Summary: Joyce Summers had always had a weakness for strays, and Sirius Black was nothing but.
Spoilers: HP – Set after book 4, with Buckbeak in safe hands, BtVS – Season 5, with some changes, see author’s note
Archive: Personal Space, Twisting the Hellmouth, Fanfiction.net. If you want it, please e-mail me the URL
Author’s Note: Dawn exists in this story, but not as the key. She is little miss Jane Normal. Glory is non-existent. Riley is still around and dating Buffy, Xander and Anya are together, and Willow is dating Tara.
Disclaimer: Once upon a time, a girl wrote about characters and situations that didn’t belong to her. But, she added a disclaimer, which made it a little less illegal. Neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter belong to me, including all the characters and situation connected to them.
***Fic Starts Here***
Joyce Summers had always had a weakness for strays. She liked to care, especially for the people and things that needed it most. Joyce’s heart bled, and she used that blood to heal as many creatures as she possibly could, regardless of temperament, dangers and sensibility.
When she took the time to think about it, she could trace it back to her childhood. She had come from a middle class Virginia family. Joyce could never remember lacking anything important as a child. Her parents loved her, there was always food on the table and she got new toys on special occasions. She had been happy.
When she found that box on the side of the road biking one day, she looked inside. The small, tangled brown kitten had barely been moving, just blinking up at her with sleepy eyes. Joyce didn’t think twice before picking up the poor animal and taking it home.
She remembered her mother yelling at her for that. The cat could have been carrying any number of diseases. But, in the end, it was okay. It was always okay. They took the cat to the vet, and it was given a clear bill of health. At that news, Joyce had begged and pleaded with her parents until they let her keep him.
She remembered naming him Box. Box was where it all started. From then on, Joyce was lost to the inherent good feeling that came with taking in strays. It continued on with Casey, her best friend and a veritable juvenile delinquent. Her parents hated Casey, but that didn’t dissuade Joyce.
From Casey there was Bert, a disagreeable old homeless man. Everyday, on her way to class, Joyce would bring him a good meal. Everyday, he would snarl at her and snatch it out of her hands. Joyce continued each day of her four-year term at the University of Michigan.
After Bert, there was Hank. Hank was absentminded. Hank couldn’t organize. Hank had a problem seeing the bigger picture. Joyce took care of Hank. She reminded him of meetings, made sure all his papers were in place, and thought of the future when he wouldn’t. It had seemed natural for her to marry him after all that.
It turned out, though, that Hank didn’t need Joyce for any of those things. For the first two he had his secretary, who had the advantage of being much more pert than Joyce and much more willing. For the third, well, Hank didn’t particularly care.
Joyce still had Buffy. Buffy who set fire to the gym and left bloodstained clothes all over her floor. Buffy who went out every night and fought an evil Joyce couldn’t possibly understand. So, while Buffy saved the world, Joyce took care of Buffy.
She also took in Willow and Xander. Willow, who’s parents were never home, and Xander, who’s parents only remembered him when he was brought up in an argument. They needed a strong parental figure. Someone to make hot chocolate and make them feel wanted. Joyce did that for Willow and Xander.
Then there was Faith. Faith made her motherly instincts kick into instant overdrive. Joyce only wanted to help the other Slayer, make up for whatever mistakes her own mother had made. Joyce couldn’t help Faith, though she tried. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, and Faith most definitely did not want to be helped. Still, Joyce blames herself.
Then there was Dawn. Poor Dawn, who couldn’t know she was adopted, an orphan taken in by Joyce. Dawn, who sometimes felt much to overshadowed by Buffy. Dawn had a problem with shoplifting, and blamed her mother because her father never called. Dawn, who just needed to feel like she was important.
All those people were strays that Joyce Summers had picked up over the years, among various others, big and small. The thing about those strays, though, was that they never made that much of a dent in the path of Joyce’s life. They were important, yes, but they didn’t change her course, the direction in which she was going.
None of Joyce’s strays had ever taken the road of her life and twisted and turned it into a series of loops and spins and swirls of obstacles and dreams and love and life. That was, until the day she found a large black dog sitting quietly in her backyard.
Sirius Black was a convict. Albeit, a wrongly accused one, but that made little or no difference to the people that he was avoiding. England, or rather Europe, wasn’t the place to be right now, with wizards tumbling about everywhere and a poster of him on every street corner in the magical world.
So, with reluctance, the man had apparated to somewhere completely unfamiliar to his ministry, and to himself, America. The unfamiliarity was what had him in his current predicament, rather lost. He couldn’t even have told someone the state, let alone the city he was in. All he knew was that it was much hotter than it had the right to be in September and he appeared to be in someone’s backyard.
He was therefore prepared enough when the back door of the house creaked open. Let it not be said that Sirius did not have enough sense to realize that, even if no one here recognized him as Sirius Black, finding a dirty, unwashed, strange man in your backyard might provoke a few difficult reactions. Realizing this, the man pulled his wild card, concentrating quickly on the form of a large, black dog.
His bones began to slowly crack as they went through the agonizing process of reshaping. He felt his skin boil as thick, rough hair, began sprouting up all over his body; swallowing up the rags he wore as clothes from view. As he dropped to all fours he panted as he withstood the agony of the change. He supposed it was over quickly enough, even if it didn’t feel like it. It never felt like it.
Sirius, or rather Padfoot, dropped to his haunches and whimpered. It took him several moments to remember why he had decided it would be a good idea to make the change. Raising his head, his dog’s eyes took in the sight of a woman standing at the back door of the house in front of him. She was looking down at him with what looked like a mixture of bewilderment and compassion. Good
, Sirius thought, maybe it means she’ll be up for giving a stray dog some food.
Little did either of these people know what was about to come. Joyce Summers had always had a weakness for strays, and Sirius Black was nothing but.