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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)vidiconFR1598780,0851591501417,39928 May 115 Jul 14No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR13

Soothing daughters and bedside conversations

Author’s Note:


Chapter 40! Still not much action on the Invisible Cousin front I fear. I needed to write some things out of the way, such as Kit’s first conscious encounter with her new family and a hint of things to come.


The current plotlines will take some time to resolve but I hope to be able to do so fairly quickly.


Reviews are most welcome and I can’t believe I broke two hundred. Thanks all!


Also thanks to my latest recommenders: physcocadiliac, rosalindmarie, TheLandYacht
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Chapter 40: Soothing daughters and bedside conversations   


Joyce sat down by the phone in her room and sighed. She picked up the horn and dialed her parents’ number.


“Ellis house, Clarice Starling.”


“’Ris, hello, it’s Joyce.”


“Joyce? And why are you calling in the middle of the week? Adopt another waif?”


Joyce felt her cheeks redden even with her oldest sister on the other end of the line.


“Joyce…that was a joke.”


“Errr…it’s also the truth.”


“Oh. Should I get mom and dad?”


Joyce noted the fact that Clarice now called her father ‘dad’. “That might be wise. Put me on speaker phone.”


Clarice called out. “Mom! Dad! It’s Joyce!”


Joyce heard her parents come in and started talking. “Hello mom and dad…you’d better sit down. You see this all started when Dawn got bullied at school…”   




Willow had been uncharacteristically silent during dinner, throwing fearful glances at Joyce, who herself wore a severe look. Dawn too, was quiet and fearful. Simon, noting the atmosphere, took Joyce out for a drive to the manor. Buffy and Xander eyed their sisters.


“Well?” Buffy asked.


Dawn grimaced. “I got of getting spanked this afternoon ‘cause of all the, you know, stuff…so it’s gonna be tomorrow…”


Willow gulped. “A-And mom found out about my hacking, and she was really not happy about the FBI and NASA.”


“Wait, Wills…you hacked the FBI?” Xander looked impressed and terrified at the same time.




Buffy looked awed. “Wow…that might just match my burning down a gym…and here I thought you were the quiet one…”


“B-Buffy? Can we talk alone?” Willow asked fearfully.


“Sure, Wills, lets go on up.” Buffy led her sister out of the room quickly.


“Hey! You;ve got to help with the dishes!” Dawn called out.


“Dawn…Willow needs to talk with Buffy. I’ll take Willow’s turn.” Xander said calmly.


“Oh, okay.”


Willow started crying as soon as they reached Buffy’s room. “Wills…Wills…breathe.” Buffy tried to comfort her sister but Willow kept sobbing her heart out.


“She gonna make me leave! She’s sending me back because I’m a criminal! I’m evil, I’m bad! I’m a bad girl!”


“Willow! Willow! Wills!” Buffy was getting worried. Willow was getting hysterical. She slapped the red head twice, carefully keeping her Slayer strength under control and Willow calmed down enough to collapse on the pillows and curl up, crying. Buffy rose and went outside. “Just getting some water for you Will, I’ll be right back.”


She stepped outside and flipped her phone out and open as she went into the bathroom and filled a glass of water.


“Joyce Summers, good evening.” Her mother’s voice, slightly annoyed came over the phone.


“Mom?! Please come home. Willow is certain you’re gonna send her back to Sheila and Ira and she just had hysterics. Please…Mom…you aren’t, are you?”


“W-what? What gave you that idea?”


“Oh come on mom! You were totally angry with her! I’ve not seen you this upset since Hemery…and..and…” Buffy broke down herself.


“We’ll be there as soon as we can. Get back to Willow. Don’t worry. She’s staying with us.” Joyce sounded exasperated but determined. Buffy hung up, picked up the glass and took it to Willow, who’d sunk into less frantic sobbing.


Buffy succeeded in getting her to calm down enough to drink a few sips but no more. Silent tears now ran down Willow’s face and stifled sobs shook her shoulders.


Joyce opened the door and walked in, closing it behind her. “Do you know why I’m so angry Willow?” Her voice was gentle and yet reverberated with anger and to Buffy’s fine tuned slayer hearing, something else. Fear.


“Because I’m a bad girl…I’m a real bad, naughty girl.” Willow bawled.


“Oh Willow…Buffy, stay here…this is important to you too.” Joyce sat next to Willow and motioned to her side.


Buffy who’d been walking out of the room stopped, startled, and at her mother’s gesture, sat on the bed next to Joyce.


Joyce took a deep breath. “Willow…do you know what the punishment is for hacking a Federal system? I read about a case a few weeks ago.”


“Ummm…S-Spanking?” Willow said uncertainly.


Joyce chuckled. “Yes, that too…but I meant the fifteen to twenty years in prison. Oh, your father’s lawyers could keep you out of jail probably…but it would be problematic. And I don’t want you in jail…I want you here where I can hug you and take care of you.” She hugged Willow tightly. The girl looked at her with a stupefied expression on her face.


She turned to Buffy. “Which was the main reason I was so very angry about the gym…Because I was so very afraid that you’d be taken away from me.”


Buffy nodded. “I know mom…I understand.”


Willow pulled on Joyce’s sleeve and then whispered in her ear. Joyce looked at the girl with surprise.




“Please? Y-you said no recriminations…I don’t want to go to bed while you’re this angry with me.” Willow managed to squeak out.


Joyce sighed. “Willow…do you know why I never levy that particular punishment on the day I say I will?”


Buffy muttered something and Joyce grinned and gave her a one armed hug. “And no, it’s not to make you stew in your fearful juices…It’s because I may change my mind, and because well…Willow, I just spent fifteen minutes ranting at your father…and I’m frightened and angry. What do you think I’d do to your tushie, hmmm?” Joyce ended with a smile.


Willow flushed. “Oohhh…ouch.”


Buffy winced. “Yeah, ouch.”


Joyce hugged both of them close. “I just don’t want to lose any of you. And I don’t want to have to think about what happened to you in the women’s wing when Big Dora decided that she really liked the new girl.”


Willow eeped and flushed. Buffy chuckled. They sat for few minutes in silence, the two girls leaning into their mother.


“M-mom?” Willow asked hesitantly.


“Yes dear?”


“W-will you still tuck me in tonight?” Willow’s voice was small and fearful.


“Oh Willow…of course I will. I love you.” She gave the girl a kiss on the temple and then leaned over to do the same to Buffy. “I may be a touch annoyed with you right now, but I do love you.”


“I’m sorry…” Willow looked down at her hands, resting in her lap.


“Willow…you’re a very intelligent girl…young woman. You knew what you were doing was, well, stupid as well as wrong. I understand that sometimes we need to know things and the only way we can find out is going to be by hacking. But you will only do so from now on with my, or your father’s go ahead. Understood?”


Willow nodded. “Yes mom.”


“I do not want to have to come visit you in Leavenworth. They don’t allow much hugging for one.”


Willow smiled a watery little smile. “I’m sorry mom.”


“You’d better be.” Joyce sighed and hugged both of them and then got up.


“Simon and I are going to Kit. Do you want to come along? She hasn’t seen any of you yet while she was awake, except Dawn.”


Willow perked up. “Yeah. I’d like that.”


Buffy nodded and Joyce led the two of them downstairs. “Anyone else here want to visit Kit?”


Xander and Dawn nodded, as did Arlene. Joyce smiled. “Let’s go then. Willow, there’s a bag by the door, would you mind getting that?”


“Sure mom.”


Xander looked at Willow and then smiled at her. Willow’s answering one was tremulous but sincere.




Kit looked up when the family came in, Willow in front carrying a large shopping bag.


“Hello Kit.” Joyce smiled at the girl in the bed. “This is Willow, Buffy, Xander, Simon, and, my sister your Aunt Arlene.”


Kit waved a pale hand and swallowed visibly. Joyce took the bag from Willow and Simon put an overnight bag he was carrying on the table.


“We’ve brought some things for you…Clean underwear, night things, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner; we’ll have to wash your hair in bed because you’re not allowed under the shower yet. We’ll buy more stuff once you’re out of the hospital and can go shopping with me…”<br> <br>

Buffy cleared her throat. Joyce smiled. “Us, but I got you some jeans and sweaters and shirts and sock and stuff, and a pair of sneakers, we’ll get you some real shoes later.”


Kit nodded, wide eyed, as she looked at the growing pile of things in front of her, gripping her teddy bear tightly.


“Nice bear.” Xander said quietly, putting a bag of comics by her side. “Just ignore mom, she’s going into motherly overdrive. It’s like a shark scenting blood in the water only with kids that need mothering. That might not have been the most reassuring of comparisons now I think about it. “ He grinned at Kit, who grinned back.






“So what’s he called?”




Willow laughed and Buffy sniggered as did Xander. Buffy reached over to gently touch Rupert’s nose. “Can’t wait till we tell Giles that one…Rupert bear. I’m Buffy. I’m your oldest sister.”


“What’s so funny about Rupert’s name?” Kit asked belligerently. “Ms. Summers laughed about it too.” 


“Ah…well you see, we have this friend, an English guy called Giles, he’s the High school librarian, and he’s well…his first name is Rupert. And he’s gonna be very embarrassed…So what we need to do is get you and Rupert bear in the same room as Rupert Giles…” Buffy’s eyes grew distant as she contemplated the possibilities.


Kit grinned. “Maximize his embarrassment.” Joyce and Simon looked up at the girl’s choice of words.


Xander grinned broadly. “Oh yeah, the Force is strong with this one.”


Joyce smiled indulgently. “Poor Mr. Giles won’t know what hit him.”


“Maybe we can do it at the Talent show…” Xander looked thoughtful.


“Talent Show?” Kit asked, looking worried.


 Buffy sighed. “Yeah, well we piss…” She changed her choice of words at Joyce’s cough. “Annoyed the Principal and he and mom thought performing at the talent show might be good for our social integration.”


Kit looked horrified at Joyce who smiled at her. “Buffy neglects to mention it’s punishment from me as well. Just be a smart Kit and don’t skip afternoon classes without due reason or letting us know.” Joyce lifted an eyebrow.


Kit nodded. “Okay.”


Arlene had wandered over to the bedside table and picked up the book on it and snorted. Buffy looked over and seeing the title and author, looked at Kit and grinned. She was bout to speak when Joyce shook her head, smiling. Buffy and Arlene nodded in understanding. Apparently Aunt Clarice was to be a surprise.


“Now Dr. Smith says we can and need to take you home Friday morning, Buffy has said she’ll give up her room for now, until you’re better and then we’ll have a reshuffle with the extra rooms becoming available after we’ve joined up 1628.”


Buffy blinked. “What? Joined up?”


Joyce pointed a thumb at Simon as she unfolded a nightshirt with a Pikachu on it. Kit eyed it warily. “His nibs over there bought it to integrate it into the house as he thinks we need more rooms that aren’t in the basement.”


Simon looked slightly offended. “His Nibs?”


“It’s the accent dear, don’t try and deny it.” Joyce said sweetly. “Now Kit I don’t know what sort of thing you like but I bought some different things that are supposedly trendy now. We’ll go shopping for something you like later. I’m afraid you won’t be allowed to go out for Halloween, the doctor says it would put too much strain on your wounds even in a wheelchair.”


Kit looked at Joyce with disbelief and then at Dawn. “Is she for real?“


“Oh yeah, just a bit rattled right now. Buffy told her some things she did in Vegas that made her afraid, and then she found out Willow might be sent to jail for hacking and then there’s you and me…So basically mom is trying to…ooops.” Dawn shut up and cringed.


Joyce turned to her youngest. “Dawn…how exactly how do you know these things?” her voice was dangerously soft.


“Errr…Can I just say sorry now and…” Dawn swallowed at her mother’s expression. “Oh shi…pootles.”


“I’m very disappointed in you Dawn.”


“Sorry mom.”


“We’ll talk about this later.” She held up three nightshirts and looked at Kit. “Now which of these would you prefer?”




Joyce had tucked in Willow and Buffy and said goodnight to Xander and was sitting in the living room with her feet up, her head in Simon’s lap and her eyes closed. “Did I mess up somewhere?”


“No dear. You just have energetic children who seek outlets for that energy and their intelligence.”


“By hacking into federal databases and spying on everything in and out of sight?”


Arlene laughed. “I still can’t believe that…Willow hacking the FBI? Can you imagine Clarice’s face?”


“Can you imagine Clarice having to tell her superiors?” Joyce said worriedly. “Ohhh…why does everything have to be so complicated!”


“And we still don’t know who’s posing as Willow…but the information we’ve received is…worrying.” Simon said.


Arlene looked at him. “How so?”


“According to the school transcripts Evy, or Marcie, stopped going to school about three weeks into the year…no record of her exist beyond that. The Rosses reported her missing six days ago.”


“That…there’s too much of a difference there.” Arlene bit her lower lip.


“Yes. I suggest you and I go visit the Rosses tomorrow. Think you can get away from school?”


Arlene grinned wickedly. ‘I’ll just tell Rupert he has to watch them practice himself…”


“A fate worse than death.” Simon smirked.


“I’ve seen some of those acts, it may very well be.” Arlene looked at Joyce. “Go to bed Joy. Tomorrow will be better.”


“Can it be worse? I’m just so angry and scared right now…Every time the doorbell goes I’m afraid it’ll be the FBI, coming to arrest Willow.”


“Does she know that?” Arlene asked sympathetically.


“I think she understands, yes.”


“Still gonna spank her?”


“Hell yes.”


“She’ll be mortified…”


“She should have thought about that one before she hacked the FBI.” Joyce said decidedly. Then she sighed and rose. “But I am going to bed. Good night, Arlene.” Simon rose with her and bid his own goodnight. Arlene sat in the living room studying the hacked file as well as the information Simon had provided and did not go to bed until several hours later, when she was certain her sobs would not wake Xander.




The next morning Arlene went into the hospital room quietly and smiled as she saw Kit reading intently. Instead of the hefty volume of her oldest sister’s experiences with murderous madmen this one was thin, flimsy and bore the unmistakeable image of Batman. Xander apparently had made a convert.


“Good morning Kit.”


Kit eyed her warily. “Good morning, Ms. Ellis.”


“Aunt Arlene. “ Arlene said firmly.


Kit’s wariness did not disappear. Arlene sat on a chair by her bed. “Kit…may I ask you some questions about Marcie Ross?”


“Marcie? What did she ever do to you? She was the only good thing to happen while I was with them.”


“I-I want to know more about Marcie. Please. About how they treated her. She’s missing.”


Kit took a shocked breath. “No! What did they do to her?”


“We don’t know they did anything to her. But I need to find her.”


“They treated her horribly, especially the triplets. Like she was a slave…And they wanted me to be one as well. Because we weren’t family.” Kit spat the last word.


“Oh. Do you mean…”


“Marcie was adopted as a baby. They said everybody hated her and even her mother couldn’t love her.” Kit stated firmly.


Arlene shrunk in on herself. “I – I see.”


“Why do you care anyway?” Kit looked at the woman beside her and then her eyes widened.


You are Marcie’s mom aren’t you?”


“Yes.” Arlene quietly confessed.”


“Then why didn’t you keep her?” Kit was clearly getting angry.


“Because I was stupid. I thought I had good reasons, but none of them really were. And I thought I’d made sure she went to parents who would over her. And they apparently didn’t. I was informed of her health and progress every year for four years. Everything seemed alright then…”


Kit nodded. “Things didn’t start to go wrong until the triplets were three years old or so, when Marcie was my age, or that’s what she told me.”


“My poor baby…”


“Are you gonna find her?”


“I’m going to do everything I can to do so.”


“And then what?”


“If Marcie wants to come with me…I’ll at least get her away from the Rosses.”


Kit nodded. “Okay…I’ll tell you some stuff. But if you ever hurt Marcie with it…”


Arlene gave the girl a grateful look. “Thank you Kit.”


“It’s okay.” 


“Do you have any idea where Marcie might be? She isn’t with the Rosses anymore.”


Kit smiled. “When I was with the Rosses Marcie used to hide out in the loft. We had this really small room and the triplets ran in there whenever they wanted so the loft was all she had.” 


“Was she nice to you?”


“Oh yeah…like I said, she was the only good thing to happen while I was with the Rosses.”


“Can you tell me what she likes? Food and stuff?”


“Chocolate and chocolate milk.” Kit smiled as he said it. “But we didn’t get much of it.” And her face fell again.


“Oh…That reminds me…Arlene reached into her purse and removed a Hershey Kiss. “Joyce said you could have this. Simon says it shouldn’t be too much of a problem but you won’t be allowed much chocolate until the wound is closer to being healed.”


Kit’s face blossomed into a wide, girlish smile and she let out a small whoop of glee. Arlene watched avidly as girl ate the chocolate treat and hoped she could make her daughter this happy even for a second. 




Later that day Arlene took a deep breath as she prepared herself for her meeting with the people who’d adopted her daughter. Captain William Ross served on the Stoneport Army base to the north of the town and lived off base with his wife and four children according to his files. Simon had called the base commander to inquire about the missing child and the colonel in charge, a man called Ernfield, had been deeply worried about the lack of worry that Ross had shown about it. Upon his request Simon and Arlene would be paying the Rosses a visit.


Considering the nature of the visit, a delay in reporting the absence of a child, Arlene had decided to make the call in full dress uniform.


She left the basement and saw her, sister’s boyfriend, no her superior officer stand in the foyer, looking at himself in the mirror, his uniform impeccable and his face grave. He nodded at her and gave her a professional look and she automatically straightened and saluted. “Sir.”


“Major. Shall we go?”


Arlene nodded. “Yes sir. The car should be here presently.” Then she looked at his salad bar f othe first time and then at his face. “Holy shit, sir!”


Simon’s mouth quirked. “Being suicidal in Vietnam and living through it. I wouldn’t advise it as a way to garner medals.”


“Understood, sir…Does Joyce know?”


“About what I did? Yes. About the scars? Yes. About these?” He laid a hand on the ribbons. “No.”


“I see sir. May I suggest you make haste with that?”




“Errr…” Arlene flushed. “Well, not so much the medals only sir…but I take it Joy hasn’t seen you in uniform yet…?”


“No…I had Evens ship this out to me, I need to meet the Governor next week, he wants to recruit me for the local National Guard and until I receive my final discharge…Well I’ll need the uniform.”


“Yes sir. May I respectfully suggest we drive past wherever Joy is when we are finished sir?”




“Trust me, sir…” Arlene winked.


Simon sighed. “Don’t tell me she has a thing for men in uniform?”


Arlene sniggered. “Well you might want to keep one on hand sir…”


“I see…very well.”


There was a sound of a car being parked and then footsteps came up to the door with military precision. Simon darted into the living room muttering about his briefcase. There was a knock and Arlene opened it.


A grizzled staff sergeant saluted. “Ma’am! Staff sergeant Perkins, Ma’am!”


“Sergeant. You know where we’re going?”


The sergeant nodded. “Yes Ma’am. Will I just be driving you?”


“No, the general as well. “ Arlene made a slight gesture and Simon moved into view. The sergeant swallowed and saluted.


Simon returned the salute. “I left my briefcase upstairs sergeant, I’ll be right back. I do apologize.” He stalked up the stairs. The sergeant gaped after him.


“That…that was…”


“Old Bloodybones, yes, sergeant.”


“Permission to swear, ma’am?”


Arlene lifted an eyebrow. “You’re a sergeant, do you actually need permission?”


The man grinned and muttered a few choice oaths under his breath. Simon came own again and they exited the house, Simon closing and locking the door and got in the car. The sergeant drove of quickly and smoothly.   


The Ross home was remarkably similar to the Summers’ house. Arlene and Simon stood in front of it and the auburn haired woman eyed it with distaste. Her full dress uniform, as well as Simon’s sparkled with gold braid. Sergeant Perkins stood leaning against the car, watching as Arlene rang the bell. The door was opened by a middle aged man with a receding hairline and more of a paunch than was wise in a career soldier. He stiffened and saluted upon seeing his visitors.  “Sir, ma’am.”


“Captain Ross I presume?” Simon asked in a dangerously soft tone of voice.


“Yes sir.”


“I think we best go in, this is not a conversation we should be having on the porch.”


Ross led them inside. The house was neat but stuffy. He looked around rather helplessly and then at his guests. “Can I offer you anything to drink, sir?”


“No thank you, I suggest we get right down to the heart of the matter.”


“Yes sir…May I ask what this is about sir?”


“Yes. Your daughter.”


“Daughter sir?” The man was honestly confused.


“Marcie…ring a bell?”


“Oh…Marcie.” There seemed some small discomfort in the man’s face as if trying to remember something unpleasant he’d long ago suppressed.


Simon opened his briefcase and took out some papers. “You do not seem particularly worried despite the fact that she’s been missing for several weeks.”


Ross shrugged. “She’s just Marcie, sir. It’s not as if she’s one of the boys. One of the family.”


Arlene hissed and seemed ready to attack the man but Simon put a restraining hand on her arm. “I see…so if I left a set of papers transferring parental authority you and your wife would sign them?”


“Certainly sir. It would be a bit of a relief to be rid of her, sir. She’s a bit of a disruptive element if you understand what I mean, sir.

“I quite understand Captain…I’ll leave the papers here so you and your wife can sign at leisure. I’ll send someone round to pick them up.”  He put the papers on the table and Ross immediately started to read them, initialling all the pages where needed. Simon rose and led a livid Arlene out of the house.


He nodded at the sergeant and when Arlene was about to talk shook his head at her. They drove in silence until they got to Revello Drive where Simon dismissed the car and driver and went inside. He went to the phone almost immediately.


“Nanny? It’s Simon. We need you in Sunnydale. I’m calling in Philippa as well…some sort of mind control, rather nasty. Yes, Nanny. Yes, I was careful. Yes, I’ll send someone to pick you up. We’ll put you up and you can see the Talent show. Joyce is quite pleased. Yes Nanny. Love you too.” He hung up.


“Mind control?”


Simon looked at Arlene. “Yes. I could feel it in the air.” He looked at his watch. “I need to get to work, and you need to get to the school. Did Kit tell anything that might come in useful?”


”She said Marcie…Evy used to hide in the loft. She might still do that in school. She was in the band…played the flute. She liked all things chocolate…” Arlene’s shoulders were starting to shake.


Simon pulled her into a hug. “Arlene…Go to the school and scour it. Top to bottom. After you change out of your uniform.”


Arlene nodded and went to change. Simon carefully put his in the closet and regarded it wistfully. He’d visit Joyce at the gallery another day…

















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