Revisiting... part b
(Disclaimers and Warnings in chap 1. Replaced authors note in previous chapter with chap 16a. I'm personally a bit disapointed in this chapter, but my muses want me to get to the next parts so after some writers block, I feel as if I had to sort of force this chapter out. Sorry if it's not up to par.)
Chap 16 B:
The cafeteria at the hosting college was packed with students and teachers from schools all around the area taking a break from some of the ongoing events for the yearly Science Olympiad competition. Cassie felt like her brain had fried itself as she pushed through the doors leading to the outer hallway. She had another hour until her next event and the echoing volume in the tiled cafeteria had given her a headache.
A sharp pain in the back of her skull didn’t help to add to the ache. Turning quickly she saw the paper airplane fall out of her hair to the ground, looking up her eyes met a pair of dark brown ones that flashed a momentary bit of guilt. “Well, I guess that design will work,” Jon said to a nearby companion. The other kid tried to cover up a snicker.
Cassie groaned and turned to leave with a roll of her eyes.
“Cassie! Wait!” Jon called out, jogging to catch up with her. “Look, I’m sorry about that, it was already in flight when you walked out.” Shaking her head, the blond kept walking. Jon reached for her arm, “C’mon Cassie, will you at least acknowledge I exist, please?”
Stopping Cassie sighed and turned to the young clone, “What do you want, Jon?”
“What’s your problem, Cassie? What have I ever done to piss you off so much?”
Cassie looked around nervously, “I’m not pissed at you, it’s just… weird you know?”
“Um… Yeah,” Jon replied sarcastically, “how do you think I feel?”
Cassie looked at him for a few minutes and thought about it, “Ok, so it’s awkward all around, sorry. What are you doing here anyway?” She couldn’t fathom what would draw the young man, who’s counter part obviously didn’t understand many sciences, to a competition based on science.
“Hello, like I could pass up something that has an actual event for the best paper airplane building and flying.” He grinned like a kid in a candy store.
“Well, you do realize that technically that’s based on physics…”
“Don’t tell me that, I might loose interest then!” Cassie couldn’t help but giggle at the hurt look on his face. “Plus, they have a competition for ornamenteering.”
“You mean orienteering?”
“Isn’t that what I said?”
Groaning Cassie looked down and shook her head, “Oh my god, you are such a dork sometimes.”
“So, can I buy you a soda or something and we can maybe, oh I don’t know, talk?”
Clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth, and flicking her hair over her shoulder she answered, “I guess so, as long as you promise not to go all creepy on me or anything.”
“So, Joyce, Buffy tells us you have a new squeeze in your life?” Xander asked as they sat around the dining table in the apartment he and Anya shared.
Opening her mouth to reply, she was beaten to speaking by Dawn, “Oh my gawd! Dad is so cool, and they make such a cute couple! Although they do get totally gross the way parents are supposed to around the kids, ya know?”
“Dad?” Buffy asked, her eyebrows rose skeptically.
Dawn nodded vigorously, “Yeah, it’s so much easier than calling him ‘Jack’ or mom’s fiancé, or a bunch of other stuff I wanted to call him when he grounded me two weeks ago. I figure ‘Dad’ just sums it all up.”
Buffy mouthed an ‘ah’ and looked at her mother questioningly. Joyce nodded and chuckled, “I swear, sometimes I don’t know who is the worse influence on the other one. Jack’s been on cloud nine since Dawn started calling him ‘dad’, and this one,” she gave her youngest a mock glare, “Has been trying to take every advantage she can out of it.”
Willow came and joined them once she was done with her classes and the conversation continued into the evening. Joyce catching up on all the Sunnydale news, and explaining to the kids about Colorado and her new ‘squeeze’ as Xander phrased it. After dinner, exhaustion was beginning to set in for Joyce, Buffy and the others were surprised when it was Dawn who spoke up for her mother. “Mom, I think it’s time to go back to the hotel, you look tired. Plus, dad would SO kill me if you get sick or something here.”
Joyce laughed lightly, shaking her head. She looked at Buffy, “Now add in another teenager doing that and an Air Force General, and you get a taste of what I’m up against at home.”
“Well, at least I know you’re being taken care of,” Buffy smiled softly and the group began helping Xander and Anya clean up. Each one making sure Joyce didn’t lift a finger. Once in the kitchen Buffy pulled Willow aside, “Hey, Wills, could I ask you a favor?”
“Sure, Buffy, anything,” She responded.
“I was wanting to spend some time with mom, would you mind maybe taking Dawnie to the movies or something?”
Willow smiled and nodded, “Ooh that would be fun, I’d love to spend some time with the Dawnmeister.” After a moments thought the red head added, “Oh, Buffy on the way, I will need to stop by my new teachers place to let him know I won’t be able to stay for my lesson tonight, if that’s ok?”
Buffy bit her lip in contemplation, she really didn’t want Dawn exposed to the magic side of things. Since Willow and Tara’s separation, the redhead had been taking these so-called lessons. Luckily, with Buffy acting as a mediator, Tara and Willow were on speaking terms. Tara said she no longer believed her lover was cheating on her, however the constant magic use, among other things, led the two witches into taking a break from each other.
The man Tara saw was a local wizard, Willow said, who was helping her learn the things about Magic and its uses that Giles never wanted to teach her. She assured Buffy that it was a good thing; she gave Buffy no reason to suspect otherwise.
Nodding, Buffy agreed and bit back the small nagging feeling in the back of her mind. If she didn’t feel such a strong need to talk to her mother alone, she might have changed her mind. “All right, but just a quick stop, then straight to the movies.”