Change The World
Giles stepped outside of Mario's, just long enough to watch his surrogate daughter and her new wife board the waiting limousine and begin their honeymoon. After the two redneck vampires crashed the reception, Giles was taking no chances that the young newlyweds would be ambushed en route to the Piedmont. He smiled with relief when he recognized the limo driver; not only would Jim make sure that they were safe, he would assure that their trip was pleasant. Jim was not only a capable fighter, but a hopeless romantic.
Joyce stepped behind Giles and wrapped her hand gently around his arm. "They'll be okay," she whispered in his ear. "You brought her up good."
"No, Mrs. Summers," Giles smiled, as he turned to Joyce and kissed her lightly on the lips, "you brought her up good." The two smiled and returned to the banquet room, where the party was winding down.
Xander and Anya were the only couple left swaying on the dance floor, as Oz and the Dingoes finished a cover of Googoo Dolls' "Iris". Most of the rest of the guests had left already, and Joyce had said goodbye to her mother, who was visiting from out of town, making plans to have lunch with her tomorrow. She recalled how surprised Willow had been that Buffy's grandmother had been so supportive of their relationship; she had assumed that Nana Melinda would be overly old-fashioned in her attitudes regarding same-sex unions. But Joyce knew better; after all, Mel herself was 'married', in spirit if not in law, for many years to a woman whom Joyce regarded as her other mother. She had looked up at the stars as Buffy and Willow left for their honeymoon, and believed that somewhere in Heaven, her other mother was watching as her granddaughter married her true soulmate.
The band finished the song, and the set came to an end. Oz started to put his
guitar in its case, the microphones were being disconnected, and the young
couple finally noticed that the music was over. Xander and Anya, their arms
still around each other's waists, joined Giles and Joyce at their table, while
Cordelia eyed her old boyfriend and his new love with bemused eyes. "Hey
guys," Xander greeted them, "looks like our favorite young couple are
on their way to Happyland. So when are the two of you making it legal?"
Joyce regarded Giles with a slightly sardonic eye as he tried to speak, but could strangely enough only emit vowel sounds. She took pity on him and said, "We're taking it slow, Xander," as she linked her hand with Giles'. "We're not in any hurry." Giles nodded, his lips upturning slightly.
"So tell me," Cordy asked as Oz joined the party at the table. "How did you two get together anyway?"
"He popped 'round for coffee one day," Joyce answered. "Seriously, I suppose it was after that 'band candy' incident. I was mortally embarrassed when I recalled how we had behaved while under the influence of the enchanted candy."
"Yes," Giles admitted. "And I still want to know how that photograph of me in a T-shirt got into the high-school yearbook." Xander and Oz sniggered at the memory of a tough looking Giles with a cigarette pack rolled up in the sleeve of his T-shirt. "I suppose that I was more embarrassed than Joyce, but once I could finally look her in the face, we both realized that we were more alike than we cared to admit at first. We both enjoy Shakespeare, we have similar tastes in music, and we both care deeply for Buffy."
Joyce nodded, as she recalled her initial anger at finding her parental duties more or less usurped by this strange little librarian. "I resented his position in Buffy's life at first. But when I realized the kind of life she led, and how he had helped her survive all that, well, I guess there are some things that no amount of parenting skill can prepare you for."
"True," Giles admitted. "But you have been a fine parent to Buffy, no matter what adversities you faced. I have always admired that about you. And once we were able to get past the mutual blushes from the band candy, we were able to meet on common ground. And once Buffy and Willow became involved, we found ourselves spending more time together, and I suppose things just took off from there."
"You never know when love will find you," Joyce mused.
"True, true." He stood up from his seat, adding, "In
fact," he turned to Oz, and asked, "You wouldn't happen to have an
acoustic guitar, would you?"
"I think it's called 'tuning'," Oz answered.
Devon puffed a sigh and rolled his eyes. "So that's what we've been missing."
Giles pulled up a stool to sit on in front of the microphone, and placed the instrument on his lap. He leaned toward the microphone and spoke in a smooth DJ voice; "And we're coming to you live from Mario's Italian Restaurant, here in beautiful Sunnydale, California, on this fine romantic Valentine's night. Love is on everyone's mind, on every street, and in every song. And this song goes out to Joyce Summers, from the Ripper himself. To the woman who changed my world. Enjoy, all you lovers and dreamers out there." Giles started to play a moderate tempo on the guitar, and after a few measures, started to sing;
If I can reach the stars,
Joyce smiled and closed her eyes as she heard her love sing. She had never been serenaded before, certainly not by her first husband Hank, Buffy's father. No, Joyce corrected herself, not father, only sperm donor. The only thing he ever really did for Buffy was aid in her conception. When things got difficult, he simply got out of Dodge.
And I can change the world,
Once she and Buffy left for Sunnydale, Joyce had accepted that there would be no romance in her life. She threw herself into her work, and tried to build her relationship with her daughter. But for reasons that she didn't understand at the time, Buffy kept distancing herself from her. Joyce was worried; she spent too much time with that strange little Englishman, was out late at night, was frequently getting into trouble, that troll-like school principal constantly gave his opinion that Buffy was headed for a life of crime. It wasn't until near the end of her junior year that Joyce realized the truth; there were vampires in the world. And Buffy was the Vampire Slayer.
And if I could be king,
Joyce didn't take the news very well. In fact, her initial reaction was to throw Buffy out of the house. She then blamed Giles for taking her daughter from her, for having a greater influence on Buffy than she did. It wasn't the most auspicious beginning for a romantic relationship, but over time, the two of them were able to work out their differences. And over time, that relationship evolved into something more.
That I can change the world,
Joyce couldn't quite recall when it happened, when she first notice the way his jaw sloped in a handsome angle. Or that his calm, well-mannered demeanor was not an act or a pretense. Or that in those rare occasions when he let his guard down and smiled, he could charm effortlessly. Or that somewhere during the last year, as her daughter had dealt with the loss of her old boyfriend Angel and found the true love of her life in Willow, Joyce had found her love in the form of a reserved, studious man from England.
I could change the world,
Continue to the Next Story in the Series by
Kirayoshi (set between this story and Wonderful Days...Glorious Nights)
Continue to the Next Story in the Series by