|herself_nyc (herself_nyc) wrote in herself_nyc_fic,|
@ 2008-05-09 09:18:00
|Entry tags:||s/b fic, waiting around|
"So you two are an item?" Joe said, pitching his voice just above a whisper. They were in the garden behind the house, inspecting his roses in the bright sunlight. "He can't hear us from here, can he?"
"He probably can," Buffy said, smiling. "He can hear houseflies washing their hands three blocks away. And yes, we're seeing each other." She drew one of the fat-faced roses to her nose, took a deep inhalation. "Kind of a silly expression, seeing each other."
"Seeing each other naked, is pretty much what it means," Joe said.
"Young man, I am your grandmother."
"Yeah. So keep it clean."
Joe pouted. "Clean is all we've got around here. Luz hasn't been interested since she started the second trimester."
"Huhoh. Well, that's tough."
"It's a little tough. So how long has it been going on?"
"You just said, since the secondoh. Oh. Spike. A little while. Since we worked the last apocalypse together."
"There was an apocalypse?"
"Well, there would've been, but we caught it in time."
Joe stared at the roses, blinking.
"All of this is probably completely absurd to you, right?"
"Us. I'm showing you my kids, my garden, you're probably thinking aboutI can't even imagine. These epic battles between good and evil. All of this has got to just be small. Insignificant. Silly."
"All of this is what I do it for."
This wasn't the first time she'd heard this argument, or misgiving, or whatever you wanted to call it, and usually it annoyed her, but she tried to curb her irritation now. She hated having this discussion, having to assure the other person that she really was deeply engaged with the puppies and flowers and that was why she worked so hard to save them. Because in a way it was completely true.
She'd lost track of all these good things years ago, and while she liked to visit them, while she told herself they were what life was, there was definitely an insignificance factor. She just couldn't help it.
"I always thought you do it because you have the power. Once you've got that power, you've got to use it, right? To be it."
Boy did Joseph need to get laid. "What are these roses called again?"
"This is an English Garden rose." He took a pair of secaturs from his pocket. "Shall I cut you one? You could pin it to your sweater."
"Nono! Don't kill it. I like to see them and smell them as they are."
"You sure? Because in a couple of days they'll be overblown anyway."
Buffy thought, for the eleventy-billionth time, how much Joe looked like Angel. She couldn't figure out if this felt freaky to her just because, or because she herself still looked twenty-four. If she was a cragged and dessicated old lady, with a grandson who was a dead-ringer for her long-dead husband, would that be so bizarre? She'd been told often enough that it was a myth that old people lost their sexuality, their interest in all the kinds of connection and human business that takes up mind-space in the prime of life; it was just that no one wanted to contemplate old people's needs or desires that way.
And it wasn't like she desired Joe. It was just that his big tall amiable presence, the timbre of his voice, even some of his mannerisms, reminded her, in the way that neither dreams, nor looking at photographs, could do.
And oddly, she never saw anything of herself in him. Or even Patrick and LeeAnn.
Just Angel. Who had died before Joe was born.
"I'm sure. They just fill the air with such a wonderful fragrance."
"Unlike the little shit-machines inside. I meanbite my tongueour darling cherubim."
Buffy squinted up at him. "Uh oh. I think you inherited my mothering bone."
"I'm not the mother. Fortunately."
"Are you and Luz okay? Is this a cry for help?"
"Not a cry for help. But I guess we could use some. I'm glad you guys came. Luz is an orphan too, we haven't exactly been inundated with family."
"Oh. I imaginedwell, good. Good, I hope we will be. A help. And not an inundation."
She'd married into kind of a strange family. But then all families were strange, there were always weird stories when you got down to it. She knew that. At first she'd thought some of the stuff she heard at O'Connor gatherings was metaphorical, or sort of ... just ... Irish. They were American Irish, not Irish Irish, but Luz had an idea that Irish people maybe believed a lot of stuff, like about leprechauns and selkies and what-all that they knew wasn't really true but they all liked to pretend about it together, tell stories and shit.
So at first when she heard about the stuff about Joe's grandmother being a vampire slayer and his grandfather a former vampire, she chalked it up to that. And when she was introduced to the grandmother, at first she figured they were all pulling her leg. She went along with it, like it was a test, because here she was, this Latina girl, a stranger to them all, no family of her own to present, wanting to be taken in by them, and maybe if she acted all cool with everything they put in front of her, they'd accept her.
She never thought Joe or any of them was crazy. They didn't talk the vampire thing very much. The so-called grandmother, Buffy, didn't talk about it at all, except for saying "Yep, I sure do," when Luz said, "So I hear you kill vampires." After a while, seeing her at weddings and a few other family parties, talking to her when she phoned Joe, Luz decided she must be a cousin or something, that Joe had grown up with her and that was why they seemed sort of close. It didn't seem all that important, family eccentricity. It was just great to be in love, and to finally have a family.
But she had to wonder about Buffy's boyfriend. When Joe told her they were coming to visit, he said Will was a vampire. He said it in that same casual voice that he used when he was telling her shit about his grandfather, who he'd never even known. Wild stuff, that the old man was a bloodsucker who got turned back into a human, which was like one of those lurid Mexican movies she'd find on late at night if she couldn't sleep. He said that they'd have to keep the blinds drawn while Spike was there, that he'd burn if the sunlight touched him, but she shouldn't worry because he had a soul and didn't bite people, and she thought, yeah, right, more of this foolishness.
But this morning Joe had gone all around the downstairs, making sure the windows were covered. He'd parked his car on the street so Buffy could drive hers directly into the garage, and that car turned out to have dark tinted windows like a star's. Then when she first saw him, with his white skin and white hair, like you hardly ever saw here in SoCal, she though, Holy shit maybe it's true.
But of course it wasn't. The guy maybe had that allergy to sunlight, she'd heard about that. Or else he was just playing along with the O'Connor family prank.
Though he didn't act like he was pranking. He was quiet and polite in his crisp white shirt, and when she let him hold Rosie he beamed like she'd given him a big gift, cradling her in his arms with an apparently practiced ease.
So now the babies were quiet and Joe was out showing Buffy the garden, Luz poured out more coffee, and settled down with Daisy. "So tell me, you in on the joke?"
He looked up from making faces at the baby. "What joke's that, pet?"
"Buffy tell you they were playing a trick on me? That you're supposed to be ... you know." Now she was embarrassed. She whispered it. "A vampire."
His dark eyebrows shot up, like this was the first he'd heard about it.
So probably he did have that allergy to sunlight thing. And now he was insulted. Way to go, Luz.
"Look, I'm sorry, we just met, you're a guest, please don't go thinking"
"You think they're trickin' you?"
She shrugged. "The O'Connors, they always been good to me, ever since Joe and I started dating, but I guess they like to have their fun. They got these family tales. You're dating Buffy, so you'll probably hear 'em too, and"
"Ah, pet." Will rose slowly, and set Rosie back into her table-top cradle. The baby woke, looking unhappy about being put down. Will looked unhappy about it too.
She glanced towards the window, to see if Joe and Buffy were on their way back in, but the shades were pulled. Joe had had to buy a shade for the kitchen doorthey'd never had one there before. She'd thought he was going a little far with it, to take that much trouble, but they were nice shades, and she supposed it was nice to have them. Luz started apologizingChrist, they'd just gotten here and already she'd messed the whole thing upwhen Will cut her off.
"Thought you understood. Understood who you'd invited into your house." Will stood away from the table, his hands held up, glancing around uncertainly, like he wanted to leave.
Her cheeks were burning. "Please, I don't mean to say nothin' against anybody. Sit down. Have some more coffee. Eat something. Please."
"Can't do that, if you don't understand." Will backed up towards the door that opened onto the back deck and the garden. He didn't open it; just rapped on the glass with his knuckles, then stood almost at attention, his eyes fixed on her, on the babies beside her on the table, until they heard Buffy and Joe's voices, their footsteps on the planks. He moved off from the doorcareful to avoid the spill of bright sun that came in when it opened.
Joe said, "Whazzup? Buff, more coffee?"
"I'll have some more."
Will said, "Hold up a mo', Slayer. Luz here has a question 'bout me."
"She doesn't know what I am. I'd better show her, but first you'd better make it clear it's no joke."
Luz was worried now. What the hell kind of foolishness was this?
Buffy was frowning now. "Spike"
"Invited me in here, gave me her kitten to hold, an' doesn't know"
"Aren't you being a little over-dramatic? Did everyone you and Xander ever hung out with know? I'm gonna bet not so much. Anyway, of course Luz knowsshe's an O'Connor." Buffy faced her now, smiling like a saleslady. "How many times have you heard the stories? I mean, c'mon."
"Stories," Luz echoed. "You folks love stories."
Will said, "Luz, I am a vampire."
She looked at him again, and this time his face was different. Repressing a scream, she snatchd up a baby carrier in each hand, shoved past her husband and bolted out into the sunlight.