The Chosen :: A Buffy virtual series continuation

TITLE: Chocolate and Marshmallows at the Mother's Day Picnic
AUTHOR: Ray Harley
DISCLAIMER: Most of this belongs to Mutant Enemy etc... The rest belongs mostly to Jet Wolf and her pack. The Idea for the story is mine. There, that should scare off the nasty scary lawyers... do ya think?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is dedicated to my own mother, but to the mother's of all you guys; the mother's of all those who've died as a result of mankind's self-inflicted stupidities, and those, including a niece, who will be mother's in the near future.

Chocolate and Marshmallows at the Mother's Day Picnic
by Ray Harley

Buffy wandered into the gym room; saw Kennedy working out with Vi & Melanie, and made to leave before she was spotted.

"Looking for someone?"

She stopped at Kennedy's not-even-panty voice; sighed and turned. "Faith."

Kennedy stopped her reps, and exchanged a puzzled glance with Vi; then all three glared at the junior Slayer, who immediately returned, with extra vigour, to her crunches.

"Thought you two weren't talking."

Buffy glanced at Vi, who managed to look a little embarrassed. "I overheard; I th..." She mouthed sorry, and made to turn away, but Buffy just looked back at Kennedy, as if Vi had disappeared.

"I wormed it out of her," she smirked at Buffy, who managed a grin despite herself.

"Unfortunately," she waved her folder & clipboard at Willow's ex-lover, "we have to marry up our schedules. We have a class that clashes; that's all."

"You trying to avoid the fact that it's mother's day?"

Buffy started to come up with some kind of excuse; decided that was too pathetic, even for her, and threw the stationery on the nearby floormat. "Pretty much," she ackowledged with a resigned sigh.

Kennedy glanced at Vi. "She disappeared with Dawn, just before Kenn arrived," the redhead told her, before nodding at Kenn, who acknowledged the fact that she was adding the required amount of weights. Kennedy returned her look to Buffy, adding, "Looked pretty tight to me; whispering an all."

Buffy arched her eyebrow, surprised at Dawn being that friendly with Faith. She glanced down at Vi, who was finishing up tightening the nuts on the weights she'd added. Vi looked up, and simply shrugged. Buffy sighed, and nodded there really wasn't anything else she could say.

She made to pick up the junk she'd dumped on the mat, but Kenn touched her arm. "I'll take them back when I'm done here. I need to have a word with the G-man anyway." Buffy managed a smirk at the fact that Faith's nickname had become near-universal, despite all his efforts to discourage it. "Just get it over with, huh."

Buffy nodded once more, and walked out without looking back.

It didn't take her long to reach the grove where the sapling Willow had got the dryads to bless. She did start to pause at the sound of voices though; stopping when she realised that Faith's voice; along with Tara's & Dawn's was reaching her.

She kept back, standing in the shadow of a large oak.

"Get the hell away from my daughter!" Faith was laughing, as Dawn managed a chuckling, "Really?" Tara was waving her arms, as if wielding the said implement. "I can't believe Spike would tell you something like that! Manly pride an evrything."

Tara seemed to shrug, "Well, we were sort of comforting each other." Buffy couldn't see Faith's face, but could imagine the quizzical expression. "Well, he & Buffy were..." Buffy almost stepped out to stop her when the witch shook her head. "Let's just say we were both hurting, and he was all bruised and stuff from some beating he'd got in a fight with some demon; he wouldn't say what it was," she added before they could say anything; though Buffy noticed her kid sister gasp slightly, as she realised when it had happened, and who had been responsible.

"The point is that Joyce wanted you to have these... Spike too," she added with a lowering of the tone of her voice, "but I'm here for him. This year anyway." Buffy saw Dawn place a gentle hand on the witch's shoulder; Tara put her own hand on top of it, with a smile that Buffy could see, even from the shadows.

"But hot chocolate, with mini-marshmallows?" Faith was puzzled, though she lifted the mug to her nose anyway.

"Spike used to come around just to have Mom make him a mug; only when Buffy was going to be away though. She said that sometimes he even cried... but not over Buffy," she added hurriedly.

"His mother," Tara explained to Faith, who still looked a bit confused.

"He had to kill her, after he turned her into a vampire," Dawn told her.

Faith looked at the steaming mug, and glanced back at the others.

"She knew that you missed your mom, even if you didn't say so; she also did a bit of digging, and made the connection between Spike's turning, and the date of his mother's disappearance."

"Nobody could ever accuse Joyce of being stupid," Faith acknowledged. "So..." she said, lifting the mug.

"I thought the three of us could remember Joyce; our own mothers too," she then turned, and lifted a mug in Buffy's direction.

"There's one for you too," she told the senior Slayer with a smirk on her face.

Buffy stepped from the shadows. "Willow called," she explained, tapping her temple with a forefinger. Buffy shook her head, and started walking towards them. Willow was in one of her sessions with Giles, but given where her room was, she'd have seen her, and known where she was headed; no way she wouldn't have known what Tara was up to.

Tara handed her the mug with a brief kiss on her cheek, and Dawn slipped an arm in hers. Faith raised her mug in Buffy's direction, "B," she said quietly.

Then they all turned towards the sapling and started sipping at their chocolate in silent contemplation of Joyce Summers; their own mothers; Spike's, and all the mothers of the victims of the vampire's they hunted; of the vampire's themselves for that matter.

"I miss you mommy," Buffy whispered, as Dawn gripped her arm just a little bit tighter.

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