Title: Big Trouble, Little Slayer
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.
Summary: PG-15. This is the story of how Jack Burton kind of, sort of, accidentally became a Watcher. 1500 words.
Spoilers: Big Trouble in Little China (1986); Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Notes: Year and spoilers from the BtVS movie, though I envisioned the story with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the role. (I have no excuse for this, other than that I just watched BTLC for the first time and laughed myself sick over it. Kurt Russell is love!)
Jack Burton didn't know exactly what he'd been expecting to happen when he left San Francisco after the throw-down with Lo Pan, but his vague notion of the future had featured a lot less supernatural horseshit than he'd just finished stepping in, that was for sure.
He'd lived all his life 'til that point without ever encountering a thing that couldn't be explained by science-- or contrarian human nature, at least. It was one thing to jaw on the radio about all the wonders that might be out there, another entirely to run smack into them. He liked to think he'd acquitted himself well, but he'd have been just as happy not to run into anything else remotely sorcerous for another thirty years, at least. Especially if he avoided Chinatown in future, nothing against Wang Chi and company.
That was part of the reason he hadn't taken Gracie Law up on her offer, really; why he hadn't so much as kissed her goodbye. As fiery and attractive as she was, he'd hoped to put all that week's insanity far behind him, green-eyed second-choice bride of David Lo Pan included.
He hadn't counted on the hairy critter stowed away on the back of his truck, though, nor the permanent aftereffects of what Egg Shen's potion had done to him. Maybe it was because he wasn't Chinese, or maybe the old fool had known what would happen all along and just hadn't warned him, but when the crazy clawed refugee from Lo Pan's menagerie jumped him he found out right quick that the enhancements it had made to his already excellent reflexes had stuck with him. It didn't take much longer than that for him to discover that the ability to "see things no one else can see" had hung around, too, more's the pity.
It wasn't that he'd never run across anything supernatural before, Jack soon realized. It was just that the mystical types were rarely as obvious about what they were as Lo Pan and his Three Storms buddies. The old bastard must've been getting a little senile and desperate in his old age to have risked causing public havoc in his pursuit of Miao Yin; most of the unnatural folk living in the shadows tended to avoid attracting official attention. If Jack hadn't been practically forced to recognize them by the pricking of his thumbs-- or whatever else he was supposed to call the strange new sixth sense that drew his eye like some kind of silent alarm-- he doubted he'd have picked up on any of it post Lo Pan, either.
His first stop after leaving San Francisco just so happened to be in Los Angeles. Yeah, enough said about that. Afterward, it seemed like every city he drove the Porkchop Express through had its own population of unacknowledged ghoulies and ghosties. Some of them he couldn't help but interfere with, like when he spotted a pair of assholes with fangs dragging a coed off into the underbrush. That shit was just not going to fly around him, not when he could help it. Not all of them were predatory, though; some were helpful, like Egg Shen had been, and many more were just skating the edge of harmless, like the loose-skinned guys he played poker with after one of his regular deliveries. How he'd chalked that up to a "bad skin condition" before, he had no idea; but he seriously doubted they were any kind of threat to humanity, even if they did have the bad taste to prey on kittens.
After his first set of busted ribs and bruised throat courtesy of a brace of hungry vampires-- which he'd fully admit he'd mostly survived by sheer luck and an improvised wooden knife broken from a tree branch-- Jack finally gave up on hoping the effect would just go away, and sat down to write a long letter to Egg Shen courtesy of Wang's restaurant. He didn't know if the old wizard would be back from his "vacation" yet-- or even if he really had been planning to return-- but the guy was the only possible source of knowledge Jack felt comfortable approaching. (Gracie Law might be able to find out, but she'd just want to come out and join him, which he still thought was a bad idea on grounds of inevitable personality conflict; Wang might, too, but he had Miao Yin and their growing family to think about). He gave a drop box in L.A. for a return address, and in the meantime kept educating himself the good old fashioned way: by sheer trial and error.
About six years passed that way, Jack touring the country's thoroughfares and sticking his non-supernatural nose in where it didn't belong, before he came across a pair of leatherclad teenagers at a rest stop halfway between Los Angeles and some podunk town called Sunnydale. By that time, he'd picked up quite a bit about the world's unnatural nightlife through experience and correspondence, and even met a couple other so-called "hunters", but he'd never seen anything like the way the lithe little blonde utterly destroyed a pair of predatory demons with nothing more than her fists and a sharp knife. She moved like the Storms had, like she was on wires or something, and she had those green eyes-- those jade-green eyes that brought the mess in Little China back like it had been yesterday.
Her name was Buffy Summers, of all things; she was temporarily without home or schooling due to a little incident with a gym full of vampires gone flambé, and was seriously surprised to find herself faced with an adult who actually believed her story without prior knowledge of her "destiny". Her boyfriend, Pike, reminded Jack of his own younger bad-boy self; Jack wasn't sure at first glance that he'd last in the business, not once the excitement and revenge wore off and left only duty and responsibility to keep them going, but it seemed like he was the thing keeping her going at the moment, so Jack wished him the best. (He'd managed to do it himself, after all-- though he'd had a little magical assistance).
Jack spent a couple of hours tossing beers back with them and sharing war stories-- underage or not, the shit they'd experienced deserved adult recognition, in his opinion-- then drove on the next morning. Two ships passing in the night-- he'd never really expected to see them again.
Of course, he'd forgotten that he'd told them about Egg Shen's letters; and of course, Buffy had mentioned she'd lost her mentor before he'd really had a chance to explain much of anything beyond "here stake, there vampire"; so maybe he should have expected the two-wheeled tail he picked up later that morning. The minute he recognized the pair on the motorbike, he pulled over, expecting trouble-- and instead ended up with a persistent blonde passenger peppering him with questions all that afternoon. Poor Pike was left to follow on his own, reclaiming his girl when they stopped that night for supper.
One afternoon soon became two, became a week, became longer. Became a blonde with green eyes sharing his sleeper cab with him after all, boyfriend left behind at last during their next stop in L.A. She might not have been the blonde Jack had first considered for the role-- and yes, he was fully aware he was going to hell for taking Buffy up on her offer, especially after rejecting a woman much closer to his own age-- but who was he to turn a determined Slayer down? She was a feisty little minx, with reflexes even better than his, a kind heart, and stamina to die for. No joke intended.
Jack still ran his routes in the Porkchop Express after that, but he had more intoxicating inspiration now for his little Wisdom From Jack Burton sessions on the CB than alcohol and disappointment, and it was a rare night that he and Buffy didn't find some kind of action to keep them occupied at their pit stops, trouble or otherwise. He did rub his partner the wrong way sometimes, as he'd warned Gracie six years before; but then again, Buffy was no perfect flower either, and the making up part of the argument cycle proved well worth it.
He even took her back to meet Wang Chi and family once-- though that's another story entirely.
This is the story of how Jack Burton kind of, sort of, accidentally became a Watcher, bless Quentin Travers' horrified little British soul. He might not be the most orthodox example, but he's kept his Slayer alive past her twenty-first birthday, and how many Watchers can say that?
It isn't a life he'd ever have expected-- but remember what ol' Jack Burton says when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake?
"Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."