I own nothing. Buffy and Angel people belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. I'm just playing. Don't sue. The Anita Blake verse belongs to Laurell K Hamilton. Basically I own nothing.Authors Notes:
Set in the 'Guardian 'verse'. Set before the events in New Dawn, but Jeremiah and Luke are no longer teenagers.Authors Notes II:
I am still here, I swear, and I am writing (although, this story was written in a note book last year). Real life is just kicking my butt.
Buffy doesn't need a calendar to know when the full moon is approaching. She can tell just by watching her children. At the beginning of the new moon cycle, the kids are just that: kids. But as time moves closer to the full moon, especially the night before and the day of the full moon, her kids aren't so much kids, but something she still has trouble grasping at times.
So Buffy is really not all that surprised when she wakes up on the day of the full moon to find her bed – and bedroom – full of her children, including those who moved out of home long ago.
Megan is curled up in a ball in front of her, her head resting of Buffy's arm. Behind Megan is Luke, who is hugging his sister with one arm and playing with Buffy's hair with his free hand. Behind Luke is Jeremiah, who is quietly snoring. On the end of the bed, lying on her legs, is Samuel. Next to him, lying on Luke and Jeremiah's legs, is Ryan.
Buffy knows from past experience that her seven other children are lying on the bedroom floor, and she also knows from experience that the person at her back, holding her almost painfully, is not one of her children. His arms are too big to belong to any of her kids. Like most full moons, Derek has crawled into bed with her and her kids. Which of course means that half of his pack is sleeping downstairs.
Buffy learned years ago that no matter what she does, she can't persuade her kids to forego their full moon ritual.
For most lycanthrope it's a day they enjoy, where they embrace what they are and they run free. For the Summers Clan, however, it's a day of fear and a night of vulnerability.
Tonight is the one night Buffy's children can't protect her, where she is alone and vulnerable.
So the kids, and Derek, tend to smother her on the day of the full moon, almost like they're marking their territory. Every one of her children will ensure the world knows that Buffy and this house belongs to them.
"Promise me," Luke whispers.
At the sound of Luke's voice, Jeremiah stops snoring and Derek's arm tightens around her waist, while Megan burrows closer to her. Buffy notices that the room has sudden gone very quiet, the sounds of sleeping children have all but disappeared.
"Promise me," he repeats, still playing with her hair. "Promise me you'll be careful."
He asks her to do this every month, no matter what. It's all part of the ritual. "I promise."
"Promise me you won't leave the house and that you'll keep crosses with you at all times."
"Promise me that if any vampire tells you he's holding one of us hostage that you'll let me deal with it."
This promise is always a hard one to make. "I promise."
"Promise me you won't open the door for anyone."
"Promise me you'll be here when we get back."
Buffy can hear her kids, all of them, start breathing again. ~*~*~
They spend the rest of the day lazing outside in the sun. The kids never leave her side and take turns lying next to her. Reluctantly they start preparing for the night ahead of them when the afternoon sun hits and slowly, one by one, they head off to their packs, pards, nests, sloths, flocks and roderes.
Buffy waits until all of her kids are either leaving or gone before she turns to the lycanthrope who always stays behind the longest. The only one who knows that she has her own full moon ritual she needs to complete.
"Promise me," she whispers, careful to make sure none of her kids can hear her. "Promise me that you'll keep my children safe." They're not the only ones who fear the full moon.
"I promise I'll keep an eye on them, those that I can," Derek vows and kisses the top of her forehead.