Title: At Least It Wasn't Zombies
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: B:tVS, Eureka. As long as his job in Eureka never crossed the line into outright horror movie territory, Jack could tell himself it wasn't really all that bad. 1400 words.
Spoilers: Vaguely post-"Chosen"; AU; Eureka post-3.1 "Bad to the Drone"
Notes: Challenge fic. Set vaguely in the same continuity as "Clean Up".
"Huh," Sherriff Jack Carter commented in surprise, staring as a young, fashionably dressed blonde emerged from the DoD vehicle, nary a suit or briefcase visible in her vicinity. "Not what I was expecting."
"Not what I was expecting, either," Dr. Stark commented beside him. "Allison, what did you say her name was, again?"
Allison sighed; if Jack had glanced over at her, he knew he'd have caught her rolling her eyes. "I didn't. Whoever she is, whoever she's with, she's classified at least as highly as Eureka; I was told she'd inform us of her errand here in person, and to give her every reasonable accommodation."
"Reasonable, she says," Jack commented to himself as he summoned up a welcoming smile. "Like anything in this town ever is."
Behind them, pounding feet and hasty breaths announced the arrival of Fargo. Jack glanced over his shoulder out of reflex, just to make sure nothing deadly was chasing the accident-prone young scientist, and was immediately struck by the look of shock on Fargo's face.
"She-- she--" Fargo spluttered, as he stopped short between Jack and Stark. "I don't believe it," he announced in awed tones.
"Don't believe what?" the blonde asked archly, raising her eyebrows as she approached.
Wow, she was short, Jack thought, looking down to meet her amused green gaze. She was maybe Jo's age at the outside, and she looked like she spent more time on her clothes than his daughter in the worst of her fashionable phase; and yet here she was, confidence in every line of her bearing, head of a project so classified that no one even knew her name. It made him wonder what fresh hell Zoe was going to put him through when her achievements finally caught up to her attitude and IQ.
Before Allison or Stark could deflect attention away from him, Fargo's mouth ran away with him again. "It really is-- I mean-- Has anyone ever told you--" he began, feverishly.
"That I look like Sarah Michelle Gellar?" The blonde replied, as though she answered that question every day.
And maybe she did, because the more Jack looked at her, the more familiar she seemed. Not that he'd ever admit to watching that show; it was just kind of hard to avoid it, what with Zoe and S.A.R.A.H. both being fans.
"Actually, it's more that she looks like me," she continued, brightly. "She did play me on T.V., after all."
"No-- no way," Fargo choked, still staring at her.
"Ah," Stark announced, in tones of vast amusement. "Buffy Summers, I presume?"
Ms. Summers smiled back at him, a flash of white teeth that didn't quite reach her eyes, and shook his hand. "Yes, that really is my name; yes, I'm really from Sunnydale; no, it isn't on any maps; and the reason for that is, the government preferred it that way, kind of like the setup you have here."
Stark winced as she released his hand, and she turned next to Allison, on Stark's right, who seemed to be holding onto her cool by the tips of her manicured fingernails.
"Welcome, Ms. Summers; I'm Dr. Allison Blake, Director of Operations at Global Dynamics," she said briskly, as though neither of the men had spoken. "The DoD didn't say what you were here for, but we're prepared to assist you in any capacity within our means."
Ms. Summers nodded at that, then turned at last to Jack and held out her hand. Fargo made a frustrated noise at being overlooked; Jack ignored him to focus solely on the surprising young woman in front of him. Her grip was about as firm as you'd expect from her reputation; he had to wonder just how much of it was deserved. She hadn't said anything-- yet-- about whether she actually was a Slayer.
"Sherriff Jack Carter," he introduced himself, then couldn't help but ask: "So-- how did that work, exactly?"
Off her inquiring look, he continued, waving his hand vaguely in the air. "That whole... television thing. I mean, some of the things that happened-- uh, not that I watched it, my daughter's a fan-- you'd think it would be impossible for people not to notice."
She sighed. Jack felt a little sympathetic-- she must get tired of explaining-- but not enough to retract the question. He'd seen some crazy things since he came to Eureka, and he liked to think he was pretty open-minded, but vampires? Magic?
"The biggest difference between Sunnydale and Eureka was that people came and went a lot more often in Sunnydale; harnessing the supernatural's not as simple as harnessing science," she said, as though she completely believed everything she was saying. But then-- Jack had seen actual alchemy at work; maybe there was some kind of sensible explanation?
"I wouldn't call it simple, exactly--" Stark drawled, interrupting.
"--Exactly," Ms. Summers replied. "We had more people, and not all human; it was impossible to lock everything down as tightly as you do here. So when the Hellmouth started getting frisky, the government units in town approached the Council about funding a TV show to make with the distraction. It wasn't exactly a documentary, but it was close enough to the truth to neutralize most of the rumors. You'd be surprised how blind people can be if they have a convenient excuse handy."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Jack said, wincing as he thought of the tangled knots the town had twisted itself into over the Artifact. No one had put the whole story together until it had nearly killed Kevin and cost Jack Henry's friendship-- and, if he was honest with himself, any real chance he'd had with Allison as well. It still gave him headaches, thinking about her renewed relationship with Stark; he'd been through a divorce himself, and as much as he still felt for Abby he knew damned well they'd tear themselves apart again if they ever tried to patch things up. He didn't see how Allison could expect any different with her ex, no matter how well they'd worked together to protect her son.
"Anyway," she said, turning her attention back to Stark. "Enough about me; let's talk about my errand here. I hear you have a super-intelligent dog causing havoc in the area?"
"I'm sorry-- what? You're here about Lojack?" Fargo finally found his voice again.
"At least it's not zombies," Jack muttered, glancing over at Stark, more relieved that he would willingly admit to. As long as his job in Eureka never crossed the line into outright horror movie territory, he could tell himself it wasn't really all that bad; but he never wanted to end up like that crazy Sherriff in South Carolina who'd lost his entire town to what he'd claimed were alien-possessed zombies two years before.
Ms. Summers turned back to Allison, who was probably coming off as the least obnoxious of their group, Jack thought wryly. "Officially, as far as the DoD knows-- yes, I'm here about the dog. Did I forget to tell you who I work for now?" She sighed. "I miss Xander; he always makes sure I remember that part. Anyway." She squared her petite shoulders, flashing more skin than Jack would ever be comfortable seeing on a woman practically young enough to be his daughter. "I'm with Supernatural Creatures and Other Odd Beasties Investigation and Extermination, or S.C.O.O.B.I.E. for short. We get a call? We investigate. And we got a call about your Lojack."
Scooby? Jack thought, bemused, remembering the origins of that name. He hoped Lojack appreciated the irony when the woman tracked him down.
"And-- unofficially?" Allison prompted, warily.
"We noticed someone else-- or I should say, something else-- when Giles did our preliminary research," Ms. Summers said, suddenly more intent than she'd been during the entire rest of the introductions. "Someone the Council has been tracking for ages; and this is the first time they've caught her without a full-on protective entourage in years."
"Don't keep us in suspense here," Stark rumbled, irritably.
"Don't get your panties in a wad," Ms. Summers replied with a smirk. "Are you maybe, possibly, having a problem with a demoness calling herself Eva Thorne?"
The collective intake of breath as she named the new Head of G.D. could have fueled a wind turbine.
Jack winced. This was going to be a really, really long day.