All BtVS characters belong to or were created by Joss Whedon, and Mutant Enemy. Anything from Stargate, The Devil Wears Prada, Kim Possible, and NCIS belong to others. The "Devil Hunter Yohko" costumes and characters were created by MadHouse, Inc. which is owned by a bunch of Japanese corporations.Summary:
A series of 1000-2000 word ficlets covering Jenny's life with the Council.Author's Note:
Takes place a number of months before "Portal Girl and the Science Lady" but doesn't need to be read first. Just fills in some backstory for her appearances in other stories in the series.Word Count:
"Why are we here again?" Buffy asked, hoping none of the pictures of her in her costume, taken by wandering geeks with cameras, made it back to Dawn, no matter how appropriate the others thought it was. Green hair really wasn't her favorite. But at least the costumes the twins had insisted they wear allowed them to be armed. The only anime she remembered from her childhood was Sailor Moon and those girls had been all about the cute costumes and magic attacks, not real weapons like these anime demon hunters used.
"Team building exercise?" Vi said, intently watching the crowds flowing around them.
"No," Buffy grumbled, trying to adjust her tight dress without flashing anyone. "Why here!" She waved at the gawking geeks and comic book nerds.
"Because we voted and C-squared outvoted us?" Vi said, shaking her head.
"The Mall of America was a valid choice," Buffy protested.
"For a shopaholic," Vi said, patting her on the shoulder in a patronizing manner. "Those two weren't impressed."
Buffy pouted. Shopping for shoes was important, no matter what the twins thought. "I bet their mother would have picked it," she said.
"She doesn't go to stores, they come to her," Vi said.
"Not the point," Buffy said. "Or why not even the beach?"
"Redhead," Vi said, pointing at herself, "We aren't all blonde beach bunnies. Some of us burn."
"I'm the boss," Buffy muttered under her breath. "It's be nice if certain people remembered that." Standing on her toes, she ignored Vi's laugh and tried to see over the crowd. "They should have been back by now."
"Must have run into a cute guy," Vi said.
"Here?" Buffy said, her voice squeaking.
"They aren't all like Andrew," Vi said, glaring at a gawker who was getting a little too close. "There must be a couple Xander-quality fanboys running around."
"There's only one Xander," Buffy said, growling at the nearest geek, sending him running for cover.
"True," Vi said. "Won't stop them from looking for their own copy."
"So, Cas is over her Faith worship, finally?" Buffy asked, wondering if she'd missed it.
"No, it's a twin thing," Vi said, shrugging, as if that answered everything.
"So, twin boy-toy hunting creepiness," Buffy said, nodding. "I guess some guys would like that kind of thing. Or Faith."
"You could have had them yourself," Vi murmured, ducking Buffy's hand but not bothering to hide her grin.
"A world of no!" Buffy said, raising her hand for another swat at her annoying Second. "Even if they weren't younger than Dawn, it was bad enough when they first started working with us. Being hero-worshipped sucks. They kept trying to impress me when they didn't need to."
Vi laughed. "Looks like the hunting was only okay," she said, drawing Buffy's attention to the twins headed their way, prodding a man and a woman walking in front of them.
"Not their type," Buffy murmured to her, scanning the crowd for signs of impending chaos. "A little too apple-pie-ish," she said.
"Dawn says there's a factory somewhere in Iowa that churns them out," Vi said.
"She has some of the craziest ideas," Buffy said, "but she's usually right."
"I didn't hear you say that," Vi said, smirking.
"No, not if you ever want your own team," Buffy said, nodding in agreement. "What do we have here?" she asked the twins when they came to a stop, taking note of the roughed-up appearance of their captives.
"N.I.D.," they both said, in twin-stereo. "They were talking with a little grey demon."
"Here?" Buffy raised an eyebrow. Agents for secret, and often annoying, government agencies, demons, and anime conventions in Cincinnati seemed like a very unlikely combination, in her opinion. The twins nodded. Buffy sighed. "Okay, let's take this somewhere else."
"Who are you," the woman asked belligerently.
"Is she serious?" Buffy asked, surprised. It'd only been six months since the President, at Buffy's insistence, had read the NID the riot act about interfering with her slayers and Riley's demon hunter teams.
The male agent, who'd gone pale at the sight of her, said "She's new," in a low voice.
"That's not a good excuse," Buffy said, stepping closer, into the female agent's personal space. "I'm sure there's a dartboard with my picture on it at N.I.D. Headquarters or even an Enemy #1 poster in the locker rooms or whatever bar you guys hang out in after your super-secret missions."
"Boss?" Vi said quietly.
"Audience," she reminded her, nodding at the geeks surrounding them.
"So, good N.I.D. or rogue?" Buffy asked, once they'd reached the agent's black van in the convention center parking garage. The female agent just glared at her. "A hint would be nice, or we could just call the President," she said. She didn't want to get them into too much trouble for revealing classified info. Yet.
The male agent shook his head before answering. "Cleanup."
"Which is what?" Buffy asked, glancing at Vi to see what she thought.
"Cleanup," he repeated. "Damage control?" he added at their blank looks. He looked at his fellow agent for help.
"Men in Black?" she said, giving him a disgusted look.
"Oh!" Vi said. "Boss, they cleanup after other N.I.D. Agents."
"How did you get that?" Buffy asked.
"Think about it," Vi said. "With all those N.I.D. rogue cells running around, they need someone to cleanup all of the messes when things blow up in their faces."
"Does that make them good guys or bad guys?" Buffy asked, glaring at the two agents. Someone really needed to put large labels on all of the different spy agency agents running around. How was she supposed to keep them all straight? Or maybe spy uniforms? It worked for Global Justice, why not the rest of them.
"Neutral?" Vi said. "Maybe?"
"Working with demons?" Buffy asked. Her next comment was interrupted by one of the twins.
"Yeah?" She shouted back, noticing the male agent exhibiting a nervous twitch.
"Come check this out!"
"Keep an eye on them," she told Vi.
Hurrying around to the other side of the van, she stopped at the open door guarded by Caroline.
She pointed into the van at her sister, who was leaning over a long form stretched out on a bench along the far side of the van.
"They've got a body in there," she said.
"She's alive," Cassidy said, her voice echoing. "She's giving off a strange vibe."
Climbing into the van, Buffy leaned over the woman. "Huh."
"What is she?"
"If she wasn't too old... Nah. Can't be." Buffy frowned.
"What!" Cassidy asked impatiently.
"She's too old to be one," Buffy said, keeping her voice low so that only the twins could hear her. She really didn't want to clue in the N.I.D. Agents about what they might have. "But that feeling? Sort of like a vibration in the back of your throat?"
"Yeah," Cassidy said.
"That's what a potential slayer should feel like," Buffy said. "But, like I said, she looks too old. That vibraty feeling should be so faint that only Faith, Willow, or I should feel it."
"We all know you're special, Boss," Caroline said, giggling.
Shaking her head, Buffy straightened up. "Looks like we have another passenger for the ride home."
"Boss? We're gonna need some clothes for her," Cassidy said. "She's naked under that sheet.Not exactly inconspicuous if we get pulled over."
"So, what do you think," Buffy asked. She'd been quietly watching Willow and Tomoe examine their rescuee for the last hour.
"Physically she's fine," Tomoe said. "She should be awake."
"She's definitely a potential, like you thought," Willow said. "She should have been young enough to be activated, she looks to be the right age. I'm not sure why she wasn't."
"We've seen that happen before," Buffy reminded them.
"Well, we still don't know why that happened either," Willow said.
"What else?" Buffy asked. "Were you able to get anything from her aura?"
"It's a bit scrambled, like it doesn't quite fit right yet," Willow said.
"Like when Faith did the body swap thing?" Buffy asked. "Like someone who doesn't belong has been crammed in there?"
"No, it's definitely hers," Willow said. "More like it's been stretched out too fast. I'll have to keep an eye on her till it settles in."
"Can you take a look inside her head, find out why she's unconscious?" Buffy reluctantly asked her.
"Maybe," Willow said, grimacing. "You know that isn't really my thing."
"The N.I.D. thought she was valuable," Buffy said. "I'd like to know why before they ask for her back."
"They can't have her," Willow said. "She's definitely one of ours."
"Okay, do your poking," Buffy said, nodding. "We'll worry about getting rid of them tomorrow."
"I'm surprised they haven't called in reinforcements," Willow said. Pulling over a chair, she made herself comfortable. "This could take a while," she said, leaning forward and taking the woman's right hand in her own.
Yawning, Willow opened her eyes. "What time is it?"
"Midnight," Tomoe said. "You've been gone for three hours."
"So?" Buffy asked impatiently, looking up at her from the stool she'd commandeered earlier.
"Tea first," Willow said."She's not going anywhere any time soon."
"Kennedy brought you something to eat before she went to bed," Tomoe said, pointing at a tray on a side table on the other side of the room.
"That was sweet," Willow murmured. Pushing herself up, she stepped over to the tray. "Did either of you want something?" she asked, lifting lids to see some of her favorite snacks.
"Already ate," Buffy said.
"Later," Tomoe added.
"So, what'd you find out?" Buffy asked.
"Well," Willow said, pausing to take a bite of celery stick, "it's kind of messy in there," she mumbled.
"Like her aura was?"
"Sort of. Maybe?" Willow said, frowning. "I wasn't very good with auras back then. Tara was the expert. And poking round in someone's head is tricky."
"But you've done it before," Buffy said.
"In an emergency," Willow reminded her, waving a slice of carrot. "We were lucky nothing went wrong. Fortunately, I was just looking around this time."
"And?" Buffy grumbled. "What'd you see?"
"Mostly surface stuff," Willow said, before looking at Tomoe. "How old do you think she is?"
"Late twenties," Tomoe said, after looking intently at the unconscious woman for a minute.
"Sounds good to me," Buffy said, agreeing.
"Well, you'd both be wrong," Willow told them. "In her head she sees herself older. Maybe in her forties?"
"Some kind of age reversing demon?" Buffy asked. "That would explain the N.I.D. angle."
"What else did you find out?"
"Not a lot. Like I said, it's messy in there," she said, brushing a lock of red hair away from the woman's face. "Her memories are a bit scattered right now." Willow shook her head. "She thinks she's dead. Before this happened," she waved her hand at the woman, "she was in some kind of gun battle."
"Military?" Buffy grimaced.
"She was a cop or some kind of government agent," Willow said. "Or maybe both? She keeps thinking about someone named Jethro."
"Okay. Did you at least get her name?" Buffy asked. "We can get Betty to look her up for us. She keeps track of things like that."
"Jenny Shepard," Willow said. "Buffy? If she thinks she's dead, the people she worked for probably think so to. So we probably don't want to let anyone know about her until she's awake. Make sure Betty keeps this to herself."
"When's she going to wake up?"
"A couple weeks. A month maybe," Willow said. "Her head's like a big puzzle right now. When she gets it together enough, she'll wake up. No reason to push."
"Well, Tomoe, looks like you're going to have a guest for a while," Buffy said, sighing, getting up from her stool. "Keep me updated on her status."
"Okay, Buffy," Tomoe said, nodding. Waiting until Buffy silently left the room, she turned to Willow, who was still watching the unconscious woman. "So... another candidate for the Redhead gang?" she asked, winking at Willow.
"We'll see." Willow laughed and grabbed another carrot.
Endnote:Devil Hunter Yohko characters Buffy and co. dressed up as at the convention:
Buffy - Haruka Mano
Vi - Azusa Kanzaki
Cassidy - Ayako Mano
Caroline - Yohko Mano