Summary: When Dawn’s future at Revello Drive is in jeopardy, Buffy goes looking for a way to convince social services that all is well in the state of Summers. Cue a new truce with Spike in which our heroes learn how to love, live, and parent together while staying one step ahead of Dawnie, the Scoobies, and the government. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a ring involved.
 
Or, the Season Six Fake-Dating Fix-It that nobody asked for…
 
Entry for EF Truce 2023 Anniversary Event; AU Post Season 6x08, Tabula Rasa; Title from “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch.
Beta and Sensitivity Readers: cd85
Artists: cd85
Categories: Season 6, Episode Rewrite
Characters: Buffy, Spike, Willow, Xander, Anya, Clem, Dawn, Tara
Genres: Dramedy, Fix-It, Fluffy/Comedy, HEA/HFN, Humor, Queer Themes, Romance, Slow-Burn
Warnings: Abuse, Adult Language, Depictions of Bigotry, Mental Health Issues, Sexual Situations
Event: Truce Challenge 2023
Completed: Yes Chapters: 30
Word count: 70,755 Hit Count: 42,148 ePub Downloads: 372
Published: October 01, 2023 Updated: April 19, 2024


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Story Notes: First of all, many thanks to cd85 for cheerleading this fic in development! I asked for a banner (which came out amazing in every way, my god), but I also pretty quickly roped her into betaing the first seven chapters, which led to some significant improvements plot-wise, so thank you so much! Also, congrats on Commenter of the Month! So well deserved!
 
I also can’t start this story without a shout out to Blackmysteria, who wrote me a lovely Secret Santa gift last year called All Good Things Take Time based on a previous version of this idea. Check it out, it rocks!
 
So, why am I circling back to write my own version of this concept? I guess the quick answer is that this idea still hasn’t left me alone. I've been kicking around some version of it for years, but something about the idea of a truce finally gave me a pathway to writing it. I’ve always found Season 6 to be incredibly challenging, and I’ve avoided watching large parts of it and writing about it, but my desire for a family feels fix-it set in this season has dominated many fic searches. There are some great ones out there! I’m just still stuck on this particular version, which probably means I need to write it, even though it scares me, and I feel really out of my depth. I’ve always thought writing Season 6 Spuffy was beyond me, but Drabblemania challenged me to go there (and everywhere else), and I liked the challenge. So, this story is something of a stretch for me, but that's why I've been loving EF events this year—it's been really good for my writing muscles.
 
CW/Mental health disclaimer: Love of any kind is beautiful and wonderful and also no replacement for professional help in real life. This story, like Season 6, begins with Buffy and Dawn struggling, and the things that change that for them here mostly work because it's fiction, which can be healing, transformative, and maybe even transcendent, but not necessarily a healthy prescription for, like, life. Your mileage may vary, etc.
 
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

1. Chapter 1 by fortes775 - Likes: 70 Comments: 33 Word Count: 1,789 Hit Count: 5,220 Published: October 01, 2023

In which Buffy makes a plan…

2. Chapter 2 by fortes775 - Likes: 62 Comments: 27 Word Count: 2,107 Hit Count: 1,533 Published: October 06, 2023

In which Dawn throws a wrench in the plan…

3. Chapter 3 by fortes775 - Likes: 58 Comments: 21 Word Count: 2,341 Hit Count: 1,642 Published: October 13, 2023

In which Spike gets his Mary Poppins on…

4. Chapter 4 by fortes775 - Likes: 59 Comments: 25 Word Count: 2,780 Hit Count: 1,569 Published: October 20, 2023

In which there is one bed, one parenting crisis, and one job acquired...

5. Chapter 5 by fortes775 - Likes: 65 Comments: 24 Word Count: 2,470 Hit Count: 1,482 Published: October 27, 2023

In which Doris enters stage left, carrying what passes for plot around here with her…

6. Chapter 6 by fortes775 - Likes: 64 Comments: 22 Word Count: 1,997 Hit Count: 1,502 Published: November 03, 2023

In which Tara returns...

7. Chapter 7 by fortes775 - Likes: 63 Comments: 23 Word Count: 2,393 Hit Count: 1,532 Published: November 10, 2023

In which many Thanksgiving plans gang aft agley

8. Chapter 8 by fortes775 - Likes: 61 Comments: 25 Word Count: 2,459 Hit Count: 1,467 Published: November 17, 2023

In which Thanksgiving is served piping hot…

9. Chapter 9 by fortes775 - Likes: 61 Comments: 23 Word Count: 2,175 Hit Count: 1,553 Published: November 24, 2023

In which Thanksgiving continues to be spicy…

CW: Tara speaks about the recent abusive elements of her relationship with Willow and mentions her personal experience with homophobia. This occurs in the fifth paragraph and can be skipped if desired.

10. Chapter 10 by fortes775 - Likes: 58 Comments: 21 Word Count: 1,492 Hit Count: 1,405 Published: December 01, 2023

In which Buffy has a Gold Star Day…

CW: This chapter features an acute episode of Buffy’s depression. It also has a sweet, semi-fluffy ending that I hope feels healing for everyone, but it is also possible and valid to skip this chapter entirely and enjoy the rest of this story. This chapter is also a little short, because—in my experience—sometimes mental health is about the little moments, rather than the big ones.

Also: If you are skipping this chapter or looking for a palate cleanser for afters, may I suggest my Secret Santa gift for Julikobold, In the Bleak Midwinter…

11. Chapter 11 by fortes775 - Likes: 58 Comments: 20 Word Count: 1,989 Hit Count: 1,406 Published: December 08, 2023

In which Buffy gets a haircut…

CW: Buffy visits Doris and learns more about the other types of cases a social worker might encounter. There is nothing explicit, but the severity of potential harm is alluded to.

12. Chapter 12 by fortes775 - Likes: 55 Comments: 24 Word Count: 2,931 Hit Count: 1,356 Published: December 15, 2023

In which Spike does a damn good job...

13. Chapter 13 by fortes775 - Likes: 63 Comments: 22 Word Count: 2,099 Hit Count: 1,423 Published: December 22, 2023

In which Xander investigates, and Christmas kicks off at the Summers' house…

14. Chapter 14 by fortes775 - Likes: 54 Comments: 21 Word Count: 2,469 Hit Count: 1,249 Published: December 29, 2023

In which Dawn has a Gold Star Day…

CW: This chapter deals with kleptomania. I am unclear on whether this condition was recognized for Dawn on the show, but in this fic, this is my reading of the situation. I am not an expert on this condition by any means, your mileage may vary, etc.

Context for those who skipped Chapter 10: A Gold Star Day is when you need a few gold stars to celebrate and honor the small acts of courage that it takes to take a step forward with your mental health.

15. Chapter 15 by fortes775 - Likes: 61 Comments: 24 Word Count: 1,734 Hit Count: 1,331 Published: January 05, 2024

In which Buffy asks for help…

CW: I really thought we were done with the warnings for a bit, but it turns out Buffy has more trauma to process. This time: institutionalization. There are no details of this experience discussed, just a lot of emotion felt and released.

16. Chapter 16 by fortes775 - Likes: 56 Comments: 20 Word Count: 1,985 Hit Count: 1,341 Published: January 12, 2024

In which the forces of darkness apply themselves in several surprising ways…

17. Chapter 17 by fortes775 - Likes: 59 Comments: 26 Word Count: 2,765 Hit Count: 1,297 Published: January 19, 2024

In which much growth occurs…

CW: In this chapter, the word “freak” will be used and reclaimed. There will also be Daddy Issues, but, like, it’s Buffy—that’s what she does…

18. Chapter 18 by fortes775 - Likes: 56 Comments: 22 Word Count: 2,223 Hit Count: 1,308 Published: January 26, 2024

In which the wedding planning continues apace...

19. Chapter 19 by fortes775 - Likes: 44 Comments: 16 Word Count: 1,500 Hit Count: 1,227 Published: February 02, 2024

In which the Bachelorette is much discussed…

20. Chapter 20 by fortes775 - Likes: 50 Comments: 20 Word Count: 2,597 Hit Count: 1,255 Published: February 09, 2024

In which the Stags and Hens let loose...

21. Chapter 21 by fortes775 - Likes: 51 Comments: 23 Word Count: 2,487 Hit Count: 1,266 Published: February 16, 2024

In which there is an unfortunate amount of Riley Finn…

22. Chapter 22 by fortes775 - Likes: 54 Comments: 22 Word Count: 2,350 Hit Count: 1,135 Published: February 23, 2024

In which Spike moves, like, in-in…

23. Chapter 23 by fortes775 - Likes: 62 Comments: 29 Word Count: 3,258 Hit Count: 1,073 Published: March 01, 2024

In which there is something of a reckoning…

CW: We gotta start talking about Xander’s Dad, which means content warning for mentions of abuse and alcoholism in the first section. Definitely read the second section though—Buffy’s about to depart from that old river in Egypt, and you don’t want to miss it…

24. Chapter 24 by fortes775 - Likes: 50 Comments: 25 Word Count: 2,196 Hit Count: 1,046 Published: March 08, 2024

In which it takes a village…

CW: More discussion of Xander’s dad and the nature of abuse in the first section. Also the start of everything you want for Spuffy in the second and third sections.

25. Chapter 25 by fortes775 - Likes: 59 Comments: 26 Word Count: 2,686 Hit Count: 1,006 Published: March 15, 2024

In which it’s a nice day for a white wedding…

26. Chapter 26 by fortes775 - Likes: 47 Comments: 17 Word Count: 2,242 Hit Count: 933 Published: March 22, 2024

In which there is much to celebrate…

27. Chapter 27 by fortes775 - Likes: 40 Comments: 15 Word Count: 3,570 Hit Count: 959 Published: March 29, 2024

In which there are many happy endings…

CW: This chapter contains ridiculously soft Spuffy smut.

28. Chapter 28 by fortes775 - Likes: 41 Comments: 16 Word Count: 1,884 Hit Count: 930 Published: April 05, 2024

In which Spike asks for help…

29. Chapter 29 by fortes775 - Likes: 47 Comments: 18 Word Count: 4,681 Hit Count: 906 Published: April 12, 2024

In which Spike has a Gold Star Day…

CW: Spike has a panic attack during otherwise pretty tame sex for Spuffy in the second section.

30. Epilogue by fortes775 - Likes: 74 Comments: 37 Word Count: 1,106 Hit Count: 795 Published: April 19, 2024

In which our heroes say goodbye to everything that they knew…