TITLE: Summer Daze
DISCLAIMER: Joss, Fox, UPN and whoever, own all things Buffy. TNT and them own The Pretender. *Sigh* I wish I did, but I don’t. Everyone else is owned by the rightful owners and what not. Kay?
10:00 AM June 9
It was a sunny morning in Sunnydale and Buffy was once again left to her own devices. She wasn’t having much luck on her own with the search, so she decided to recruit a friend from work. With Willow’s laptop in a case at her side, determination on her face, and a now insatiable sense of curiosity on her mind, (not to mention the thought of earning a pay check she needed desperately) Buffy had a plan.
After much walking, Buffy reached the small apartment house located about three blocks from the UC Sunnydale campus. She walked up to the door and searched the list of names on the buzzer. With a smile and a nod she located the one labeled Rick Parker. She pressed it and waited for a response.
A male voice crackled from the intercom. “Hello?”
“Rick?” Buffy asked. “It’s me Buffy.”
Rick’s apartment was a small studio that his parents obviously paid for. It wasn’t like he needed the money for school since he had a full scholarship.
**Lucky him.** Buffy thought. She sat in a comfy thrift store armchair as she waited for Rick to come back with something to drink.
Rick returned and handed her a glass of something purple. She arched an eyebrow at it and he grinned.
“Grape Kool Aid.” He explained as he sat down in a chair in front of her. “Parents pay for the apartment but not my supplies. I’m on a little budget now.” Rick’s hazel eyes sparkled as his good-looking face filled with mirth. “If someone hadn’t started a fire...”
“Chloe started it.” Buffy snickered. “But if you hadn’t—”
“I didn’t know what it was!” Rick said defensively as he ran a hand through his dark hair.
“Sure.” She smirked. “I bet you sabotaged the place on purpose. You’re really an evil mastermind with the need to burn all Doublemeat Palaces around the world down.”
“Uh... no.” Rick said. “Unless it’s a split personality I don’t know about. But I’d think one of my others would let me know.” The two laughed for a few moments before Rick got to the point. “So what do I owe this visit to?”
Buffy’s face got serious. “Well, I’m doing some personal research for Professor Taylor to earn some money… Only it kind of requires a bit of hacking skills I lack.”
Rick’s brow creased, “What kind of research?”
“Looking for some lost relative of his.” Buffy shrugged, “All I know is that they’re supposed to have been in my graduating class and adopted.” She took a long drink before continuing. “I haven’t been able to do much. I asked Professor Taylor about it but he said that it’d probably hidden deep.”
“Hidden?” Rick frowned as he walked over to his computer. “How hidden?”
Buffy followed, “I dunno. From the way he acted, I’m going to guess Area 51 hidden.”
“So you came to me for this?”
“Well you ARE always bragging about your ‘elite skills’.” Buffy pointed out with a smile.
“You only want me for my mind...here I was thinking women wanted me for my body.” Rick pouted at her.
Buffy laughed, “Maybe they do. Just not this one.”
Rick chuckled as he worked. Buffy watched him as he did his thing with as much speed and skill as Willow had always done. He was almost as impressive as the witch who was far from home.
After about ten minutes Rick looked up. “I’m going to show you something.”
“See, you got into the records right?”
“Well yeah, that wasn’t too hard. I’ve seen Willow do it.”
“But you’re having trouble actually digging while there.” He stated.
She nodded. “I get lost in all the…” Buffy paused to think of a way to describe it. “Twists and turns.”
Buffy watched carefully as he worked and her eyes light up. “Oh! So THAT’S what I’m doing wrong!” She shoved him over a bit and tapped a few keys, “So that’s what I do. I’ve been doing the dyslexic approach. Duh.”
Rick’s eyes widened, “Are you sure you’ve never done this?”
“I’ve never had a need to.” She grinned. “But I’ve seen Willow do it enough. She rubbed off on all of us in one way or another.”
“I think I’d like her.”
Her voice went soft as she stepped away and let him take over the keyboard again, “Yeah, you would have.” Buffy shook her head out of her daze, “So dig me up some info, babe. A list of every adopted kid you can find.”
Buffy frowned, “Wait… how deep can you dig?”
“As deep as you want.”
She walked over pulled out a small notebook from her laptop case. Flipping it open she skimmed through the pages as she returned to Rick. She handed him the book and pointed to a name, one that had taken forever to pry out of Jarod. “Track down any kid connected to this NuGenisis place.”
Blue Cove, Delaware
Mr. Lyle walked into Miss Parker’s office with a satisfied look on his face.
Parker looked up at him, “What’s with the grin? Did you finally eat Alice?”
“We found a way to get to Jarod.”
“Oh really.” Parker said dryly, “And how’s that?”
“Jarod has a kid in Sunnydale.” Lyle replied simply. “If he isn’t there already, he will be soon. There’s a reason someone dug that up.”
“And you want to use the kid as bait.”
“The kid was useless before.” Lyle shrugged, “Might as well get something out of it.”
“When do we leave?”
“An hour. Meet us at the airport.”
“Raines is going with us.”
Parker hid her disdain behind her cold face. “Of course. Our DNA donor would just have to supervise.”
12:13 PM June 9
Rick frowned as he worked. He cast a glance at Buffy who was fast asleep in his armchair. He opened his mouth to speak when something caught his eye on the monitor. Turning quickly he found himself staring at a familiar face. It was the only set he hadn’t bothered looking at. Out of curiosity he started reading.
Rick skimmed through the files when he came across something.
Buffy’s eyes fluttered open and she yawned, “What? Huh?”
“Buffy... you need to see this.”
Buffy senses went on full alert and went over to Rick. “That’s—”
“I know.” He pointed to what Buffy assumed was important. “I found what you wanted.”
The slayer’s eyes widened and she went pale. “No.”
“You... you didn’t know?”
She shook her head. “Does it LOOK like I knew?” She closed her eyes. Her voice was firm. “Print it out. All of it.”
“What are we doing?”
Xander shrugged as they both stared at the tv. They sat in Xander’s apartment vegging out. “Hanging out on a day off?”
Ranma gave him a curious look. “But WHAT are we doing?”
“It’s called male bonding, Ranma. We guys tend to do it.”
“Most guys, and girls for that matter, are trying to kill me.” Ranma said with a shrug.
“Humor me.” Xander whined. “I’ve had lack of testosterone filled buddies for years.”
Ranma shrugged. “Whatever.”
“What did you think of that Professor Taylor guy?” Xander asked.
“The guy looking at the books yesterday.”
“Oh him?” Ranma shrugged. “Dunno. Seemed nice enough. Hiding something big time though.”
“You noticed that too?”
“When you’ve lived my life, you learn to pay attention to everyone. You never know when you’ll be kicked through the ceiling and across town.”
Xander blinked at him as he munched on some chips. “Wha?”
“Crazy tomboy.” Ranma muttered, ignoring Xander’s confused look. He muttered a few phrases in japanese and then changed the subject. “When are you going to ask Buffy out?”
Xander nearly choked on his chips. “Gah! What? What are you talking about?”
“You’re dying to. You look like P-Chan when he’s been staring at Akane too long.”
“I’m not asking Buffy out.”
“So you’re going to put ME through hell and force me to watch you salivate over the slayer?” Ranma narrowed his eyes. “If you DON’T get it over with, I may ask her out myself.”
“Don’t you even think about it.” Xander growled.
Ranma snickered. “I knew it. You ARE P-Chan to Buffy’s Akane!” He shook his head and snatched the bowl of chips from Xander and began scarfing them down. “Figures. Seriously, get it over with. If I have to keep watching you go gaga over her, I’m going to ban you from the shop.”
Xander shook his head. “You have one hell of a way to get people to do what you want.”
“It’s nothing compared to what Nabiki pulls off. I still owe her what would be...” Ranma frowned as he calculated numbers in his head, “five hundred American dollars.”
“Damn!” Xander shook his head. “So who the hell is P-Chan?”
Jarod stared at the books in front of him. Out of all the books he’d looked through at The Magic Box he had bought all of them. He had found hints and clues pointing to the scrolls but nothing solid.
He was frustrated. Not too mention he was ready to burst. He couldn’t concrete on anything except his newly revealed fatherhood.
Jarod took a deep breath and placed his face in his hands. A furious pounding on the door interrupted his moment of silence. Composing himself, he headed over to answer. No sooner had he opened the door then Buffy stepped inside without an invitation.
“Why is this kid so important to you?” She demanded. The blonde stormed over to his table where his DSA case lay open and her eyes widened. “What’s this?”
“Did you find something?” Jarod asked, hoping to distract her.
Buffy turned to him, “Why is this lost relative important?”
Jarod stared at her. **What’s wrong with her?** “Family is important to me and—”
“How?” She demanded again, “How are they related to you?”
His voice softened. “I’m their father.”
Buffy blinked but nodded as if confirming what she thought. She pulled out a brightly colored folder and tossed it on the table. “There.”
Jarod walked over and picked it up gingerly. He opened it and a picture stared right back at him. His eyes widened and he looked at Buffy.
“Hi dad.” Buffy said, her face blank.