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Banner by Alissa.

Authors Chapter Notes:
All right. So I'm kind of hoping to find a beta-reader for this one...if you're interested please send me a message so we chat details. I'm mostly just hoping for a second set of eyes to check for basic grammar booboos and typos.

That said, I just couldn't wait to see if people wanted to read this one-so please let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone's rights, only to entertain.
Man I hope it entertains and boy do I wish I owned Spike. I think I would do very well with him. *sigh*

Sunnydale, California 1992

Joyce watched her daughter make her way towards the group’s newest member with a smile. She wasn’t really surprised to see Buffy giving it a shot; her daughter tended towards boldness and the boy in question was undeniably appealing with his serious demeanor and angelic appearance. She was however, somewhat startled by the boy’s response.

Though always polite, her newest student hadn’t yet shown any interest in socializing. In fact, concern about his intensely shy and introverted nature was the exact thing that had led his mother to enroll William in her class. He certainly didn’t need the education portion of the program, she thought with a chuckle. At four years old, William was no older than the majority of her students. But while most of her class was working on basic letter recognition and beginning phonics, William was already a proficient reader and writer. He was pre-enrolled in a special private school for the fall, where he would be skipping Kindergarten and moving ahead at whatever pace best suited his considerable abilities. His mother, though thrilled with his strong academic tendencies, was also concerned. William tended to isolate himself, she’d said and she worried that being the youngest in his class was only going to exacerbate the problem. She’d enrolled him in preschool hoping that he might make friends with a few peers.

Thus far, however, William had shown little interest in the children around him. He wasn’t selfish or unmannerly; he patiently waited his turn and said good morning when prompted, but though he’d been coming for several days now he’d yet to start interacting with his classmates in any meaningful way. So when she saw Buffy start talking to him, Joyce had no reason to expect William to do anything but politely send her away. Her daughter, though precocious, wasn’t even three years old yet and given his indifference to other four year olds, Joyce certainly had no reason to expect William to welcome Buffy’s company. Yet that was exactly what appeared to be happening. Buffy had bounced over in her typical manner, introduced herself and demanded his name. William, it appeared, had not only answered but proceeded to show her the notebook he was always writing in. For her part, Buffy appeared entirely impressed and intrigued by his scribbling.

Worried that William was actually distressed but unable to rid himself of the energetic little girl, Joyce headed over. Buffy generally spent her day in class with the other three year olds, but since she’d spent the last week with her grandmother, Joyce had been considering letting her spend the day with her class. She quickly decided that she’d better stick with the normal schedule.

“Sweetie, it’s time for you to head over to your class.”

Buffy shook her head and turned back towards William.

Joyce laughed softly. “Maybe you can come say hello to William later, but right now you need to go to your class.” She reached out for her daughter

Buffy pulled away. “No!” she cried. “Will-umm….Will-ummm!”

Joyce’s eyes widened and, startled, she paused. Buffy was generally a very easy-going child and her current behavior seemed less like a tantrum and more like real distress. “Buffy!” She put her arms out again, only to find the William had done the same. Her daughter was clinging to the pale boy as though her very life depended upon it.

“Will-um” Buffy said again firmly.

Joyce looked at William. He was staring at her with his chin jutted stubbornly and a disappointed look on his face. “William? Is Buffy bothering you?”

William shook his head and tightened his hold on her daughter, “No Ma’am.”

Intrigued, Joyce gave in and allowed her daughter to spend the day with her class. She watched as her daughter and William remained inseparable for the rest of the day. A few moments after she walked away, William attempted to set Buffy up with her own sheets of paper and a pencil, but Buffy shook her head. He seemed puzzled for a moment, but he soon nodded and returned to the supply shelf. He returned to the table a few seconds later and presented her daughter with a thick pink crayon. Buffy nodded happily and sat down beside him. Ten minutes later, William was once again writing in notebook and Buffy was happily doodling pink flowers beside him. Periodically, they would share their work and giggle conspiratorially. At snack time, William insisted upon collecting Buffy’s snack before his own, at nap time Buffy insisted that she couldn’t sleep unless her mat was placed near William’s mat and at the end of the day William’s mother delightedly invited Buffy and Joyce over for lunch the following Saturday.

London, England 2008

William sighed and looked anxiously at the arrivals board once more. Still on-time he saw and nodded. Minutes, he thought, the time until he saw her again was now being measured in minutes. The reality of it was sinking in and William concentrated on lowering his pulse through the sheer power of will and deep breathing.

It wasn’t that they’d ever been out of touch, William and Buffy had rarely gone more than a couple of days without chatting in one way or another since they’d met. But William attended Oxford, as he had since he was 16, and until she’d graduated a few weeks prior, Buffy had been attending high school in Sunnydale, California. It was a long flight and an expensive one, William hadn’t been back to the states for a visit in over a year. He hadn’t seen her in over a year.

At the moment, William felt every minute of that time apart crushing him. He wanted to see her, needed to see her even, but that didn’t help ease his nerves. What if, he thought frantically, she’s grown out of me? She was eighteen now, he realized, and really not a child anymore. He wondered if she would see him differently know; he wondered if he would disappoint her. In a lot of ways, he wasn’t the same boy he’d been when he left. He wondered if she’d like the changes, if she’d see through them and if that would be a good thing or a bad one.

Sunnydale California 1994

“Everything’s all set here if you want to call the kids in to wash up.”
Anne nodded and headed towards the door to the Summers’ backyard. She stopped in the doorway and watched the children with a smile.
After a moment, Joyce headed over as well. “What are they doing now?” She shook her head in amusement before looking outside herself. She laughed when she say the small boy pushing her daughter on a swing. “He’s really too sweet; Buffy stopped needing pushes ages ago.”
Anne shrugged. “He knows; he just likes taking care of her.”
“You don’t worry that she’s got him wrapped around her little finger?”
“No.” Anne shook her head. “I think it’s a sweet.” She turned to look at Joyce. “He’s always so happy when they get to visit.” She didn’t need to say the rest; she and Joyce had discussed her concerns about William’s continued isolation from his peers on many occasions. They both knew that Buffy was the only child that William considered a friend.
Joyce nodded and looked back outside. “It is cute.” She agreed. She’d long since stopped trying to figure out why William, who was now at the age of 6 testing at a second or third grade level, so clearly enjoyed spending time with her energetic four year old daughter. She and Anne suspected that the two both simply wished for a sibling that their single mothers weren’t providing.
“William! Buffy! Lunch is ready. Come get washed up.”
The two women walked over the table and sat down with their coffees.
Anne grinned. “So you still haven’t told me about your date with Ted.”
Joyce laughed. “Not much to tell really. I like him; I guess. But… I…I guess don’t think that there are really any sparks.”
“He doesn’t seem to think so either; we’ve had three dates and he’s barely even moved in for a good night kiss.”
William and Buffy scrambled into their chairs.
William cocked his head to the side slightly as he considered Joyce’s words. He looked troubled for a moment and then shrugged. “Buffy and I are going to get married then she’ll kiss me all the time.”
Buffy nodded enthusiastically while she reached for her chocolate milk. “Yep and we’re gonna have lots of bunnies and I’m going to wear a pretty dress.”

London 2008

When she felt the plane touch solid ground, Buffy barely resisted the urge to jump out of her seat and push her way down the aisle. Ten hours, she thought with an astonished head shake, was a really long time when you’re stuck on a plane. Already dreading her flight home, she bit her lip and stared anxiously at the fasten seat-belts sign. That’s not for another four weeks, she consoled herself and then grinned; she had four weeks with her favorite person in the world and she got to spend them England. It was, she was certain, the best graduation present her mother could have given her. The trip had a bigger purpose though, one her mom didn’t really know about, and that excited her almost as much as the thought of seeing William again did.
Her hand already posed on the button, she slipped out of the seat belt before the bell had even completed its tone and stood up eager to get her carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment. The older man beside her chuckled at the anxiousness and kindly pulled her bag out and handed it to her.
“Thanks.” She smiled.
The man, who’d told Buffy to call him John, smiled back warmly. “Not a problem. Have a nice visit.”
“Oh I will. You too…oh and wish your son good luck at that football match.”
“Will do.” John shook his head as the perky girl practically ran off of the plane. Thirty years ago, he thought for a moment. He chuckled and edited his thoughts; thirty years ago you still wouldn’t have stood a chance with that girl.

Chapter End Notes:

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