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Future Imperfect by Lilachigh
Chp 14 Points of View
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Future Imperfect

Chp 14 Points of View

With his twin’s voice still calling for him inside his head, Billy raced across the yard, his feet scuffing through the grass that was wet because the rain had fallen on it. But somehow he was dry and the rain wasn’t touching him.

He pushed through the bushes where Joyce had gone. She was standing very still, gazing intently into the darkness outside the bubble they were living inside.

“What’s up?” he thought to her.

“Look – can you see her?”

“Who?” He peered in the direction she was looking, but all he could see were branches waving in the wind and rain spurting up from the ground in muddy gouts.

“That funny looking woman.”

Billy mentally shook his head. “There’s no one there. You’re dreaming.”
His twin didn’t reply and a twinge of fear ran through him. He searched inside her mind and it was cold and scared.

With a spasm he didn’t understand, he broke through the cold wall and shook her. “Wake up!”

Joyce flinched as the pain in her head bit hard. She turned and punched him on the arm. “Ouch! Don’t do that. And I am awake,” she said out loud. “She was there. She’s as old as old and has paint on her face. And she was beckoning to me.”

“You’re not allowed to talk to strangers unless Mom or Dad are with you,” Billy said piously.

“I know that, poop-face. I wasn’t going to talk to her, was I?”

Billy tugged at her arm. “You’re silly enough to see her, so I ‘spect she’s another witchy person. Was she inside this bubble thing you’ve got us stuck in?”

Joyce shook her head slowly. “No, that’s what’s really weird. She was just crouching there, under the trees in Granny’s yard. Beckoning to me.”

Billy shivered. He wasn’t wet but he was getting colder and colder. “Can’t you get us back home yet?”

Joyce screwed up her face in an effort of concentration, but nothing happened. “No,” she whispered.

Billy was about to tell her she was a useless witch when he stopped, tilted his head to one side and groaned. “Oh jeez. Now we’re in trouble.”


“Mom’s just arrived!”

* * * * * *

Shanny Summers-Green stood in the doorway, outlined by the pouring rain, staring at the three arguing figures in front of her. She’d expected her parents to be there, of course but the sight of the detective vampire called Angel whom she’d hired to find the twins’ biological father was a shock.

“Shanny! Sweetheart!” Spike was the first to react. He crossed the room in two strides and pulled her into his arms for a hug.

Buffy started to move, to join them, then hesitated: she and Shanny had never had a touchy-feely relationship and she could see from the way Shanny leant away from Spike as if she hated his touch, the averted head, the arms hanging still at her sides, that her daughter was not going to respond in any way to her father that could be called loving.

And she knew only too well that Spike would be shattered all over again by Shanny’s rejection. She adored her daughter with a depth of love that surprised her every time she thought about it, but when she hurt Spike, Buffy felt she almost hated her.

He was in an odd mood tonight, apart from the trouble with the twins. In fact, he’d been odd ever since Angel arrived. Which she supposed was to be expected, but surely he didn’t still feel jealous of a man she hadn’t seen for over twenty years?

Or was it just the revelation that Angel’s son Connor was the twins’ father that had caused all the tension she could feel coming off Spike in waves?

She watched as Shanny pulled herself out of Spike’s embrace.

Shanny eased herself away from her dad, scared that the cross she was wearing would burn him as it had done all those years ago when she was tiny. She’d never really understood her parents’ logic – to give her something to defend herself against the very thing her father was.

“Dad. Mom. Hello again, Angel. I didn’t expect to find you here.”

“Shanny.” Angel nodded, looking awkward. He was struck all over again by her resemblance to her grandmother. She wasn’t as tall as Joyce Summers and although her eyes were Buffy’s, the sweetness of her smile had been inherited from someone with a gentler outlook on life.

“I…I needed to speak to your folks and – well – ”

“That can all wait,” Buffy broke in impatiently. “Shanny – come in – close the door – you’re letting in the rain. It’s lovely to see you, but we can catch up later. First we need to find the twins!”

Shanny obeyed, instinctively following instructions. Hide, Be Quiet, Keep Down, Run. All orders that she’d heard and learnt from her mom before she could even speak herself.

“So Mom, you’ve managed to lose the twins already. I can’t even say I’m surprised. It was one of the reasons I sent them to you, remember? I can’t control them – or rather I can’t control Joyce. Billy’s fine. But I must admit I thought you’d manage to keep them in line for a bit longer than a few days! You used to be so good at ordering kids around.”

Buffy bit her lip. She stared at the small, expressionless woman in front of her and found it hard to believe that this passionless person had given birth to a powerful witch and a boy whose powers had yet to be fully discovered. She seemed so distant, as if nothing and no one could hurt or bother her.

Even now she was acting as if the twins vanishing was a mere inconvenience.

Did she truly not understand what horrors could be out there, lurking, waiting to feast on two small children? Had her early education all been forgotten? Buffy felt the familiar flick of impatience strike through her again. How on earth had she and Spike managed to produce this miracle daughter who was also a child who seemed so unaware, so divorced from the world her parents lived in?

Shanny twisted her hands deep into the pockets of her jacket. The tension in her body made her ache but she was determined to stay calm. She could just imagine her mom’s reaction if she started crying and yelling and getting emotional.

Of course that was exactly what she wanted to do – lay on the floor, drum her heels and shout until someone found her babies! But she wouldn’t. She’d learnt self-control from an expert.

She was surprised that even after all these years, her mom didn’t look any different, except for the very short hairstyle. She wondered why it had been cut: she could remember when she was very, very small, lying in a bed in a corner of a room, watching her dad brush the long, gold length over and over again, then tilting her mom’s face up to his. Shanny could almost hear again the tenderness in the tone of his voice as he bent to kiss her mother

“The twins have disappeared, Shanny,” Spike said wearily. “I can’t sense them anywhere.” He had noticed with a bitter sinking sensation that she smiled warmly at Angel, as if he were an old, trusted friend. But she obviously couldn’t bear Spike to touch her.

Shanny sat down at the kitchen table, nodding her thanks as Buffy poured her a mug of coffee. “I don’t expect they’re anywhere nearby. Joyce can take them to other universes, parallel dimensions, you name it, if it’s inhabited by fluffy animals or weird creatures, she’ll go there.”

“We know. You’ve told us all that,” Buffy said sharply. “But they’ve been gone a long time.”

“How long are they usually away?” Angel asked and Shanny turned towards the big man, glad of the friendliness in his voice.

“It depends – minutes, usually. Some times hours. Once a whole day. I’ve told Joyce not to do it. And she will insist on taking Billy with her. She makes me so angry. She just doesn’t think!”

Spike frowned. “For all you know, Billy might be the one suggesting they run off. Did you know he can read minds?”

Shanny placed her coffee mug carefully on the table, lining up the handle with the spoon, edging the sugar bowl and milk jug into a neat square. “No, I didn’t, Dad. Are you sure?”

Spike nodded. “Joyce and Billy are as bad and as marvellous as each other but in different ways. I reckon – bloody hell, sweetheart – I think he might be able to make you change your mind, alter how you think!”

“That could be – inconvenient!”

Buffy smacked down a plate of tuna salad in front of her daughter. The girl was skin and bone. “Eat – you must be hungry. Are you on some stupid diet? You’re far too thin. And don’t be sarcastic to your father. It’s far more than inconvenient. It’s dangerous. How do we get them back?”

Shanny picked up a fork and rearranged the food on her plate. She tried not to sigh. This was the first time she and her mother had met in years and she was already trying to control her life. And her mom’s cooking – if you could call a salad cooking – was dreadful. Her dad’s was far better.

“They’ll come back when they’re bored, like always.”

Angel and Spike exchanged a look automatically, then both of them turned away, irritated that centuries of habit had kicked in so effortlessly.
But they knew she was wrong. Something – instinct, vampire sense, whatever - was telling them that this time it was different.

And Angel was pretty sure that Shanny was trying so hard not to involve her parents that she was losing sight of the big picture.

“Shanny – listen to me – ” he began.

“Why did you need to come all this way to speak to my parents?” she interrupted, her gaze very like Buffy’s at her most Slayerish.

Angel glanced at Spike, then at Buffy, who glared back at him. “Later,” she said.

Shanny frowned. “No, now.”

“Sweetheart, we need to get the twins back first.” Spike sat down next to her, his face drawn.

Shanny ignored him. There was something secret going on here; something that they didn’t want her to know. All three of them. “The twins will be OK. Joyce will bring them home soon and then perhaps you can find a way of stopping her doing that again. Now, please, Angel. Tell me what’s going on. Is it about their father?”

“David is the twins’ father,” Buffy said quietly.

Shanny stared up at her. “Of course he is, in everyway except one. Their biological father got me pregnant at a party when I was fifteen. I gave Angel a picture of him. And from the lack of horror on your face, Mom and Dad, you know all this already!”

“It’s complicated,” Angel began.

“Be quiet!” Buffy hissed fiercely, coming to stand behind Spike, her hands on his shoulders. “She doesn’t need to know.”

“Oh great, Slayer. That’s really going to make Shanny stop asking questions!”

Spike leapt to his feet, vamping out. “Do what Buffy wants!”

To Shanny’s surprise, Angel vamped out, too, roaring, “Everything isn’t about you and Buffy, William! I have rights, too.”

“Rights? What bloody rights have you got? You arrive here in your posh car, flaunting your expensive watch and leather jacket – and bloody hell, who wears dark blue leather these days! Ponce!”

“At least I’ve got money! Made something of my Shanshu. What have you got? Poxy little house in the middle of nowhere. Furniture that looks as if it’s come from a goodwill shop. An old car that’s probably off the road more than on. And what about Buffy – when did she last have pretty things to wear, go on vacation?”




“Stop it! All of you!” Shanny banged on the table and they fell silent. “Angel – just tell me – do you know who that boy is in the photo?”

There was a long silence, then Angel ran his fingers through his hair and said, glaring at Spike, “Yes, he’s my son. His name is Connor.”

Outside in the yard, Joyce banged both her hands against the window, trying to make her mom turn and look at her. But although she tried, the glass wouldn’t break and no one turned to see what the noise was.

She knew they were still invisible; she couldn’t get them out of the bubble.

“Mom’s very angry,” Billy said suddenly.

“Can you hear her thinking cross, even through the bubble?”

He shook his head. “No, just by looking at her face. She’s cross and upset with granny and grandad and the Angel man.”

Joyce bit her lip. “I want to go home. I want to have a hot chocolate with marshmallows and watch TV. I hate it out here. I want mommy.”

“Well, get us back then, stupid.”

His twin frowned and then an expression crossed her face – one that Buffy would have known only too well. It was identical to the one Spike often had when he thought up a plan that was sure to go drastically wrong.

“I can’t get us out of the bubble, Billy, but I bet I can bring them all inside it with us!”


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