Title: The Favor
Genre: BtVS/KtE Crossover.
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things KtE belong to its copyright holder.
Distribution: WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin, TtH, TNL. No one else.
Author’s Note: Scenario #91 at The Next Level: http://tnl.moonlitpaths.com
She was dying.
His angel of mercy was dying.
An untreatable case.
Cancer and something else, something the doctors couldn’t their finger on. Knowing where she lived, though, there were any number of things that it could be.
She was still so young.
Julian frowned, staring down at the report on his desk. It was hard for him to imagine sometimes that so much time had gone by since that week he spent with her, in her parents’ home, when she was just barely out of high school. So fresh and naïve about the things of the world.
But she had saved him.
And now. . .
It was time for her to call on that favor he owed her.
Whether she knew it or not.
The night was still young when Buffy decided to call things a night. The cemeteries had all been relatively quiet, odd considering the recent vampiric activity in the weeks leading up to that point. It was as though even the vampires were afraid to show their faces tonight.
‘Well – good!’ Buffy smirked, turning down the street to her house. ‘Let them take a break. Maybe I’ve finally put the fear of the Slayer into them. Maybe –‘
She froze in mid-thought, her eyes widening.
Why was there a limo in front of her house?
Her mother was laughing when she opened the door, easing into the house without a sound. Dawn was staying with a friend tonight. It was just supposed to be her and her mom for some quality time.
So who was the hottie sitting in the kitchen with her mother?
Scratch that – hottie of a vampire?
“Mom!” The Slayer sighed, reaching into her back pocket for a stake. “Do you have any idea what you let into the house?”
Joyce raised an eyebrow at her daughter. “I would say I know better than you do, Buffy. Put the stake down and come meet Julian.”
That brought the blonde up short. She paused, stake halfway from her pocket. “You. . . know? And you still let him in the house and you’re not afraid. Color me all sorts of confused.”
“Yes. And he knows you’re the Slayer. He’s a very old friend of mine.”
“Old. . .friend. . .”
Julian smiled gently. “I promise you I mean your mother no harm. Nor yourself, of course.”
Buffy shivered, turning her face so that he wouldn’t see the blush that was creeping across it. Silly vampire with that totally kickass accent. Didn’t hurt that he was handsome enough to make Angel seem like a common mutt off the street.
“As long as there’s no hurtin’ to be done I think I can forgo the staking – though some explanation is in order? Word gets out my mom’s inviting vampires in to the house, my reputation as the Slayer will be shot to Hell, ya know?”
“Quite.” Julian chuckled, sipping at a glass of. . . tea?
“Hey – what’s with the drinking thingie? Angel can’t drink or eat anything even remotely normal like. And Spike’ll only eat food if he’s mixed it with blood first.”
Joyce looked from Julian to Buffy then back to Julian. She raised her hands in a gesture of surrender, a small smile on her face.
“This is your story, Jul. Not mine.”
”So – there’s more than one kind of vampire? And your kind isn’t demonic or ridge-facey or anything like that? You’re the more ‘human’ of the vampires?” The Slayer shook her head. “This is just too freaky. I mean, Giles never mentioned anything like this. He is *so* getting his Watcher butt kicked. And – mom? You saved Julian when you were my age? You know. . .fed him?”
“Mm hmm.” Joyce smiled, lost in the memories of that moment so long ago. “I hid him in the basement of my parents’ house until he was strong enough to leave again.”
“So – you knew about vampires this whole time? But. . . “ Buffy sighed and now she was the ones holding up her hands in surrender. “We can talk about that tomorrow or something. . . I’m too tired tonight.” She stood. “Night mom. Night Julian, was nice meeting you. Don’t eat my mom. I’d hate to have to stake one of her friends.”
“It was a pleasure meeting you,” Julian’s laugh was warm and friendly.
Joyce watched Buffy go, sadness in her eyes. She turned back to the creature seated across from her, the questions she had longed to ask since before Buffy walked in on them coming back to her.
“How did you find out, Julian?”
“I have kept an eye out on you since I became Prince,” he admitted slowly. “I still owe you a favor. A life debt, if I am not mistaken.”
Mrs. Summers waved him off. “I did what needed to be done. You owe me nothing. Certainly not what you’re suggesting.”
“Do you want to die?”
The room was silent in the wake of his question, so quiet that Joyce could hear the crickets chirping outside of the back door, their melodic tones drawn in the screen by a soft, chill wind.
“No,” she sighed, her face drawn and tired. “But I don’t want to live forever, either. Thank you – but I can’t do it. You have no idea what it means to me that you offered, its just . . .”
“I understand,” he broke off her depressed babbling with a smile, taking one of her cool hands in his own. She really needed to lay down and rest. Another month or so, no more and most likely less – that’s all she had left. Even now her body was succumbing to forces it could no longer fight off. “You will let me take care of them when it happens, yes? Your daughters?”
“Julian. . . I couldn’t ask that. . .”
“Money is not an object,” His voice was firm, commanding. “I will hear no objections to this. I cannot force an Embrace upon you, no matter how much I wish it were so. But you will at least allow me to make sure they do not go wanting after –“
He trailed off, dark eyes meeting her with entreaty.
“Yes,” she sighed, closing her eyes and turning her face from him so that he could not see the tears that were spilling slowly over her cheeks. “That would ease my mind. . . to know that they were taken care of.”
“Then it shall be done,” he assured her, squeezing her hand comfortingly. “Do not think on it further.”
The sky was overcast on the day of Joyce Summers’ funeral. Buffy looked over the mass of people that had attended the solemn church ceremony, her eyes picking out the one that she had not truly expected to see as the rest of the mourners filed past the grave, one by one, tossing flowers over the coffin. Soon the men would come to fill in the dirt and all that remained of her mother on this earth would be swallowed up by the earth.
She sighed, weaving in and out of the crowd until she came to stand next to her mother’s ‘old friend’.
“I didn’t know if you’d come. . . There was no phone number for you in mom’s address book. . .” She broke down in tears, turning away, arms crossed. Dawn was still by the graveside, held by the loving arms of Xander, Tara and Willow. When strong arms began to encircle her, she didn’t pull away. She had been everyone’s pillar of strength throughout this mess. . . it was good to be held now, to cry. The real world would come crashing in soon enough, with worries and problems she hadn’t even had time to truly comprehend.
Like where to get the money to pay for all of this, and the medical bills her mother had left behind.
“It will be alright.”
Four words, so gently spoken by a man she had only met once before. The Slayer sniffled, looking up into his face as she pulled away. Her tears had subsided, at least for the moment.
“I made your mother a promise, before she died. It let me fulfill the favor that I owed to her, as well as set her mind at ease for those last weeks.”
”What was the promise?” Buffy asked warily. Her mother was in that coffin and would most definitely not be rising with the sunset, so being turned wasn’t the vow he had made. It was true, though, that her mother had seemed more easy going in the weeks before her death than she had seemed in the entire four months before that.
“Whatever you need is to be yours. The house is paid for as of this morning. My attorney will come by in the morning with the deed. It is yours now. Your mother’s medical bills are being put in order as we speak. There is a trust fund in your younger sister’s name for when she decides to go to college – and a bank account with enough money for the two of you to live quite comfortably for the next few years, at least until you are done with your own schooling.”
“But –“ Buffy shook her head, prepared to tell him she didn’t need this, didn’t need his money. She wasn’t a charity case.
“Please.” Julian stopped her with a finger to the lips. “I made this promise to your mother and I intend to follow through with it.” He pressed a card into her hand. “If things get too stressful or you cannot raise her on your own – call me. The two of you are welcome in my home at any time. Your mother was dear to me – as are her daughters.”
Buffy watched, open-mouthed, as Julian got into his waiting limo. She held the card tightly in her hand, unable to believe the good luck that had suddenly chose to rain down upon her in the middle of such tragedy.
She turned back towards the grave, her own heart lighter with the knowledge that Dawn, and herself, would be okay. They wouldn’t need to worry about food or a place to stay.
It had been taken care of.