Taste of Worry and Hope
pairing: Joyce/Javier Vachon, also contains mention of Buffy/Angel
fifth in Taste the Forbidden
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from BtVS or Forever Knight.
Distribution: Twisting the Hellmouth, Paula, Mental Wanderings, Mystifying Dreams. Anyone else must ask.
Notes: FfA pairing #381 for Twisting. We are in season 1, altered by Joyce’s awareness that vampires are real and new discovery that her daughter is the Slayer. There is no Dawn Summers in this family.
Joyce had felt as if she needed to drag herself out of bed, away from Javier Vachon's arms that morning. It would have been lovely to stay curled up against him, but she doubted that Buffy would be able to get herself up and ready for school. It was almost a relief that her gallery, like every other shop on that block, was closed today and for the rest of the week to enable some sewer repair work to take place.
She'd made very little effort for the rest of the day. She'd seen Buffy off to school, made herself a little breakfast, and then curled up in bed again, though she wasn't entirely certain that she'd been as restful as the doctor would have liked. But Vachon had been very gentle and amazingly focused on her enjoyment of their romantic interlude.
Eventually, she left the bed again, leaving him asleep, slipping her pillow into his arms. A shower and a light lunch made her feel a bit better, less of an invalid. She had the feeling that she’d probably need her strength when Buffy got home from school. She had the feeling that her daughter not only wouldn’t understand, but didn’t approve of her relationship. Not that Buffy had any authority over her dating choices, but Joyce expected her daughter to be rather vocal in her dismay. Though if Buffy was dating a vampire herself, why was she objecting? Furthermore, why hadn’t Buffy said anything about this Angel fellow?
The door opened, and Buffy walked inside, dropping her bag of schoolbooks with a heavy thud. “Mom, it’s good to see you up and about.”
Joyce nodded, and then glanced at Buffy. “That sounded like you have plenty of homework. Maybe you should try to work on some of it now, instead of after you get back from… where were you last night anyhow?”
“Angel and I went looking for Darla,” Buffy offered, moving towards the kitchen. Pulling out a bottle of juice, Buffy added, “Why are you all snuggly with a vampire, Mom?”
“I didn’t know that he was a vampire when I first met him. I knew that he was a handsome man, and it felt good to be with someone who complimented me.” Joyce paused, deciding not to explain too many of the details about when, and to avoid letting out any of her lingering anger at Hank and his many affairs. “By the time that I found out, it didn’t matter to me.”
“But he’s a vampire!” Buffy protested, looking at her mother with her eyes full of worry.
“Why don’t you tell me more about this Angel person that has you out until midnight.” Joyce replied, folding her arms as she leaned in the doorway. “Why don’t you explain this Chosen Slayer thing to me and why your librarian was really visiting me in the hospital?”
“Giles is my Watcher. He’s the one who knows about all the strange and oogy stuff out there that I have to fight.” Buffy shrugged, and took another drink of her juice. “Angel… he’s… it’s not like… I mean, he’s just helping me fight things.”
“I see.” Joyce deliberately kept her tone suspicious. Buffy had run with quite the fast crowd in LA, something that she would dearly love to be able to blame on Hank. Regardless of whether it was her neglect, Hank’s pushing for Buffy to know the children of potentially useful connections, or Buffy’s own choices, she hadn’t liked it. Those young people – not children, but certainly not reasonable adults – had pushed far too much. They wanted everything, every pleasure from fast cars, to clubs, and most likely sex as well. She had been certain that she’d caught the scent of cigarettes and alcohol on Buffy’s clothing after some of those parties, and she didn’t even want to think about her daughter and sex.
“Really, it’s not like that! He shows up with warnings of trouble, we go fight, and then he’s gone. He’s too gloomy anyhow.” Buffy insisted, though she didn’t sound quite as convinced as she was attempting to be.
Joyce only nodded, not arguing. The appearance of suspicion could be far more effective than any questions that she might ask. Instead, she merely commented, “Try to get some of your studying done.”
As Buffy sulked her way back to the living room, Joyce sighed. At times like this, she was so glad that Buffy was her only child. “Maybe a little more rest would be good…”
She retreated to her room, snuggling up beside Vachon. As his arms wrapped around her, she relaxed, feeling safe at last.
End part 1.
"Worrying so much won't speed your recovery. Some things can't be rushed by thinking that they should go faster," Javier's voice was a soft purr beside her.
"I keep feeling as if she needs me, and I'm not there for her," Joyce protested.
"Your daughter is the Slayer, surely she can defend herself, surely there is a Watcher to guide her." He wrapped his arms around her, and held Joyce close.
"A Watcher to guide a Slayer, to guide someone to fight. What about the part where she's a sixteen year old girl?" Joyce whispered, her eyes stinging as she pictured her daughter out there, fighting against some terrible thing from a horror movie. "She's not just a Slayer, she's Buffy."
"She has you," he kissed the place where her neck met her shoulder, and sighed. "Even if you are not strong enough to battle beside her, and right now you most certainly are not, I know that you would not abandon her."
"I know that, you know that," Joyce sighed, her arms going over his as if she could keep him from letting go. "Does Buffy know that?"
For a moment, he was silent. His eyes were solemn as he murmured, "My first thought is to ask how anyone could doubt your protectiveness for her, but then I remember when I was sixteen. Would you feel better if we went to see what she is doing now?"
"Were you terrible at sixteen?" Joyce tried to picture him at that age, and frowned. "When were you sixteen?"
“Oh, it was a long time ago, querida. I sailed with Cortez to the lands of the Azteca.” His eyes grew serious, and he sighed. “I wasn’t any worse than most young men, but I thought that I knew everything, and that I was invincible. The normal follies of youth, I suppose.”
“But the real question is, did you grow out of those follies?” Joyce smiled at him, leaning close enough to place a light kiss over his lips.
“I’d like to think so, but it took me far longer than it should have,” Javier leaned against her, and sighed. “Come outside, if the librarian is her Watcher, they’re likely at the school. I can get us there more quickly than your car.”
Joyce nodded, uncertain how he could do that, but she trusted him. He lifted her into his arms, and then he was moving into the air. Startled, Joyce clung to him, gasping out, “You can fly?!?”
“Of course. How else did you think I managed to get here from the airport in L.A.? There wouldn’t have been a flight to Sunnydale until morning.” He held her close, and then they landed in the school courtyard. “Much faster than driving, and no worries about traffic delays.”
They found an unlocked door, and let themselves into the school building. Joyce frowned as she looked down the empty hallway, wondering where to find her daughter. Javier didn’t share her confusion, and tucked her arm in his, as if she were a grand lady, and led her down the hall. He made a gesture, hand flat as his arm waved, a theatrical presentation of the library doors.
“… she’s all cozy with him, Giles. I just don’t understand it.” Buffy’s voice, sounding like a sulky child.
“Perhaps your mother simply isn’t aware of the dangers inherent to a vampire, much less the risks of any… err… personal involvement.” This voice was that of a man, flavored with a British accent.
“We’ve got to put a stop to it. You’re the book guy, can’t you find something, figure out a way to get her away from him or something?” Buffy insisted.
Joyce closed her eyes, the words hurting. Each one felt like a weight dropped onto her shoulders. Fighting the urge to cry, she turned her face to Javier’s chest, whispering, "Take me back home, I can’t talk to her right now. Not after hearing that…”
Joyce hid her face against Javier as air rushed past them. She didn’t protest as he carried her back into her house, or when he settled on the couch, pulling her onto his lap, “I know that it pains you to hear her disregarding your wishes so. All I can do is be here for you now, that you will have someone who loves you here for you in your pain.”
As her emotions settled again, she looked at him. “I didn’t think I was looking for that much. I gave up on Prince Charming taking me away to his castle, and I’m not looking for a knight in shining armor to kill dragons for me. I just want someone that I can be happy with, someone who cares, someone who won’t be cheating on me all the time, someone that I can trust.”
“I used to have shining armor,” he murmured, and then smirked. “It got abandoned and has probably long since rusted away.”
Chuckling, Joyce shifted her weight, and tucked her head onto his shoulder. “It would probably be hard to keep armor that shiny anyhow.”
“I am here for you, even if I’m not a prince, and have long since lost the shining armor,” Javier murmured. “Buffy will come around, especially if she stays with that vampire of hers.”
“Remind me to have a long talk with her later,” Joyce murmured. “She’s still only sixteen…”
“And once upon a time, she might have been married and expecting a child by now,” he pointed out.
Joyce shuddered. “I’m too young to become a grandmother. Would you like a cup of cocoa?”
“That would be nice,” he smiled.
Moving to the kitchen, Joyce started heating the milk for hot cocoa. Maybe her life wasn’t a fairy tale, but things weren’t so bad. Maybe she could still make her own happily after ending after all.
End part 2.
End Taste the Forbidden 5: Taste of Worry and Hope.