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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)vidiconFR1598780,0851591497402,59428 May 115 Jul 14No

Insults and Insights

Author’s Note:

 

Thanks very much to my Betas. Letomo and Twilight wanderer.

 

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello.

 

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

 

Thought: *What’s on second.*

 

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

 

Currently the genealogies are up on the forum, some other material will follow such as a bestiary and Dramatis Personae.

 

Reviews are much appreciated, they inspire me.

 

Chapter 46: Insults and Insights

 

On the first row Snyder had been very slowly growing more and more purple at the disgraceful behaviour of the two members of his staff.

 

He was about to stomp off to berate them when he felt a strong, if small hand on his arm. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Danielle Moritz, Willow Rosenberg’s Grandmother. I do so love when teachers are not afraid to show they’re human.” She beamed at the disgruntled Principal.

 

“Their behaviour is totally unacceptable! They were all over each other!”

 

“Oh, I agree that Willow and David gave quite a show, but they are teenagers after all.” Danielle said complacently.

 

Snyder gaped. “Not them! The librarian and that floozy Computer teacher!”

 

Danielle gave him a frosty look. “From what I understand they performed because you wanted them to. You set them no limits. They haven’t crossed any line, not even in dress, that I know of. I happened to read up on the rules for theatrical performance and as ‘I dream of Jeanie’ was performed here two years ago, successfully, I might add, I doubt there is much you can do about this.”

 

Snyder glared. “New Principal, new rules!”

 

Danielle’s fingers tightened on his arm. “There will be no disciplining, baying for their blood or complaining. I doubt that the staff would stand for it, after how you bullied those two into compliance. And yes, I know about that particular meeting.” *Willow hacked into the minutes of the meeting, no reason to tell you that. I do have to talk to Joyce about that...*

 

Snyder glared. “This is my school! What I say goes!”

 

Cecilia leaned in from the other side. “Of course it does, dear boy. Just as long as the current School board remains in power, or you don’t get fired. Want to see how fast that will go once Simon starts the litigation?”

 

Snyder swallowed. “L-Litigation?”

 

“Oh yes. Simon just loves litigation…” Danielle smiled. “I forget exactly how much he got out of the Anglican Church, but it was some insane amount.” 

 

Snyder paled. “E-excuse me…I ought to go congratulate Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar on a fine job.”

 

“You do that young man, you do that.” Danielle gave him a last, comforting, pat on his arm and let him go, watching him sidling crabwise to the backstage area.

 

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Willow, Xander, Buffy and Amy were standing in a quiet corner, watching the votes being cast by the audience. “I hope Harmony wins.” Amy said quietly.

 

“It’s amazing how someone so stupid can sing so well.” Willow said thoughtlessly.

 

Xander drew in a hissing breath. “Willow!” Willow looked around to see the wide, blue eyes of Harmony, a momentary deep hurt lying within them before they were glazed over with their normal vacant look. Harmony slunk away. Melody and Felicity, standing beside her, glared at Willow. 

 

“You utter” Melody began

 

“Evil bitch!” Felicity and Melody chorused

 

“You don’t care that” Melody continued.

 

“Harmony knows”

 

“She’s not very bright.”

 

“And she can’t”

 

“Help it any more than you can being”

 

Supposedly intelligent!”

 

“You weren’t dragged from your mother’s womb after your twin died!”

 

“You didn’t suffer oxygen deprivation!”

 

“And yet, where were all of you when Kit was beating us up?”

 

“Harm was there! She knew!”

 

“She stopped Kit from hurting us!”

 

“She took detention and punishments from Mom and Dad!”

 

“Because we made her promise not to tell!”

 

“If we could pick a sister!”

 

“It would always be Harmony!”

 

“And never you!”

 

“You selfish bitch!” The two chorused again.

 

Willow was swallowing heavily and failing to hold back tears. Xander looked dumbstruck and Amy was pale and wide eyed. Buffy merely looked tremendously guilty.

 

Two slim hands appeared on the twins’ shoulders and Joyce spoke. “Spoken from the heart. A trifle harsh, but true in some ways... Just a question, girls…have you two apologized to Harmony for using her? For not letting her tell your parents?”

 

Melody and Felicity exchanged guilty glances and looked at Joyce.

 

“No”

 

“Ma’am.”

 

Joyce nodded. “Off you go then. I’ll deal with these four. Oh, and I will be talking to your mother about your choice of language!” She added sternly

 

The twins nodded, eyes suddenly wide, and hurried off to find their sister. Joyce turned to her children, ready to scold. Then she sighed and opened her arms to lend the guilt stricken teens comfort. Xander, Buffy and Willow rushed into them, leaving Amy standing alone, looking forlorn.

 

A warm arm surrounded her shoulder and Amy startled. “Easy, Amy, it’s just me. You looked like you could use a hug.” Clarice said.

 

Amy turned to look at the woman and then at the ground. “You don’t have to, you know.” 

 

“Yes, I do. You need a hug. You feel guilty over something that started when you were all small children. Now you are becoming adults and can do something about it.”

 

“I’ve got Dad!” Amy said in a challenging tone.

 

“Yes…I know. Amy…I’m not trying to steal your Dad.”

 

Amy stiffened and Clarice tightened her hold. “Amy…I like you. You’re a bright, kind, good girl. I like your Dad…he makes me laugh, treats me like a woman…”

 

Amy grimaced in disgusted amusement and Clarice gave her a mock glare, a slight flush on her face. “Get your mind out oft the gutter, young lady! I didn’t mean that. What I mean is that…I would really like it if or, I hope, when Patrick and I do get together you won’t mind having a mother? I don’t want just your Dad. I’d like both of you.”

 

Amy very slowly turned her head. “I heard you and Dad discuss boarding school…”

 

Clarice looked confused, and then started to laugh. “Kit is going to St. Ursula’s and Patrick told me it’s also a boarding school.” She explained.

 

Amy looked sheepish. “Oh. Okay.”

 

“And I’d say you’ve taken a leaf from Dawn’s book, listening on people’s private conversations.” Clarice said teasingly. “Though you would look good in one of those uniforms…You’ve got the legs for those pleated skirts.”

 

Amy blushed, but did not object when Clarice pulled her into a full hug and rather tentatively returned it.

 

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Jenny Calendar had changed into a comfortable pair of slacks and top, with flat, not blue silk shoes. She smiled as she saw Rupert, clad once more in tweed, approach. “Ah, Jenny…”

 

“Yes, Rupert?”

 

“I-I was wondering if you w-would do me the honour of going out…er that is…er…”

 

“Why yes, Rupert, I’d love to go out on a date with you. Mexican? We can go tomorrow.” Jenny said brightly. *He asked me! YES!!!*

 

Giles beamed. “Wonderful. Shall I pick you up at six?”

 

“Six-thirty. A girl needs time to get ready if she wants to be beautiful.” She gave a slight toss of her head, making her hair bounce artfully.

 

“You are always beautiful in my eyes.” Giles said, as he lifted her hand and breathed on her knuckles. Jenny shivered and glared after him as he hustled away to talk to the pupils making the count. She strode off to see if the catering for the post performance party was going well, trying to ignore the sniggers and knowing glances of the parents and pupils she met. She held her head high. If denial was not going to work, she’d just have to make certain that the rumours became truth.

 

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Joyce saw the frantic little girls shooting through the crowd like minnows in a pool, desperately looking for their sister. She saw the girls’ mother look around worriedly and went towards her.

 

“Mrs. Kendall? I’m Joyce Summers.”

 

“Oh, hello. You’re Dawn’s mother, right? I’d like to thank you for what she did.”

 

Joyce stiffened. “I see.”

 

Eliza kept looking around. “If she hadn’t been there to even partially control the children, and to find poor Kit, who knows what might have happened. I’m sure my girls would never have forgiven themselves if Kit had been even more badly hurt or if she’d died…Have you seen Harmony?”

 

Joyce blinked and felt the tension flow out of her. “I’m afraid my Willow said something nasty and stupid. Harmony…ran off. I’ve set my children to find her as well.”

 

“Oh…Thank you. Harmony is more sensitive than she lets on.”

 

“The Twins were quite vocal about that. I think they made an impression on my children’s minds that I could never have. They’re very sorry and hopefully realize that who you are at five years old isn’t who you are at fifteen. Willow especially feels very bad about it.”

 

Eliza smiled sadly. “Yes, well. It’s probably too much to hope that ‘Meeny will get some real friends out of this. Cordelia and Harmony really only have each other…” She looked hopefully at Joyce.

 

“Like Willow and Xander and Jesse before, I see. I certainly hope so, too. It’s a very silly rivalry. “I’ll go look for Harmony again.”

 

“Thank you. Err…Mrs. Summers? Could I come by tomorrow? I find I’m in need of some parenting advice…another mother to talk to…about the whole thing at school…” She looked at Joyce beseechingly.

 

Joyce smiled. “Joyce, call me Joyce. I’d be delighted, but you’ll have to come to the Gallery, I’ve got to work. Err…you might want to ask Melody and Felicity where they picked up certain words…”

 

Eliza Kendall rolled her eyes, but a smile crinkled her mouth. “Probably Cordelia. And call me Eliza, please. Say, Twelve? We can have lunch inside if you prefer, or go to the café opposite?.”

 

“We can see tomorrow. I’ll see you later.”

 

Eliza Kendall nodded and once more started looking for her eldest daughter.

 

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Joyce found Harmony huddled in a corner of an empty science classroom. But she was not alone. A dark head was next to the pale blond one, and a dark red dress next to the pale blue one. She knelt in front of the girls and ignored Cordelia’s formidable glare, powerful even with her tear stained face.

 

“Hello. I’m Joyce Summers.”

 

“Yeah, I know. You here to insult Harm too?” She sneered.

 

Joyce winced. “My children would like to apologize, but they’re afraid you will throw things at them. Not that you don’t have a point…but it does make conversation difficult.”

 

“Apologize? Since when does Rosenberg apologize?” Cordelia scoffed.

 

“Have you ever?” Joyce asked gently.

 

“What?”

 

“Apologized. You’ve insulted Willow and Xander plenty of times as well. I suggest that you all might get on better if all of you acknowledged you’d been wrong and went from there. But first we need to get you two presentable and get you to Eliza; the Twins are getting quite frantic.”

 

“Huh?” Cordelia looked confused at this unexpected turn of the conversation. Apparently this sort of behaviour was not what she expected of the mother of Rosenberg and Harris.

 

“Up” Joyce commanded irresistibly. The two rose without further protest and she took the girls over to a sink and wetted a towel. Cordelia was about to protest but fell silent at Joyce’s look. Joyce handed the towel to Harmony and then wetted another for Cordelia.

 

“I have make-up in my purse. And may I say Cordelia; that well applied though it is, at your age less is more? You are beautiful enough yourself that you do not need all this artifice.” Joyce said pointedly.

 

Cordelia flushed and nodded. “Yes ma’am.”

 

They were silent as Joyce watched them apply a small amount of make-up, clearing her throat when Cordelia was about to add more, and then they walked to the theatre. Eliza swept her daughter in her arms and Cordelia looked on wistfully. Joyce gave her a one armed hug and Cordelia started like a rabbit.

 

“I’m here if you ever need to talk to me, Cordelia. I want you to know that.” Cordelia looked stunned at the offer.

 

There was a blare from an air horn that interrupted before Joyce could continue.

 

“May I have your attention, please?” Jenny called out. “I have the winners of the Talent Show!” She waved a piece of paper and people started to flow back into the auditorium from other parts of the school.

 

Once a reasonable quiet had settled, Jenny smiled broadly. “The second runner up, and very well done are Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Amy Madison, Dave Kirby and Alexander Harris.”

 

“XANDER!!” Xander yelled.

 

“Alexander until he returns the emergency Twinkies he lifted from the Green Room cabinet.” Jenny said severely, evoking much laughter. Xander blushed.

 

Jenny looked at the sheet again and flushed. Emily Djiemanowicz, ballet choreographer and nearly demon victim, walked up behind Jenny and looked at the sheet in her hand, and then grinned.

 

“First runner up, a write in, Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar. Or should I say Jasmine and Aladdin?” She grinned evilly at Jenny, who blushed even more deeply. There was more applause and several catcalls.

 

When it became obvious that Jenny was still too embarrassed to speak Emily continued. “And in first place, another write in, Harmony Kendall! Will everybody please come forward to accept their awards?”

 

As Harmony accepted her flowers and the small battered cup, beaming with pride, Eliza Kendall moved to stand next to Cordelia in the back of the theatre. “You planned all this, just so Meeny would feel better about herself. You put yourself up for ridicule for weeks, let people laugh at you and snigger at how stupid you were for not knowing you couldn’t sing…just for her. Thank you.”

 

Cordelia looked at her feet, shuffling them. “Yeah, well…”

 

“Thank you, Cordelia, for being her friend.” Eliza hugged Cordelia and Cordelia leaned into it. “You’re coming to dinner tomorrow. Don’t think I didn’t notice your parents didn’t show.”

 

“They’re in Vegas. Important meeting.” Cordelia said airily.

 

Eliza Kendall had heard enough of Cordelia’s lies about her parents to know that the Chases might be in Vegas, but it was hardly for business. “Of course, Cordelia, of course. Beef Stroganoff? Oh, and We’ll go by your house later to pick up your overnight bag.” She said firmly.

 

Cordelia was about to protest but Eliza shook her head. “Don’t even try, Cordy. You’re staying over until they return. Understood?”

 

Cordelia nodded and smiled and then turned towards the stage, laughing as Harmony was being stampeded by Melody and Felicity. Eliza Kendall put an arm around the dark haired girl and Cordelia ever so slightly leaned into her.

 

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They came home grinning and laughing, Arlene, Evy and Kit were waiting and Willow hooked the camera up to Simon’s laptop after Simon spent five minutes fumbling around with it. As the evening was rehashed to laughter, finally everyone wound down as tiredness overtook them all, Simon, sitting with Joyce in one of the large easy chairs, smiled down at her. Kit was slumbering on a truck bed set up for her near the mantle.

 

“Joyce? I just realized it’s been a while since we last went out together…do you think we could convince your parents to baby-sit tomorrow evening?”

 

Joyce looked at where Buffy and Dawn had cuddled into James and Xander, with a rather stunned expression, was held in a hug by Cecilia. Clarice sat on the couch with a sleeping Amy against her shoulder and a look of profound happiness on her face, while Patrick looked on with a mix of awe and wonder.

 

“I think they won’t mind very much. Arlene and Clarice are taking the kids to LA tomorrow, to buy costumes…”  

 

“I thought they were going with the Macbeth costumes?” Simon ran an admiring finger down Joyce’s profile and she shivered.

 

“They were…but the girls refuse to look like witches and the dresses are really not all that attractive, so…err…I promised them they could all pick a costume…” She looked at him. “I hope you don’t mind…”

 

Simon snorted. “I think I can afford it…I’ll give Clarice one of the Trust Cards. That should work. And they aren’t allowed to be too extravagant. Not for something they’ll only wear once.”

 

Simon glanced towards the kitchen door and then around the room, his gaze finally coming to rest upon his girlfriend “I agree…I think one of us ought to go discreetly check on Willow and Dave. And it had probably better be you.”

 

“Oh? Why me?” Joyce asked in a rebellious, if amused voice. She was quite comfortable in the chair.

 

“Do you really want to find out how hard, on a scale of one to ten, I would I have to hit him?”

 

Joyce smiled. “Oh really, Simon stop over reacting. Come on, we’ll do it together.” She rose, pulling him up by his hand and he followed her to the kitchen.

 

Willow had Dave pressed against the fridge and the two teens were playing a major league game of tongue hockey. Joyce cleared her throat. The two flew apart, Willow’s hands jumping from Dave’s chest as if they had a life of their own. Dave’s shirt hung open and had been dragged out of his pants, granting Willow full access to his quite muscular chest. Willow, except for her mussed hair and kiss-bruised lips was immaculate. Both teens immediately started blushing.

 

Simon blinked and Joyce looked thoughtful, then spoke. “I think that is enough for tonight, hmm? Patrick has offered to drop you off at home, Dave.” Her voice was dry and severe. Simon was the only one close enough to hear the quaver of amusement.

 

Dave nodded, blushing to his navel, a fact that was obvious due to his state of undress. Simon gave him a frosty glare at him and beckoned. “You can straighten up a little in the dining room.”

 

Dave quickly left the kitchen, hurrying across the foyer to the dining room, Simon following but heading to the living room to waken the others.

 

Joyce gave her beet red daughter a half amused, half worried look. “Going a little fast, aren’t we? Second base in the second week?”

 

 “Mom!” Willow’s wail woke up the sleepers in the living room and all eyes went to the kitchen door.

 

 Willow continued, more softly. “It’s not like that.”

 

Joyce gave her stern look. “Then kindly explain why it looked like that?”

 

Willow’s blush deepened again. “Errr…can I tell you later…when Dave has gone?”

 

Joyce gave her daughter a searching look, but nodded her acquiescence. “Very well…I suppose you want a good night kiss from Dave?”

 

Willow nodded. “Yes, please.”

 

“Just make certain it is a good deal more chaste than what we walked in on…Your grandmother might not be as understanding as I am.” She grinned and Willow nodded again, this time vigorously.

 

They entered the foyer, just in time to see Dave exit the dining room. Most of the others were still on the couches. Kit was dozing again already and Dawn looked tuckered out.

 

Joyce took in the state of her children and teenage visitors. “Come on, all of you to bed, Dawn, Kit, its hours past your bedtime. Simon, would you carry Kit up, please.”

 

Simon nodded and moved to the bed, gently lifting Kit. The girl, tired and worn out by the long day, barely seemed to register it and was carried easily upstairs.

 

Patrick kissed Clarice’s cheek, seemingly thoughtlessly, making them both blush and Amy groan. Patrick hastened to the door, followed by Amy and Dave. Willow kissed Dave gently on the lips.

 

Buffy shook herself and looked at her mother, who sighed and nodded. Buffy slipped out of the house through the front door, guiding Amy, her father and Dave to the car and then heading off into the night.

 

Joyce stood looking at he closed door for a few minutes as the other children went to their beds, trying to keep a cheerful look on her face.. Then her shoulders slumped and her face crumpled, until James put an arm around her. “She’ll be fine. She’s a very resourceful girl, and she’s been getting trained by some of the best in the world for weeks.”

 

“Yeah. I still worry.”

 

Cecelia smiled sadly. “You always will. I always worried about Charlotte when she still Hunted. I know James worried about me.”

 

“I still do. There are plenty of demons out there who would love to kill the Witch of Imperial.” James said quietly.

 

Clarice turned swiftly. “What?” Joyce and Arlene reacted equally violently. “Kill you?” Arlene asked in a whisper.

 

“Your mother has a certain…reputation… among supernatural beings.” James said with a slight smile. “She’s slain and vanquished a lot of opponents. And garnered more than a few enemies.”

 

Clarice looked upset. “Ah’ll want to ta’k…” She corrected her accent. ‘I’ll want to talk to you about that later, Mom.” She looked both determined and frightened.

 

Cecilia smiled. “I’m mostly retired, Clarice. I only really did it to keep the demons away from Arlene, Joyce and Charlotte. Except when I’m attacked, I seldom come face to face with a demon anymore. My days of active hunting are over.”

 

A slight amount of tension went out of the three younger women. Cecilia’s eyes widened and she excused herself.

 

Arlene looked after her. “What’s wrong with her?” She asked, slightly worried.

 

James smiled sadly. “She just realized that Buffy is out there…Alone…She needs to see for herself how she measures up.” He shrugged.

 

There was a slight click as the kitchen door closed. James sighed. “See?”

 

“What? Is she mad? The vamps will tear her limb from limb!” Clarice exclaimed.

 

“Hardly…Cecilia is one of the most powerful and accomplished witches in Western Hemisphere. She can destroy vampires from a good distance by agitating their molecules. Burning them up.  And did anyone tell you what she did the night your cousins came here?”

 

“Oh…I forgot that.” Clarice grinned at her sisters, who grinned back. “Maybe we ought to follow and get a demonstration. We didn’t see her freeze those vamps…”

 

“NO!!” James shouted. “I don’t want to worry about the three of you as well! Do you understand me, young ladies?” His angry and anguished glare wiped the grins of all three women’s faces.

 

“If I hear one peep about any of you going out there, untrained and unprepared, so help me Great Spirit, I will spank you all myself. And then hand you to your mother!” James glared at hem all equally.

 

Arlene and Joyce nodded; eyes wide and awed silent. Clarice gulped, struggling to contain tears. “Yes, Daddy. Sorry.”

 

James sighed and embraced his step-daughter. “Don’t cry, Rissy. I’m sorry for yelling. You’re just not ready yet. You’re not trained…and you’re not well, you’re still not sufficiently recovered. But I am serious. I will be very upset if you go out there untrained. I want you all to promise not do so unless it is really a dire emergency.” He wiped her tears away with his thumbs and kissed her forehead. He looked at all three of them, eyes serious.

 

All of them nodded. “We promise.”

 

“Good…now go up to bed…I’ll wait for your mother and Buffy…and have a little word with your mother. Don’t worry Joy, I’ll send her straight to bed.”

 

His daughters obeyed, each sunk in their own thoughts.

 

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Willow sat in a lotus position on her bed, playing with her toes, when Joyce came in.

 

“Well? What didn’t you want to tell me while Dave was there?”

 

“I love Dave. I really think I do.” Willow’s toes were apparently of great interest to her, as she said this while looking at them.

 

Joyce sat down. “Yes…well I can imagine that would be a shock to his system. Apparently he’s worshipped the ground you walk on since you were six or so…He’d be utterly devastated if he found out you really loved him back, I’m sure.” She said dryly.

 

Willow rolled her eyes and then looked back at her toes. “Mom…you know he’s a demon, right?” Willow said quietly.

 

“Yes, a Cheila demon. I knew before you did. From what Simon told me, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

“I-I read up on them in one of Giles’ books…”

 

“Willow…what did you read?” Joyce’s voice was worried.

 

“Ummm…apparently they’re a type of chameleon, assuming the form of whatever the dominant species is on the planet or in the dimension they live on…but some of them have the ability to change into their species’ original form, which is like, eight feet tall or more and with these really nifty soft but strong scales, and a crest on their heads and a sort of golden glowey eyes and… “ Willow babbled excitedly.

 

Joyce put a finger on her daughter’s lips, an amused smile on her own. “Okay…so the idea doesn’t freak you out…”

 

“No, its cool!” Willow smiled enthusiastically. “But the ones who have it have these slight bony protrusions on their spines, just above their errr…rears…and on their sternums, and I’ve been trying to see if Dave, can well, errr…”

 

Joyce very sternly fought to keep her face and voice under control. This was so very…Willow-y a reason. “Willow…have you been trying to anatomically examine your boyfriend without his knowledge?”

 

“Yeah. It would be neat if he could, but I don’t want him to think that I’d be disappointed if he couldn’t. I love him.” She pointed out seriously. “I don’t want him to think I’ll love him less because he can’t, you know, change.”

 

“Yes…it still might be wiser just to ask him.”

 

“But…Then he’d find out I read up on him!”  Willow wailed.

 

“I assume he took biology? I think he knows fairly well what the human body looks like, then. I doubt he would be upset if you told him you’d read up on his species. Just make sure you read some cultural background as well.” Joyce pointed out.

 

“Oh, very well…” Willow still looked a trifle mutinous to be thwarted in her investigative curiousity.

 

“Look at it this way, Willow. If you keep ripping his shirt off and feeling his chest, eventually he’ll want to reciprocate…” She let her sentence die off and watched as it sank in.

 

“Oh. OH! OH!” Willow’s eyes widened with each exclamation and then her arms crossed very firmly over her chest as a fierce, red blush rose up her face.

 

Joyce could see that her throat was red too and thought the blush might go quite a ways down.    <br> <br>

“He…He wouldn’t?” Willow squeaked.

 

“He’s a sixteen year old boy, no matter what the species…you’re giving him signals…I think you’d better talk to him tomorrow. Explain.”  Joyce said kindly but firmly.

 

Willow let out a little sob like noise. “I messed up, didn’t I?”

 

“Just little…but I doubt Dave will really mind.” *Much…Okay, possibly a lot…Who am I kidding? He’s probably been rehearsing his lines to get her to let him take her shirt of…Quid pro quo and all… *

 

“I feel so dumb…”

 

Joyce smiled. “You’re young, love. You’ll learn.” Joyce rose and went to the door. Willow looked stricken.

 

“Something wrong?”

 

“D-Did I do something bad?”

 

“Not unless you’ve been hacking again, or more than you told me about…Willow…” Joyce’s voice was severe as she saw the flash of guilt on Willow’s face.  She ran a hand over her eyes. “We’ll talk about that tomorrow or on Sunday. Now come on, I want to get to bed.”

 

“C-come on?” Willow asked confused.

 

“Yes, come on. You’re sleeping with us again.”

 

“B-But I had no nightmare!” Willow said, half indignant, half pleased.

 

“You didn’t hear yourself whimper last night. Willow…I held you for half the night. You aren’t ready yet to sleep alone.” Joyce said gently. “Now, I’ll go tuck in the others, you can get into bed. Simon is still with Kit.”

 

Willow stopped protesting, grabbed Fluffles and went to the master bedroom.

 

 

End Note:

 

Quid pro quo: What for what or something for something.

 

I’ll say immediately that Joyce is not giving Dave the benefit of the doubt; her own experiences with teenage and young adult males are not that good…
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