Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Characters are not mine to play with, but Joss Whedon’s and Mutant Enemy Productions. Bleach, to my great sadness, also does not belong to me, but to Tite Kubo (and anyone else that might have a claim).
Xander looked around vaguely interested. He was dead and for some reason the afterlife seemed to be modeled after Ancient Japan.
Walking around he couldn’t help but notice how out of place he was. He was wearing the same clothes he had on at his death, a nicely worn pair of jeans and loose t-shirt, but everyone else was wearing some form of robes.
“Why didn’t I get a nifty set of robes when I died?” Xander muttered, trying to distract himself as he walked. There was a disturbing lack of non-humans around and he couldn’t help but worry about whether or not Spike made it into the afterlife with him and if he would still be the Spike he knew. There was the whole issue of vampire-ness, a package which so thoughtfully included a human and demon soul. Of course, most records would state the human soul is destroyed or sent on once the demon invades, but Spike got his back… but he still had the demon. So would he now be pure human? What would that be like?
On cue, an image of Spike dressed in tweed sipping from a tea cup with his pinky finger sticking out came to mind. Judging from him now, he’d probably have a hoard of girls hanging off him, Xander thought sarcastically.
His stomach rumbled. “Ugh, not a good idea to think of food.” Xander said, ignoring the fact he had no one to talk to. A quick glance around provided no solution to his dilemma. Despite the mass of buildings, they all appeared to be more of homes than shops.
Finding himself a corner out of the general walking path, Xander dropped to the ground. Holding his stomach, his moan matched the next grumble. It would appear his stomach reverted to his teenage hunger to match the body. Looking around pitifully, a tactic he remembered working so well when he was last this age, he mumbled, “I’m hungry.”
Spike was on a mission. For all that he had been in some state of living for so many years, there was only one person he wholeheartedly wanted to see again and knew wanted to see him.
So when he had been dropped down in whatever this afterlife place was with full vampire senses and abilities, he went on the hunt.
It only took a couple days to find her.
As it was, he had almost missed her. She was wearing similar clothes to everyone else in this place and talking with another lady, but that wasn’t the problem. She was young and energetic, looking nothing like the tired and stressed single mother he remembered.
He was almost afraid to approach her.
“Joyce!” But he would never let mere fear stop him, especially when his voice and feet seemed to have found a mind of their own. Besides, there was a tiny nugget of hope that kept telling him that if he could Joyce, then maybe he could find his own mother.
Joyce looked up at her name, glancing around trying to find who called for her – eyes passing right over Spike without stopping. The lack of recognition almost made him stop.
But again he was moving before he really thought about it. “Joyce, excuse me but would you mind if we had a private word?”
Joyce looked uncertain but nodded. “Why don’t we go inside,” Gesturing to a house behind her Spike hadn’t even noticed. “I’ll make us some tea.”
“Yeah,” Spike said, voice soft, “That sounds nice.”
He had done it. He had found her. But as Spike followed her inside he wondered if it was really worth it and if it was to late to turn around and run. There was no yell of excitement, no hug, no soft smile – just a familiar face with empty eyes.
Joyce was busying herself with a kettle and the stove while Spike found himself resting awkwardly against the wall.
“Uh,” Spike started, but found himself at a loss of words.
“Yes? Is something the matter?” Joyce asked as polite and motherly as ever, but real emotion was lacking. She had no special care for him.
Spike shifted, for the first time in nearly twenty years feeling uncomfortable. “How, err… How have things been here for you?”
“Fine. Just fine.” She hadn’t bothered to look at him, getting mugs out and moving things around. “It was hard at the beginning, you know, adjusting. But things have settled down nicely and it’s not so bad, really, once you get used to it.” The kettle whistled and she poured water into the waiting mugs. “You must be new. I have to admit, I don’t think anyone’s ever called out to me like that before.”
“I am. New, I mean.” Spike cursed himself silently. What was wrong with him? Acting all pouf-like. So Joyce didn’t exactly remember him, maybe he could jog her memory. “Uh, anyway. I just wanted to know if you wanted to hear about your daughters?”
Joyce’s movements stopped for a second, but then she dropped a teabag into her cup, “Would you like hot chocolate instead?” Already she was reaching for a packet of powder to add to his mug.
A small bit of hope settled in Spike’s heart, maybe she had remembered? “Would love that dear.” When she didn’t seem inclined to speak again he tried again, “What ‘bout hearing how Buf-“
Joyce slammed her hands onto the counter, “Sir! Please, stop.” In Spike’s shocked silence Joyce turned and handed him his hot chocolate. Her eyes were slightly red, as if she had been holding back tears. “No one remembers their life from before and I have no idea who you are. Now, I was patient and willing to help you adjust but you must stop this nonsense. Whoever I was before – I can’t be her now and I’m not going to try anymore. I spent years looking, searching- No. I’m done.”
Standing still, Spike wasn’t sure what to do. This was obviously Joyce but... she wasn’t. Her habits were still the same, the kindness, but he had been wrong to say there was no stress. She looked pained and he was startled to realize he had just opened an old wound of hers. “You don’t remember?” His voice was faint, hardly able to speak. “I should go. I didn’t know, I… I’m so sorry. I won’t bother you anymore.”
In all his years alive, he wondered if he had ever made a retreat so fast. It wasn’t till he was outside and out of view from her house that he realized he had never told her his name and that he was still holding her mug filled with hot chocolate.
Staring down at it, he debated just tossing it. It seemed wrong to drink it now.
In the end, he set it on the corner of the wall. Walking away from it, for the first time since he appeared he wondered where Xander might be and if he remembered anything either. Trying to distract himself from thoughts of his own mother, he started to hunt once more