Light in Your Eyes
Title: Baby Steps
Part Title: Light in Your Eyes
Series: More Than Tea
Rating: FR 13
Spoilers: Some for my story Chamomile, so basically 5 (6ish) by 5 (set in au books 6 &7) by 2 (3ish) . . . confused?
Disclaimers: Puppet master here, claiming no ownership on the parts of the HP or BtVS people. I do, however, very muchly own Chamomile and Edgar.
Summary: Finding everyday miracles. . .
A/N: This, along with a lot of my older fics were some of the victims of the PC crash of ‘07. I just happened to stumble across it last week, when I was rearranging stuff on my twenty-some flash drives (after my laptop very nearly
crashed not a month ago.) Light In Your Eyes
Cammi blinked her tiny eyes open. In front of her was her mother, a face she had nearly forgotten had ever been a part of her life. Her only true clear memory of her mother had been of her smiling and kissing her, tears in her eyes as she put her in the arms of Uncle Droopy Skin.
She reached out, her tiny hand touching the dark gold hair that she remembered being brighter. It was different than Aunt Dawn‘s, lighter. And not as bright as Dada’s. Cammi went to touch her mother’s face when she felt strong hands wrap around her, pulling her back.
“Let your mummy rest, you little troublemaker,” Charlie kissed the top of her head gently. “You’ve had us all worried, Cammi, your mum most of all.
“Charlie?” Buffy murmured. “Is she -”
“Fine, just tired of sleeping. I’ve got her, you can sleep a bit more.”
Cammi looked between her parents, their words not making much sense to her, but there was something they weren’t saying. Their mouths were tight, and she’d seen that enough on Gran and Grandpa’s faces to know what that meant.
“No, I’m - I’m not really tired.”
“Buffy, I’ve got everything handled here. You can rest for a bit longer.”
“No, I can’t. I- I’ve got a lot to do. I’ve got to get back, get Dawn re-enrolled in Sunnydale, pay my bills and get a job,” Mama looked sad as she spoke, and Dada looked like he’d gotten crisped again by the big flying snakes Edgar hated. Cammi sniffled, a tiny ruse she’d learned well how to manipulate early in her young life. She had them both and she didn’t want to lose them.
“What exactly about going back there is so damned important? Is it that vital that you go and get yourself killed again
, without any hope of coming back?”
“It wasn’t - I wasn’t supposed to come back from that, Charlie. But I am and I’ve got a job - “
“A job that you threw off twice before, by Dawn’s reckoning.”
“Well, my little sister has a big mouth and no clue what it’s like to have this kind of responsibility, Charlie,” she sighed. “I really don’t want to fight about this. I just got them back.”
After another hour of terse one word sentences between them, Giles finally appeared in the doorway. They hadn’t had much time to speak since the resurrection and race to find Cammi and Dawn. Charlie seemed to sense their need to reconnect and quickly excused himself, citing a need to see if Tonks had woken yet. Buffy gave her watcher a watery smile as she watched Charlie leave.
“He seems to be quite devoted to the girls,” Giles said softly, his hand stroking over Cammi’s head.
“Not you too, Giles,” Buffy groaned.
“Dawn cornered me, I’m afraid,” Giles smiled at his former slayer.
“Because she thinks I’m ruining her life by taking her home,” she shook her head, unbelieving at her sister’s underhandedness. “I’m her family, Cammi’s my daughter. When did that stop mattering?”
“The moment you died.”
Buffy reeled a bit at the harsh tone in Giles’s voice. He was supposed to be on her side. She must have said that out loud, because his eyes softened instantly.
“I’m not on anyone’s side, Buffy,” Giles sighed. “This isn’t about sides, you know. You’ve been give a third chance, Buffy. A chance to live in a world where you don’t have to hunt down evil creatures and can raise your daughter and sister in peace.”
“Peace? I’m in a magic hospital praying my daughter and sister won’t have any permanent damage because of evil wizards! And the only reason they were here in the first place is because I
died! How is any of that normal?” Buffy fought the tears, as the pressure mounted on her. “I got ripped out of Heaven, Giles. Because some part of me knew
they were in danger. Because I knew I had to fight, had to be the slayer.”
“But you’re not. You died
Giles sat down beside her on the bed, wrapping an arm around her as she let herself crumble and be a scared girl again. He had already ripped into Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya. It wasn’t their place to play God, and Willow was already on a very slippery slope as it was. But his girl - his girls
, the daughters of his heart were back in his life. It had stung, a bit after her death, that he had not trusted him to take care of the youngest Summers girls, but he had understood. Charlie, or rather the person she’d thought Charlie to be, had been her closest hope for normal for her family.
Giles had told her she’d have to kill her sister, had
killed Ben to prevent Glory from using Dawn. He belonged to the Council once more, and was likely the only one who could persuade the new Slayer to take up her rightful place. He’d already begun taking those steps when Tara had called to confess what they’d done to Buffy.
“I’m the slayer, Giles. I can’t just abandon
Sunnydale,” she whispered brokenly, and he knew in that instant that if she hadn’t been destined to do her duty, she wouldn’t ever even consider coming back to Sunnydale and all of the pain it represented. She’d like nothing more than to be the girl who’d been in love with the boy, live in that huge family and be carefree.
“You’re no longer the Sunnydale slayer,” Giles murmured quietly.
“You’re not making sense,” her eyes widened in fear. “Another - girl was called?”
“Well, yes. Her name is Vi, but she’s not going into action until her eighteenth birthday. I’ve made certain of that,” Giles said angrily.
“Then who -”
“The Council has decided it’s time for Faith to resume her duty as the slayer,” Giles took a fortifying breath. “And I’m to be her Watcher.”
Buffy was off the bed in minutes, angry at this new revelation. Cammi made a noise, and soon Giles was picking up her daughter and walking over to the very tense slayer.
“It’s beyond time we gave her a real chance to become a true slayer, Buffy.”
“Being a true
slayer means dying young and passing to buck off to another poor sucker - like this Vi kid.” That seemed to deflate her, memories of how young she and Kendra had been when they were called. How young Faith
had really been. Though the girl had tried desperately to act older and more worldly than Buffy and her friends, she’d been two years younger
. “She’s younger than Dawn, isn’t she?”
“Vi is about six months younger. And she knows she’s not the only slayer. She knows there are two sisters waiting to welcome her into her new world.”
“We’re not sisters, Giles. We’re enemies,” Buffy shook her head, but her anger at Faith for trying to take her life had waned a little since the whole body-swap.
“You’re two sides of the same coin,” Giles shook his head.
“What about me? What do I do, Giles?” she whispered brokenly. “I can’t go home, and I can’t be your slayer. What am I?”
“You are a mother and a sister. This - this chance - it’s a gift, Buffy. A third chance.”
“Never,” Giles smiled, rocking Cammi in his arms. “I’m asking a huge favor of you. Give me a chance to bring Faith around to where she needs to be - a slayer in her own right without a shadow to fight with or a new little sister to train.”
“This Vi girl?” Buffy frowned at him, not sure what he was asking of her.
“Yes. I’ve seen the watchers that could be hers and I don’t trust them, hell, you’ve met
them. Utter twits that they are, without Travers there to rule with an iron fist, I’ve got more sway with the Council than any of them”
“Travers? What happened to that bastard?”
“He fell out of power when all three of his slayers stood up to him. Vi hid from him and broke his hand when he tried to train her himself, Faith twisted the bars of her cell when he tried to forcibly take possession of her, and you actually made demands and in front of witnesses he couldn’t really control,” a satisfied smile crossed his lips. “You were the reason I knew I had to come back to England to protect Faith and any new slayer that might have been called when you’d died the second time. Faith needs me more than you do, you know. She’s never had anyone, and we all did her a terrible disservice. Vi has no one. The Council took her from her parents when she was young. Like they did with Kendra. She needs a guiding hand, and I can think of none better than you.”
Buffy thought of all of the possibilities that had opened up in front of her. A new sister to help shape, a current sister to finish raising to make her mom proud, and her daughter she’d just gotten back. And then there was Charlie. With the pressure of being the only one
to save the world off her shoulders and four years removed from her anger at ‘mini-me’s’ that were polar opposites of each other leaving her somewhere in the middle, she could have a shot at making things work. But she had no money, and this was a totally foreign world.
“Buffy?” Giles asked questioningly.
“I guess I have a few people I’ve got to run this all by first.”
Charlie sat patiently outside of Tonks’ room, not wanting to disturb his younger brother. He knew the hell Percy was going through too well. Tonks was far from the dead Buffy’d been, but the thought of losing out on a second chance with her still stabbed at him.
“Hey,” a tiny voice said nervously from the chairs beside him.
Charlie glanced over at the teenaged girl with a knit cap on her head. She looked younger than Ginny, Luna and Dawn and just as lost as Dawn had the first time he’d met her. Short red hair stuck out beneath the purple cap on her head. She could have passed for a Weasley, and he fought the grin at that thought.
“Hey yourself,” Charlie greeted the teen.
“Come here often?” the girl winced at the way it came out. “I - I so didn’t mean to hit on you. Not - not that I was, you know. It’s just I don’t know anybody and you looked like you could use a talking-to person.”
“You’re American?” Charlie asked, noticing how her eyes flicked back to the door he’d come from and where his daughter and his - well, Buffy, were still.
“Kind of. I was raised there, for the most part and then, bam, six years ago, they brought me here. Guess I know why now,” she shrugged, then her eyes got wide as she realized she hadn’t been meaning to talk about herself.
“I’m Charlie. Charlie Weasley.”
“No last name?”
Vi shrugged, looking wistfully back at Buffy’s door. She shook her head, avoiding his eyes when she spoke next.
“I’m nobody. No family. Not -”
He didn’t know if she meant to say ‘yet’ or ‘really’, but from the hopeful tone in her voice, he suspected she’d mean to say yet. Just then, the door she’d been watching and he’d been trying not to watch opened, revealing Buffy in a white top and her dark jeans. Mr. Giles stood just behind her, holding Cammi like a devoted grandfather.
Which, given everything Dawn had told him over the months he’d had her and Cammi in his custody, made perfect sense. Buffy seemed shocked to see him sitting beside the young girl. But she played it off brilliantly as she turned all her attention to the young girl beside him.
“You must be Vi, I’m Buffy Summers,” Buffy stretched her hand out to the girl.
“Wow. I mean, yeah, Vi is me,” she stammered, wiping her hands on her jeans nervously and tugging on the hem of her long sleeved t-shirt. “Mr. Giles told me about you, and the Council - well, everyone
knows who you are, even lowly potentials like me.”
“But you’re not a potential anymore, are you, Vi?” Buffy said sadly. “Because of me, you’re a slayer.”
And it slammed into his chest then, why she’d been so adamant about it being her fight to be slayer. Because she’d been as old as this shy, stammering girl when she’d called as the slayer. Because she’d already gone through this twice
. She’d already seen a girl like her die because of this gift. She’d already seen one go a bit mad under the pressure and it was because she’d been called and had died in the line of duty. So wrapped up in his thoughts as he was, he barely managed to hear what Buffy had said when she’d pulled the younger girl into a fierce hug.
“And I’m going to make sure you live a damn long time, Vi.”