rating: pg, pg 13
main characters: Joyce Summers, Marie(Rogue)
disclaimer: I do not own any characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or X-Men the movie.
distribution: TNL, Twisting the Hellmouth, Paula - anyone else please ask first
note: set during the summer after season 2, Buffy has run away, and during the very beginning of the X-Men movie - Marie has run away but not yet reached Canada.
There really wasn't any other way to put it. Her daughter was gone. Buffy had been saying something all confused about the end of the world and vampires and destiny... it hadn't made any sense. She'd tried to make Buffy stay home, to talk to her, to explain what had been troubling her for so long... But it hadn't worked. Now, Buffy was gone, and the librarian had been trying to explain all about the confusion that Buffy had left. Explaining about vampires, and demons, and how her daughter had to fight them.
He'd almost made it sound like her daughter might have died... Risking death night after night. All the bloody clothing, the stains and rips... well, it was from fighting, but not the sort that she'd feared. No, this was somehow worse.
But mostly, it hurt that Buffy hadn't trusted her. She hadn't felt that she could tell her any of this, had hidden so much of her life from her mother. Had she been that much of a failure? Had she failed at motherhood the same way that she'd somehow failed marriage?
If only there were some way that she could make amends for this whole, sad, miserable situation. The idea plagued her all through the day, leaving her a bit distracted as she supervised the establishment of an exhibit by a new artist, a painter and sculptor named Irene Adler, who was actually blind. Her work had a unique style to it, and Joyce found it oddly catchy. But exhibits aside, she still needed to figure out what to do, if there even was anything that she could do.
She saw the girl sitting on the bench. She looked about Buffy's age, with dark hair, wrapped in clothing as if she was trying to hide from the world. She didn't look particularly familiar, was she new? Something seemed a bit odd, so she went closer. "Hello, are you alright?"
The girl looked up, wide brown eyes filled with fear and worry and surprise. "I'm... sort of not sure where everything is right now. And I'm passing through..." Her voice was soft, nervous, and had a very definite southern accent.
"What about your family? Are you lost?" Joyce had this nagging feeling that something wasn't quite normal here.
The girl looked down, studying one glove encased hand. "I'm... not with my family anymore. There was... I'm not with them." Her stomach growled, making the girl jump a bit, and blush.
Why would someone be wearing gloves and a long sleeved shirt in the summer in California? There was definitely something odd about this girl. "Well, you could come with me. I can give you dinner, maybe a place to stay... You remind me a bit of my daughter."
"I wouldn't want to impose, ma'am. I... umm, I'm Marie." There was just a flicker of hope in her eyes.
"Well, Marie, you wouldn't be imposing at all. I'm Joyce Summers. You see... my daughter is about the same age as you, and she... Buffy ran away from home. If I take care of you for a bit, it might... I'm not quite sure. But I can give you a good meal and a place to stay. For a while at least." She had the feeling that this girl needed a bit of mothering.
Marie had given in, and followed her home. She'd had a shower while Joyce made dinner, and they'd had a nice meal of chicken and rice, with rolls and green beans. Joyce managed to learn a few casual things about her new guest. Marie was sixteen, from Mississippi, had just broken up with her boyfriend, and had always wanted to see the world. It had been such a nice change to have someone else there, and Marie seemed like such a nice, polite girl. She'd even volunteered to take care of the dishes.
Marie stayed for a while, polite, courteous, and helpful. She kept wearing the long sleeves, and the gloves, offering the hesitant sounding explanation of a skin condition. Since Joyce had seen her washing the dishes without them, her sleeves pushed up revealing perfectly normal seeming pale skin, she wondered exactly what the truth was, but she didn't push. The gloves were harmless enough, after all. Marie didn't seem dangerous, just... frightened. She had been frightened badly by something, and had run away. That was the closest that Joyce could figure.
She was even interested in the art gallery, dropping by to look at the displays, even sometimes helping take them down and set up new ones. Everything seemed to be going so well. Joyce was even starting to hope that maybe Marie would stay, become a second daughter for her.
It was one otherwise normal evening that everything fell apart, metaphorically speaking. Joyce had been on a ladder, trying to straighten a large painting of what were apparently fighting spirals of fire set against blue green swirls when she lost her balance. She toppled from the ladder, the floor rushing towards her. She was aware of Marie's startled face, and the girl ran forward, trying to catch her. Instead, Joyce landed on her, the pair falling to the ground in an untidy heap.
She felt one of Marie's gloves rubbing against her elbow, a tiny hole in the fabric allowing a patch of Marie's finger to be exposed. There was this odd feeling, almost as if someone had wrapped a wire around her spine and was tugging it towards her elbow... Everything spun and went black.
She woke up on the couch in her office, feeling as if she had the grandmother of all hangovers. But she hadn't been drinking. She'd just fallen... With a gasp, she sat up, her head throbbing and spinning, vision graying with the sudden motion. Was Marie alright? There was a sheet of paper on her desk, right at the edge. Her hand shook as she reached out, taking it.
It was a note from Marie, the ink tear splotched in places. She didn't even have to read it to know that Marie was gone, but she did anyhow.
I can't tell you how much it's meant to me that you were willing to take me in - to offer me help when I had nothing. But I can't stay.
I'm a mutant.
If I touch anyone, something bad happens. I don't understand it, but that's why you passed out. I'm so sorry and I wish it hadn't happened. I hope that you're alright.
I hope you find your daughter again, she's so lucky to have someone like you for a mama.
I can't stay, I'll only hurt you again, and that's the last thing that I want.
Thank you for everything, for caring and... everything. I'll never forget you.
All Joyce could do was let the tears trickle down her face as se sobbed for her two girls, her missing daughter and Marie, who had become dear to her in the few weeks that she'd stayed. Marie was so afraid... But now she understood why. She just wished that she'd stayed.
Who would take care of Marie now? Who would watch out for her, and make sure that she ate? Who would tease her about her strawberry and banana sandwiches? Marie needed a real home, where would she find one now?
end Such a Nice Girl.