Characters: Joyce, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Principal Snyder.
Spoilers: Season 1 and Season 2 up to the end of School Hard.
Summary: Joyce just doesn’t know how to deal with Buffy’s behaviour problems.
Word Count: 851
Content Notes: None needed
Written For: Challenge 61: Fight at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS, or the characters; they belong to the great Joss Whedon.
Expelled from one school for getting into fights and starting fires, accepted by another school miles from everything that was familiar, and once more getting into trouble for starting fights…
Joyce buried her head in her hands. Where had she gone wrong with Buffy? She’d been such a good kid until she fell in with a bad crowd at her last school. Maybe she was acting out because of the divorce; having your parents split up would probably be traumatic, maybe she and Hank should have tried harder to make their marriage work, if only for Buffy’s sake…
No, that wouldn’t have worked either. Hearing her parents fighting all the time over everything couldn’t have done Buffy any good; maybe they should have separated sooner than they did, sparing their little girl from having to hear all the yelling and slamming doors. Did Buffy somehow think she was to blame for their divorce? Surely she couldn’t; Joyce had told her often enough that it wasn’t her fault she and Hank had stopped getting along.
But what was she going to do now? She’d had such high hopes, moving to Sunnydale, getting Buffy into a school with a more nurturing environment than the last place. Small town schools had to be better than the too-large inner city ones. And everything had started out so well; on her very first day Buffy had made friends with a couple of good kids. Willow seemed lovely, quiet and polite, a little shy, but very smart. Just what Buffy needed to help her catch up in all her classes. Xander was a nice boy, friendly, good-natured, and eager to please.
Then there was that older boy, Angel. Buffy seemed to have a bit of a crush on him, and Joyce was a little worried about that. Buffy was only sixteen; Angel was much too old for her, but he had good manners and seemed pleasant enough. Maybe she was worrying about nothing.
Even the school librarian had taken Buffy under his wing, letting her and her friends hang out in the library during breaks. How much trouble could Buffy get into in a library, for goodness sakes? But the fact remained that she was. The principal had already called about Buffy skipping classes. Buffy claimed she was running an errand for Mr. Giles, but couldn’t she have done that on a free period?
She was fighting again too. Several times Joyce had found blood on Buffy’s clothes from minor injuries. Who she was fighting and why, Joyce had no idea. She’d tried tough love, making Buffy stay in her room instead of going out with her friends, but Buffy just locked the door and sulked, refusing to come out, sometimes even missing dinner.
Joyce just wanted her bubbly, happy little girl back, but ever since she hit her teens her daughter had become someone she barely recognised. There were times she was almost her old self, smiling and chatty, but more often she was sullen, moody, distracted… In short she was a typical teenage girl, all out-of-control hormones and end of the world drama, just with added delinquent behaviour. The summer holidays were approaching though, so maybe spending some time with her father would do Buffy some good; a bit of freedom and space from her over-protective mom, a chance to catch up with some of her friends in L.A., just hopefully not the ones who’d got her into trouble before.
It didn’t. Buffy came back even moodier, silent and uncommunicative a lot of the time. Something was obviously bothering her, but she wouldn’t talk about it, and the problems at school continued. Buffy even conveniently ‘forgot’ to inform Joyce about parent-teacher night; if the school hadn’t sent out reminders she would have missed it altogether. She wasn’t sure whether that would have been better; she was still having nightmares about what happened. The police had claimed it was a gang high on PCP, but… Well, her memory was probably playing tricks on her; there was probably nothing wrong with their faces beyond being contorted with anger. There was a reason such drugs were illegal.
That night, Principal Snyder had had some worrying things to say about Buffy, and the nasty little man seemed to take great delight in being the bearer of bad news, calling her daughter a troublemaker, and yet, when Joyce thinks about everything that happened following her one-to-one meeting with the school principal, she could care less about his opinion.
She’d watched her little girl take charge when the armed, drugged up gang invaded the school, saw how brave and resourceful she was, putting the safety of others before her own. So Buffy got into fights? So what? That just meant she knew what she was doing, that she wasn’t anywhere near as vulnerable and defenceless as she might seem, and while that didn’t mean Joyce was ever going to stop worrying about her, that was a mother’s prerogative after all, maybe she would at least sleep a little better knowing that Buffy was more than capable of taking care of herself.