Egon and Janine
Author’s Note: Thanks very much to my Beta’s, Letomo and EllandrahSylver. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# This is not a part of any of my current series. It is one of the plot bunnies that has been driving me crazy and keeping me from writing Waifs and Strays. (Well, that and Flu.) Each chapter in this ‘story’ depicts a different family/person who did not adopt Faith in the Buffy-verse. Some of them already have sequels, at least in my mind… Edited to reflect Boston landmarks. My apologies for getting that wrong and thanks to Jediknight for pointing it out. Egon and Janine
Janine Melnitz turned over on the lumpy bed and groaned. Then she corrected herself. Janine Spengler turned over on the lumpy bed and groaned. She lifted herself on her elbow, thumped her hard and unyielding pillow, causing a cloud of dust and bedbugs to billow out of it, and cursed the day she was married.
That day being yesterday. After the defeat of the giant Marshmallow man in the streets of New York, the public's attention had quickly faded and the press had started to wonder what had caused the mass hallucination that had led to the people of New York coating a minor skyscraper with lightly toasted marshmallow. Egon had said 'intriguing' and had promptly ignored her artfully stocking clad leg for the front page and an article on the delusion of mass hallucinations in the Journal of Parapsychology and Paraphysics
Janine, fed up at his obliviousness, had ambushed him at home, in just her stockings, to see if he noticed her then. She arched her back. *Boy, did he ever notice me.*
She smirked. After that encounter they had dated and gotten to know each other better. Egon was kind, polite, gentle, (except when she wore stockings) and passionate. (Stockings again). He was also impractical, absent minded, shy, withdrawn, professorial and sometimes downright infuriating. And the better Janine got to know him, the better she liked, no loved him.
However that improvised, if wonderful, moment when Egon had realised there was more to his regard for Janine than her ability to pick up a phone and take legible notes, had also resulted in a minor problem. Or at least something that was going to be a minor for eighteen years after its birth. Which again led to the fact that Egon, on finding out, had immediately proposed. (Using his mother's ring) and Janine had accepted. However in her joy at getting married to him, Janine had forgotten the very fact why it had taken so long for Egon to notice her, to wit, his scientific curiosity.
And that explained the reason she was currently lying on a lumpy mattress in a (probably literally), flea-bag hotel. The most haunted hotel in the United States, the first stop in a whistle stop tour of the ghost-ridden domiciles, localities and public places of the USA, as Ray had described it. Upon finding out the exact quality of the wedding suite in which she would spend her first night as Mrs. Spengler, Janine had very firmly told her newly wed husband that the couch was his. He had taken it surprisingly meekly. Janine had since discovered that Egon had brought a suitcase of equipment he had set up to in the suite's – if that was the proper word for it- living room, -that proper word thing again- to measure the paranormal activity that was bound to be caused by the one hundred seventeen murders that had taken place in the hotel, the sixty-three suicides and the demonic rituals in the basement.
Boston, Janine had decided, was a weird place. Sighing she got up, her slightly rounded belly under her delicate silk nightgown the only sign of her pregnancy. She put on her slippers and robe and went into the living room to check on Egon. He was sitting by the rickety table, his head on his arms, glasses askew and a smile on his face. He was fast asleep. With a sigh Janine took off his glasses and laid them on the table beside him. At her touch he started slightly and reached out, around her, drawing her close. “Neen?” he whispered.
“Not a dream?”
“What's not a dream, Egon?”
Egon blinked awake, looked up at her and smiled. “We're married!”
“Yes. And on our honeymoon, and you're sleeping on the couch. Or the table, but the couch looks slightly more comfortable,” Janine told him firmly.
Egon groaned. “Ah. So that's not a dream?”
Suddenly the machinery on the table whirred into action and Egon's attention turned from Janine's breasts to the flashing and whirling dials. “That's odd... The activity is almost off the scale and there's nothing going on...”
Janine sighed and went back to the bedroom. She loved him, she really did. But sometimes, he was just so very Spengler.
Egon had slept at the table, finally. And Janine in the lumpy and scratchy bed. Also finally. And now they were walking along, looking at the Old North Church (prime ghost territory), the Old Statehouse (the spirits of the condemned were thick there apparently), and the site of the Boston Massacre (no Redcoats in sight). And Egon being Egon, they had taken a cab to the South Side and there he had begun a careful investigation of the location of a woman being drowned in a well. He expected her to haunt the place still. Janine sighed and tried to seem interested, admittedly sometimes she was, but well, there were other things she'd rather be doing. Kissing was one. Cuddling another. Holding hands, goofy smiles...
“Would you store this for me, dear?” Egon held out a slime-covered specimen vial and Janine accepted it with a sigh and put it in the special bag she carried for the purpose.
She stowed it away and looked around. And that's when she saw the girl. She was four, maybe five years old, with huge, dark eyes and dark hair raggedly cut. Her clothing was in bad condition, her feet were in sandals at least two sizes too small for her.
“What's he doin?“ the girl asked, pointing at Egon.
“Collecting goop,” Janine replied.
“To see if there's something weird in it,” Janine told the girl when Egon ignored the question.
“Oh. Okay. What sort of weird?'
“Ghosts,” Egon answered absentmindedly.
“Ghosts? Wicked!” The girl grinned and skipped closer. “So, what you gonna do when you find ghosts?”
Egon smirked. “Make a call.”
“Momma says they's not real. But I saw the big puffy man and I think they is!” the girl declared.
“I'm glad to hear it. Where's your Momma?” Janine looked around, trying to find the tyke's mother.
“Momma's with 'Uncle' Kelso. They's makin' weird noises and I didna wanna hear them, so I left.”
“Ah. So where do you live?” Janine inquired.
The girl looked around. Her face screwed up in thought. “Daddaway!” She pointed.
“Well done! Egon and I are gonna take you there, okay?”
The girl's face crumpled. “Don' wanna! Momma keeps makin' weird noises an' when I wanna talk to her then, she hits me.”
Janine's eyes narrowed. “I see. Well, maybe I'll talk to her then. Come on. Egon, you too.”
Egon Spengler was a very intelligent man. He already knew that his choice of honeymoon was not very wise. He also knew that particular tone in his wife's Brooklyn accented voice meant that something or someone was in for trouble. And unless he wanted to be the first victim of her present ire, he'd better comply with her wish to leave. “Yes, dear.”
Janine had the girl by the hand. The child was clearly hanging back and had even tried to escape twice, but Janine kept her firmly in check. “So, what's your name?”
The girl tilted her head, looked at Janine apparently trying to decide if she was worthy of this trust. Finally, grudgingly she gave her name. “Faith.”
“Okay Faith, I'm Janine and that's Egon.. Just so you know, ya know.”
“Good. Well, are we getting close to your home?”
Faith nodded and pointed, reluctantly. “Behind the Pig Lights.”
“Pig lights?” Janine asked in confusion, and then she saw the flashing lights of the police cars. “Those are police officers, Faith; it's not polite to call them that.”
“Momma calls them that,” Faith stated with the absolute certainty of a child who has been told what's what by the ultimately reliable source.
“Okay, but it still ain't polite. Come on, we'll go ask what is going on and then get ya home.”
Egon drew his P.K.E. Meter. Violent crimes often caused peaks in the ambient Psychokinetic Energy and he’d never miss a chance to record fresh data.
“But momma will be angry if we make her an' Kelso stop makin' noises.” Faith started to struggle to get away in earnest and Janine picked her up.
“Yeah, well I ain't afraid of your momma,” Janine told the girl. “And I'll talk to her first.” She walked up to the nearest police officer and coughed. “Excuse me? We need to get this girl home. We found her wandering in the streets.”
The officer turned round and blinked at the couple that was much better dressed and rather more refined than the average inhabitant of the surrounding blocks. “She live here?”
“Somewhere. We aren’t entirely sure,” Egon supplied.
The officer nodded. “I understand. Do you know her name?”
“Faith. She hasn't given her last name yet,” Janine supplied, holding the girl close, feeling her tense, frightened body. “Her mother is somewhere in there with her 'Uncle Kelso' makin' noises.”
The officer coughed, apparently amused. Then his face sobered. “Did you say 'Faith'?”
“Yeah. Why?” Janine asked, suddenly worried and suspicious.
“Could you come with me, please?” the man led them away and Egon and Janine, after exchanging looks, followed.
“Lieutenant? I think this may be the girl we are looking for,” the cop called out to a big, fat man with a cigar and a rather grubby overcoat.
The man looked up, his flat, pugnacious face not endearing him to Janine by the way he looked at Faith. “Wha's yer name, kid?” he asked, surprisingly gentle.
“Faith.” The little girl glared at him. “Momma tol' me not to talk to the Pigs.”
The police officer let out something that was a mix between a sigh and a laugh and the lieutenant grinned. “Did she now? Well, I'm afraid your Momma isn't here right now. She's at the police station.”
“Why?” The girl asked, some of her defiance changed to worry,
“Because she did something bad. She sold bad things to people and the people got angry and they came by and your momma hurt them. She was defending herself, but she still hurt them.”
Faith bit her lip. “Is Momma goin’ to the Big House?”
The lieutenant nodded. “I’m afraid so. I’m sorry.”
“I don’t have to go wif Kelso, do I?”
“No, but you can’t go back to your Momma. Not for a while yet.”
Janine bit her lip and looked at Egon. Egon merely looked at the his P.K.E. meter. “Where will she go then?”
“Child services, then a foster home.” The lieutenant did not have to clarify that little Faith was not going to have a pleasant time, most likely.
“We’ll take her,” Egon stated absently, while studying his meter.
“What?” The lieutenant and Janine chorused.
“You would never forgive yourself if you didn’t Janine. And I can easily afford to raise more than one child on the salary of a tenured professor of Applied Engineering.”
“I accepted the offer from Columbia. We do have a child on the way. Apparently my achievements in constructing various devices has drawn attention. Do you realize there is an abnormally high level of P.K.E. around here? Surrounding us? Hmmm…” Egon looked up. His eyes behind his horn-rimmed glasses met Faith’s. “So, with your permission, Little Faith, you’ll be coming with us.”
Janine looked from Faith, to Egon, and back, and blessed the day she’d married him. Tonight she’d wear stockings. I do not own Ghostbusters, nor do I own Buffy the Vampire Slayer