Author’s Notes: THIS STORY CONTAINS ANGST. See all how that’s all bold and underlined? And in all caps, too? That means it’s important, so read it. Heed it. Pay attention to it. If you don’t, and you whine at me about angst, I’m going to get very cranky, and will probably mock you and call you an idiot. It won’t be pretty.
This story is not fluffy. Most of it is not happy. Buffy and Spike will have lots of problems to face, and things will be very rough for them. This story is probably the angsty thing I’ve ever written, but I’m not going to veer from the course I have planned, no matter how many people complain. If you want fluff, go read a happy fic. If you want something heavier where the characters really have to work for their happy ending, then read this. If you’d rather have the fluff, but you read this anyway, and then yell at me, I’m going to get angry, because that’s very annoying. I know not everyone likes angst, but some people do, and I’m not going to shortchange them in favor of people who think they can dictate my story to me. Furthermore, complaining about angst is in no way constructive criticism, and will not be treated as such. Constructive criticism identifies a problem with the story and gives suggestions on how to fix it. Whining that the story is too angsty for you does neither of these things since “too angsty” is not, in itself, a problem, and “make the angst go away” is not a helpful tip on how to improve my writing. If there’s too much angst for you to handle, that’s your problem not the story’s—so just go read something else.
So, to sum up—Angst ahead. Lots. If that’s not your cuppa, just go away now. I won’t tolerate flame wars about angst, and if you try it, I will become very put out. Got it? Good.
NOTE ON SPIKE/OTHER AND BUFFY/OTHER PAIRINGS: Yes, they are in this story. No, they are not graphic. No, I will not write big, long Angel/Buffy love scenes. *shutters at the mere thought* Yes, this story will be, for its entirety, Spuffy. I don’t think any of the other pairings will be a serious problem for anyone since they won’t be graphic and won’t last long, but I’m telling you they’re in there now and getting it out in the open. Again, keep your flames and complaints to yourself.
“I’m lying here beside you
In someone else’s bed,
Knowing what were doing’s wrong
But better left unsaid.
Your breathing sounds like screaming, it’s all that I can stand.
His ring is on your finger, but my heart is in your hands.
Damned if you love me, damned if you don’t.
It’s getting harder holding on, but I can’t let you go.
Damned if you don’t need me, damned if you do.
God , I wish it wasn’t me standing in these shoes.
A door slams like a shotgun, you jump up to your feet.
But it’s just the wind blowing through the secrets that we keep.
Made me want to want you, God knows I need to need you.
By the time the love is over, I’ll be sleeping on the streets.”
—”Damned,” Bon Jovi
“Don’t come on so cocksure boy, you can’t escape your genes.
No point in feeling pure boy, your background intervenes.
Listen good and listen straight, you’re not the master of your fate.
To this you must be reconciled; you’ll always be your father’s child.
At times acclaimed, at times reviled.
You’ll wind up doing just what I’ve done:
Like father, like son.”
“Don’t assume your vices get handed down the line,
That a parent’s blood suffices to condemn the child’s design.
I’ve done wrong, I can’t deny, but at least I know that I
Shouldn’t blame that on my stock, this may come as quite a shock
I’m no chip off any block, I wouldn’t wish those words on anyone:
Like father, like son.”
—”Like Father, Like Son,” Aida, Lyrics by Tim Rice
*** *** ***
For the past month, Buffy Summers had been living in a fairy tale. Her Prince Charming had found her, pulled her out of the hell her life had become, and brought her to live with him in his castle.
Or his mansion in Malibu, more accurately, yet she was more than okay with that. It was a huge step up from the dingy little apartment she’d shared with three of her fellow Peppermint Stick dancers.
She rolled over onto her stomach, exposing her back now to the warm California sun as she tanned herself by the pool. The sun’s rays glinted off the large diamonds of the two rings she wore on her left hand, though Buffy’s oversized designer sunglasses protected her green eyes from the glare.
Her life was absolutely perfect.
“Well, don’t you look lovely today.”
Buffy turned her head, seeing her husband standing a few feet away, under the shade of an awning. His arms were crossed over his wide chest, a smirk on his face. “Liam,” Buffy replied, smiling brightly as she jumped up from her chair and ran to her husband to drape her arms over his shoulders. “You’re home early.”
“Only because I left some papers I need to go through on my desk here. I’m going to be in my study for the rest of the afternoon, probably most of the evening, too.” His dark gaze raked over her body and he ran his hands across her barely-covered bottom. “Though I have to say, this bikini of yours is making me wish that wasn’t the case.”
Buffy pouted. “Do you have to work right now?”
“Sorry, princess, but my job has to come first.” He kissed her, then pulled away. “But you can help me de-stress later.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” Buffy replied, her pout turning into a coy smile.
Liam pulled away, delivering a quick swat to her bottom as he did. “See you tonight, babe.”
With a sigh, Buffy watched him disappear into the house before returning to her sunbathing.
*** *** ***
Buffy was just coming downstairs after showering and changing her clothes when she heard a commotion in the front hall. Anita, the housekeeper, was talking quickly to a woman whose voice Buffy didn’t recognize.
“I am sorry, but Mr. Angelus is working and cannot be disturbed.”
“I don’t care if Mr. Angelus is negotiating world peace, tell him to get his sorry ass down here right now.”
Buffy came into the room, frowning when she caught her first glimpse of the unidentified woman. She was well-dressed and groomed, with blonde hair down to her shoulders and piercing blue eyes.
Behind her, stood a young man, his head down.
“I’ll take it from here, Anita,” Buffy said as she placed her hand on the flustered housekeeper’s shoulder.
“Thank you, Miss Buffy,” Anita said quickly before rushing off to another part of the house. She couldn’t seem to get away fast enough.
The blonde woman looked Buffy over, sneering as she did. “Oh, you must be the new one. They just keep getting younger. Next thing you know, he’ll be picking up cheerleaders from local high school football games.”
Buffy crossed her arms over her chest, bristling. “And you are?”
“Oh, you mean he didn’t tell you about me? Typical.” The woman offered her perfectly-manicured hand, though all warmth had been stripped from the gesture. “I’m Darla—wife number one. And this…” She nodded her head towards the boy, “Is our son, William.”
Buffy’s eyes widened as she staggered a step back, not reaching to accept Darla’s hand. “Your…with Liam?”
“Well, yeah,” Darla replied with a roll of her eyes. “Left that part out, too, did he? Also so not surprising. Look, I have to be on a plane tonight, so why don’t you run along and tell your sugar daddy Darla’s here to see him, hmm?”
Less from intimidation and more from a need to ask her husband directly what in the world was going on here, Buffy ran up the stairs and to his study. She opened the door without knocking, causing Liam to look up from his desk with an exasperated look.
“Buffy, what the hell are you doing? I’ve told you more than once to never, ever bother me when I’m working. Can you not get that into your little blonde head?”
“I’m sorry, Liam, but this is important. There’s someone here to see you.”
“So? Tell them to go away,” Liam replied, annoyed.
“It’s Darla. And…and William.”
At the way her husband’s face grew completely pale and his eyes widened, Buffy had a feeling Darla’s claims had been true. Liam jumped up from his desk, pushing past Buffy to race downstairs. She followed him, a strange feeling turning in her gut.
Buffy had known Liam was a good bit older than her, and couldn’t really say it shocked her to know he’d been married before or that he had a teenaged son.
She was, however, surprised he’d kept it from her.
Once downstairs, Liam grabbed Darla’s arm and hissed, “What the hell are you doing here?”
Darla pulled her arm away and flipped her hair, an exasperated expression on her face. “It’s your half of the summer, Liam, starting, oh, about an hour ago.”
“That part of the arrangement was only until he finished high school, and I know he’s done now, seeing as you’ve already informed me how much his damn college education is going to cost me.”
“Don’t you want to spend some time with your precious little boy?” Darla asked, her smile teasing.
“I have a lot going on with work right now. I don’t have time to…”
“Whatever,” Darla said, cutting him off with a wave of her hand. “I have him most of the year. You can deal. Have Muffy or whatever her name is take him to the mall with her.” She turned away from Liam, giving William a quick, “Bye, honey. Be good for Daddy,” before walking out the front door.
“Darla, get back in here!” Liam yelled, running after her. Darla simply flipped him off, got in her car, and drove away.
“Bitch!” Liam yelled before storming back in and slamming the door. He turned a furious gaze on Buffy, one she’d never seen him wear before, and it made her blood run cold. “Do something about this,” he snapped at her before he went back up the stairs.
With Liam gone, Buffy turned her attention to the young man, still standing in the foyer, and her heart went out to him. “So I guess I should show you to a guest room?” Buffy said, not quite knowing how to act in the situation.
“I…I know where my room is,” William said softly, his head still down. “You don’t…you don’t have to show me. I won’t bother you while I’m here, I promise. I’ll stay in my room and be quiet for the most part anyway.”
“Hey, you don’t have to do that,” Buffy replied as she walked over to him.
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“You won’t be.” Buffy placed her hand on his arm, almost gasping at the current that seemed to jump from him to her. He looked up for the first time then, and Buffy noticed he had the same startling-blue eyes as his mother, yet without the coldness behind them.
William swallowed, his skin feeling hot beneath her hand, even with the material of his shirt between them. “I don’t, I mean that is, I…”
“It’s okay. I understand how you’re feeling,” Buffy said, reluctantly letting her hand drop away from him. “My parents were divorced, too, so I get it. And you so wouldn’t be a bother. I get pretty lonely here all day.”
William favored her with a small, grateful smile. “Thank you.”
Buffy picked up one of the bags beside him. “Come on. Show me where this room of yours is, and I’ll help you bring your stuff up.”
“You don’t have to,” William protested, reaching for the bag.
“I know, but I want to. Come on.”
As Buffy started up the stairs, William picked up his other bags and followed her.
*** *** ***
Buffy looked around William’s room, noting it was one she hadn’t been in before. Liam’s mansion was much bigger than what she was used to, and she’d never bothered to do any real exploring.
“So you come here every summer?” Buffy asked, feeling reluctant to simply leave the teenager by himself.
“Mostly, yes,” William replied as he dropped his things on the bed. Buffy placed the bag she’d been carrying beside them. “Sometimes holidays, too, but not many.”
“Do you live in England? I noticed you have a bit of an accent.”
“My parents were living in London when I was born, and although they moved to California when I was young, I spent most of my time at an English boarding school. They divorced when I was a small child, shortly after the move, and it was easier for Mother to have her modeling career without me in tow.”
Buffy realized then why Darla had looked familiar—she’d seen her face on more than a few magazine covers. She also noticed that William spoke of being shuffled off as if it were something mundane. “Oh.”
“But really, as I said earlier, I won’t be a problem for you at all. I keep to myself, and I don’t make a lot of noise, so…”
“Hey, slow down there Will,” Buffy said, her hand coming up. “I already told you you weren’t going to be a problem. I’m happy at the prospect of having company.”
“You aren’t just saying that to be kind to me, are you?” William asked, a small spark of hope in his eyes. “I know both Lilah and Eve were happier when I stayed out of sight.”
Buffy frowned. “Lilah and Eve?”
“My previous stepmothers,” William clarified. Then, he blushed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…If I’ve said too much, I…”
“No, it’s okay. I knew Liam was married before, I just didn’t know names,” Buffy replied. “Oh, and speaking of names, I’m Buffy.” She held out her hand, giving William a smile to try to calm him.
He took her hand, that strange jolt going through them both again, and this time, Buffy did gasp. Quickly, they both pulled away.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Buffy,” William said as his gaze dropped to the floor.
“You, too, William. Do you go by William? Is it Will or Billy or…”
“Not Billy,” he said quickly, making Buffy laugh. “It’s William, though Will is fine, too. Just not Billy. Or Willy. I don’t like those.”
Buffy smiled at him. “I can’t say I blame you. But then again, I’ve had to go through life with Buffy, so…”
“I think Buffy is a lovely name.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Okay, now I know you’re just trying to butter me up. Hey, are you hungry? It’s just about dinner time, so why don’t you come down and eat with me? It would be nice to have some company.”
William didn’t question that she would’ve been eating alone. “All right. If I really wouldn’t be a…”
“If you say bother, I’m smacking you.”
He looked at her sharply until he saw her teasing grin, and relaxed, smiling hesitantly back at her.
“Come on, downstairs,” Buffy said walking towards the bedroom door.
William followed closely behind her.
*** *** ***
Yes, in this fic, William is technically Buffy’s step-son. (Hence the title—see?) He’s only four years younger than her, so it’s not really overly creepy in my opinion, but if just the idea bothers you, that’s another thing not to complain about. You can just stop reading here, and everything will be fine. If it doesn’t bug you, then by all means, read on.
Please leave a review and let me know if I have any readers for this one!