Title: Just Another Day in the Neighborhood
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds belong to SyFy and Whedon.
Summary: As long as Jo had any part of her arsenal along, she'd never be intimidated by anyone girly enough to wear high-heeled sandals with pink toe polish, or a shirt that low-cut, no matter how physically strong she was supposed to be. 1600w.
Spoilers: Post-"Chosen" for B:tVS; vague references through Eureka 3.14 "Ship Happens"
Notes: For the August Fic-a-Day Challenge, Day 15. Not a continuation of the Dawn storyline; a crack!fic instead, to rest the brain. Fits a TtH FFA challenge pairing.
"You've got to be shitting me," Jo Lupo said, staring at the short, stylishly dressed blonde staring back at her.
Just a minute ago she'd been running through a field, following Carter in pursuit of the latest Global Dynamics scientist running an unwise, dangerous experiment causing people to disappear; then she'd stumbled over some kind of speed bump-shaped metal object laid out on the ground; and now, she stood in a dark back alley in some city that definitely wasn't Eureka, facing a figure out of Fargo's wet dreams. Clearly, she'd knocked herself out and was imagining things.
The blonde sighed and rolled her eyes. "One of these days, I'm going to introduce myself to someone who doesn't laugh at my name," she said, "and the shock will kill me. So, your name is...?"
Jo ignored the obvious prompt, shaking her head. "Oh, it's not the name that gets me," she said, dryly, "it's the name, if you know what I mean. I'm going to kill Paul Sueños if he's involved in this. Or Fargo; I'd thought he was finally over his warrior-goddess kink now that he has a flesh and blood girlfriend. Any fantasy scenario that involves you and me both will totally earn him a thrashing from Julia, no questions asked."
The imaginary Slayer-- the actual friggin' Buffy Summers, who looked even shorter in the flesh than she did on T.V., not that Jo could trust anything here as actually being 'in the flesh'-- looked even more annoyed at that, wrinkling her forehead and neglecting to put away her stake. "I don't know what you think is going on here," she said, "but I don't know any Paul Suede-whatever, and I've never even been to South Dakota; I let Kennedy make that trip. Who are you?"
Jo snorted, crossing her arms in front of her. As long as she had any part of her arsenal along, she'd never be intimidated by anyone girly enough to wear high-heeled sandals with pink toe polish, or a shirt that low-cut, no matter how physically strong she was supposed to be. Guns might never have worked on the show, but that was writer laziness; Jo had the laws of physics on her side.
"I guess I might as tell you," she chuckled. "Not that it'll change anything. My name's Jo Lupo; I work in Eureka, a classified little town no one in the real world's ever heard of, which is where I was until about sixty seconds ago. And what I think is going on is that someone obsessed with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer T.V. show dragged me into his kinky little fantasies again. You'll have to forgive me, but I'm not all that interested in playing them out."
A little of Buffy's tension eased at that; her eyebrows flew up, and she lowered her stake a little. "A T.V. show? That's a new one on me. I mean, I heard kind of third hand about an alternate universe where Cordy, of all people, had a show named after her, but who'd want to make a show about my life? Rife with the suckage, when it's not full of death and destruction."
A quiver of uneasiness flitted through Jo's mind at the other woman's matter-of-fact delivery, and avoidance of either clichés or self-adulation. Given how Fargo felt about Buffy in specific and Sarah Michelle Gellar in general, she'd have expected a lot more vamping.
Could it be only her imagination at work here? But then-- why would she be conjuring up a T.V. figure at all, and not her plans for a little time alone with Zane? He'd been having a hard time of it lately and so had she, between Julia's antics and all the chaos caused by the signal and the infected organic computer, so she'd made secret weekend reservations for the house where G.D. tested and showcased all its luxury items. In its day, that house had seen the birth of the whirlpool tub, the massage chair, and the surround sound home theater; Jo had been looking forward to testing the latest accidentally lucrative byproducts of Eureka's scientific investigations with her boyfriend.
"There's no place like home," she muttered under her breath just in case. "This can't be real."
"Now that I think about it, actually," Buffy said, mirroring Jo's pose, "I think I have heard the name Eureka before. Isn't that the wacky science show Andrew's such a fan of on the SyFy channel? He used to curse about the doctor lady coming between the obviously epic love of the sheriff and the sarcastic scientist, and he cried off and on for days after the time loop episode. I was so glad when he finally got his own T.V. and stopped commandeering our living room every Friday. You're the sheriff's deputy, right? How do you know I'm not the one imagining you?"
Jo nearly choked at the term 'epic love'-- holy God, she was so taunting Carter with that when she woke up, or whatever-- but overall, the little diatribe only increased the well of nausea opening in the pit of her stomach. What the hell had she tripped over? If she wasn't flat on her back in the G.D. infirmary right now reading the backs of her eyelids, then how was she supposed to return? She took a cautious step back, feeling with her foot for any matching piece of equipment that might be lying around.
"Seriously, why the hell would you imagine me?" Jo reasoned with her as she moved.
"I don't know, maybe because it would be nice if any of the newbie Slayers I had to talk to already had any training, or some kind of calling to protect people, instead of treating their gifts like spiffy new toys and then moaning about what it was going to do to their social lives?" Buffy smiled as she spoke, but it was a brittle smile, full of weariness and frustration.
"I feel the same way sometimes about the scientists up at G.D.," she said sympathetically, drawn in despite herself. "I mean, would it kill them to hire people who actually gave a damn about potential consequences, or thought ahead further than 'oooh, wouldn't this be neat if it works'?"
"People are people, no matter what world they come from," Buffy shook her head. She was watching carefully as Jo retreated, but had made no move to stop her; probably because there was nowhere for Jo to retreat to in this place, unless she wanted to try bolting past the Slayer. Which she didn't.
"Even when they're not exactly people," Jo agreed aloud, thinking of Callister, and the not-quite-a-woman who'd walked off Henry's ship that week. Her questing heel knocked an empty pop can skittering across the asphalt, and caught unpleasantly in something damp and disgusting; she grimaced, and took another step backward.
"Especially then," Buffy said softly, glancing away.
Finally, Jo's foot struck something solid and ankle-height; as her shoe pressed against it she felt a distinct sense of vibration, and heard Carter's voice very faintly calling her name. Thank God.
"Well," she said more briskly, nodding to the other woman. "It was nice meeting you, but I think I've figured out how I got here, and I've got a scientist to go strangle, so--"
"Good luck with that," Buffy snorted, making eye contact again. "And hey, if your little science-y world ever has vampire problems--"
"I'll know exactly which project to grab off the discontinued shelf and come visiting," Jo said lightly. "Good luck with your girls. Maybe you could try shared dreaming, show them what it's really like? Experience is a great teacher, even when it's not originally yours."
A light sparked in Buffy's eyes at that. "I'll have to ask Willow-- that might actually be a good idea. Hey, thanks!"
"No problem," Jo said, and took one more step.
The world blinked suddenly back on; the alley gone, she stumbled and sat down hard amid knee-high grass, the vision of moss-green eyes fading back into the corners of her mind.
"Jo!" Carter exclaimed, rushing toward her. "Where'd you go? I heard you call out, and then--"
"Stop right there, or you might find out first hand," she said, gesturing at the strip on the ground. "Let's just say this guy? Had a little too much in common with Fargo for comfort. I don't think we'll be getting any of the missing citizens back, or if we do, might want to test them with sunlight and crosses."
Carter did a little double take at that; the same expression he usually wore when he wasn't sure whether or not one of Eureka's braniacs was taunting him. He'd used to get it around Stark all the time-- which, damn, she was never going to get that image out of her brain now-- but Allison's friend Tess was usually the one causing it now.
"You've got to be shitting me," he said, putting Jo's hints together in his mind as he stepped carefully around the dimensional doorway, or whatever the hell it was. "Vampires?"
"That's what I said," Jo replied dryly, taking his offered hand to pull herself up.
"Geez," Carter moaned. "I always said, if this town ever came up with anything like actual zombies..."
"Be glad you weren't here in '99, then," Jo smirked at him. "And don't tell Fargo. He'll never let me live this down."
Carter just shook his head. "Just another day in Eureka, huh, Jo?"
"Yep," she replied, then adopted a teasing tone. "Which, speaking of..."