Title: True Colors
Summary: A broken lamp and pot roast lead to confessions between everyone’s favorite Slayer Mom and Emotionally Distant Mutant.
Disclaimer: Characters? Yeah, not mine. ::forlorn sigh::
A/N: I have no proof that Joyce actually listens to Phil Collins, but he seems like the type of music she’d enjoy. Also, I invented the reason for the divorce – sorry if I offend anyone for incorrect information. Acidic-goo-spitting-demon also my creation (I think).
Thanks to dragon_fly_1_23, my darling beta.
"I see your true colors shining through…" Joyce sang softly to herself as she pulled a pot roast out of the oven. "I see your true colors, and that’s why I love– "
A loud crash reverberated through the house and she stopped abruptly. Her eyes closed in pain as she imagined what expensive thing she would have to replace tomorrow. Honestly, Buffy’s new mutant friends caused more damage than her usual group.‘New mutant friends…’
Joyce repeated to herself, filled with a sense of sorrow. Those poor kids, all alone in the world. Why, she couldn’t even imagine Buffy out on the street, full of new powers with no one to explain them to her. She just wished that she could get one day without someone crashing through a table, or breaking a vase, or accidentally using their laser-beam eyes to shoot a hole through the couch.
"Sorry," a gruff voice said, interrupting her thoughts. Joyce put the pot roast on the counter and turned around, seeing the large man with the claws standing in the kitchen doorway. Logan, she recalled; one of the chaperones who had come along with the children. He seemed more likely to be a bad influence than a good one, but the mutants looked up to him, and Joyce respected that.
"Oh, don’t worry about it," she said, waving away his concerns with an oven-mitted hand. "Buffy and her friends break things all the time. I’ll just add this to the list."
She waited for some sort of response, but he just stood there silently, looking around her kitchen. Instantly, Joyce felt self-conscious about the dirty dishes in the sink, and the bits of left-over lunch on the table. "So," she said brightly, busying herself with getting the pot roast ready for the army she needed to feed. "What was it and who broke it?"
Logan chuckled, leaning against the doorframe. "The kid, John, lit your lamp on fire and it exploded."
"Mmhm," Joyce nodded, doing a little calculation in her head. The lamp in the living room wasn’t the most costly thing in the house, so it shouldn’t be too bad to replace. "Well, that’s lucky, isn’t it?"
Logan raised an eyebrow, puzzled by her response. He’d been shoved into the kitchen by the kids because the Slayer had said he was the one who could best handle her mom’s reaction to the broken furniture. Something about needed super healing. "I guess," he said finally.
"I mean, it could have been the china cabinet," she continued. "Although I don’t know why I even try to keep any china in the house. What with demons parading around with no concern for my dishes, and Buffy and her friends always throwing things… Grab a serving plate from that cupboard, will you?"
"Sure thing, Joy," Logan said, quick to comply because he was still suspicious of the wrath Buffy assured him he would face. Searching through the cupboards for the plate, he cursed himself for the tag he’d added at the end; it made him sound mushy and feminine – sorta like Cyclops.
Joyce slammed the lid down on the pot roast with a clash that caused Logan to whip around, claws out. "Don’t call me that," she said, her voice low and serious, like he’d never heard it before. The lady hadn’t been scary like this even when she was yelling at the Slayer for accidentally throwing an axe through a window.
When she realized what she had said, and the fact that she was facing a man with claws, Joyce’s face flamed. "Sorry," she rushed, back to her cheerful self. Logan’s claws retracted and he handed her the serving plate, a confused expression on his face. She took the plate and turned her back to him.
"Wh… are you okay?" Logan asked hesitantly, leaning back against the kitchen counter. He didn’t know how to act around her now that she’d raged out at him, and it made him nervous. He didn’t like being nervous.
"I’m fine," Joyce said brightly, carving the pot roast with a lot of extra vigor. "Fine, just fine. Why don’t you go out into the living room and keep an eye on the kids? I can handle it in here."
Logan nodded, and was almost out of the kitchen before she spoke again.
"It’s what he
used to call me."
Logan stopped in the doorway and slowly turned around.
"Buffy’s father. Before he left for Spain with his secretary." Joyce was still cutting the pot roast, and her knuckles were white as she gripped the knife. She hadn’t thought about her ex-husband in a long time, and she hadn’t expected the memories to cause this much anger. She didn’t get angry about a lot of things, but for some reason, hearing this man say… his
… name for her filled her up with all kinds of hatred.
"He left you?" Logan growled, fists clenched. Joyce nodded, and he stepped closer to her. "Bastard."
Joyce shrugged and busied herself with arranging slices of pot roast on the plate. "It’s done. I’m
over it, really, I just get angry sometimes thinking of how he left his children. Just left them, for black hair, blue eyes, and breast implants."
Logan’s claws came out on their own accord and Joyce jumped in shock. "Tell me where he is and I’ll kill him," he said in a low voice. "Any man who abandons his family deserves to die."
Joyce let out a strained chuckle. "Well, isn’t that sweet. I never would have pictured you as being a family man."
He didn’t reply, not understanding his own feelings. When he first joined the X-Men he felt no remorse for trying to steal Jean away from Cyclops; but hearing about some asshole leaving an incredible, gentle woman like Joyce made him more angry than he could explain, and also more angry than he cared to admit. "Anyone who would abandon a lady like you is insane," was the response he settled on.
Joyce smiled briefly, touched by his honest anger. It made her feel… special in a way she hadn’t felt in quite some time. "Thank you," she told him.
"Anytime," Logan said gruffly, wary of the emotions he was suddenly feeling. "Uh… do you…"
"Yes?" she asked eagerly, then swallowed her excitement and repeated the question in a more calm, adult fashion. "Yes?"
"Do you…" Logan repeated, stepping closer to until he was directly behind her. "Do you… need any help?"
"I…" Joyce turned around and swallowed when she saw how close he was to her. He smelled like trees and leather and it was affecting her in ways she didn’t care to admit. "Yes."
Logan smiled with one corner of his mouth, confident and himself again. He leaned forward and kissed her more gently than he’d ever imagined himself doing, and she responded with a small squeak. He pulled away and chuckled at her wide eyes, but was cut off when she put a hand behind his neck, pulled him towards her, and brought their lips together once again.
"So?" Buffy asked excitedly, poking Jean in the shoulder, causing the woman to open her eyes and remove her hands from her temples. "What’s the what?"
Jean smiled wryly at the girl, and Buffy whooped with joy. "They’re… busy," Jean explained, shaking her head with a grin. She didn’t feel the need to reveal all
the thoughts she’d read off the pair in the kitchen – no need to go around scarring sixteen-year-olds. "Well done, Buffy."
Willow wrinkled her nose. "Creepy Claw Man and your mom? Buff, are you sure?"
The Slayer nodded and grinned at her friend. "What did I tell you? My plans are always
a success." She paused, and after a moment, continued. "Well, except that one time with that purple guy who spat acid goo at me, but that’s so not important."
"Right," Xander said, eyeing the kitchen with both disgust and wonder. "I wonder what their kids’ll look like."
"Ooh, maybe they’ll have claws!" Marie guessed, wanting in on the fun.
"Now, Marie, I really don’t think that’s either relevant or worth thinking about," Scott admonished, then turned to glare at John from behind his glasses. "But about that lamp…"
"Hey, without me, they wouldn’t have gotten together!" John protested.
Buffy sighed and tuned out the ensuing argument, gazing into the kitchen with a smile on her face. Like she said, her plans always worked out perfectly.