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Lonely Souls

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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)vidiconFR1598780,1331581494399,15928 May 115 Jul 14No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR7

Weekend warriors

Author’s Note:

 

A question: is this running too long? By which I mean should I skip a few months/weeks here and there and get further into the year? I can fit a few of the more interesting encounters in later seasons.

 

Thanks all for reviewing. And there will be no more long lost relatives of Buffy, I promise. Grin

 

Edited: Many thanks to djhardim for the grammatical and spelling corrections.

 

Glendon has created a forum for Waifs and Strays!

 

Waifs and strays forum

 

Reviews are most welcome.

 

Chapter 38: Weekend warriors

 

Simon groaned as he got up from the bed in the basement. For the first time since they’d first shared a bed he had slept apart from Joyce. Arlene had not been in a condition that Joyce had wanted to leave her alone. He could understand that. Clarice had been the same it appeared and had spent the night with her mother while James slept in another basement bedroom. Still groaning he dressed and walked up the stairs to the kitchen where he started on breakfast. Joyce came down a minute or so later and latched onto him.

 

“Did you sleep?”

 

“Not very well, no.” He admitted.

 

“C-could it be the soul bond?”

 

“Or it’s just we’ve become very accustomed to each other…”

 

“Soul bond is more romantic…Simon…what are you gonna make me wear?” She looked up seductively.

 

“It’s a surprise.”

 

“Simon…if you make me trot around dressed up as a playboy Bunny the basement bed will be a fixture in your life for a while…”

 

“You know, I never even considered that one…But I always considered myself better looking than Heffner…” He gave her an appreciative look. “Hmmm…Bunny.”

 

Joyce groaned. “No!”

 

“Victoria’s secret model…” Simon was now looking quite dreamy.

 

Joyce blushed. “Simon!” 

 

“Maybe one of those fluffy nineteen fifties skirts…”

 

Joyce rolled her eyes, grabbed him and kissed him, just to shut him up. Silence reigned in the kitchen until a cleared throat disturbed their moment. “If you produce more heat next to that fridge I think it’ll break down…there’s only so much ambient heat those things can take …”

 

Joyce very slowly took her lips from Simon’s. Arlene stood in the door, wearing a pair of white slacks and a red t-shirt.

 

“You know…when mom and Charlotte told me you were like this I though, not Joyce…but now…phew…”

 

Joyce lifted an eyebrow. “We think it’s the soul bond.”

 

Arlene snorted. “Sure…and my name is Giggety Tishpoodle…”

 

“Well good morning then Miss Tishpoodle…but we may as well make breakfast now…the mood is entirely gone…”

 

Arlene flushed. “Errr…do I want to know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come in?”

 

Joyce grinned wickedly. “Well…ordinarily none of the children would be up for an hour yet…”

 

Arlene held up her hands in defeat, flushing red. “I give! Uncle! Oh God…the visuals…”

 

“Well you asked…I’m sorry honey, no time for the breakfast bar this morning.” Joyce gazed apologetically at Simon.

 

“That’s alright sweetheart, we can do the thing with the egg whisk and the wet celery tomorrow.”  

 

Arlene winced. The problem was she wasn’t entirely sure they were joking…

 

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The sound of a car pulling up on the road got the attention of Dawn, who’d been sitting brooding on the porch look up. There were three ‘thunks’ as the doors of the car opened and closed. Charlotte, Harry and Celia exited, Charlotte running up the path and steps and into the house. Dawn rolled her eyes at the “Lolly!” And “Joyly!” that resounded over the front lawn.

 

“Heya Puffball.”

 

Dawn scowled at Celia. “I hate those nicknames! My name is Dawn!” She got up and stomped inside and up the stairs.

 

Celia blinked after her, then looked at Joyce who seemed as clueless as Celia herself.

 

“I don’t know Celia…she’s been a bit…off all week.”

 

“Oh well…ummm…so…are we going to the park this afternoon?” She put down the bag she was carrying and took out a brand new super soaker. “I got myself some Army boys to shoot…”

 

Joyce grinned. “Oh, yes we will be going there…We’ll miss team P, but it still should be fun.”

 

Arlene looked at the Supersoaker and her wickedly smiling sisters. “Okay…what did I miss?”

 

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Simon, Harry and Patrick were hiding behind a small wooden palisade. “I’m getting the odd notion that when we used our superior weaponry last time we may have slightly annoyed the ladies.” Harry said deadpan.

 

“Ya thunk?” Patrick rose over the palisade to fire of a stream of water, then ducking down again.

 

“And Clarice and Arlene are having way too much fun with this.” Simon said.

 

“Charlotte and Joyce seem to be more than a little enthusiastic…” Patrick rose again.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“We may have over played our hand.”

 

“Ya thunk?”

 

“Patrick…”

 

“Yeah Harry?”

 

“Stop saying that and use your big water gun, will ya?”

 

Patrick grinned and fired again.

 

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“Gentlemen…we are losing this battle…and so we need to change our tactics.”

 

Patrick and Harry gave him a look. “Yeah…and what did you have in mind?” Patrick asked.

 

“Well…since the young ladies have joined up with the even younger ladies…” Simon rubbed the slight bruise on his upper arm that had been the result of a slightly less complimentary way to describe his sister and her younger siblings. “I suggest we make a spirited run at them and take out as many of them as we may…and damn the torpedoes.”

 

“You want us to storm them and dump them in the fountains.” Harry smiled.

 

“Yes. Unless you have a better idea?”

 

“Not really…us males are far in the minority here…so honourable combat isn’t working…I’ll take Charlotte…”

 

“Joyce, of course.”

 

Xander grinned at the pleading look on Dave’s face. “I’ll abnegate my Bestest Friend and big brother privileges and go for Amy or Dawn.”

 

Patrick lifted an eyebrow and Xander’s grin faded. “Dawn?”

 

Pat nodded and Xander did as well, sidling away from the marine. ”So-not-a-baby-sis it is.”

 

Dave grinned sheepishly. “Willow?”  

 

Simon gave him a glare. “Just make certain no hands stray where they should not…”

 

Dave gulped. “Yes sir!”

 

“I’ll tackle ‘Ris.” Patrick said and felt the glare move to him. He fidgeted. “Errr…no hands will stray.”

 

“They’d better not…” Simon said darkly.

 

 

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Patrick Madison had been in the Marines and knew how to fight. Clarice Starling was a trained FBI agent. The problem was that she stood a magnificent five feet and three and a half inches in stockings. And Patrick stood six feet six and had a matching physique. So despite her excellent physical condition and training, Clarice found herself thrown bodily over his huge shoulder and then tossed easily into one of the pools in the Water Park. <br> <br>

“PATRICK!!! You’ll suffer for that!” The furious form of Clarice rose from the pool, dripping bile and swearing vengeance.

 

Clarice blinked. Arlene jumped at Patrick from behind but the ex marine seemed to have a sixth sense for he stooped and Arlene went flying over him, and was assisted, with a light tap, into the pool next to Clarice.

 

“Wow…he’s good.” Arlene managed as she surfaced.

 

“And strong…”

 

“Both of us together?”

 

“I think we’d still end up in the pool…we’re not Buffy…the size and weight difference is too great.” Clarice said regretfully.

 

Patrick strode to the edge of the pool and held out his hands. Clarice eyed her sister. “You or me first?”

 

Patrick coughed and smiled. “Both.” He grasped their hands and lofted them easily, the huge biceps clearly visible beneath his khaki shirt.

 

Clarice gulped eyes wide.. “Well…errr…yes…plenty of physical strength there…”

 

Arlene nodded. “A fine specimen of the male species. High.”

 

Clarice nodded. “Low.” And dove straight into Pat’s legs, destabilizing him, while Arlene, standing on the pool edge, used his falling momentum to tilt him over her back and into the pool.

 

The two sisters grinned as the big man surfaced. “That worked…errr…” Patrrick Madison rose out of the pool like Neptune and his face had about as much pity as the Roman deity had with fishermen who did not regularly sacrifice to him.

 

“Oh Fubar…” Were the last words Arlene spoke before being thrown about ten feet into the pool.

 

Clarice followed about half a minute later.

 

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Willow glared at Dave as she sat wringing out her long red hair on the bench below the spreading American oak. “You threw me in the pool! Twice!”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And I got all wet and my shirt got all wet and my trousers and it was all clingy!”

 

“Yes.” Dave grinned appreciatively and she poked him.

 

“Not funny.”

 

“I love you Willow.” He leaned in to kiss her and she looked at him with wide surprised eyes.

 

“Oh. Mhmmm. That’s a bit sudden… “

 

“Not really…I’ve loved you since you were five years old and kicked Jesse in the shins and beaned Xander with what was left of your Barbie.”

 

Willow blinked rapidly. “You…you…wow….errr…why didn’t you errr…tell me sooner?”

 

Dave nodded towards where Xander and Dawn were pelting each other with water balloons. “I didn’t think I’d stand a chance…”

 

“Oh…Yeah…I was pretty clueless for a while there… “

 

Dave smiled and kissed her again.

 

Arlene and Clarice looked at the kissing young couple. Harry and Charlotte, both wet through, were sitting very close on another bench.

 

“Simon and Joy?”

 

“I think they’re in the play castle…”

 

“Mom and dad?”

 

At home…mom’s started cooking.”

 

So…want to throw a coin for Patrick?” Clarice smiled at her sister.

 

“No…I have things to do…finish…before.”

 

“I was joking Arlene.”

 

“No you weren’t.” Arlene looked aside with a leer. “I saw you watching…and he’s nice. He can be silly.”

 

“Yeah…just what I want, a silly guy.”

 

“Clarice…you don’t have to marry him immediately…you could start with a coupla dates.”

 

“Arlene…I’m not really at my best right now…”

 

“And he only recently was liberated from mind destroying spells cast by his ex…”

 

“Yes but…”

 

“Yeesss…Butt. Nice tight one too.”


“ARLENE!!!”

 

“Oh come of it ‘Ris…I’ve seen you watch him…”

 

“Okay…maybe one date.”

 

“’Ris…he’s coming our way…and he’s got a daisy chain…”

 

“A daisy chain?”

 

“Well, you see any other flowers around here?”

 

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Buffy and Amy were skating rocks over a pool.

 

“Feh.”

 

“Double feh.” Amy nodded at the happily kissing Willow and Dave. “Totally unfair, I mean here we ware, two perfectly gorgeous girls, and we don’t have a neat boyfriend to snuggle up to.”

 

“Yeah, I mean it’s completely bad of Wills to rub our singlenessness-y in our faces. And with a cute boy who give her cheese and poetry. And flowers.”

 

“Helps his mom runs a florist shop. And singlenessness-y is not a word even in California. ”

 

“Yeah, but they deal mostly in wreaths. And can be if I say so.” Buffy sniffed.

 

“Heh. Yeah. Oh no…”

 

“What?”

 

“My dad’s going over to your aunts…and he’s carrying a daisy chain…” Amy groaned.

 

Buffy goggled. “Daisy chain? The he..ck?”

 

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“Clarice…ummmm…I made this for you…”

 

“A daisy chain?”

 

“Well…I was going to go to the Rosarium and get you a rose…but the Keeper there is really scary.” Patrick smiled disarmingly.

 

Arlene exchanged looks with Clarice. It was the elder sister who answered. “You’re a six foot six, two hundred pound former marine…and you’re scared of a gardener?”

 

“You haven’t met her.”

 

“Her?”

 

“Ummm…yes….errr…do you want the Daisy chain? And err…maybe we could go to the Espresso Pump after you’ve had dinner with your family?”

 

“You’re invited too, remember?” Clarice looked down. “And yes. To both.” She added in a rather more uncertain voice.

 

Arlene grinned like the Cheshire cat.
 

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“Okay…so Aunt Arlene’s daughter, our cousin, is somewhere in Sunnydale and dropping vats of paint on people.” Buffy said thoughtfully. “So we need to find out where she lives and how she does it.”

 

Xander nodded. “Well, she has to be a pupil…we can’t really run around the school and look for her, at least not during class hours…” He looked hopefully at Joyce who very firmly shook her head no. He grinned. “Worth a try.”

 

Willow rubbed her chin. “Ok…she should be a sophomore like us…where did she go before Sunnydale High? I mean, she was born in ’81? She could have been in our class in elementary…”  She looked at Xander and Amy who both shook their heads.

 

“Wills…with the number of people dying and disappearing here…We don’t even know who she is.”

 

Buffy pursed her lips. “And we don’t know if she needs to be close to pull what she does…or even if she’s still alive…”

 

Arlene sobbed and Buffy sprang up to hug her. “I’m sorry Aunt Arlene, I’m sorry!”

 

James looked on as Buffy, and then Cecilia comforted their aunt and daughter. He pulled his lip. “Is it possible for a vampire to use magic?”

 

Simon shrugged. “Not to my knowledge…but most vampires lack the control to turn a magic user…the blood makes them drunk or something. It may be possible, but you’d need a powerful vamp capable of fighting his instincts long enough to Sire.”

 

James nodded thoughtfully. “Well then…is there a list of errr…those no longer with us?”

 

Willow perked up. “Yearbook! She’ll be in the yearbook proofs!” Running upstairs Willow returned quickly from her room with the proofs of the yearbook.

 

“Let’s see…obituary pages…missing person pages…Buffy, do you have the master list?”

 

Buffy nodded and ran upstairs as well, retuning with a set of printed papers.

 

Clarice looked her question and Buffy shrugged. “All the missing…all those we are certain of are dead…are on here. The master list.”

 

Willow took the list and started comparing it to the one in the proofs.

 

“Ascetica Harrow, Ginevra Burbage, Clementine Hollow…Errmmm…dad you may want to look at these lists later…I think there may be a lot of old magical families in Sunnydale…”

 

“Something we’re aware of, but yes…” His eyes were filled with pain for a moment.

 

“Marcie Ross…anyone remember her?

 

Amy shrugged. “Sorry…I forget…wasn’t the easiest time for me, beginning of the year.”

 

Buffy looked guilty. “I err…had other things to think about as well…”

 

Xander closed his eyes remembering. “Marcie…she…disappeared the week Dad came for his holidays…She was…quiet…she went to elementary school with us I think…nobody took much notice of her…Except that the Cordettes were their usual nasty selves…” He opened his eyes. “It might be her…”

 

“She ought to be in here…we took the pictures early…” Willow started leafing through the proofs again, this time in the photo part.

 

Joyce looked at her proudly and could feel the amused glances of her sisters. Willow leafed through the book, Xander and Amy looking over her shoulder.

 

All three lighted upon the picture at the same time. A pixie like dark haired girl with pale skin and light freckles and a serious expression she tried to hide behind a shy smile.

 

“That’s her…” Willow said softly, before turning the book around and showing her trembling aunt. Cecilia had risen and put an arm around her second eldest. 

 

“She looks…like a mix of Celia and Buffy.” Cecilia looked between the two girls.

 

“She had red hair…” Arlene ran a finger over the photo. “This girl…”

 

“Dyed.” Buffy, Amy and Celia said at the same time.

 

Joyce lifted an eyebrow. “The experts have spoken.”

 

“HEY!!!” All three girls chorused and then they blushed in unison.

 

“It’s just easy to spot, okay?” Buffy finally managed.

 

“Of course honey…now…how do we get Arlene into the school?”

 

Dawn raised her head from where she’d been reading in one of her notebooks. “Let her volunteer to help with the talent show.” She said it in a bored, resigned voice, as if the answer was obvious and they were all stupid beyond belief. She turned back to the notebook, scowling and scribbling, looking tense.

 

The adults and teens looked at each other. “Yes…that might work. Well done Dawnie.” Joyce said. Dawn’s only answer was a grunt.

 

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Arlene and Clarice very carefully went into the kitchen the next morning. James and Cecilia were at the island and the room was otherwise empty.

 

“Thank god.” Clarice said.

 

Cecilia grinned. “Language Clarice…and they’re out on the porch swing…necking.”

 

“We should get them each a shirt…with the Eveready bunnies on it.” Clarice said with a grin.

 

“Urgh.”  Arlene shook her head.

 

Cecilia smiled, but her eyes were sad. Arlene never had felt the sort of passion Joyce did now…unless it was with Jack…and they’d never met him or even seen him.

 

“Charlotte and Harry are on the front porch swing…” James deadpanned. The elder sisters sighed.

 

“And Patrick called…if maybe you’d like to get a cup of coffee before we leave, Clarice…” James added and grinned at the slight blush on Clarice’s face.

 

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“Simon…can we talk?”

 

“Cecilia? Of course.” Simon put down the novel he was reading and his reading glasses as well. “What can I help you with?”

 

“I called Mary Beckforth.”

 

“Yes…she hasn’t really wanted to talk to me for…well since Eileen.”

 

“I knew her when we were both younger…Simon, she’s willing to help Joyce, but she also, well… she told me a great deal and said she’d travel here if we paid her expenses, she isn’t very wealthy…”

 

“Of course, by all means. Whatever she wants.” Simon leaned forward eagerly. “I never expected her to, well, be helpful. Considering our last encounter…”

 

“She’d recently lost almost her entire family Simon…it tends to make a person unhappy.” Cecilia said repressively.

 

“Yes…of course.” Simon looked sheepish. “It was probably not the best of times to approach her…”

 

“And that leads to another problem…she called me, yesterday evening.”

 

“Really?”

 

“On my mobile. I got one…for Clarice, so she could call me…But that is not the point…” Cecilia took a deep breath. “Eileen Beckforth is alive…she has a daughter…and to protect that daughter, who Mary says is one of the most powerful Mothers she’s ever felt…she overloaded herself.”

 

“Good lord…” Simon pinched the bridge of his nose. ”The poor girl.”

 

“Eileen…normal medicine will not save her…”

 

“You realize that she will still have to stand trial? Even if I do succeed? And healing the brain is difficult and I may fail.”

 

Cecilia blinked. “You’d save her? Just like that?”

 

Simon gave her a sad look. “Cecilia…One of the Five died in my arms in an Institution…another I identified in the morgue after she jumped to her death from a third story window onto a spiked fence…I don’t get any sort of chance of redemption very often. If I can give Eileen’s daughter even a smidgeon of hope that her mother’s death is not her fault…I will do it. After I evaluate her condition of course, magic can’t cure everything.”

 

Cecilia smiled. “Some days Simon…I can see very well why Joyce fell in love with you.” 

 

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Rupert Giles sat with the phone in hand and dialled an international number. It was answered on the third ring. “Henry.”

 

“Philip Henry? It’s Rupert Giles.”

 

“Ripper? Gods…it’s been years…Why are you calling?” The voice went suspicious.

 

“Good news…Someone I know knows how to break our bond with Eyghon. Something called a Ritual of Disavowal.”

 

“And you trust him?”

 

“Remember that trouble with the internet a while back?”

 

“Yeah…Felt familiar…”

 

“Moloch the Corruptor…this person helped cast him out again.”

 

“That sounds…promising.”

 

“Yes…the only problem is that it works better with all those or as many as possible at least, of the original circle there.”

 

“Ah…I take you don’t know anything about Ethan either?”

 

“Rumours…no more. Are you in?”

 

“Rupert…I have a wife and three children…I go to bed every night fearing that he will have enough power to come into my body as I sleep. Of course I’m in.”

 

“A wife and three children? Good lord.”

 

“Not all of us are confirmed bachelors Ru…Deirdre got married and has a kid as well…So does Tom, which brings me to the point, do we have to come to you? Seems like you’re over in the Colonies.”

 

“Yes…well, I’ll need to discuss that with the persons involved. Since he told me to first ask if any of you were interested…”

 

“I think you will find only happy agreement Rupert.”

 

“Good…it was good to hear your voice again Phil. Hope to see you soon.”

 

“You too. Take care Rupert.”

 

“Take care.”

 

Giles sat back and sighed, then dialled the next number.

 

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Principal Snyder sneered at the petite woman in front of him. “I’m afraid that unless you can give better references than the parents of Summers, Harris and Rosenberg, you are out of luck. I’m not going to let you run around this school just like that!”

 

Arlene Ellis prided herself on being a fair woman and a good judge of character. She hadn’t made many mistakes in her judgement, the biggest being Jack. But she really, really did not like this man.

 

“Principal Snyder…If you want evidence of my bona fides you can call the Deans of Biology and Archaeology at Chicago University and the Pentagon. I’m sure both institutions will be delighted to tell you I’m harmless except to my enemies.” She leaned forward slightly on the last sentence and smiled.

 

Snyder swallowed heavily. “Err…yes…err…while I do that…err…please feel free to see where you can offer the most help.”

 

“Thank you…I think I’ll begin with the theatre, and maybe help out in the biology classes. Good morning, Principal.”

 

“Good morning. Ms. Ellis… “

 

“Professor…or Major…whatever you prefer…Principal Snyder.”

 

“M-Major Ellis.”

 

“Splendid…I’m sure we’ll get along very well.”

 

Arlene left her staid dress rustling.

   

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Buffy grinned as her Aunt Arlene walked into the library. “Giles, this is my Aunt Arlene. Aunt Arlene, this is Rupert Giles, my Watcher.”

 

Giles gave Buffy a long suffering look. “Does everybody you meet get to hear about your Calling?”

 

“It’s not a calling Mr. Giles…A calling is something you volunteer for, not are volunteered for…now…I have some experience with the supernatural and some with the organization of theatrics…I assume Buffy has told you I’m here to assist you in finding the invisible young woman?”

 

Giles took of his glasses and started polishing them. “Y-yes…errr…but errr. There may be risk involved and, well you know I would not want you to get urff….”

 

Giles found himself lying on the floor, his glasses held in Arlene Ellis’ hand and her sensible shoe between his legs, rather too near the family jewels for his comfort. “One word about weak females getting hurt Mr. Giles, and there will be no little Giles’s…and you can look for the bits without these…” She held up the glasses threateningly. Giles gulped and Buffy gawped.

 

“Wow…ummm Aunt Arlene? Can you teach me that move?”

 

“Sure Honey, get out the mat, but only if you have a Free.”

 

Rupert Giles groaned and got up. *Damn Ellis women…*

 
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