Bring out your dead!
A/N: I don't own anything except my cats, all hail the great and powerful Joss Whedon and David-Panzer productions! Feedback is nice, it motivates the muse.
Adam listened to the vampires in the hall pounding on the door, watching Buffy lay down the law to the Principal. He stared thoughtfully at the window as she climbed into the ceiling. Watching the efforts of Snyder to open the window was almost as amusing as Joyce laying into him, but when the second man joined the attempt, he decided to intervene. “Hang up, I’m thinner. I’ll go first.”
Sliding halfway out, Adam was unsurprised at the hands and fangs that attacked him, using the vampire as an anchor to pull himself the rest of the way through. He rolled away as they hit the ground, grinning at the close of the window, and waited for his blood to take effect. The vamp was smirking as he stood, anticipating a good meal, and was confused by Adam’s good humor.
Adam checked his neck to make sure he was healing quickly enough, watching as the vamp caught fire from the inside out. ‘Bet he didn’t know that would happen.’ Creeping through the shadows back to the windows to the main hall, he listened to the conversation between Angel and Spike, arching an eyebrow in surprise at the revelation of blood lineage.
He grinned as he heard Angel get punched, sticking his head around the corner in time to see all the minions follow Xander and Angel down the hall and out the door. He pulled his sword as Buffy faced off with Spike, rolling his eyes as she put down the ax. ‘Really need to try to beat that idiotic concept of a “fair fight” out of her head, again.’
Watching her form, he made mental notes of her mistakes, wincing as Spike slammed her with the 2X4 from the wall, and smiling at Joyce’s intervention. He stepped back into the shadows as Spike ran out the window, then followed him around to the front to make sure he didn’t come back.
Spotting Angel and Xander over in the distance, he jogged over. “Everyone alright?”
Xander stood up straight, grinning. “I got one! By myself! And he wasn’t a fledge!”
Angel was looking at Xander thoughtfully. “We’re good. Buffy?”
Adam gestured toward the school. “She’s fine; I think Giles took the others out through the stacks.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Willow and Cordelia are together and not seriously injured. I’ll tell them it’s safe to come out of hiding now.”
Xander followed him toward the front doors, panting slightly. “Man, I thought the sparring you have us doing was tough, but this? Have I told you how grateful I am for you teaching us? Cuz, man am I glad right now.”
Adam snickered. “Is Willow babble contagious?”
“Hey! I am not . . ., um, yeah, apparently.”
“That wasn’t a bad first attempt, but she’s still much better at it.” He stopped in front of the closet door and knocked.
Cordelia answered, “Who is it?” A ‘whap’ was heard as Willow smacked her.
“Adam. They’re gone.” Cordelia opened the door and threw herself at him. “Oh thank god!”
Xander almost fell over at the look on Adam’s face, Willow grinned, and Buffy spoke from behind them. “Isn’t she a little young for you Adam?”
“Everyone is a little young for me Buffy,” he said dryly.
“Really? Even me?” Everyone turned to look at Joyce, shocked.
“Joyce?” Adam disentangled himself from Cordelia’s embrace. “I saw you earlier, but I wasn’t sure if you would remember me. It’s been a while.”
“I was just 21, and you were the cutest tutor I’ve ever had.”
“Shocked I had a life before you?” Buffy sputtered as Xander and Willow giggled. “What are you doing in Sunnydale? I thought you went back to England?”
“I did. I have a job as a translator at the British Museum. Rupert needed some help with a text a while back, and I rather fell in love with your little town and decided to move here. I’m having a bit of a time making friends though, and Rupert is not much help.”
“Why don’t you come by the gallery? I’ll introduce you around at lunch.”
They ignored Buffy. “We can talk about old times and catch up.”
“You mean gossip about Professor Rincewind and how strange he was.”
“You should know, you were his TA.”
Adam shrugged. “He never did say why he was so jumpy, and none of the other Professors could figure it out. I always wondered what happened to him after he left UCLA.”
“Made his classes interesting though, the betting pool on his nervous breakdown was huge by the end of the semester.”
The teens looked stunned. “You made bets on a teacher!” Willow squeaked, shocked. Adam and Joyce looked at each other and bust out laughing.
* * * *
“Yeah, but honey, but this one’s eating my popcorn!”
Joyce threw back her head, laughing uproariously. “Where on earth did you hear that one?”
Adam opened his mouth, and closed it, looking bemused. “You know, I haven’t the faintest idea.”
Joyce was still giggling as she looked at her watch. “I hate to say this, but I have to get back to work. I haven’t had this much fun in ages.”
“You never did say what happened with your husband.”
“Hank and I are divorced. He’s still living in LA, with his secretary.” Her voice was flat and toneless.
She took a deep breath. “No, it’s OK. It’s been over for a while; we just kept trying for Buffy’s sake. I just wish . . . .”
He placed his hand over her mouth. “Careful, you might just get it.” He smiled at her gently as he released her. “I take it you have custody during the school year?”
“Yes. Didn’t Buffy tell you any of this?”
“From her perspective. Not exactly the same thing as reality.” She smiled wryly. “Let’s walk and talk.”
After they left the diner, “He insisted I have custody. Said I was better at dealing with her. I think he just didn’t know what to do after his perfect little princess turned into a pyromaniac.”
“Did he try listening to her?” “Nope, shopping. It seems to be the only way he knows how to relate to her.”
“That’s too bad. She’s really a remarkable young woman.”
“I know. I just don’t understand her.”
“She’s sixteen. I don’t think she understands herself yet, so how are you supposed to? Ah, we’re here. Well, I’ll leave you to your doom, milady.”
He winked. “Customers. Do you want to meet up again this week?” Joyce hesitated. “You can actually introduce me to your friends this time?”
She smiled. “Alright. Just as friends, right?”
He looked serious. “Joyce, I would never push you into something you’re not ready for. Just let me know when you are.” She blinked at his back as he strode away through the crowd.
* * * *
Buffy ambushed Adam as he walked into the library. “What happened yesterday? Mom was smiling when she got home!”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“Well, no, not bad, just, you know, weird.”
“That she enjoyed herself?”
“No, yes. Oh, I don’t know.” She slumped against the counter. “It’s just, she hasn’t smiled much since she and dad started arguing.”
He leaned against the counter next to her. “What are you worried about?”
She bit her lip. “It’s just; I’m not ready for her to start dating. I know it’s up to her, and maybe she is ready, but it seems like trying to replace dad.”
“Buffy. Look at me.” She straightened and turned to face him. “No matter who she dates, no one will replace your dad. If they’re smart, they won’t try. You and he are the only two people who can break that bond. Besides, she might marry someone rich- think of the shoes.”
She laughed. “Ok, Ok, you’re right. She deserves to be happy. I’ll try to remember that when she introduces me to her dates. But they’d better be good enough for her, or I’ll kick their asses.”
“Well, just try to remember how fragile humans are. Wouldn’t want someone to get hurt.”
* * * *
Buffy walked in and plopped into a chair. “You alright?” “I’m fine Xander, just tired. We dropped Ampata off at like 4 AM. I was out late hunting too, so I only got a couple hours.”
“Ah, and how was tall, dark, and doesn’t speak English? Happy to be going home?”
“Seemed to be. It can’t be much fun not being able to talk to anyone.”
“He could talk to Adam. And speaking of, where do you think he learned Quechua, anyways?”
“Quechua, the language that was not Spanish, Willow said your exchange student spoke it?”
“Oh. I just thought my Spanish was really bad. Why don’t you ask him?”
“Cuz he won’t answer. He’s very fond of talking without telling you anything about himself.”
“Except when it comes to demons. He has some pretty cool stories.”
“Well, Ok, but he really doesn’t go into detail there either.”
“Paranoid much? He hasn’t done anything that would make him untrustworthy.”
“Untrustworthy? You’ve been hanging with Giles again.”
“Xander. What’s this about?”
“He asked me and Willow to move in with him.”
“Ok? So say no if you don’t want to.”
“That’s the problem. I do want to. You know my parents won’t be winning any awards and neither will Willow’s, but why did he ask? It kinda seems too good to be true, you know?”
“Xander, have you talked to Giles? I mean, he’s known Adam for years, maybe he can help?”
“Yeah, I might do that. Thanks.”
“Anytime.” She groaned. “Do you think anyone will notice if I skip English to nap?”
* * * *
Xander stood next to Willow with a sheaf of papers clutched in one hand, fidgeting nervously.
“I’m still not sure this is the right thing to do.”
“Xander.” Her voice was full of annoyed affection. “I am not moving in with a man at least twice my age,” she paused expectantly, “alone. You know my parents want more time to travel for their careers, and with Adam as my legal guardian, they can do that.”
Her composure cracked briefly, allowing him to see the hurt she was hiding at her parents’ quick agreement. Xander sighed and slung his arm around her. “Of course I couldn’t let you do this alone, Wills. But I still worry, I mean, what if he’s a white slaver or something?”
“Xander! Giles trusts him. Besides, he’s been nothing but helpful and nice!”
“Who has?” The teens jumped, surprised at Adam’s sudden appearance. “Well?” They looked confused. “You were just talking about someone, who was it?”
Xander looked up at the ceiling, while Willow looked at the floor- blushing. “Ooo-k. Anyways, I was just looking for you two. Is that the emancipation paperwork? Good. Now, let’s talk logistics.”
Willow giggled a little. “He means moving your stuff, Xander.”
“Oh, I don’t have much. Couple boxes worth maybe.”
Willow frowned. “What about your furniture?”
Xander shook his head. “Not worth it. I’ll pick up something cheap later. I have a sleeping bag for now.”
“Well, if you want, you can sleep at my house until you get a bed.”
Adam cleared his throat. “Actually, his room is already furnished.” They blinked in surprise. “As is yours, Willow. With plenty of shelves for books.”
She grinned. “Really? That’s so sweet.”
“Though if you would feel more comfortable waiting until Willow is ready to move . . . .” Adam trailed off questioningly and waited.
Xander took a deep breath and shook his head. “Nah. Today is fine. It’ll give us guy time- we can bond and stuff.”
Adam grinned at him. “You mean running around beating our chests and having burping contests?”
Xander laughed and started strutting around hitting his chest with his fists. “Me Xander. Me real man. Me burp loud and watch football. Me . . . . Adam, what else do guys usually do when girls aren’t around?”
“Hmmm. Talk about girls? Or cars? I’m not really sure what’s popular this century.”
“Ha! I knew it! You’re more than a century old! You’re probably older than Angel!”
The guys blinked at Willow, confused by her outburst. “Of course he’s older than Angel, he’s mmph.”
Adam grinned at Xander over the hand he had clamped over his mouth. “She hasn’t figured it out yet.”
Xander’s eyes widened and he grinned back as Adam released his mouth. “But it’s so obvious.”
Adam shrugged. “Let’s give her a little longer before we tell her.”
“Hey! But that’s not fair! Xander knows!”
Adam smirked. “So do Buffy and Rupert. Perhaps they’ll drop some clues?”
She pouted. “Fine, be all Mr. Mysterious. I’ll figure it out on my own!” She huffed and stalked out of the library.
The guys stared after her in silence. “Soooo. Why exactly aren’t you telling her who you are?”
“It’s not so much who I am as how old I am.” Adam snorted. “You saw her when she found out I’m Immortal. If she knew I’m six thousand years old, I’d never get any peace.”
Xander smiled softly. “Yup. That’s my Willow, always asking questions, ready to learn. Wait, SIX thousand! But, you said you were five thousand.”
“No, I said the Watcher’s believed me to be at least five thousand. They don’t exactly know my birthday, just when I was first noticed by them.”
“Oh. So when is your birthday?”
Adam looked very thoughtful. “I’m not sure. Calendars have changed a lot since I was born. Ummm, about 75 days after the winter solstice? That would make it, hmmm, early March?”
“Cool. Mine’s in June, right after Willows’.”
Adam shook himself and focused on Xander again. “Ready to get your stuff? We can put what will fit in my car, and come back for the rest of it later.”
Xander straightened and squared his shoulders. “No point in waiting, but I don’t think it’ll be quite as easy as you think.”
“We’ll see.” Adam walked toward the door, careful not to let Xander see the look on his face- cold fury.
A/N: There is no cannon birthday for Willow, Methos, or Xander- so I just made some up.