Author's Chapter Notes:
Hopefully the format error is fixed now it didn't look like that when from where I pasted it in, honest. Ok now that the apology is out of the way...have patinece with the first part of the story the first four chapters are from different charcaters and going forward from there. Just to warn you the first chapter is Joyce's pov and it does involve moderate sex with Joyce and'll figure it out real quick. There are references to "Band Candy" and the episode Dawn finds out she is the key(I can never remember the name)

Disclaimer: To paraphrase Sgt. Schultz 'I own nothing.' All is owned by Joss..and others I am just playing and not being paid.
Joyce was checking the lasagna in the oven and she couldn’t help but think how her life had changed so much over the past four months. In actuality it had changed some time before that, though the exact date was anyone’s guess, four months was a good marker though that was when the headaches got so bad she was forced to the doctor. Not a good thing for a single mother of not one college age daughter, but one college age daughter and one daughter who was just recently a full-fledged teenager. She now knew the teenager wasn’t hers the way most people believed but at the same time in every way that mattered she would always be her pumpkin belly.

One week after the first visit to the doctor she was in the hospital for tests. Her eldest Buffy, The Slayer, truly was a rock at this time always there for her mother and sister Dawn. Buffy’s boyfriend Riley expected Buffy to lean on him and let him be her manly protector, he could not understand why Buffy resisted this and resented her strength and independence. Riley didn’t see that Buffy couldn’t allow anyone to see her weakness or she would lose what little control she was able to maintain. The night she went in for the tests was when things began to change rapidly for Joyce………………..

Rupert drove her to the hospital as part of his watcher duties taking care of Buffy and her family by extension, or so she thought. After he helped her settle in her room he told her the truth which shocked her he was there for her, not the Slayer, the Slayer’s sister, who she would later discover was a mystical dimensional key, not the Slayer’s mother, but for Joyce the woman. Rupert told her how he had begun to fall for her before the awful band candy incident, (ok the sex was not a completely awful side effect of behaving like a teenager…………..who was she kidding Ripper was a great lay), after the shameful way he behaved he felt self conscious around her and stayed away so as not to embarrass her girls.

He told her how every relationship since, and there had been only a few, and none of those serious had been compared to her and the friendship they had, the one they abandoned due to their mutual embarrassment. He said it was wrong for him to give up from fear of something more developing and then losing her as he had Jenny and that he would very much like to build on what they had and see where things would lead.

Joyce remembered how she laughed then reminding him that she may have a fatal condition and didn’t he think the chances of losing her now where even greater, why let himself in for that kind of pain, she cared too much for him to know she caused him that.

That’s when he said, “Joyce, I know that I may lose you but we, and I place the bulk of the blame on myself…no don’t say anything I should have pursued you despite our embarrassment. We have lost valuable years, which we shall never get back, more than years we have lost months, weeks, days, and moments. We shall never know the joys and sorrows, pleasure and pain, comfort and hurt, agony and ecstasy; we could have shared, what we have missed due to fear and embarrassment. If I lose you now I want to know at least I tried to make something of what is growing between us. Before you say anything, no I absolutely am not doing this to be able to take care of Buffy and Dawn if the worst happens and you should die THAT…. I…. WILL…. DO… no matter what response you make. I want to do this for us so that we can steal whatever happiness we are allowed if it be one day or thousands.”

What could she say to that, I mean really a man who values moments more than years, counts joys AND sorrows as something missed, and who no matter what will take care of her girls and yet just wants to make her happy. She might not want to cause him pain but she wasn’t stupid. “Rupert,” she had responded, “I would be honored to see where things go between us and I am a very lucky woman to have a man like you by my side.”

They then shared their first true kiss, one not caused by a magical drug he leaned over her in the bed and brushed his lips against hers it was gentle and yet at the same time demanding. Yep, great kisser just like she remembered.

They told the girls their decision the day she returned home surprisingly both took it well with Buffy giving her a smirk, which had Rupert rolling his eyes and saying stop that you look like a certain bleached vampire. Dawn just laughed at that and Buffy began to open and close her mouth like a bass out of water then she too laughed as did Joyce and Rupert, Riley who was there as well looked hurt by Rupert’s comparison and the subsequent laughter and stormed out of the house.

Dawn being Dawn summed up what they all felt, “Gesh, Buffy sometimes your boyfriend has no sense of humor.”

“He’s just sensitive about Spike since he had the chip in his heart removed,” Buffy defended than got up to follow him.

“I was actually being nice. None of her boyfriends have ever had a sense of humor.” With that Dawn stormed upstairs to her room.

Joyce and Rupert looked at each other then in unison said, “Kids,” they then broke out into laughter and enjoyed the rest of the day sitting on the couch together. The tests came back and she did have a brain tumor.

Before the surgery, insanity set in that is when she realized that Dawn was not truly hers. When she came out of the antistitic she confronted both Buffy and Rupert. They were honest with her then and while she was upset she understood their reasons for not telling her and forgave them both though Rupert she did make promise to take her to a very expensive restaurant as his penance. That night was when things began to fall apart for her daughter, though Joyce did not know it at the time.

Riley came over and they spent the night together. Riley left her bed in the middle of the night; he did not know he had someone following him to the vamp whorehouse. None of them had known about Spike’s obsession with Buffy at that time. The next night Spike came to Buffy and showed her what her “normal” boyfriend was doing, allowing himself to be used as a chew toy for vamp whores while they jerked him off. He actually paid them to bite him!!!!!!!!!!

Buffy handled it the way she always did as The Slayer she burned the whorehouse down. The day after that she came crying to Joyce and told her what happened including Riley’s nauseating ultimatum, Xander’s ridiculous speech, and her own frantic chase after a man not worthy of her baby girl. (No Dawn was her baby...right) Joyce had never been so glad that Spike liked to intervene in their lives sometimes, but she held her daughter while she mourned the loss of normal from her life more than the loss of Riley.

By the end of the next week Rupert paid up on his promise of dinner at an expensive restaurant where he proposed. They were married late afternoon on the following Friday neither wanting to wait any longer. The ceremony was at the Courthouse with Willow, Tara, Xander, Anya, Spike (at her request), and of course Buffy and Dawn in attendance.

The honeymoon was short just a weekend at a quaint Bed and Breakfast Spike found for them between Sunnydale and LA, he joked he had all day to look on the internet for them and as his wedding gift he was paying and no he didn’t kill or rob anyone for the money so they could accept without guilt.

Joyce would never forget her wedding night. They arrived at The Inn as it was called simple name yet it was exquisite. The Inn was nestled between the mountains and the ocean. They were welcomed as royalty by the owners Jon and Ellen Wilkerson.

Their room had a king size four poster bed, fireplace, hot tub, refrigerator (fully stoked so they didn’t have to leave the room), and floor to ceiling windows which wrapped around two walls of the room giving them a view of both the ocean and mountains and yet they were informed the windows were tinted so that even without curtains no one could see in and no ultra violet light could come into the room. After their host left Rupert ever the Watcher had said the windows would be good for Spike because with the tint he could actually stand in the sun and not be hurt and wondered at the coincidence.

Joyce went up behind him and kissed his neck right under his ear whispering. “How about the Watcher takes tonight off.”

“Ok but just to warn you, dear wife, you are about to be soundly made love to.” He then turned in her arms and kissed her.

“Promises, promises.” She had responded between heated kisses where their tongues had done an intimate dance. “Have I ever let you down?” he said as he slowly striped first his jacket then hers from their bodies.

“Not yet” slowly their shirts followed the jackets to the floor, then both their pants.

While they were undressing they never stopped kissing. He stood back from her looked at her with an adoration she never remembered seeing on Hank’s face and then leaned in and kissed her again. She began to get nervous she had not been with a man, well since Rupert and tonight she didn’t have candy to blame anything on. She started to voice her fears when he started kissing her again and said in between. “No more talking, except maybe a yes, right there, or oh yes, every now and again.”

Joyce couldn’t help it she started to laugh he smiled, scooped her up, carried her over to the bed and deposited her there. That’s when she stopped thinking all together because he removed her bra and started to suckle at first one than the other breast. He hadn’t done that on the police car, bastard… how dare he keep this from her. So wrapped up in the heavenly feel of his mouth she didn’t notice that he had rid them both of their underwear until she felt his hard penis against her thigh and his hand between her legs.

She spread her legs further to accommodate him, he had looked up from nursing at her bosom and stared into her eyes as he slowly entered her long unused passage stretching her around him. “YESSSSSS” they had said in unison then together they laughed remembering his words from earlier.

They stopped laughing when he slowly, leisurely pulled almost all the way out of her and then pushed back in smiling lovingly at her the entire time. The rise to their mutual orgasms had been slow, steady and wonderful.

After they had both exploded he slid further into her, grabbed her rear and turned them on their sides he then took one nipple in his mouth and again began to suck.

She had thrown her head back and moaned, then jerked forward staring at him in shock as she felt him begin to harden inside her again. Somehow he managed to talk around her breast, “Your mine now and I plan on having you until neither of us can walk straight while we don’t have to worry about being interrupted or overheard.” She had laughed again then until he started their next climb to bliss.

Rupert had been true to his word and since they did not have to leave the room they had both been more than sated and learned just what the other liked. She knew him better sexually after their first weekend of marriage than she did Hank after their 17 years; she had already known him emotionally better than her ex. Throughout the weekend he would also say things to make her laugh and she was truly happy for the first time since she found out about her daughter’s calling.

Then as they were checking out something strange happened. They were alone with the owners at the front desk, as this was off season, when a young man approached them and gave them a medium size painting, “I never did get a chance to give this to Spike can you please pass it along.”

Joyce had stared at the painting in awe, “This is by Robert Wilkerson he is one of the hottest artist on the west coast right now, one of his works this size is very expensive.”

“Not for me, just the paint and canvas. I’m Robert nice to meet both of you Mr. and Mrs. Giles. You must mean a lot to Spike the way he asked my parents to make sure your stay was perfect.”

Looking over at Rupert, Joyce saw her husband shift from playful, attentive, incredible lover to Watcher in the blink of an eye. He turned to their host and inquired, “How is it that you know Spike well enough so that your son would give him such a gift. He led us to believe he found your establishment on the Internet and paid in advance for the room?”

At that their hosts laughed. Then Jon said, “You’re serious aren’t you?” when they nodded he began. “Ellen and I first bought this place years ago, Robert was just a baby. We were here for about a month barely getting by when Spike first checked in Ellen had Robert in a carrier behind the counter that night and of course Spike loving kids the way he does came around the counter to coo and make faces at him. He checked in for what was supposed to be three days saying his girlfriend was in need of some space and so was he.”

“I am so happy is no longer with that maniac. Any woman who could treat him that poorly deserves a painful death.” Ellen interrupted.

“Anyway,” Jon continued, “It ended up being more like a couple of weeks, he would actually come down and eat dinner with us saying he had a sun allergy so he would it be ok to have dinner be his breakfast he would even eat breakfast food then as for him it was breakfast. We needed the money so of course we agreed but soon he had wormed his way into our hearts and we found ourselves looking forward to the surprisingly intelligent conversations we shared.

Then one night we found out his true nature, a group of demons came in just as he was coming down for dinner. They went to grab Robert who Ellen was holding behind the counter saying they needed a boy of his age for a ritual. Spike growled at them and then we saw his true face he told the demons to leave his humans alone if they wanted to keep on drawing breath. The demons than asked who he thought he was he smiled at them and said, ‘Have lots of names you can call me Spike though.’ The demons all stepped back then the leader scoffed, ‘Yeah, right William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers is staying at a B & B on holiday.’ The demons laughed Spike shrugged said ‘Your funeral,’ and proceeded to kill them all.

Ellen and I were in shock this gentle man we thought we knew was some sort of demon himself and with the whole sun allergy thing we both assumed he was a vampire. He was smiling at his victory, when he saw our shocked faces, he looked down at the demons at his feet and back at us with those eyes of his that can be so expressive and said sadly that he would bury the bodies and asked for one more days rest before he was out of our lives for good with the next sunset.

Ellen was the first to react walking around the counter and giving him a hug with Robert still in her arms, crying and thanking him for saving our son and us. I then pulled Ellen away and could tell he was not expecting me to also embrace him. He asked why we weren’t afraid, didn’t we know that he was a vicious killer and could suck us dry at any time. I answered that by stating the facts, if he had wanted us dead it would have already happened. We helped him bury the bodies apparently it had to be done a specific way and he stayed a few more days before moving on when he left we told him, his money would never be any good here and he would always be part of our family.

Shortly after that is when our business began to pick up and one night two of our guests got into a scuffle broken up a third and we realized that all three were demons. The one who broke up the fight explained to us that word had gone through the demon community that this was a nice place and they would be accepted here but if anyone harmed or by their actions caused harm to the human owners than they would answer to Spike.

We know we sometimes have vampires and other demons as guests here but they know better than to harm us or kill anyone in town or they would answer to Spike, heck most of our staff are vampires which also helps with protection from other demons and we know they feed in town but actually the crime rate is very low because they like to help keep everyone alive and healthy to give them more of a selection to feed from. They all use a thrall so no one remembers their donation to help sustain the vampires; they never even take enough from one person that, the person would even feel dizzy.

Spike’s been by a few times over the years always it seems at a time when we need his help in one way or another as a matter of fact four years ago when Robert first started painting the three of us were always arguing about it Ellen and I thought he could do so much more with his life. Spike was here and overheard one of the arguments he stepped in and reminded us of how he saved Robert’s life, Ellen and I just knew an I didn’t do it so you could waste your life painting was coming, instead we were shocked to hear. ‘Why are the two of you robbing him of a chance to enjoy his career as you enjoy yours? How about a compromise a period of five years Robert devotes full time to painting

if nothing happens then he looks into doing something else.’” “That’s when I promised him a painting after he left that wacko girlfriend of his I just knew she would destroy it if I gave it to him while they were together.”

“Well,” Jon concluded. “You obviously know how Robert’s career turned out. As for Spike he keeps in contact through occasional letters telling us all about his life and the people in it. I am glad the surgery was a success Joyce.”

Joyce remembers how her and Rupert where shocked by this story and she broke the uncomfortable silence the best way she knew how, “So no one who likes Spike also liked Dru. You would have thought he would have got the hint.”

Everyone laughed at that and they left to return to their girls. Right as they were getting ready to drive off Rupert said he left something inside and went back in Joyce wasn’t sure he was being completely honest so when they had gone down the road about ten miles she said, “You didn’t forget anything did you?”

“No I didn’t. I was unsure how to bring this up so I am glad you did I will tell you what I told them Spike can not know we were told of his past with the Wilkerons. You see Joyce; I am beginning to think he may be the one I have been looking for my entire life, the one my family swore to help protect knowing what he means to the world. I could tell you more as you are now family but, the thing is it would be cruel of me to do so, you see if he is who I am beginning to believe he is than there is much difficulty in store for him and those around him but it is only difficulty the main thing in store for him is joy, and some things that he could have never dared hope for, which will not only bring him happiness but others as well. Including in all honesty us, I am dreaming about this and will be very disappointed if it is not so, but to dangle the possibility in front of anyone else right now, be that you, or him would be cruel beyond measure. Just pray that I am right and he is the one.”

“Ok I trust you.”

When they reached home they heard about the disaster that had been Saturday night. Everyone had come over to watch movies when Buffy and Dawn got into a huge fight everyone thought Dawn was just locked in her room.

Actually she had snuck out a window. Spike had found her walking away from the house and together they had gone to the Magic Box and uncovered the truth about what she really was. She then snuck away from Spike, once he realized what happened he had called Buffy. She found her sister at the hospital and there was some sort of confrontation with Glory. In the end Glory had disappeared to wherever it is she goes and Buffy had convinced Dawn that no matter her origins she was her sister and loved by her and everyone in her life.

Rupert and Joyce could only agree with this and do their best to show the girl how much they loved her. That evening Rupert had disappeared for a few hours only to come home right before Dawn went to bed.

“Yeah, you sure care as soon as I find out what I really am, you don’t have to pretend to want to be around me anymore.” Dawn had wailed.

“No I just had to get my diaries which were left out put in order and see what exactly was missing from the Store.”

“We didn’t take anything and only looked in the diaries for this year”

“The fact that you read my private diaries for any time is enough of an invasion to cause me grave concern.”

“What was I supposed to do everyone was acting all weird
around me, except Spike, and no one would tell me anything?”

“I suppose telling you by the way Dawn you have to be careful going out because you know this key Glory is looking for there were these monks who took it and made it into you so we can’t let her know or she’ll kill you and end the world at the same time.”

This is one of those times when Buffy surprised everyone with her wisdom, “Hey I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t we have a family dinner night? You know where no matter what is going on we, just the family, no Scoobys get together and have dinner and I don’t know talk. You know the thing where words come out of your mouth with out spit joining it and there is no glasses polishing or veins throbbing in peoples foreheads.”

The other three had just turned and looked at her like she had three heads. “It was just a thought.”

Dawn smiled, “I like the idea. It sounds so normal.”

With that it was quickly agreed and the next evening was the first “family dinner” night. It turned into a wonderful evening and gave all of them just what they needed.

The Thursday after the next family dinner night was another terrifying one for her family. Buffy had been out slaying with Spike watching her back as had become their custom when some demons attacked they handled it like always but apparently someone watching saw something more between Buffy and Spike. Glory’s goons grabbed him that night; they thought he was the key because of how she protected him. They found out when Dawn went over the next day to Spike’s crypt for his help with a paper on the Boxer Rebellion and found it in shambles. In the time between their honeymoon and then Glory’s lair was uncovered.

Carefully Buffy and Rupert put together a rescue operation because of course Spike couldn’t be trusted not to say anything to Glory about who the key was. From what she was told they were wrong, Spike did not say anything to Glory as a matter of fact he taunted her and was tortured for his silence.

He was helped back to his crypt and later in the evening Anya went to see him she had been sent on a mission to see why he did not say anything and find out if he was just holding out for maybe help removing the chip in his head or being Glory’s number one henchmen. With her bluntness and ex vengeance demon status they had developed a unique friendship and everyone knew he would tell her the truth. She relayed only enough information to say he would never do anything to hurt Dawn he cares too much for her and her family to want to see any of them hurt.

When Xander tried to press for more details she turned on him, “Alexander Harris, you saw him. Saw how bloodied and beaten he was. If he were as much of a bastard as you want him to be he would not have put up with half that torture before turning on Dawn. To be any more specific in the reasons he gave me would be a violation of his trust and I am not prepared to do that. Despite what you may wish to see he has a good heart and is a good being. He just happens to have a demon in his body. To tell you the truth with my experience he is a better person than many humans both male and female I have seen in my entire 1100 years.” That was the end of that discussion.

That Monday night about ten minutes before they were sitting down for dinner there was a knock at the door. Dawn answered it. “Spike,” she squealed, “oh my gosh you look horrible. What are you doing out of bed.”

They heard him chuckle and saw Buffy take off for the living room anger and concern in her eyes.

“Thought I’d come get big sis for a patrol tonight.”

“Well, it’s family dinner night Spike.” Buffy bit out. “Dawn’s right you should still be in bed you’d get us both killed if you patrolled with me tonight. Go home and go back to bed, before I drag you there myself.”

“If you want to get me into a bed all you have to do is ask.” He had responded suggestively.

Buffy turned red and rolled her eyes. Giles then surprised everyone with what he said. “Since you’re here Spike why don’t you join us for dinner? I know you are not family, but you’re not a Scooby either and after what you did for Dawn I think we can welcome you to our table this evening.”

“Sure I won’t be intruding”

“Not at all.”

The look of joy at being accepted which crossed his face so fast that Joyce didn’t even know if anyone else noticed melted her heart even more for this vampire. He did join them that evening and each of the next three, those invitations being given by first Dawn, then herself, and finally Buffy. The next week he just showed up but they had a place already set for him. Rupert enjoyed having another Englishman around to talk to and Dawn was just glad to have her friend there. Buffy was still not sure what she felt but would often blush for no reason around him.

That’s when it happened it was a Thursday again, Buffy came running home told her Spike was a sick bastard and that she and Dawn should stay away from him. When Joyce asked what she meant she told her, “Mom he thinks he’s in love with me. You know what he has in the basement of his crypt a shrine to me it was like one of those sick horror movies you know with the pictures covering a wall and articles of my clothes. Like the blue sweater I keep accusing Dawn of having. Remind me to apologize to her for that. It was disgusting, pictures of me all over some on the walls some in a box. You know what his explanation was he was sorry he was taking it down. He had all those things because he thought it was the closest he could get to me and that was what he would have to settle for. That’s when I asked how long this sick obsession of his had been going on he just said awhile. Remember Riley mom, Spike admitted he had been standing outside watching the house when Riley left me that night and followed him. Said he was curious what a man who had just “had” such a beautiful woman could possible find so interesting that he would leave that woman’s bed. Can you believe that? He said he was sorry and didn’t mean to frighten me planned on telling me how he felt after he finished dismantling the shrine was going to confess everything when he brought the box by to return everything he stole tomorrow. How convenient he was going to tell me tomorrow.”

Joyce remembers looking at her daughter and seeing the emotions on her face many she knew Buffy would never admit to. She looked at her daughter, took her in her arms, and quietly said, “What if he was telling the truth.”

Buffy pulled away startled, stared at her mother in shock and ran upstairs to her room locking the door behind her. Buffy was gone to school the next day before Joyce even got up to go to the gallery. So Joyce had made the decision that saved her life, she decided to go to Spike’s crypt to talk to him. When she got there she went to the lower level and saw him in the corner putting a lid on a box he looked up when he heard her, “Oh you’ll save me a trip. Sure you know what’s in here why don’t you take it with you.” “Where you really planning on bringing that by today?”

“Today or tomorrow.”

“I believe you, Spike.” He looked up at her hopefully then she saw the look in his eyes change followed by his whole face as his features assumed his demon mask. The next few seconds was the only time she ever remembers being afraid of Spike; he charged her threw her over his shoulders and began to run through the sewers.

She was shocked and didn’t know what to say, she was beginning to feel a little dizzy and knows she heard him repeating something over and over but could not tell what. That was when she realized there was something wrong with her; he burst into the basement of the hospital and up the stairs to the emergency ward. Once there he started screaming for help then everything went black………….

“MOM, what are you doing out of bed!” Dawn was yelling at her from the doorway of the kitchen; which brought her out of her reminiscing and firmly back to the lasagna in the oven.

“I am a grown woman and quite capable of checking on dinner.”

“Yes my love.” Rupert said ganging up on her, “But if you’ll recall that is Spike’s and my job tonight not yours and the advantage to having a vampire as a cooking companion is nothing will ever burn with the sensitive nose. Now go sit on the couch and relax with our daughters.” While he had been talking Rupert moved in to the kitchen so he was beside her and gently pushed her toward the living room.

On the way to relax on the couch with her daughters she passed a smirking Spike. Yes her life had truly changed over the last four months and she wondered how much more was to come...

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