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Old 04-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
methos
Kyle's Backup Artist
 
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Default Looking for acceptance...


ok, this is for a 7 people who PM'd me asking what my sig was about... warning, dark fic...

----------------

The funeral had been hard on everyone; Buffy was sat in her bedroom crying, as she had done every night for the last week. Giles was downstairs, dealing with the paperwork and phone calls that kept coming. Buffy was in no state to talk to anyone, let alone her relatives who kept calling, asking if she was alright, and with mock sympathy asking if there was anything they could do for her.

"I’m all alone now." Buffy sobbed into her pillow as she looked out the window at the moonlit garden. The words from Angelus echoed in her mind from four years ago. 'You’re always alone'. With that thought she started crying even harder than before.

=/^\=

"Is she ok?" Dawn asked Giles as she came into the living room.

"Dawn, you should be in bed." Giles said, smiling softly at the teen.

"Can't sleep, I just keep seeing..." Dawn trailed the sentence off, not wanting to say the words... Not wanting to let the pain back in.

"Shhh." Giles comforted her as he stood up and wrapped his arms around her. "You'll be ok Dawn, I promise it."

Dawn finally let herself break down into Giles arms; finally letting the tears rack her body as the grief came flooding back in.

"Dawn." Came a quiet voice from the stairs, casing both of them to turn around.

"Buffy!" Dawn exclaimed first, wriggling out of Giles' embrace and running towards her sister, her only family left.

Buffy held out her arms, embracing her sister completely and holding her as tight as she could. "Thank you" she whispered over Dawn's shoulder to Giles, causing him to smile softly and nod his head.

"Are you ok?" Dawn asked, pulling her face away from Buffy's shoulder and smiling slightly as her hair got tangled for a brief moment.

"I'm trying." Buffy said, smiling at her sister, trying to put on a brave face for her.

"I was just about to leave." Giles said, coughing quietly to get their attention. "I have gone through all of the... financial paperwork; the remaining box is her personal papers. I felt it would be best if I left you those."

"Thank you; I don't know what we would have done without you Giles." Buffy said, looking him in the eyes so he knew how grateful she was.

"You don't have to thank me Buffy; if there is anything else I can do for you, anything at all, just call." Giles said, smiling as he pulled his coat on and moved to the door.

"Giles... I..." Dawn tried to say how grateful she was, but the words just wouldn't come. Instead she just ran up to him and hugged him as tight as she could.

"I know Dawn, I mean it though, anything at all and you call me. That goes for you as well Dawn." Giles said, leaning down and kissing her softly on her forehead before leaving.

Buffy just smiled at him as he left, then moved over and sat on the couch. "Are you ok Dawn?" She asked, shuffling over so her sister could have her normal side of the couch.

"I miss her, I miss her so much Buffy." Dawn said, nearly breaking into tears again.

"I know, so do I." Buffy replied as she laid her hand on her sisters’ shoulder.

"What are all these?" Dawn asked, trying to change the subject by nodding to the boxes which littered the living room.

"Mom's old things, diaries, paperwork, all sorts of things. I've got to go through them and find all the paperwork for the gallery and all the insurance papers. Mom kept all her financial stuff separate so those were easy to find. Insurance not so easy though." Buffy said, smiling at the memories that came back of when they had first moved to Sunnydale and Joyce had opened the gallery.

"Can I help?" Dawn asked, looking at Buffy hopefully.

"Sure." Buffy smiled, she knew how Dawn was feeling, not wanting to be left out of anything and just wanting something to keep her mind busy. She walked over and picked up one of the shoeboxes and passed it to Dawn. "Here you go; this one should be some of mom's old diaries. Maybe there’s some insurance numbers or something in one of those."

"You want me to go through mom's diaries?" Dawn asked, her face a mixture of shock and amazement.

"We've got to, somewhere in all of this is the insurance codes and numbers for all the stuff in the gallery. We need all of that." Buffy said, nodding to the rest of the boxes. "I can do the diaries if you want, and you can take the rest of it?" Buffy grinned at the six boxes of diaries compared to the twelve larger boxes of paperwork and folders from the gallery office.

Dawn looked and realized what the rest was. "No... The diaries are fine... It's just..."

"I know..." Buffy said, kissing dawn on the shoulder before standing up.

"Where should I start?" Dawn asked, looking down at the diaries and cringing at some of the dates on the front of them.

"The beginning? You know mom, she was always going back and using old books and papers to jot things down on, maybe she used an old diary for the numbers, I don't know, anywhere." Buffy said, grimacing herself at the mammoth task that was in front of them.

"June fifth, nineteen seventy one." Dawn read out loud, smiling as she thought about her mother at that time.

"She was in college then." Buffy filled in, "Mom used to talk about her days back in college, she loved it. It was before she met Hank."

Neither of them called Hank their father anymore, they'd both tried to contact him for the funeral but their voices had fallen on deaf ears. Hank didn't want anything to do with them or Joyce anymore, he'd been cut out of the will so he didn't even bother taking half of their calls, the rest he just hung up on them when he realized who they were.

"Wow, seems like she was in love back here..." Dawn grinned; reading the diaries like this was like knowing her mom even better. It was like understanding someone’s thoughts, knowing what they had been through. "Some guy named Adam."

"Ohhh, mom had a boy friend?" Buffy asked, putting her box down and swinging her legs round to sit crossed legged on the couch so she could hear some more about her mom.

"They were exclusive apparently. She was in Art History and he was in Myths and Legends... Oh my god!" Dawn shrieked as she scanned further down the page.

"What?" Buffy asked, now really intrigued by this, what sort of man could her mother have been interested in.

"He posed for her..." Dawn paused for effect. "Nude... in her apartment."

"Oh god." Buffy said, going a little red at the thought of her mom painting some guy nude.

"They had a candle lit dinner, he cooked apparently. Then he posed for her and she painted him, he bought it off her afterwards, for a lot of money." Dawn whistled at the amount that was mentioned in the diary.

"Wow," Buffy said, leaning over so she could get a look at how much he had paid for it. "I'm guessing mom embellished certain 'aspects' of the painting?" Buffy giggled.

"Back then that would have put her through college on its own." Dawn mused, "Looks like he really took care of her, cooking for her, taking her out and paying for everything, she says they were in love." Dawn said, skipping through a few pages of the diary before putting it down and picking up a new one.

"Wow, she sounds so happy with him, does it say why they broke up?" Buffy asked, noting the big pink heart on the cover of the new diary with JS 4 AP scrawled in glitter ink.

"This one's from seventy eight, they were still together. When did mom and Hank meet?" Dawn asked, placing the diary aside for one minute so she could listen to Buffy.

"Sometime in the eighties I think, mom didn't like to talk about him." Buffy said vaguely.

Dawn just nodded, not wanting to open that can of worms again she picked up the new diary and flicked through it. "More about Adam, he got a job somewhere after college, doing research." she paused, giggling. "Maybe Giles knows him?"

"Maybe." Buffy grinned, maybe he was a watcher now, certainly sounded the type, studying Myths and Legends at college.

"Nothing in this one, just more about Adam and mom." Dawn said, putting the diary on the table with the other and picking out a new one. "They moved in together, mom was happy with him." Dawn smiled as she read the words and flicked though it, quickly glancing at all the pages before putting the diary with the others. "Hey, this one's in nighteen eighty." Dawn said, smiling at Buffy as she picked another diary up.

"Does this one say why they split up?" Buffy asked, it seemed like her mom was really happy with Adam, this mystery man from her mom's past.

"No, not yet." Dawn said, flicking through page after page. "She really wrote a lot here, about her and Adam, this one says they were really in love, mom calls in 'true love' and 'soul mates'." Dawn smiled, looking at the diary pages.

"Wow, wonder why mom never said anything about him?" Buffy said, glancing at the diaries.

"Uh, Buffy, there's an entry here dated may tenth nineteen eighty. She told Adam she was pregnant." Dawn said softly, wincing at the look that Buffy gave her before she snatched the diary off her.

"Pregnant? Mom never said anything about another baby." Buffy said, sounding almost outraged as she flicked through the pages, reading entry after entry about how their mother was looking forward to having the baby.

"We have an older brother or sister?" Dawn asked, standing up and moving to the cabinet where Buffy kept all of her documents.

"I don't know... it says here that Adam was going to stand with her, but they were arguing about something, it doesn't say what but he really upset her." Buffy said, turning the page and reading some more.

"Buffy, I don't think we have an older brother or sister." Dawn said, coming back from the cabinet with a piece of paper in her hands.

"We could have, I don't know, I haven't got to that part yet." Buffy said, now flicking through the pages quicker, wanting to know. Did she have an older brother or sister out there, someone that their mother never told them about?

"Buffy, when were you born?" Dawn asked slowly, knowing full well the date but wanting Buffy to piece it together for herself.

"February nineteenth." Buffy said on reflex, not getting what Dawn was asking for.

"Nineteen eighty one." Dawn filled in.

"Yes, nineteen eighty one..." Buffy repeated slowly, before trailing off as she put it together in her head.

"And when did mom meet Hank?" Dawn asked.

"I don't know, it isn't in here. Mom broke it up with Adam when he wanted to move to Washington, she didn't want to go because she wanted to go back to school to do her masters." Buffy explained as she read the diary.

"Where?" Dawn asked, reaching behind the sofa for her laptop and booting it up.

"Seacouver, he broke mom's heart but he had to go, work or something." Buffy filled in, understanding that sometimes wok and destiny have to take precedent over your personal life.

"Adam Pierson." Dawn said as she typed the name in and used every trick that Willow had taught her to find him.

"You think he's our father?" Buffy asked, as she sat down, now fully taking in what she'd found out tonight.

"He's your father, the diary proves that. That makes him my father as well; I wonder why she never told you?" Dawn asked as she waited for the computer to finish searching.

"I don't know, do you think he ever tried to contact mom? You know, find out about me?" Buffy asked, her brain now running through scenario after scenario, wondering what he was like, what he did, who he was.

"I don't know Buffy; maybe he tried and couldn’t find us?" Dawn filled in, wanting to keep Buffy's spirits high as long as she could.

"What do you think he's like?" Buffy asked.

"I don't know... hey, the computers found something. Adam Pierson, 86 Northfleet Seacouver. He's the right age, did mom have a picture of Adam in her diaries?" Dawn asked, glancing at the grainy photo displayed on her laptop.

"Yeah, hold on." Buffy said, grabbing one of the older diaries and flicking through it until she came to the page where a Polaroid was taped to the page.

"Cute." Dawn said as she looked at the picture in the diary. 'Adam' was sprawled out against a wall wearing just some jeans, exposing his taught chest. Long curly dark brown hair cascaded over his shoulders. "Looks like it's the same guy Buffy, looking quite good for his age as well from what I can tell, this photo isn't that good though."

Buffy moved over and held the photo up next to the monitor so she could compare the two. "Yeah, looks like it him, right age and name. Wonder what he does?"

"It doesn't say, there's no contact number or anything, only an address. Should we send him a letter or something?" Dawn asked, now actually wanting to know more about the person that was her 'father'.

"What about a trip?" Buffy asked with a glint in her eye and a smile.

"You want to go and see him?" Dawn asked, amazed.

"Well what would you put in a letter? Face to face would be better, besides he deserves to know that mom died, he was the love of her life according to these." Buffy explained.

"And what if it isn't him?" Dawn asked, not wanting to het her hopes up.

"Then we've had a good trip away from it all, and kept you away from Glory for a few weeks." Buffy explained, a vacation would be good, to get away from it all, come back with a clean slate so to speak.

"Buffy, it's over a thousand miles away. How are we going to get there?" Dawn asked, plotting the course in her brain, up to Seattle and then round the coast a bit.

"We?" Buffy asked sarcastically.

"Oh you aren't doing this without me, it's just us now, there's no way you are leaving me out of this. Besides, he's my father as well." Dawn shouted, outraged that her sister would even think about doing this without her.

"I'm just joking Dawn, we'll take a plane or something. Find a hotel to stay out there for a week or so." Buffy smiled as she explained.

"What about slaying, and the Scoobies?" Dawn asked, knowing how important it was for Buffy to be the slayer.

"I'll tell them I need some time away, the vamp's and demons seem to be taking a break anyway with Glory in town. Maybe it would be good to get away; a thousand miles is pretty far." Buffy smiled, everyone had been saying that Glory was bad news and that she should find a way out. Now that Dawn had found out that she was the Key and that she was the one Glory was after... maybe taking her away from Glory was the best idea anyway.

"After all this time of you telling us that you don't want to run from her, now you want to run practically to Canada and get away from it all?" Dawn asked, disbelieving what she was hearing.

"If it keeps you safe. As you said, it's only me and you now. I've got to take care of you, if that means running to England with you I'll do it." Buffy said, reassuring Dawn.

"Do you think Giles and everyone will be ok with it?" Dawn asked.

"I think so, they'll understand Buffy." Dawn smiled and hugged her sister.

"I'll call Giles then, can you find out how much plane tickets and hotels will be?" Buffy asked, waving at the computer.

"Sure, one week?" Dawn asked, not sure how long they should take away.

"Make it three; the longer we are away from Glory the better." Buffy said as she picked up the phone.

"Three weeks in Washington, sounds good." Dawn smiled.

=/^\=

"Have you got everything?" Buffy asked for the fifth time as they walked out of the airport.

"God, yes Buffy, I got all my bags and my coat." Dawn said, exasperated with her sister after spending nearly four hours on a plane together.

"I just want to make sure we've got everything." Buffy said, smiling as Dawn rolled her eyes. "Where's the hotel?"

"Eighty fifth on the Overcliff." Dawn repeated, smiling at the 'Welcome to Seacouver' sign outside the airport.

"Taxi!" Buffy yelled, picking up her bags when a cab pulled up.

"Cold here." Dawn noted, sliding on a coat before she put her bags in the trunk of the cab.

"Yeah, definitely not California anymore." Buffy agreed, wishing she'd kept a coat on her like Dawn did.

"Where ya heading?" The driver asked, smiling at the girls as they got into the back seat of the car.

"Eighty fifth, the map say's opposite Joe's bar?" Buffy said, glancing at the map for more details.

"Joe's, 'kay." The driver said, smiling before driving off.

"Joe's?" Dawn asked.

"Yeah, some jazz bar. The hotel was quite cheap, and it's a nice area. You know we couldn't afford much, but we'll deal." Buffy smiled, they were only going to be here for a few weeks, and the hotel was cheap.

"Sounds good, maybe if we end up staying longer you could get a job there?" Dawn smiled, it was weird, they'd been out of Sunnydale nearly a day now and the change in Buffy was amazing. She seemed different somehow, lighter, more full of life.

=/^\=

“Come on Buffy, we’ve been inside for day’s now, can’t we at least go over to the bar and get a drink or something?” Dawn moaned, it had been three days since they had arrived in Seacouver. Three days of being cooped up in a hotel trying to hunt down the man that was their father.

“You’re not old enough to drink.” Buffy stated, as she stood up and stretched. They’d found the address of where Adam was living easily enough, and traced a route on a local map to find it. It wasn’t that far away, maybe half an hour’s walk from where they were.

“Fine, I’ll have coke. I just want to get out of here for a while, being cooped up like this is driving me mad.” Dawn complained, slamming her laptop shut.

“OK, we’ll go over to Joe’s for a bit, but no drinking ok?” Buffy conceded the point and went to grab her coat. It would be nice to get out for a bit, maybe ease her nerves at the prospect of meeting her father.

“Great.” Dawn exclaimed, jumping up from the bed and grabbing her coat on the way to the door. “How’s patrol been here? Anything out there trying to get us?”

“Nope, only come across a few vampires, and they were a bit pathetic. Seems really quiet here, maybe somewhere to retire to when all the vamps are dead.” Buffy smiled at the thought, although it was unlikely she would live to see the extinction of vampires, it was still a goal to work towards.

“Umm, Buffy, if all the vampires are dead, then everywhere will be as quiet as here.” Dawn noted, stopping as the sidewalk to let a car past.

“Huh, didn’t think of it like that, still a nice place though, cheaper than Sunnydale.” Buffy smiled as they crossed the road and walked up to the door to the club.

“Can’t argue there, the hotel is really cheap, almost made me think they had vampire problems here as well.” Dawn smiled, glad that this was turning out to be a vacation for Buffy as well as her.

As Buffy opened the door, the soft sound of a lone guitar echoed through the club. The bar was quiet, a lot quieter than any clubs she had seen before. It was about seven in the evening, so it should be busy, but the place was dead.

“Hey, customers.” The guitarist said, smiling as he put the instrument down and grabbed his cane from where it was leaning against the chair.

“Yeah, customers,” Buffy grinned. “Seems kind of quiet.”

“It’s Joe’s music, keeps the place quiet and peaceful.” The lone customer said, grinning as he turned on his chair to see the new people.

“Funny.” Joe grinned as he hobbled behind the bar. “What can I get you?”

“Two cokes please.” Buffy said, smiling at the memorabilia on the back of the bar,

“Sure thing, you two on holiday or something?” Joe asked as he fetched the glasses from under the bar.

“Yeah, how’d you know?” Dawn asked, looking around the bar. It was the sort of place she could see Oz being happy in, a sort of quiet, relaxed atmosphere with a stage in the corner.

“Accent sort of gave it away, California right?” Joe asked, smiling when Buffy nodded. “Having a nice time here, LA it ain’t, but Seacouver’s got its own charm.”

“Yeah, it’s quiet, nice place to get away from it all for a bit.” Buffy agreed as she handed over some money for the cokes, thankfully it was quite a cheap bar, money was tight as it was, so finding a cheap place to stay and a cheap bar to relax was a bonus for them.

“Get away from what?” The other customer asked, now facing them completely.

“Our mother just died.” Buffy said, all emotion draining from her face and voice.

Joe just nodded, not saying anything before picking up a newspaper and smacking the customer round the head with it.

“Hey!” the customer shouted, causing a grin to emerge on Buffy and Dawn’s faces.

“It’s ok; we came here to get away from it all, and to look for our father.” Dawn said, smiling at the man who was now rubbing his head and glaring at Joe.

“Look for your dad? He live around here?” Joe asked.

“Yeah, he moved here after college, I don’t know if he even knows about us.” Buffy explained.

“So you’re hunting him down? Find out more about yourself or something?” Joe asked, smiling at the girls as they pulled up stools to the bar.

“Yeah, we found some old diaries of mom’s, made it sound like they were really in love, soul mates. I think he deserves to know what happened.” Buffy explained, taking a mouthful of her coke. “We don’t want anything from him, just want to know where I came from sort of thing.” Buffy hastily added the last, not wanting to sound like a charity case or anything.

“Hey, Joe. I’ve got to go, if Macleod turns up tell him I’ll be back in tomorrow night.” The customer smiled as he stood up. “Well, nice meeting you two, hope to see you around again.”

Joe just nodded and smiled as the man made his way to the exit, then frowned as he nearly got pushed over as two large men entered the bar. “Trouble,” Joe said, warning the girls.

“These two caused trouble before?” Buffy asked as dawn moved off her chair and stood behind Buffy.

“Yeah, mouthing off to staff and customers. I’ve had them thrown out a few times but I haven’t got any bouncers on tonight.” Joe said, now cautiously eying the men as they made their way to the bar. “I’ve told you before you’re not welcome here. Leave before I call the police.” Joe warned the men, not wanting trouble to break out while he was here on his own with the girls.

“We just want a beer, and some company.” The taller one of the men grunted as he leered at Buffy.

“Figures, with faces like yours you’re probably used to being alone.” Buffy quipped, smiling when she saw Dawn cover her mouth with her hand. “Just leave, it’ll work out better for you.”

“Or what? Am I supposed to be afraid of the little girl?” Loud mouth said, turning to Joe. “This you’re new bouncer?”

Joe just frowned, trying to work out in his mind what the girls were playing at. The blonde didn’t seem scared of the guy at all while the younger brunette seemed to be laughing at the obnoxious men.

“Maybe you should leave.” A voice came from the steps, swinging round, Buffy saw a man enter. Tall, with long dark hair and well built.

“And you’re going to make us?” The quieter one of the men said as he moved forwards and made a grab for Buffy’s shoulder, obviously attempting to grab her and put her between him and the new man.

Buffy saw this coming a mile away; it was like it was moving in slow motion for her. Fighting vamps and demons for years who were two or three times the speed of normal people, this guy didn’t stand a chance. Grabbing his wrist she twisted it sharply, causing his to cry out in pain, then she pulled it upwards while twisting his arm down with her other hand, effectively pushing him to the ground.

“Glad your here, want to help with the clean up?” Buffy said, smiling at the new comer.

“Looks like you’ve got things under control.” The newcomer said, smiling back as he approached the man who was now gaping at the short blonde who had disabled his friend so easily.

“You want to take the other one or should we just let them go?” Buffy grinned, immediately falling back into her usual quipping patterns.

“Maybe we should just let them go, as long as they promise not to bother Joe again.” The newcomer grinned as both of them men started nodding quickly, then the loud mouthed one ran for the door, practically tripping up the stairs before tumbling out the doors.

“You promise to leave Joe alone?” Buffy asked, leaning down so the man could hear her.

“Yes, yeah sure, anything, just let me go.” The man practically screamed.

“Let him go, I don’t think he’s going to want to do anything other than go home and change by the looks of things.” The man said, nodding at the incapacitated man’s crotch where he had wet himself.

Buffy just laughed and let pulled him upright by his wrist before shoving him towards the door. “Tell your friend I’ll be hanging around, so find another bar to bother.”

The newcomer just laughed, moving out of the way as he ran out of the doors. Turning to Buffy he held out his hand. “Duncan Macleod.”

“Buffy, Buffy Summers, and this is my sister Dawn.” Buffy smiled as she introduced herself and her sister.

“Glad you were here, those two trashed the place last time. Say, how did you do that? Disable that man so quickly?” Joe asked as he walked around the bar to the side where Buffy, Dawn and Duncan were.

“Aikido, useful sometimes.” Buffy explained quickly, drawing a questioning look from Duncan.

“Well, glad you were here. Drinks are on me for the night for you two, Mac, what you having?” Joe smiled as Buffy tried to refuse the generosity, but Joe was having none of it.

“I’ll get it Joe; you sit down for a bit.” Duncan smiled, as he threw his coat over a chair carefully before walking behind a bar.

“Just a coke for us please.” Buffy smiled at him as she passed the empty glasses over. He was hot, the long hair and ‘that’ accent, seriously drool worthy. She smiled to herself, maybe this trip was looking up after all.

“So, hunting down your father?” Joe asked as he sat down and rested his cane against the table.

“Yeah, after mom died it seemed right to find him. Her diaries helped some; Dawn managed to track him down to Seacouver.” Buffy explained, smiling as Duncan moved over to join them.

“What about school?” Duncan asked, obviously concerned that Dawn was too young to have finished school and be travelling the states.

“Buffy talked about it with my teachers, they gave her a load of homework to give me and some extra things that should help with my exams when I go back.” Dawn explained, remembering how she felt when Buffy had told her that she would still have to do homework while they were away.

“So, what do you know about your father? Does he work around here?” Joe asked, wondering if there was any way he could help them.

“We’ve got a picture from a while back and a new one, but the new one's kind of grainy, not good quality at all, but we don’t know if he works around here or not. Just that he lives about half an hour’s walk from here, we’ve been meaning to go and speak to him, and I just don’t know what to say.” Buffy trailed off, not wanting to come off as a complete spaz to these strangers.

“I understand, it’s a difficult thing to put into words, the first meeting has to go well.” Duncan commented, remembering how he felt when his father disowned him and banished him from the clan.

Buffy just smiled and nodded, she’d been trying to write down something, figuring it would be easier to write a short note telling him about Joyce and that they would be in town if he wanted to talk. She could just slip that under the door and let him come to them. That might be easier.

“What about other family? Have you notified everyone else?” Duncan asked, a bit worried that the two young girls were wandering America, looking for their father without any adults there to take care of them.

“They all left just after the funeral, it was as if they didn’t even care.” Dawn said, trying desperately to hold back the tears that the memories of their mothers’ funeral brought back.

“I’m sure they cared Dawn.” Joe said, laying his hand on the young girls shoulder reassuringly.

Dawn just looked up at him, smiling at the reassuring look he gave her.

“Is there anything we can do to help?” Duncan asked, now feeling protective of these two girls. They’d help Joe out, now he was going to repay the favour.

“No, thank you, but this is best left in family if you know what I mean.” Buffy said, smiling at the offer. This was nothing like Sunnydale, there people tended to stay out of other people’s business, even going so far as to avoid some people entirely if they thought that they would have been involved in anything out of the ordinary. Here this man was offering help without asking for anything for himself.

“Well, if you do need anything while you’re here, just ask and I’ll do what I can.” Joe said, smiling at the two girls.

“Thanks.” Dawn said, smiling as she saw Buffy nod her head in appreciation.

“So, what’s his name, you’re father?” Duncan asked, wondering if it was anyone he knew from the dojo.

“Adam, Adam Pierson.” Dawn said.

“What!” Joe said, almost spitting his drink out over the table.

Duncan nearly dropped his glass from shock.

“You know him?” Buffy asked, wondering what the look of shock on their faces was for.

“He was here earlier, the man that left just before the loud mouths came in?” Joe said, causing Buffy to run outside in the vain hope that she might be able to spot him walking away.

“Is he a regular here?” Dawn asked; hope flaring that they had found his local bar. If he was a regular then they could just keep an eye on the bar and come back when they saw him come in.

“Yeah, he’ll be back in tomorrow night, said he had some things to discuss about Amanda with Duncan.” Joe filled in, smiling when Duncan groaned.

“Amanda? Is that his wife?” Dawn asked, now wanting to find out more about her father’s life.

Duncan coughed on his drink before bursting into laughter. “Adam and Amanda, that thought is going to give me nightmares for weeks now.” He grinned at the young girl who was watching the doors as Buffy came back in.

“Nothing?” Dawn asked as Buffy approached the table.

“Nope.” Buffy said, Disappointed that they might have lost their father again.

“It’s ok; Joe say’s that he’ll be back in tomorrow night.” Dawn explained, smiling as Buffy turned to Joe, eyes glinting with hope.

“Yes, but are you sure Adam’s you’re father?” Joe asked.

“Absolutely,” Buffy replied, thinking about how all the dates fit together and the way their mother talked about him in her diaries.

“I think this is best left between Adam and the girls Joe.” Duncan replied, trying to defuse the situation when he heard the defiance in Buffy’s voice. “Why don’t you two go back to the hotel and get some sleep, I’ll get in contact with Adam and ask him to meet us here tomorrow lunch time.”

“Ok,” Buffy agreed, happy that these people were on her side now. “We’re in room 18 if you need to talk to us, otherwise we’ll be here at noon?” Buffy turned to Joe, smiling when he nodded.

“Well, thank you for your help.” Dawn smiled at the two men as she stood up and finished off her coke.

“Thank you,” Joe Said, standing up and shaking her hand. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Until Tomorrow.” Buffy said, smiling.

Sleep did not come easy for the girls that night, they were up half the night talking about what they thought their father would be like, to know that they were actually meeting him tomorrow...

The excitement was almost too much to bear.

--=/^\=--

"Adam, open up!" Duncan shouted through the door as he banged his fist on the wood for the fifth time.

"What is it Macleod?" A very grumpy Methos shouted from a window on the next level up.

"We need to talk." Duncan shouted up, almost amused by the annoyed face Methos was glaring at him with.

"Macleod, it's three in the morning, can't this wait?" Adam shouted down, he knew that the highlander wasn't going to give up and that he'd probably end up letting him in to talk, but it wasn't going to stop him winding him up a bit first.

"No, it can't wait. It's about your daughters." Duncan shouted, amused himself by Methos reaction to the word daughters.

"What are you blathering about Macleod? We can't have children, you know that." Adam shouted down, now intrigued by this interruption.

"You tell them that, they've come all the way from California to see you and talk to you about their mother." Duncan shouted, now getting a little annoyed at having this conversation from the roadside. "Adam, open the door and I’ll tell you about it."

"Fine, give me a minute." Adam shouted before shutting the window and moving over to get dressed.

Duncan just sighed; he knew what Methos could be like. One minute he'd be the most charming man around, the next he'd be loafing on your couch and drinking all the beer. While he may be the oldest man on the planet, sometimes he could act like a spoilt child.

After a few minutes Adam opened the door, dressed in sweat pants and a grey T-shirt he seemed totally at home in his own skin. "So, why didn’t you just tell them that I couldn't have children? They've probably just mistaken me for someone else, happens all the time Macleod." Methos said, now wanting to get back to his bed or have a beer, depending on how this conversation went, probably both.

"She helped out Joe; the two loud mouths came back. She took on one of them by herself and practically broke his arm, I walked in as she was 'convincing them' to go elsewhere." Duncan explained as they walked into the living room.

Adam just raised his eyebrow at this, he'd seen these two men, and he and Duncan had run them out of the pub a few weeks ago. "She took one of them on? On her own?"
Walking through into the kitchen he opened the fridge and pulled out two beers before walking back into the living room and sitting down next to Macleod.

"Yep." Duncan grinned, remembering how one of them had given Methos a black eye after they had the run in with them. Opening his beer he took a quick mouthful before nearly snorting it out of his nose at Methos' next comment.

"What is she, a football player or something?" Adam asked, imagining this six foot burly girl taking on one of the obnoxious men.

"About five two, petite, blonde." Duncan said, grinning even more when he saw Methos' look of disbelief.

"And she took down this guy?" Adam asked in disbelief.

"Yep, nearly broke his arm in an Aikido hold." Duncan explained again.

"Strong then, maybe a bit more subtlety than just telling her I'm not her dad." Adam said, not relishing the thought of getting into a fight with a girl who could take down someone who was twice his size.

"That and she helped Joe, there's something about her Methos. Her eyes, they look like yours." Duncan explained, not really understanding where his train of thought was going.

"She can't be mine Duncan, we can't have children. There is no way she can have my eyes." Adam explained as he took another swig of his beer.

"No, not in that way. Her Eyes, they look like yours do, you know, seeing too much." Duncan explained, now trying to put his thoughts into words.

"Ah, maybe she's just had too many people die on her?" Adam asked, he knew the eyes Duncan was talking about. His eyes had looked like that for millennia now, eyes that had seen too much death, things no one person should ever see.

"She'd just lost her mother, she came here to find her father and tell him about her, tell him about her life." Duncan said soberly. "What do you think it's like? having children?"

"We weren't meant to know Macleod, one of the disadvantages of our lives I guess." Adam said, remembering all the women he had loved and married. All the children he had taken as his and loved, only to see them grow old and die in his arms while he remained the same.

"Maybe," Duncan agreed, while he had never been married in the traditional sense, he had taken a few families and children for his own, raising them the best he could, until they died, or were killed.

"What was her name?" Adam asked.

"Who?" Duncan asked, shaking his head out of the memories.

"Who, the Mona Lisa. The girl claiming to be my daughter." Adam shouted almost in disbelief.

"Oh, Buffy, Buffy Summers." Duncan filled in.

"Summers, Joy Summers?" Adam asked, his face going a little pale.

"She didn't mention her mother’s name, only that she had died recently. Why? Did you know her?" Duncan asked, now a little taken aback by Methos' face.

"Know her, I loved her Macleod. God, I haven't heard that name in over twenty years." Adam said, standing up and fetching another beer before pacing the room. "It was back in the seventies when I met her, god it feels like a lifetime ago..."

Methos let a small smile come over his face as he remembered how they met, and that fateful summer that drove a wedge between them forever.

=-Flashback-=

"Come on Joy, haven't you finished yet?" Adam shouted from where he was posing on the couch.

"Not yet, god you have the patience of an infant." Joy grinned as she dipped the paintbrush back in the water and swirled it round.

"Well can I at least have a break, its chilly here you know." Adam said, grinning when he saw Joy peek out from behind the canvas and smirk at him.

"I can tell," Joy said with a grin. "Ok, we'll have a break."

"Finally!" Adam shouted as he jumped up and wrapped the towel around his waist.

"Actually, we might have to stop for tonight; I need some more paints before we continue." Joy smiled as Adam came over and wrapped his arms around her.

"Fine, now can I paint you?" Adam grinned as he started kissing slowly up her neck.

"You can't paint." Joy said with a grin as she turned to face him properly. "You can barely draw."

"So art's not my strong suit." Adam lied as he started kissing her again. He'd actually been one of the top artists in Venice at one point, but painting was Joy's thing. She loved it, almost as much as he loved her. It was something she did to get away from everything, something that was purely hers. For this reason he had stopped painting while he was with her, it was something personal for Joy, something that she could get passionate about. He enjoyed discussing art with her, his vast knowledge of history and artwork coming in useful, but it was her thing. So he kept quiet about his artistic streak, that way he could have more time alone, up close with Joy while she tried to teach him how to paint.

"Hmmm... but I know what is." Joy smiled as he trailed kisses down her throat and across her shoulder bone, letting his fingers slide inside her robe and pull the strings apart before it fell to the floor.

"Now, you are a woman worth of artwork, poetry and sculpture." He whispered as he continued kissing across her shoulders and down across her breast.

"My Mister Pierson, what would the neighbors’ think?" She said, winking at him as he raised his head to look out the open window that looked across the campus.

"I think they'd be jealous that I got to a woman of such perfection first." Adam said, grinning as he kissed her passionately and scraped his fingers down her back, his need for her aching through his entire body.

"Hmmm... you know all the right things to say." Joy grinned, pulling his face up so she could capture his lips with her own, wrapping her arms around his she pulled him close for a passionate kiss.

“Maybe I do, but they are still all the truth.” Adam said as he pulled away from the kiss to begin working on her neck some more, letting his fingers road down her back before encapsulating her ass and pulling her close to him as he kissed her neck and breast with even more passion.

“Adam, please…” Joy moaned as she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer.

“Bedroom.” Adam said simply, breaking the kiss for a brief moment.

“Couch.” Joy said, running her fingers up the back on neck and sliding through his hair before pulling his face down to meet hers once again.

“Aren’t you in a hurry.” Adam said with a smirk as he picked her up and carried her softly to the couch, where he laid her down and started kissing her body again, working from the neck down, moving agonizingly slowly, working over every inch of flesh with his lips and tongue.

“Adam!” Joy practically screamed as he took one of her nipped into his mouth and started to make small circular motions with one of his fingers on her inner thigh.

“Yes?” Adam asked, looking up from her body with a cheeky grin.

“I want you.” Joy said, her voice choked with need.

“You kept me sitting on this couch for hours waiting for you to be done; now it’s your turn.” Adam said with a grin as he moved to the other nipple, letting his fingers continue their slow manipulations on her inside thigh, moving ever so slowly up towards her warmth.

The teasing went on for hours, for Joy it seemed to go on for days. The two lovers finally fell asleep, both satisfied beyond their dreams, entangled in each others arms on the floor, with the blankets from the couch wrapped around them.

--=/^\=--

“What happened then? If you two were so perfect together?” Duncan asked, interrupting Methos’ talking about the love of his life.

“We weren’t just perfect together, it was more than that. When we were together it was like we were the same person, two half’s of the same soul. I’ve never felt anything like that before Macleod, Never.” Adam explained.

Duncan just raised his eyebrow at that, it much have been something special then, something akin to what he felt when he was with Tessa. If Methos had only felt this once in over five thousand years, maybe it was true love, maybe it was the real thing. “Why did you leave her then?” Duncan asked, if this was true love, if it was the real thing, then he would have held on to it no matter what it cost him.

“It wasn’t me, it was her… something happened, something that she couldn’t get over.” Adam explained, his eyes clouding over as a single tear rolled down his cheek at the memory.

=-Flashback-=

“Adam, I’m just going to get some more skin tone ok?” Joy called from the door as she wrapped her coat around herself.

“Be careful love.” Adam shouted, smiling at her from the couch.

“You want to come?” Joy asked, eying the night outside with caution.

“No, going to hit the sack soon.” Adam grinned as he held up a fresh beer. “Early classes tomorrow and all.”

Joy just rolled her eyes, more than likely he’d end up waiting for her to get back, he always did. Then they would go to bed together and he would be late for his morning classes, just like always. “Ok, want me to get you anything?”

“I’m good,” Adam smiled as he got up from the couch and walked over to her, kissing her passionately on the lips. “Be careful ok?”

“I’ll be fine, it’s just across the campus and up the stairs, I’ll be back before you know it.” Joy said, smiling. She’d done this trip a hundred times before, she knew the shop owners quite well and they stayed open late on Wednesdays for students.

“Say hi to Pete and Carol for me.” Adam said as he moved back to the couch.

“Sure, see you soon.” Joe said before blowing a kiss at him and walking out into the cool summer air.

Adam just smiled to himself as he watched her walk through the night until she was out of view of the window. It was a safe campus; everyone knew each other so he felt quite safe in letting her out alone.
There hadn’t been any immortals in the area for a while either; it had been years since he’d faced a challenge. Every once in a while he’d come across another immortal in the town nearby, or a pre immortal on campus, but that was getting rarer. For some reason they all seemed to be leaving and heading over to New York, he’d heard stories that that’s where the gathering was, and that the time of the gathering was now.
Well he hadn’t felt any ‘pull’ towards there, and if that was where all the immortals were heading, then he was quite happy to stay away.
Smiling to himself he opened a fresh beer and got comfy on the couch, Joy would be back in half an hour or so, maybe longer if she stopped to chat with Pete and Carol. He could wait.

He was rudely awakened by the phone ringing, looking at it for a second he wiped his face, he could see the sun streaming through the window and students were walking about outside.

“Hello?” He said, picking up the handset.

“Mister Pierson?” A crackly voice asked over the line

“Yes, who is this?” Adam asked, trying to figure out in his head where Joy was. She must have come back late from the shops and left him asleep on the couch, but why hadn’t she turned the TV off? He gazed at the TV set where it was showing early morning cartoons.

“My name is Doctor Carter, I’m afraid I have some bad news Mister Pierson, Joyce Summers is here in intensive care.” The voice came back, shocking Adam into grabbing the phone like a lifeline.

“What happened? Is she ok? Which hospital are you at?” Adam barked down the phone, gripping the handset so tight his knuckles were pale white.

“She’s doing well; she’s on pain medication at the moment. She’s at Saint Catherine’s Mister Pierson… Mister Pierson?” The voice continued shouting but Adam wasn’t there to hear it, as soon as he’d heard where she was he’d grabbed his coat and run out the door, jumping in his car he didn’t even bother to buckle up as he started driving to Saint Catherine’s hospital.

“My fault, I should have gone with her. What happened was she mugged? Attacked? No, no one would attack Joy, everyone loved her… What happened!” Adam screamed as he swerved around a corner, banging his fists against the dashboard.

He continued racing through traffic to the hospital, shouting to himself and any other drivers that got in his way. As he approached the hospital he parked the car awkwardly, not even bothering to lock it he jumped out and ran into the hospital.

“Joy, Joyce Summers.” He said, panting as he leant on the information desk.

“Relative?” The nurse asked as she looked over the chart for recent admissions.

“I’m her fiancé.” Adam said, trying to act a lot calmer than he thought.

“Room three one three, she’s just come out of Surgery, the police are with her now.” The nurse said as she watched Adam run off down the corridor.

“Three one three… Three one three…” Adam repeated as he ran down the corridors, skidding round corners until he found a room where two policemen stood outside. “Three one three.” He said to himself as he noted the number on the door.

“I’m sorry sir, you can’t go in yet, the detective is just finishing asking some questions.” One of the policemen said as he placed his hand on Adam chest to stop him going in.

“What happened?” Adam asked, wanting to barge past the man and get into the room.

“I’m sorry sir; can I ask who you are, and how you know Miss Summers?” The policeman asked as he pulled a notebook out of his pocket.

“Adam, Adam Pierson.” Adam answered as he stood on his toes to try and see into the room, but his view was blocked by a burly detective who was in the center of the room.

“And how do you know the victim?” The policeman continued as he wrote things down in his notepad.

“Victim? What happened to her?” Adam shouted at the policeman who was stopping him from being there to comfort Joy.

“I can’t tell you that until I can ascertain how you know her.” The man said in a patient tone of voice.

“She’s my fiancée, now can you tell me what happened?” Adam said, growing impatient with this policeman. Maybe he should have brought his lawyer credentials, they should still be good, bet they’d let him in with those.

“I see sir, I’m afraid Miss Summers was raped last night.” The policeman said, placing a hand on Adam’s shoulder to steady him when he faltered in his step.

“Raped?” Adam asked in disbelief.

“I’m afraid so sir, it was late last night on campus, the local security found her. She’s been quite badly beaten.” The Policeman explained as he walked Adam over to a chair and helped him sit down.

“What… Who…” Adam tried to vocalize his thoughts, but they kept coming so fast, so jumbled in his brain that he couldn’t even get a sentence out.

“Sir, I need to ask, where were you last night?” The policeman asked with a polite tone, obviously trying not to upset the man any more than he was already.

“I… I was home, waiting for Joy to come back. She went to the shops to get some more paint.” Adam explained numbly.

“And what time was this?” The policeman asked, jotting everything down in his notepad.

“About nine, maybe. Just before nine. I watched a movie on TV.” Adam said, thinking that if he hadn’t have watched that movie then he might have gone with Joy, maybe he could have stopped this, no maybe, he would have stopped this.

“Ok, which shop did she go to?” The policeman asked, almost turning away when Adam glared at him. “I’m just doing my job, we’ve got to know where she was and at what times.”

“The campus one, run by Pete and Carol, she goes there all the time for her supplies. They should be able to tell you more, they’ve got CCTV I think.” Adam explained, remembering the hassle that had been around the store while Pete was trying to wire the camera’s up.

“Just inside or outside as well?” The man asked as he wrote it down.

“Outside, he put two up to cover the campus market as well, they were having problems with students stealing food a year or so back, so they covered some of the cost.” Adam noted, remembering the new camera’s well now he thought about it.

“She was found on the side of the market, by the grass, do you think the camera’s will cover that area?” He asked, intrigued that they might have a concrete lead now.

“Yes, they do. The market owner, Andy, made sure of that because they had trouble with graffiti round there earlier this year. Look, is that all, I want to see my fiancé, see how she is.” Adam asked as he stood up impatiently, hopefully he had given them enough to catch the guy who did this; if they didn’t then he would be going after them himself.

“You’ve been a great help, thank you.” The policeman smiled as he got up from the chair. “Let me just check with the detective to see if he’s finished with your fiancé yet, I won’t be a minute.” He smiled as he opened the door and walked into the room, talking quietly with the detective for a second before coming out again. “He’s just finishing up, one last thing; do you know of anyone with a grudge against Miss Summers? Anyone you can think of that would want to do this to her?”

“No one, she was well liked, everyone loved her.” Adam said as the detective came out of the room. “Can I see her now?”

“Yes, I want to thank you for the information you gave us, it will be a great help in nailing this guy. Miss Summers gave us a good description, but if the CCTV points in the direction you say it does, then we should have caught the guy in the act. He’ll be going away for a long time.” The detective smiled as he held out his hand.

“I hope you do catch him detective, I really do.”Adam ground out through his teeth. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

--=/^\=--

“What happened? Did they catch the guy?” Duncan asked as he stood up to fetch a fresh beer for himself and for Methos.

“Yeah, they caught him. He’d done a string of rapes on campus, twelve or thirteen. The camera footage was the big thing, which was how they got him in the end. In a lineup they had a load of girls identify him as the rapist, made national headlines I think.” Adam explained sadly, smiling as he opened his beer.

“So that was why she left you? The rape?” Duncan asked, sitting back down and waiting for the story to continue.

“No, the rape was just the beginning of it; it was the child that finally came between us.” Adam said as he lay back in his chair and let the memories overcome him once again.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #2
methos
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=-Flashback-=

“Love, are you alright?” Adam shouted as banged on the bathroom door.

No answer.

“Joy, what’s going on in there?” Adam yelled, now beginning to get worried about his fiancé.

Again, no answer.

“Joy, either you open this door or I’ll kick it down. Honey, I just want to know what’s wrong?” she’d been in the bathroom for about an hour now, at first he thought she was just having a bath or something, but now he could hear the tears coming from inside the room. It had been two months since the rape; Joy had cried herself to sleep for weeks afterwards. Now she was just starting to get over it, but she still wouldn’t go out alone at night, and she wouldn’t sleep unless Adam was there, holding her and stroking her hair until she drifted off.

No answer came, but a soft click from the other side of the door. Adam carefully pushed open the door, squinting at the harsh light hit his eyes.

“Is everything alright baby?” He asked, glancing around to make sure that she hadn’t cut herself or anything.

Joy didn’t say anything; she just held up a small pen like device and held it out for him to take.

“What? What’s wrong?” Adam asked again, he wasn’t stupid, he knew what the device was but his brain wasn’t putting two and two together yet.

“I’m pregnant.” Joy whispered, her voice shaking.

“Pregnant?” Adam whispered in disbelief. He looked at the test in his hand; it showed the right amount of lines. “Can these things be wrong?”

Joy barely smiled, more of a twitch on her lips as she nodded to the trash can where four more tests and packaging were thrown.

“All positive?” Adam asked in disbelief. He knew he couldn’t have children; he had come to accept that fact. For Joy to be pregnant she would have had to… no, he couldn’t even finish the thought, there was no way Joy would sleep with someone else not will… now his brain caught up and did the math.

Joy just nodded dumbly. She knew what this meant; all sorts of thoughts were running through her head. Would Adam accept her, would he be able to accept the baby, should she keep it, how would she explain it to her family… all these thoughts ran through her head as she gazed upon the face of the man she loved.

“We should get you to a doctor, have it all checked out.” Adam explained numbly.

Joy just nodded slowly, reaching out for Adam with her hand and then bursting into tears when he took it.

“Shhh…” Adam comforted her as he stroked her hair with his hand. “It’s going to be alright. I love you.” He whispered the last into her hair, filling the words with as much love and acceptance as he could.

Maybe he couldn’t have children of his own, but if Joy was going to keep this child, then maybe he could have a family again. A family with a woman he loved more than life itself.

--=/^\=--

“She kept the baby?” Duncan exclaimed, disbelief in his voice. “She was raped, and she wanted to keep the child?”

“You don’t understand, Joy was a devout catholic, she wouldn’t, no, couldn’t have an abortion. Her family would have never forgiven her.” Adam explained.

“Aye, but still…” Duncan tried to defend his point of view. In his eyes she had the right to an abortion, she was raped, the child unwanted, what woman would want to keep a child that reminded them of being raped every time they looked at the child?

“Will you just let me finish the story Macleod?” Adam grinned as he fetched another beer, turns out this night would have been more devastating on his supplies than he thought.

“Fair enough, so, what did she tell her parents?” Duncan asked.

=-Flashback-=

“Congratulations Miss Summers, the baby is healthy and you’re just approaching your third trimester.” The doctor smiled down at Joy, who in turn smiled lovingly up at Adam who was holding her hand.

“Have you thought of names yet?” One of the nurses asked.

“Marcus.” Adam said without a thought.

“Cassandra, or Buffy.” Joy said with a smile, almost missing the look of sorrow that passed over Adam’s face when she mentioned the name. “What is it honey?”

“Not Cassandra, anything but Cassandra.” Adam stated, all emotion gone from his voice.

“Buffy then.” Joy said with a smile.

“Buffy?” Adam questioned with a quirked eyebrow.

“I like it.” Joy explained with a smile.

“Buffy it is then.” Adam laughed, anything to keep his woman happy.

“Buffy, I like it.” The doctor said with a smile. “Well let’s get you wrapped up and ready to go, everything looks good here.”

“Everything’s alright?” Joy asked, she’d been really nervous about the checkup, the doctors at the hospital had warned her that the rape might have caused complications, but doctor’s hadn’t found any internal injuries.

“Yes, everything’s fine Miss Summers.” The doctor reassured her as he wrote something on a clipboard and turned to leave the room.

Joy just turned to Adam and smiled with a tear in her eye. “A family, just what you’ve always wanted.” Adam had told Joy about his infertility, and she had accepted it. Knowing that this child could be theirs had just strengthened the bond between them.

Adam just smiled, a tear in his own eye as he bend down and kissed her on the forehead. “A family.” He whispered. It was almost too good to be true.

--=/^\=--

“Buffy?” Duncan asked, an amused look on his face.

“Joy liked it, she told me a story behind the name once but I can’t remember, something about a nickname for her sister or something.” Adam explained, grinning himself at the memories the name brought back.

“Buffy, sounds perfect for a Californian girl.” Duncan smiled, thinking about the innocent girl he hand met back at Joe’s, how she would have been growing up on the beaches, blonde hair flowing In the breeze. She must have been the picture of innocence, and it all came from a rape.

“Californian?” Adam grinned, quirking his eyebrow at this new piece of knowledge, now wanting to know more about the girl that could have been his.

“That’s where the accent came from.” Duncan explained.

“Joy must have moved there after…” Adam trailed off.

“After what? What happened?” Duncan asked, now fully engrossed in the tale Methos was weaving for him. It wasn’t often Methos spoke about his past, if fact it was very rare. To hear the old man open up like this was unheard of, he must have really loved this woman.

=-Flashback-=

“I can’t Adam, all I keep thinking about is that night, and him…” Joy trailed off, letting her tears fall freely down her cheeks.

“I understand baby, will you just think about it? For me?” Adam asked, raising her hand to his lips and kissing it softly.

“I’ll try, it’s just so hard, the nightmares…” Joy didn’t finish her sentence, the tears came more freely and soon she was sobbing uncontrollably.

“Shhh…” Adam tried to comfort her, pulling her close to his body and embracing her.

“I can’t… not now…” Joy said, in-between sobs as she pulled away from him. “I need some time, time to think.”

“I understand.” Adam said as he turned away from her.

“No,” Joy cried out. “I love you, I really do… I just need some time to think, to work this out.”

“And I love you; I want us to be a family, you, me and Buffy.” Adam smiled as the name rolled off his lips. Joy had been calling the child Buffy more and more lately. She was nearly six months pregnant now and her beauty was more radiant than ever.

“I just don’t know… I don’t know if I can have the child Adam.” Joy confessed as she cried. “Every time I think about her… all I can think about is that man and what he did to me.”

Adam just watched her cry, unable to move, unable to do anything but watch and listen.

“When I have a child I want it to be through love, not hate.” Joy explained. She’d been arguing with Adam more and more recently, at first they had both blamed it on the hormones, or the nightmares. Now she was beginning to suspect it was something else.

“But I can’t have children, this child is yours. Forget him, he’s in prison now. This girl will be out child, me and you.” Adam tried to explain, but Joy was having none of it.

“This child was conceived in rape Adam.” Joy practically spat the words at him. “Not love, what sort of girl will she grow up to be? Knowing she was conceived that way. What will we tell her when she asks who her father is? We can’t keep that from her.” Joy shouted, venom in her voice.

“She’ll grow up being loved; we don’t have to tell her, no one will ever need to know.” Adam shouted back. This is how the arguments normally started, then they would escalate and soon he would leave, slamming the door behind him as his anger inevitably got the better of him.

“I’ll know!” Joy shouted at him, picking up the nearby magazine and flinging it at him. “You want me to lie to my own child? You expect me to love and care for a child of the man who raped me? Do you?” Joy screamed as she threw various objects at him, magazines, books, paint brushes.

“Fine, do what you want, I’m gone.” With that said Adam picked up his coat and fled the room, slamming the door behind him.

He was at the main road when he heard the voice calling him back; he ignored it for a few more steps but turned when he heard the shout of ‘I love you’.

“Adam!” Joy screamed when she saw the truck barreling down on him.

Adam turned at the last second as he saw the truck, his last thought was ‘I Love you too Joy’ as the grill of the truck hit his body full on and his existence was filled with pain.

As the truck pulled to a stop, Joy ran over to Adam’s limp Body, cradling his head in her lap. “Someone call an ambulance!” She screamed as stroked some stray hairs out of his face.

Adam’s eye’s opened and he saw Joy’s face for the last time, staring down at him with tears.

“The child is ours.” Adam choked out before he started coughing up blood, “I love you joy, more than you’ll ever know.”

“We’ll raise her together.” Joy choked out in-between sobs.

“Joy… I…” Adam never finished the sentence as darkness filled his world.

As the ambulance came, Joy’s screams of anguish filled the night. She promised there and then she would raise the child in Adam’s name, she would do what was right by him, she would always protect her child from the night, she swore it with her life.

--=/^\=--

“Why didn’t you go back to her when you revived?” Duncan asked, amazed at the sight of Methos in his chair, tears falling down his cheeks at the memory of her.

“I couldn’t, she saw me die and by the time I had revived… I went back to the house, hoping to find her, explain to her about my immortality… by the time I had got there the house was empty.” Methos took another deep swallow of his beer before standing up and fetching a bottle of whisky.

“Did you ever try and find her? Find out what had happened to her?” Duncan asked as he watched Methos pour a tall glass of whisky and down half of it in one gulp.

“It took me a while, but I found her, once. About three years later I found her, she had moved to Los Angeles with her little girl.” Adam explained as he gulped the rest of the whisky down and turned to the window, wincing at he saw the sun coming over the horizon.

“Why didn’t you go to her? Explain things?” Duncan asked, if he had been in that position with Tessa, he would have gone in hell for leather, not stopping until he had explained everything.

“She was getting married, I found her, I was in LA outside the church when I saw her pull up in the car. I watched her go into the church with a perfect little girl in her arms, I watched as that three year old blonde girl threw flowers into her path as she walked down the isle. I saw how happy she was, who am I to take that away from her?” Adam shouted the last, almost trying to defend his actions to himself.

“So she married someone else, thinking you were dead.” Duncan rested his face in his hands, not knowing what to say.

“She was happy, that’s all I ever wanted for her.” Adam nearly choked on the words as they came out.

“And now the girl has come looking for her father.” Duncan said, standing up and reaching for the bottle of whisky and pouring two tall glasses. “What are you going to tell her?”

“Do I tell her the truth? That her mother was raped?” Adam asked, knowing the answer before Macleod even spoke.

“You can’t do that to her, she has her younger sister with her as well, you’ll break their hearts.” Duncan downed half the whisky in one long swallow.

“Then what else can I do for them?” Adam knew what he wanted to do; these girls were part of the one woman in the world who was more precious to him than anything else.

“Can you do it?” Duncan asked, passing the fresh glass of whisky to Methos.

“I’ve been a father before.” Adam explained, remembering back all the women he had married and the children he had brought up as his own.

“But two teenage girls?” Duncan quirked his eyebrow, “That’s a hell of a commitment.”

“Does it look like I’m hard up for money?” Adam let out a small laugh.

“What about the rest of it? The boyfriends, the schooling… all of it that comes with being a father?”

“Anything I can’t handle, I’ll just pass on to their uncle Duncan.” Adam grinned at Duncan’s forlorn expression.

“Are you sure you can do this? Move to California with the girls and be there for them?” Duncan asked, he’d never pictured Methos as the father type before, but then again he’d never seen Methos sat in his chair crying over a lost love.

“Who say’s they’d want me to move in with them anyway? Maybe they just want to talk, you know, find out about me.” Adam grinned; he certainly had a lot of stories to tell a young girl to help them sleep at night.

“Maybe, they want you to meet them tomorrow, or today I guess,” Duncan grinned at the morning light that was flowing through the open window. “Noon at Joe’s bar.”

“God, Joe’s going to have a field day with this. Can you convince him to keep it out of the chronicles? I don’t want hunters coming for me, not if I’ve got girls to protect.” Adam said, already getting into the mindset of keeping these girls safe no matter what.

“He’ll understand, look you’d better get some sleep, you’re meeting your children in the morning.” Duncan grinned at the look that passed over Methos’ face.

“I’ll see you then Macleod.” Adam smiled as he watched Duncan put on his coat and move towards the door. “Did they seem happy?” He let this one last question fall from his lips.

“They’ve just lost their mother, but truthfully, there was something else there. Something in their eye’s that said they’d seen a lot more tragedy and pain than most people.” Duncan explained before heading out the door into the crisp morning air.

Adam just smiled, maybe they had seen their share of pain, and maybe he could help with that. He might not be the world’s best father, but he would keep these children safe no matter what.

“I promise Joy, no matter what it takes.” Adam whispered into the air before finishing the class of whisky. Tomorrow should be an interesting day he thought to himself as he laid on the couch.

--=/^\=--

“So? What’s he going to do?” Joe asked as he poured a fresh mug of coffee.

“I think he’s going to adopt them.” Duncan said, accepting the coffee with a smile. It was nearly eleven now and no sign of Adam or the girls.

“He really loved her?” Joe had asked, half stated.

“From the way he described it, it must have been true love.” Duncan said, remembering how Adam had talked about Joy and his life with her.

“Wow, hard to believe the old man was in love, never thought I’d see him open up like that.” Joe grimaced as he took a sip of his coffee, leaning over the bar slightly he grabbed the sugar and poured some more into his mug.

“Speak of the devil.” Duncan smiled as the doors opened and Adam walked in.

“Yeah well I didn’t get much sleep last night.” Adam said with a grin as he walked behind the bar and helped himself to a beer.

“You’re really going to do it? Take on the responsibility of these two girls?” Joe asked.

“It’s the right thing to do; it’s what she would have wanted.” Adam said, obviously remembering more of his life with Joy. “What are they like? Macleod gave me a good description of the eldest, but what’s her sister like?”

“I don’t know, they should be here soon so you can find out yourself.” Joe said, smiling at the thought of all the trouble Adam could get into with these girls.

“And you’ll keep this out of the chronicles?” Adam said with a look at Joe.

“Duncan made me promise, these girls helped me, so I’ll keep everything to do with them out of it.” Joe explained.

“I wonder what they’re like, what friends they have, does she go to college or does she have a job?” Adam asked out loud.

“She seemed like the typical Californian girl, bubbly and happy.” Joe smiled as he remembered the two girls laughing before the loud mouthed men came in. “But she can switch, just like that.”

“Sounds like she’s got her mother’s temper.” Adam grinned.

“And she’s got some martial arts training to back it up.” Duncan reminded him.

“A puzzle within an enigma wrapped up in a riddle.” Adam mused as he tried to get a picture in his head of what the girl was like. Why she was learning Aikido and stopping bar fights... something didn’t add up.

“Isn’t that what all teenage girls are like nowadays?” Duncan asked with a grin.

“Maybe Macleod... maybe...” Adam smiled; it had been a while since he had been a father, over a hundred years. Some things don’t change though, and hopefully he could remember them all in time to meet the girls.

--=/^\=--

“What do you think he’ll be like?” Dawn asked as she changed her top for the third time.

“I don’t know, he seemed to be a regular there, Joe and Duncan seemed almost protective of him. It says a lot about someone from the friends they keep.” Buffy mused as she started straightening her hair again.

“They seemed surprised when you said he was our father.” Dawn said, thinking back to the shocked expressions she had seen when the revelation had come out.

“Maybe he’s not the type to settle down?” Buffy thought out loud.

“Then how’s he going to react having two teenage daughters?” Dawn moaned as she fetched out another t-shirt and started changing again.

“I don’t know.” Buffy said quietly. “Dawn, you looked fine before, why are you changing again? It’s nearly time to go.”

“I just want it to be perfect, I want him to like me, like us.” Dawn said and she tugged the t-shirt down to cover her stomach.

“He’ll love you, trust me. Now remember we can’t mention anything about the key or any other weirdness, not if we want to keep in touch with him. So you just have to say your father was Hank, but when he divorced mom he didn’t want anything else to do with us.” Buffy explained again.

“I get it Buffy, god I’m not stupid. Right, how do I look?” Dawn said as she blew a stray strand of hair out of her face.

“Perfect, what about me?”

“Like a poster child for California.” Dawn grinned when Buffy stuck her tongue out at her.

“Brat.” Buffy grinned.

“You know it.” Dawn grinned back as she threw her coat on. “Come on, it’s nearly twelve.”

“But... what if he doesn’t want anything to do with us? What if he doesn’t remember mom?” Buffy said, stopping at the door and starting to pace.

“Then at least we know and we’ve got a nice vacation out of it.” Dawn smiled, she was just as anxious about this meeting as her sister, but she knew if they didn’t do it then they would always regret not knowing.

“You’re right, when did you get so smart?” Buffy smiled, hugging her sister.

“I got the brains of the family while you got the shortness?” Dawn giggled.

“Funny.” Buffy said, ruffling her sisters’ hair. “Come on, we’d better get over there.”

--=/^\=--

The short walk over to Joe’s was filled with the nervous chatter between the girls, both of them wanting to look perfect for their new father and... Well, just wanting him to accept them. They’d both rehearsed their stories about slaying and Dawn’s father, Hank, and how he didn’t want to be part of their life anymore.

As they approached the front entrance bar Buffy slowed down and stopped in front of the doors. “What if he doesn’t like me... I mean...” her voice trailed off as the uncertainty of the moment set in.

“I know... but we’ll never know...” Dawn smiled, trying to reassure her sister while feeling just as nervous herself.

“Yeah...” Buffy mused as she fidgeted uncomfortable.

“Do you want to...” Dawn trailed off as she moved towards the door and reached out to grab the handle.

Buffy just smiled softly and stepped in front of her sister, opening the doors she took a deep breath and walked into the bar.

--=/^\=--

“She looks just like her.” Methos muttered as he watched the door open and a blonde girl step through, followed by a younger brunette. Of all the experiences he’d had, none had prepared him for this moment. Standing up he wet his lips with his tongue, suddenly wishing that he had a beer or something in his hands to help with the dry throat his was now experiencing as the girls walked slowly towards him. “Buffy?” He asked in a small voice.

Buffy just stopped mid stride causing Dawn to bump into her. All her attention was focused on the man that had just uttered her name at the back of the bar. He was tall, not overly tall though. Wearing grey pants and a dark purple shirt unbuttoned down to his chest where the collar flowed out casually, with a dark blue trench coat over the top.

“Buffy?” Methos asked again, his voice more certain this time as he noticed her eyes, her jaw structure and the way she held herself, it was like looking at an exact copy of Joy, exactly how he remembered her.

“Adam?” Buffy asked, he looked exactly as he did in their mom’s old photo of him. His hair was a bit shorter though, but other than that he hadn’t aged a day. If she’d got those genetics from him then she would definitely be happy.

Methos just nodded, taking a tentative step towards her, not wanting to frighten her away or to come on too strong he paused, waiting for her to make the next move.

“I’m Dawn.” Dawn came to their rescue, moving between the two so she could shake his hand, which he did awkwardly.

“Adam, Adam Pierson.” He said, cursing himself when Dawn’s eyes danced with humour. “But I guess you already knew that.”

“Kinda.” Dawn smiled at him, trying to make him feel less awkward in the strange situation.

“Can I get you two anything?” Adam blurted out, moving back to the bar and fishing out his wallet. Buffy must be old enough to drink, but he put Dawn at about fifteen, maybe sixteen.

“I’ll get it.” Buffy jumped in, fishing her purse out of her pocket and moving to the bar quickly.

“I’ll get it.” Joe mused with a laugh as he handed over a beer and two cokes, waving away Buffy’s money as Adam put his wallet back in his pocket. “We’ll be in the back room alright, give us a shout if you need anything alright?” Joe said, pushing Duncan towards the back room to give Adam and the girls some privacy.

“So...” Buffy tried to start lamely as she picked the closest table and sat down, waiting for her sister and Adam... her father... that sounded strange even in her head, to do the same.

Adam just paused for a second before sitting down opposite her, not exactly sure what to say first or how to say it.

“You knew my name.” Buffy started the conversation as Dawn sat down next to her, sipping her coke quietly for the moment.

“Joy,” Adam choked slightly on the name, not used to bringing up uncomfortable memories like this, especially not used to talking about them. “She wanted to name you Buffy, or Cassandra. We chose Buffy.”

“You could have been Cassie.” Dawn said with a giggle, causing Buffy to smirk though neither of them missed the shadow that passed over Adam’s face.

“You’re not married?” Buffy asked, suddenly wanting to know more about this man who was her father.

“Never found the right woman.” Adam explained after a short pause, trying to piece together what he was going to tell the girls in his head.

“Why did you leave mom?” Dawn asked, thinking back to what it said in her diaries.

“I didn’t... I mean, I was in an accident, a car crash. I was in a coma for a while, Joy thought I was dead.” Adam paused, waiting for their reactions, hoping he hadn’t contradicted what Joy had written about him.

“The diaries said you had gone, I thought that meant you left her.” Buffy said with a sad voice.

“I would have never left Joy, I loved her.” Adam defended himself with as much strength as he could muster.

“Did you... did you ever try and find her? When you woke up I mean?” Dawn asked, now wanting to know more herself.

“Yes.” Adam answered in a small voice.

“Well?” Buffy asked this time.

“I found her; I watched her go into a church to get married, holding a perfect girl with curly blonde hair in her arms. I watched her kiss the man she was going to marry as they came out of the church. She looked so happy.” Adam stopped, wiping a stray tear from his cheek.

“So you let her believe you were dead so she could be happy.” Buffy said, her voice small. It wasn’t so different from why Angel had left her.

Adam just nodded, afraid to test his voice in case in broke and he would be left sobbing in front of the girl who thought she was his daughter. A girl he would care for no matter what.

Dawn broke the silence by standing up and hugging him from behind, holding him tight and smiling across the table as she embraced him.

Wiping the tears from his eyes he looked up at the brunette who was hugging him. It was nice to feel some semblance of family, even if it was just for a short time. “Thank you.” He whispered at her as she squeezed him tight one last time before returning to her seat.

“I guess relationship troubles run in the family then.” Buffy mused with a short giggle.

Adam just raised his eyebrow. What sort of relationship troubles had Joy’s little girl been through that could compare to the tale he’d just told them. Had she had her heart broken by someone before? Could he have stopped that pain if he had been there? So many questions ran through his brain as he stared at her, Joy’s perfect little girl, all grown up.

“What do you do for a living?” Dawn broke the silence again with another question. It was as if both Adam and Buffy were in shock over this, so the only way they were going to learn anything was if she took the initiative on it.

“I’m a researcher for a private company, mainly dealing with historical texts and myths.” Adam spieled off, giving the usual response to anyone that asked about his work for The Watchers.

“Wow, you sound like Giles.” Dawn giggled.

“Giles?” Adam asked, thinking about how little he knew about these girls and Joy’s life.

“Sort of father figure to the group, ever since dad left.” Buffy explained, covering her mouth at the slip where she had called Hank her father.

“Your father? He left?” Adam asked, ignoring the slip. Of course it would take time for the girls to accept him, but what sort of man would leave two girls on their own, especially after they had just lost their mother.

“He and mom got divorced years back, we never even see him anymore, he didn’t even come to her funeral.” Dawn explain, choking back a sob as the memories of the funeral came back again.

“He never even...” Adam trailed off, temped to go and give the man a visit under his ‘death’ persona.

“He won’t even take our calls anymore.” Buffy explained, thinking back to all the trouble they had gone through just to get him to answer the phone even once.

“Does he... what about money? Joy’s house and everything...” Adam trailed off again thinking that the man who was Dawn’s father had just left two young girls alone to fend for themselves after such a difficult time.

“It’s not easy,” Buffy admitted. “But we’re managing. Mom owned the house and I’m working full time, but things are tight.”

“You’re working? What about college?” Adam almost screamed at the girls, managing to reign in his temper he continued. “Do you go to college? Do you want to?” He had so many questions now he didn’t know where to start.

“I did, last year, but when mom got sick I dropped out to take care of her. Now she’s...” Buffy choked on a sob, not even wanting to say the words. “I don’t know.” She finished in a small voice.

Adam just downed his beer in one go, standing up sharply and letting his temper get the better of him as his chair clattered to the ground as he walked behind the bar and cracked open another beer. Taking a long pull on it he turned back to the girls. “And you father,” He practically spat the words at them. “just let this happen? He doesn’t do anything to help?”

Buffy and Dawn were both taken aback by this, Adam seemed too nice and then he just turned, almost exactly like Buffy’s temper. The both just shook their heads and watched him drain the beer and reach for another.

“If you’ll excuse me for saying, I think your father is a complete asshole.” Adam said to Dawn, almost not caring if she was bothered or not by his thoughts.

“We think the same.” Dawn giggled as she watched him slam his hand on the bar.

“So he left you to fend for yourselves, without even coming to make sure you were alright?” Adam almost shouted at them.

“We get it, he’s a bum, we knew that when he flew off somewhere with his secretary and left mom.” Buffy explained, standing up and walking over to the bar where she stood, face to face with her father.

“Do you want to go to college?” Adam asked, looking into Buffy’s eyes.

“Yes, no... I don’t know.” Buffy said in quick succession.

“Would you, if you could?” Adam asked again, wording it differently so she would see what he was offering.

“I don’t want your money; we don’t want your money. We came here to find you, not to ask for a handout.” Buffy explained, almost shouting at him for thinking that.

“I know, but if Joy wanted you to go to college, and you wanted to, then I don’t see why you shouldn’t.” Adam finished his explanation as he started rummaging around the bar for some peanuts or crisps or something.

“Are there any bacon fries back there?” Dawn asked as she watched Adam smile in triumph as he found a bag of crisps.

“Sorry, are you two hungry?” Adam asked, wondering why he hadn’t thought of that before. It was past lunch time and the girls had admitted they didn’t have much money, what little they had had probably been wasted on the trip here and the hotel expenses.

“Yeah, the motel across the road didn’t have much. We were going to grab something before we came here but Dawn was a little late getting ready.” Buffy grinned as Dawn stuck her tongue out at him.

“Why don’t we go somewhere and get something to eat.” Adam suggested with a smile as he started munching on the crisps.

“Our treat.” Buffy said defiantly.

“My treat.” Adam said back, almost glaring at her. She was his daughter, her and her sister. He would be damned before he let them pay for anything ever again.

“We could cook.” Dawn mused. “Only the motel hasn’t really got a kitchen, so I guess not.”

“I wouldn’t want to put Adam through your cooking anyway.” Buffy shot back with a grin.

“I can cook.” Adam explained, “We could go to my place, I have some old photos of Joy, would you like to see them?”

“You can cook?” Dawn sounded surprised.

“I used to run a restaurant, well a while back.” ‘A few centuries back.’ His mind filled in. “I was the head chef for quite a while.”

“Guess that skill skipped a generation.” Dawn said cheekily while Buffy pouted.

“I can cook.” Buffy shot back, her pout not letting up.

“Buffy, you set the pancake pan on fire.” Dawn said patiently causing Adam to laugh.

“I’ll take care of it then.” Adam smiled, thinking what he had in the kitchen that he could use to cook something edible for the two girls.

“What about Joe and Duncan?” Buffy asked, looking towards the back door.

“Joe!” Adam shouted, causing the back door to open and Duncan poked his head out first.

“We’re all going back to mine to get something to eat, you care to join us?” Adam asked, smiling at the two girls. Maybe he was making progress, they seemed to have accepted his little temper tantrum easily, even though he was a little ashamed of letting his anger get the best of him like that.

“I could go for something to eat.” Duncan said with a smile.

“I’m stuck watching the bar, sorry.” Joe apologized.

“Close up for the day.” Adam suggested with a smile. “You’re the boss, what’s the point of being in charge if you can’t take a day to be with your friends?”

“I suppose.” Joe paused, glancing around. It wasn’t as if they were normally busy during the day anyway, and he’d be back in time to open up for the night.

“Great, shall I call a cab then?” Adam said with a grin as he walked over to the phone.

“I’ll drive, cars outside anyway.” Duncan smiled. They should all fit in the T-Bird easily, and it would give Buffy and Dawn a chance to see the rest of Seacouver as they drove to Adam’s.

“Sounds good.” Buffy grinned, the perfect opportunity to snoop around and figure out some more about her father. He seemed nice enough, but the way he snapped when he heard about Hank, made her think he wasn’t the sort of person you’d want to cross.

As the group made their way to the doors and Joe started turning off the lights, Adam paused in front of Duncan, moving back to whisper in his ear. “So, what do young girls eat nowadays? I’m guessing fish stew isn’t going to cut it here.”

Duncan just laughed as they walked through the doors and Joe shut them behind them.

--=/^\=--

“What is this place, some sort of hotel?” Buffy asked as Duncan’s T-bird pulled up into the driveway of Adam’s home. The gravel was crunching under the wheels of the car and you could see when Adam had started to pull down some of the overgrowing ivy on the side of his house.

“Not exactly,” Adam said with a chuckle as he turned in his back seat to gauge Buffy and Dawn’s reactions to his house. “It used to be a nunnery in the fifteenth century, Italian architecture, that’s why most of the outside is faceted with white granite. I started restoring it about ten years ago, nearly done now.” He grinned as both the girls jaws dropped at the sight of the large house, almost mansion, that they were approaching.

“You own this?” Buffy asked as the car pulled to a stop by the side of the building.

“I suppose so.” Adam grinned back at the girls as he got out of the car and opened the back door so Joe could get out first followed by the girls.

“No way!” Dawn exclaimed as she looked up and took in the actual size of the place. “How rich are you?” Dawn managed to finish the question before being on the receiving end of an elbow from Buffy and a look that said simply ‘shut up’.

Adam just laughed at the pair. “I guess I’m more than comfortable.” He said with a grin, to be honest, he hadn’t actually done a complete tally of his wealth for about twenty years. Some of it was tied up in different identities and stocks and shares, some was under different identities owning buildings which he leased out, but most of it was in corporations and land owning businesses.

“Come on.” Adam motioned to the two as Duncan and Joe started up the steps to the side door of the building. “You two can have a wander around later if you’d like, just stay away from the library, Joe still gets lost in there from time to time.” He laughed at the gobsmacked faces on the girls as he started up the steps.

“You’re kidding right? He’s kidding right? He’s got to be kidding; you own your own library?” Dawn babbled to Adam first, then to Joe when Adam just shot her a grin.

“Nope, Adam has quite a large collection of ancient codex and scrolls. Most of them diaries written in long lost languages, some more recent than others though.” Joe smiled as Dawn turned to look at Adam with a face more suited to a teenage girl in a mall. Most of the books had been written by Adam through the millennia of course, but there was no need to tell the girls that bit of information.

“Come on, you two can snoop around until your heart’s content later.” Adam grinned as he opened the door and led the way through to the living room when he unceremoniously flopped onto the couch. This was just one of the rooms he’d turned into a living room of course, he found it useful to have them scattered around the old building so he was never too far away from a comfy couch or a fridge, that way he could roam the house quite easily while reading and always find somewhere to relax.

“Oh my god!” Adam craned his neck round just in time to see Buffy squeal and a blonde blur rush past the entrance to the living room. He tried to remember what was around there that would have been of interest to a twenty something girl, when nothing immediately came to mind he was more than curious and started thinking what she could have seen from where she was.

“No!” He shouted out as he brain finally hit upon the only thing she could have seen of interest, and he prayed to god he was wrong as he leapt up from the couch and ran round the corner as fast as his feet could carry him.

As he came round the corner he was faced with a sight that would haunt him until the end of time, there was Buffy, Joy’s perfect little girl, running through a complicated kata with one of his Ivanhoe swords, she looked like she had been born with the blade in her hand. Her agility and balance was perfect, every immortal he knew would have been put to shame by the ease she performed the kata, and the sheer beauty of it left him speechless. Most immortals recognised the practicality of having a sword in each room, that way you were never caught off guard. Even though this house was technically holy ground, he had never got out of the habit of having them on walls, or in various other hidden places.

“Eighteenth century Ivanhoe.” Buffy breathed out as she finished the kata and span round to face him.

Adam didn’t quite know how to respond, here was a girl that looked every bit the Californian princess, and she was holding a sword in such a way she looked like a warrior born. Duncan had told him that she’d said she had a bit of martial arts training, but the sort of ability that she had just displayed to him was something he’d normally associate with masters of the art, not twenty something girls.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry, is this old? Is it priceless?” Buffy seemed to fold in on herself for a second and her brain apparently caught up to what she had been caught doing.

“Yes, no... Sorry, as you said, eighteenth century. Please be careful, it’s a live blade and I don’t fancy a trip to the emergency ward today.” Adam was pretty much as confused as he could be; he never expected to have this sort of talk with anyone, much less a girl who thought she was his daughter. Finally catching up with himself he had to ask. “Do you do much fencing?”

“I took it for a while in high school; it was one of the sports I was actually good as aside from cheerleading.” Buffy explained as she put the sword back in its place carefully.

“Right.” Adam nodded with a smile, even to him the explanation didn’t seem real, and the sort of skill he’d just witnessed was something that would make even Duncan jealous. He was interrupted from asking any more questions when another squeal came from the other direction of the house.

“Dawn!” Buffy shouted out before dashing off past Adam round the halls of the building to where the squeal had originated from.

“What now?” Adam grumbled as he took off after Buffy to see what Dawn had found that had caused her to squeal like that, probably his cheque book or something if he knew teenage girls.

As Adam turned round the corner where the blonde blur that was Buffy had disappeared he heard a groan, and came face to face with Buffy burying her face in her hands, looking across the room he saw Dawn, quite happily sprawled out on a sofa reading one of his diaries. The absolute absurdity of the situation was made complete by the look of pure joy on Dawns face as she lay on her stomach flicking through the book.

“She can read that?” Adam mock whispered to Buffy as he peered over to see which book Dawn was currently reading.

“Guess so, what language is it? Just looks like a bunch of lines and arrows to me.” Buffy replied with a grin.

“Sumerian, that books over four thousand years old.” Adam continued in a whisper as Dawn put the book back respectfully on the shelf and picked up the next one before returning to her comfortable position on the couch.

“You sure she’s not yours as well?” Duncan asked with a laugh as he entered the room to see Adam and Buffy watching Dawn with interest.

Adam didn’t even dignify the mock question with a reply; instead he opted to just glare at Duncan before moving over to sit next to Dawn. “You can read ancient Sumerian?” He asked surprised at the revelation.

“Only bits and pieces,” Dawn confessed as she blushed at being caught going through the books. “These are all amazingly well preserved, they actually look and feel like the originals.”

“They are the originals.” Adam said with a grin as Dawn’s face took on a deer in headlights look.

“You mean...” Dawn trailed off as she closed the book gently and laid it on the sofa so she could turn to look at Adam face on. “That book is over three thousand years old?”

“It’s a codex, and yes, closer to four actually.” Adam replied as he picked up the book and gently put it back on the shelf.

“Wow.” Dawn breathed out as she gazed around the shelves of books in the room that Adam had set aside for his personal library of diaries.

“Right, that settles it, we’re never letting Giles in here, we wouldn’t see him for years.” Buffy grinned at the thought of her mentor drooling at the amount of history and knowledge that was stored in all these ancient books.

“They’ll always be here Dawn, they’ve survived thousands of years, I think they’ll last through a meal.” Adam grinned as he saw Dawn looking at the shelves of books, the turned and blushed at him before returning to her sister’s side.

“Why don’t you two have a look around while me and Adam start cooking, just try not to touch anything dangerous or valuable.” Duncan grinned at the two girls as they took off round the large building, looking at paintings and books as they jogged down the hallways.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear they were both really mine.” Adam said with a sad smile as he and Duncan walked towards the kitchen.

“They both certainly act like it.” Duncan had to agree, Joe had sat down in the living room and was quite happily resting and strumming at one of Adam’s old guitars while the two immortals made their way through to the kitchen.

--=/^\=--

“It’s amazing...” Dawn breathed out as she walked down the stairs from the back door to see what the outside of the house was like. The gardens stretched out for as far as she could see, with giant trees of different verities growing in spots around the neatly mown lawn. She could quite happily spend hours just wandering the gardens she decided, or better yet, take one of the books and just laze under a tree on a sunny afternoon and read.

“Yeah,” Buffy said, her voice tinged with awe as she looked around the garden before arching her neck up to look back at the giant house. “It’s huge; he said he was well off but...”

“Well off doesn’t cover it,” Dawn nodded as she hopped up onto one of the stone walls and lazed back in the sun. “He’s rich, really rich; this place must be worth a fortune.”

“Uhuh,” Buffy nodded, really unsure what to say.

“That library, I mean wow, I could spend years in there, and did you see the weapons, there must be two or three in every room.” Dawn babbled excitedly. “He can cook, obviously clean, or does he have a maid, do you think he has a maid?” She wriggled round on the stone wall to look at Buffy who was still watching the house with a faraway look in her eye. “Buffy?”

“Maid, yeah, no, I don’t know,” Buffy sighed out, leaning up against the wall next to Dawn. “It’s just so...”

“Fairy tale,” Dawn finished off, knowing exactly where her sister was going with this.

“Uhuh,” Buffy nodded again, staring at the window where she could see Adam and Duncan moving around the kitchen inside. “I just thought, I don’t know, he’s our dad, I know it... it’s just...”

“Too perfect,” Dawn nodded, sitting up and embracing Buffy in a tight hug. “He seems nice enough though, and he definitely has your temper,” Dawn grinned as Buffy took a playful swipe at her arm. “It feels... it feels right.” Dawn finally said out loud, confirming her thoughts.

“It does,” Buffy smiled back at her. “Did you see his face when he saw you reading that book,”

“Codex,” Dawn corrected automatically now that she knew the correct name for it.

“Whatever,” Buffy waved it away. “You’re definitely his,” She smiled as Dawn beamed up at her. “I just wish we could tell him, all of it, me slayer, you key, vampires, the lot.”

“Why not?” Dawn asked, not wanting to lose her father again, not now when they had just found him again.

“I don’t think he’d cope, I mean look at this,” Buffy gestured with her arms. “He’s rich, educated, probably been all around the world, how would he cope with vampires, demons and slayers?”

“He might have seen weirder things,” Dawn mused hopefully, ignoring Buffy’s snort of laughter at her comment.

“I doubt it,” Buffy laughed back, hugging her sister again and just enjoying the moment as the sunlight caught her arm and reminded her how perfect today was shaping up to be.

--=/^\=--

“I can’t do this!” Adam nearly screamed as he sagged up against one of the walls in the kitchen, keeping one eye on the window where he could see Buffy and Dawn talking outside. “They’re too perfect, Buffy can use weapons like I can,” He nodded as Duncan turned to look at him with a surprised expression. “Dawn can read ancient Sumerian, or at least translate it, they feel like they’re mine.”

“They can’t be,” Duncan said simply. “We can’t have children, you know that, isn’t that what you wanted me to tell them for you?”

“Whatever,” Adam waved the comment away as he started pulling ingredients out of the cupboards to make, he didn’t even know what he was going to make, what did teenagers eat these days anyway. “It’s just...”

“Aye,” Duncan nodded, unused to seeing the old man this shaken. “It’s a family, a real one,” Duncan smiled. “Think you can handle it?”

“I...” Adam paused, looking outside at the two girls who were now hugging on one of the stone walls. He watched as the wind blew Buffy’s blonde curls about, the sunlight catching them and making them glitter like strands of gold. “Yeah,” Adam nodded with a peaceful smile on his face. “I can try; it’s what Joy would have wanted.”

“What about...” Duncan waved in the air to indicate the immortality that he was still getting used to not talking about in case the girls ever overheard him.

“Maybe one day,” Adam nodded, the happiness now gone from his face as he thought about how he could lose them if it wasn’t handled correctly. “They’re just girls, teenagers, their biggest worry is who to take to a dance on Friday night or what shoes go with what outfit, I doubt immortality has even crossed their minds.”

“True,” Duncan nodded, remembering how he and Tessa had felt when Richie had first come into their lives. “And if they find out?”

“Then we take it from there,” Adam just shrugged, trying to push the thoughts of losing the two girls that now meant so much to him out of his mind. “Where do you think they live? Somewhere with a beach no doubt.” Adam smiled as he pictured the two girls playing with their friends, carefree and footloose on a weekend.

“California,” Duncan nodded. “LA I guess, but the accent sounds a bit stronger, maybe closer to San Francisco or somewhere in-between.” He then smiled as he watched Adam piling up ingredients on the table, things that really shouldn’t go together in any meal. “Planning a feast?” He laughed as Adam stopped and actually looked at all the things he had pulled out.

“I don’t know,” Adam sighed; this was really new territory for him. He’d had families before of course, but nothing of this magnitude, not when the two girls meant so much to him, when they thought they were his own, god he was even coming round to thinking they were his own children.

“Go on,” Duncan nodded to the window while he rolled up his shirt sleeves. “I'll take care of dinner, you go and talk with them.”

“Talk? About what?” Adam floundered as he ran his hand through his untidy hair, trying desperately to think of what he could actually say to break the ice, after that he could latch onto some sort of topic, maybe with Dawn, he could talk about languages with her, or weapons with Buffy, no, best not encourage weapons talk, or maybe if he shared some cautionary tales about them she’d be careful around them, like she wasn’t already. His mind was racing as he stared at Duncan wide eyed.

“I'll say martial arts is a good guess,” Duncan chuckled as he drew Adam’s attention to the window.

“What?” Adam asked out loud before looking where Duncan was pointing to see Buffy on the grass outside moving through some complicated Tang So Do forms while Dawn watched from her ‘seat’ on the wall in the warm sunshine.

“She’s good,” Duncan nodded appreciatively, “How long did you say she’d been practicing?” He turned around to get the answer of Adam but he’d already gone.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:13 PM   #3
Jeff Beckenbauer
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Wow..

Once I started reading I was hooked, read it all in one shot ( I should get back to work )

Excellent work and I hope there is more coming!
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