Chapter 87: It's the End of the World...Again
Two Years Later. BPOV
"No Giles, don't worry, we can handle it." I've been a slayer since I was fifteen and now he's worried that I can't do my job? Ok, so technically it's not my job anymore because I'm semi-retired and I only patrol the local area and don't really get involved with the big issues anymore, but it's not like I'm incompetent. I can't even count how many apocalypses I've stopped over the years and even if I haven't helped with the last few because there are other slayers who can take care of it, those should still count for something, right? Speaking of which, "Just make sure the squad gets here as soon as possible. Addison has a dance recital tomorrow and I'm not going to miss it just because the world might end."
"Buffy," he says with a disapproving sigh like he has ever since he became my watcher. It's good that some things don't change. With how crazy the world out there is nowadays it's nice to know some things you can still count on. Ok, so Giles talking to me like I'm still sixteen isn't overwhelming me with happiness but somewhere deep down I'm smiling. "The fate of world could be resting on your shoulders." Trust me, it's not. "I think that takes priority over a dance recital." If it were really up to me to take care of this it would. There's a tense silence that lasts a few seconds because I know he still has more to say. I just have to wait him out. And in five…four…three…two…one, "And make sure to send me a copy of the video. I don't get to see my grandchildren enough." Oh great, not this argument again.
"Well if you would actually retire instead of pretending to then you would be able to come visit more often." There, take that. He lets out another little sigh so I know I've made a point and he's having trouble coming up with a counterargument. This conversation is something we've been doing a lot lately because he's getting older and I'm afraid he isn't going to get to spend enough time with my kids before he dies. The thought of a world without Giles is a scary one, but it's a reality that needs to be dealt with. At that's what Faith keeps telling me. I try really hard not to think about it, but Faith always manages to remind me. "Matthew is graduating high school in two years and you're not going to miss it because you can't let Andrew do his job." Giles technically retire two months ago and he promised to come for a visit, but he can't let go of his job.
"I just want to make sure Andrew is settled into his new role as headmaster before I leave. I don't want him to get overwhelmed and make a huge mistake that could have been avoided. The girls' lives could be put into jeopardy." I highly doubt that. Andrew was Giles' understudy for a year and half before Giles retired, and he's had a lot of experience handling tricky situations and unstable slayers. He's also gotten really good at staying cool under pressure and he doesn't panic and freeze up like he used to. I think Giles is just having trouble letting go of being the headmaster. It's totally understandable. He started the school from scratch. Yeah, he had a lot of help but that school is like his child and he's having a hard time saying goodbye and leaving it in someone else's hands. And that's the only reason why I'm going to drop the subject.
"Well, as soon as he's settled make sure you come down here for a visit. We miss you," I tell him and I can hear him cleaning his glasses. Sometimes he's too British for his own good. He's been in America for so long you'd think some of that would have rubbed off by now. "So where do I need to keep an eye out for these demons?" And just like that the subject has been changed. He's already told me five times where I need to look, and it shouldn't be too hard. The demons need to collect the bones of children in order to perform the ritual. Atokda demons aren't known for their brain power or fighting skills, or much of anything really, but they want their fifteen minutes of fame and to get it they're trying to destroy the world even if it means doing the ritual in a town that doesn't have a hellmouth.
"Focus on the cemeteries, mostly, but also keep an eye on the funeral homes in case there have been any recent deaths. They'll go after the graves of children that have been around the longest for the longer a body is in the ground the more mystical energy it will absorb, but we believe these demons are mostly trying to draw attention to themselves and won't pass up the fresher graves if possible." Ok, that's just wrong. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have to bury your child, but to have their grave defiled would be so unbelievable hard to deal with. Giles doesn't have to do any more convincing because I really want to kill these demons as soon as possible. "You may have to patrol longer than normal. These demons are known for their cowardice and will try to avoid a confrontation by any means necessary."
"Even if it means staying out super late?" I ask and I don't sound very happy. Trust me, I am not happy about that at all. "They're just lucky it's a Friday because if I had to stay out until four in the morning and then try to get my kids ready for school two hours later they would have gotten my foot up their asses before I decapitate them with my best axe." I hear Giles sigh and I know he wants to say something about my obscene language but he knows it isn't going to do any good. "I should probably start patrol now. These demons sound like the perfect practice dummies for Matthew." We started taking Matthew on patrol with us so he can let out his slayer side. We wanted to wait a little while longer but he made the argument that I started patrolling when I was fifteen and he should get to also.
"Ah, yes, and how is his training coming along?" Giles asks and he couldn't sound more proud right now even if he tried. Last June we flew out to Ohio and Faith and I each gave a speech to the graduating class. Then afterwards at the party Matthew was talking to some of the graduates and bet them each a hundred dollars that none of them could win him in a sparring match. He ended up winning a thousand dollars and Giles wanted to test him for real and it turns out that our boy is stronger than any slayer at the school or in history. Addison was feeling a little left out though and wanted to be tested also. She's almost as strong as Matthew but since she's younger she's not quite there yet. It's a scary thought because it means my daughter is going to be the strongest slayer in the history of all slayers.
"Some days are better than others. He likes training, but you know how fifteen year olds can be, and that so totally wasn't an invitation to comment on what I was like as a teenager," I say in one long breath and I can practically hear the smirk on his face. Ok, so I'll admit, Matthew is a lot like me when I first started training. He mostly just wants to patrol and do weapons training, which are the fun parts, but the other stuff that has to do with meditation and hand-to-hand combat he isn't really interested in. He's like all teenagers. They want to do what's fun and actual hard work is to be avoided at all costs. "But tonight should be fun for him. I don't want him getting used to helping thwart a demon's evil scheme for bringing an end to the world as we know it but this is his first one." Hmmm, I never thought about it like that before. "Should I take a camera? I should probably take a camera."
"If you wish, although I don't think cherishing those types of memories is entirely healthy," he says and there's another kinda tense silence just like there was earlier. All I have to do is be patient until he can't take the silence anymore. Yep…any second now. "Make sure to send me copies." I can't help the little chuckle that slips out. Giles is too funny sometimes. "I should let you get on with patrol now. I have some paperwork that I need to catch up on." He doesn't really have any paperwork. It's paperwork that Andrew is supposed to do but Giles still won't let him touch it. But I'm not going to say anything to him because I don't want to start a fight. I've had a really good day so far and I don't want to end this conversation on a bad note or else it'll ruin my whole night.
"Goodnight Giles, and don't do all of Andrew's homework for him or else he'll never learn to do it on his own." Ok, I couldn't help myself. But he doesn't get too agitated by it like I thought he was going to. Instead, we just say our goodnights and hang up. And now I need to get ready for patrol. Normally, Matthew will just watching the younger ones while Faith and I patrol but since he's going with us tonight the little ones can stay with their Aunt Dawn. They haven't been spending as much time over there as they were over the summer. They love playing with their cousins and since the new school year started a month ago they haven't been able to play with them as much. And of course a huge reason for loving it at their Aunt Dawn's house is their Aunt Dawn spoils them rotten.
"Matthew James, Addison Kristine, Joseph Charles!" I yell out in a sing-song type of way that always makes me smile. I'm in a good mood, so sue me. I put the phone back in its cradle and sit down on the couch. I don't have to say anything else because they know when I use that tone something good is about to happen for them. It's when I sound irritated that they hesitate. Anyway, I look up at the ceiling and listen for them to start moving around. Two out of three start running towards their bedroom doors and then down the hall. I look over at the stairs and see Addison and Joseph pushing and shoving each other because they both want to be first. I know I should at least tell them to stop, but it's so hilarious to see, especially when they start in on the insults.
"Stop pushing, butt-face," Addison says and shoves Joseph hard. He slams up against the banister and has to take a second to get his balance. They've never actually shoved the other down the stairs or anything like that, and they're slayers so their reflexes make them quick enough to reach out and grab the banister before they fall. I know I should do something to stop this but they're siblings, this is just something they do.
"I didn't push, you stupid cow," Joseph spits back and pushes against Addison with his shoulder. She presses up against the banister and Joseph jumps the last five steps. I hate it when they do that. They're going to scuff up my floors. Eleven more years, that's all I have to take and then they'll all be out of my house and I can get new floors put in and not have to worry about them scuffing up the wood. Although, I bet you anything that as soon as they move out Faith is going to get a couple more dogs to fill the gap.
"I'm not a cow. You're the pig who goes back for thirds," she says and they both come running into the living room. They don't always fight like this, they get along most of the time but like I said, they're siblings; this is just what they do. I would tell them to knock it off if it weren't so damn funny. If they were saying all of that stuff loud then I would because I can't just let them get away with stuff like that, but they were saying all of that under their breaths and they think I couldn't hear them. If I weren't a slayer, I wouldn't have been able to hear it. As soon as they see me, Joseph gets a very specific look on his face and I know exactly what's coming.
"Mom, Addison called me a pig and she pushed me on the stairs," he whines and gives me the pout. It's the exact same pout Matthew used to give me when he was this age, and it's the same pout Faith sometimes gives me when she's feeling playful. Or when I'm getting kind of irritated with whatever it is she's doing and she tries to butter up to me, ya know, whichever comes first. Addison looks over at him with a death glare on her face but she doesn't say anything. He's so going to pay for that later. My baby girl can hold a grudge like no one's business and she doesn't wait very long before she collects.
"Addison, don't call your brother names," I tell her because it's my job to say stuff like that but I don't really care. Not at the moment anyway. I know they need to learn to respect each other and all of that stuff, but my mom tried her best and Dawn and I fought like rabid cats. I'm not saying I let them get away with it all the time, but right now I'm just in too good of a mood to deal with their crap. If I start to get into it they'll both start whining and it'll ruin the rest of my day and I don't want that to happen. It's selfish I know, but I haven't been having the best month so I won't this feeling to last for as long as possible. Anyway, I glance up at the ceiling again and concentrate but I don't hear Matthew moving. "Matthew, I need to talk to you right now!"
"He's not here anymore," Addison says and I look over at her. I can't help but let out a little sigh. My baby girl has decided that she wants to start dressing a little more feminine. Meaning instead of wearing nothing but "cool" t-shirts and blue jeans, she wears dresses, and skirts with her "cool" t-shirts, and she wants to hear her hair up all the time instead of just braiding it before she goes to bed to avoid getting tangles. But the wardrobe change hasn't affected the way she plays and I'm going to spend a good hour and a half scrubbing all of that play dough out of those Capri's and that shirt.
"What do you mean he's not here anymore?" Matthew is grounded so he's not supposed to leave the house. He's gotten into the very bad habit of ditching his afternoon classes. He shows up for English, History and Computer Skills in the morning, but he leaves at lunch and doesn't go back to school so he misses Geography, Algebra 2, and Biology. Because he hasn't been showing up or doing his homework he has D-'s in all of those classes and I told him that he's grounded until he has at least a B in all of his classes. Trust me when I tell you that conversation did not go over so well, but if he's going to be a delinquent he has to learn to deal with the consequences.
"I went to his room to ask him if he would help me build a castle with my play dough but he wasn't there. So I went into the kitchen 'cause he eats like a pig but he wasn't there. So I went to the shed to see if he was training but he wasn't there. And he wasn't in the bathroom or the basement or the attic or Joe's room." I hate it when she calls him Joe but there's nothing I can do about it. As long as she doesn't call him Joe Cool I'll learn to deal with it. "And I looked in your room 'cause he likes to steal Mama's motorcycle magazines." Oh that's just freaking great. Faith is going to have to find a new place to hide her porn. "But he wasn't there either. So he isn't here anymore." Great, so much for having a good day. I get up and the little ones are right behind me. As soon as I reach the stairs I can hear them trading verbal blows.
"Don't touch me, tattle tale," Addison hisses. They're trying to be as quiet as possible but I can hear them. It's not funny anymore and I know they can tell that I'm going to be in a very bad mood which is why they're keeping their distance and they're keeping the pushing and shoving to a minimum. My kids are far from stupid, and they know what they can and can't get away with. Well, at least the younger ones do. Matthew has either gone retarded or he just doesn't care about the rules anymore. But I'm holding out a little hope that he was just hiding somewhere so his little sister wouldn't bother him. She still worships the ground he walks on so I don't blame him from wanting some space to just chill out.
"I'm not a tattle tale, you stupid butthead," Joseph whines and I roll my eyes a little bit. I get to the top of the stairs and head straight for Matthew's room. I'm still holding out a little bit of hope that he's in his room. Maybe he was in the bathroom before Addison checked and then went back to his room? That's a very strong possibility. She does stuff like that sometimes when she's looking for Faith or me. I have a feeling that this isn't one of those times. He's been sneaking off a lot and not just from school. It isn't entirely his fault, though. I'm not going to name names, but he's been hanging out with someone who is a bad influence. I've been biting my tongue for months but I don't know how much more I can take.
"Yeah you are. You're a little cry baby, mama's boy, tattle tale," Addison says and I cringe a little. She's pissed and she's not pulling any punches. She's like this with Matthew too. My baby girl has always been iron-willed and lately that's been showing more. She doesn't take shit from anyone, which is a good thing. I don't want her to feel awkward about standing up for herself because girls are stereotypically taught to be subservient. But trust me I've gotten a few calls from her teacher. Addison isn't afraid to stand up to an authority figure if that person is wrong about something and she knows they're wrong. I've been trying to teach her to do it in a way that isn't so…argumentative, but she's short tempered just like Faith so it's difficult. "Are you gonna tell on me again, you little nark."
"Alright, that's enough. Both of you: either stop talking or go to your rooms. If I hear a word out of either one of you you're going to regret it," I tell them and my tone is pretty sharp. They instantly stop talking but I can hear them pushing each other just hard enough to get away with. I swear, these two can be best friends one minute and the next they're doing a pretty scary impersonation of those pit bulls that are trained to fight to the death. But like I've already said a couple of times, I think that's just what siblings are supposed to do. I knock on Matthew's bedroom door a couple of times before I open the door because he gets mad if someone just walks into his room, and sure enough he isn't in here. I think I just reached my breaking point.
"Joseph, go pack the overnight bag, you're going to have a sleep over at Aunt Dawn's," I tell him and he just stands there giving me a strange look. It's understandable. That statement did just come out of nowhere. I'm silently praying that they're not going to start bombarding me with questions but I know that it's going to happen. They're little kids. It's not in the nature of little kids to not ask questions, especially kids that have my genetic makeup. I should've known that when I reproduced I would give birth to little people who talk almost nonstop. But I cut him off before he can start with the questions. "Please, just go do it. Addison, go change into some different clothes. Wear a darker colored shirt and some jeans, ok?"
"Where are you going, Mom?" Joseph asks and he looks really concerned. Out of all my kids he's the most sensitive to other people's moods and changes in the environment. It takes him a long time to get used to changes around the house, and if someone else is in a bad mood it can affect him very easily. Like whenever Matthew gets in trouble at school and the discussion between him, Faith and I gets a little heated, Joseph gets very upset because we're getting angry with each other. Addison isn't really like that. She doesn't like it when we fight, but it doesn't ruin the rest of her day.
"I'm going to go find your brother and then I need to go slaying, ok? Please, go pack your bag," I tell him and I'm trying to be as nice about it as possible. Addison's eyes kind of light up because she already knows that she's going to get to go. I've taken her slaying before and when I did I had her wear darker clothing. Vampires and demons are attracted to brighter colors and I wanted my daughter to be as safe as possible. It isn't just her, I make Matthew dress the same way. Still, it's a little different with Addison because there's always the chance that the vampire we come across could be particularly sick and twisted. "Addison, go change." She runs off without another word but Joseph doesn't move and he has that big pout on his face.
"Why does Addison get to go slaying? I never get to go slaying," he says and his little voice is pulling at my heartstrings in all kinds of wrong ways. He's my baby, ya know? And I hate seeing him feeling so left out. This is an issue that's come up before. He wants to go slaying just like his brother and sister get to. Now I can't be sure of this since I'm the oldest, but doesn't the baby of the family always feel left out? I let out a little sigh and kneel down so I'm face to face with him. It's amazing how much he looks like Matthew. He's like a little clone or something except personality wise they're really different. Matthew was always bouncing off the walls and Joseph is way mellower.
"Sweetie, we've talked about this. What did Mama and I tell you about slaying?" I ask him and he looks down at his feet. I'm getting a total déjà vu type of moment from when I would watch the movie Bambi when I was a kid. Remember whenever Thumper would get into trouble and his mother was always like "and what did your father tell you about…?" and then Thumper would have to recite whatever it was his father said about the situation? It was always really cute but I cannot believe I've become that mother. Well, not really because I'm not a rabbit but you know what I mean. Anyway, Joseph lets out a little sigh and looks up at my face.
"You said I can't go slaying 'til my age reaches double digits," he says and I have the bite the insides of my cheeks to stop myself from smiling. He's just so damn cute right now I want to hug him close to me and never let him go. I can't do that though because then he'll never learn how to deal with this stuff and I don't want to raise a kid that doesn't know how to deal with their emotions. Plus he'll grow up to be that creepy single guy who can't get a date and still lives with his mother even though he's thirty-five. I definitely don't want to raise my kid to be Buster Bluth. "But it's not fair, Mom. I'm a slayer just like Addison and Matt, and I'm strong like them. I'm strong like Donkey Kong." Remind me to smack Faith in the back of head for saying that in front of him.
"I know you're strong, but you're not strong enough to fight vampires yet, ok? When you're older you can go patrolling," I tell him and he looks really sad again. Great, I don't want my baby to be sad even though there's nothing I can really do about this. He isn't old enough to go slaying, those are the rules and he needs to get used to them. But seeing him so upset is breaking my heart. "How about this, tomorrow after your sister's recital we'll go to the park and then have dinner at PJ's, just you and me. How does that sound?" He thinks about it for a second and his eyes kind of light up and he gets a smile on his face. I feel like I've been manipulated but I don't really care right now.
"That sounds fair," he says and runs off to his room. Oh yeah, I was totally just conned into taking him out to the park and then taking him to dinner, but like I said: I don't care. Spending time as a family is important but having one-on-one time with your kids is important too and I'm always worried that I don't do that enough with them. Maybe that's why Matthew has been acting this way lately. Does he feel ignored so he's seeking attention by acting out and breaking the rules? Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't think that's true at all. I know my son and if he wanted our attention he would join a sports team or talk over everyone else at the dinner table. No, there's no excuse for what he's been doing lately and now that I'm thinking about it I'm starting to get really pissed off all over again.
"Ok, Mom, we're ready," Addison says and she sounds so excited. When did she go into Joseph's room? I guess I was really lost in my thoughts if I didn't notice that. She probably went in there to help him. He can pack the overnight bag by himself because he knows exactly what's supposed to go in there: some fresh clothes for tomorrow, pajamas, his toothbrush, his comb, and one of his favorite toys that he always takes with him whenever he has a sleepover at one of his relatives' houses. He knows what's supposed to go in there but most of the time it takes him forever to pack. I have no idea why, maybe it's because he's little, I don't know. Most of the time Addison will help him so that it doesn't take so long and I guess that's what she did today, which I'm grateful for. My patience is definitely running on low.
"Alright, let's go," I tell them and the walk down the stairs isn't filled with pushing and shoving like it normally would be. Nope, they're being good because they have something to lose. They know if they act up, I'll ask Lily to patrol and they'll have to stay home with a very grumpy me so now they're on their best behavior. Well, sort of. They're still teasing each other a little bit but I guess there's only so much I can ask for, ya know? Anyway, as soon as we reach the bottom of the stairs, the front door opens. My breath stops in my throat and I'm hoping that it's Matthew about to walk through the door with a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why he thought it was a good idea to sneak out of the house in the middle of the day. As soon as the person walks in my shoulders slump a little in disappointment.
"Hey, what's going on?" Faith asks and she looks a little confused. Any other day I'd think she looks adorable and want to kiss away the little wrinkle she gets between her eyes whenever her eyebrows knit together in confusion. Right now, though, I'm way too agitated to think of doing something lovey-dovey. She takes her eyes off the kids and the backpack and she looks at my face and she can instantly tell that I'm not in a good mood. I can tell she knows that because the confused look is gone and now she looks a little concerned but also like she's trying to walk through a field littered with landmines and not get blown up.
"Mom said I get to go patrolling tonight!" Addison says and she sounds so excited that I almost feel guilty for being so pissed off. I know that sounds weird, but it's a very weird and complex emotion. Now Faith looks confused again. We agreed to talk about it with each other first before promising the kids we'd talk them patrolling, and I kind of skipped that part altogether. It really isn't that big of a deal but there's a forty percent chance that it's going to cause a fight. I really hope it isn't going to cause a fight because I have enough on my plate right now without Faith being pissed off at me. I know that sounds a little selfish but right now I can't really force myself to care about how it sounds.
"She did, huh?" Faith asks but that's directed at me, not Addison. I hate it when she does that, it's so passive aggressive. Ok, so I'm like the queen of being passive aggressive but that doesn't mean I like it when other people do it to me. "I thought we agreed to talk about it first, B. What happened to being all adult about it?" I have to give her credit, even though she looks really pissed she doesn't sound it. Over the years she's gotten a lot better at controlling her emotions, especially in front of the kids. Speaking of which, they can tell something is up and they're being really quiet right now. I guess this is what's called the calm before the storm.
"Giles called earlier and there's a group of low level demons stirring up trouble and they're the perfect thing for practice," I tell her and she doesn't look as mad now. She's still irritated that I didn't talk with her about it first, that I can see clearly in her eyes, but she's trying to control her anger so her face is a little more relaxed. Today must have been a good day for her at the shop or else she wouldn't be this in control right now. And trust me you have no idea how grateful I am for that right now. "I was going to take Matthew with us but I'll give you three guesses where he is right now and the first two don't count."
"Please tell me you're joking," I tell her but it was pointless. I can tell by the pissed off look on her face and how tense her shoulders are that she's far from joking. That kid has been turning into her more and more every day and it's really started to get on my fucking nerves. But I'm not going to bring that up 'cause I really don't want to get into a fight right now. I had a pretty awesome day at work and don't wanna ruin that feeling. Anyway, she lets out an irritated sigh and shakes her head no. She's been having a hard time with Mattie acting like this. I don't know why but it's really getting to her. She's gotten better about talking to me about the stuff that bothers her but she won't open up about this. I don't wanna push the issue and make her feel like I'm trying to force it out of her, though, so I've left it alone for the most part.
"He snuck out his window. I don't know how long he's been gone," she says and lets out another big sigh. I think I know why this is getting to her so damn much. She used to do shit like that all the time when she was a teenager. She would sneak out late at night to patrol and to se Angel when they were still hot and heavy. Now Mattie is starting to do it to us and B knows what it's like to get a taste of her own medicine or whatever that stupid saying is. "I don't understand why he can't follow the simple rules. Go to school, get good grades, and don't sneak out of the house, especially when you're already grounded. Those aren't too hard to follow, right?" I would answer but anything I say is gonna be hella sarcastic and I don't wanna make things worse. I reach out and gentle rub her shoulders. Damn, she's so fuckin tense. I guess I better help her out since that's what good wives do.
"How about this: I'll go find Mattie and bring him back and you finish getting ready for patrol?" I ask and she gives me a weird look. I slowly run my eyes up and down her body but it's not for the reasons I usually do that. I get a little smirk on my face and she gets a look like she's anticipating something totally smart assed and possibly uncalled for. "They might be low level demons but we're still gonna need weapons." Yeah, that's right, Blondie here was about to walk out the door with nothing but the clothes on her back. B's one of the most resourceful people I know, you don't get to be one of the longest living slayers ever without resourcefulness, but she can be so dumb sometimes. But she's my B and I love her no matter what. The look she gets on her face when she realizes I'm right is so fuckin funny, but I hold back my laughter 'cause that'll just make her mad.
"Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot weapons," she says and she sounds a little freaked out. I know exactly why and I'm doing my best not to feel freaked too. She was gonna walk out the door to go patrolling with no weapons and she was going to take Addy with her. Even if these demons aren't that big of a threat shit can happen and someone could get seriously hurt. What if they ran into a pack of vamps or one of the demons from the woods decided to take a midnight stroll around town? Yeah, now you see why I got so pissed when she said she was gonna take Addy with her without even talking to me about it first. She's the one who said we should always decide to take one of the kids together and now she's breaking her own damn rule. "I think I'm losing my mind." I lean in and give her a sweet kiss on the lips to try and make her feel better. She practically purrs so I'd say it worked a little.
"That's alright. The asylum's not far from here. I'd make sure to visit on weekends," I tell her and she gives me another little slap on the ass. It never fails to amaze me how we still joke around with each other like this. It's like after all these years together we've matured and grown and we're almost completely different people from the ones we were even just ten years ago. But we're also immature as fuck and have so much fun getting under each other's skin. Even in the middle of all this shit; Mattie takin off and these demons trying to end the world, we can still joke around like there's nothing else going on. It's a really great feeling and I hope I never lose it 'cause that'll be a really sad and fucked up day.
"Can you drop Joseph off at Dawn's before you go looking for Matthew?" she asks and she sounds like she's almost all better. She doesn't sound pissed and she doesn't sound sad, but she doesn't sound happy like she did on the phone today. Yeah, sometimes during the day I'll start to miss B so I'll call her just to talk about nothin in particular just so I can hear her voice. You wanna keep your mouth shut about it or you want your face rearranged? Yeah, that's what I thought. "I told him he could have a sleepover since we probably won't be back until really late." I was wondering why he had a backpack with him. We both decided that Joey's too young to take out on patrol, and that's a rule neither one of us would break, especially without talking it over first.
"Yeah, I can do that. I'll drop Mattie off there too. Havin the house to himself would just be a reward." I can't believe he took off like that. He's been ditching school but he hasn't been sneaking out of the house. At least, not that we know of. Great, now I'm gonna drive myself fuckin crazy wondering if he's taking off in the middle of the night then sneaking back into his bed before we wake him up for school. I knew having a teenage boy was gonna be hard 'cause of all the hormones and shit, but I never thought he'd rebel like this. Alright, so the thought crossed my mind a couple of times but I thought he'd just turn into a slacker, not a rule breaker. But whatever, not much we can do about it 'cause it's not like we can control his mind. I give her another sweet kiss on the lips and she lets out a little sigh. You have no fuckin idea how much I love that sound.
"Come on, Joey, I'm gonna take you over to Aunt Dawn's," I say when the kiss ends and B gives me a little smile. I know that smile all too well. That smile has a promise behind it and now I really wanna get this patrol over with so I can come back here and really take B's mind off of everything the right way. "Addy, help Mom get ready for patrol, ok?" I try not to sound too bossy 'cause that will put the kids in a crappy mood faster than almost anything else. Going to bed early is the number one thing that will make them whine and bitch. Sometimes I can't really help it, though. I get into "slayer mode" and I turn into a little bit of a hard-ass. Addy understands it a little now that she's older, but Joey's still too young to really get why I act like I do sometimes.
"Mama," he says and runs over to me. Great, he sounds all whiney. Please don't let this be a night when all he wants is to be around Buffy. He's getting better about it and he doesn't follow her around night and day anymore, but there are some days when I try to do something for him and he whines 'cause he wants Buffy to do it. It's a fucked up situation 'cause not only is it really fuckin annoying when he whines, but it makes me feel rejected. You have no idea how fucked up it is to feel jealous of your wife 'cause your own kid doesn't want you to hug him or help him tie his shoes or help him out of the bathtub or tuck him in at night. I think I might be getting a little bit of a complex. "How come I never get to go slaying? I'm a strong slayer too." Poor boy feels left out. I feel bad for him but he's way too fuckin young to put at risk.
"I know you're strong, Moose," I tell him and open the door. He walks out in front of me like I wanted him too and I let out a little sigh. Dawn's house is only a couple blocks from here and I have a pretty good idea where Mattie is so I don't need to take the car. Why waste gas when you can walk on a clear night like this? Besides it'll give me a chance to think about what I'm gonna tell him when I see him. Otherwise I might over react and shit. "You're strong like Donkey Kong." I said that loud enough for B to hear and sure enough as I shut the door I hear her let out a very annoyed sigh. She hates it when I say that 'cause he's starting to say it all the time and it really bugs her. And if you haven't noticed, I like annoying B a little. It keeps her on her toes. "But you can't go slaying yet. You haven't had enough training." That's only part of the reason.
"But it's not fair," he says and damn if he didn't sound like me when I was little. I used to beg my dad to get me a puppy but my mom didn't want one. Guess she didn't want any more responsibility. She already had enough trouble trying to keep the neighbors from seeing her throw out the empty booze bottles. "I'm the only one that doesn't get to go slaying." That's true, we've taken Mattie and Addy slaying before. Not at the same time 'cause we like to be able to keep our focus on one kid at a time, but maybe when they're older we'll go on family slaying outings or something. Oh man, if the fuckwads at the old council could see us now. They used to preach to us about slayers being loners and how it's not safe to have friends or family 'cause they become a liability and demons and shit will use that against us.
"I know you are, little man, but that's just the way it is," I tell him and take a look around. The vamps and demons would be fuckin crazy to come this close to our house but it's happened before. Most of 'em know that if they come near the place I live with my kids they're gonna get tortured way before I kill 'em and put their body somewhere kinda public to leave a message to the rest of the demons. Yeah, I know it's kinda sick and totally fucked but that Ciaos demon had it coming. That fucker was so nasty too. I didn't think I was ever gonna get that slime outta my jacket. Some demons we don't mind havin around 'cause they're not as evil as the rest. Like Clem. I guess he and B used to get along before Sunnydale became a crater and about eight months ago he stopped by for a little visit. "Your bones still aren't big enough and they might get broken." We figure at ten they're strong enough to handle fighting a vampire or weak demon.
"But Mama, I drink milk and eat vegetables every day and Mom said if I do that then I'll be strong enough to go slaying," he says and he isn't whining anymore but he sounds a little pissed off. I guess he feels like he's been lied to and I can't blame him for feeling that way 'cause I totally would too. I hate it when Buffy uses slaying as a bribe to get him to do stuff 'cause this is what happens. He gets it into his head that if he does it he'll get to go and then we have to deal with the whining when we tell him no. I'm gonna have to talk to her about that. Only, ya know, in a nice way or she'll think I'm telling her what to do instead of asking and that'll cause a fight. She's kind of sensitive about that stuff.
"That stuff will help make you strong enough to go slaying but you're not old enough yet," I tell him and we're finally at Dawn's house. It was only a five minute walk but it felt longer. Not just 'cause Joey is being a little whine tit but because I really wanna go find Mattie. He broke more than just the school's rules of not leaving campus at lunch until you're a senior and all that bullshit. Now he's breaking my rules and sneaking off. He didn't even have the decency to wait until we were asleep. He's got a lot of balls, I'll give him that. "And you get to have a sleep over at Aunt Dawn's, so stop whining." He lets out a little huff and I can't help but roll my eyes. I think I need to start taking him with me to the shop on weekends. He's starting to act way too much like Buffy and not in a good way. Just don't tell her I said that or I'll have my ass handed to me.
Huh, that's weird. There's a car in the driveway that I don't recognize. I hope she isn't busy doing something important. I probably should've called first. She and that boyfriend of hers are starting to get more serious so I really fuckin hope we're not interrupting anything. I don't need to get chewed out by Dawn 'cause I'm being a cock-block by askin her to watch my kid. That would really fuckin suck 'cause even though I'm a slayer Dawn scares the shit outta me. I know it sounds retarded but she can be really fuckin intimidating when she wants to be. She gets that from her mom, same as her sister. Anyway, I ring the doorbell and Joey holds onto my hand. I look down at him and smile but he isn't looking at me. He has a thing about waiting for someone to answer the door. It makes him really nervous for some reason. When the door opens and Dawn sees us she doesn't look irritated or annoyed. She's got a big smile on her face and I think she's a little drunk.
"Hey Faith," she says with a big dopey smile. "Hey little big man." She leans down and wraps Joey up in a big hug. She starts tickling his ribs and he now he's squealing like you wouldn't believe. He's just as bad as Buffy when it comes to being tickled. It's one of my favorite things about them. She leaves a kiss on his check and stands back up. I get a little whiff of her and I can't help but roll my eyes. I take it back she's not drunk, just in a really good mood from getting fucked already. She's lucky I'm the one who dropped Joey off or Buffy would be all over her ass right now with questions. It doesn't matter how old Dawn is or the fact that she's a mom too, B's never gonna think she's old enough to be having sex. I guess it's just a sister thing. "So what's up? Did Giles call you too and warn about the end of the world as we know it?" I can't help but chuckle at that.
"Yeah, something like that. The way B said he was acting it sounds like he wants us patrolling yesterday." She laughs a little and shakes her head 'cause he knows how Giles can get whenever there's something demony going on. He still thinks this shit is a big deal but for us it's just another Friday night in Lincoln. Well, not so much here 'cause we don't live on a hellmouth but if I had money for every time the world was about to end I'd never have to work again. Man that would be fuckin sweet to never have to deal with retarded suppliers ever again. If only. "But the demons aren't that big of a deal so we're gonna take Addy with us so she can get in some practice. You think you can take Joey for the night?"
"Sure, that's not a problem. Eric is spending the night tonight," she says with a dreamy smile on her face. Oh man, she's got it bad. She's really fuckin lucky B isn't here or she'd be getting an earful, that's for fuckin sure. She moves out of the way and Joey goes barreling through the doorway and runs into the house. He loves spending time with his cousins 'cause they don't make him play games he doesn't really wanna play like his sister does. He whined about wanting to go patrol and tomorrow when he's picked up he's gonna whine because he wants to stay. Kids are weird like that, and he's a really weird one.
"Think you can make some room for Mattie?" I ask and she gets another confused look on her face 'cause Mattie's old enough to stay home by himself. Well, I guess in theory he is 'cause we used to be able to do that, but since he's been sneaking off like a little punk he can't be left by himself. I'm not really afraid of him sneaking out while we're gone 'cause that would be retarded. It's who he would invite over that I'm worried about. I know you're probably thinkin I'm paranoid or whatever, but you have no idea how bad it's getting so why don't you keep your snobby judgments to yourself? "He snuck off and we don't wanna leave him home alone. Having the house to yourself isn't exactly punishment, ya know?"
"Ah," she says and she gets this look on her face that I can't really describe. I guess she's remembering all the times she snuck out of her bedroom when she was a teenager. Things were different for her though. She was doing it because she was acting out for attention and all that shit because B came back from the dead and didn't want to be alive. Mattie's doing it just to do it and it's really starting to piss me off. Alright, so I guess it's a little more complicated than that and I'll admit I used to do almost the same thing when I was his age. "Yeah, he can stay over. And since he's being a little rule breaker, I'll make sure he doesn't get any hot cocoa with the rest of us." I can't help laugh at that.
"Brat, he's not five. I really don't think he's going to care if you don't give him any cocoa," I tell her and she gets this look on her face like I have no idea what I'm talking about. Usually, I hate it when people look at me like that because it's right before they say something really fuckin patronizing. Ok, so not really people, it's mostly my dad that does it. But is it so fuckin wrong to want to be treated like an adult every once in a while when I'm around him? He still thinks I'm eight or something and it gets really fuckin old really fast. I don't say anything to him though 'cause I think that would just make matters worse. I think that's how it is with all parents. It doesn't matter how grown up you are you're still their kid and they treat you like it 'cause they don't know how else to treat you.
"Hey, my hot cocoa is awesome. I have a secret ingredient," she says and gives me that "Dawn look". Ya know the one, when she crosses her arms over her chest and looks like she's the most badass person on the planet. She's been doin that shit ever since she was a kid and it's the reason why I call her brat, 'cause she totally looks like one right now. All I do is raise my eyebrow 'cause I know she knows that's my silent way of asking a question. We know each other pretty fuckin well, that's for sure. We bonded a lot back in Shasta Lake after the collapse of Sunnydale. When B was busy with the Scoobies planning the future of the council Dawn and I were in the apartment watching cartoons and eating Cocoa Puffs. "A little bit of chocolate liqueur goes a long way." What the fuck? "Oh my God, you should see your face! I only put the liqueur in mine." What a boozehound.
"Whatever, just don't be getting drunk in front of my kid," I tell her and she smacks on me the arm a little bit. She may joke around about it but she'd never get smashed in front of my kids. Mostly 'cause she knows I'd hand her ass to her if I ever found out. "Well I better get goin. Every second I'm here is a second Mattie is out there doin God knows what, ya know?" She nods her head a little and she has a guilty look on her face. I guess that's because she used to sneak out late at night too. "See ya Brat. Bye Joey, I love you!" I yell as loud as I can 'cause who knows where he is right now. He yells it back but he sounds distracted. I guess he and his cousins are already playing a game or something. Anyway, Dawn says bye and I walk off.
I know exactly where to go, it's not like this kid has a lot of hiding places or anything. This town is really small and he didn't steal B's car so he couldn't have gone to Vegas 'cause the buses stopped running about an hour ago. Then again, B said she doesn't know how long he's been gone. Fuck, son of a bitch, now I have to worry about him running off to Vegas and getting into a lot of trouble. I don't think my son would get involved in anything dangerous like drugs or whatever, but you never know. When I was a teenager, I did all sorts of shit. But it was different. I wasn't taking drugs just for something to do. I was trying to escape my shitty life. I don't think Mattie would do that 'cause he doesn't have a shitty life. If he does decide to experiment, I know exactly who B is gonna blame it on, so let's hope he doesn't try anything.
It doesn't take me long to get to his normal hangout spot. Like I said, this is a pretty small town and I was walking really fast. I wanna get him back to Dawn's so I can go slaying. I think after the day I had beating up on some scumbags trying to end the world is just what I need to get rid of this frustration. Well, that and taking B home afterwards and having my way with her. Or letting her have her way with me. I kinda feel like getting fucked tonight. It's a feeling I don't get often 'cause I like being on top but after dealing with all this bullshit I just want someone else to be in charge, ya know? And I trust B completely to do that without hurting me. Well, a little bit of pain is alright but she knows when to stop.
Anyway, I walk up to the little clubhouse that Mattie built with his friend when they were like, twelve or some shit like that. If I knew this was going to turn into a different type of clubhouse, I never would have let him build it. Ok, I would have let him build it, but I would have hesitated and I wouldn't have asked my dad to help. That's probably why this thing has lasted so long, it's basically a miniature house without the furniture or electricity or running water. What the place does is give Mattie and his friends a quiet place to hang out and be alone. That's not the problem. I don't care if he wants to hang out with just his friends. A kid needs time with just their buddies, ya know? But what he's doing right now is completely different.
I walk up as quiet as I can 'cause I wanna see what he snuck out of the house to do. I really don't think it's going to be anything bad like B keeps thinking, but at the same time he is a teenage boy so you never know. I duck down and look through the little window by the door. He should have sensed me by now 'cause his slayer senses are really fuckin strong, but I guess he's too distracted. And here is the reason why my boy has been breaking all the fuckin rules lately. He's sitting on the floor with his back to the wall since the clubhouse is too small for furniture. He has his arm wrapped around his girlfriend and they're making out like there's no fuckin tomorrow. That's right ladies and gents. My boy has been acting this crazy because he's in love. It all makes sense now, huh? He isn't just some hormonal teenager acting out or whatever.
And what young thing has got my boy totally under her spell? Brooklyn Andrews, the slayer from Cleveland that was killing men on the street. Xander and Lily moved here to Lincoln a while back so now slayers from the school can come here during the school year instead of just the summer when I have time to train them. Giles thought it would be good for her to spend some time with Lily since she's really good with the rogue types. Ever since she came here they've been head over heels. At first Mattie didn't tell us they were dating, but then I caught them making out at the training center and they were so busted. I think it's sweet that they're together but B doesn't think so. She doesn't think Brooke is good enough for Mattie, but I think she'd think that about any girl he liked. Now, if I can just get them apart without causing a big scene. Yeah fuckin right. I'd have better luck pulling a grizzly bear's teeth with my bare hands and no anesthetic.
I get up from my little hiding spot and practically kick the fuckin door in. They jump back away from each other and they both look like they're ready to kill. They're slayers, I wouldn't expect anything less. I am kinda surprised that they didn't feel me sneakin up on 'em but they were caught in a moment. Sometimes it's hard to pay attention to shit like that when all you think about is the girl in your arms or the guy with his arms around you. I never really got like that with guys 'cause I just used 'em, but I get like that all the time with B. We get caught making out in the kitchen more then you'd think. The kids make fun of us but they always got a little smirk when they tease 'cause deep down I know they like seeing me and B all touchy feely 'cause it means we're happy. Anyway, back to what's going on right fuckin now.
"Hey, I didn't know you two were having a party. Next time you should send out some e-vites," I tell 'em and I sound like such a fuckin smart ass. I walk in but I have to duck down because this place was built for twelve year olds so the ceiling doesn't go very high. I walk over to their little stereo and shut it off. Mattie looks so pissed and Brooke looks embarrassed but I really don't give a shit. I'm glad she has some humility left in her. After living out on the streets and doing god knows what with god knows who I woulda thought she'd be hardened more than that. Kinda like I was when I was teenager. Only, I was really ashamed, I just did everything I could to hide it and act proud.
"Alright, here's how this shit is gonna go," I say and I don't sound like I'm joking around anymore. They crossed a line and they need to know that. I don't want my boy sneaking out at night to see this chick. I don't care how awesome she is or how great of a kisser she is, his grades are slipping and I'm not gonna let him fuck up his life for a high school sweetheart. Not no way, not no how. "Brooke, tomorrow I want you up at the ass crack of dawn and we're going to do a little one-on-one training. If you have time to sneak out of the training house then we aren't working you hard enough. Mattie, you're sleeping over at Aunt Dawn's tonight and tomorrow when I pick you up, you aren't leaving the house for a month except to go to school." He looks pissed, but he doesn't say anything. I guess he isn't so stupid after all.
"You're both going to stop this sneaking around bullshit. You're dating and that's great, but that doesn't mean you get to do whatever the fuck you want whenever you want. When Matt's punishment is over you guys can go on date's and shit just like all the other boys and girls at your school, but it's only gonna be on the weekends." Brooke looks down at her lap and she looks pretty sad. I get it, I really do. She finally found someone she can trust and she wants to be with him all the time, but this shit has got to stop. She's fucking up my boy's life even though she doesn't know it. That's why I'm not being mean to her or bitching her out more than what's called for, but this shit has got to end. I look Mattie dead in the eyes for this next part. "If you two keep sneaking off to see each other and if you don't stop ditching school and get your fucking grades up then Brooke is going back to Cleveland."
"You can't do that!" he yells and stands up. He's a little taller than I am so he has to duck down too, but I don't care how tall he is there's no way this kid is ever gonna intimidate me. He's my son, I know how to handle him even if he is wicked strong. "She's here because she needs to be trained by someone better than the teachers at the school. You can't just send her back and let her rot at that place because you're mad at me." Ok, so I wasn't expecting that. I thought I was going to get an ear full of 'you can't send her back, we love each other and nothing is going to change that!' or some melodramatic shit like that. He actually cares about her training and rehab so that's good. I can use that.
"I can and I fuckin will if you don't get your shit together. You think this is the only training house for slayers that need extra help? There's four more all over the world and all it's gonna take is a phone call to Grandpa Giles and she'll be in Tokyo or Italy or New York or Sydney." My voice sounds so fuckin sharp and I hate it. I hate that this conversation has to happen because I hate giving out ultimatums like this. "Look, I don't want to be the bad guy here, but you guys have been fuckin up. I want you to be able to see each other and be happy but you have to get good grades and you have to stop breaking the rules we set up for you. We didn't raise you this way, Matt, and I'm not gonna let you slip now." He doesn't look as pissed but he's not gonna be happy anytime soon, that's for fuckin sure.
"I'll wait outside for a minute so you two can say goodnight, ok?" I ask and they nod their heads. Brooke stands up and she doesn't have to duck down. That girl is so damn short. Mattie just had to pick someone from the Lollipop Guild to date. Well, it's not like I have room to talk. I married someone who's almost too short to ride some of the roller coasters at the Adventuredome because she barely reaches the 'must be this tall to ride' line. Anyway, so I walk outside to give them a little privacy. I may not know for sure what young love feels like because I never had it, but I know that the first few months with B was really fuckin intense and if someone tried to separate us like I'm doing with them I probably would've broken their fuckin arms. But that doesn't really matter. I'm not saying they can't see each other or anything like that. They just gotta start behaving and everything will go back to being peachy. Here's hoping.
Sometimes I forget just how frustrating Faith can be. We've been together for so long that all of her little habits I used to think were really irritating, like drinking orange juice out of the container or not cleaning off the toilet seat after she trims her pubes, I just sort of got used to. But the way she's acting right now is so annoying and I have a very strong feeling she's doing it on purpose. I know she likes to mess with me. Hell, sometimes she still plays pranks on me like she used to do all the time when we were younger. Just the other day she put a fake spider in my cereal box and I almost had a heart attack. But what she's doing right now is more annoying than her pranks or bad habits.
"Babe, it's not that big of a deal," she says and twirls her stake around like a drumstick. She totally stole that move from me, but I'm not going to say anything because we have more important things to talk about right now. Like the fact that she won't take this conversation seriously. We've been patrolling for over an hour and a half now and she's been acting like this the whole time. She was a little more serious the first fifteen minutes but only because she thought something was following us. I scoff a little and she just gives me a sideways glance. She hates it when I do that, which is why I did it.
"What? Of course it's a big deal," I tell her and I don't sound happy at all. I don't sound pissed off or anything because I'm not trying to start a fight. I just wish she would agree with me at least a little bit, but no. She's trying to be all cool and laid back about this and it's really aggravating. I'm not sure if she's acting like this because she's in total denial or if she's trying to keep up that stupid reputation she's been trying to hold onto lately. Either way it's really starting to get on my nerves. "Our son is acting like a little delinquent and it's all that girl's fault. She has him under some kind of spell." I wouldn't put it passed her to use magic. I think I'm going to have Willow look into it.
"Yeah, it's called being pretty," Faith says and I can tell by her tone she thinks I'm kind of crazy for acting this way. So maybe I am a little crazy for freaking out this much, but it's my oldest son we're talking about here. He's going to grow up to be someone really important and powerful and what he doesn't need is a major distraction getting in the way. And this girl is a major distraction. His grades are slipping because he's been sneaking off to be with her. How is he going to get into a good college with a C average? "Come on, B, we both know you're really just pissy 'cause he gets this crap from you." I cannot believe she just said that! I smack her on the arm and she looks over at me like I just called her the 'c word'. "Ow, cut it with the domestic violence."
"Oh please, we both know you totally deserved that." She rolls her eyes and then slowly scans the area. "Besides, what I used to do and what he's doing now are completely different." She looks over at me with a raised eyebrow and a cocky half smirk and I know exactly what that means. She's questioning what I just said and possibly my sanity. "I was the only slayer at the time, Faith. There was a good chance I wasn't going to make it see twenty-four. When you're living on borrowed time like that you get to break the rules a little. But Matthew isn't the only slayer so he doesn't have an excuse to break the rules." She nods her head a little and I kinda can't believe she just agreed with me. That's the first time she's done that all night.
"Mom," Addison says and she sounds totally annoyed. I look over at her and her shoulders look really tense. Yep, she's definitely annoyed. To be honest I sort of forgot she was with us. She's been unusually quiet the whole time. I guess she's been focusing on looking for the demons like I should be too, but I just can't make my mind focus. "Demons are trying to end the world." Damn, she sounds so serious. I have to bite the insides of my cheeks to stop myself from laughing. This is the first time we've taken Addison slaying for more than just newbie vampires, so she's being very serious. Giles would be proud. "I think that's more important than brother sneaking off to kiss a girl." I look over at Faith with a glare so strong it could probably burn the skin off a hellhound.
"Faith, you didn't tell me they were kissing," I say and now I sound pissed. She gives me a look that I can't really describe but I know it means she thinks I'm totally crazy. I can't help but be this way. I worry about Matthew all the time and if he's sneaking off to make out with that girl then just imagine what else they could be doing. Ew, no I don't want to imagine what else they could be doing. I think I need to have a talk with my son tomorrow. I know the last thing a kid wants to do is talk with their parent about…this subject, but I think it needs to happen. "Why didn't you tell me they were kissing?" She keeps giving me that look and I think I might smack her on the arm again.
"B, they're teenagers and they're dating. That kinda goes without saying," she says and ok she totally has a point. I just don't like the thought of my son sneaking off to see this girl when he's in trouble. Yeah, if it's a Saturday night and they're out on a date then I expect kissing to take place, but the majority of the time whenever he sees her is when he sneaks off. And they always go to that little clubhouse he and his friends built when they were younger. Is he ashamed of her or something? Does he not want to be seen with her in public or is it the other way around? Oh my god, that's probably it. She's ashamed of my son and doesn't want to be seen with him. What a little hussy.
"B, calm down," Faith says and grabs onto my arm. We stop walking and she turns me until I'm facing her. She looks really concerned and I don't blame her. My emotions have been all over the place tonight. Ok, so not really all over the place, they've been in one place and getting worse as time goes by. She reaches out and gently strokes my cheek. "The vein in your neck is gonna pop." I take in a deep breath and wait a couple seconds before exhaling very slowly. Now that I'm paying attention my heart is beating very quickly. "Addy, why don't you go patrol over by that tree?" It wasn't a question and Addison knows it. She isn't happy about it, though, because she's mumbling under her breath and she only does that when she's really mad.
"Babe," she says in that voice that kinda drives me crazy. It sounds like she's talking to a cornered animal that's either about to make a run for it or bite her face off in self defense. She gets that voice with me whenever she thinks I'm about to have some kind of breakdown. I guess considering how I've been acting tonight I shouldn't be surprised she thinks I'm going to flip out at any second. "This isn't just about Mattie sneakin off to be with his girlfriend, is it?" Great, I hate it when she gets all…insightful; mostly because she's right a lot of the time. "What else is bothering you?" She wraps her arms around my waist and looks into my eyes. I'm trying as hard as I can to avoid her eye contact but I can't help myself.
"I just feel like I'm not doing a good job as a parent. I've stopped the world from ending, I can do a roundhouse kick like nobody's business, but I can't get through to him. A part of me feels like we should just leave him alone. It's a parent's job to raise their kid to be strong and independent and now that he's being independent we're punishing him for it. At the same time I'm frustrated and angry because he isn't listening to us and his grades are slipping and we can't even keep him in the house when he's grounded. How the hell are we supposed to stop him from doing what he wants when that's what we've taught him to do?" I feel out of breath after saying all of that and it must show because I can tell Faith is trying not to smile.
"B," she says and wraps her arms around my waist. I can tell by the sound of her voice that she's trying not to laugh at me. With the way I'm feeling right now if she did laugh at me it would probably start a fight. And by probably I mean I would push her off of me, and storm off and not talk to her for the rest of the night. But she's making an effort so I don't get mad. I did sound like men in white coats are going to jump out of the bushes with giant butterfly nets and try to drag me off to the insane asylum. "I think you're over-thinking this too much. He's not trying at act independent. He's a teenage boy who wants to spend some alone time with a pretty teenage girl. He's stubborn, he always has been. That's why he's being such a douche." She's right. He does take after her in the stubborn department. "Are you ok now? You're starting to freak Addy out." Oh whatever. I know exactly why she wants me calm.
"Yeah, right," I say and roll my eyes. She gets this confused look on her face and I can't really blame her. I'm acting totally different now and maybe she thinks I am going completely crazy. "You're just trying to make sure you're going to get laid tonight." She gets this look on her face like she's completely shocked and can't believe I would say something like that. It only lasts about five seconds and I guess she decided to drop the act. She gets a little smirk on her face and I can't help but laugh. "You are so predictable." The smirk on her face gets a little bigger and my stomach gets a fluttery feeling. I know what that smirk means. Well, I know what it could mean, but I highly doubt she's going to push me up against that tree and have her way with me. Any other night she probably would, but Addison is here.
"Not totally predictable, B," she says and she starts to lightly kiss my neck. Ok, I'll admit, I totally didn't expect her to do that. She gently sucks on my pulse point and I can't help the little moan that escapes the back of my throat. I hate that she has so much control over my body, but that's the way it's always been between us and I hope it never changes. I feel her smile against my skin and she pulls back and gives me a little wink. "See? I'm totally spontaneous. It helps keep ya young." She gives me a slap on the ass and before I can retaliate she jumps away from me and jogs off towards Addison. She's safe for now, but I'll have revenge on her later. Oh yes, Faith, you will pay.
"Mom, hurry up or we're going to leave without you!" I hear Addison yell and I can't help the little smile that crosses my face. I know you probably think she sounded a little bitchy but she wasn't. She sounded like she was trying hard not to laugh and it's because Faith is tickling her armpits. Addison has very ticklish armpits and the sound of her voice when she's trying not to laugh always puts a smile on my face. Especially now because they're starting to get along a lot better than they used to. Addison and Faith's relationship was always…rocky at best, but they haven't been fighting as much over the last two or three months. When they do argue it gets pretty intense but it hasn't been happening as often which is great.
"Wait for me, you two," I yell back and run after them. I can't believe they were walking off without me. They're too much alike for their own good. That's probably why they have such a hard time getting along, but when they do get along they're just like this. They act all buddy-buddy and sometimes that isn't a good thing for me. When I catch up with them Faith has a big smirk on her face and Addison is trying not to laugh. I tickle her ribs and she lets out this really girly giggle and it puts a big smile on my face. "I can't believe you just left me back there all by myself. What if one of the demons attacked me?" I might as well mess with her a little bit. She looks up at me and one of her eyebrows is raised. That is a Faith face if I ever saw one.
"I thought you were the best slayer in the whole world? Everyone is always saying you are," she says and she still has that look on her face. Oh my god, she is getting more and more like Faith every single day. I don't even want to think about what it's going to be like when she's a teenager. She's not wearing anything leather. I'll put a stop to that before it even gets started. I can't help but get a little smile on my face. People really tell her I'm the best slayer in the whole world? I glance over at Faith and she rolls her eyes a little. I guess she knows I'm starting to get a big head over this. But I'm not. It's not like I'm bragging about it or anything. If other people think I'm the best, who am I to try and stop them from thinking that? "That's what the girls at the training house say. Lily says they're wrong, she thinks Mama is the best." Well, isn't that just great?
"I'm sure Lily just has a case of hero worship," I say before I can stop myself. Well that wasn't very nice, was it? I look over at Faith but she doesn't look mad. She has a little smirk on her face and she's looking at me with that know it all look on her face. She totally knows that I got a little jealous but I'm not going to say anything 'cause if I do it'll just prove her right. And I'm totally not jealous that Lily thinks Faith is better than me. Nope, not jealous at all. Sure, Faith was the first person she could really open up to and saved her from a really miserable life but I don't think she's looking at the bigger picture. I've saved the world how many times? I fought a hell god and lived to tell the tale. Well, not technically because I died and went to heaven but Willow and the gang brought me back.
"What does that mean?" Addison asks and she's looking up at me with that curious look on her face. Her eyebrows are kind of knit together and her head is cocked to the side a little. Faith says she looks just like me when she makes that face but I don't really see it. And I have to start remembering to watch what I say in front of her because she has ears like a wolf and she isn't afraid to ask questions. Ok, I admit that she gets that from me. But it's good to ask questions. I was able to figure out that the Initiative was up to no good just because I asked what they thought were too many questions. Well, that and I got too close to Riley and Professor Walsh went kinda crazy.
"Nothing, sweetie. I was just making one of my lame jokes." She nods her head like she couldn't agree more. My jokes aren't that lame, are they? But don't all kids think they're parents are lame? So really there's no way I can win with her because even if I was being funny she wouldn't admit it. Ok, I might as well change the subject before she starts talking about how lame I really am because there's only so much ego-bruising I can take in one night. "So, how did you do on your spelling test today?" She lets out a little sigh and I can't help but smile. She isn't looking at me so she doesn't know otherwise I would fight to hold it back so she wouldn't start bitching. She can be a little bitchy when she thinks we're not taking her seriously.
"I missed one," she says and she lets out another little sigh. She takes her homework and spelling tests very seriously. She likes to get everything right and when she doesn't, she gets a little upset. I like the fact that she wants to get good grades but she puts a lot of pressure on herself and I don't think that's entirely healthy. She's going to give herself an ulcer or something. But I'm not going to complain because this need to be perfect is going to get her into Harvard or Yale and she's going to get a great job. "I forgot if the word extravagant has an 'a' at the end or an 'e', so I guessed and put an 'e'. I got a ninety-nine percent but I didn't get a sticker and today Ms. Halfhide had stickers that look like the Superman symbol but they were pink and I really wanted one." Ok, so maybe she isn't really concerned about getting good grades, but she will when she's older and fully understands how important they are.
"Tell you what, Addy, you slay a demon tonight and I'll buy you a whole book of those stickers. How does that sound?" Faith says and gently rubs the back of Addison's head. Our little girl brightens up almost instantly after she hears that and I can't help but smile. Oh yeah, tomorrow when Faith buys her a bunch of those, and probably whatever else she wants sticker-wise, she's going to be Addison's favorite person for a while. "You'll just have to…hide them from your brother for a couple days or he'll get all jealous." She sounded totally distracted when she said that and I know why. I can feel the base of my spine tingling, which means there's a demon or vampire nearby. I don't know if it's the demons we're looking for because I haven't spotted anything yet, but I'm sure it'll be our guys.
We're at the funeral home on the edge of town near the open desert. We thought we'd look at the places they're less likely to be first just to get them out of the way. Giles said they probably wouldn't be at the funeral homes and I haven't read in anything in the newspapers about a child dying and I haven't heard anything on the nightly news. Even if they're not the demons we're looking for we might as well slay them and get it over with. Like I always say: one less creepy demon or vamp that gangs out around funeral homes in the world, the better. Ok, so I never say that, but that's not important right now. Anyway, I look over at Faith and she looks into my eyes. She motions her head towards the right so that's the side she wants me to take. I l glance down at Addison and look back at Faith with a questioning look and she nods her head.
I lightly touch Addison on the shoulder and she looks up at me. Her slayer senses are tingling too because she's dead quiet and she has a very serious look on her face. I make the same motion with my head that Faith did but Addison furrows her eyebrows and shakes her head no. Before I can protest she holds onto Faith's hand and walks off with her. Is this really fucked up feeling of rejection the same feeling Faith gets whenever Joseph gets clingy with me? If it is then I need to give Faith a hug when this is all over because I don't know how she can stand feeling this way. Oh well, I don't have time to dwell on it. I walk around to the right like Faith wanted and I see them disappear around the other side of the building and my heart starts beating a little faster. I trust Faith to keep our baby safe, but you never what could be on the other side of the building and what if she can't?
I peak around the corner of the building and I see five demons. Three little ones about my height and two huge ones. The bigger ones look kind of familiar but I can't remember where I saw them before. Was it here in Lincoln? No, I think I would remember something that happened that recently. I don't think it was in Northern California because we never saw demons like that. So it was probably in Sunnydale. Wherever it was, I'm getting a bad feeling about this. I think we fucked up by bringing Addison here. She's just a kid and we haven't been training her as much as we should because we want her to be able to be a kid. We don't want to turn her into a weapon just yet. I think maybe a couple of extra sparring sessions would have really come in handy because these guys are making my stomach churn.
I see Faith peak out from around the other corner and her expression looks just like mine right now. Giles didn't say there would be huge demons that look like they can beat the crap out of us. Giles said that the demons are weak and cowards and it shouldn't take us long to kill them once we find them. If Giles gets the information wrong then how are we supposed to do our jobs? Ok, enough whining. I can't change how things have turned out and getting mad at Giles because the demons are smarter than we thought isn't going to help or change anything. So I need to adapt. That's how I've been able to stay alive all of these years. I'm awesome at adapting to my surroundings and finding things in the environment to use as a weapon. At least that's what Willow told all of the new slayers when she used to teach.
I see Addison step out on the other side of Faith so she can see too. Without even looking Faith puts her hand on her shoulder and pushes her back behind the building. Normally I would smile but right now this is so not a time to smile. We watch the demons and the smaller ones take a crowbar and break the lock on the door. Once they get it open they run inside and the two bigger demons stand on either side of the door with their arms crossed. Great, they hired body guards. And Giles said they're not smart. Ok, stay calm, this isn't Giles' fault. Sure, I'm going to give him hell about this later because I'm so scared that something bad is going to happen to my baby girl because these two huge demons are sending off warning bells in my mind like you wouldn't believe, but it isn't Giles' fault.
I hear something break the relative silence and I think my heart just stopped beating. It sounded like a sneeze and the demons heard it too because they're walking over towards the side of the building where Faith and Addison are hiding. Shit, shit, shit! We should have left her at Dawn's house! Why the fuck did I think this would be a good opportunity for her to get in some training? These demons are trying to end the world so of course they're not going to be acting normally. They hired body guards for God's sake. Or maybe they're not body guards. Maybe these guys really want to end the world and they're making the Atokda demons do the dirty work for them. Either way I need to distract them and right freakin now.
"Hey!" I yell and step out from behind the building. They stop walking and turn around. They both look a little confused but that doesn't make them look any less dangerous. I need to think of something quick. I can't just attack them because they could gang up and beat me to death and that's not an option. Think, think you idiot! "Do either of you know how to get to Peach Street from here? I'm not from around here and I think I'm a little lost." Ok, that wasn't the cleverest plan in the history of the world but at least they're walking towards me and away from my wife and child. I get into a fighting stance without making it obvious because you never know. They could be coming over here to talk, or they could be coming over here to rip my head off my shoulders and drink my spinal fluid. It's anyone's guess at this point.
"This isn't a directory service, little girl. Why don't you run along before the big, bad monsters get hungry?" the one on the left asks. I have to admit, that was a little intimidating but I'm not going to show that they're getting to me. Now that they're closer they look even more familiar. I try as hard as I can to stay focused on their faces but I can see Faith sneaking up behind them and I really want to yell at her to run away because this isn't going to be end well. I have one of those really bad feelings. They stop right in front of me and their shoulders are tense and I have to strain my neck just to look at them. This isn't good, this isn't good. Fuck, this so isn't good. I remember what they are, and it took a lot to kill the one I dealt with in Sunnydale.
"Well if you could just tell me where Peach Street is then I can be on my way, and you can go back to doing what it is you were doing," I say and try as hard as I can to sound like I'm lost, whatever that would sound like, but I don't think it's working. I can hear the worry in my voice and I think they can too. They probably think I'm afraid of them, and that's true, but not for the reasons they're probably thinking of. I'm afraid of what they'll do to my daughter if they find her. M'Fashnik demons are known for their brutality, at least that's what Giles said back in Sunnydale and the one I killed didn't go down easily. And now there are two of them and my daughter is just right around the corner. Yeah, this is a fun situation to be in.
"I gave you a warning, little girl," the one on the left says. What the fuck is up with them calling me little? Just because I'm smaller than they are it doesn't mean I'm little. Everyone is little compared to them. You'd have to be Andre the Giant to not look little standing next to these demons. "That's the only one you're getting." He pulls his fist back and I get into a defensive stance but before he can swing he screams out in pain and falls to the ground. I see Faith standing there with a knife in her hand and it has his blood all over it. The demon is still screaming but he isn't getting up. Either he's in too much pain to recover quickly or she severed his spinal cord. Let's hope for the second one because that would make things a whole lot easier. The second demon is the first to respond, and he swings a punch towards Faith's face. She blocks it with her arm and kicks him in the knee. It barely fazes him.
I jump up and kick him in the back of the head and he stumbles forward. Faith barely manages to get out of the way. While he's still out of balance Faith kicks him in the back and he stumbles even more. Before he can recover his bearings, she reaches down and stabs him in the knee with her knife. He screams in pain and turns around quickly. He hits her with the back of his fist and he turns and she goes flying through the air and lands hard against the building. He takes a couple of steps towards her and I kick him hard in the ribs. It stops him from walking, but I don't think it hurt him. He turns towards me and I kick him in his injured knee. He yells out in pain but he's still standing. Fuck, this thing just won't go down. He swings a punch towards my head but I duck down, and punch him in his knee.
Before I can get out of the way, he grabs me back the back of my neck and throws me. When I land on the ground I slide for a few feet and then start rolling. Damn, I need to stop wearing the clothes that I like on patrol. Seriously, you'd think after doing this since I was fifteen I would know to have a separate wardrobe for slaying only. I'll have to ask Giles for workman's comp or something when this is all over. I doubt he'd go for it but there's no harm in asking, right? I get up and look over at the demon. Faith is fighting him again and she's holding him off but the odds are definitely in his favor. He outweighs us by a lot and he's really strong. But he's hurt and she just stabbed him again in his stomach. Maybe taking these guys down isn't going to be as hard as I thought.
As I run back over to help her out, Faith lands a really solid kick to the demon's knee and he falls to the ground. She pulls her knife up above her head and imbeds it deeply into the back of the demon's neck. The demon freezes and his entire body tenses. She lets go of the handle and grabs it again with her hands in better positions and she turns the knife as hard as she can. The crunching sound all of this is making is unbelievably loud and my stomach churns a little bit. The demon goes limp and falls to the ground, dead. I breathe out a little sigh, and Faith pulls her knife out and looks at the blade. It's covered in the demon's thick yellowy blood and I have a feeling it isn't going to come off.
"I think we're getting too old for this, B," she says and chuckles in between deep pants of breath. She pulls a rag out of her back pocket and starts cleaning off the blade. The blood is coming off ok, but the blade looks like its stained yellow and I know she's going to be pissed about that later because that's one of her favorite knives. Angel sent it to her a few years ago as a birthday present so it means a lot. "I thought Giles said these fuckers were supposed to be easy to kill. Man was he ever fuckin wrong." I open my mouth to tell her about the demons we just killed, well that she just killed, but before I can get a word out a loud, high-pitched scream cuts through the air. I start running as fast as I can towards the noise before I even look to see what's happening.
What I see is this: the demon that Faith took down first crawled away when we were distracted with the other one. I think he was just trying to get away instead of being killed by two slayers because Addison was hiding the whole time so I doubt he knew she was there. That doesn't fucking matter because he found her and she's kicking him in the face but he just grabbed onto her leg. Fuck, fuck, fuck! Why the fuck did we think it was a good idea to bring her along? None of my kids are ever coming slaying with us again, ever. They're going to grow up and have normal lives and never think about slaying because they don't need to because of all the other slayers in the world taking of it for them.
The demon throws Addison as hard as he can and she goes flying through the air. She rolls when she hits the ground and the demon jumps to his feet. Damn, I guess Faith didn't sever his spine after all. He runs off towards her but before he can get too close I jump up and kick him in the side of the head with both of my feet. The momentum behind it made it a really hard kick and he stumbles sideways a few steps and then falls to the ground. That kick wasn't hard enough to keep him down but at least he isn't running towards my baby. Out of the corner of my eye I see Faith grab Addison by the wrist and she takes off running. I sigh a little in relief that she's taking her someplace safe instead of just telling her to run and getting back in the fight.
The demon tries to get up but I kick him hard in the ribs and he falls back down. I keep kicking him over and over again. I know it isn't a very honorable thing to do, kicking the other guy while he's down, but he hurt my baby and now he's going to pay. I keep kicking over and over and over and all I can see is the white hot rage that's boiling in my veins. I know it was our decision to teach the kids how to be slayers and that means fighting demons and that means they're going to get hurt every once in a while, but this bastard put his hand on my baby girl. Who the hell does he think he is? I reach down and unsheathe the hatchet I brought with me. Why I didn't use this earlier, I don't know. But right now isn't about criticizing me it's about killing this bastard demon.
I use my foot to roll him over onto his back and go straight for the throat. I start hacking away over and over again, it's almost like I'm cutting a piece of wood or something. If that wood had arms and claws and was scratching my shoulders like a cat with a toy. He goes limp in a few seconds but I keep hacking. I thought this demon was down for the count earlier but I was totally wrong and he hurt Addison. So I keep going until he's fully decapitated. I stand up and let out a huge breath of relief. The demon is dead, the threat is gone and…I have blood all over my clothes. So now I'm covered in demon blood, dirt, sweat, some of my own blood, and if this yellow demon blood is strong enough to stain our weapons then it's going to stain my skin. This night just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?
"You're right, baby, I think we are getting too old for this," I say loudly so Faith will hear it. Hopefully she will. Our slayer hearing is still really good so she would have to be pretty far away to not hear it. I look around and I don't see her anywhere. She should know by now that the fight is over. There are no more sounds of a struggle and since I just said what I said she should know I'm done killing it. Where the hell is she? I look around and I don't see anything. She ran off towards the desert to hide behind a big rock and…wait, where's the rock? The big rock was just right out there, I know I didn't imagine it, so where the hell is it? "Faith? Addison?" I start walking off towards where I know the rock was before I completely focused on the demon but I don't see anyone or anything.
"Faith, if you're playing one of your stupid pranks it isn't funny. What, did Willow teach you an invisibility spell or something? Why didn't you use it while we were fighting those demons? That would've made things a hell of a lot easier." Still nothing but silence. I'm getting to where the rock used to be and there's still nothing. "Ha-ha, Faith, you got me. Now will you give it up already? We still have to kill those other demons before they try to end the world. We killed the body guards but not the bodies they were guarding." Great, and now I'm so frantic I'm barely making any sense. When I get to the place the rock used to be there's a hole in the ground. It's large but there's no one at the bottom. The bottom of the hole is the top of the rock and a bunch of dirt. It was either or trap or the ground just collapsed but either way they're gone. This night could not get anymore fucked up, could it?
"We're going to die," Addy says and she sounds totally fuckin panicked. I can't blame her but at the same time this kid is so fuckin melodramatic and right now it's really annoying. "We're going to die down here." By 'here' she means wherever the fuck we just fell. That other demon crawled off without me or B seein it and he attacked Addy. I grabbed her and took off for a safe place to hide while B kicked the shit out of it. As soon as we got to the boulder to hide behind, the ground started shaking and gave in. I don't know what the fuck we're in. Some kinda mine maybe. I remembered to bring a flashlight and I can see posts and shit along the wall like you see in old mine shafts. "We're going to die down here and no one is going to find our bodies and we're going to be eaten by rats and mice and scorpions, and coyotes and all that's going to be left is a pile of bones because we're going to die."
"Addy, don't be ridiculous," I tell her and she just scoffs. She gets like this when she's really stressed out. Alright, so we've never been trapped inside some kinda mine before so I can understand why she's freaking out, but still, it really isn't helping. "There's no way coyotes would be able to get in here." She rolls her eyes and starts looking around. Maybe for a way a coyote could get in just to prove me wrong. She's just like Buffy, she has to be right all the time or she isn't happy. "Besides, we're not going to die. I'm going to find a way out of here." I can tell by the look on her face that she doesn't really believe me. She's just panicking right now but when she calms down she'll see that I'm going to find a way out. "At least we're not hurt, that's a good thing, right?" I don't know how we got through that fall without getting smashed by the boulder and all the dirt that came down on top of us but we're ok.
"No we're not. There's blood all over your face from the demon. Animals can smell blood, Mama, so they're gonna come and they're going to eat us even if we're not dead," she says and she doesn't sound bitchy like you'd think. She sounds scared and I have got to block the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel when we get home. Yeah, you learn a lot of shit about the world from those channels, but they're also filling my kids head with awful facts like the fact rats will eat another animal while it's still alive. She doesn't need to fuckin know that. I walk over to her and pick her up. I hold her close to me like I used to do when she was a baby and there was loud thunder. Any other time she would tell me to put her down because she's not a little kid but right now she's clinging to me. Her arms are wrapped tightly around my neck and her legs are wrapped around my waist. Damn, this kid has a good fuckin grip.
"We're going to be ok, Addy, I promise," I whisper into her ear and I gently rub her back. Man, this kid is shaking so hard. All of her muscles are trembling and it's making my eyes water up with tears. Of course, they're watering up with tears, what else would they be watering up with, right? But whatever. The point is, she's breaking my heart right now she's so fucking scared. I swear to God this is the last night we're taking one of the kids out patrolling until they're older. Sure we still need to train 'em but until they get really good at fight I'll just go out and catch a demon or a vamp and bring it back to the house so they can practice in a safe place. That's what lions and leopards and cheetahs do with their babies. They bring 'em back rabbits and shit to practice hunting. Well I'll bring back vampires so mine can practice slaying. "You just have to believe me, and you have to be brave. Can you do that for me, Addy?"
"Yeah," she says but she doesn't sound like she means what she's saying. She sounds like she's trying really fuckin hard not to cry. Dammit, I hope she doesn't start crying. That's like the one thing I can't stand and if she starts crying I'm going to spend all of my time trying to comfort her instead of trying to find a way out of here. I'm the same way with Buffy. Her tears always stop me dead until I can make her feel better. I knew having a daughter was going to come back to bite me in the ass. I just didn't think it would be like this. I hold her for a couple more minutes because she really needs this right now. Hell, I really need this right now. I didn't want to admit it 'cause I was trying to be strong for her but I was really fuckin scared. That's the thing about being a parent no one tells you about. You love your kids with your whole heart but most of your time is spent worrying like fuck.
"Ok, now you think you can help me find a way out of here?" I ask and she nods her head. I guess she's still trying not to cry. She's stubborn like me when it comes to the crying. She always has been like that. Even when she fell off her bike and split her knee open she was forcing the tears back and kept telling us she was fine and it didn't hurt. I could tell that it hurt 'cause I could see her fuckin kneecap but she was trying to be tough. I was the same way when I was a kid. Well, until my dad picked me up or hugged me then it was all over and I would start crying my eyes out. I put her down and wipe away the last of her tears with my thumbs. "Alright now let's get out of here so we can go home and get a shower. I could really use one, how about you?" She nods her head a little and sniffles. Too bad I don't have a tissue for her.
"We're both covered in dirt," she says and looks down at her clothes. That's for fuckin true. But I guess that's what happens when the earth opens up and swallows you. "Mom's going to be so mad when these stains don't come out." That makes me crack the fuck up because she's right. No one bitches like Buffy when she can't get a stain out. Thank God for this kid 'cause I really needed a fuckin laugh. It helped calm my ass down and I gotta admit I was getting really fuckin tense. It's not like I'm stupid or anything. I know we're in a pretty bad situation and if we don't find a way outta here soon we're gonna be in a lot of fuckin trouble 'cause we don't have any water, but I need to stay calm or she's going to start freaking out again. "It's not funny, Mama. She's going to make me go clothes shopping with her to get new clothes. I hate clothes shopping." I don't blame her. Shopping for new threads with B is a fucking nightmare.
"If I promise to take you clothes shopping and buy you some ice cream will you stop complaining and help me find a way out of here?" I ask her and she thinks about it for a second. I swear this kid is a total fuckin smart ass just like her mom. Don't look at me like that, Buffy does shit like this all the time just to push my buttons and now Addy does the same thing. She nods her head and she has a little smirk on her face because she knows it drives me crazy when she's a smart ass. I think that's why we don't get along most of the time 'cause she's always doing shit to drive me crazy on purpose. I should've known this was gonna happen if I reproduced, everyone of 'em has half of my genes and half of Buffy's genes so of course they're going be smarted asses.
"Good, now let's get the hell out of here. Mom's probably freakin the hell out right now," I tell her and we start walking. I normally don't cuss this much in front of my kids but we're trapped in an old gold mine, it's practically expected. There's no point trying to find a way out near the boulder. We don't have any shovels to dig but maybe we can find some. "I think this is an old gold mine or something so keep your eyes peeled for some shovels or pick axes or whatever you can find, ok? Maybe we can dig our way out where the boulder fell." She nods her head a little and she's got this weird look on her face. I know that look. Something I just said doesn't make any sense to her and now she's going to question me on it. How do I know that's what she's going to do? Because that's the exact same look Buffy gets on her face before she questions something I've said.
"How do you know this is an old gold mine? We've never been in a gold mine before," she says and she sounds hella fuckin confused. The sound of her voice is pretty fuckin cute and it makes me smile. I only smile for a couple seconds though and then force it off my face 'cause if she sees it she'll freak out. That's another thing about kids that no one ever tells you about, if you did something before they existed then it might as well have not happened at all because sometimes they don't believe you when you tell 'em otherwise. Either that or they just don't care.
"When we lived in California, before your mom and I had you guys, we used to go on this old gold mine tour every once in a while. It was pretty cool. Dark as hell and cold as fuck, but it was alright." It was alright because there were never many people on the tour, maybe two or three other couples plus the tour guide. Once he leads you inside the mine you get to break off and kinda explore as long as you don't go passed the roped off sections. Me and B would always find a little secluded place to have a little naughty fun. She never let me fuck her but sometimes we got to second base. Afterwards, we'd always have a picnic and we'd fuck in the car. Man, I miss California sometimes.
"How come you never took me?" she asks and she sounds like she's feeling left out. I know that tone of voice really fuckin well 'cause Joey has it almost nonstop. It isn't entirely his fault that he's kind of annoying. Addy spends a lot of her time trying to avoid him at all costs unless she needs him for something. And by 'needs him for something' I mean she either uses him as a scapegoat or lookout or a test subject. Yeah, that's right, I said test subject. Willow bought Addy a toy chemistry set for her birthday and now Addy 'invents' new things and tries them out on Joey. The poor boy has been dyed so many colors we won't even need to hang a flag during gay pride month, we'll just buy Addy another chemistry set and let go to town on him. I look over at her and she keeps glancing down while she walks. I guess she's keeping a look out for scorpions and snakes and shit.
"'Cause you were still a baby when we lived there and that's not the kinda thing babies like to do. You liked going to the lake across from the golf course to watch all the geese and ducks that migrated in the fall," I tell her and she doesn't say anything. She gets like this whenever I start telling her stuff about herself she doesn't remember. She always gets really quiet and introspective. Maybe if I keep telling her little about when she was really little she'll be too distracted to complain. Yeah right, talk about wishful fuckin thinking. This kid is half Buffy, there's no such thing has 'too distracted to complain'. "And when you were just a little baby your favorite baby food was carrots. When your mom would feed you I'd walk in the room and you'd be covered in orange so I had to give you bath every time you ate." Addy was a pretty awesome baby, there's no denying that.
"Mama, stop," she says and she sounds pretty fuckin serious. Ok, so maybe she doesn't want to take a trip down memory lane. That's weird, most kids like hearing about the past as long as it involves them. At least my kids always have before. I try not to roll my eyes in case she sees 'cause that'll just start a fight and that's not what I need right now. So I stop talking and keep going down this passage. I don't wanna say this out loud because it might scare the hell out of Addy, but we need to get out of here as soon as fuckin possible. The reason there were sections roped off at the old mine in California is because those sections were unstable and the roof could've collapsed. I'm afraid the same thing might happen to us. Hell, it already did happen, that's how we got fuckin stuck down here.
"No, Mama, stop," she says and grabs onto my wrist. I don't think I've ever heard her sound that way before. I look down at her and she has this look of concentration on her face. Her eyebrows are slightly furrowed and she's turning her head very slowly and looking around the mine. God damn, I don't think she's ever looked more like Buffy than right at this moment. I look around too but I don't see anything or hear anything. Maybe she's so freaked out her mind is playing tricks on her? That's a possibility. Or maybe she just wasn't wrapped up in her own thoughts like I was and she heard or saw something I didn't. "I thought I heard something." She sounds so damn calm and serious. I don't think I'm dealing with Addy right now. I think her slayer side is starting to take over.
"I didn't hear anything," I tell her but she doesn't look like she's paying attention to me. She looks like she's focusing all of her effort in trying to figure out whatever it was she heard. Great, so she's just like her mother when she's in slayer mode. That's really fuckin great. I guess I can't complain too much 'cause I get the same way. But it's still fuckin annoying when someone's ignoring you. Her grip kinda tightens on my wrist and I look down. Her eyes are really fuckin big and the look on her face is different. She looks almost…excited, I guess would be a good word for it. I don't know why she would be getting so excited down here. We're stuck in a fuckin mine for fuck's sake.
"It's Mom," she says and sounds just as fuckin excited as she looks. Now I don't blame her. Can she really hear Buffy? How the fuck can she hear her and I can't? This is probably her extra special slayer powers in action or some shit like that. Red is always saying that Addy is going to grow up to be special because she's a slayer born from the two originals, but I didn't really believe her. But if Addy has hearing that's better than Superman's than I guess she really is gonna grow up to be the strongest slayer in the fuckin world. I don't know how I feel about that. "I hear Mom. Come on!" She tries taking off at a run but I grab her. She looks up at me and she looks pissed as hell. "What are you doing? I hear Mom, let's go." Damn, she sounded just like B just then. If she's going to be just like B, especially when she's older, than it won't be long before she has me wrapped around her little fingers.
"We can't run or the roof might cave in, ok?" I tell her and her eyes get all big and she looks around like she's trying to see if it's starting to collapse or something. I didn't wanna scare her but she needed to know or she might have caused a cave in and we could've been really fuckin hurt. I keep holding onto her hand as we walk back towards where we came. I can hear B now, and she sounds so fuckin panicked and scared it makes my heart hurt. I want to run to her but I fucking can't and it's driving me crazy. She probably thinks we're unconscious or maybe even thinks we're dead. I wanna yell out that we're alright, that we hear her and we're almost there, but even yelling could cause a cave in. Why do these mines have to be so fuckin fragile? When we finally get down to the end of the tunnel I can see part of B's face in the little hole that she dug.
"Faith? Addison? Where are you guys? Are you ok?" she yells and she sounds so scared. I don't think I've ever heard her sound like that before. Hearing her sound like that is sending all kinds of chills down my neck in the worst fucking way. It must be some really primal shit going on right now 'cause I have this overwhelming feeling to take her in my arms and protect her. That protective feeling is something I don't think I'm ever going to get used to. Even though I've been with her for more than a decade I still can't believe I've gotten this close to her. But I can think about that shit later. Right now I need to focus on getting our daughter the fuck out of here before something really bad happens.
"B, we're right here," I say and she goes quiet. I try to get as close to the hole that she dug as possible, but it's kinda hard. There's a lot dirt and rocks and shit in the way. "We're ok, B, we're not hurt." I hear her let out a huge sigh of relief. I can't even imagine what she must be feeling right now. Well, that's not true. I can totally imagine what she's fucking going through right now. Back when Addy was still a baby she got sent through a portal by a demon and B was unconscious and I didn't know if she just fainted because of what happened to Addy or if she was in a coma or paralyzed or what. But everything turned out alright, so let's not dwell on that shit.
"I don't think I can get you out by myself," B says and she sounds like she's crying. She's probably so fuckin relieved to hear my voice that she's sobbin. Sounds like something she would do. Hell, I would probably be crying with relief too if I were her. "I killed the rest of the demons that were in the funeral home and Giles is sending a team to take care of the rest so you guys should be safe down there." I didn't even think about the demons trying to kill us. But why the fuck would they do that when we're stuck in this hole? Their plan is to end the world. You'd think they'd just get the fuck out of here and to wherever they needed to go. "I'm going to go get Xander, ok? He has the keys to a couple of those big digging machines at the construction site. He'll be able to get you out of there." Sounds like a good plan.
"Ok, B, we'll just wait right here," I tell her. It's not like there's anywhere else we can go. She doesn't say anything and she doesn't leave. I can tell she doesn't wanna go. How do I know that? I know because if I was the one up there and she was down here I wouldn't want to leave either. I would want to stay there and keep talking to her to know that she's safe. But she has to leave because she's Buffy so that means she left the cell phone at home and mine is in my office. I always forget that thing before I leave work. I get a little closer to the hole she dug but I can't get close enough. I wanted to reach up and touch her hand, ya know, try and reassure her that way but it isn't gonna happen. "Babe, don't worry, we'll be ok." I hear her sigh and it pulls at my heartstrings a little.
"Alright, Faith. I'll be back as soon as I can," she says and she sounds a little choked up. Man, I really fuckin hate this. If you haven't noticed over the years I'm kind of a control freak, and there's nothing a control freak hates more than not being in fuckin control. I hate that I'm just stuck down here and there's not a god damn thing I can do about it. "Keep her safe, ok? Promise me, Faith." I don't know why the fuck she even has to ask me that. What the fuck does she think I'm going to do, throw her to the coyotes if they come looking for food? I guess I get it. She's worried as fuck and just needs some reassurance. I guess I could stop being an ass for once in my fuckin life and give some to her.
"I promise, B. I won't let anything happen," I say and B's breathing is getting all fucked up. God damn, I wish I could get the fuck out of here so I could take her in my arms until she calms down. I'd hold her really close to me, and kiss away her tears, and tell her that everything is going to be ok now. But I can't because I'm stuck in this stupid fucking mine. Whoever fuckin heard of gold mines in Nevada? They should've just kept this shit in California. That's where all the fuckin gold was anyway. It's called the Golden State for fuck's sake. "Just get back soon, ok? We're really fuckin dirty and it's starting to get uncomfortable." She laughs a little bit which was the point. I know she's still worried as hell but at least she's not on the verge of tears.
"Ok, I'll be back as soon as I can," she says and she drops the flashlight down the hole. It rolls down the little mound of dirt and rocks and lands by my feet. "You might need that more than I do. I love you." I tell her I love her back and Addy yells it out too. Then B runs off and I let out a little sigh. Fuck, why didn't I bring any water bottles with us? We live in the fuckin desert, those should be a requirement to have when you leave the house or something 'cause you never know when you're going to get stuck out here. At least we're underground so it's kinda cool. I let out a huge sigh 'cause help is gonna be here soon. I grab the flashlight and look around the little mine. It isn't very big. The ceiling is a few inches above my head and the walls as wide as it is tall. There's an old track right down the middle. I guess that was for the cart thing that they used.
"This sucks," Addy says and she doesn't sound happy at all. Great, now I gotta deal with her moodiness. At least she isn't saying that we're gonna die, 'cause that got really fuckin annoying really fast. I sit down on one of the rocks and watch Addy pace a little. God damn, she is just like her mother. "We're stuck in a stupid mine, my clothes are ruined, I think I have dirt in my ears, and I didn't even get to slay a demon." She does have kind of a point. She came out tonight thinking she was going to get to kick some ass and look at what happened. Poor kid just couldn't catch a break. Is it weird I'm disappointed I didn't get to see my daughter slay a demon? Maybe B's right, maybe the kids do need to have a more normal life and that doesn't include demons and vampires and that kinda shit.
"At least we're not seriously hurt. We could be stuck down here with broken bones or god knows what else," I tell her and she lets out an irritated sigh. Yep, she's just like Buffy. When she rants she doesn't want to hear the bright side, she just wants to bitch. Addy hitting puberty is going to be so much fun. And yes I'm being totally fucking sarcastic. She keeps pacing and she crosses her arms over her chest. Her irritation is starting to piss me off a little. This kid has fuckin clue how luckily she is. Two M'Fashnik demons attacked us and she got out of it without getting hurt. She got thrown around a little but all she has to show for it are some scrapes. "Will you sit down? You're starting to drive me crazy." I normally don't say stuff like that because I used to be crazy so I know the difference, but damn, she's getting really fuckin annoying.
"You don't always have to be so mean to me," she says and stops pacing to stare at me. Damn, she sounded really fuckin pissed but the look on her face is different. She looks like she might cry or something. God, what the fuck did I do wrong now? "You could just ask me like a normal person. Why do you always sound so mean when you talk to me? You never sound like that when you talk to Matt or Joe." Tears are welling up in her eyes now and my breath catches in my throat. What the hell is she talking about? I'm not always mean when I talk to her. Maybe if she wasn't always doing something to piss me off it wouldn't seem that way. I guess it does seem that way to her or she wouldn't be making this big of a deal about it.
"I'm nice to you too, Addy," I tell her and she just lets out a big irritated sigh. Obviously she doesn't believe me or she wouldn't be acting like that. What the fuck am I supposed to say to her? I've never had a conversation like this before. "I am nice to you. I gave you a hug and a kiss this morning before you left for school and told you to have fun at dance practice." She wipes the tears away before they get a chance to fall. I guess she is like me too 'cause I do the same thing whenever I cry. I wanna hug her tight to me until her tears go away but since she's like me when she cries I know she won't wanna be touched.
"You said it but you don't really care. You care more about Matt's football games than my dance recitals," she says and wipes away more tears. I hate to admit it but she does have a little bit of a point. I didn't think she'd actually pick up on that, though, 'cause even though I don't care as much I try to show an interest. Guess I wasn't fooling her at all. Some tears are starting to roll down her cheeks. They're coming so quick now she can't wipe them all away before they fall. The sight of her crying like that and trying so hard to stop makes me wanna take her into my arms and hold her and whisper in her ear like I used to do when she was a baby and she was teething and in pain. But before I can move she's talking again.
"Why did you even have me if you don't like me? Did you just want a girl but you got stuck with me?" she asks and her voice cracks like hell 'cause a sob ripped through her throat on the last couple of words. What she said is like a punch to the fuckin gut. And not a normal punch either. I'm talking about a slayer strength punch right to my fuckin stomach and another to my ribs. Maybe even a liver and kidney shot too. Does she really fuckin think that? Does she really believe that I love Mattie and Joey but just got stuck with her? I don't know why the hell she thinks something like that but it's making me feel like shit. Not just like I failed as a parent, but like I failed as a human being in general. What the fuck did I do that was so god damn horrible that's making her think this way?
"Addy…." I don't even know what to say. What the fuck are you supposed to say to something like that? Goddamn I wish I was better at this shit. "I love you so much, do you understand that? You're my daughter. I carried you inside me for eight and a half months. You're a girl so what we have is a little different from Mattie and Joey but I love you just as much." She's calming down a little bit now. She's not sobbing anymore and the tears aren't coming as much. I don't know if that's a good thing or not because she's starting to look really pissed off again. How the hell am I supposed to show her that I love her? I thought I did that every day with the little things I do for them. I read to her and Joey at night, I take 'em bike riding on the weekends, I usually let her get away with sneakin a cookie before dinner. What the fuck am I supposed to do right here and now to show her?
"You love me but you don't like me, Mama, there's a difference," she says and she sounds pissed. She wipes away the rest of her tears and sniffles really fuckin loud. The pour kid has all different kinds of stuff coming out of her face. I rip the bottom of my shirt and hand it to her. She uses it to blow her nose and then tosses it on the ground. "All you do is boss me around and you always sound really mean when you do it. Whenever we go places you never pick the place I wanna go to. We always have to do what Matt or Joe wants to do. Whenever we play games you always pick the one Matt or Joe wants to play. And on the weekends you let Joe walk to his friend's house but you don't let me go over to Brad's house anymore. How come you always do that? Is it because your mom was mean to you so now you only know how to be nice to boys?" What the fuck?
"Addy, who told you about my mom?" I ask and I make sure to keep my tone as light as I possibly fuckin can. You have no fuckin clue how hard it is to do that. I don't wanna change the subject 'cause from the looks of it this is something that has been bothering for a while, but I never wanted my kids finding out about that. They just don't need to know what my life was like when I was young. I don't think Buffy would've said anything to her. Maybe my dad said something to Brittany and she said something in front of Addy. God, that is so fucked up and it's true she's gonna get her ass kicked when I get out of here. Addy doesn't say anything and some more tears are starting to well up in her eyes. "It's ok, Addy, I'm not gonna get mad." Ok, so that's a lie but I'll hide my anger until later. "I just need to know who told you."
"No one told me," she says and she sounds pissed as hell. Man I really fuckin wish I knew what to say to calm her down but I can't. I guess this is just one of those things that can't be fixed with a couple of words. She just needs to get it all out. "I heard you and mom talking about it." Oh fuck, that can't be good. I don't normally open up about my childhood 'cause I wanna leave that shit in the past but every once in a while I'll tell B about something that happened, like in total fuckin detail, so I don't know what the fuck Addy overhead but it's not something I ever wanted her to find out about. That's for fuckin sure. "You said she used to hit you with a belt and call you names even when you weren't in trouble." By trouble she means I didn't do anything wrong, but true be told I was in all kinds of fuckin trouble at the time.
"And you said that I'm just like you when you were younger and you don't like it. Is that why you're mean to me all the time?" More sobs start ripping their way out of her throat and she has these fat tears just rolling down her fuckin cheeks. I don't fuckin hesitate before I reach out and grab onto her. I pull her down to me and hold her close. She's fighting like hell but I'm not letting go. My baby thinks I hate her and it was all just a big misunderstanding. Well some of it anyway. Now that I'm really thinkin about it I am a little bitchier to Addy then to the boys. I don't know why I fuckin do that. I wish I had an answer for her 'cause I don't. She finally stops fighting. She wraps her arms around my neck and cries against my shoulder. Her whole body is fuckin shaking and silent tears are rolling down my cheeks now.
"Addy, shh, calm down, ok? I need you to listen to me," I tell her and rub her back a little. That always calms me down when I'm upset and Addy's a lot like me so hopefully it'll work. Why didn't I pay more damn attention to Addy? Maybe if I did she wouldn't be having this breakdown right now and I'd know how to comfort her when something other than me upsets her. "I love you and I like you so freaking much, ok? You're a lot like me. You can be really stubborn, and that's not always a bad thing. When you set your mind to something it doesn't change, and a lot of times you think your way of doin stuff is better. I'm just like that but when I was younger I did a lot of really stupid shit because I'm like that. I'm just afraid, Angel Girl. I'm afraid you're gonna grow up and make a lot of the mistakes I made and I just want you to be happy."
You have no fuckin idea how much it scares me that she's gonna turn out like me. Yeah, I have an awesome life right now with a great wife and great kids, a job I love and a house in a perfect neighborhood and all that stereotypical stuff. But I wasn't always this stable. I used to get around, a lot. I hated myself and that's part of why I did it. It was like a punishment. I always had to sleep with more guys, drink more alcohol, and do more drugs. I treated myself like shit because that's how I thought I deserved to be treated and no one else could tell me otherwise. It's not like I was reaching out for help 'cause I was way too fuckin stubborn for that. And Addy's just as stubborn as I am, and who the fuck knows? Even if she doesn't sleep around with a bunch of people she might screw the guy she's dating just because it's against the rules or whatever.
"I promise I'll be nicer, ok? I don't know why I was doin that. I didn't even know I was doing that but I'll stop, alright?" I ask her and she nods her head. She isn't crying anymore but every once in awhile she'll let out a hiccup. I just sit here holdin her and she's clingin onto me. The same feeling I used to get when she was little washes over my mind and I let out a contended sigh. There's no other feeling in the world that's like this. When your kid is hurtin and they come to you for comfort. When your touch and smell is the thing that calms 'em down and makes 'em feel better it makes you feel like you're doing something right in the world like maybe all of that shit I did in the past can be forgiven because without me this awesome person in my arms wouldn't be here at all.
"Faith?" I hear Buffy yell. I look up at the little hole she dug earlier and I can see her looking through it. Goddamn it's so fuckin good to hear her voice again. I can't wait to get the fuck out of here and go home. We haven't been stuck here for very long, maybe an hour or something like that but it feels like we've been here for days. "Xander isn't home but I got the other slayers and we have shovels. It might take longer but we're going to get you out. Is Addison ok?" Damn, there are so many aspects to that fuckin question. Yeah, B, she's ok, she just thinks I hate her and she let this shit fester until she had a total breakdown. Yeah, B, she's alright but I've totally fucked up her perception of me as a mother and person. Yeah, B, she's doing just great except she cried so hard she almost choked.
"She's a little roughed up but she'll be ok," I yell out and hug my baby a little tighter to my body. I don't care how big my kids get they're always going to be my babies and they'll just have to deal with it. Addy starts coughing a little and her throat sounds pretty fucked up. "Did you bring any water or anything? We're getting kinda dehydrated." I'm not worried about me but Addy cried out most of her fluids and if she doesn't get some water in her soon we might have to take her to the hospital. I hear B shuffling around and then two water bottles fall down the hole and roll down the mound of dirt. They land not too far from me and I reach over and grab one. I open it up and have Addy drink it. She gets the whole thing down in about a minute. Damn this kid can chug. She really does take after me, and for the first time in my life, that thought doesn't scare me.