Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Torchwood. They respectively belong to Joss Whedon and the BBC. I own nothing.AN:
Time-wise, this takes place after "Becoming" in BtVS and right after "Day One" in Torchwood. There will be canon Torchwood pairings, so expect Janto later on in the story.
“Morning, Ianto,” Captain Jack Harkness said as he strode down to the center of the Hub from his office. The Welshman looked up, his face impassive. “How’s my favorite Welsh man muffin?”
“I asked you not to call me that, sir,” Ianto remarked as he first handed Jack an overflowing manilla folder and then a steaming cup of coffee. “The nickname is rather demeaning. And I am well rested,” he added in order to forestall another question from his boss. Jack shook his head at the Welshman with a slight smile on his face. He took a sip of the coffee and resisted the urge to groan with pleasure. The first cup of the day always did this to him, one of the many reasons he kept Ianto around. Whistling jauntily, Jack went back up to his office to tackle the seemingly never-ending mountain of paperwork he had to do. There were still loose ends to tide up in regards to Suzie and he needed Gwen to fill out her paperwork.
One by one, the remainder of his team straggled in. Ianto was always the first to come and the last to leave. Jack wondered when the boy found time to sleep. Tosh was the next to arrive, making a beeline for her computer while still absorbed with whatever was on her PDA. Jack smiled as she frantically began typing, transferring information from one device to another. Gwen showed up next, the wide-eyed look from yesterday was still on her face. She sat down at her desk with a slightly confused look on her face. She would get over it soon. She would have to if she wanted to stay here and remain sane. Predictably, Owen was the last to roll in, with a distinctly rumpled look and a smirk on his face. He had this look whenever he had been lucky the night before.
“Morning, lads and lassies,” Jack boomed in a fake Scottish accent as he looked down on his domain. “Any doomsdays, interesting activity and the like on our agenda today?”
“There’s no abnormal Rift activity so far,” replied Tosh, lifting her eyes briefly from her computer screen. “Also, there’s nothing suspicious coming in over the CCTV.”
“Good,” Jack commented as she swept down the stairs—the best way to accent his amazing coat. “Gwen, finish this paperwork and come with me. I still need to give you the grand tour of this place. Owen, how’s that autopsy going?” Owen grumbled a noncommittal answer, something about a fish and a screwdriver.
The day passed uneventfully, with Jack getting Gwen acclimated to the Hub, Tosh updating their systems and monitoring the Rift, Owen alternating between actually working and goofing off, and Ianto doing, well, whatever Ianto did.
“Are most days like this?” Gwen asked over a leisurely lunch of pizza. Owen groaned and Ianto shot her a dirty look.
“Important rule—never comment on when a day is boring,” commented Jack nonchalantly, staring at the ceiling. “What do you think it’ll be this time, team?” No one answered, hoping that by staying quiet they could avoid the inevitable. “What, no takers?” Jack continued, a wicked grin on his handsome face.
“With our luck lately, it will be an invasion of some sort,” muttered Ianto darkly as he began to clear the boxes away from the table. A nervous laugh swept through the room. One by one, the team returned to their desks.
Dusk soon came, with nothing more exciting than some Weevil removal from an abandoned warehouse. They were about to head back to the Hub and call it a night when Ianto’s worried voice broke through the coms.
“Sir, I’m getting readings of some massive Rift activity about two miles east of your position,” reported Ianto as he brought up video feeds and charts onto the screens in the Hub and sent them to Tosh in the SUV. “The spike was fairly sudden. Nothing has come through yet, although it wouldn’t surprise me given the amount of energy being released.”
“Jack, this energy is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Tosh interjected as Jack tore through the streets of Cardiff like a madman. “I need to finish analyzing it back at the Hub, but we may be dealing with something completely different than what we’re used to.”
Jack swore under his breath as he glanced at the GPS. “Tosh, stay here and see if you can give me something on the energy: What makes it different, where it may be from and what it might spit out at us. Owen, out front with me. Gwen, stay behind us and do exactly what I say. I don’t want a repeat of yesterday.”
He could see the glow of the Rift energy now, but the golden glow was strangely tinted with red. Ianto was right; there was a good chance they would be getting a visitor tonight.
Swinging the SUV into the street, the glowing energy strangely brightened. “Owen, Gwen, get out now and have your weapons ready,” he barked as he stopped the car and leapt out. The light only continued to get brighter, causing him to throw his arm over his face in order to protect his eyes. Gradually, the energy began to fade away, leaving Jack blinking away the spots in front of his eyes. Glancing around, he spotted what the Rift had left them.
A girl, it was hard to tell her age in this light, stood crouched down and panting softly. Her hair was ragged and singed at the ends and her clothes were ripped and burned, as well as worn through in several places and it looked like she had a sword with her. She glanced around wildly, her eyes wide in her pale, drawn face. Not knowing what she was, Jack did what any other agent would do in this situation. Walking forward, he drew his gun.
Pain. She was surrounded by pain. There were so many demons around her, all trying to tear her apart. She didn’t know what happened to Angel, she hadn’t seen him since she had fallen into this hell dimension. She didn’t know how long she fought against them, pushing herself beyond all measures of endurance. Whenever she thought she had room to breathe for a moment, they were back again, all of them trying to kill the pesky Slayer that had appeared in their home dimension.
Something started sending her spidey senses into overdrive. Looking around, she saw a prick of golden light tinged with red. Before the demons surrounding her realized what she was doing, she was running towards the light, hoping beyond all reason that this was the way to get home. Reaching out, her finger touched the light…
She was ripped from the dimension, tumbling over and over through the light, not knowing which way was up and which way was down. Finally, the light spat her out onto the pavement, out of breath and disoriented.Where am I?
she wondered as she looked around furtively. Car. There was a car with people coming out; people or vampires? She couldn’t tell right now, her senses were semi-fried. She heard a gun cock and the terse “Freeze” that followed it. She stiffened, memories flying back to her.Kendra lay in the middle of the room, her throat bloody. How could she be so stupid, how could she let Angel trick her like that? Before she could fully adjust to what just happened, she heard the gun and the cop shout “Freeze.”
These were cops, coming for her for Kendra’s murder. Her breathing increased and her vision narrowed. Standing up slowly, she did the one thing her battered mind could think of. She ran.
“Shit!” Jack shouted as the girl bolted down a side street, running faster than a normal human should be. “Tosh, try and track her on CCTV,” he ordered as he took off after the girl. “Ianto, change all lights to allow the SUV to follow her without interruption. Owen, drive!” Jack ran after the girl, doing his best to keep up with her down the various side streets. “Tosh…” he shouted when he lost her.
“She’s only a couple streets over,” Tosh’s voice reassured him. “There’s a short cut you can take to cut her off.” With Tosh in his ear guiding him, Jack raced down the rain-slicked Cardiff streets.
“Just take one more left and unless she suddenly changes directions, you should have her,” Tosh said. “We’re going to cut her off in the back with the SUV.”
“Gwen, grab the tranq gun under the passenger’s seat and give it to Owen,” Jack ordered. Turning a corner, he was taken by surprise for the second time that day.
In front of him, the girl was fighting a Weevil. No, not fighting, beating that thing into the ground. Her movements were awkward at times, probably due to her injuries, but she still fought with a grace and speed he had never seen in a human being in all his years of travel. She was beautiful yet deadly. In the back of his mind, he saw the SUV drive up and Owen climbing out with the tranq gun in his hands. Holding his hand up to stop Owen for a moment, he watched as the girl delivered a roundhouse kick to the Weevil, knocking it unconscious. He was even more impressed. He could barely stand his own with a Weevil and here was a girl almost half his size taking it out without breaking a sweat.
Nodding briefly to Owen, Jack watched as she started when the tranquilizer hit her. She looked up with a shocked look on her face, only to crumble slowly to the ground. Owen and Gwen rushed to catch her and lowered her slowly to the wet pavement below. Striding towards the body, Jack was surprised to see that she looked exactly like a teenage girl, albeit one who looked like she hadn’t had a decent meal and a good night’s sleep in a good while.
“Owen, Gwen, put her in the back seat and secure her. I would also give her another dose of tranquilizers. Don’t want her waking up and hitting things,” he added with a small smile. “I know you all don’t go for the whole rough-housing things.”
“Jack, what I gave her would knock out a human twice her size,” Owen argued. “Give her any more and she could go into an overdose. If she looks like she’s waking up, I’ll give her another dose, but I don’t want to risk her dying.”
“You a doctor then Jack? Can I see your degree? Oh wait, you don’t have one. Let’s leave this to the professional shall we?”
“Fine,” Jack said as he made his way to the driver’s side. “When we get back to the Hub, I want complete readings on her. What she is, where she may have come from and how the hell she got here. Ianto,” he added, talking into the comm.
“Look over the recordings of the Rift activity. See if we can get any clues from that. Gwen, when we get back, help Owen with the girl. Make sure she’s restrained. I don’t want her breaking our pretty toys.”
Struggling through the fog that surrounded her, Buffy could make out several faint voices. Straining, she caught a fragment of a conversation somewhere above her:
“…Completely human, nothing out of the ordinary Jack,” said the first voice. The accent was a little like Giles’, except with a slight edge to it.
“That doesn’t explain how she was able to take down a Weevil, a unsedated Weevil at that, all on her own,” came a second voice, American this time, sounding both annoyed and curious at the same time.
“And I’m telling you, there is nothing abnormal about her, except that she appears to be healing faster than any humans can,” came Mr. British-dude, sounding annoyed at voice number two. “Maybe you should ask her when she wakes up. What a concept.”
Tuning out the voices, Buffy tried to recollect what happened before she collapsed…wait, a minute, she hadn’t collapsed. She had been fighting that fugly looking demon when she had felt a small prick on the back of her neck. Whoever tranqued me is in for a whole lot of hurt, she thought angrily as she noticed she was restrained to a bed with handcuffs. Testing them slightly, she smiled inwardly. They shouldn’t be too hard to break free of using her Slayer strength. These cops had just made a big mistake.
Listening carefully, she noticed that it was absolutely silent around her. Cracking her eyes a little bit, she tried to take inventory of her surroundings. The bed she was on was in some sort of pit, surrounded by white tiles. The voices that she had been eavesdropping in on were coming from the area above the pit. OK, mysterious cops, let’s see how you like the Slayer.
In a swift, controlled movement, Buffy winced slightly as the metal snapped off her wrists.
“What was that?” asked one of the voices, the American one. Making a face, Buffy rolled off the bed, stabilizing herself before briefly taking inventory of her weapon options. Where’s a sword when I need one?
she asked herself silently as she reached for a scalpel. Why couldn’t these people be stupid and leave something bigger and more-pointy within easy reaching distance?
Hearing a gun cocking again, Buffy ducked behind what looked to be an important piece of equipment. “There’s nowhere to go,” came Mr. America. “We have you surrounded and we aren’t afraid to shoot.”
“What gives you the insane idea I’m going to come out and surrender to the idiots who attacked me?” Buffy responded, trying to sound more confident than she felt. “Crazy much?”
“Look, we don’t want to hurt you,” came the voice again, trying to placate her. “Just come out and talk. That’s all we want.”
“Be a nice boy and promise you won’t hurt me first,” came Buffy’s reply as she examined the piece of equipment she was hiding behind. It was like nothing she had ever seen before and she knew her basic medical equipment. Hearing nothing, she decided drastic times called for drastic measures.
“Oh…shiny,” she cooed as she fingered the scalpel. “Wonder what it sounds like when I scratch it like so…” She mimed scrapping the pointy end against a bit of wiring that was peaking just around the corner so whoever was there could see it. She could hear a slight gasp on the other side. “Now, unless you want shiny to go bye-bye, I recommend you do as I ask.”
“Jack, do you know how long it took me to track that machine down?” came the Giles-wannabe voice with a slight panicked edge to it. “Just do what she asks.”
“Time’s running out,” Buffy called out in a sing-song voice. “Limited time offer and all that jazz.”
There was a slight pause before Mr. America finally bit out, “Fine. We promise not to shoot…”
“I said not to hurt me. Don’t be playing with my words, Mister. I know what I said,” Buffy retorted, moving her hand closer to the machine. She could hear a distant groan from the other side. She gave a small smile. Tormenting him was going to be fun times.
“Fine. We won’t hurt you,” said the voice, placing special emphasis on the word “hurt.”
“Positive?” she asked, half for serious, half for fun.
“Yes,” came the weary reply. Deciding that she had tormented these men enough, Buffy cautiously stood up, keeping the equipment between her and her captors. Looking up, she took stock of the five people staring down at her.
There was a small Asian woman, looking at a small techie thing that reminded Buffy of the tricorders that Xander envied so much. Next to her was a burnette, whose white lab coat covered his jeans and t-shirt. This must be Giles-lite if the glare he was giving her was any indication. Both of these two were on the stairs leading down to the tiled pit she was in. On the balcony bit, two more brunettes, one male and one female were giving her odd looks. The woman didn’t look like much, but the guy was cute, in a boyish, suit-wearing way.
It was the man in the middle who commanded her attention the most, however. He was handsome, strikingly handsome, with a roguish grin on his face. His hair was artfully mussed and the smirk he wore meant he knew he looked damn good with it like that way. With his blue shirt unbuttoned at the very top and the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, he made a dashing figure, even with suspenders. Buffy studied him, hazel eyes serious, before giving him a wicked grin.
“What’s with the old-man straps?” she asked innocently, cocking her head to the side. “Weren’t those in style, I don’t know, never?” she continued, trying her best to channel Queen C at her worst. The man looked taken aback. Apparently no one seemed to speak to him like this.
“Excuse me?” he asked, a shocked look on his face. Next to him, suit-boy smirked slightly.
“Do you not understand English or something? Do you need me to translate?” Buffy continued. “I mean, really, they do nothing for you.” She was moving slowly away from the equipment now, but her eyes never left the man in the middle. She placed her money on him being Mr. America.
“Who are you?” he demanded, glaring down at her. Most people would have found him extremely alluring, but Buffy was in no mood for that right now. She had learned her lesson about dating older men—or dating in general for that matter.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” she said as she studied the railings just above her head. She hated being short, they were just out of her reach. She’d have to equalize the height playing field the hard way.
“I asked first,” he replied, a wicked little grin on his face. Good, he was catching on.
“Too bad,” she replied as she backed up and ran towards the bed. Using it as a launching pad, she planted her hands and flipped herself up to land on the railing. Wobbling a bit before catching her balance and hoping off. She stumbled a bit before catching herself and standing up straight, taking a perverse pleasure in everyone’s shocked looks.
“How…How did you just do that?” stammered Lab-man. “You only just woke up. You should barely be able to walk!”
Buffy shrugged. “I eat my Wheaties every morning, Med-man. Speaking of which, I’m starved. What do you all have to munch on around here?”
“You can eat after you tell us who you are and where you come from,” Mr. America told her, a serious look on his face, evaluating her closely. “You had an ID on you for Sunnydale High, for a ‘Buffy Summers,’ but we ran that through our database and neither you nor your town exist. So tell me, Miss Summers, how did you come through the Rift?” Buffy paused for a moment before the words sunk in.Portal…Angelus opening the portal…sword…”Close your eyes.”…falling…”Freeze.”…Spike with a deal…”If you walk out of here you can’t come back”…Giles bloody and broken…”Me”…soul…Kendra…”Kick his ass”…Angel…
With a cry, her memories flooded back to her, stunning her. Ever since she had entered the hell dimension, there hadn’t been time to fully process what had happened to her. “Oh God,” she whispered as she fell to her knees holding her head in her hands, wishing the memories would go away. Tears started to fall but she didn’t care. “Oh God…Angel…”
“…How did you come through the Rift?” was all Jack had asked, but her reaction was completely different from what he had expected, given her response so far. He had expected a flippant response, a bright grin and the urge to throttle her. Instead she broke down, repeating the words “Oh God” and “Angel” over and over as she rocked back and forth. She began shivering, but seemed unaware of the change.
“She’s going into shock,” shouted Owen as he made his way towards her. “Someone grab a blanket!” Ianto ran to the couch and returned quickly, blanket in hand. Owen snatched it and wrapped it around the shaking girl. “Don’t move her,” he ordered as he moved back a little and gave her a clinical look.
She looked up at them, green eyes clouded over. “Where…Where am I?” she asked in a broken voice.
“You’re in Cardiff, Wales,” Jack told her, surprised at the sudden change in her. Something caused this, something changed what had been a bubbly young woman into this broken being.
“Are you sure that there’s no place called Sunnydale? Are you absolutely sure?” she whispered, panic in her voice.
“I’m positive,” Tosh broke in, pity on her face. “I checked three times to make sure. Sunnydale doesn’t exist here.” What remaining color in the girl’s face left, leaving her ghost white.
“Mom…” she whispered as she pulled the blanket tighter around her small frame and more tears streamed down her face. “Giles…”
To everyone’s surprise, it was Ianto who reached out to comfort her. Kneeling down, he put his hand on her shoulder. She didn’t react but kept rocking back and forth. No one was sure what they could do to comfort this broken girl who had been ripped out of her home and thrust here.
Gradually her sobs turned into muffled sniffles and she looked at them with red-rimmed eyes. “Let’s get you something to eat,” Ianto told her gently as he helped her stand up and guided her to the conference room. The girl only nodded silently and followed his lead, still clutching the blanket in her hands.
“What are we going to do with her, Jack?” as Gwen with a concerned look on her face. “She has nowhere to go and we don’t know exactly what she is yet.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Jack reassured her. “We’ll figure it out.”