So, welcome to Liam’s Bachelor Challenge! This is not the actual challenge itself, it is merely a prologue…because no way in hell is Liam ready for anything involving human relations in the state of mind he’s in right now.
Enjoy, and look for the BC itself soon!
Definitely don’t own Joss, the Buffyverse, or anything that comes from that. Don’t own a bunch of these sims either. :D
A couple of hours in, Tara had to leave for work – since she’d decided to switch jobs again, now that she was young enough to get yet another lifetime want. By that time, their parents had been brought back, and they agreed that Rupert could take over working with Lilah. Lynne was a bit reluctant to let him stay, but she agreed it was necessary.
Therefore, Lilah and Rupert brought back the rest of his siblings.
“ Alright, that’s the rest of my generation,” Rupert said as Xander and Marisa giggled like two teenagers and left the room.
Rupert picked up the phone and dialed. “Yeah, this is Rupert Giles Whedon. Yes, again. We’re bringing everyone back. No, there are only six people left. Yes, six. This time? Buffy Anne Summers Whedon. Yes, she’s my mother. Yes, all ten thousand simoleans. Thank you.” He turned to Lilah. “Of course I’m bringing everyone back!” Lilah grinned and rolled her eyes as he turned back to the phone. “What? Yes, send her through now.” Then he hung up.
Buffy looked at her son, then his wife. “Why don’t you two go reunite? Lilah and I can handle it, right Lilah?”
Lilah nodded. “Sure.”
Buffy could see that her son was wavering. “Besides, you never knew your grandparents or aunt and uncle, and from what I’ve heard of this thing, you have to have known the person to bring them back. I knew all of them, so I’m the best choice to do it.”
Rupert nodded, finally. “Okay.” Lynne smiled at Buffy, then pulled Rupert out of the room, clearly off to find a good bed to reunite in.
Buffy looked at the bone phone, then her granddaughter. “How does this thing work?”
“ You just pick up the phone and press the green button. They’ll ask you who you want to resurrect and how much you want to pay. Always pay the full ten thousand, or you could end up with a zombie. At least, that’s what Rose said.”
“ Definitely don’t want that,” Buffy muttered, then followed Lilah’s instructions. “Hi. No, Buffy Whedon. Buffy Anne Summers Whedon. Yes, I was just brought back. I’d like to bring back my brother-in-law. Martin Davis Whedon. Yes. No, we were not married. Yes, he was. You don’t have to get married for that! It’s none of your business what our relationship was, anyway. Yes, fine, all ten thousand simoleans. Yes, we’re ready for him.” She hung up and rolled her eyes at Lilah, who was smirking at her.
Martin shook his head, then moved away from the materializing spot. “No, you go ahead. I’ll wait here for her.”
Buffy nodded, then picked up the phone again. “Hi. Yes, it’s Buffy Anne Summers Whedon. My sister. Cordy. No, of course that’s not her full name. It’s Cordelia Chase Whedon. Yes, that Cordelia Chase Whedon. All ten thousand simoleans, and we’re ready.” She rolled her eyes as she hung up the phone. “That – person – is a prude.”
Cordy finally looked around at the rest of the room, and broke her hug with her husband to clutch at her sister. “Buffy!”
“ Cordy!” They hugged, tightly, as Martin watched them with a sad smile. Lilah had her head cocked, watching her grandparents and great-aunt reunite.
“ How is everyone? Xander, and Mom, and Liam, and you guys, and the whole Apocalypse?”
Buffy and Martin exchanged a glance. “Well, the Apocalypse is over and Xander is doing fine, I think,” Buffy said, glancing at Lilah, who nodded. “I still need to bring back Liam and Mom and Dad.” She looked at her sister. “Look, a lot has happened. Martin and I will explain it all after, okay?”
“ Okay.” Cordy leaped into her husband’s arms, surprising him, then pulling him to a corner of the room, where they began kissing again.
Lilah stepped close to Buffy. “Were she and Grandpa–”
“ Yes, they were married,” Buffy said quietly. “After Cordy died, we had to fix things, and, well, your grandfather and I realized that the only way to keep going was to have children. Let us tell her? She deserves to hear it from us.”
Lilah nodded. “Not my business what you do with your love lives. Should we bring back the others?”
“ Sure.” Buffy picked up the phone once more. “Hi. Yes, Buffy Anne Summers Whedon. Yes, again. My brother, this time. Liam Angel Whedon. The full ten thousand, thank you. And we’re ready.” She hung up the phone and waited for her brother.
Liam glared at her, then at Martin, who had realized that something was happening and started bringing Cordy over. He shook his head. “I’m leaving.”
“ What?” “Liam!” “Don’t–”
He pushed past his sisters and brother-in-law and walked toward the door. “I’m leaving. I have no interest in dealing with you people anymore.”
“ We still have to bring Mom and Dad back–”
Liam turned around. “You think I care? I lived perfectly fine without Dad for my entire life, and Mom and you, ” he glanced at Cordy, “since I was a teen. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.” With that, he pushed his way out the door.
When Liam left the house, he had no idea what he was doing or where he was going. He vaguely recognized that he’d been resurrected at what had been his home, despite the differences in how the house looked. The scenery was mostly the same and it somehow felt like home.
He shook it off and walked away from the house, along a vaguely remembered path. He’d only ever left his house once – other than on the bus to and from school – but his sense of direction was good and The Bronze quickly came into sight. Much like home, it didn’t look the same, but he knew instinctively that it was the same place as the old community center.
The outside alone told him how much things had changed. There were plants and a pond, to say nothing of the size of the building. When he went inside, things were even more different. There was a coffee bar and all of the musical instruments he’d ever heard of, and a hot tub was visible on the back porch.
Liam started to walk over to the coffee bar, ready to order, when he realized that he didn’t have any money.
He closed his eyes for a second, then walked into one of the side rooms, where he found a pool table and two couches. He sat on one of the couches and put his face in his hands. What was he going to do?
An hour later, he still hadn’t reached any conclusions. When he heard footsteps, however, he looked up.
Elle let him brood as she continued to play, seeming to understand what he needed without asking. When the game was over – Elle won again – she put her cue away, then started on the balls. “If you want to talk about it…”
Liam put his cue on the wall and kept his back to her. “I don’t think I’m ready.”
She nodded. “If you want to talk about anything – even just pool or what’s on TV – let me give you my email address.”
She took a notepad and pen out of her purse and wrote something down, then ripped out the page and handed it to him. He read it – Elle.Fitzhugh@simmail.com. A very practical address.
Of course, this meant he would have to get one so he could email her. He found that he actually liked that idea.
Joss and Liam didn’t even notice when she left, they were so busy staring at each other.
“ Boys! Pie’s ready!”
Liam broke away from the stare first and sat down at the table. Joss followed him with his eyes for a moment, then sat down himself.
The conversation at dinner was mostly superficial – none of them really had the energy or the want to talk about anything deep. They talked about the renovations to The Bronze and the house, the weather, and family members other than Buffy, Cordy, and Martin.
“ Can you believe we have great-great-great-grandchildren?” Eloise asked her husband. Joss blew her a kiss; she giggled as she caught it.
Liam put his fork on his plate, leaving his pie half-eaten. “You know, I don’t think I’m all that hungry after all.” He pushed away from the table and stood up. “I’m gonna go sleep.” He stepped away from the table, then turned back. “Um, where’s my room?”
His parents exchanged a glance. “I figured we’d take the master bedroom,” Joss said, glancing at his wife, who nodded. “Feel free to take either room at the top of the stairs – they’re fairly similar, and it’s just us three here anyway.”
Liam nodded and headed upstairs. They watched him go.
“ I did. From what he told me a few hours ago, though, he was barely an adult when he died. And neither he nor Buffy – who was still alive when he died – mentioned him having a wife or kids. He’s living with us, after all – would he do that if he were married?”
Joss picked up the dirty dishes to wash them while Eloise stayed at the table. “That was a big deal for him?”
Liam found that living with his parents was both nice and awkward.
His father was an excellent chess opponent – and he didn’t cheat, either – and they all enjoyed quiet evenings reading together or watching old movies.
On the other hand, activities that involved more talking didn’t go quite as well. Conversations during meals were a big problem.
Plus, his parents didn’t really seem to understand just how thin the walls were.
Or the fact that Liam could see the hot tub from his bedroom window.
At least Elle’s emails and phone calls helped – and she agreed that they needed to not spend time in the hot tub when he was home. It still felt too awkward to talk to Meadow, leaving Elle his only real friend outside of his family.
Still, things were mostly going well when the phone rang one evening, its tones loud in the silence of three people spending the evening with their books. As Eloise started to put her book down, Liam stood up. “I’ll get it,” he said. “It’s probably Elle anyway. She said she would call.” Eloise nodded, and Liam grabbed the phone. “Hello?”
He noticed his parents exchange a glance as the phone started ringing again. This time he ignored it except to shoot a glare in its general direction, and instead headed outside. He needed to get away.
“ Buffy?” His mother had answered the phone. “No, I don’t know why Liam hung up, he just glared at the phone and left.”
Her voice faded away as he left the house. He sat down on the steps, watching the fireflies play. He was glad that Cordy knew, but he couldn’t deal with Buffy.
It wasn’t his job to be the responsible one. He’d been the babysitter, the sink-fixer, the cook, the maid, the pet-befriender, the homework-doer. He couldn’t be that person anymore, or he’d break under the weight of it.
He tried to make his mind go blank, but it wasn’t working. He couldn’t stop thinking.
Joss’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t know why you two are avoiding each other.”
“ There are reasons. They don’t concern you.”
“ Elle’s probably wondering what’s taking so long.” He pushed past his father into the house. He knew his father was staring at him, but he ignored it and picked up the phone instead. “Elle? Hey, yeah, it’s good to hear from you. Look, are you busy tomorrow?”
“ Hard choices had to be made. I understand that. And Buffy was basically left in charge of the family, so she had to make those choices. But you don’t sleep with your sister’s husband even if she’s dead!” He placed his cue on the table, then leaned on it himself. “Even if you think the family needs more kids,” he muttered.
“ No,” Elle said, sounding thoughtful, “there are some things you don’t do with your sister’s guy. Not if you’re smart, anyway.”
He knew she wasn’t trying to be confrontational – that she had, in fact, phrased her question as non-confrontationally as possible. It didn’t matter. “Buffy woohooed her sister’s husband. Martin woohooed his wife’s sister. And they didn’t even stop when they had enough children to be safe!”
“ No one was safe, Liam! I remember when Cordy died. I was there.”
“ You were senile.”
“ I was forgetful . I didn’t always know what was going on. But I knew that my daughter had died, and I knew what that meant for Xander.”
“ So I agree that Buffy and Martin ultimately made the right choice.”
“ Liam,” Eloise put her hand on his shoulder, “Cordy has already forgiven them. They’re all living together. Actually, Joss and Buffy went over there just before you got home to invite them to a family dinner.”
His jaw dropped. “You invited them over for dinner?!”
“ Of course we did.” She looked at the sidewalk. “Ah, there they are.”
He stood up and turned swiftly to face the sidewalk, where Joss, Buffy, Cordy, and Martin were coming toward the house. “You invited them to dinner and didn’t even warn me?!” His voice was getting louder and more horrified, but he couldn’t help it, and didn’t particularly want to.
There was silence for a moment as everyone started at Liam in shock. Buffy reeled back as though she’d been slapped and walked swiftly, head held high, around the corner of the house until she was out of sight.
After a while – maybe an hour or so – he got up and headed over to the window.
In the backyard, his father was serving obviously-just-grilled fish to the rest of the family.
Liam grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket and looked at his contact list. It was shockingly short – family members, a few people he barely knew, Rose, Meadow, and Elle. He skipped over Rose immediately, then paused on Meadow. Did he want to call her?
The answer was no. Instead, he dialed Elle. The phone rang three times before she picked up.
“ Elle? Hey, it’s Liam. Sorry to disturb you, I just needed to talk to someone who isn’t family.”
The next few weeks, Liam spent most of his time out of the house. He played pool at The Bronze, went to the gym, and hung out with Elle. He also finally met her husband, Stuart Legacy, and found that they all enjoyed a good cup of tea.
In his quest to stay out of the house, he also got a job at the Sunnydale Police Department. It wasn’t what he wanted to be doing with the rest of his life, but for now it would suffice.
“ Stuart?” Elle looked up at her husband once Liam was gone. “Do you think we should invite Liam to move in with us? We have the room.”
“ We do,” he agreed, “but I am not certain it would be a good idea. I do not know Liam that well, and I am not certain I want to invite him to move in. If things get worse, perhaps, but for now, I think we should not.”
Elle nodded. “That’s fair.” She smiled up at him, then snuggled closer, slipping into his lap.
“ Elle, what are you–”
“ I just want to kiss you,” she said, then did so.
Neither of them noticed Liam watching from behind a tree.
He smiled wistfully. He didn’t want Elle – he liked her, yes, but as a friend, not a lover – but he did want what Elle and Stuart had. He sighed and walked back around to them, making sure to make some noise – which they clearly heard, as they pulled apart and Elle slipped off of Stuart’s lap.
“ I’m going to head home,” Liam said. “See you for dinner tomorrow.”
“ The Espresso Pump at six?” Elle asked. “I’ll make the reservations.”
“ Yeah. See you then.”
The concert went well, as did dinner, but over the next few weeks Liam found himself feeling even more out of place than he had before. He was barely speaking to his family, he felt like a third wheel with Elle and Stuart, his relationship with Meadow was still stilted, and he wasn’t really comfortable with anyone else.
Still, things were going decently, and Liam was…well, he wasn’t happy, or even content. Resigned, perhaps. But he wasn’t expecting things to get worse.
All three of then watched where he’d gone for a second. “This,” Joss said, standing up, “has gone too far.”
“ What?” Rose asked, looking up at him.
“ He’s been avoiding us for weeks, since that fight with Buffy. It’s time to sit down and talk about it. Even if I have to force him to join us.”
“ I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Eloise said. “Especially with Rose here.” She looked at Rose apologetically. Rose had to agree that her being here wasn’t likely to help – but she also knew that her not being there wouldn’t make things considerably better.
Plus, she was curious. Therefore, she didn’t volunteer to leave.
“ Liam,” Eloise said, walking over to him, “he is still your father.”
Liam turned his glare on her. “It’s not like you were around, either.”
“ I did my best.”
“ You went senile when I was barely a child and died when I was barely a teen. And you may be back, but you’re not even trying to understand my point of view.”
“ Is this about Buffy and Martin?” “ You sided with them .” “ I think they were right! That doesn’t mean I love you less.” “ The same goes for me,” Joss said Liam almost seemed to be believing them. Almost.
Unfortunately, that was the moment that Eloise popped into her second trimester of pregnancy. Liam’s eyes instantly went cold and his whole body tensed. “You’re trying to replace me, aren’t you?”
“ What?” Eloise asked, clearly shocked.
“ No!” Joss said at the same time.
“ We’re not trying to replace you,” Eloise said.
“ You think I haven’t seen how much time you spend in the hot tub? For God’s sake, I can see you from my window. And the walls aren’t that thick in this house.” His parents blushed. “You’ve clearly been trying for another child. I’m surprised it took this long, with how much you’ve been woohooing.”
“ Yes, we want another child,” Eloise said, “but not to replace you. Never to replace you.”
“ Definitely not,” Joss added. He smiled at his wife. “And sometimes we just like woohooing.”
Rose could see Liam getting angrier, but she had no idea what to say. It was almost like watching a train wreck – she didn’t want to see the results, but she couldn’t look away.
“ Can’t keep it in your pants, can you?” Liam asked coldly. “Going to become so obsessed with woohoo that you die before this kid is born too? Oh, no, wait, you can be resurrected now, so it doesn’t matter if you die.”
This comment made Joss sit down on the steps, his head in his hands.
Eloise came closer to Liam. She lifted her hand, as though to touch his shoulder, but let it fall instead. “When we were alive the first time, we only woohooed twice. Once for the girls, once for you. There was no birth control – unless you wanted a child, and were prepared to have one, you didn’t woohoo.” She smiled sadly, her eyes tearing up. “As soon as Buffy and Cordy were children, I wanted another child. We waited until they were teens, and they could watch you while I went back to work. Then, well, I was getting old, and I wanted another child before I got too old. So I pulled Joss into the bedroom without asking how hungry he was, and, well…I got pregnant, and he died.” She turned to look at her husband. “It wasn’t his fault, Liam. It was mine.”
Joss looked up at that. “I didn’t tell you to stop. It was as much my fault as yours.”
This conversation made Rose feel the need to speak up. “I didn’t stop you either. I should have. But I didn’t.”
Liam turned to Rose. “Yes, you should have. Or you should have brought him back.”
“ There are rules. Even I have to follow them.”
“ Then what good is it, being the Creator, or Goddess, or whatever you are?”
“ It isn’t. I know things were bad, Liam. I had to take time off when you died, and I vowed then and there to bring everyone back when the Apocalypse was over, and the rules didn’t have to be enforced anymore, and to give you all better lives.” She looked down, then up, deciding to tell Liam more of the truth. “When Will – your nephew – lifted Paranormal, there was discussion about bringing you and Cordy back, as you could still lift restrictions, and everyone else back as well, to live again. It was unanimously decided that they wouldn’t bring you guys back – make you live in the Apocalypse again, make you lift restrictions. I could have overruled them. I chose not to.”
“ You shouldn’t have brought me back now. I’d rather have stayed dead.”
Rose took a deep, shuddering breath, then let it out slowly. She closed her eyes, then opened them, looking straight at Liam. “Do you still want to be dead? I can kill you, if that’s what you really want.” Eloise and Joss both gasped, but Liam and Rose ignored them.
He looked at her, his eyes piercing. She tried to show that she was telling the truth.
“ No,” he said. “Not now. I want you to change the past. Make everything better then.”
He wrapped his arms around himself. “I want Dad not to have died. I want Mom not to have been senile, then dead. I want Cordy and Martin to have had a good life together, with all the children they wanted. I want Buffy to have had her pets instead of her sister’s husband. I want Xander to have been able to lift a restriction – actually, I want him to not have had to lift a restriction. I want there to have been no Apocalypse.”
Rose could see Eloise and Joss hugging, and she knew they were finding comfort in each other. She hadn’t realized how much Liam was hurting, and hearing it like this…well, it was painful. She was barely stopping herself from crying.
“ I want to fall in love. I want to get married, to have children. I want to have had that chance when I was alive the first time.”
Then and there, Rose vowed to do everything she could to help him find that love. That, she could do.
He almost seemed to not realize what he was saying – because she was pretty sure that he wouldn’t have said all of this if he’d remembered they were there. Or maybe he didn’t realize he was talking out loud.
With that, Liam seemed to realize that he was speaking out loud. He looked at all three of them with a horrified look on his face, grabbed his coat off the coat rack, and left the house at a run. They were all too shocked to stop him.
“ I didn’t realize he blamed himself for your death, Joss,” Rose said. “I should have.”
“ You couldn’t have known,” he said.
Eloise shook her head. “No, you couldn’t have. You barely know him, Joss. But I should have figured it out, or Rose should have. Or both of us.” She sighed. “I don’t know what to do for him.”
“ And I think it’s not just that,” Rose added. “If he’s blaming himself for Joss’s death, then he’s also blaming himself, indirectly, for everyone else’s deaths – and for Buffy and Martin deciding to woohoo. It all goes back to Joss dying.”
“ I know that. You know that. I think Liam even knows that. But knowing you’re not to blame and really believing it…it’s two different things.”
“ We have to convince him it wasn’t his fault,” Joss said. “That it was ours. Which it was – all three of us.”
Rose shook her head. “It’s my fault, ultimately, and I don’t mind if he blames me. I can take it. Making him realize it? That’s the hard part.” She glanced at her watch, noticing the time. It was quite late. “We’ll have to discuss this another time,” she said, standing up. “I really should be at home.”
They nodded and stood up. They said a subdued goodbye, then Rose left and headed for home.
He looked up and cocked his head, listening. “I did not.”
“ Hm. I thought I did.” She shrugged and returned to her book as Stuart did the same. A loud thump came from the front of the house and they both looked up again. “That was definitely something. We’d better go check it out.”
“ I had a fight with my parents. I left. I don’t – I don’t know if I can go back.”
“ Can’t or won’t?”
He laughed bitterly. “God only knows if they’ll want me, after everything I said. Even if they do, I don’t know if I can live like that anymore. Not–” he rubbed his face and looked up again. “My mother is pregnant again.”
Elle’s brow furrowed as she thought through that. “Shouldn’t she be too old?”
Liam sighed. “I haven’t exactly told you the whole truth.”
Elle and Stuart exchanged a glance. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“ I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out. My father got dumped in the Apocalypse. He founded my family. My sister’s great-grandchildren are the ones who finally fixed things. I told you I was away for a long time – where do you think I was?”
“ I assumed you had lifted a restriction and moved out,” Elle said.
“ And not aged for all that time?”
She shrugged. “Some people don’t. Marina knew my father, and hasn’t aged since then, and my grandfather Spencer is actually my great-great-great-grandfather, and he’s still alive.”
“ Yes,” Stuart said, “Miss Meeee and her friends do not age. Are there not people like that here?”
“ Rose, I suppose, but she’s the Creator. Nobody else that I know of. Certainly not me.” He carefully avoided looking at them. “No, I never lifted a restriction. Not a career restriction, anyway – I did get abducted and discover Alien Technology when I was a teen. I never moved out. No, I was dead.” He stared, unseeing, across the street.
Elle moved closer and put a hand on Liam’s shoulder. “What happened?” she asked.
Liam told them the whole story, from his father’s time at college before the Apocalypse started to his own resurrection and what came after. Elle and Stuart listened silently.
“ And now? Now I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,” Liam said. “I’ve fought with my parents, I’ve fought with my sisters and Martin, I’ve fought with Rose, Meadow is a teen, I don’t really know Buffy’s kids or their descendants, and–” he hesitated for a moment.
“ And?” Elle prompted.
“ And I – there’s Xander – but…but he was barely a teen when I died and he’s married and has great-grandchildren now, and,” he muttered, “I’m not quite ready to speak to him.”
Elle looked up at Stuart, a hopeful expression on her face. He looked thoughtful, then gestured toward the house. She nodded and touched Liam gently on the arm. “Why don’t you come inside? You look like you could use a good cup of tea.”
He smiled wryly. “That sounds good, yeah. Thanks.”
They all headed into the house and into the tea room. Liam stopped in the doorway. “Do you mind if I use the bathroom?”
When Liam left the room, they sat down at the table and Elle began preparing the tea. Stuart watched her with a smile on his face.
“ I think we should invite him to move in here,” she said. She looked at her husband. “I think moving elsewhere would be bad for him – he needs friends right now, and we’re the only ones he really has.”
Stuart nodded thoughtfully. “He had a very difficult childhood.”
“ And teenhood, and adulthood. I had issues myself, but Zuzu and Billy were always there when I needed them.”
“ Yes, Bertie and I always had each other, and Father and our grandparents.”
Liam looked at them. Both of them were sincere, he was pretty sure. Could he move in with them?
Could he afford to say no? Stuart was right – if he left, he might not have a job. And he certainly didn’t have enough money to buy a house, or to live elsewhere for long. Not without a job.
When it came down to it, he didn’t really have any other options. And he did like Elle and Stuart.
“ All right,” he said, “I’ll move in. but I’m paying rent.”
“ You don’t have–”
“ I do. You’re looking to start a family, right? Money is necessary. And I have to do it for me. It’s one thing to live with your parents without paying rent. Or your spouse. But not with friends.” Stuart was nodding in agreement and Elle seemed to be wavering. “I’m paying rent or I’m not moving in.”
Eloise had spent most of her weekly coffee date with her daughters talking about her son. Buffy and Cordy were still angry about the things Liam had said, but she wasn’t. She had never truly understood just how much Liam had been scarred by his childhood, and now that she knew, she couldn’t blame him for his bitterness.
She waddled up the stairs and into the dining room. She’d forgotten just how much energy pregnancy took. As she sat down, she noticed that there was something on table.
It was an envelope with the words “Mom and Dad” on the front.
Suddenly, she had a very bad feeling about this. She opened the envelope and took out the note anyway.
Rose sat down at her computer, looking at a list of all the women who currently lived on The Hellmouth.
“ No,” she muttered, as she ran down the list of names. “No, no, no.”
There didn’t seem to be anyone at all suitable for Liam, or if there was, she wasn’t seeing them. The women on her list were teens and children (way squicky), elders (Liam wanted kids), already married (hell no), or had slept with…someone in the family, whether that was Willow, Will, Lorne, Lilah, Faith, Connor, Robin, Ben…
Some of them had slept with more than one.
She could imagine that. “Oh, sure I’ll date you – I’m already dating half your relatives!” Liam would not take that well.
“ Alright,” she said. “Time to find him someone from elsewhere. Someone who can handle him being a crazy broody ball of angst.”
She put her head in her hands. “And I have to leave the final choice up to him! I can’t force him to fall in love, and I can’t force the girl, either.”
Something about that rung a bell in her mind. Leave the choice up to him…
Yes! That would work!
She opened up her email and swiftly began typing, sending out a few messages to a few of her friends – she would need to see what sort of responses she might be able to get, but she hoped this would work. If it didn’t, she wasn’t sure what to do.
Living with Elle and Stuart went even better than Liam expected it to. He never entered their bedroom or bathroom, and they never entered his, but the rest of the house was shared by them all. And, after the first night, Elle stopped arguing about him paying rent.
They did many of the same things in the evenings as Liam had done while living with his parents, but there was less awkwardness.
And they always ended the night with a cup of tea.
Liam did feel lonely when Elle and Stuart went to bed together, while he went to bed alone. But he had other things to occupy himself. He’d finally gotten a job at a law firm, and he was busy studying to do well at that.
In addition to improving his mind, he worked at improving his body. The gyroscope was rather fun, once he got used to it.
One day, after he’d been living there for a few weeks, Elle and Liam both had a day off, so they sat together for a late breakfast. Their conversation got interrupted, however, when Elle suddenly turned green and ran into the bathroom.
“ Elle?” Liam heard the sound of someone vomiting, so he put down his fork and followed her into the bathroom. He found her leaning over the toilet, throwing up what little she’d had for breakfast.
He pulled her hair out of the way – a piece was almost falling into her face – while she finished vomiting. Then he wet a towel and handed it to her to wipe her face. “Are you sick?” he asked.
“ Maybe,” she said as she sat back against the wall. Liam reached over and flushed the toilet. “I think I might be pregnant.”
She beamed again. “I’ll have to tell Stuart when he gets home.” She reached a hand up and Liam helped her stand. “Can you deal with breakfast? I don’t think I can eat right now. And I don’t really want to be near food, either.”
“ Of course. Do you want me to make you tea or anything?”
“ No, I think I’m just going to lie down for a bit.” She did, however, wash out her mouth before leaving the bathroom.
While Elle lounged in the living room, Liam finished his omelet and did the dishes. He was almost done when the doorbell rang. “I’ll be there in a minute!” he yelled.
“ Don’t worry,” Elle said, pausing by the dining room door and poking her head in, “I’ve got it.”
“ I needed that,” Liam said frankly. “So why are you here, Xander?”
“ I wanted to see you. There was a family reunion this weekend, and I missed you. Grandma said she’d emailed you but you didn’t respond.”
Liam nodded. “I got her email. I didn’t want to deal with the awkwardness.”
“ It wasn’t awkward!”
“ Did anyone actually miss me?”
“ I did.” Liam shot him a look . “Grandma did.” Another look. Xander sighed. “I think Grandpa might have but I couldn’t tell. Don’t forget, though – Willow and Anya were toddlers when you died, and no one else was born. They wouldn’t know to miss you.”
“ Hello? Ris? What happened? She is? Okay, I’ll meet you there soon. Where is she – at their home? Yeah, I can get there, don’t worry. Love you too.” He turned off his phone and turned to Liam. “Grandma’s having the baby. Do you want to come to her house with me?”
Liam shook his head. “I don’t think so, Xander. I don’t – I’m not ready.”
“ You sure?”
“ Yeah.” “ Come visit soon?” “ Yeah, sure.” Xander nodded. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” “ Okay.” Xander then turned and headed for his car. Elle and Liam watched him go.
Elle turned back to Liam. He was still staring out at the road, even though Xander had disappeared. She decided not to interrupt his thoughts.
Liam wasn’t sure what to think. He was ultimately glad that Xander had found him, though he wasn’t sure what he would do if anyone else did.
He’d stopped feeling angry when he thought about Buffy and Martin. Instead, he felt sad and guilty. Yes, they were wrong to do what they’d done. But that didn’t mean he’d been right to constantly harangue them about it either.
Had he broken what was left of their friendships? Could they be repaired?
He didn’t know, and he was too scared to try to find out.
As Elle finished a chapter and moved on to the next, she heard a strange whooshing noise. She looked up just in time to see Liam disappear from inside the gyroscope. “Liam? Liam!” She dropped her book on the floor and ran to the gyroscope. “Oh no…” She got out her phone and considered who to call. The police? Stuart? Someone in Liam’s family?
When Stuart got home that night, he was overjoyed to hear about his wife’s pregnancy, and ecstatic when she popped.
Between Stuart’s fussing and Liam’s constant questions, Elle was almost ready to slap them both and lock herself in the bathroom. Finally she pled exhaustion and retired to the bedroom – and actually fell asleep very quickly.
“ Soon.” Liam heard a dial tone as Xander hung up. He looked at the phone, then his stomach, then changed into the only clothing he could find that fit. Then he left his room and headed down to the living room, where Elle and Stuart were watching a movie. “So,” he said, drawing their attention and widening eyes, “apparently, men who have been abducted by aliens can get abducted again and pregnant from using a gyroscope or dance sphere or whatever it’s called.”
Xander brought Lorne and his daughters over the very next day. Liam was a bit stunned by how forward both of the twins were, and they definitely shocked Stuart and Elle, but all in all, they had a good time.
Liam stumbled down the stairs to the nursery to find a light already on. Elle held her child in one arm and leaned over the other crib. "Do you need a hand with that?“
"Oh yes." “Stuart–" "He has work early and needs his sleep. So do you, for that matter.“
Liam shrugged. "I'd rather be here, even if it means I need extra coffee today." He reached into the crib and picked his daughter up. Her cries lessened at his touch, though she still whimpered. Clearly, she was hungry.
As he headed over to the fridge, Elle stopped him. "Why don't you sit with both of them while I make bottles? It's much easier with two hands." "Good idea." She passed him her child, and he headed to the rocking chair, humming an old lullaby under his breath. As he sat there, waiting for milk, cradling two children - one his own and one not, but both his in love - he smiled. "Everything is going to be just fine," he murmured to them. And for the first time in his life, he really, truly meant it.
After a long look to make sure that Liam was handling the toddler well (which he was – he had plenty of experience with his nephew and nieces), Joss headed over to Eloise and Kathy and waved at his granddaughter.
Eloise smiled. “We have another grandchild.”
“ Another?” Liam asked.
“ In addition to the six grown ones we already had. Cordy is pregnant again, but she hasn’t had the baby yet,” Joss said absently, as he cooed at Kathy.
Just then, Allen yawned. “I think this one needs a nap,” Liam said.
Eloise gestured. “The nursery is that way. I’ll put Kathy in there for now as well, and then we can talk?”
“ Of course.”
As Eloise and Liam headed for the nursery, Joss scooped up Justine, making sure to grab her blocks as well, and followed them to the nursery. It would be best if none of the children witnessed this conversation.
Once the children were in the nursery, the three of them sat down in the living room, and Liam finished his apology to his parents. They apologized to him, as well.
The conversation was stilted, and the forgiveness a bit forced, but by the end of the afternoon, all of them were far more comfortable with each other, and all had been, if not forgotten, at least no longer the elephant in the room.
She cut him off. “No, no, it’s my fault. I’m sorry I couldn’t make things better for you, and I’m sorry I didn’t realize just how bad the issues were. I want to help you, Liam, and I had an idea, but…”
“ But you have a child now, right?”
He’d learned a long time ago never to ask just how Rose knew anything. “Yes. Kathy.”
“ No, but you are . I need to – I already apologized to Xander and Mom and Dad and Rose – that got weird, too, and she apologized back, I guess she blames herself as well. I don’t know the rest of the family, I mean I vaguely know Willow and Anya, but I never did anything to them that needs an apology. At least I don’t think I did. But that just leaves you and Martin. And Buffy. But I want to make things right. I do. So here I am.”
Liam looked down, unwilling to see the accusing glare on his sister’s face. “I came over to apologize. To say I’m sorry. I have treated you horribly, Buffy.”
“ Yes. You have.”
“ It took me a long time to admit to it, though I think I realized it all along, but I am truly sorry. For judging you, for treating you like dirt, for saying absolutely horrible things to you. For everything I did to you. I don’t expect anything from you, but I had to say it. I’m sorry.”
He sighed and finally looked at her. “I fell in love with her the instant I saw her. Being a parent has taught me so much about responsibility – I took care of Xander, and Willow and Anya, but it wasn’t the same, you know? But Kathy is mine, and, well, I can’t begrudge you that same happiness with your kids, Buffy.”
She smiled sadly. “I’m glad you realize that.”
“ And the responsibility! I don’t have the Apocalypse hanging over my head. You did.”
She looked at him for a long minute, holding his gaze, though he wanted to look away. Eventually she nodded. “Alright. I accept your apology. But learn from your mistakes, Liam. Don’t treat Justine and Allen the way you’ve treated me. And don’t upset Cordy again.”
“ She warned me not to upset you .”
Buffy smiled. “My ever protective twin.”
“ I used to be jealous of you two, you know. You were always so close, and I was so much younger. But then Cordy died and everything got fucked up.”
They sat in silence for a while, finally relaxing in each other’s company for the first time in more years than either of them could count.
“ You’ve changed too,” Liam said eventually. “I didn’t expect anything, not after what I said to you last time we…spoke.”
“ Things have changed a lot. You have to understand, Liam, me and Martin…it was desperation. It wasn’t what either of us wanted.”
“ I know that now.”
“ Yeah. But the guilt ate at me just as much as you, and Cordy and Martin and I had a frank talk after what you said the last time. And with her forgiveness, and learning to forgive myself, I could finally move on.”
“ I’m dating the Contessa – Contessa Veronica Evans. I liked her, back when I was alive the first time, but then Cordy died and nothing could happen no matter what I might have wanted. She hasn’t moved in yet, but I think she’s considering it.”
“ Thanks. And besides, that’s not even the best thing.”
Cordy headed back into the house, and what were apparently Buffy’s “babies” came outside.
“ Liam,” she said, “I’d like you to meet Mr. Pointy and Mr. Gordo.” She gestured first to the cat, then to the dog.
He grinned. “They suit you.” Mr. Pointy sniffed at him and Mr. Gordo came over to lick his face. Liam stood up. “But they don’t really suit me, and besides, I have an infant waiting at home for me. I’d best be getting back there.”
Buffy looked up at him. “Will we be seeing you at the big family reunion party tomorrow? I know Mom probably sent you an invitation.”
The party continued into the evening, with the Contessa showing up (as Buffy’s date) as soon as dark fell, flying in in bat form.
She didn’t get to talk to Buffy immediately, however; she was cornered instead by some of the children and teens asking her if she always flew, if she enjoyed being a vampire, and, in Eve and Maggie’s case, if she was the one who had turned their mother.
One reason for the slowness with everything is that this is my first real foray into writing imports. I’ve written a couple of scenes with Marina involving Liam and Elle before, but usually she wrote Elle while I wrote Liam.
However, I brought Elle over for one reason: Liam needs friends. He was friends with a couple of townies, but I never really showed it in story, so inventing a friendship there would’ve involved, well, inventing. Elle could help due to some of the similar situations.
Stuart also came over for one reason: if Elle came in already married, Liam wouldn’t be interested in her. Well, he might have some attraction at first, but once he found out she was married, he immediately placed her in a box labeled “taken” in his mind, and, as Liam is very against breaking up marriages (witness his reaction to everything with his siblings), he wouldn’t do anything, even if he felt anything – and finding out so early squashed any possible feelings before Liam even really had them.
Also, they’re cute. :D
(Elle Fitzhugh is from A Villainous Apocalypse by Marina, Stuart Legacy is from A Victorian Legacy by Di.)
So! Onto kidlets! (Just discussing the ones you haven’t seen until now – others have appeared in picspams due to not being important.)
Joss and Eloise were supposed to give me one child (yes, that was planned), and I originally wrote the scene that way (gender neutral, but for one kid)…and then they threw me twins. Yes, this is my game.
Justine Cooper Whedon is 10/3/10/0/8 and a Virgo. Her twin Allen Francis Doyle Whedon is 10/8/9/0/5 and a Scorpio. He is also the first of Joss and Eloise’s five kids to actually show up with Eloise’s green eyes.
Kathy Whedon, Liam’s alien daughter (named after Angel’s sister in the show – not a character who ever appeared, but it made sense to me as a name choice) is 4/7/4/10/10 and a Libra. Yes, Liam had a kid with 10 playful points. Clearly that’s the alien genes.
And, finally there is Caleb Legacy-Fitzhugh, who is 8/9/9/3/1 and an Aries (no, I don’t know where the 1 nice point came from with those parents). For Caleb, I stared at the name box for a good five minutes with no clue what name to pick. Everyone else got named from a list, so they were easy, but I had no idea what to name Caleb. Then I decided I should try and find a villain who had a Victorian-appropriate name (yay theme combining) and then I realized there was a Buffyverse villain who fit! So he is Caleb.
And now that the pregnancies are done (yes, Liam’s was planned, but it wasn’t actually cheaty – I shoved him in the dance sphere on purpose after his teenhood abduction) and Liam has made up with his family, it is time to move onto his actual bachelor challenge.