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BtVS fic: To Start the Day

Title To Start the Day
Author Ozma914
Rating PG
Word Count 760 words
Character: Joyce Summers
A/N: They also serve, who stay and cook ... a "mother" themed fic, written for still_grrr prompt #65.


When the knock came at the door Joyce Summers glanced at the clock, and realized she was already running late. The short winter days always fooled her – her body told her the sun should be up by now.

The teenage boy who stood at her door wore a Sunnydale High letterman’s jacket and a big smile. “Mrs. Summers?”

Okay, too old for Dawn, but a bit too young for Buffy. Actually a lot too young, she admitted to herself with an inward sigh. “Yes, hello.” She tried to sound friendly, but faltered for a moment when she saw a stake carelessly left on the hallway table, almost within the boy’s view. The girls really needed to start picking up after themselves.

“I’m Robert. From Buffy’s economics class? Is she home?”

“No, I’m sorry, Robert – she had to run an errand for me.” His jeans were torn, and his shoes dirty. If he thought either the grunge look or the jacket would impress her daughter, he was in for a rude awakening.

He blinked. “Wow, it’s kind of early.”

“It sure is.” Actually, it’s way late. “And what are you doing out so early?”

Looking away, Robert took an embarrassed breath. “Well, the truth is I lost my notes from the class, and we have a quiz today. I was kind of hoping she’d give me a copy of her notes.”

“Ah, I see.” Kids today. “Well, she should be home any minute, now.” The aroma of coffee wafted in from the kitchen, reminding Joyce that she needed to get the toast going soon. When had she become so domesticated? Sometimes she thought of herself as being Robert’s age, but then she’d have to punish Dawn, or work on the bills, or wash blood from Buffy’s blouse, and she suddenly felt very, very old.

“Do you mind if I come in and wait?” Robert said, flashing that smile again. Oh, for the day when Joyce would have thought of that smile as sexy, instead of cute.

“Oh, Robert, the place is such a mess …” Suddenly Joyce realize she still had that dishtowel over her shoulder. With a sigh, knowing it didn’t matter to a teenage boy one way or another, she pulled it off and folded it, placing it carefully on the hallway table.

“Oh, don’t worry Mrs. Summers, my house is a mess, too – I won’t tell anyone.”

“No, of course you won’t.” She gave him an apologetic look.

“So … can I?”

“I don’t know – can you?”

Robert stared at her, looking confused.

If only she had more time. It seemed like there was never enough time, was there? She had to finish breakfast, and there was a new shipment coming in to the gallery, and she’d been feeling under the weather … there just wasn’t time to accomplish anything. “Well, I just can’t bear to leave a poor soul standing at my doorstep. Are you hungry, Robert?”

“You bet I am,” he said, grin widening.

“I thought so.” She stepped toward him, and for just a second Robert wore a look of triumph, as if he’d outsmarted the world.

Then he stepped back, staring down at the stake buried in his chest. And to think her father had criticized her for spending too much time learning those sleight of hand tricks as a child; if only he could see how easily she’d scooped the stake up without being seen.

“I’m so sorry.” She shut the door in his dissolving face, to keep the dust from coming inside. She’d have to sweep the front porch later, but for now she had to get the day started.

As the toast popped up a few minutes later Dawn came bounding down the stairs, being her usual exuberant self. A few minutes after that a bruised and bone weary Buffy came through the kitchen door. The two commenced bickering immediately, even as they teamed up to set the table, and they only stopped when Joyce placed a plate of scrambled eggs between them.

Between bites Buffy grumbled, “I had a chance at a newbie last night, but he got away from me. Mom, do you remember Robert Thrace? You met him and his mom at the school orientation.”

“Thrace! That was his last name.” Joyce covered a sudden heavy-hearted feeling with a sip of coffee. “Oh, his poor mother.”

She caught a look exchanged between her daughters. “Is there anything you want to tell me?” Buffy asked.

Joyce just shook her head. “Nothing important, dear – you’ve got enough to worry about.”

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
gillo
May. 13th, 2008 08:54 am (UTC)
That's really cool! I love the way Joyce just gets on with being a mum after sorting out the little problem. Wonderful fic fo Mother's Day!
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! That was my whole theme, that mothers just do what needs to be done and continue on ...
yume_kokoro
May. 13th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
Wow - that is so Joyce. Nicely done!
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, great compliment!
(Deleted comment)
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Thank you!
fangfaceandrea
May. 13th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
AHH Joyce rocks!
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
Doesn't she, though? :-)
curiouswombat
May. 13th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Oh I really, really like that.
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
I'm glad!
winsomeone
May. 13th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Yay Joyce!




ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
Like all mothers, she knows how to get things done!
spankulert
May. 14th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Awww great Joyce fic! So fitting for mother's day too :D
ozma914
May. 14th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC)
Thanks! To be truthful, I hadn't even considered it being so close to Mother's Day -- but it does fit right in, doesn't it?
red_satin_doll
Dec. 24th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
VERY nice! There's not enough Joyce-fic but then again there wasn't enough Joyce on the show IMHO. I don't think I've read one quite like this, funny and deft - and the entire time I'm holding my breath wondering if she'll know who/what this kid is (the show seemed to enjoy playing it either way with Joyce, depending on what they needed her for).

And I thought the realities of being a "single working mother" were pretty much ignored on the show until S6 with Buffy, not Joyce; that was something that disappointed me a little with the show. You capture that sense of "a mother's work is NEVER done" wonderfully here. And the whole things is just - so Joycean. (Pun intended)
ozma914
Dec. 25th, 2012 08:26 am (UTC)
Joycean, huh? I like that.

I agree, there wasn't nearly enough Joyce in the show, and sometimes her character was handled a bit unevenly. But I figure anyone who has a Slayer for a daughter toughens up and catches on pretty quickly -- not to mention how hard it is to be a single mom to begin with.
timeofchange
Feb. 6th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
This is just great. Joyce was sadly underused in the show. Thank you for filling in a blank.
ozma914
Feb. 8th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
Glad you like it -- I've always liked bringing up the underused characters and seeing what I can do with them.
clockwork_hart1
Oct. 29th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
Oh, this is all kinds of perfect. It's funny, sweet, motherly. Wow. I need to write some Joyce fic so bad, but this is going to be IMPOSSIBLE to top.

Brilliance.

(Oh, and thanks for the link)
ozma914
Oct. 29th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
So ... you like it? :-)
clockwork_hart1
Oct. 29th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, big gushy hyperactive reply. I do that sometimes - but only when it's deserved. Oh, and your icon is the most perfect thing in the world.
ozma914
Oct. 30th, 2013 05:58 am (UTC)
Hey, I get icons from the best!

I do hope to continue on with fanfiction from time to time ... but I have to look after the paying writing jobs!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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