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January 2013 – The Gathering
Ominous news from England starts off the year. Olivia’s collapse at a Council function finds her admitted to the hospital for observation. A frantic call from Giles in the wee hours of the morning finds Buffy trying to calm the man down – telling him things will work out – Olivia will be fine.
Unfortunately, a nurse interrupts her words, explaining that Giles has passed out from severe chest pains and must be attended to. When a later call advises that the family might want to gather, a call to Angel procures the Wolfram & Hart jet to ferry the worried clan.
Even the children are subdued as they walk into the hospital. The thought of losing Grandpa Giles and Grandma Olivia, as they’ve come to call her, frightens them.
It’s when they’re greeted by a jubilant Willow that everyone becomes confused. “Olivia’s fine!” she crows, hugging everyone tightly. “Turns out she’s knocked up, not sick.”
“What about Giles?” Buffy’s quiet question cuts through everyone’s giddiness.
The redhead sobers slightly. “He’s had a heart attack… a mild one, and he needs to cut down on his Council work. And you’ll never guess who’s stepping up to the plate. Little Dawnie and Andrew!”
Willow leads the way to Giles. The hospital has stretched its official policy, allowing Olivia to share her beloved’s room while she rests and he recovers.
They all stand huddled at the foot of their beds, unsure as to what to say or how to say it. As usual, it’s Spike who breaks the ice. “Congratulations, pet,” he purrs, kissing Olivia on the forehead. “I guess you finally got the old codger away from his books for an evening.”
His eyes twinkling with good humor, Giles asks: “Need I mention that you have nearly a century on me, old man?”
Spike smiles, backing away to make room for the rest of the family. The vampire’s true age notwithstanding, there were three generations jammed into the little room today, each and every person thrilled with the knowledge that Rupert Giles, grandfather extraordinaire and father-to-be was expected to be around for a long, long time.
Olivia watches from her bed as the children gather ‘round their Grandpa. The changes in the man from their last attempt at a relationship are amazing. Giles has become the consummate family man, and now they’ll be adding their own little chick to the flock, fates willing.
February 2013 – Blast from the Past
In his spare time, Xander manages to finish the Bennetts’ basement, and Willa and Treena decide to inaugurate it by holding a joint ninth birthday party. They have so many of the same friends and their birthdates are so close together, it just makes sense.
Theme parties are still a big thing amongst their group, so they turn to their parents for ideas. The most appealing is a Fifties bash. And yes, that’s the nineteen fifties.
Between the internet and the vintage stores, they pile up poodle skirts and pom-pom blouses, saddle shoes and leather jackets.
The invitations go out.
Both girls are popular at school, and the majority of responses have been acceptances. Buffy’s mind boggles at the thought of nearly fifty children in her basement. She’s grateful for the distance it gives them and the assistance in chaperoning by Xander and Molly. The ratio of four adults and fifty kids should be interesting, to say the least.
The decorations are colorful: all jewel-toned balloons and cut-outs of records and soda shops. There’ll be simple games and old cartoons. They’ve rented a jukebox filled with oldies to provide music.
Willa and Treena discuss the shopping list for the menu.
The big day arrives and the adults swing into action. The men are assigned to the kitchen; setting out trays of cheeseburgers, hot dogs and French fries to order. They’ve even bought an old fashioned milk shake machine for authentic frosty treats.
The women are downstairs, helping everyone into at least one piece of old fashioned clothing. It’s a regular beauty parlor as hair is slicked back, ponytails tied, and makeup lightly applied.
At nine years old, the kids are aware enough that posing for pictures in the Bennett household might just mean they’ll all end up in a book.
Tara, Tyler, and Will are welcome to mingle with the gang until after lunch, and then it’s time for the birthday girls and their friends to do their own thing. One of their favorite babysitters will keep the little ones occupied for the rest of the afternoon, so all four parents can lend a hand with crowd control.
The jukebox kicks things into high gear. Of course, none of the kids are familiar with the dances of the era, and Willa reluctantly allows her Papa to demonstrate with Mama, hoping they won’t get all mushy in front of her friends.
No worries for the little hostess – the dances are all non-contact with silly names and easy enough to learn quickly. Before long, Mama and Papa return to their roles as chaperones and the kids hit the floor.
Xander taps Spike on the shoulder. “You do know I have enough blackmail material in this little camera to ensure your cooperation in my nefarious schemes for the next twenty years?”
“I hear Treena’s already planning her tenth birthday,” Spike shoots back. “She’s thinking of dressing everyone up as fairy princesses. I can’t wait to see you in harem pants and a veil.”
After a rousing game of Simon Says, the adults go upstairs, figuring a half hour break should give them all some peace and quiet time. A video or two should fill the bill nicely and keep their interest until it’s time for the next group game.
When Molly makes her way back downstairs to check up on things, she spies a cluster of giggling kids in a dark corner, playing Spin the Bottle. The ringleader seems to be… Treena? She’s egging on the other kids, and when it’s Willa’s turn, she pushes her to kiss the boy the bottle chose.
When both seem reluctant, a chant arises: “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby,” until the boy in question leans over and plants a teensy kiss on Willa’s cheek.
Willa blushes crimson, but boldly kisses the boy back, and the bottle is about to pass on to the next spinner, when Molly breaks it up. Relief floods her at the baby levels the game is played at, but upset that they’ve grown up so fast at the same time.
Twister is brought out, and the other parents are called down, and the party resumes its carefree course; not another un-chaperoned moment allowed to pass.
The last of the guests have been picked up, the Harrises go home, and Willa opens the last of her presents. She hands her parents an envelope from Bobby.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bennett,
I’m very sorry for all the hurtful things I said to Willa last year. She’s a very nice girl and we get along much better now.
She’s taught me that different isn’t always bad, and she’s very pretty.
Thank you for letting me apologize,
“This is the same Bobby that Aunt Molly saw you with?” asks Mama.
Willa blushes again, and nods her head.
March 2013 – All’s Well That Ends Wells
They all knew it was coming, yet couldn’t stop their laughter.
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful catch
That started in this tiny town
And ended with a match.
One mate was a lovely caring lass,
The other brave and sure.
What started in the house that day
Ended with a lifelong tour.
Their lives were often very rough,
The relationship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless two
The couple would be lost.
The family just grows and grows, to never be complete
And Andrew too,
With Buffy and her Spike,
Giles and Angel too,
Willow and their mates.
So this is the tale of the new Wells clan,
They're here for a long, long time,
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.
The first mate and the second too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In their newly married nest.
So join us here at the beach dear friends,
You're sure to get a smile,
Rehearsal dinner for the family
Here on "Wedding's Isle."
Having Andrew in the family will never, ever be dull.
(Yes, I most certainly did bastardize the Gilligan’s Island theme. Couldn’t be helped (see next drabble). Dawn Wells will irrevocably be linked in my mind to the show.)
It couldn’t be helped. The moment she knew she was to become Dawn Wells, the Gilligan’s Island theme was a done deal. She manages to get Andrew to agree to apply it just to the rehearsal dinner, and not the wedding, itself. She still has her little girl’s dream of a white wedding dress and veil.
What she never expected is to be four months pregnant at her wedding. And she’s absolutely huge! With her slender figure every baby ounce shows clearly. But she glows… she’s learned to accept her new figure with aplomb from the best source – Auntie Buffy.
The beach behind the Bennett household is now the de facto place to hold family affairs, but never has it been more appropriate than for Dawn and Andrew’s rehearsal dinner. Rough-hewn wooden tables are scattered on the sand and a thatched hut serves as a makeshift kitchen.
Guests are dressed in shorts and t-shirts, except for Spike, of course, though he does forgo the black he favors for cream and white.
A thatched bar will become the altar for tomorrow’s ceremony, officiated by Willow and a local Justice of the Peace.
Spike searches the area for the couple of honor.
He spots Andrew first; the white sailor’s hat making him an easy target. A perfectly cast Gilligan in torn at the knee blue jeans, red shirt with white collar and a wide, goofy grin that never leaves his face.
Spike wants to rip his lungs out for touching his Niblet. But she’s not, anymore – his, that is. She’s Andrew’s bride-to-be. He spots her by the water’s edge, in a pair of stretch shorts and a red gingham peasant blouse; her hair in braids. If it wasn’t for the large swell of her belly, she’d still look sixteen, not twenty six.
When Dawn looks up and sees Spike approach, she shoos her fiancé away. Andrew is reluctant to leave her side, but she insists; this confrontation has been coming for a long time.
She holds her arms out to Spike, though their hug is awkward. The vampire so at ease with his wife’s pregnancies is almost petrified to touch her.
“Are you happy for me, Spike?” she asks, looking down at the man she’s called brother for so many years.
With tears in his eyes, he whispers: “I don’t want to give you away, pet.”
“I’ll always be your Niblet, Spike.”
Taking Spike’s hand, Dawn places it on her belly… holding tightly when he flinches. “It’s okay, Spike. You know I’m not gonna break.”
“So beautiful, Bit,” the vampire says in awe. “You positively glow.”
“As long as it’s not bright green, I’m a happy little camper.”
Cocking his head to the side, Spike gently holds Dawn around the belly and listens. “You do know you’ve got more’n one sprout in there?”
Dawn smiles. “Yeah, we know. Not sure how many – maybe we’ll have triplets, and beat you and Buffy on the multiples thing.
“Be careful what you wish for, sweet.”
The wedding takes place the following night under a blanket of stars. There’s a crisp breeze blowing, making jackets and shawls a necessity for the guests.
Will and Tara throw violets down the wedding path. Almost four years old, they take their flower children responsibilities very seriously. Willa is the senior flower girl, and carries her basket of flowers proudly before her, wearing a garland of violets in her hair. Buffy is next; a beautiful matron of honor.
As one they rise from their seats when Spike and Dawn emerge from the hut to begin the walk to the altar.
While Andrew awaits his bride, Spike takes the time to give his Niblet the final once-over. Dawn takes his arm and slowly they make their way down the aisle. Placing a kiss on her belly and smoothing back her veil, Spike hands the young woman over to the man she loves.
They stand in front of the altar – Mutt and Jeff in stature – staring into each other’s eyes as if they’ve invented the institution of marriage; first listening to Willow, then the Justice.
Rings are exchanged, words are spoken and Mr. and Mrs. Wells face the crowd. Married at last.
April 2013 – What’s New, Pussycat?
Cheshire Cat’s behavior is decidedly odd, enough so to alert Buffy. She hides in dark spaces and has taken to dragging bits of clean laundry around the house. Can’t find a sock? Look for Cheshire; she’s usually sleeping on it. Underwear gone missing? Again, find Cheshire, find the panties.
After not seeing her for two days, Buffy enlists Spike’s aid in finding the errant kitty. She worries that the animal might be sick or worse… and panics that one of the children will find her, first.
As usual, it’s the smell of blood that leads Spike to Cheshire’s hiding place.
In an empty bookcase shelf, in a dark corner of their basement, lays Cheshire, on a pile of missing laundry. Nursing from her swollen nipples are the proverbial three little kittens.
“Looks like we should have listened to Bob Barker after all an’ had our kitties spayed and neutered.” Spike shakes his head, already hearing the begging from his children to keep the kittens.
Buffy is relieved. When Spike began to track Cheshire by her blood scent, she was sure it was time to have that “all living things die” speech with the children, and she wasn’t ready for it.
May 20, 2013 - Birth of a Nation
The phone rings mid-stroke at some god-forsaken hour and if they hadn’t been awaiting news about Dawn, the phone would have joined countless others on the junk heap. Sure enough, it’s Andrew. Dawn’s gone into active labor nearly two months premature.
A hurried phone call has Molly on her way to watch the children as Spike and Buffy ready to leave for the hospital. Buffy thanks her lucky stars she was able to talk her sister into temporary US residence until the baby’s birth.
Following in her sister’s speedy footsteps, Dawn has delivered twin sons by the time they arrive.
Spike smiles knowingly at the news of the multiple birth, having heard the heartbeats at the wedding. However, even he is surprised when Andrew stumbles out of the delivery room with an idiot’s grin of delight and four fingers held high.
“Tell me you’re doing a Nixon impression, mate.”
With no small amount of pride, he gives them the good news: “Jonathan, Jeremy, Jason, and Jesse can’t wait to meet their Aunt and Uncle. Dawnie’s fine, and says to tell Buffy ‘nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!’ for some reason.”
Buffy laughs. Better her than me. “Let’s go meet our new nephews.”
The quads are soon whisked away to incubators for safety’s sake, each weighing in near an amazing four pounds considering their early arrival date. Dawn sits, propped up against the head of the bed like a princess, even dressed in hospital blue.
“Finally beat you at something, you little howler monkey,” she says as Buffy enters the room. “Gonna make breast feeding interesting, though.”
“And you’re goin’ to have to learn to tell the little buggers apart,” Spike snickers, placing a kiss on her forehead. “Our lads are the hit of the nursery.”
“Moving back to England’s gonna be tough.”
Buffy decides she hates the airport. It’s here that she’s losing her little nephews and their parents for who knows how long, and her heart aches. Plucking each child from his carseat, she and Spike nuzzle into the crooks of their necks, breathing in the soft sweet smell of baby powder and innocence.
When the announcement comes to start boarding the flight, everyone is in tears. Dawn and Andrew promise to flood their email with pictures, and to call. It’s not enough, but will have to do.
They hold their own children that much tighter as the plane takes off.
June 2013 – Mr. Mom
Life is more hectic for some than for others. The Wells family finds out that Andrew is more suited to being a stay-at-home parent than leader of the Council, while Dawn thrives under the challenge. Her knowledge and facility with languages is invaluable, and her husband is more than happy researching demons from their home computer.
The children are thriving under Daddy’s attention, and they, in turn, bring out the best in him. With the added help of a neighbor, Andrew is able to meet all the demands of his children until Dawn comes home and returns to active motherhood.
Giles’ recovery is coming along nicely. Being at home gives him plenty of time alone with his wife since she’s confined to bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. At forty one years old, being a primapara and her earlier collapse put her into the high risk category.
When he realizes Andrew is incapable of taking over for him at the Council, he’s ready to cut his recovery short, but word comes in from other members that Mrs. Wells is doing a phenomenal job, and there will still be a Council for him to return to when he’s ready.
July 2013 – Goodbye, Kitties / Hawaiian Splendor
It’s time, and the teary eyes and sniffles are not going to sway Spike from his appointed task. The kittens must be farmed out… no matter how Buffy tries to get him to change his mind and she’s gotten very inventive in her later years.
The children pet the ginger puffballs one more time after Cheshire gives them her final sniff and cleaning, and Papa’s off to play stork. Two kittens go to Treena and Will, along with a good natured “who’s pussywhipped now, Harris?” slipping from Spike’s lips.
Kitten number three ends up with Bobby, making Willa very happy.
After the earlier expense of gathering the entire family at Giles’ bedside, Willow and Rebecca decide to keep their handfasting private. The ceremony is Jewish and Wicca, fulfilling their spiritual needs. Willow finally gets to indulge her fantasy and wears a tux.
It’s been agreed that should all things work out, everyone will gather at Angel’s for a Christmas party to celebrate the group’s good fortune and status.
They have a portrait taken – both women against an Hawaiian sunset. Leaning against each other, staring off towards the horizon and their future, their faces catch the glow of the setting sun.
August 2013 – Send in the Clowns
Xander promises Will he can pick out where he wants to go for his birthday this year. The four year old is ecstatic, and insists on going to the Circus. He doesn’t want a whole crowd of children, just Tara, but of course Tyler and Willa are invited along, too.
“Oh, Xander. When will you ever learn?” Molly hugs her husband in sympathy, knowing full well how crazy clowns still make him. “Maybe you can talk Will into going someplace else for his birthday?”
“A promise is a promise, Mol. It’s time I grew up and faced those Bozos down.”
Molly doesn’t know who had the best time; Will, for being the center of attention when the clowns found out it was his fourth birthday, or his father, who found out that not all clowns hid knives in their costumes and scared the hell out of people.
Nobody bothers with dinner or birthday cake. No circus trip is complete without gorging on popcorn, cotton candy, and soda. Everything else can keep until tomorrow.
Willa and Treena hang out watching television, and the twins follow Will upstairs to bed. Xander calls Buffy to let her know the kids are sleeping over.
September 2013 – Lessons Learned
A large white envelope arrives in the mail bearing two smaller envelopes, each sealed with an elegant “G” stamped in maroon sealing wax. The first announces the marriage of Giles and Olivia on September seventh.
The second heralds the birth of Braden Harper Giles on Friday the thirteenth.
Congratulatory phone calls are made; along with the obligatory “How could you get married without us much less have the baby?” noises. Disappointed feelings are assuaged with promises of a visit as soon as possible.
Two new pictures grace the Bennett mantle. The newlywed couple – and a dark haired, green eyed charmer.
It’s also the start of a new school year for the children. Willa and Treena begin fourth grade, and the twins and Will start their last year of Pre-school. The girls are thrilled; they both are in Ms. Walker’s class. So is Bobby Murcer.
Ever since her birthday, Willa’s little crush has grown, and she finds herself doodling “Willa and Bobby” and “Willa Murcer” all over the inside of her notebook.
It falls open on the ground in front of Bobby, and Willa freezes, petrified that he’ll make fun of her again and tears well up in her blue eyes.
Bobby says nothing, just closes the notebook and hands it back to Willa. He avoids her for the rest of the day. No talking, no laughing… and she’s grateful for the silent treatment over the other possibilities.
As she walks past him to get off the school bus, he hands her a piece of notebook paper, folded into a little square. He doesn’t meet her questioning gaze, just shoos her out the doors.
Upstairs in her room, door closed and sitting on her bed, she unfolds the paper and reads: “I like you, too. A lot.”
She whoops with glee!
After dinner, Willa takes the phone into her room and closes the door, sitting with her against it to keep nosy little siblings and parents at bay. She tends to forget the sensitive nature of Papa’s hearing, and he gets the full gist of her conversation with Treena.
Mama takes a disdainful view of his eavesdropping, however, and lets him know in no uncertain terms. There is nothing more sacred than girl-talk or a diary, and if they want their daughter to trust them with the more important matters in her later life, they have to respect her privacy now.
Papa hands the wrapped parcel to his daughter, who climbs into his lap for a kiss and a hug. He explains that he overheard her conversation with Treena on the phone, and while vampire hearing explains it, he was wrong for staying and listening, and he was sorry.
Willa quietly unwraps the gift, holding the diary tightly to her chest.
“I’m sorry, Mite. You’re old enough to be entitled to your privacy, an’ the diary’s yours, complete with a lock an’ a promise. Mama and I will not snoop. But we’ll always be here for you if you need us.”
December 2013 – Death Makes a Holiday
Family by family they arrive at the Hyperion, and find themselves mesmerized at the changes Nina has wrought. There’s a stories high Christmas tree, decorated to the hilt in the lobby. Dozens of brightly wrapped gifts are already scattered under the tree, properly identified with gift tags.
There is mistletoe in every doorway, and garlands winding up the banisters. All the cards and pictures are displayed on the mantle place. It looks like somebody went through an awful lot of trouble to make his family happy for the holidays.
Angel comes out of his office to cries of “Grandpa! Grandpa!”
He greets each child with an all-encompassing bear hug and a vampire growl to go with it much to their delight. So many children – ten, in all. One sitter, four crawlers, three runners and two young ladies, and he still thinks of Spike as a willful childe.
Standing to the side with his arms around Nina’s waist, Angel views his domain. He is one lucky vampire. Perfectly happy? No! But he has a personal reason to continue the good fight; to keep the world safe for those he loves. It’s the connection to the world he needs to keep going.
Just as they’re ready to head upstairs to a decorated ballroom for a multi-course meal, the front door opens, revealing a surprise guest: Oz!
“Heard there was a little party going down,” he says, taking off his coat. “Thought I’d crash.”
He’s absolutely mobbed by the old gang, Willow and Xander especially. Spike holds back, remembering the last time he saw the little werewolf, he’d been holding several crossbows on him.
Oz takes the initiative and extends his hand. “Beautiful family, man.”
“Every last one of ‘em, mate,” Spike agrees, deeply grateful for his own good fortune, and everyone else’s.
After dinner everyone changes into sweats and pajamas. It’s all just one big slumber party, and they need comfort. The children’s rooms are fitted with baby monitors if they ever decide to go to sleep.
Oz and Nina pair off for a discussion of werewolf species and experiences. Willow, Xander, Molly and Rebecca catch up with going’s on over the past year. Dawn and Andrew excuse themselves for a little ‘private time’ which gives everyone a severe case of the wiggins.
And Angel? He sits in the middle of the floor, arms around Spike and Buffy, watching the children play.