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The Devil of Sunnydale Elementary

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Dawn meets her Nemesis and learns valuable lessons. Rated for possibly disturbing content (violence by and inflicted upon children) in later chapters.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Dawn-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR18410,97685410,2189 Jun 118 Jul 11Yes

How to solve a problem like Kit Holburn

Author’s note:

 

I should warn the reader that this is a pretty dark chapter.

 

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.

 

How to solve a problem like Kit Holburn

 

Dawn held Kit’s hand trying desperately to lend the girl strength. She knew about magic, vampires, stuff like that. Why hadn’t she known Kit Holburn’s mom and dad had abandoned her? Why had she never talked to her? Tried to find out why the girl took exactly what she needed to buy lunch…and no more…why her clothes seemed so badly worn…her hair so unkempt. Dawn’s tears ran down her face unrestrained, dripping on Kit’s cold hand as she bent over it, her other was fisted in her mouth, to stop her sobs, afraid they might wake Kit, cause her more harm than she already had.

 

She heard crashing in the undergrowth and Hurst ran up to her, mobile phone out. “Lewis? I’ve got Roo…Call it in. You’re on the route, make certain the EMT’s come right up, I’ve left flags.”

 

He knelt by the two girls, gently feeling Kit’s pulse. “Girl is in shock. Broken arm, lots of bruising, Internal injuries highly likely, looks undernourished.”

 

Dawn gave him a look. “Roo?”

 

Hurst gave her a calm look. “It’s your code name Miss Dawn.”

 

“Roo?!”

 

“I’m sure we can agree on a better one…” Hurst was now distinctly nervous.

 

“ROO!? I’m ROO?!” She rose, trembling.

 

“Miss Dawn?”

 

“I set up an army of kids and they killed a girl and I’m fucking ROO?!”

 

Hurst looked round. Two EMT’s entered the clearing with a stretcher. He moved Dawn to the side while the two men started treatment. He held the girl tightly. “Miss Dawn…we’re leaving now.”

 

“NO! I’m staying with Kit…I did this Hurst! I did this! I killed her!”

 

Hurst nodded. “Very well, I’ll ride with you in the ambulance.” He opened his phone again. “Lewis…I’m driving to the hospital with Miss Dawn…go there ASAP.”

 

“I bet mom isn’t Kanga!”

 

Hurst stifled a smile. “No, she isn’t…please sit, Miss Dawn, right here.” He positioned himself between Dawn and the EMT’s, making sure that his charge could not see what was happening.

 

The EMT’s finished quickly, placing Kit on the stretcher, folding out the stretcher’s wheels. Kit had an oxygen mask on her face and so far as Dawn could see was unconscious.

 

Hurst was about to lead Dawn away when she went to Kit’s meager camp. “Hurst…help me carry her stuff?”

 

She put her lunchbox in her bag and picked up the ancient teddy bear. She stood staring at it while Hurst gathered up the few other belongings. He put an arm around her shoulders and led her down the path. Even in Dawn’s shocked condition they caught up with the stretcher soon as the EMT’s had to move slowly to minimize jarring Kit.

 

They moved slowly along side the stretcher until the reached the rough dirt road used by the electrical company when they serviced the junction box. Lewis and Bchenka were waiting by the car. The EMT’s loaded the stretcher into the ambulance. Hurst and Dawn got into the back and Dawn took hold of Kit’s hand. The EMT said nothing, merely monitored the girl’s vitals. The ambulance took off at high speed, the sleek black BMW following silently.

 

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Joyce Summers was waiting outside the ER room entrance and caught her youngest daughter in her arms as the doctors wheeled away the far too thin and far too bruised form of Kit.

 

Hurst took a careful step back and handed Kit’s worldly goods to Simon, who accepted them gravely. Willow took Dawn’s bookbag. The younger girl clung desperately to the old teddybear. She turned in her mother’s arms and started crying in long jagged sobs.

 

“Oh Dawnie…”

 

Joyce held Dawn while Kit was in the Emergency room, and when they wheeled her into the operating theatre to try and save her life.

 

Dr. Chaudry stood looking at the closing doors of the operating theatre. He felt movement beside him and looked.

 

“Dr. Mayer.”

 

“Dr. Chaudry. What’s the prognosis?”

 

“She’s quite severely malnourished…she can’t have had much to eat the past few months…she’s bruised from head to toe, she’s got a fractured right ulna, radius and wrist, the long bones are broken in two or three places…She’s got lacerations, a broken nose and a concussion. We’re operating for a ruptured spleen. We fear there may be more internal damage…”  

 

Simon sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “That’s a diagnosis…I asked for the prognosis…”

 

“Doubtful.”

 

“I was afraid of that…”

 

Chaudry looked at the older doctor with a sad expression. “We’ll do our best, but…”

 

“Go all out, I’ll foot the bill.”

 

“That’s not what I meant…”

 

“You didn’t…but I bet there are plenty in this hospital whose first thought was ‘who’s going to pay to save that little trailer trash…’”

 

He looked over his shoulder. “Now if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got to go help comfort my daughter.”

 

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While the surgeons worked on Kit Dawn haltingly told her story to her mother, almost nearly hopefully step father, sisters and brother. She got out the Rules of engagement and the list of members of the Rangers. She told how she had set up the schedule for pick ups, had assigned every pupil their own patrol. There had been admiration, but her mother’s eyes also betrayed anger and more than a little hurt.

 

The operation went well and Kit Holburn was taken to the recovery ward in the same private room as Joyce had occupied after her vampire attack.

 

Joyce took her youngest daughter there. “See Dawnie…she’s gonna get better…”

 

Kit was not a sight to inspire confidence in a speedy recovery. Her face was pale where it was not bruised and covered in an oxygen mask. Her abdomen was bandaged heavily, several IV drips led to her arms, her foot was bandaged and her right forearm was in a cast.

 

Dawn started to sob again. Joyce stood behind her and drew her close. <br> <br>

“I did it mom…It was me…I did this…I should’ve asked…I should’ve stopped them!”

 

“Dawn…you did your best…though I still don’t understand why you felt you couldn’t talk to me or Simon…”

 

“But…Snitching!” Dawn gave her mother an indignant glare.

 

Joyce sighed. “Dawn…there’s a difference between talking about bullying and telling on someone who’s pulled a harmless prank…”

 

“Yeah…And now I’ve killed her.”

 

“She’s not going to die Dawn…it might take a while, but she will fully recover, the doctors say so.”

 

“But…” Simon came in and took the chart of the end of Kit’s bed. He studied it carefully. He looked at the wide eyed girl and her serious expression 

 

“Dawn…she will recover. But it will take time.”

 

“Promise?”

 

Simon licked his thumb and put his forefinger against it. “Simon promise.”

 

Dawn nodded and sat in the chair by Kit’s bed, her hands toying absently with the ragged bear.

 

“Can I stay here?”

 

“Yes love…if you really want to.”

 

“I have to…who else is there?”

 

When Dawn eventually fell into a restless sleep she was laid in the same bed she’d occupied when Joyce had been here. Arlene had volunteered to look after the children and had sent Hurst to the hospital with Buttons and sleeping gear for Dawn.

 

Joyce sat watching the sleeping Kit while Simon leafed through a file.

 

“Important meeting tomorrow?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I see…”

 

“Temporary head of Sunnydale Child services…this is Kit’s file.” He looked up, amused. “You thought I was working?”

 

Joyce blinked. “How did you get that?”

 

“I promised to take a personal interest in the matter.”

 

Joyce pursed her lips. “That would help, yes…” *Simon’s contacts…he’d have the girl in foster care in days…*

 

“Not pretty reading.”

 

“That bad?”

 

“Lets say chances are she’ll never see her father again unless she visits him in prison…her mother…I’ve got people looking for her. She was a prostitute recovering from alcoholism and they granted her custody over Kit if she got a job and went to AA…she stopped going in early February…and was sacked at her job when she didn’t show up two days in a row. She worked at Hooters. Officially she still has custody over Kit.”

 

“Oh and that will be an ideal solution…At a guess I’d say that almost anything is better than letting her stay with her mother.”

 

“I’d say so too…”

 

Joyce yawned widely. “I’m going home and talk to the others, take a quick shower and then I’ll be back…You’ll stay here?”<br> <br>

“Certainly. Love to the kids and Arlene.”

 

“Sure. Love you.”

 

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1630 Revello drive lay quietly in the moonlight when Lewis drew up the black BMW and helped Joyce get out.  Hurst had ordered increased vigilance when Dawn had managed to disappear. Lewis had been mortified she’d been able to get away from his watchful eye.

 

Buffy and Willow were waiting in the living room watching TV, while Arlene was in the kitchen, reading a paper.

 

Willow turned of the set with the remote and both girls gave Joyce a worried look. Joyce looked around.

 

“Where’s Xander?”

 

Willow grinned wanly. “Painting the inside of the garage…he needed to do something with his hands.”

 

“How’s Dawn? And Kit?” Buffy inquired worriedly.

 

“Exhausted and recovering…Simon made a Simon promise she would be alright.” Joyce sat down heavily.

 

Buffy shook her head. “I still can’t believe Dawn organized all that…the patrols and everything…”

 

“I can’t understand why she didn’t come to me…or Simon.“ Joyce sounded defeated. “That she didn’t trust me enough…”

 

“Oh stop it Joy.”

 

Arlene stood in the foyer, arms crossed, her tight jeans hugging her figure, like a slightly larger, auburn haired version of Buffy, with flashing green eyes. “Dawn thought she was getting even, she thought she could control the mob she created. She’s a ten year old, a highly intelligent ten year old, yes, but a ten year old still, who saw her awesome older sisters and brother fight the undead and she wanted to do something grand…and now she’s found out just what the cost of such things are.”

 

Joyce glared at her older sister. “And that is supposed to make me feel better?”

 

“No…it’s supposed to make you think. Joy…It might be better for Simon to handle this.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You think they made him a general for tap dancing? He’s lost people under his command and he’s killed. He’s planned campaigns. Let him talk to her, officer to officer.”

 

Buffy looked stunned. “Wait, General? I thought you said he was an army doctor!”

 

“Army doctors have rank…He was a major when he came back from ‘Nam in ’71 Even with ordinary promotion and service in the Reserves he would be a colonel at the least…”

 

Willow eyes were wide. “Cool!…How many stars?”  Her voice was curious.

 

“Two, that’s about the max they give a reserve officer, but I’ve heard rumours that President Lassiter wants to promote him because of his work in the Gulf and since. He’s held brevet rank as a Lieutenant General.”

 

Willow grinned. “My dad’s a major general.”

 

“Do you think it will work?” Joyce looked at her sister with worried eyes.

 

“Well I’d advise some counseling too…and getting rid of the moronic principal. Not responsible because it didn’t happen on school grounds my sweet fanny.”

 

“It’s pretty sweet, yeah.” Willow blushed furiously at her own remark and Arlene laughed.

 

“Well at least someone noticed…”

 

Buffy hmphd. “Well in those jeans…Hey wait…Aunt Arlene! Those are mine!” Her voice was both amused and annoyed.

 

“Hmmm, they fit quite well...show of the old caboose to much acclaim…from Willow at least.” She grinned at the redhead while running her hands over her hips and rear.

 

Willow blushed more fiercely. “I-I didn’t mean…It’s just that…Mom asks about her dresses…and…and”

 

Arlene laughed. “Its fine Willow, stop worrying.”

 

Joyce sighed, rolling her eyes at the byplay. * I wonder…Willow does look at girls almost as much as boys…*  “Well, there’s little I can do about it tonight.”

 

“Mom?” Buffy hesitatingly asked.

 

“Yes Buffy?”

 

“What’s gonna happen to Kit? I mean…we are bringing her here, right?”

 

Joyce blinked. “What?”

 

“W-When I ran away…after Lothos…after I got expelled…And our fight…I went to Vegas…there were guys who made offers…W-we can’t let Kit go there…” Buffy looked near tears and desperate.

 

Joyce shuddered at the thought of what might have happened to her eldest daughter.

 

 “Buffy…there are other foster families…” Arlene gently objected.

 

“And what if she runs away from them? What will that do to Dawn?” Buffy spoke vehemently.

 

Joyce exchanged a look with Buffy. “You discussed this.”

 

Buffy nodded, as did Willow. “Yeah, we did, Wills Xander and me…mom…we should give her a chance. Did you hear what Dawn was telling mom? And how? She admires the girl…she never picked on the poorest…she kept to her two bucks fifty a day, the minimum she needed to live…she might have been a bully but she stopped all others bullying…she’s lonely and desperate and…mom…it could’ve been me…in Vegas.” Buffy looked at her mother with large fearful eyes.

 

Joyce smiled. “Well…if you all want to give her a chance…We’ll just have to convince Dawn and Simon.”

 

Willow opened her mouth and shut it. Then she looked at Buffy. “She was planning to take her in anyway…”

 

Buffy sighed. “Why can’t we ever surprise her?”

 

“Oh, you did loves, you did…I’m surprised and impressed and I love you…I expected to have to argue and discuss before you all agreed…Kit’s out of surgery, I’ll go take a shower and then why don’t you get Xander and we’ll all go have a look? Arlene?”

 

Arlene gave her sister an appraising look. “Joy…you’re something else…All of you. I’ll come with you and drive you and the kids home after.”

 

“Yes well…I’ll go shower.”

 

The drive to the hospital was primarily spent in silence. They walked into the hospital in silence as well. They arrived at the door to Kit’s room in silence, and entered in silence. Simon looked up from his seat at the foot of Kit’s bed.

 

“Good evening…” He glanced at his watch, which was hanging from the bed by its chain. “Good night I should say.”

 

Joyce took a deep breath mentally preparing herself for the argument that was sure to follow. “Simon…”

 

“You want to try and foster her. The answer is yes.”

 

Joyce blinked, then smiled a little embarrassed. “Was I that obvious?”

 

“I knew by the way in which you reacted…when Dawn told you what Kit was going to do in Vegas.”

 

Joyce shuddered again and Buffy put an arm around her. “Nothing like that happened mom…and nothing like that is going to happen…we’re all safe. You’ll keep us all safe.”

 

“Yes…It’s just…ten year olds should not have to think, even be able to think…about doing something like that…”

 

She looked at Kit, who was sleeping the sleep of the deeply sedated, her chest rising and falling slowly.

 

“She’s breathing on her own…the oxygen is there to make it easier. She should recover better once we can get some real food into her. But we have to see how her stomach holds up.” Simon rose and put a gentle hand on Kit’s forehead.

 

“No fever, no sign of infection…it looks pretty good.”

 

“I’m glad…Simon, when is she expected to wake up?”

 

“She’s getting intravenous food…they’re going to keep her artificially asleep for a day…they wanted two, but they’re afraid that her malnourishment might become a problem.”

 

“I see…”

 

Xander had taken up position on the other side of the bed and had taken one of the long fingered, broken nailed hands. He noted the thin skin, the bruises on every finger, the clearly visible bones that extended below the hard cast on her forearm.

 

“She definitely needs feeding.”

 

“She’s thin as a rail…” Willow joined Xander at the side of the bed while Buffy stood at the foot.

 

“Lewis says she moves like a predator…” The blonde noted thoughtfully.

 

Joyce gave her a look. “Lewis has seen her?”

 

Buffy winced. “Ummm...mom…remember what Hurst told you about keeping us safe? Well…Lewis has known about Kit for weeks…he saw Dawn get beaten…But Dawn told him not to interfere…and if he told you…”

 

“She’d do her utmost to get away from him…like she did now…” Joyce sighed as she realized that even bodyguards could not keep her children safe if they didn’t want or wait, to be protected.

 

Simon gave her a hug. “And they’re not really used to guarding children…I’m sorry love…”

 

“Oh don’t be ridiculous Simon, it’s not your fault…but Dawn Florence and I are going to have a bit of a talk later on…”

 

Buffy winced and Willow gave the sleeping ten year old a pitying look. Arlene stifled a grin and coughed.

 

“Well, now we’ve all seen Kit, and know when she’ll wake up…I suggest we get home. The kids have school tomorrow and you both have work…”

 

Simon smiled. “You’re right…but I’ll stay here. I can work from here as well…and I don’t want to face Dawn if we move her…”

 

Arlene nodded. “That I can imagine…She does have the family temper…”

 

“Oh yeah…”

 

Willow grinned and kissed Kit. “Your life is gonna get better from here on, Kit… You can be darn tootin’ sure of that!”

 

Arlene blinked at the mild expletives and looked at Joyce who was looking shocked, as were Simon, Xander and Buffy. Joyce was the first to react. “W-willow?”

 

Willow blushed. “Well…I just got angry…that she’s been through so much…”

 

Joyce laughed and hugged the redhead. “Oh, little Mouse…” 

 

Joyce shook herself and led her family out of the room, after two quick kisses bestowed on two ten year old foreheads. Buffy and Xander followed her example. Silence reigned until they got to the car when Joyce motioned for Xander to ride shotgun and sat next to Buffy.

 

She gave Buffy a look. “We will be talking about what you did in Las Vegas young lady…”

 

Buffy winced. “Errr…”

 

“Sooner rather than later.”

 

Buffy groaned. “Mom…” She leaned in and whispered desperately. Joyce gave her daughter a look. Buffy looked at her pleadingly. Joyce relented and nodded.

 

“Very well...I’ll consider it.” Buffy only looked partially relieved.

 

Willow gave her sister a curious look but kept her silence. She pounced once they got home.

 

“What was the whispering about?”

 

Buffy glared at her. “Willow…”

 

“Oh come on Buff…” Willow wheedled.

 

Buffy sighed. “I told you guys about what I did in Vegas…So you know that…I may…sorta have…transgressed certain rules a couple of times…while I was there…”

 

Willow winced sympathetically, remembering some of the things Buffy had told her. “Ouch…ummm does she, you know, work with interest? Or ermmm…separate accounts?”

 

Buffy eyed her ever inquisitive sister morosely. “I’ve no actual desire to find out Wills…nor does my butt.”

 

“Yeah…I can imagine.” 

 

“Girls, bed time.” Joyce’s firm voice interrupted the conversation and the teens hurried to bed. Joyce spent some time tucking each of her children in. The short time they had feared for Dawn had affected them all deeply.

 

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Dawn woke early Tuesday morning. She heard snoring and looked up from her pillow. Kit was lying in the hospital bed and sleeping and breathing, deeply. Simon sat on a chair between them; his socked feet up on another chair, his head far backward, asleep as well. The snores came from him.

 

Her mother stood looking between her and Kit. Dawn squirmed.

 

“You should’ve talked to me Dawn.” Her mother’s voice was firm and Dawn shivered. 

 

“But mom…”

 

“Kit could’ve died, as you very well know…I admire what you tried to do...but this was…the wrong way to go about it.”

 

“But mom!”

 

“Dawn Florence Summers…I’m your mother…I’m, responsible for you! That means that things like bullying are talked about, that means that you do not set up a vigilante movement to take on a single girl, no matter how bad she is…do you understand? And certainly when they started beating Kit up so badly it was time to tell me, or Simon!”

 

Joyce glared down at her daughter, who glared up from her position on the bed. It was Dawn who broke off eye contact.

 

“Sorry mom…”

 

“Dawn…in this situation I don’t think ‘sorry’ is going to cut it.” Joyce eyed her daughter severely

 

Dawn gulped eyes wide. “Mom?”

 

“I’ll be seeing you in my room this afternoon young lady.”

 

Dawn nodded, a touch uncertainly. “W-what will happen to Kit...?”

 

Joyce sat on the bed next to her. “Well…she’s probably going into foster care…”

 

“Oh…” Dawn seemed disappointed.

 

“Something wrong dear?”

 

“It’s just…I was wondering…You know…I-I don’t know her real well…but…”

 

“You hoped we could take her in?”

 

Dawn nodded sadly. “I know, not gonna happen…”

 

“Actually…Buffy, Willow and Xander agree with you…and Simon is willing to try…and so am I…So I’m rather glad you brought it up.” Joyce smirked.

 

Dawn glared at her. “You set me up!”

 

“Not really Pumpkin, you just brought it up before I could. We are a foster family, remember?”

 

Dawn blinked. “Oh… Yeah…” Her face became calculating. “Mom…since Kit is going to be all better and come live with us and, well have a better life…”

 

“I’m still going to be seeing you this afternoon Dawn…and that little attempt may just have earned you another swat or two.” Joyce gave her daughter a severe look.

 

Dawn winced and shut up.

 

“Now get into the shower and dressed and I’ll drive you to school.”

 

“School?”

 

“Yes, school. No arguing Dawn. I’m really not in the mood.”

 

Dawn nodded and quickly got ready.

 

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Dawn Summers was escorted onto the school yard by her mother on Tuesday morning, yawning and sleepy eyed. Joyce dropped her off with Janice, Felicity and Melody who shivered under the angry mother’s gaze.

 

Joyce then walked into the school to speak with Principal Farmingham. The principal had called in sick after a visit from Child Services, the police, a large man with a British accent and tattoo on his wrist and several irate parents.

Rumour had it he would hand in his resignation before the next week.    

 

Her ice cold eyes flickered over teacher after teacher and all of them hurried to avoid her. After finding no one to take to task, Joyce cast a final glance about the school yard and left.

 

Janice looked at Dawn solemnly. “Your mom looked…ummm.”

 

Felicity and Melody shared a glance.

 

“Scary…”

 

“Angry.”

 

“Furious…”

 

“Glad we’re not you…”

 

Dawn gave them a glare. “Yeah, well, I imagine that a meeting will be called…and all of our parents will be equally happy with us…”

 

The twins winced. So did Janice. Janice looked at Dawn thoughtfully. 

 

“So…watcha gonna get? Grounded? Chores?”

 

Dawn looked after he mother’s car as it drove off and shivered. “The…other thing.”

 

Janice blinked. “Ouch.”

 

Felicity and Melody winced in sympathy. “Double ouch.” They chorused.

 

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Joyce Summers sat in her office, waiting for customers, sewing. She should be making progress with her inventory…but the stupid thing kept hearkening back to its days of glory as a gardener’s aid…It was amazing how many of the artworks in her selection could be categorized as plants, shrubs or trees…

 

And she was sewing something important; she wanted it finished before Kit woke up. She carefully snipped at the brown thread and looked at the carefully cleaned and mended teddy bear. She mentally thanked Arlene again for carefully washing the thing, and the California sun for drying it so fast…she’d patched it, added new eyes, re-sown the nose and the worn away smile.

 

She hoped Kit would not mind, did not prefer the old, battered state over this. But Joyce felt helpless and this helped. She just really hoped Kit would not mind.

 

Kit felt pain; that was the first thing. And warm, soft and cozy, she frowned at what ever it was that lay over her face, and tried to reach for it. Her hands were bound, as were her legs. She couldn’t move and started to panic.

 

“Easy dear…you’re safe. You’re tied down because you kept having nightmares and they were afraid you’d rupture your stitches and tear out your IV’s.”

 

Kit opened her eyes blearily. A blonde haired woman with blue green eyes removed the oxygen mask from her face and pressed a button at her bedside.

 

“I’ve rung for someone to come and untie you.”

 

Kit tried to speak but couldn’t produce anything beyond a hoarse croak. The blonde woman reached for a glass and put the bendy straw in Kit’s mouth, allowing her to drink. Juice, mixed with water.

 

“You’re not allowed whole juice yet…and we’ve got to take it carefully with the food, but we’ll have you back up to strength pretty quickly.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Joyce Summers, Dawn’s mother.”

 

Kit stiffened. “Oh.”

 

“Kit...Katherine…How long have you been on your own? When did your mother leave? The landlord said that the rent wasn’t paid in May...and he evicted the tenant in early June. And the apartment was empty then.”

 

Kit turned her face away. “She…left.”

 

“I know that Kit…when did she leave?  

 

“February 4th…”

 

“Where did she go Kit? Do you know? We need to find her and Las Vegas is large…”

 

Kit closed her eyes, tears leaking out. “I-I don’t know…”

 

“Kit…What did she tell you?”

 

Kit turned away from Joyce and tested the restraints again. Joyce soothingly put a hand on her forehead.

 

“T-There’s no money…you can s-sue all you like…”

 

Joyce looked shocked. “Oh Kit…this is not about suing…this is because…well there are certain steps to be taken before a child can be taken into foster care…”

 

“NO!! I don’t want to go back to the Rosses! I Won’t!”

 

Joyce gasped. “I-it was that bad?”

 

“Yeah…they…I’m not the slave of a bunch of idiot boys! I’m not!”

 

“Of course you aren’t…”

 

“S-so just let me go…I’ll get out and…” Kit blanched at the anger and outrage on Joyce’s face.

 

“Katherine Melanie Joanne! You are not going anywhere! You’ve been badly hurt and once you get out of the hospital you’ll come live with me, us. You will not go off alone and…and...” Joyce’s voice faltered. “Sell yourself!”

 

Kit looked at her with wide eyes. “L-Live with you?”

 

“Yes.” Joyce said it firmly.

 

“B-but…”

 

“No buts…You’ll come live with us, and we’ll take care of you…and there will be no more bullying, do you understand me young lady?”

 

Kit nodded. “Yes ma’am.”

 

“Ms. Summers…Not ma’am. I’d  prefer ‘mom’, but we can work our way up to that, hmmm?”

 

Kit nodded again, speechless. After a moment’s thought she stammered.  “I-I beat up Dawn…real bad…”

 

“I know. And you’re in the hospital and had to live in the wild for months because no one asked why you were bullying or beating up people. And you’ve lived on school lunches for months… what did you eat during the holidays?”

 

Kit looked away. Joyce gently turned her face back with her hands. “Kit…what did you eat? What did you do to eat?” *Keep calm Joyce…just…if anyone touched this girl…then you can go ballistic…on them. Not her…never her.”

 

“D-doublemeat palace… but they’ve been locking their trash…So I-I couldn’t…”

 

Joyce let out the breath she’d unconsciously held in. * Oh thank god…Not that…*

 

“Well I won’t say I’m happy you were forced to eat from trash cans…but…” She swallowed heavily. “It could have been much worse.”

 

Kit nodded. “Yeah…M-Ms…Summers?”

 

“Yes dear?”

 

“Why?”

 

Joyce understood the question, even if it was only one word. “Because someone has to dear, and I don’t really care to leave you to the tender mercies of others.”

 

A nurse came in and undid the buckles on the restraints, looked at the gauges on the IV’s, nodded at Joyce and Kit and left.

 

“Kit?”

 

“Y-yes?”

 

“I-I did something…I hope you don’t mind…But…it…he...she I don’t know, was falling apart.” She took the repaired teddy out of her purse and shyly put it on Kit’s chest.

 

“Rupert? You fixed Rupert?” Kit looked at her in disbelief.

 

Joyce started laughing. Kit glared at her.

 

“What’s so funny?”

 

“Nothing dear…well, yes there is…I can’t wait until I see Buffy, Willow and Xander’s faces when you tell them the name of your bear.”

 

“Who’re they?”

 

“Your brother and other sisters.”

 

“Oh…” Kit looked up. “Do they…”

 

“They want you too dear…Now…you don’t mind…my fixing Rupert?”

 

Kit smiled the first real smile Joyce had seen on her face. “No…He looks wonderful…better than I ever remember him.”

 

Joyce let out a sigh of relief. “Thank heaven…I shouldn’t have done it without asking you, you’ve got every right to be upset…”

 

“You sewed him a new nose…” Kit seemed enthralled. “He never had one; mom got him at a yard sale…”

 

Joyce sighed. This girl’s life was darn tootin’ well getting better, in Willow’s words.

 

Joyce looked thoughtfully at the most recent addition to her family. ”Now…Kit, we’ll need to go through your things and see what you’ll need, though I imagine it’ll be just about everything… May I open your bags?”

 

Kit’s eyes opened very wide and then she hesitantly nodded. Joyce opened the bag and dug out the few pitiful possessions.

 

“You’ll need clothes…Kit; do you want to go to Sunnydale Elementary? We can get you into St. Ursula’s…if you prefer…”

 

Kit blinked. “Umm…can I keep going to Elementary?”

 

“Oh I think we can arrange that…” Joyce’s expression was fierce.

 

She laid out the items on the bed: a few worn clothes, mostly underwear, the My Little Pony toiletry bag, several slivers of school soap, obviously scrounged from the school toilets and came upon a package rolled in an old faded shirt. A woman’s shirt. She saw Kit tense and gently opened it and gasped in shock. A jam jar painted with childish flowers, hearts and the word ‘Mom’…filled with dust…a broken wooden spoon…A picture of a young blonde woman and a child…Kit and her mother. She felt the tears coming and turned to Kit.

 

“Oh Kit…you poor thing…”

 

Kit blinked. “You know…about…”

 

“Vampires? Yes dear…we know…we all do…” She sat by the bed and stroked Kit’s forehead and face. “What happened? How did you manage?”

 

“I let her in…I didn’t know…she attacked me…I was cooking…the spoon…” Kit started to cry and Joyce cradled her as close as she could while avoiding aggravating the wounds.

 

“Kit, love…it wasn’t your mom anymore…your mom was gone. It was a beast. Not your mom, you did what you had to, the only thing you could do. The bravest, best thing you could’ve done. And the hardest and most difficult.”

 

Kit cried until she fell asleep. Joyce sat holding her hand, tears of her own running down her face.

 

BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS

 

When Simon brought in the rest of the children Joyce had put the jar, spoon and photograph on the table. Kit was still asleep.

 

Buffy was the first to spot it and gasped. “That’s…”

 

Joyce whispered in a tear strained voice. “Kit’s mom…we may have to adjust our view of her…a lot.” Dawn ran to her and Joyce hugged her tight.

 

Simon swallowed heavily and Willow started to cry softly. Simon gathered her in to his shoulder.

 

Xander looked at the sleeping girl aghast. “She had to stake her own mother?!”

 

Joyce nodded, unable to speak.

 

Xander moved up to the bed, standing besides Buffy. “You know…I really can’t think of a family where she belongs more…”

 

The End

You have reached the end of "The Devil of Sunnydale Elementary". This story is complete.

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