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before | after

Title: Buffy’s Guide to Semi-Successful Poly Relationships (in the Past)
Author: pprfaith
Prompt/er: xgirl2222, X-M:FC/Buffy, Charles/Buffy/Erik, Buffy rather like Harry Potter has a saving people thing. Charles and Eric definitely need saving. For themselves, the good of mutant kind, and quite possibly the world. The fact said saving is totally going to benefit her, and probably involve more threesome naked hijinks is just a happy coincidence. No really. Basically, I'd like the sequel to Buffy's Guide to Surving in 1962.
Words: 3.7k
Warnings: Polyamory, panic-y angsting and… Buffy?
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the recognizable characters or settings. A/N: So. This happened. Let’s just move on, mkay?



Buffy’s Guide to Semi-Successful Poly Relationships (In the Past)


Okay, so?

Saving the world is a whole lot easier when there’s a big ugly monster with an X that says stab here to save world.

Like the Judge. The Judge was easy. Blow him up, mop up the mess, move on with life. Or Adam. Rip out his heart (more literally than Buffy likes to remember, thank you) and everything is cake and sunshine. And First Slayer nightmares, but, whatever. Having your cake and eating it are two different things.

Glory was easy, too, once they had her figured out.

But this? This is hard.

Either that, or Buffy’s problem solving skills are restricted to hitting things really hard, which is incredibly demoralizing. Seriously.

Saving the world is old hat. Why is she giving herself a migraine over this?

Oh, right.

Because this time it’s not monsters screwing the pooch but two men that she happens to be sleeping with. Two men who both act with the best of intentions. Intentions that are going to set off a sixty-year-long guerilla war between mutants and humans and mutants and mutants.

How many lives?

How many useless, senseless losses?

How many dead children?

And it’s all going to be on Charles and Erik, on their stubbornness and their pride and their love for each other and Buffy doesn’t know how to fix it, how to make them see before everything goes to hell.

So she’s been sitting here for the past four days, scribbling out plan after plan, variation after variation, before inevitably balling it up and throwing it against the nearest wall. She always gets up and collects them, always burns them until there’s no trace of them left.

And then she starts over.

And over.

And over.

And her limited knowledge of what actually happens to split up Erik and Charles forever isn’t helping.

So she starts over.

And over.

And over.

Because somewhere in the facts and the people, somewhere in the neat lines of history books, there has to be a way where no-one dies. A way where the boys stick together, united instead of divided. Stronger.

She just can’t figure out how.

If she keeps Erik away from Cuba, there’ll be a new World War.

If she keeps Charles away from Cuba, Erik will blow up all those ships.

If she kills the bad guy, Erik will probably still go off the deep end.

If she doesn’t let Erik kill the bad guy, he’ll get away and it’ll start over.

If she makes Charles kill the bad guy, Erik will definitely go off the deep end.

If she keeps everyone away from Cuba, the world will end in a nuclear holocaust.

If she tells Erik that he’s going to ruin everything, he’ll go off the deep end.

If she tells Charles that he’ll ruin everything, he’ll try to fix it and make it worse.

If she tells both of them, they’ll accuse each other and everyone will die.

If she pulls someone else into her plans, the margin for error is too big and everyone dies.

If she goes after the bad guy alone, she dies and then everyone else follows.

If she goes after the bad guy’s henchmen, the fight on Cuba might end faster, but Erik will still fall into a murderous rage and Charles will still say all the things Erik doesn’t want to hear.

If she keeps the boys away from Cuba, everyone dies.

If she takes only the boys and no-one else to Cuba, everyone dies.

If she keeps Moira away from Cuba, Erik goes off the deep end and everyone dies.

With a scream of frustration, Buffy throws her pencil away from her, swipes an arm across the desk, clears it all off. She wants to hit something. More than that, she wants to cry.

There has to be a way to keep Charles and Erik from ripping themselves apart. There has to be a version of this where they stick together. A version where she gets to have her cake and eat it too, at least for a little while, until gay marriage goes through, or something, and they can ride into the sunset together and she can go her own way.

Who’re you kidding, Buff? She’s been sleeping with them for three months now and it’s long since stopped being a booty call.

Until she holed herself up in her room to save the world with pen and paper, she’d never even slept in the bed across the room. She tried, occasionally, but one of the boys, usually Erik, would inevitably come by to collect her and they’d go and have flexible, beautiful, funny, amazing sex and then fall asleep in a dog pile. And in the morning the boys would go back to saving the world and Buffy would go back to teaching the kids hand to hand, or mulling over all the ways those two could hurt each other.

She pushes angrily away from the desk and paces the room a few times.

She’s tired. She’s exhausted. She’s drained. She’s all the synonyms she never learned in Advanced English and she hates how useless she is, how helpless. She hates how time is running out way too fast and she can’t fix it. There’s no portal for her to jump into, no bad guy for her to kill, nothing to sacrifice.

Charles and Erik and how stupidly in love they are is what it comes down to. How stupidly in love they are and how badly they can hurt each other. Charles thinks he understands Erik because he saw his memories, but Buffy knows seeing and living are never the same thing.

Erik thinks he knows better because he has the scars to prove it, but he’s wrong, too.

She sits with them, sometimes, when they play chess in the evenings, discussing the future of mutantkind, and she sees, every damn time, how they completely talk past each other. They’re having two different conversations and it’s… it’s like having two magnets that repel each other, and trying to push them together. You can be Super Woman and still not manage it because there’s something in their very nature that keeps them apart. Polarity, whatever.

And it hurts, trying to shove them together, because there’s this thing. All it would take to get them to fit together perfectly would be for one of them to change a little. Flip the magnet over and they’ll stick like glue.

But neither of them will change simply on her say so.

So here she is, trying to fit together pieces that don’t go together, watching them race towards doomsday, and whatever other metaphors she can’t think of right now.

With a bitter sigh, she slumps on the bed, flat on her back, arms spread on either side.

It’s possible, just a tiny little bit, that she maybe cries a little bit but there’s no-one around to see it, so it’s fine.


The door opens quietly when she’s just about frustrated herself to sleep.

She rolls over onto her stomach, waves a hand vaguely in the direction of Erik’s quiet footfalls and grumbles into the bedspread, “’M shitty company tonight. Go’way.”

Erik, being Erik, and thus never listening to anything anyone tells him, doesn’t go. Buffy is not grateful. Really.

The bed dips on her right and she has to strain not to roll into him. He notices of course, and bounces. Asshole. She flops into his side helplessly and glares up at him, balefully. “I said go away. I’m no fun tonight.”

He flashes all his two hundred and thirty-two teeth at her and wraps a few strands of her hair around his long, elegant fingers. They’re stupidly sexy fingers and he knows what they do to her.

“That is no reason to hide away here.”

“Sure is,” she retorts, trying to roll back onto her stomach to hide her red eyes. Fish eyes are not sexy. Unless you’re a fish, possibly.

Buffy is no fish. And neither are the boys, to the best of her knowledge.

…She might be going a bit nuts. Let’s blame it on sleep deprivation.

“Don’t want to drag you boys down with me.”

That earns her a snort. You don’t expect it, from the way he looks down his nose at everyone, but Erik is a world-class snorter.

“Charles could feel your foul mood all the way across the mansion. Hiding is useless.”

This time she simply tugs on her hair until he lets go, rolls over and buries her face in her hands. “S’ry.”

“Yes,” he agrees and she bites her lip and doesn’t tell him that prim and proper Charles has been rubbing off on him.

Boys rubbing off on each other.


“Did you want to tell us what’s wrong?”

She shrugs and, since that’s not going to get rid of Erik, adds with her face still buried in her hands, “Ev’rythin’?”

“A few more details might help,” he observes and god, he probably thinks he’s being so slick.

Being the grown-up, mature adult that she is, Buffy ignores him. He sighs and buries his hand back in her hair, massaging lightly. Dirty trick.

She turns her head into it a little and mutters, “I want to kill something. After I beat it up. A lot.”

He chuckles. Glad someone’s happy, Buffy thinks. “I know the feeling. It usually strikes after Charles tells me everything will end well if we only have faith.”

And that’s the exact, damn point, isn’t it?

“I can’t figure out how to keep both of you alive and the world in one piece.”

Erik is suspiciously silent.

“I mean, I’m pretty sure I know how it needs to go down, what needs to happen and what can’t, but it’s not like I can just draw you a picture and tell you, ‘this is how we do it’, and I can’t… I don’t know how to make it happen. You and Charles you’re, like, stupidly smitten with each other even if you won’t admit it, and things are still going to go so wrong and I don’t know how to fix it.”

Erik stays silent. Well, mostly. After a minute or so he starts making this low, little humming sounds that happens when he talks to Charles. It’s weird, because it’s barely audible and Erik has no tells, but he hums quietly when he makes with the mindphone with Charles.

She closes her eyes.



The hand on her head turns rough as he pulls her upward by her hair, refusing to let her hide. She glares at him, furious at being manhandled, but before she can bust his balls, he repeats, sharper, “Why?”

She yanks her head back, rolls away from him and ends up standing at the foot of the bed, half falling into a fighting stance on instinct alone. “Why what?”

“Why can’t you just tell us what you need us to do?”

She sputters. It’s totally undignified and she’s not proud of it, but she sputters like a teenage boy that just got caught with a porn rag, because, because, because –

“Because you love each other. You’re like, when I was growing up and I imagined the perfect relationship I was going to have one day, I imagined the two of you, okay? I mean, with less dick, obviously, but the thing where you just sit next to each other for hours and never get bored and how you get that creepy little stalker smile when Charles does adorkable things and how you fight all the time but still automatically head for the same bed at night, okay? That’s… I know you don’t do mushy stuff, but you’re perfect in a very twisted, damaged and slightly screwed-up way and it works for you, which is awesome.”

She takes a deep breath and tries not to look at Erik because she knows he’s going to look about as expressive as a stone wall and she can’t see that right now because she’s rambling and she needs to ramble because if she doesn’t say all this she’ll explode and everyone will die and she wants to hit something, or kill something, or aim a rocket launcher at something, anything except for this emotional rollercoaster of all the things she could do wrong and she hates, hates, hates this, god, she does.

“And then here I am and I’m trying to figure out how to fix everything without telling you that you’re going to fuck up so badly that the world is still going to reel from it fifty years from now, because that’s what’s going to happen. Chalres is going to screw up and you are going to screw up and I would tell you if I could, but I’ve seen enough scifi movies to know that that’s not how it works because you’re perfect and why would you believe me if I told you some fantastical tale about how you’re going to try and blow up half the world and Charles is going to say the exact wrong thing and then there’ll be bullets and accusations and everything is going to go down the drain and why would you believe me, huh? I’ll tell you and you’ll tell me I’m nuts and send me away and then what? I can’t fix this. I tried! And I can’t. Everything I do, everything I don’t do, I can’t fix you!

She screams and stomps her foot because she needs to hurt something and this time she really is crying and Erik is still sitting there and he’s watching her and she mentally replays everything she just vomited at his feet and realizes that she already did tell him and, and, and.

She does the only sensible thing.

She runs. With a choked off, sad little sound, like the hurt bird Dawn brought home when she was eight, Buffy turns and runs.

She makes it all the way to the door before she crashes into something warm and squishy and Charles wraps his arm around her to steady them both and says, Oh, dear.

And she wants to scream at him and hit him and save him and be back in her year, her time, her place in the world, her little corner of the universe where she is the slayer and not a woman, where she kills things instead of falling in love, where mutants are useful allies and nothing more. Where she knows who she is and what her job is and what she’s going to die for.


Slayer means kill.

Slayer means alone.

Bed of bones and no trees in the desert, slayer means never having to have your heart break over two boys who love each other and will hurt each other so badly.

“But that’s not who you are,” Charles whispers in her ear and she snarls at him for reading her thoughts because they are hers and they are all she has left since she got kicked back in time and they showed up to pull her apart, piece by piece until all that was left of her was this sobbing, helpless mess.

She isn’t that girl. She hasn’t been that girl since her first lover held a sword to her neck and told her there was nothing left.

She hates herself for becoming that girl again.

And then Erik’s there, warm at her back, arms around her shoulders and neck, holding her loosely. He always goes for the potential kill moves, necks and naked veins, but she never minds because that’s how he makes sure they’re safe.

And since when does Buffy Anne Summers need someone to make her feel safe?

“You’re just stressed,” Charles goes on. “Stressed and lost. You’re not weak, Buffy. The farthest thing from it.”

She snorts. True facts. Not.

“But you do not have to carry the weight of the world.”

“One girl in all the world,” she grumbles back, thinking she should try to get away because she still said all those things – oh god – but she isn’t moving.

“Not anymore. This isn’t your fight. It’s ours. It’s our responsibility.”

She goes to tell him no when he talks right over her. “I have seen it, in your mind. What we do. What we must do.”

“You were spying on me! You promised to stay out!” Because the last thing she needed was the telepath up in her brain, picking up all she was trying to hide from him.

He shrugs, unapologetic as always. Jerk. “You did not come to bed,” he defends, which, what?

“Not really up for a romp in the sheets,” she snaps, petulantly, because, seriously, that’s his excuse? No sex, so he goes and spies on her?

Erik’s arms tighten around her neck, but it’s Charles who talks because Erik always let’s Charles talk.

“You sleep with us,” he says.

She rolls her eyes, finally looking him in the eye. Well, duh.

“Buffy,” he scolds. Does she look like a five-year-old? “You sleep with us. We were worried when you didn’t come to bed and kept the door locked. We were afraid – “

Erik makes an indignant noise. Charles rolls his eyes. “Alright, I was afraid you were leaving us.”

She blinks. “Where else would I go? I think I got fired from every waitressing job between here and Lousiana.”

Erik laughs into her hair, tightens his arms a little more until she either has to step into his space or not breathe anymore. She goes.

“She doesn’t get it,” he drawls, all slow and sweet, the way he really isn’t.

Maybe an elbow to the gut would teach him not to poke fun at unstable women with superpowers, Buffy thinks, but Charles taps her upper arm in quiet warning. Damn mindreader.

And, hey, that’s anger. It feels a lot more familiar than this flailing helplessness. It also feels kind of sudden, so she risks a glare at Charles, who blushes obligingly. They’re being annoying on purpose.

But then Erik suddenly heaves a put upon sigh and loosens his hold to grab her by the shoulders and turn her around. He tucks his neck in so they’re almost at eye level and bares his teeth briefly for something or other.

Then he says, “You are part of this…. ‘perfect’ thing you claim to see between Charles and I. There are three of us in this, not two. And we would listen, if you would only tell us what you know.”

“But you wouldn’t-“

She gets cut off ruthlessly. “We would listen to you.”

“We argue less since you are here,” Charles pipes up from the peanut gallery. “Before you came, we fought the same way we fight now, but we did not go to sleep together afterwards. And you sit with us, too, most evenings, reading while we play chess. Buffy, you are part of this.”

Please, believe that, if nothing else. You are one third of this relationship. We do not sleep well without you, even if Erik will deny it. And we do not like to see you like this, shut away from us, torturing yourself with possibilities. I have seen what’s in your mind, the scenarios you have painted and it… pains me, to admit that they all seem plausible. We are rash, Erik and I, and too stubborn.

Out loud he finishes with, “You balance us. So please, tell us what we need to do.”

And to top it all off, he sends her a mental image of two magnets with opposite polarity, bouncing off each other. He inserts a nice little cube of metal into the image and bam, magnets adhere to cube instead of glancing off each other.

Neat-o. She’s the cube in this metaphor, isn’t she?

I can feel your smug smile back there, she tells him and then sort of stops, because, well. She’s the cube in this metaphor, isn’t she?

He slings his arms back around her waist, leaving her neck for Erik to latch onto, hand going to her nape and squeezing a little and she realizes that this is sort of their thing. Erik playing with her hair and neck, Charles holding on to her waist. They do it when they stand like this, when they’re kissing, when they’re sleeping, or even, god forbid, snuggling.

It’s a thing like Erik humming when he has Charles in his head and Charles automatically quirking that skewed little smile when he catches Erik’s gaze across a room.

A thing. Their thing.

This is… a thing.


“You mean?”

“Yes,” Erik sighs forcefully. “Herrgott, you are more stubborn than even Charles.”

“Don’t swear at me in German,” she snipes. Knee jerk reaction to hide how Erik speaking German turns her on. Behind her, Charles snickers.

She shakes them both off to make her way back to the bed and sit at the edge. Okay. So they’re a thing. A relationship thing. And she’s apparently not had a relationship in so long that she doesn’t even recognize one anymore when she’s in the middle of it. Not that this is conventional, what with there being three of them and illegal acts happening in the bedroom at all hours, but.

She guesses a hot threesome relationship is slightly less awkward to mention over dinner than hot threesome fuck-buddy-ship. So.

They’re in a relationship.

An equal one.

And if – when – she tells them about Cuba, they’re going to listen. Because they’re in this together, all three of them. They’ll listen because it’ll be her doing the talking. That’s…. good.

Not like it was in the history books, which means she’s potentially blowing up the universe anyway by changing the past, but whatever.

Save the world by telling your two mutant boyfriends what not to do when trying to avert nuclear war.

It’s not a clearly labeled X, but she guesses it’ll do.

She grins. Charles beams back at her. Erik groans, pretending to hate the mushiness of the whole thing, when really, he’s just as smitten as they are. Both of them. All of them.

Three of them.

Yeah, she figures. It’ll do.




( 7 have spoken — speak )
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
=) =) =) I always love fixits, and ones made by adding Buffy to the equation even more.

Fave bit in this:
> And to top it all off, he sends her a mental image of two magnets with opposite polarity, bouncing off each other. He inserts a nice little cube of metal into the image and bam, magnets adhere to cube instead of glancing off each other.
Dec. 3rd, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
Ha! I added that exact line while spell-checking it earlier. Before that, I sort of dropped the magnet metaphor never to be seen again.

Glad you liked it. :)
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
Hugs it tight and declares it precious. And you remain ever fabulous
Dec. 4th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Very much. I try. :)
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
This. *points upward* This is awesome sauce and it's like you have this magical power to know when I've had a shit day and you post something that makes me smile.

A wonderful addition to this 'verse and I highly enjoyed the magnet metaphor that comes full circle.
Dec. 4th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Aw. Guess who just had a shit day, too, and came home to your lovely comment?

Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 3rd, 2013 11:27 am (UTC)

Thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed it!
( 7 have spoken — speak )

this girl

too many words

the past

December 2015


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