Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters from Buffy or DC. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Only a small but important part of Xander survived the Hyena incident.
AN – This story branches off of “It’s not Him” and follows Buffy’s new life away from the Hellmouth.
Their departure from the Hellmouth went quite smoothly. Between the glamours she placed on Buffy and herself, and the tinted windows of the car that took them from the mansion to the chartered plane at the airport, no one paid them more than a passing glance. The fact that it was midmorning also managed to help ensure none of the demonic community had much of a chance to detect and investigate the minor magic surrounding them.
The three Kalderash bodyguards weren’t using glamours but were non-descript enough to be totally forgettable.
The flight seemed long as no one spoke to anyone else. Buffy was not in the mood for any small talk and just sat in her seat clutching the small pink, plush toy Janna had given her. The bodyguards were not inclined to talk to the disowned Janna unless absolutely necessary, which it wasn’t.
As part of hiding their location, the small airport they landed at wasn’t their final destination but put them within a reasonable commute to it or any of the dozens of other mid to large cities nearby.
The bodyguards then drove them straight to a hotel where the Elders had already obtained a suite for them. With the trading of favors, there was no need to produce any ID when they checked in and they could stay up to a month in anonymity. A similar accommodation had been set up with the storage company that would hold Janna’s belongings until she had a permanent place to stay, so anyone who might attempt to locate them had no way to determine that they had ever even passed through the city.
Janna noted that there were already protective wards on the room to keep anyone with ill intent from even realizing the room was there. She would add her own as a back up in addition to setting up the magical connection between her and Buffy that would allow her to find the young woman should they become separated. It should also prevent Buffy from sneaking away in that it would compel Buffy to tell her where she was going if she left their suite.
Not that she believed Buffy would run off, despite not liking the situation. Her child’s welfare would keep her with Janna -- at least until after it was born. Beyond that, Janna wouldn’t place any bets, though she hoped that, by then, she would have garnered a bit more of her trust.
Janna also doubted that Buffy knew, or even cared, what city she was in.
Finally speaking for the first time in several hours, Janna said, “We’ll rest up tonight and tomorrow, I’ll contact the man who’ll help us get settled in with new identities, a job for me, and a place for us to stay. Once that’s done we can get you into school and find a doctor to take care of you and your baby. After I’ve talked with him, we’ll go shopping for some more clothes for you, though we’ll hold off on the maternity outfits for a few months.”
Buffy grunted noncommittally, though the thought of shopping did appeal to her in that Jenny . . . no, she was Janna, the blonde reminded herself, had only gotten a few things her size before they left Sunnydale.
Janna continued, “Now, I’ve decided on ‘Janice Kalder’ as my new name and believe you should also have the last name Kalder. What I need to know is what would you like for your first name?”
Buffy shrugged and said melancholily, “Whatever you want.”
Cautiously approaching the young woman and urging her to look her in the eye, Janna said, “I know this is hard for you in that much of what is happening is being forced on you.” *And me,* she added mentally. “That is why I want you to have some say in the things you can still control. Your new name needs to be something you not only need to be comfortable enough to answer to but should be a way of maintaining and defining yourself as an individual. Make it have a special meaning to you since you can’t be Buffy anymore.”
Buffy gave a wan smile and a nod to the dark haired teacher in acceptance of the kindness being shown her. Just as she had done when she acknowledged Merrick’s assertion that she was a Slayer with a sacred duty, she built up her resolve to not let circumstances completely rule her life. Janna was right that she had to take control of those things she could still control or she, and possibly her child, would remain puppets and pawns for others.
“In that case, I’ll be Anne,” said Buffy/Anne.
Then added with an evil smile, “Aunt Janice.”
Janna frowned as the implication of having a 16 year old niece made her feel older than the actual 10 years between their ages.
“Maybe I should be a slightly older cousin?” replied the Gypsy trying to shake off the sudden feeling of being ancient.
“Nope,” replied Buffy/Anne. “You're stuck being my aunt. It’ll make a better impression on any officials that need to deal with a parental figure. That could be important when my condition becomes obvious and someone decides child services needs to investigate.”
Janna was a bit surprised by Buffy’s . . . no Anne’s logical insight. Plus, evil or not, the fact that Anne could smile at all was a good sign that she would eventually fully cope with the existing circumstances.
“Very well, Anne,” she said. “It’ll be best if we only refer to each other by our new names from now on. This will help it become a habit and there will less chance for slip-ups.”
“One other thing,” said the newly christened Janice. “By morning, your hair will be a dark golden blonde. No more bleaching.”
They ordered in room service and the newly christened Janice Kalder had to quash her niece Anne’s desire to order three full meals for herself, even though the cost would be on the Tribe’s dime. When Anne tried the “But I’m eating for two” excuse, Janice pointed out it was too early for that to count and that they also didn’t need to do things to draw attention to themselves even though they were currently in a secure location. Janice did allow her to order two complete meals for herself, though, as she wanted to be sure Anne built her reserves back up from having been in a magical sleep for so long and to also placate her Slayer metabolism which had been Anne’s other excuse.
After dinner, Janice managed to engage Anne in a brief discussion about what type of place they should be looking for when choosing permanent housing arrangements. They agreed it would have to be at least a three bedroom even though initially the baby would share a bedroom with Anne. It would also need at least two bathrooms with tub/shower combinations in each.
The fact that they would need a house versus a condo or apartment was a given. First, there was the issue of security, both mundane and mystical. Their privacy would also be enhanced by having a house. And finally, even though Anne would not be out pummeling any evil supernatural entities, both she and Janice would still need someplace to train and maintain weapons. Neither of the young women believed that there would never be a need to defend themselves or Anne’s child, with both of them certain that Murphy was bound to rear his head at what would be the most inconvenient time possible for them, and it would be best to be prepared.
After their talk, Janice informed Anne of the two spells she was going to do. The first one would allow either of them to find the other should the need arise. Janice elaborated that it would work for Anne’s child as well, once it was born. A beneficial side benefit was that it would negate any other locator spells someone might try to use to find them.
Anne agreed that the spell was reasonable. However, when informed of the second spell, she said, “Don’t you trust me?”
To which Janice replied, “With my life, Anne, but you might still get homesick and decide to damn the consequences of heading back to Sunnydale. Plus, I want to point out that this spell does not prevent that. It only ensures you will tell me where you are going if you aren’t going to be where I know you should be. I’m not trying to be your jailer, you know. I’ve been charged with the safety of you and your child. These two spells will help me do that with minimal impact on your free will.”
Anne pouted but didn’t object to either spell being cast. Truth be told, she was more upset over the change to her hair color. She had liked the lighter blonde shades.
As a way to mollify Anne over doing the second spell, Janice allowed her to order a ‘light’ snack before they went to bed. As for herself, she fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow. She wasn’t used to the amount of casting she’d been doing and it had taken a lot out of her.