I own neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Ghostbusters, the rights to those remain with their respective owners. I am merely having fun with them.
Author's Note: At this time (21.07.2011) the story has NOT been beta'd. If you would like to help out by beta'ing, feel free to get in touch.
Joyce cursed softly as she lifted yet another blood stained shirt from her wash-basket. She fingered the the ragged tear and blood, closing her eyes and wondering what terrible evil her daughter had had to fight in order to keep humanity safe once again. Ever since Buffy had told her the terrible truth, she had struggled to remain calm. It helped having to maintain a façade in front of Dawn, but it was still hard.
“Ruined.” she said to the empty house, throwing the shirt into the bin. Sure, she had reacted badly when Buffy first told her about the whole Slayer thing. But contrary to what Buffy had said, Joyce had known something was happening, even when they had lived in LA. You didn't just forget a lifetime of terror in a flash. She hadn't been angry with Buffy that night, but with the world. They had moved twice to avoid the things that went bump in the night and suddenly she had found out that those things would always be in her daughters life. It was so unfair on Buffy.
She jumped as the phone rang. Shaking her head to clear away the memories she crossed the room and picked up. “Hello?”
“Hello Joyce.” a familiar voice greeted her.
“Hello Hank. How are you?” She asked, her mood darkening. Buffy's birthday was only a week away. He would only be phoning for one reason, he wasn't going to come.
“I'm fine Joyce, so is Janine. Thanks for asking.” Joyce bristled at the mention of her ex-husbands new partner. “Look, it's about next week.”
Joyce sighed. “I knew it. Hank, you have to stop these games, they're really hurting Buffy's feelings. If you're not going to come to town, don't tell her you are. It's cruel. I know, you're back in New York now and I know it's a long trip, but her birthday is once a year.”
“Woah there, hold on Joyce. I will be in Sunnydale. But I won't be alone.” Hank let out a sigh of his own. “I have some business to attend to whilst I'm there. I'm just worried that it will...” he paused, thinking how to word it. “I'm worried that Buffy will be exposed to a world she isn't ready for. Ray assures me that it won't happen, but you remember how these things rarely go as the guys say they will.”
Joyce laughed, relieved. At least he wasn't going to let their daughter down again. The last time had nearly broken Buffy. “Yeah, I remember. How are the guys?” she asked, surprising herself by being genuinely curious. She hadn't thought about the team in years.
“They're fine, they'll be with me so you can catch up with them when we have a moment. So, what do you think, there is a risk Buffy could be exposed to the supernatural, the guys seem to attract it.”
Joyce sat down on the couch. She had been wondering when she was going to have to tell Hank. She hated 'outing' her daughter, but Hank had to know. Especially if the team was coming with him, they'd pick up that something was different about her in a flash. “About that, Hank. There's something you really need to know about Buffy...”
Forty minutes later, Hank sat at his small desk in a corner of the headquarters building. So, Buffy was a Vampire Slayer. 'Well, that explains the fighting and fires.' he thought. 'Still, I better have a chat with the guys about this, before we set off...' His thoughts were interrupted by the deafening clamour of the bell. “Later then.” he whispered to himself as frantic activity erupted around him and moments later, in a screech of tires and wailing sirens, the care tore from the building.
One week later, Buffy sat in the Espresso Pump waiting for her father to arrive. She glanced around nervously. Her mother had spent a good two hours trying to reassure Buffy that he would show this year, but she still wasn't convinced. He had missed the big eighteen, why would he bother with this one? She looked down at the beverage in her hands and swirled the dark liquid around the mug.
“Hey sunshine. Penny for them.”
Hank grinned as Buffy's head snapped up. “Dad!” she leapt from her chair and hugged him, being careful not to use her full strength in case she broke something. Even so, Hank grunted under her emotional embrace.
“Wow, that's some grip you've got there.” He smiled again and ruffled her hair. “So, how is the birthday girl?”
“Sorry dad. And I'm fine, thanks.” she released her grip on him and sat back down, gesturing to the second chair at the table. “Mocha?” she asked him. He nodded and she waved to Celia behind the counter. Within moments the beverage was on the table before him.
Smiling, he picked it up. “That's quite a trick.”
A warm laugh left Buffy's mouth. “I cheated, I knew you would say yes.” Buffy took a sip of her own drink before replacing it. “So, what are we...”
She trailed off as a slightly overweight man rushed into the Espresso Pump. Looking left and right, he spotted them and rushed over. “Hank! Hank! You should see these readings! The PKE levels are astonishing! Buried. The. Need...” He trailed off as Hank fixed him with a fierce glare.
“Ray, I told you I would catch up with you tomorrow, I am spending today with my daughters.” His voice held a hint of displeasure.
“It's okay dad, really. Who's your friend?” Buffy's voice was warm, but inside she felt cold. Her father had brought someone with him? Her mom had told her they would be in town, but she hadn't thought they would be nearby.
Hank smiled at his daughter. “Buffy, meet Doctor Ray Stantz. Ray, Buffy Summers, my eldest daughter.” he gestured between them as he spoke.
“Charmed.” Ray said with a half smile, then turned back to Hank, gesturing with a small device he held in his hand that beeped occasionally. “Hank, I'm serious. These readings are...”
He stopped speaking as Hank pushed back from his chair, grabbed Ray by the arm and started to steer him towards the exit. In a hushed voice, he spoke in the other man's ear, unaware that Buffy could hear every word. “Ray, now is not the time. Go find Peter or Egon. It is my daughters birthday and you are not spoiling it with ghosts or whatever critter it is that you've found.”
Buffy fought to control her surprise as she heard her father talking about ghosts in such a matter of fact manner. What was going on? She willed her face back to a pleasant smile as her father rejoined her at their table.
“Now, where were we?” Hank asked with an answering smile, “Oh yes, your present. Pick a card.” With a grin, he pulled two envelopes from his pocket.
“Oooh” Buffy said, pointing to the smaller of the envelopes and tearing it open after Hank handed it over let out a squeal of pleasure as she saw the tickets inside.
“That was worth the cross-country drive.” Hank said, pleasure in his voice and expression. “Here, take this too.” He handed over the second envelope which contained a card and...
“Dad, I can't take this.” Buffy said softly, staring at the check which had been inside the card. “It's so much.”
Hank reached out and took his daughters hand. “Consider it my way of saying sorry. Things were tight for a while, but now I'm back in New York with Ray and the others, I can afford to help you. College isn't cheap.” He finished his drink and pushed back from the table. “Come on, we have a show to see and they won't wait for us. And I said I'd take Dawn to the cinema after we get back. But for now, it's just us.” He put an arm around his daughters shoulder and they left the Espresso Pump.
“I'm telling you, Peter, the readings are coming from that hotel room.” Ray pointed towards a room, “We have to check this out.”
“Ray, my boy,” Peter Venkman began, placing his arm around Ray's shoulder and turning them away from the offending door. “We are running a business. We already have a client and investigating this blip...”
“It's not a 'blip' Pete, this is a major surge in PKE energy of catastrophic proportions. Anything affected by this could be distorted in ways we can't possibly imagine. Dealing with it now is better, easier and less dangerous than ignoring it!” Ray exclaimed, brushing Peter's hand away and turning back towards the door.
“But not profitable, Ray. We've already crossed the country for a job. A very well paid job. We shouldn't be jumping into the fray until we've been paid.” Peter smiled at Ray. “We should be fray-adjacent for...” He broke off as the PKE meter in Ray's hands went crazy.
Ignoring Peter's objections, he dashed across the parking lot and hammered on the door. “Hey! Are you okay in there?” He yelled.
Gasping, Peter joined him. “Ray, we don't have time for...”
“Shh, listen. Do you smell something?”
Peter rolled his eyes. “Ray, honestly, you need...”
Ray held up a placating hand. “I'm serious. Listen and smell.”
Peter paused. A low chanting could be heard from the motel room and a disgusting smell. “Ray, what a lovely smell you've discovered.”
Dismissing his companions flippant remark, Ray hammered at the door again. “Hey! Open up!” He glanced down as the PKE meter in his other hand beeped again. He paused as he read the readings. “Oh boy, I don't know what is happening Pete, but we have to get in there. Right now.”
Shutting down the meter and shoving it into a pocket, he took a step back and then hurled himself at the door. With a crack of splintering wood, the door gave way and he stumbled into the room, tripping on the debris of his forced entry. With a yell, he toppled forward and reached out to break his fall. Suddenly his skin felt as though thousands of volts had surged through him for a second. He was aware of a shattering sound as he knocked over a bust.
“What the bloody hell!” the single occupant of the room, a middle-aged man with brown hair, shouted, leaping back from Ray as he crashed into the room. “Do you have any idea how dangerous crossing a circle can be?”
Brushing himself off, Ray stood up. “I'm sorry to interrupt sir, but we detected a massive surge in Psycho Kinetic Energy. We...”
“He.” Peter interrupted from the doorway. “I told him not to interfere.”
Ray rolled his eyes as he produced the PKE meter and resumed scanning. “Fine. I was concerned that a Psycho Kinetic event of unprecedented scale was about to occur. It could have been extremely dangerous. Odd.” He tapped the screen of the small device. “The readings have vanished.”
“A psycho kinetic what?” The man blustered, brushing dust from himself and standing. “Look, I don't know who you are, but you interrupted a private ritual.”
“A ritual?” Ray asked. “You should be careful with those, they aren't just for show. You could have triggered a mystical event of incredible proportions.”
“Really? I had no idea.” The man replied dryly.
“Really.” Ray replied cheerfully. “Be careful pal. Anyway, I have to go. If you need us for anything, call. I'm Doctor Stantz.” He offered a business card to the older man.
“Rayne, Ethan Rayne.” the older man took the offered card, slipping it into a pocket. “Thank you for your assistance Dr. Stantz. I would have hated for anything unfortunate to have occurred.”
“Ray, time to go.” Peter called from the doorway. With a courteous nod, Ray left the motel room.
“Mom!” Buffy called out as she opened the front door. “Mom, are you here?”
“Buffy?” Joyce appeared from the kitchen. “What are you doing here? I thought your father was dropping you off so you could spend time with your friends?”
“He was, but I needed to ask you a couple of things, so I had him drop me off here. I can run over to the campus when we're done.”
“Questions? That sounds ominous. Cookie?” Joyce offered a plate to Buffy as she joined her in the living room. With a nod of thanks, Buffy took one. “So, what's on your mind?”
“It's about dad.” Buffy answered, her voice quiet.
“Buffy, he loves you, you don't have to...”
“It's not that.” Buffy interrupted. “When we were at the Espresso Pump, a friend of his, Ray... I want to say Stutz?”
“Stantz.” Joyce corrected her with a small smile.
“Anyway, he came over and, as dad ushered him away, I heard him talking to him. About ghosts. As if they were real.” Joyce sighed as her daughter talked. “Mom? Does dad know about, well, the world?”
After a long pause, staring at her hands, Joyce looked up. “Yes. We both do. We have since you were five.”
Buffy stared at her in shock. “Oh, we tried to pretend,” Joyce continued. “For the benefit of you and Dawn. When you told me you were the Slayer, I couldn't believe it. All we had tried to do, all our efforts to protect you...”
“Mom, what are talking about?” Buffy's voice shook a little as she spoke.
“Oh Buffy, it's a long story...” Joyce said. Buffy looked up, she could see from the look in her mothers eyes that she was trying to avoid the subject.
“I guess it must be hard, but I deserve to know, especially since you've said so much this far. Besides,” she took Joyce's hand in her own “I have time.”
Joyce stared at Buffy's hand holding her own and sighed. “Fine. It starts when you were five...”