Disclaimer: Joyce and Buffy etc; lines are taken from episode "Prophecy girl". There is also, here and there a mention of characters, places and beings from Chris Wooding Broken Sky novels – those are mostly flashbacks of Joyce. Catharine Langford belongs to people owning SG-1 and Stargate franchise.
***Summers Residence – Monday***
Sa'airn moved like something out of a nightmare, in slow-motion, creasing and breaking like waves in half formed humanoid shapes. They rose out of the sand with distorted faces that shifted and melted with two simple eyes and a mouth made of hollows and shadows. Their thick arms elongated in a club like fingerless…
Joyce woke up, on a Monday morning earlier than usual, but that was to be expected, as she had dreamed about her past. Joyce knew that that was not all; she still had some memories lost to her, but she remembered enough.
She was born as Yov'ana, into minor nobility/merchant family of the Dominions. At the time of her childhood, there was no Macaan taking over yet; King Oko and Queen Vida ruled the Dominions, in great prosperity.
Yov'ana was five when her parents started to travel; they loved to be on the move, and due to her mother Le'anne being a Resonant, they could move- shift, her mother said, from Dominions to Kirin Taq and back again.
Joyce remembered that as Yov'ana, she was a happy, happy child. When she'd meet Banto, she was sixteen years old and her and her parents were in the deserts of -, she didn't recall where, Joyce thought that those Deserts were in Dominion. But she did recall the Sa'airn that dwelled there and harassed the nomads.
Banto was a tall, dark haired man of twenty-six at the time, and swept Yov'ana off her feet. Her parents were delighted.
On her eighteenth birthday, Takami was born. He was the perfect image of his father Banto and their little family settled, breeding wyverns at Osaka Stud in the mountains. They were so content. But it hadn't last long.
Macaan invaded from Kirin Taq, when Takami was a year and a half; King Oko was killed, and no one knew what had become of the Queen and her unborn child. All who tried to defend the royal family were put to the sword or sent into the Spirit stone mines.
But enough of this trip down of the remembered memories of memory lane, Joyce thought as she dressed in her trainers and went downstairs for a quick work out with her spear, and perhaps later she would try her hand at some more archery. She was getting better and better.
Smiling slightly when she breezed through the familiar moves, and despite the muscle memory, the moves resulted in aching limbs for the first couple of weeks when she started with the training. After all she was quite older now … dear Cetra, she thought, she was forty-five!
She was glad, however, that she didn't show Buffy what she knew at the time, and was glad for her daughter's distracted mind.
Though, Joyce was worried what the distraction could pose for her youngest daughter's life. Now that Joyce was 'awake' to her own surroundings she noticed the oddities in this town.
How could she not!
The town had more cemeteries than LA, and LA was a bigger city that the made Sunnydale seem like a provincial village. Spying the clock, she started, how come Buffy was still in bed? She turned and walked out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and knocked on her daughter's door.
There was no answer. Feeling worried now, she entered the room; it was dark, on the account that curtains were blocking the sunlight from entering. Buffy was tossing and turning on her bed.
She was having a nightmare from the looks of it.
"Buffy," Joyce said, "Buffy wakeup." She shook Buffy's shoulder, but Joyce was alert; Buffy had a fighter's instincts; she could see that much when they were down in the basement for spear fighting training on the mats. At that Joyce deemed it prudent to be ready to move quickly if Buffy's nightmare would make her wake up swinging at the threat. Joyce wasn't keen on sporting a bruise not associated with training.
"Buffy, it's time to get up for school," Joyce said when she saw that Buffy's eyes were open and blinking owlishly at her.
"Oh mom…" Buffy breathed and rubbed her eyes. Joyce frowned for a millisecond, because she didn't want to tip the teen that she KNEW that something was amiss with Buffy. Something more than a nightmare she apparently just waked from.
"Are you all right?" Joyce asked as she lowered herself on the bed, while Buffy pulled herself up so that she was sitting on the bed, her lower body still covered in blankets and her blonde hair in disarray.
"No … yeah, I'm … school. Great, I go now." She hopped out of bed and strode purposely toward the bathroom. Then stopped, turned back, and went to the closet.
"You want to go to school?" Joyce asked, sitting on Buffy's bed and watching Buffy flutter about like a distressed, and lost, butterfly after the rain.
"Sure why not?" Buffy asked, shrugging her shoulder, as she busied herself with poking at the ornaments, picking up sea shells that she kept and putting them back on the shelf; Joyce felt her eyebrow rise at her daughter's nervous behavior.
"Good day to buy lottery ticket – okay," Joyce said, "Care to talk about it?" At Buffy's deer in the headlights look, Joyce elaborated. "About your nightmares."
Buffy gave another shrug. "It was nothing, really, or rather the classical running late, arriving naked thing," and she opened her closet doors.
"Catherine called; she will be here tomorrow for lunch," Joyce said as she watched Buffy duck into her bathroom to dress, leaving the door open a crack so that she could talk with Joyce.
"That's okay," Buffy said, "How about dad, did he call too, and is it still on for break?"
"I spoke to your father," and wasn't that a bucket of fun for Joyce. Hank completely forgot that Buffy would be staying with him during her break. Apparently her pause made Buffy worried because her head peeked out from the bathroom.
"He is coming to pick me up, right?" she asked concerned.
"You are on for this weekend." Joyce smiled, there was no need for Buffy to know that Hank forgot about it; Joyce only hoped that he did what he promised of rescheduling his trip. She was well aware that his boss would not mind it as it was not time sensitive, and she was loathe to think Buffy would be alone in LA when she should be spending her time with her father.
"Good, you know he kind of promised me a car …"
"Only if you get your driving license," Joyce felt compelled to point out, though; it would be easier if Buffy would get a car of her own.
"Yes, I know, there are driving lessons in LA, I already applied for a couple of hours; I passed the written part of it anyway."
Buffy exited the bathroom, dressed in a simple white T-shirt, jeans, and a jacket. "I'm ready to roll."
"You have time for breakfast," Joyce said. "And I'll drive you to school so you won't be late."
Joyce was sitting in the driver's seat, driving toward Sunnydale High with an unusual quiet Buffy in the passenger seat.
"You've been awfully quiet the entire time; what's the matter Buffy?"
There was a tired sigh from her right. "I didn't sleep so well," Buffy answered. That was the understatement of the year, Joyce thought.
"I'll say, I came to check on you twice. You were yelling in your sleep. Do you remember what you were dreaming about?"
If Joyce's suspicions were correct, Buffy was dreaming of Vampires or something equally disturbing. Joyce really wanted to somehow broach the subject, but how could you bring something up – something that your child was telling you about and you put her in an asylum for disturbed teens for?
"Not really." Buffy's mumbled reply didn't fool her; sighing, Joyce reached behind and gave Buffy her overnight bag.
"You did say you'd like to have a sleepover with Willow, didn't you?"
"Well, this is the right bag – you grabbed the wrong one by mistake."
Now Joyce was sure something was definitely wrong.
"Hey honey, you all right?"
"You are probably full of that breakfast you barely had. Feel like telling me what's on your mind?"
"No, it's nothing mom. Don't worry. Oh gosh I gotta go." Buffy jumped out of the car and rushed toward the school entrance.
Joyce was driving around the block away from her house; she had just bought ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. She planned to make cooked sweet potatoes with salad and cinnamon chicken.
Just as she was pulling into her driveway, she saw a corvette parked in front of the house and exiting the corvette was Catherine Langford.
"Catherine!" Joyce exclaimed surprised, her honorary mother in law wasn't supposed to arrive until tomorrow.
"Sorry for the inconvenience," Catherine apologized, while she stepped over to Joyce's car to help her with carrying the bags, "something came up, and I had to move up my schedule."
"I'll impose on you and Buffy today and tomorrow, and then I'm going back to Colorado. I can stay in a hotel…"
No she couldn't; for one, the house had a spare room, with a couch that could extend into a bed, and two – there were vampires infesting Sunnydale, and Cetra knows what else.
"No, we have a guest room, I just need to bring you some sheets, a pillow, and blanket, and it'll be ready."
"Oh that's all right … Buffy's in school?"
"Yes, and I have to call her; she intended to have a sleepover with Willow Rosenberg tonight and …"
But Catherine just shook her head, "No need, I'll see her tomorrow just as well, just because my plans have changed for a bit – it's no need to disturb the gal's sleepover."
"Aunt Catherine!" Buffy exclaimed the next day, when she came into the kitchen. Joyce and Catherine were just finishing breakfast and Catherine was pouring freshly brewed coffee into the coffee mugs.
"How was the sleepover with – Willow was it?" Catherine asked looking up, while placing the coffee pot back on the table. "Have you eaten breakfast with your friend? Want coffee?"
"Yes, Willow my new girl-buddy and not a cheerleader either …mom why didn't you call me? I would have come yesterday and yes I had breakfast with Willow. But I wouldn't mind some coffee."
"I know, Buffy," Joyce said as she watched her daughter retrieve a slightly larger mug, then opened the fridge to pour a little milk in. "And I know you'd have come straight home if you'd knew, but-"
"But," Catherine took over the explanation, while pouring Buffy her share of coffee. "I asked your mother not to call. Besides what I have to tell you …well …"
"Oh, Catherine, are you suddenly embarrassed?" Joyce teased, amused by the sudden avoidance.
"Nope, I just know how teenagers just love the conversation about their parents having sex," Catherine shot back.
"Ewwwwww," Buffy drawled, wrinkling her nose as teens' were so in habit of doing.
"See…" Catherine pointed at Joyce's daughter, smiling at the faces Buffy was making.
"That is gross, do we really have to talk about it. I know that like, older people do it; I am pretty sure that Mrs. Carson and Mr. Carson still do it and they are like seventy."
"Good for them…well this is kind of unavoidable; I can however promise not to gross you out too much."
Buffy turned toward Catherine "That is not exactly reassuring," she stated verily.
"Well, you know how I am unmarried, but were engaged?" Catherine asked tensely. Joyce fought down a smirk at Catherine's sudden timid behavior. Oh Joyce knew it would not last, but she would relish it while it does.
"Yes, you told me stories about Ernest."
"Well, we had sex, a lot, I got pregnant; Ernest got labeled MIA. Being unmarried with a baby on the way was very bad for that time people's sensibilities, and so I traveled to France with my relatives, a childless married couple. I went back to America flat as a board and Mrs. and Mr. Summers had a bouncy baby boy named Hank."
"That's …dad is … Okay I'm officially speechless." Buffy leaned back in her chair, her eyes round as saucers. That was certainly a first, Joyce thought with no small amount of much amusement. Joyce's fingers itched for a camera, so that she could take a picture of Buffy.
***Next week –Friday***
Joyce was, once again, in Buffy's room; her daughter hadn't noticed her presence yet, as Buffy was too absorbed with looking through a photo album and the music's volume was preventing Buffy to hear her approach. That was a bit sloppy of Buffy, Joyce thought as she tilted her head when she recognized Jonatha Brooke's "Inconsolable" playing on the radio.
I never knew what enough was
"Hi, honey. You alright?" Joyce asked; she could see that her voice gave a slight start to her teen daughter.
Until I'd had more than my share
"Sure," Buffy mumbled. Joyce could not remember a balder faced lie and she didn't need her spirit stones to tell her that. Buffy avoided her eyes, she was fidgety, like she wanted nothing more than to tell Joyce what was happening. All that plus Buffy didn't have an appetite today; she just pushed her food around her plate, pretending to eat.
Joyce hummed truthfully, deciding that perhaps if she'd play that she didn't notice Buffy's fidgeting, her daughter would confide in her. "Probably just full from that bite of dinner you barely had. Feel like telling me what's on your mind?"
I let the darkness in and it was then I lost the dare
Suddenly Buffy reached over to turn off the music and turned to her. "Mom, let's go away!" she asked, a hopeful smile on her face.
Joyce blinked at her daughter, confused, thinking she misheard Buffy. "What?"
"Anywhere just for a while. A weekend."
She would love to spend this weekend with her but there was a big exhibit at the gallery. "Honey…"
Buffy now stood up and started to nervously pick up the knick-knacks on her shelves then put them back.
"It'll be great, you and me. A mother and daughter thing. We'll talk about all that embarrassing stuff you and Grandma Kathy are so fond of bringing up."
"Like your grandma having sex or meant your dad?" Joyce could not help but tease her daughter again.
At her daughter's pleading look, Joyce sobered up; she'd love to spend time away from Sunnydale this weekend. But Joyce had work she could not postpone to go on a trip with Buffy.
"You know the gallery's open on weekends."
Now this was suspicious, very suspicious. Did it have to do with the undead infesting this town, or did it have to do with the prom?
"Isn't the prom tomorrow night? Or Spring Fling, or whatever they're calling it?"
"I guess so."
Hmm, that still did not give her a clue of what the issue was. Though her spirit stones were apparently taking a vacation … or she'd have had the truth of things … well, she'd just have to find out the old fashion way – and employ her spying skills.
After all, as Yov'ana she was a master spy that managed to get into King Macaan's court in both worlds - Dominion and Kirin Taq.
"Nobody asked you?"
"Not the right someone. See? Sometimes I actually do know what you're thinking. Well, I suppose then this isn't the best time for this, but..." Joyce was still planning on what she'd do after the exhibit, or rather she had an assistant now so maybe she could take off for about an hour or two – hopefully that would be enough time for Joyce to go to Sunnydale High and back – perhaps do a bit more thorough inspection of one Rupert Giles. But until then, Joyce stepped toward the closet and swung it open, revealing the white silk gown with straps. It was a simple sleeveless and beautiful style, and Buffy was staring at it.
"I saw you eying it at the store. I figured..." Joyce said and watched as Buffy went to it and ran her fingers over the ivory folds.
"Mom, we can't afford this," Buffy said not looking away from the gown.
Joyce snorted, kids these days. "The way you've been eating?" and she'd rectify it as soon as some of the pile of work bleeds away. "We can afford it."
Buffy was still looking at the shimmering white gown, "It's beautiful," she breathed, enchanted.
"I think you should wear it to the dance."
Buffy whirled away from the dress as if it suddenly sprang a couple of fangs and wanted to snap her up.
"I can't go to the dance!" her daughter exclaimed.
"Says who?" Joyce parried. "Is it written somewhere? You should do what you want. Homecoming, my freshman year at college, I didn't have a date. So I got dressed up and I went anyway."
Never mind that she actually hadn't known the other people studying with her. Joyce at the time was still bodily weaker, still recovering from head trauma, but she was still able to complete her majors so she could have a job and supports herself.
"Was it awful?" Buffy asked with a tone that suggested morbid teenage curiosity, something that Ryushi tended to do on occasion.
"It was awful." Joyce nodded, but then her lips curled up in fond remembrance. "For about an hour."
Buffy perked up curiously, like a kitten. "Then what happened?"
"I met your father." Again, not for the first time, though, at the time when she saw him, she hadn't known what a young engineer was doing at the Art majoring classless prom.
"And he didn't have a date either?"
His date was a woman who graduated in sculpturing.
"He did, and that's a much funnier story that you will never get to hear." Never was a strong word, though Joyce would have to be drunk or drugged on meds to tell any of her children, and possibly alive husband – that she probably would never see ever again, because she had no idea HOW to return, and if she could she would not go without Buffy. "But it was a beautiful night."
It truly was a beautiful night; Joyce danced with Hank and they talked – a lot.
"You had your whole life ahead of you."
Joyce almost missed those wistful tones. "Yeah," she said, but from the corner of her eye, she watched her child carefully.
"That must be nice."
Something was definitely going on tonight; something more serious than a mere prom dance. Something that was probably in connection with the trouble Buffy was getting in lately. The new Principal Snyder – a little man that really should not teach nor had anything to do with children, since he appeared to loathe teens and children and his job – called her almost every week to complain that her daughter was loitering in the library.
***Afternoon – next day***
Joyce was again in Buffy's room, watching her daughter put on her prom gown. Buffy looked beautiful. But that thin silver chain that she had on looked like it would snap at any moment under that silver cross pendant weight.
"You know I think I have a stronger silver chain necklace that that would look better with this simple Celtic cross you are so fond of wearing. I'll be right back," Joyce said, and then left to her room.
As she passed her bedroom where the television was on, she caught the beginning of the disturbing news on the television and rushed back to her daughter's room.
"Buffy, there's something on the news, Willow …"
Buffy practically flew toward the remote and turned the volume up.
The TV was showing a classroom, "gruesome murder happened today at Sunnydale High school grounds," the reporter was saying as the camera showed the bloody prints on the television screen and walls, chairs …on the tables… "In the Audio-Visual classroom, where the murders occurred, the bodies of six teenage students were found by Miss Cordelia Chase, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chase -" and there the reporter kept droning on about Chases. "And Miss Willow Rosenberg, when they went looking for their missing classmates and discovered them brutally murdered."
Joyce hadn't watched the television, she watched Buffy's face. She saw her daughter grow paler, and then she saw her face close off from emotion. Yov'ana knew that look; she saw it in her reflection in the mirror – before the creation of Jachyra.
Buffy whirled around and ran off. Joyce had an inkling that her little girl would go and check on Willow, and after that … after that, Joyce would drive off to see why her daughter was so distraught … like she'd known that something like this would happen.
Joyce was slowly walking among the bookshelves – her spirit stones humming – and though she could not see them, she knew that they were glowing and cloaking her presence completely from any eyes in the Sunnydale High Library. Carefully circling around so that she could listen to the two adults – there were a man and a woman; she didn't know who the woman was, just that she was a member of the faculty. The man was Rupert Giles, the school librarian, and with them were two of the friends Buffy had made, Willow and Xander.
Mr. Giles was saying. "… went to face the Master and …"
"She what? Why didn't she wait for us?" that was Xander. Joyce angled herself between two bookshelves, coming closer.
"Xander, there was a Prophecy that said The Slayer will face the Master and she will die …" that was Mr. Giles's voice again.
"I told you there was something going on with her," Willow's voice rose in a higher pitch. A worried pitch, Joyce noted.
And now she was standing across them, facing Willow, and a pretty dark haired lady that was around Joyce's age.
Xander waved in Mr. Giles's direction "And she knew about this prophecy of yours?" Joyce saw that Mr. Giles gave a curt nod. "Aw, man, what do we do?"
Mr. Giles took down his glasses and started to polish them. Though at this time Joyce started to suspect that 'she' and 'Slayer' that the four kept mentioning were one and the same, and that 'she' was Buffy. "We stay calm, first thing," the librarian said calmly; Joyce watched the man like a hawk at this point.
She did not like the implications this picture was painting of her daughter.
Xander exhaled. "Calm?"
Willow nodded, her eyes darting from one person to the next, bypassing Joyce without seeing her. "I think he's right," Willow said.
Xander shook his head. "I'm sorry; calm may work for Locutus of the Borg here." He waved his arm again, indicating Mr. Giles. "But I'm freaked out, and I intend to stay that way."
"Xander..." Willow started to say, but stopped, unsure what to say. What she wanted to say.
Xander whirled and got into Mr. Giles's face "How could you let her go?" he demanded hotly.
"As the soon-to-be-purple area of my jaw will attest, I did *not* *let* her go!" the man answered. But Joyce frowned; there was resignation coloring his voice. Was this there because he didn't believe he could stop this – prophecy – or resignation that he was too weak to stop Buffy from going?
"Well, how can we help her?" Willow was looking at Mr. Giles with hopeful eyes, wringing her hands nervously.
Ms. Dark hair stepped closer to Willow, putting a calming hand on the teen's shoulder. "Uh, I'm sorry to bring this up, but we also have an apocalypse to worry about?"
Xander glared at the woman. "Do you mind?"
Willow looked at Mr. Giles. "How come she's in the club?" she asked and Joyce really wished that somebody would say the woman's name.
"Hey! Once the Master gets free, the Hellmouth opens, the demons come to party, and everybody dies," the woman, whose name Joyce didn't know, said.
Xander shook his head again. "Uh, uh, I don't care. I'm sorry, I don't. Right now I gotta help Buffy."
"We don't even know where she's gone," Mr. Giles said resigned. It appeared that he gave up on her daughter. Well she brought the girl into this world, and she won't give her up without a fight, like he did.
She turned on her heel and was on the way out to do just that when she heard Xander say,
"No. But I can find out."
Not if Joyce did it first; it was a good thing she brought her spear and collapsible bow with arrows. She walked out of the library, leaving the four behind.
Now, the librarian had said, underground trapped; that meant she would have to turn the aspect of seeking – emotions- her daughter; it was always easier to follow the emotional trail of a relative.
It was always in the blood after all.
She hit the night air, concentrated and closed her eyes, and she could almost see her daughter – she could feel Buffy's emotions – resolution and there was a darker emotion approaching – hunger, malice.
Buffy went with that person, triumph – surprise, and Joyce followed the trail. She followed Buffy down, down into the tunnels. Joyce was sure that there was a virtual maze of those under the town.
Absentmindedly Joyce wondered if those tunnels collapsed some day, would Sunnydale sink, causing a cave in.
One hint of this and her family was out of here.
Or push come to shove, Joyce just might collapse the city foundation herself, right after setting the tunnels on fire.
She came into the large cavern; there was a man there, in black leather; he looked ridiculous. He felt cold and dark and he hungered, so much hunger and malice mixed with a miasma of other dark emotions.
That might have been this … Master – yes Joyce heard the capital letter when Mr. Giles discussed this vampire …
"I like your dress…" he tossed over his shoulder looking at … Buffy; Joyce stepped quickly toward her daughter, ignoring the vampire who was forcing his hand through some sort of force field.
Just as the field collapsed with a burst of light, Joyce pulled Buffy out of the water. Buffy wasn't breathing, and Joyce's heart nearly stopped; she scrambled to find the pulse; it was there – but it was very faint and faltering.
Now determined, Joyce quickly gave Buffy five initial rescue breaths; thanks Cetra she knew how to.
No breath and no heartbeat.
Joyce shifted and placed her hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of her daughter's chest.
"Push hard, push fast. Come on, baby, breath," she muttered and started to do just that. After thirty pushes, Joyce tilted Buffy's head back and blew air into her daughter's mouth ...and finally, she was relieved when Buffy coughed out water. She leaned back only to notice Xander and Angel rushing toward them.
Buffy was still quietly coughing out water … but she'd be all right now. She moved further away as the boys came closer.
Buffy coughed but looked up towards the voice of her friend. "Xander?" She started to sit then attempted to stand up.
"Easy. Easy," Xander said while helping Angel steady her.
"The Master?" Buffy asked, looking at them. Joyce nodded to herself; it was time she headed up, or rather, she would just follow Buffy and her two sidekicks.
It was Angel that answered. "He's gone up."
Joyce watched Buffy start to go, and she was pretty sure that Angel was … well a vampire, but one that was on her daughter's side; that was good, having an equal partner. It meant you could fight in pairs. Hmm, perhaps she should pick and sit them both down and then after a long talk, make them train together as a pair of fighters.
"No. You're still weak." Xander said … oh that poor, poor naïve boy. There was difference in being weak and just a bit woozy … Buffy was just that, woozy.
"No. No, I feel strong. I feel different. Let's go!"
Now this part was interesting … different how? Lots of questions Joyce had, but she would see what she could unearth herself...
Before confronting Mr. Rupert Giles – because as helpful as he may have been, and he cared a little – or just in a distant way for her daughter. He gave too much power to a prophecy.
Joyce saw the trio enter the school; she knew where they were going. Buffy was heading to the roof, where Joyce could sense the emotions that were associated with the M-vampire.
Well, meanwhile her daughter and her friends do the main part; Joyce would mop up the stray vampires loitering around school.
She smiled as she neared the undead that were milling about. Before they knew it, they exploded into dust particles. Joyce liked that, she didn't have to hide their bodies.
The only vampire – a jock probably while he was alive, Joyce circled as a cat around the cream.
"Who goes there…?"
She was deliberate in leaving one alive and well, actually well would be a relative term in the next couple of minutes. It was a good thing that her spear had a blade on the end; otherwise this would be more work for her… with a couple of swift sweeping slashes she removed the, now screaming, vampire turned jock's legs below the knee.
Joyce dropped the veil, revealing herself to the now legless vampire.
"Hello," Joyce greeted him, at the safe distance; she wasn't stupid to let an unknown get to her. "I have a couple of questions, now what is the Slayer exactly?"
"Do not stall, because this could get harder on you … or I might grow bored and just start poking at you with the steel end … not the wooden one."
***Before Library doors***
The information Joyce got from that, now dusted, vampire was not exactly good. But she knew some things now; the Slayer was the chosen one to slay vampires, always aided by her watcher.
Joyce had a suspicion that Mr. Giles was this watcher character – and now she saw that the doors were being cleared for Buffy, Angel, and Xander to come in. Veil again firmly in place, Joyce followed them into the library.
On the broken table lay a skeleton … Joyce neared the skeleton, while listening to the conversation her daughter had.
"The vampires?" Mr. Giles asked.
The pretty brunette answered with "gone;" sure they were, Joyce made sure of it.
"The Master?" Angel asked, so perhaps Joyce misjudged him. Granted there were probably still other problems attached to this man –no a vampire. But he did care about Buffy, and her daughter did love him.
"Dead. The Hellmouth is closed. Buffy... Buffy?" Mr. Giles turned to Buffy with a worried frown.
"Oh, sorry. It's just been a really weird day," her daughter said with a smile, her fake smile.
"Yeah! Buffy died, and everything!" Xander exclaimed, excited.
Joyce wanted to smack him, but then he was a young boy…and some boys, or girls, don't think before they speak.
"Wow! Harsh," that was from Willow, bless her.
Mr. Giles turned to Buffy, smiling slightly. "I should have known that wouldn't stop you."
Buffy returned his smile with another one of her fake ones. Something was bothering Joyce's child, by the looks of it.
"Well, what do we do now?"
That was from the woman, who was with Xander and Willow, talking with Mr. Giles before the battle.
Giles cleared his throat, and then ran his bespectacled gaze from one face to the next. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd like to get out of this place. I don't like the library very much anymore."
Xander perked up. "Hey! I hear there's a dance at the Bronze tonight. Could be fun."
The dark haired girl brightened up as well, "Yeah!" she agreed with an excited smile.
Willow however was looking at her daughter, who was quiet, and Joyce could see that she was tired. "Buffy?"
"Sure!" Buffy said, with a wide smile – how could they not notice how fake it was – "We saved the world. I say we party! I mean, I got all pretty."
Though apparently Buffy didn't want to make them see how exhausted she was, Joyce would make sure that when Buffy came home, she'd get plenty of high fiber food and a good long – and not interrupted sleep. She'd also make sure her suitcase was packed, before Hank picked her up tomorrow.
"And what about him?" The woman – faculty member indicated towards the bones. Joyce appraised the skeleton – perhaps they would destroy the remains … it would have been wise, because as Joyce observed usually the bodies of vampires turned to dust.
Buffy looked at the Master. "He's not going anywhere. Loser," she said; this was spoken with some emotion, Joyce observed them all start to go and chatter. Buffy trailed behind the group.
Giles turned toward the woman. "I'm not dancing, though."
"We'll see," came the sly reply. Joyce smirked; it appeared that the hunt on librarian has begun. Interesting.
Willow meanwhile was walking beside Angel. "You can come with us, Angel."
Buffy was still trailing behind, at times peering in Joyce's direction. She cannot help but wonder if Buffy could see something amiss. "I'm hungry," Buffy finally said, and turned back toward her departing friends, who didn't notice her staying a bit behind.
Xander was leaning toward the pretty brunette girl. "So what's the story with the car?"
Yes what about that car, parked in the school hallway; Snyder would not be happy with the damage. Not that Joyce cared about the school principal.
"Oh, that was me, saving the day!" pretty brunette said, practically sparkling. "Well me and Miss Calendar."
And now Joyce had one name – so this was the computer science teacher – Miss Jenny Calendar. She looked like an exotic lady.
Willow however was still talking to Angel, who appeared not to be listening, since he kept glancing back at Buffy. "Get something to drink."
"Is anybody else hungry?" Buffy asked again from behind.
"Well, no, don't do that. Just hang," Willow was saying to Angel. Who now openly looked back at her daughter who was a couple steps behind everybody else.
"I'm really, really hungry."
Finally Angel hung back so that now he was walking in the back with Buffy, while Willow hurries toward Xander and the brunette girl. Joyce was pretty sure the brunette was one of the cheerleaders in this school.
"By the way, I really like your dress."
Joyce could her Buffy answering smile in the words she spoke. "Yeah, yeah. Big hit with everyone." This was a genuine emotion. Her daughter was very much in love.
Well that was eventful; Joyce smiled as she watched them filter out of the library. All of them. Well far be it for Yov'ana not to use the empty library and do what she does best.
She nearly marched right out, dropped her veil and slug and swats the idiot librarian. The first book she opened… the one that had her daughter's emotion imprint swirling around. It was a book about vampires and The Slayer. Vampyr.
In school, accessible to vampires … Or something worse. Information that could mean life or death to any Slayer.
Oh she'd definitely have words with him, but first she'd teach the negligent librarian a lesson.
That and she'd need time to carefully read the large leather bound tome.
Book under her hand, she headed home.
***Couple days later***
Joyce was curled on the couch with that heavy leather tome on her lap – she was waiting for the call from Buffy. Her daughter was in LA, with Hank, for Summer Break.
The title, Vampyr, was misleading – in the tome were written laws of this world's magic and its laws. It also changed, sometimes – she read the chapter and then re-read it, because she did not understand something, and new information popped out.
So she took a different approach. She talked to the book. It did not talk back. But new writings appeared – and she always took care to say "Thank you" - new information about history of the Slayer, Watchers, Shadow Men, and The Guardians.
It was shocking but with her death – Buffy was no longer the Chosen One – but The Guardian, she was still a slayer – had slayer abilities, but her destiny was her own.
Question is, IS Buffy aware of that? Will her watcher inform her that she is retired from her duty or will he take advantage…
Joyce spied the clock; it was nearly time for Buffy to make her call…and for the shrill phone to ring – rang through the otherwise silent room.
"Hey mom." Buffy's voice was calm over the phone. Joyce was immediately worried. "Dad went on a meeting, so he can't talk with you right now." More like, Joyce thought, he won't be back for days. She debated with herself, for a moment if she should go and bring Buffy home. But then she herself would be going on a business trip.
"So how was your day and what are you planning on doing?"
"Me, ahm, dad and I went to the fair, I got to dress up in a Tudor type of gown," Buffy said. Joyce could hear her shifting herself, into a more comfortable position. "And I got gifts for you mom and Willow and Xander."
"What nothing for your History tutor?"
"Mom," came a whine from her daughter. "No, I haven't gotten anything for Angel." Then Joyce heard her mutter something about not knowing what to get him.
"You could get him a necklace with a bell," Joyce suggested, "because he is quiet on his feet."
She was rewarded by a giggle over the phone. "I don't think Angel would like that. Oh, I got myself a figurine, of a phoenix bird and a lady, it looks old and it's made of porcelain. It's up in my room; I can't wait to show it to you!"
She sounded excited, and Joyce was glad. Dying so young, Buffy must still have some trauma. Fortunately, Joyce had ways to help her with that. It'll probably be much healthier than whatever way Buffy would find to cope with what happened to her.
As of now, Joyce figured Buffy was attempting to lose herself in LA. But when she came back, the memories of what happened in this place…Joyce just knew she would need some more help. She also knew that she wouldn't be able to count on Watcher Giles, and her daughter's friends probably wouldn't recognize the trauma Buffy was going through.
"That is great, Buffy," Joyce said into the phone. "So what are you planning now? Go out; connect with your old classmates?"
"Ah no, I will be on the couch reading The Hobbit, maybe listening to music at the same time, then I'll go to bed."
"All right sweetheart, sleep tight. I love you."
"You to mom and love you too."
After a couple of days, Joyce's phone in the "Joyful Murals Gallery" rang, interrupting Joyce's preparations for a trip, that she would have to take; she still needed to inform her daughter of that plan.
"Joyce Summers speaking," she said hurriedly; she had so much to do and so little time to do it.
"Hey, mom, is this a bad time?"
It was Buffy, calling a bit ahead of time, but that was fine, great even. Or late, considering she did not call Joyce yesterday.
"No, no, but why didn't you call yesterday, I thought you said ..." Joyce said.
"Heh, sorry mom," Buffy apologized. "I got book napped by a leather bound book in the attic."
"Must have been some book. And what were you doing...Never mind you were snooping."
"You can say that again, anyway, dad said if I pass my driver's license test he'll get me a car. And I'm doing some babysitting."
"I'm not a baby!" came a boy's yell through the wire.
"That was Jack, he is nine and ..."
The next exclamation from the kid made Joyce laugh, and judging by Buffy's tone of voice, she was teasing this Jack kid. That meant she liked him.
***Sunnydale Revello Drive Summers residence***
Joyce Summers was humming to herself as she was opening boxes of items that came from all over America – she bought them in a flee market, mostly. Or her contacts did. Or Catherine did.
There was a beaded necklace with a rectangular talisman with the emblem of a pomegranate. "Hmm, that'll be a perfect gift for Pat," she said to herself; Pat was living next door, and this emblem was definitely Spanish, or more precisely, the emblem of Catalina of Aragon.
"Oh what a lovely necklace," she breathed then put a thin, no wider than a headband, shaped necklace on her neck. The triangular crystal came at the hollow of a collarbone.
"This I'll definitely keep." She fingered the crystal pendant. She estimated this came from a Norse influenced Native American tribe.
"Now let's see." She rummaged through the box some more, looking for something that she could give Buffy as a reward, if she'd improve at school during this new term.
"Aha," she pulled out a beaded necklace, with white and purple shell beads and at the centre of the necklace was a pendant in the shape of a Gordian knot, probably made from brass, since it looked like gold, but the Pocomtuc tribe didn't use gold for their beadwork.
The ringing of her phone interrupted her thoughts.
"Hello, Summers residence, Joyce speaking," she intoned.
"Mrs. Summers? Here is Harry Blackwood, and as the collector in England Surry, I was wondering if you'd be interested in my collection."
"Mr. Blackwood, it is lovely to hear from you again. It's good that you had called, I found a new fifteenth century snuff box, you still collect those I take it?"
"I do, Mrs. Summers." The man, even over phone, sounded ecstatic. Then there was an intake of breath. "Oh wait a moment, Mrs. Summers, I have a regular customer." At her murmured consent, she heard that he put the phone down "… Mr. Lovegood, how can I help you?"
To be continued.
Broken Sky stuff:
Jachyra - Macaan's secret police.
Macaan – King of the Dominions, he is originally from Kirin Taq, where his family ruled. He became king Dominions, by upspring King Uko, leaving Kirin Taq in his daughter's hands.
Resonants - cannot use spirit stones. Instead, they are able to shift between the worlds of Kirin Taq and the Dominions, and take along anyone they are touching.
According to Resonant theory, Kirin Taq exists between each second of The Dominions, just as The Dominions exists in between the time of Kirin Taq.