pity…” Joyce winked.


Willow rolled her eyes.


“So tell me exactly what happened.” By keeping to the Poltergeist activity Joyce managed to keep her silence about the subject of Dave until they were both seated at the kitchen island at home.





“Yes?” Willow eyed her mother with suspicion. That tone of voice boded ill.


“Carrying your books?”


Willow flushed. “I-its know…”


“Sorry…It’s just…I’m…Oh no…I’m being my mother…”Joyce groaned and hit her head on island top.


Willow blinked? ”What?”


“Living vicariously…I mean… I would have killed for cute boyfriend to carry my books while I was in High school…”


“Boyfriend? We haven’t even dated yet! O-or kissed!” Willow blushed.


Ah…but you want to…” Joyce teased.


“DAD!!!” Willow called out.


Joyce blinked at her daughter’s determined expression.


Simon came in quite hastily. “Anything wrong?”


Willow pointed at Joyce. “Mom wants vicarious smoochies…I think the real thing might help her forget.” She smirked triumphantly at the blushing Joyce.


Simon gave her a look. “Smoochies Willow? Should I be having a word with Mr. Kirby?”


“Errr…Nothing’s happened yet…” Simon looked sceptical. “DAD!! You’re not going to scare off Dave!”


“Of course not dear…I’m merely going to send to the nearest Army depot for the nastiest gun they have…an M25 sniper rifle should do…”


“DAD!!!” This time Willow sounded quite anxious.


Simon smiled and ruffled her hair. “Don’t worry Willow…he broke through a demon’s thrall for you…I can’t but approve.”


“Oh…OH!” Willow’s smile lit up the room. “That was his pure motive?”


“You mean you hadn’t guessed?”


Willow shook her head, still beaming. “No…Mom? Dad…David asked met to the Espresso Pump…tonight…I err…”


Joyce gave her an amused look. “Willow as long as your homework is done and you’re home on time…and you follow the safety rules, there’s no problem with you going out at night.”


“Cool! Thanks!”


“Well then…I’ll go give your mother smoochies…and you can go and call Dave…”


Willow nodded happily and left, humming. Joyce was about to object when Simon murmured about stopping her mouth with a kiss and immediately suited his action to his words.





Willow scowled at Buffy. “You don’t have to take me to the Pump! I can walk quite well by myself!”




“I’m not a little girl you know!”




“I can do this on my own!”


Buffy turned to her. “Yes. And mom very specifically told me to take you here…and in two hours time someone you know will come and pick you up…in a car…and you will not have taken a walk in a dark, romantic park with Dave…Because I like having you for a sister and don’t want to loose you. Capisce?”


Willow swallowed. “Oh…”


“Yes…I’m not going to hang around and crimp your style Wills…just…keeping you safe, okay?”


‘’ ‘Kay…it’s just…”


“Your first sorta semi date?”


“Yeah…” Willow fingered the hem of her shirt nervously.


“It’ll be fine Wills. Just fine.”


They reached the Espresso Pump and Willow spotted Dave. Squeezing Buffy’s hand she went inside.




“Hey…You look very pretty.”


“Thank you.”


“I’ll get you a hot chocolate.”


“With Marshmallows!”


“With marshmallows.” Dave winked.




The Bronze was humming. Paula and Kellie (With i-e!) were checking out the boys. Cordelia was dancing with a college boy but that was just a touch too high for Paula and Kellie to aspire to yet.


The Rosenberg girl was dancing with Dave the Nerd and seemed to think the world of him…the poor deluded little fool.


“Look at the little bitch…thinks she has the hottest guy in town tied to her apron strings…”


“She is dressing better though…is it true she’s living with the Buffreak?”


“Think so yeah…she and that Harris kid…”


“Can you imagine living in the same house as those two? You’d have to, like, fumigate the bedrooms every week!”


Neither of them expected to be pushed face first into the bowls of dip in front of them. The sodas poured down their shirts didn’t help either.




Willow was speaking and Dave was sitting next to her with the lines in his lap, murmuring encouragement. Her fiery hair and his light brown were lit by the setting sun and Buffy, hiding on the porch swing listened in with slight envy.


“A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:--
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.”


Willow looked up anxiously. “How was that?”


“Excellent Willow! You’ve got it down perfectly!”


“So…ummm does that mean I get a reward?”


Dave blinked. “It might…what did you have in mind? I can get you some Ice cream; I think your mother put some in the freezer…But I don’t know if we’re allowed to take it.”


Buffy rolled her eyes. *Clueless.*


“Ummm…I was thinking of something you know…romantic?”


“I’m not taking you out after dark Willow…I’m no match for a vampire and neither are you…We could…sit on the couch and have hot chocolate?”


Buffy groaned. *What does he need, Wiley E. Coyote jumping up and down with a sign saying kiss her, stupid?*




“Willow…we haven’t dated yet, not really…we’ve done nothing but rehearse the scenes…and talk computers…and been to the Pump and the Bronze once…” He smiled.


“And I respect you too much to kiss you, just yet…no matter how much you think you might want to…I want you to be certain…mmfffff!”


Buffy grinned from her position hiding on the porch swing. *Atta girl, Wills!*


Willow’s voice sounded cheery, if a little breathless. “I’m certain…and that wasn’t too bad now was it?”


“No…it was wonderful…” Dave sounded dazed, but happy.


“That’s good, because I haven’t you know, ever done anything like it before, kissing I mean, well not unless you count the time I kissed Xander, but we were five then and so that really doesn’t count. He was my first b-boyfriend too, but now he’s my brother so you needn’t worry and of course we were five too, and it ended when he and Jesse took my Barbie to try their cannibal ripping people apart thing…I got most of her back though…mfffff!”


Buffy grinned again. *Now there’s a method of stopping Willow babble we haven’t tried before…*


A shadow fell over her and she looked up into her mother’s amused face. “Willow?” Joyce mouthed and pointed to the kitchen door. Buffy nodded. Joyce looked up, too a few steps off the porch and tilted her head. There was a slight scramble on the balcony over the kitchen window and Buffy grinned. Apparently Dawn had been listening in too…with Xander no doubt seated with an empty glass against the basement door, and Simon in living room with the door open… All in all this had to be the most listened into blossoming romance she’d ever heard of…   




It was finally Friday. The school bus had been warm and stuffy and the teens that walked up the road to 1630 Revello drive were hot and annoyed. Buffy blew a strand of sweaty hair from her face and looked at the others. Willow looked decidedly damp and wilted, her hair clinging to her face. Amy looked red and flustered, Xander was huffing and puffing. A remark about the male strength to deal with adversity during PE had led to him carrying a grand total of four book- and four gym bags. And Willow and Amy carried a lot of books.


“God it’s hot.” Buffy scowled as she tried to lift her shirt from her damp, sweaty body. She took her purse of her shoulder and threw it at Xander, who barely managed to catch it on the bag he was carrying against his chest. “Carry this, manly man.”


Xander whimpered. Amy and Willow grinned. “Yeah Xander, deal with the adversity.” Amy teased.


Willow put a hand to her forehead and affected a southern accent. Badly. “Aid us poor weak females! Ah! Oh Rhett! You’re so tough and heroic… carrying our bags.”


Xander growled. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”


Willow’s phone rang. She answered. “Y’hello?”


“Willow? We need to talk about the way you pick up a phone young lady.”


“Sorry mom.” Willow looked sheepish.


“Honey…I’m sorta stuck here for a bit yet, there’s a buyer interested in some major pieces…And I haven’t even begun on the Junk room…And Simon will come to pick me up later. So it will be Chinese tonight or pizza, be a dear and find out what everyone wants? Make sure Xander and Dawn don’t eat all the left over donuts will you? Oh, and please go easy on the cheese…”


“Sure mom, I’ll hide the twinkies too!” She kept her fingers crossed while she thought about going easy on the cheese.


Xander screeched. “NO! Not my twinkies!” He started to run, still burdened with all the bags. The girls giggled. Willow said goodbye to Joyce and hung up.


“Not a manly man…more a pregnant camel man…” Amy’s remark made Willow and Buffy burst into laughter. 


Xander arrived at the arch between the house and what was now called Willow’s annex huffing and puffing, but before the girls. He dropped the bags on the back porch and hurried inside to safeguard his Twinkies.


In the Tree house the enemy saw him and ignored him…the primary target was approaching, unaware of the danger she was in. The being lying in ambush grinned ferociously. This was going to be…good.


Buffy, Amy and Willow walked under the arch and towards the kitchen door when the enemy struck. The stream of water struck Buffy first, soaking her from head to foot, then moved on to Willow, drenching the squealing redhead thoroughly and then hit Amy, who’d tried to move out of the way but failed. Once Amy was wet through it moved back to Buffy. 


Buffy spluttered a shout through the raging torrent. “DAWN FLORENCE SUMMERS! YOU ARE SOOOOOO DEAD!!!”


Dawn’s evil cackle resounded through the garden. Buffy ran at the tree and climbed the well built ladder quickly. The stream of water followed her, but did not hit the fast moving Slayer. The petite blonde was up the tree before the rope ladder fell out of the window. Dawn skimmed down and fell straight into the arms of Willow and Amy.


Buffy dove through the window and somersaulted, landing lightly. Dawn glared. “Show off.”


“You evil little sneak!” Buffy mustered her sister and friend. “Vengeance?”


Willow had a hand firmly on Dawn’s one arm, Amy held the other. “Dire and terrible vengeance!” Willow intoned in her awful witch voice, her long red tresses dripping water.


“Horrible atrocious vengeance!” Amy echoed, equally grim. Dawn gulped, looking from the one to the other, seeing no mercy in their faces.


Buffy crossed her arms, a thoughtful expression on her face. “Wading pool? With ice?”


The other two girls grinned, Dawn started struggling. “Hey! No fair!”


Willow and Amy held on to the whimpering ten year old. “Fill it up, Buffy. We’ve got her.”


Amy gave the smaller girl a look. “We may as well give her the hose first…”


“NO! Hey, it was joke guys! Buff! I’m sorry! Willow?”


Buffy went into the garage and returned with a foot pump and a wading pool, putting them on the lawn and started to inflate it. Dawn tried running but was held firm. Xander came out, took in the scene, nodded sagely and sat down to eat twinkies.


“XANDER!! HELP!!” Dawn wailed.


“Sorry Dawnie, what goes around comes around.” He nodded at Willow and Amy. “You do know we’ve got five of those things?”


Buffy was pumping, her tongue tip between her teeth. “What things?”


“Wading pools.”


“What? Why the heck do we have five wading pools? And why do you know?”


“Well, you brought in one from LA…and the rest were in the loft over the garage, the attic, the garage and the basement. Well, and there are three more that are leaking, at least that’s what we think. Simon’s found a patch set as well…going to try and fix them and put them in the yard sale…”


Dawn groaned. “Xander!”


“You know Buff, this might go faster if we did some pumping too…we can have one each and dunk her in turn…” Willow noted, while both firmly holding her youngest sister’s arm and gently stroking her long golden brown hair affectionately.


Dawn shivered abjectly. “Willow!”


“Should’ve thought about this before you executed your brilliant plan, Dawn.” The redhead smiled down at the little girl. “You know; actions and reactions, acts and consequences…”


“I can’t swim?!” Dawn ventured.


Buffy snorted. “Like a fish can’t. And these are wading pools. And we’ll be holding you.”


“Oh, yeah that makes it better.” Dawn pouted. “Xander?”


Xander looked at his Twinky with calculation. “Do you remember how many of these mom said she had this morning?”


Dawn gulped. “F-four packets…”


 “Yeeesss…and how many are left, including the one I’m holding now?”


“I was hungry…” Dawn whined.


“Three packets of Twinkies hungry?” Xander sniffed the Twinkie as if it were a fine cigar, rolling it lightly under his nose.


“I was practicing eating them the proper way?” Dawn tied hopefully.


Buffy and Willow both turned to look at their younger sister. “You ate three packets of Twinkies?”


Buffy hummed as she picked up her pumping. “Xander, did you find any more pumps as well?”


Xander nodded and rose. “Yeah sure Buff, they’re in the basement, I’ll get them.”


Dawn looked shocked. “Xander!”


“The way I look at it Dawnie, this is going to happen anyway…and this way there’ll be a couple of wading pools filled and we can each stretch out in one.”


Calculating looks filled the eyes of all four girls, even Dawn’s. “Okay, why did all of us smart empowered women have to wait for Pregnant Camel Man to have that thought?” Buffy whined, winking at Xander.


Xander winked back. “Hey, us pregnant camels like to get the weight of our feet and soak.” He walked whistling to the kitchen, to get the other wading pools from the basement.


Dawn tried a new tack. “I shouldn’t swim after eating?”


Willow grinned wickedly. “Oh trust us little sister…there will be no swimming involved…”


Dawn gulped again, her dark blue eyes looking for pity in the emerald and sapphire depths that looked down at her, and finding none.




Dawn had been dunked to everybody’s satisfaction, even, eventually, Dawn’s. There had been a lot of tickling involved. And squealing, giggling, splashing, spluttering and laughing. Then, while the other pools filled with water they’d all showered changed into bathing gear and were now lounging in the pools under the spreading eaves of Dawn’s tree.


“Man, this is good.” Xander leaned his head on an old airplane neck rest he’d dug up and was wearing a pair of garish Hawaii swim boxers. Simon had neglected to take him buying those. He sipped on a bottle of Sprite.


Willow was wearing an elegant dark blue one-piece swim suit that Joyce had insisted on buying and enough sun block to lubricate a battalion of Sherman tanks. She was sipping from a litre bottle of Farm apple juice, wearing a pair of Ray Bans she’d ‘liberated’ from Joyce’s roll up desk. A small pile of cheese blocks was on saucer by the side of the pool. She hummed in agreement.


Buffy was in a red and blue one piece with high cut thighs and a pair of over large sun glasses of her own. Her litre bottle of coke was in the water with her and she was using a pair of water wings to try and keep her legs floating. “This is the life…”


Amy was in one of Joyce’s old suits, none of her friends being big enough to lend her one without resulting in severe embarrassment. It had obviously shrunk a bit in the laundry but was a splendid deep burgundy red. She was sipping at a bottle of coke as well and had a pair of rose tinted glasses on her nose. “Xander…If I had a hat right now, I’d take it off to you.”


Dawn was wearing a one piece of a dark gold brown. The only one short enough to lie stretched in her wading pool she tried to float but failed. Her bottle of Fanta Orange was sitting in a bucket of ice. Mom was going to have serious words about the vast amounts of sugary liquids consumed but that was in the future…Dawn heard the car stop in front of the house and grinned. The others responded by sitting up or sinking deeper into the water. A car door opened. Footsteps were heard.


“Sounds like the ‘rents are finally home…” Xander drawled.


“After a long hot day at the office…” Willow looked thoughtful and Dawn returned the look. Willow rose from the pond. Dawn sat up straighter so she could see better and then decided this was worth getting out of the pool for.


“Dad was going to put on his running clothes after work…”


“Mom was going to begin clearing out the junk room…she took jeans and a T…” Dawn spoke, grinning at what she thought Willow was going to do.


The redhead picked up the hose. Buffy looked on worriedly. “Guys…”


The footsteps sounded under the arch and Willow let loose the full power of the hose on the startled form of a woman unknown to Willow…clad in the uniform of a US Army major.

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