A Spenser/BtVS crossover
Summary: Two weeks after the events in Becoming Part 2, Hank Summers hires Boston's toughest PI to find his missing daughter.
Disclaimers: This is, of course, a work of Fan Fiction, meaning that I am using characters created by other people. Buffy and associated characters are owned by Mutant Enemy and 20th Century Fox Television, Spenser and associated characters are owned by Robert B. Parker. I am using these characters without permission, and have written this strictly for my entertainment, and just perhaps, the entertainment of others. Furthermore, I am not nearly as clever as the writers for Mutant Enemy or Robert Parker. This format of this story is meant to be in the style of Parker's Spenser novels, and includes some running gag styles used by Parker.
Continuity: The events of this story take place in 1998 after the events in BtVS season 2. However, there are some intentional changes. Specifically, it is my contention that the presence of Dawn would have resulted in some historical changes, actual or remembered. One of the things that allowed Buffy to keep her slaying from her mother was that Joyce was frequently gone on business trips etc., allowing Buffy free reign. With a little sister, that free reign would have vanished. Furthermore, Joyce's direct assistance would have been required to continue to keep Dawn safe. Thus, in my fic Joyce has already known that Buffy was the slayer for well over a year. Also, the time of this story occurs simultaneously with the Spenser novel Sudden Mischief, which had a significant impact on the life of Susan Silverman. I could not think of how to integrate the events of that story into this fic, so I didn't even try.
With these things in mind, here we go….
It was a humid June afternoon in Boston and I was in my office talking to a man named Hank Summers. Summers was a handsome guy just above medium height, in his forties, and looked like he may have played football in high school. He had close cropped brown hair and was dressed casual in a pair of grey slacks and an open collared light blue shirt. His shoes were polished and cordovan and his watch was a Rolex. Sitting next to him was his wife Heather, who looked to be in her early twenties. She had a good body, was wearing a short pink skirt with matching pink jacket, and a white top that showed just enough cleavage to be both suggestive and tasteful. All the skin on display was well tanned. I might have found her more attractive, but she kept turning and making unpleasant faces at Pearl the wonder dog. Pearl was lying on the couch Susan had bought me awhile back. I had custody of the baby today, but was fondly anticipating transferring custody back to Susan that night. Nothing against Pearl, but I was looking forward to dinner and more with the love of my life. Pearl, for her part, didn't appear to be concerned about Heather Summers' disapproval. She just looked back and forth between the three of us, probably hoping the Summers had the good manners to bring doggie treats. I suspected she was being overly optimistic.
Hank Summers gave me his "I'm an important businessman seriously appraising you" look. I think I managed to withstand his scrutiny without blushing. He then nodded to himself, and took a folder out of his briefcase.
"This is about my daughter," he said. "She ran away from home about two weeks ago. I'd like you to find her."
He took out a photograph and handed it to me. It was a school photograph, and the girl who smiled out of it was a cute blond, maybe fifteen or sixteen.
"Pretty," I said.
"That's her sophomore picture. She's a junior now, or was. Up until a year and a half ago, she was a very popular, very outgoing girl. She was the Freshman Homecoming Princess and the Belle of the Sophomore Ball."
"Now?" Summers said.
"The terminology 'up until' would suggest that your daughter's social status changed."
"Oh. Well, now she gets into trouble a lot."
"What kind of trouble?"
"Mostly skipping out of school, occasional fighting."
"Mr. Spenser, have you heard of Hemery High, in Los Angeles?"
"There was a riot during a senior dance about a year and a half ago. Twelve students and one faculty member were killed. The gymnasium was burned to the ground."
"Everyone remembers," Summers said. "It was all over the news for weeks."
"And your daughter is a student there?"
"She was. She isn't anymore."
"Was she at the dance?"
"Yes she was. A senior kid took her, some punk hoodlum. I forget his name. I think it was Spike."
"Just 'some punk' or 'some hoodlum' would be sufficient," I said. "The term 'punk hoodlum' is redundant."
Summers gave me a look.
"Sorry, I have the reputation of being something of a smartass," I said.
"So I was told," Summers said. "May I continue?"
"Sure," I said. He didn't look like he appreciated my help with his semantics. I get that a lot.
"At first, Buffy was actually accused of being the student who set fire to the gym. That was crazy, of course. She was later cleared of all charges, but the school still expelled her."
Buffy Summers? I thought I might run away too if I was given a name like that. It sounded like an adult movie star's stage name. I wisely decided to keep that thought to myself.
"Why did the police think that your daughter burned down the gymnasium?"
"Some witnesses said they saw her set the fire. But later, they said they weren't sure. The arson investigator eventually ruled that it was an electrical fire caused by damage to the sound equipment during the riot."
"And why did Hemery expel her?"
"She was involved in the fighting. Almost every student at the dance was either suspended or expelled."
"So do you know why she was expelled instead of suspended?" I said.
"According to several witnesses, two groups of students were fighting. Buffy was identified as the leader of one of the sides."
I looked back at Buffy Summers' picture. She didn't look like she would be the leader of a rioting gang of teenagers.
Summers took a deep breath, clasped his hands on my desk, and closed his eyes. I suspected a pose designed to communicate "I'm a concerned father". Mrs. Summers looked at my dog again and wrinkled her nose. I reached over and rubbed Pearl's ears. Mrs. Summers wrinkled her nose even more. I wondered if Mrs. Summers' face would implode around her nose if I continued to pet Pearl. I decided not to find out, and pulled my hand away. Pearl looked disappointed. Mrs. Summers looked relieved.
"Mr. Summers," I said. "That was a year and a half ago. Where did Buffy run away from two weeks ago?"
"Sunnydale, California. It's a small college town about an hour and a half, two hours north of LA. My ex took the kids there after the divorce. Probably seemed like a quiet place for a fresh start."
"What's her name?"
I smiled. He looked at me.
"Silly question isn't it?" he said.
"Little bit," I said.
"And how many kids?"
"Two," Summers said. "Two girls. Buffy's the oldest. Dawn's turning twelve this month."
Mrs. Summers looked at her husband, then looked at her watch.
"Hank," she said. "How much longer is this going to be?"
Heather Summers' voice was high pitched, nasal and childlike, and she managed to combine all that into an annoying whine. Pearl flinched. So did Hank Summers.
"Honey, this is about my missing daughter. Mr. Spenser needs to ask me questions in order to better search for her."
Actually, I was asking questions to determine whether I even wanted to take this case. Missing children cases usually ended up making my back teeth hurt. The people I met on these cases tended to be either royally screwed up, really stupid, or just plain reprehensible, making it understandable why a teenager would run away from home. Or maybe I was just cynical.
"But, Hank!" Mrs. Summers made "Hank" into a two syllable word, "hey" and "ank". Pearl gave me a "make it stop" look.
"Please be quiet, Heather." Summers said. "I need to talk with Spenser here, and it won't kill you to sit quietly until we're done."
Heather pouted, but mercifully stopped speaking.
"So, Mr. Summers," I said. "Tell me what happened just before Buffy ran away from Sunnydale."