AUTHOR'S NOTE This is a companion of sorts to Internal Affairs – my 21 Jump Street/Angel crossover. It's not necessary, though, to read that one first.
DISCLAIMERI own nothing from 21 Jump Street.
An alarm buzzed suddenly out of nowhere, jolting Officer Lily Hoffs awake. Blearily, she opened her eyes and squinted at the clock. 5:45 am. She groaned into her pillow.
The alarm kept beeping, like a siren gone horribly wrong. She swatted at it until she hit the off button, then dragged herself up. She staggered to the shower and turned the water on as hot as it would go.
I don't know how they do this every day, she thought. If I have to do this every day, I think I might kill myself.
She emerged from a cloud of steam fifteen minutes later, feeling refreshed and marginally more human. At first she just stood in front of her closet, trying to decide between her uniform and normal clothes. She figured that the new assignment called for normal clothes, but what kind? Should she dress professional? Casual? Business casual?
She was pretty sure that very little of her wardrobe counted as professional, so she settled for business casual. Or, at least what she thought could be considered business casual. She tried to focus on getting herself ready to avoid the notion that she had absolutely no idea what she was getting herself into.
She would not admit that she was nervous. She had no reason to be. This was what she had always wanted to do. And she was good at it. Her two years at the Academy had taught her that.
She didn't want to be late on her first day. She had figured that it was twenty minutes away from her apartment without traffic, so that meant leaving forty-five minutes for driving time. And that meant getting up early.
As she headed for her building's underground garage, she wished that she had her mother's old car with her instead of it being at her grandmother's house. It truly was a work of art and it would certainly make an impression on her new unit. But it was also very valuable. She hardly ever drove it, choosing instead to drive a used sedan. But there were moments, like this one, that she longed for her mother's car.
She had been so excited when her request to be assigned to the revitalized program had been approved, but as the old abandoned chapel at 21 Jump Street came into view, a tight knot began to form in her stomach. What was she doing? She had just graduated from the Academy – she wasn't ready for this kind of undercover work!
She parked between a motorcycle and a Lexus convertible. The stained glass windows of the hulking brick building glowed brightly in the early morning sunlight. As she headed for the base of the rickety staircase that led up to the only visible entrance, she took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.
She could do this. She would make her mother proud. Her mom was the reason she had become a cop. It was time to really do it. She stepped onto the first stair.
Lily pushed the door open and peered into the chapel. People in all kinds of dress, from full uniform to Calvin Klein, bustled to and from desks and file cabinets. The noise level was just below that of a major league football game. This was where her mother had worked all those years?
"Uh, excuse me," she said to a man walking by in an Abercrombie jacket.
He stopped and pulled his sunglasses halfway down his nose so that he could look her in the eye. "Yeah?"
"I'm, uh, looking for Captain Penhall," Lily said, a slight tremor in her voice. "I've got my – "
"Yo!" the man shouted. "Penhall! We got our new girl!"
Lily felt her cheeks flush. The man in front of her smiled and stuck out a hand. "I'm Justin Walsh. You're our last undercover, right?"
She nodded. "I'm Lily – "
She was cut off by the slam of a door as a tall man with long graying brown hair burst out of an office hidden in an alcove. He saw Lily right away and grinned. "Welcome to Jump Street!"
Justin grinned and pushed Lily in the Captain's direction. "Captain Penhall in the flesh."
"Thanks," she said and headed toward where Penhall leaned against his doorframe. She hadn't known that Doug Penhall was in charge of the Jump Street unit when she had requested the assignment, but in her eyes it was an added bonus. Her mother had told her endless stories about her job and Penhall was in many of them.
When she reached where the Captain stood, she suddenly turned shy and cast her eyes to the floor. Penhall, along with her mother's other Jump Street friends, had been her childhood hero. Now she was face-to-face with him.
"Are you going to come in?"
Lily realized that she had stopped walked halfway to the office. Captain Penhall was watching her, slightly amused. "Are you coming?" he asked again.
She felt her face get hot. "Of course, Captain," she said.
He pushed the door open behind him. "Come into my sanctuary!" he said in a false deep voice. Lily's expression must have been a mix of fear and skepticism, for her quickly continued in a normal voice, "Uh, follow me back into the office here."
Her nerves were put at ease by the realization that Captain Penhall was nearly as nervous as she was. She smiled as she followed him into the office.
Lily closed the office door behind her. Captain Penhall sat behind a wide dark brown desk and rifled through a drawer. "Sorry I'm so disorganized," he said. "Headquarters only told me I was getting a fourth officer yesterday."
She smiled. "That's okay. I've – "
"I can't remember if they sent me your file or not," he continued as he dug deeper in the desk. "Give me a minute and I'll find it."
Lily glanced at the file in her hand. "Captain, I – "
Suddenly he looked up at her. "You're awfully young," he commented. "Did you just graduate from the Academy?"
She nodded. "This past June. This is my first assignment. I'm very excited to work with everyone here at Jump Street."
Captain Penhall grinned. "Well we were just resurrected early this spring. It's a great program for young-looking cops."
"Yeah, I know. My – "
"You do look really young!" the Captain repeated. "I'm sorry; I can't believe I've been so rude. What is your name again?"
Lily shifted nervously. "I'm Lily – "
"Lily, huh?" Captain Penhall said. "How old are you?"
She swallowed to wet her dry throat. "Eighteen, sir."
He frowned. "Eighteen?" he repeated. "I couldn't have heard that right."
"I'm eighteen, Captain Penhall. My birthday was in June."
Penhall looked at her in disbelief. "How could you possibly have graduated from the Academy by eighteen?"
"I, uh, graduated early from high school and went straight into the Academy."
Penhall dropped his face into his hands. "The point of this program is to have cops who look like they could be in high school, not who still should be!"
Defensiveness bubbled up inside Lily. "Captain Penhall, just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm not a good cop!"
"You're still a child," Penhall said. "And I will not put you in the field. I can't." He picked up the phone. "I'm calling downtown. Someone can reassign you."
The searing beginnings of tears stung Lily's eyes, but she forced them harshly back. She threw her file down on the desk. "You know Captain, the way my mother talked about this place, it didn't matter if you were fresh out of the Academy or what! I guess that's changed now, huh?"
Penhall had the phone to his ear as he dialed. "Oh yeah? And who's your mom?"
Penhall dropped the phone. "What?"
Lily saluted crisply. "I'm Lily Hoffs, Captain. Reporting for duty."