Newest chapter of Reclamation for you all. Previous chapter can be found Here.
Reclamation is the sequel to Innocence Found, which can be found Here.
Crossposted to spuffyness and my regular journal.
Reclamation – Chapter 2 – Happy Campers
Willow, Xander, and Rupert were soon dressed in the pajamas left over from Buffy and Spike’s adventures in childhood the previous week. After a round of milk and cookies, the children were herded upstairs to the guestroom. With any luck, they’d all fall asleep and leave the adults to talk.
Tara was the only one smiling as Spike and Buffy took seats next to each other on the couch. “Okay, you two. Spill. What caused the kiddie second coming?”
Buffy slowly raised her hand, wiggling her fingers with a sheepish grin.. “Me and my big mouth. Xander and Willow were giving us a hard time, and I wished just once that they could live a week in my shoes… and poof! D’Hoffryn made like the Wicked Witch and voila! Sesame Street time again.”
“So you were very specific in the time frame of your wish. That means Camp Munchkin is in business for a week.” The blonde’s smile faltered for a moment. “I-I was going to mention calling their parents, but I don’t think they’ll even notice their children are missing for an entire week. That’s so sad.”
“If I might make a suggestion, Glinda?” Spike broke in for the first time since they’d arrived. “I think we need to give a quick glimpse to the Watcher’s room, remove the more dangerous weapons he’s probably got hid, and give the three tots the bigger room. Buffy an’ I managed in the smaller room, but three of ‘em are gonna get crowded in there.”
Tara nodded, agreeing that they probably needed the space. The two women were already midway up the stairs to set up the master bedroom when the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it, pets. If it’s a Jehovah’s Witness, I’ll toss in a little fang and they’ll never show themselves here again. Do the Watcher a big…”
Spike opened the door to a very stunned Cordelia, who whipped out a cross in self defense. After all, the last time she’d seen Spike, he’d been torturing her boss. Unfortunately for her, the cross in her hand caused the little boy held in her other arm to howl in fear.
That’s all it took for recognition to set in. “Buffy!” Spike called out in-between belly laughs. “Get down here, luv.”
Thinking there was trouble of some kind; Buffy came barreling down the stairs, stake at the ready. Spying Cordelia holding a cross and the crying little boy, with Spike writhing on the ground, she assumed he’d been burned and dropped to her knees to assess the damage.
“Buffy,” he wheezed, when he finally managed to get in enough air to form words. “When you make a wish, pet, you don’t fool around.”
She looked at the child. “Don’t tell me that’s…Angel?” Buffy was stunned. “What did I do? And how many more kids are gonna show up thanks to me?”
Cordelia shoved her way inside, putting Angel down. “Huh! I should have known this had something to do with you. And what’s the sitch with Sir Laughs-a-lot? Isn’t he still evil?”
“Oi, Cheerleader! M’right here. You got a problem with me?”
“Nah, Blondie. Angel told me all about your second childhood, but it never hurts to be prepared.” After pocketing the cross, the brunette reached out her hand to help Spike up, grinning at the surprise on his face. “Don’t look so shocked, bleach boy. A girl can change.”
“Apparently anybody can if you can,” Buffy snorted under her breath. “So, Cordy… you staying to join the Babysitter’s Club?”
“I don’t see why I should, not with all of you around to take care of one little boy. Even for me that’s taking lazy a little too far.”
“You don’t know the half of it, Princess,” Spike muttered. “Buffy, why don’t you take her an’ Angel upstairs and show her just what’s been goin’ on here.”
Cordelia shivered at the Mona Lisa smile that graced Buffy’s face. She wasn’t used to the little blonde being so confident in her presence. Steeling herself for the worst, they followed her up the stairs to the guestroom, her hand on Angel’s back as if to prevent him from falling backwards.
Someone had taped up a sign that read ‘Munchkin Central’ on the door. How did they know she was coming with Angel? She made certain not to call – not to give them an excuse for being unavailable to watch the little vampire.
Sitting on the bed was the personification of the ‘see no evil’, ‘do no evil’, and ‘speak no evil’ monkeys: Xander, Willow, and…
“Okay you guys, I recognize Willow and Xander from when they actually looked like that… but who’s the little blondie on the end?”
“If you really want to know, you could always ask me what my name is,” said Rupert. “I’m not made out of wood.”
“Geeze, does he sound like a little Giles or what?” Cordelia looked at Buffy, who was trying her hardest to hold in her laughter. “No, really? That’s Giles?”
Rupert stood, a little annoyed with her attitude. He hated it when adults talked around him. He was perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation with adults, thank you very much.
“Yeah, I’m Rupert Giles. Care to make somethin’ of it?”
Spike, Buffy, and Tara finally gave in to their laughter. The posturing of the child was just too much. So Rupert really was a little Ripper as a tot. Ought to make the week interesting, to say the least.
“I am so out of here. I take enough attitude at work that I don’t need it from a little pisher like him.” With an imperious wave of her hand, Cordelia headed for the door. “Bye, Angel. Auntie Cordelia will be back for you when you’re gr… in a week. Be good now, and drink all your blood like a good little vampire.”
“M’bettin’ she was never one for babysittin’ as a teenager,” Spike snarked as soon as Cordelia left the room.
Tara gathered the youngsters together and worked out sleeping arrangements for the night. Xander and Willow would share the bed, as they were used to sleepovers, and Angel and Rupert got sleeping bags on the floor. A quick check to make sure the windows were covered securely for Angel’s sake, and they were almost ready for bed.
Volunteering for Mother Goose duty the first night, she sat in the middle of the bed and began to read from Alice in Wonderland. Giles had mentioned reading it to Buffy and Spike, and figured it would work with the other children.
Spike and Buffy walked quietly from the room, letting Tara quietly read the children to sleep.
“I think it’s a good idea for me and Tara to sleep upstairs, Spike. This way we’ll be near the kids if they wake up in the middle of the night.”
He had to laugh. Seemed he’d been doing a lot of that lately, and it felt damned good.
“And just what’s so funny, mister?”
“Say this once out loud, pet, and try to keep a straight face,” he said, trying to keep his voice down as they walked down the stairs. “Spike and I have four little ones and I’m making him sleep on the couch.”
Buffy repeated the words, and promptly burst out in a fit of giggles. “Only us, Spike,” she gasped. “One week and our entire lives are changed around. We couldn’t sell this to Ripley’s.”
She checked the curtains, making sure they were secure from the morning light. Spike beckoned her to the couch, where he had already stretched out, hoping for a goodnight snuggle.
Buffy slid under the covers, remembering the feel of all those hard muscles from their interrupted shower not so many hours ago. She rubbed her nose against Spike’s in an Eskimo kiss, then pressed another not so chaste kiss against his lips, before getting off the couch.
“Pleasant dreams, Spike, she whispered. “And don’t worry, you’re still my favorite bampire.”
Caught somewhere between awake and asleep, it took a moment for Willow’s presence to register on Spike’s consciousness. Eventually the persistent tapping on his arm brought him around.
“Spike! Spike! You have to wake up. Xander’s had an accident!” The little redhead’s voice was shrill and urgent.
The vampire silently thanked Buffy for insisting that he wear his jeans to bed. Wouldn’t want to traumatize the little kids. Naked adults and little children were unmixy things, to borrow a phrase from his favorite blonde.
He scooped the little girl into his arms and dashed upstairs, fully expecting to find Xander out cold on the floor and bleeding, or Angel attached to his neck. Something had panicked Willow enough to come downstairs to him, instead of heading to Tara or Buffy.
Rupert and Angel were on the floor, trying to calm Xander. The little brunet looked as if he were trying to melt into the wall, his brown eyes wild and unseeing.
Spike went to put Willow down on the bed… and realized what the problem was. Xander Lavelle Harris had wet the bed. Relieved that it was nothing more than a normal human issue, the vampire allowed himself to relax.
The question of the boy’s fear remained. He wasn’t merely afraid, he was terrified. What had a little one like this been through to be so fearful of an emptied bladder?
By this time, Buffy and Tara had trundled into the bedroom, awakened by the noise.
“Is e-everyone all right?” Tara desperately tried to stifle her yawning to concentrate on the children.
“Spike, what’s the matter with Xander? Why is he cowering in the corner like a trapped animal?” Buffy whispered, not wanting to alarm anyone.
“Seems the lad’s had a little leakage problem on the bed,” the blond confided. “Dunno why he’s carryin’ on like that. Why don’t you take the other kiddies into your room and keep ‘em calm. Someone here needs some alone time, an’ a bath.”
Looking at the frightened child in the corner, Spike shook his head. “You just know this is karma coming back to get me for playin’ doctor in the bath when we were tots, pet. Shouldn’t have expected less.”
“Call me if you need anything, Spike. I promise I’ll come and help you if it gets out of control.” Buffy assured him with a peck on the cheek. “In the meantime, Tara and I will settle the kids in with us, and clean up the bedding.”
“All right, kidlets.” Spike clapped his hands for attention. “Go with Tara an’ Buffy. I’ll bring the boy in when he’s calmer.”
Dropping to his knees in front of the boy, Spike tried to catch his attention. “C’mon, Xander… look at me. What’s got you so frightened?”
If anything, the boy pulled in tighter to himself, keening in abject terror.
With his enhanced hearing, the vampire could make out an almost silent litany of words. “It was an accident,” “I’m sorry,” “Daddy stop, it hurts.” The little one’s eyes locked on Spike’s own at the growl that escaped from deep within the vampire’s chest at the scenario he’d pieced together.
You can do this, mate. Think Drusilla. Decades of gentling the mad vampiress would certainly come in handy here.
“Nobody’s gonna hurt you, pet. Spike won’t let anyone hurt you,” he crooned, softly. “Let’s go get you washed up an’ into somethin’ clean.”
“Y-y-you’re not m-mad at me?” the little boy whimpered, still cringing away from even the most gentle touch.
“For what, pet? For peein’ the bed?”
Xander’s entire body shook at the words.
“You’re a little ‘un, Xander. Such things happen,” Spike soothed. “I promise you’ll stop wettin’ the bed when you grow up.”
“Not gonna h-hit me? Punish me?”
Spike smiled, knowing the crisis had eased enough if the boy could talk. “Not even gonna raise m’voice, boy. Now, take off your kit and let’s get you a quick dunk in the tub.”
The boy quickly stripped off his wet clothing and launched himself at Spike, wrapping his arms tightly around his neck and clinging like a little monkey. “Love you, Spike,” he whispered in the vampire’s ear.
In the morning, the young women made their way to the still darkened livingroom, gasping at the sight before them.
The coffee table had been moved, and blankets laid on the floor. Spike lay on his back, with Xander cuddled onto his chest, his little head resting under the vampire’s chin.
“One of you chits says anythin’ about this to anyone, an’ I’ll drain you to a husk.” One blue eye opened warily as Spike gently eased the boy onto the blankets.
Xander didn’t move a muscle as Spike swaddled him in the covers, using the old technique to keep him feeling secure. “That panic attack from last night might keep him out cold all day. Little one’s exhausted.”
“Did you find out what he was so afraid of?” Buffy sat on the floor watching the sleeping bundle of child. “I mean, it was only a wet bed, and the other kids weren’t making fun of him or threatening him.”
“Xander’s daddy used to hit him with his belt. ‘Specially when he was drunk,” Willow said as she came down the stairs, followed by the rest of the subdued troop. Obviously she’d told them the story of Mr. Tony Harris. “He used to come to my house when it got bad, and I’d fix up his boo boos. Sometimes it was really, really bad.”
Tara’s heart broke at the little one’s revelation. Five years old and they’d already been through so much. She’d lived that life, herself… always on the end of her father’s wrath. It didn’t matter if she hadn’t done anything wrong. The man’s lousy existence was cause enough to earn her a beating most days. “Poor Xander,” she whispered.
Buffy looked at the sleeping boy, then at Tara… to little Willow sitting anxiously by her friend, and finally, to Spike. “We’ll fix it,” she said with conviction. “I don’t know how, but we’ll make it right.”
ETA: Thanks to those who ever so sweetly reminded me that I made a plot faux pas, I've corrected it. **smooches to you all**