You don't necessarily need to be familiar with the Unabomberverse to get this fic, but damn you should be because it rocks. Unabomber 1, Unabomber 2, and Unabomber 3. They're W/A slash.
Comments and feedback always welcomed. On with the show.
She's with him because he's safe.
Boring, ordinary, non-Hellmouthy. However you want to put it, it means the same thing. There's nothing special about Jonathan. Not now, anyway. He vaguely remembers a time once when he was everything, but he thinks it must've been a dream or something, because there's no way it could ever have been real, and not just because he would remember something like that. He's just not that guy, and he knows it.
He's not the dreamy, dangerous one that the girls fawn over. He never has been, and he knows he never will be. He's the safe one, the one who would never hurt you. He listens when you speak, tries to help you when he can, and seems endlessly sympathetic. That's why she's with him, and he knows it.
They aren't the words every man dreams of hearing from the woman he loves: oh, baby, you're so reliable.
It's a more polite way of saying boring, and no one wants to be told that they're boring. But he stays with her, because when she sighs and rests her head against his shoulder, he can shut his eyes and smell her hair and she doesn't mind.
Sometimes he thinks it's like she's gone on vacation - he's a nice little spot in the South of France where there are no monsters and no vampires, no hellmouths and no First Evils, and no vampire exes. Or soldier exes, for that matter. Just sun and sand and casual holiday romance. But as nice as it is, he can't help but be afraid that after a week or two's sunbathing, the vacation will come to an end and she'll go back to her real life.
But he stays with her because she's everything he's ever dreamed of, and even if she's only here because she's been through so much, she needs to take a break from it all, it's more than he ever thought possible.
He tries to be more, sometimes. He wants to be what she needs, and it seems to him that she needs something more than just plain old Jonathan, so he practises white magicks. Only white ones, of course, but it doesn't really matter. He's still plain old Jonathan, and always will be, because Willow is so many light years ahead of him, his feeble efforts seem like nothing at all.
But she doesn't seem to mind. She sits and watches them together sometimes, Willow guiding the spells, Tara grounding and balancing her, and Jonathan just following their lead and adding what little he can to help. She says she likes to watch them working, that it makes her feel all tingly and connected. Then she smiles that amazing little smile where her eyes glow and suggests that they go out for ice cream.
After a while, her friends stop looking at him like he's the rebound guy and accept him into their group. They're confused at first, and Jonathan can't blame them, but as the weeks pass by and Jonathan continues to be part of her life, they seem to shrug, accept it, and shift the boundaries of their tight little circle to allow him entry.
He gets to know Tara, shy and smiling and curiously funny, and Anya, who seems to be the first to really understand what it is that Jonathan is doing impinging on their lives. Dawn is hostile, understandably, but warms to him once she knows her sister is safe, and Mr. Giles simply seems confused by it all.
There are girls, young children, old women, teenagers and baby boomers, constantly visiting, flitting in and out of their lives. She coordinates them all, listening, learning, guiding and teaching. She jokes that she's their den mom, but the strain shows sometimes and she crawls into bed and just lies there, breathing, waiting for the thoughts and feelings to die down to a dull roar.
Sometimes Faith drops by too. The strain is always worse then, as much as she appreciates the visits. Faith's always been the girls' favorite, shiny and fun and confident, the naughty big sister to Buffy's strict mother, and Buffy hates having to be that person, but knows that it's the only way she can help the girls. But still, Faith reminds her of everything she doesn't have the chance to be.
Suddenly it's their one year anniversary. It seems to take everyone by surprise, except Buffy, who's been counting the days, and Jonathan, who saw her doing it and panicked about buying her the perfect present. He's never had a first anniversary before, but he feels better when she confesses that she's only really ever had the one herself.
She hums all day long and bakes cookies, which are slightly burnt at the edges.
More time passes and they move out into a house of their own. The business is starting to take off, and one day Buffy brings up marriage.
"I don't think we should get married," she says, filing her nails at the kitchen table as Jonathan looks through a tax return.
He looks up. "Okay," he says. She smiles softly, watching him for a few seconds before slowly turning back to her nails.
They never discuss it again. They don't need to.
The morning she looks up from the couch, wrapped in a comforter that Willow and Tara bought when they moved into the new house, and tells him that she's late, he checks his watch before realizing what she means.
He isn't sure what to say until she breaks into a wide smile and starts to tear up. He takes the day off work and they curl up together and discuss baby names.
It's not really until the day he's standing in the hospital watching his exhausted, beautiful not-wife holding their new baby, glowing in spite of the hours of labor she's just been through as she introduces their new son to her friends, that he really gets it.
It's not about being safe, it's not about being boring. It's about the one thing she's craved her whole life - stability. If being boring means giving her that, Jonathan decides that maybe not being the superhero isn't so bad.