Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Full House. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++
ON RONA AND DJ, AND WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON
+++++Continuity Notes: The following story takes place in June 2010. Rona was mentioned as being in charge of the San Francisco slayer houses (there are two) in the second “On” story. I’m going to use 1984 as her birthdate (the same year Indigo, who portrayed her, was born), which makes her 26 in this story. Dr. Frost is an ancillary character in the first “On” story and a main-ish one in the second.
This story is about 2600 words in length (so, no chapter divisions), and has not been beta'd; any mistakes are mine and mine alone.+++++
Rona was finally happy. After a few months in charge of the San Francisco slayers, she finally had things running the way she wanted, and now, if she felt like taking a day off to spoil her niece, then who would stop her?
For now, Suzan -- still don’t know how my sister managed to mess up spelling a simple name
-- was running through the play area while Rona watched her from a picnic table under a spreading shade tree. Suzan seemed to be hanging around a pair of twins around her own age -- Rona’s niece was three -- and the three of them were chattering away in a language all their own.
“Is that your daughter?”
Rona had seen the blond woman walking up, but had instantly classified her as ‘not a threat’ and put her out of mind until she’d spoken. “No. My niece.”
“Oh. I’ve seen her at the pre-school, but usually her dad picks her up. I didn’t know--”
“It’s okay.” She held out her hand. “I’m Rona. Suzan’s mom is my sister.”
“DJ,” the blond woman said. Then, almost embarrassed, added her last name. “Tanner.”
“Nice to meet you.” Rona saw DJ looking quizzically at her and put her head on one side. “Do I have something in my teeth?”
“No, it’s not that.” DJ sat on the picnic bench next to Rona. “It’s just, whenever I tell people my name, I always get The Question.”
Rona heard the capital letters. “What’s ‘The Question’?”
But DJ just shook her head. “It’s not important.” Rona watched DJ check the playground, make sure the kids were all right; she needn’t have worried, as Rona would’ve heard anything out of the ordinary, but DJ didn’t need to know about that. “So, what do you do when you’re not here?”
“I’m with the International Council of Watchers.”
“Really?” DJ looked impressed. “My uncle Joey works with them.”
“Joey... Joey...” Oh, no, not--
Rona tried not to roll her eyes. “Right. Joey Gladstone.” The less said about him, the better.
“He’s at their Cleveland office right now,” DJ continued.
“Oh?” Truthfully, Rona not only knew that Joey Gladstone was at the Council’s headquarters, but also that he was there getting a crash-course in how to be a watcher. He’d be back in two weeks, and then it would be Rona’s job to make sure that cartoon-voiced pain-in-the-ass didn’t get eaten alive the first time he went out on patrol with a slayer. “It’s nice there. I spent six years in Cleveland before coming out here.”
“That’s cool. What do you do with them, exactly?”
Rona smiled. “Troubleshooter.”
“Troubleshooter? What exactly does that mean?”
“I... shoot troublesome things?” Rona delivered it deadpan, the way Xander would’ve, and it worked. This time. DJ chuckled. “No, but seriously: my job is to make sure our staff is where they’re supposed to be, doing what they’re supposed to do. Because San Francisco is so spread-out, we have two houses--”
“Offices,” Rona said. “We call them ‘houses’ because of our work with the foster system. We’ve always got a few kids staying with us.”
“That’s good,” DJ said. “I mean, that you guys help so many people.”
“We do.” Rona meant it when she said that. Even if most of them didn’t realize they were being helped by not getting killed when vampires or demons attacked. It was amazing just how much supernatural activity there was in the world; once her eyes had been opened by living on the Hellmouth, it had been impossible to close them. On a regular basis she found herself amazed -- sometimes even flabbergasted -- by the level of ignorance in the general populace. “What do you do?”
“Just a mom,” DJ said. “I was... I mean, I had a job for a while, but now I’m back home, living with my family.”
“Well, that’s nice.” Rona took a good look at DJ’s face -- she’d thought the other woman was in her forties, but ‘had a job for a while’ translated to ‘unprotected sex and the consequences thereof’, which meant DJ was probably only in her thirties and being run ragged. She surreptitiously checked DJ’s left hand; no wedding band or engagement ring. “Do they help out?”
“Lots. My middle sister is a pediatrics resident in Chicago, and my youngest sister just graduated college but she came home to help out. Plus, my uncle Jesse and his wife live with us, and they have twins too, so they know what I’m going through.”
Rona nodded. “Big family.” Joey had been only too willing to talk about all the people who lived in the large house near the Presidio -- the house that, ten years ago, he’d finally moved out of and into his own place. “Suzan and her parents are my only blood relations here, but the other people at the ICW... they’re like my family.” Actually, they’re more like cats I have to herd, but I love ‘em anyway.
Rona checked her watch. “Hey, it’s getting close to lunchtime.”
DJ nodded. “You want to come back to the house? There’s always room for visitors, as long as my dad’s feeling okay.”
“What’s wrong?” Rona asked, seeing the shadow pass over DJ’s face.
But DJ recovered quickly. “He hasn’t been feeling so good lately, that’s all.”
“Oh.” Rona decided perhaps it would be best to pass on the invitation. “I’m... meeting Al in a little while anyway.” Al was Suzan’s father. “But maybe another time?”
“Sure,” DJ said. “Let me give you my number.” Rona put it into her phone, then handed DJ a card. “Thanks.”
Rona nodded, then whistled loudly. DJ winced, but Suzan heard it and started running in her direction. The twins followed. They said their goodbyes, and Rona took Suzan’s hand. “So, who were your friends?” she asked as they walked toward the car.
“Pam ‘n Jen,” Suzan said. “We go to school t’gether.”
“That’s nice.” They passed a small building near the parking lot. “Need to potty?”
Suzan nodded seriously, and Rona detoured them. Better here than in my car.+
The problem with being in charge, Rona had discovered, was that there was very little to actually do, from a vampire slaying standpoint. She was in charge of a few dozen slayers, watchers, witches, and associated staff, and they took care of most of the evil-fighting tasks. These days, unless she was filling in for someone or working with the interns in one of the training rooms, she spent most of her time handling administrative tasks.Not
, she reflected, what I was Chosen for
. In her mind, “Chosen” always got a capital letter.
Since May, though, Rona taken at least one night every week to go out on her own. Oh, she knew that Rick, the head watcher for the city, always made sure someone had an eye on her, just in case; she let him think she didn’t know just to make him feel better. And, truthfully, it was nice to know that there was a watcher or a slayer who could step in if she found herself overwhelmed.
Tonight, though, she wasn’t even whelmed. Perhaps she was even underwhelmed. Two dead bodies ready to rise, both with the same sire. After a two-minute battle with said sire that ended with a very nice spin-kick -- if she did say so herself -- it was anticlimactic to catch the fledglings and stake them on the way up. It almost made her nostalgic for the years she’d spent in Cleveland, fighting the big bads that always showed up around the Hellmouth.
Rona brushed her hands clean of vamp-dust and put away her stake before heading back in the direction of her car. That was when she heard someone walking across the grass. The person didn’t feel evil -- Rona’s slayer senses weren’t tingling or anything -- but still, better to not have to explain herself. She sprinted to the nearest tree, leapt onto a low-hanging branch, and quickly climbed high enough to be out of sight unless the person looked directly upward.
Turned out she didn’t have to worry: she recognized the woman walking through the cemetery.
It was DJ.+
Rona’s slayer abilities allowed her to hear DJ stop in front of an old-looking gravesite. She couldn’t see that far, but once DJ started talking, it was clear who the woman was visiting.
Rona sighed. This could take a while, and, as stealthy as she could be, she was too close to DJ to take any chances on being seen. Plus, even this far away from a Hellmouth, it wasn’t smart for anyone to be walking around alone at night. Just in case, Rona settled herself into a comfortable position; when DJ left, whenever that was, Rona would follow -- discreetly -- and make sure she got to her car okay.
DJ knelt in front of the grave and set some flowers on it. “I don’t know what to do, Mom.” DJ’s voice was hoarse; she sounded heartbroken, on the verge of tears. “Dad won’t listen to any of us, and he won’t go back to the hospital. Joey got so mad that he moved up his trip to Cleveland; Stephanie’s threatening to quit her residency program so she can come home and be with us. And Nicky and Alex...” DJ sniffed, and Rona saw her wipe away tears. She guessed those names belonged to DJ’s uncle Jesse’s children. “They’re acting out, coming home late, smelling like smoke. Alex dyed his hair black; can you believe that?” A small, brittle laugh. “God, Mom, I wish you were here.”
Rona knew how that felt. Her mother had died when she was nine, and although she’d had her grandmother to look up to, it wasn’t the same.
“And the worst part about it is that everyone’s being so nice!” Rona blinked at that. DJ continued: “All dad’s co-workers are sending flowers and cards, or coming by the house. Aunt Becky did a special thing on him last time he had chemo, and I know he hated that.” Chemo? Then that means DJ’s father--
Actually, it explained a lot about why Joey had been so insistent upon going to Cleveland. If he was as close to his best friend -- who he’d conveniently forgotten to mention was the host of Wake Up, San Francisco
, and who had recently been diagnosed with thyroid cancer -- and his friend wasn’t listening, then she could understand why he might have gotten the hell out of town.
“Mom, I don’t know what to do,” DJ said. “I can’t help him, and I’m worried that the girls will see him on one of his bad days. I don’t want them...” She choked back a sob. “I don’t want them to remember him... like that.”
Rona felt tears prick her eyes and wished there was a slayer power to help her stop feeling. Her mother had died from breast cancer, and if things were as bad as DJ was saying, then DJ’s father might be facing the same fate.
DJ knelt there for a while, her hand on her mother’s grave marker. Rona closed her eyes, trying not to think, and that was when she heard the sound of a vampire rising from its grave.
As quietly as possible, Rona lowered herself to the ground and started moving toward the vamp. She dispatched it quickly, with a minimum of effort -- fledglings weren’t usually a challenge, and Rona had been a slayer for seven years, after all -- and, when she got back to her tree, DJ was gone.
Rona’s sensitive ears caught DJ and she jogged in her direction. She watched DJ get into her car and leave the cemetery parking lot.
Only then did she sit down on a nearby bench and allow herself to look toward the stars. “Hi, mama,” she said. “I miss you.”+
“Hi,” DJ said. “Sorry I’m late.”
“It’s okay.” Rona had a mug of plain black coffee in front of her. “Go on, get a cup. I’ll be here.”
A couple of minutes later, DJ sat down across from Rona. The places around her eyes looked strained, and instead of coffee she had what smelled like mint tea. Rona hoped it would work. “How are you doing?”
DJ shrugged. “Same old,” she said. “You?”
Rona didn’t bother to prevaricate. “I know why you asked me about The Question,” she said. “Your dad’s Danny Tanner.”
Tears welled in DJ’s blue eyes and she daubed at them with a napkin. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I shouldn’t--”
Rona reached across the table and took DJ’s hand. “You should do whatever feels right.”
“Nothing feels right!”
“I know it doesn’t,” Rona said, squeezing gently. “DJ, I know how hard it is. I know what you’re going through.”
DJ composed herself and, when she could, offered Rona a watery smile. “You lost someone,” she said.
“My mom. When I was nine.”
“How...” DJ swallowed hard. “How did you deal with it?”
“I didn’t. Not really.” Rona sighed and stared at her coffee mug. “It was only about fifteen years ago. I’m still not over it.” Then she looked up at DJ. “But I live every day as best I can, like she would want me to. My therapist friend, he calls it his ‘One Day At A Time’ philosophy.” She missed being able to schedule time with Dr. Frost -- she didn’t really care for the ICW’s staff therapist here in San Francisco, and hadn’t had time to find a new one yet. “Are you seeing anyone? Professionally, I mean?”
DJ shook her head. “Dad’s doctor... he suggested we do it. Especially for the kids, to help us cope so we can help them cope. But I just... I mean, I haven’t been able to... not since...” DJ lost her words, started to cry quietly.
Rona reached across the table so she could hold both of DJ’s friends. “So don’t see someone,” she said. “You can talk to me.”
A loud sniff. “I... I can?”
“Absolutely.” She smiled. “I’m in this to help people, remember? Last I checked, you qualify as a person.”
DJ collected herself and took several long breaths. “Thanks, Rona,” she said. “I... I really appreciate it.”
“Anytime.” She nodded at DJ’s tea. “You want to get that to go? Maybe take a walk? Being out in the sun makes me feel better.” Another smile. “Like mama can see me from wherever she is.”
DJ smiled back. “That sounds like a good idea. And, hey, maybe your mom can put in a good word for me?”
“If she can, I know she will.”+++++Author’s Note:
This went in a slightly-different direction than I expected -- Joey becoming a Watcher was not
part of my original outline -- but I guess I’m okay with the ending. Mostly, as with my other stories, I wanted to see how things were going now. Not how we got there, but what we’re doing here. So: DJ had a job and got pregnant -- the father’s not in the picture, clearly. She must have decided to quit work and move home, and hasn’t gotten back into the workforce yet. Stephanie’s probably at Cook County or Chicago Hope (I haven’t decided yet). Michelle graduated college. Jesse, Becky, and the twins still live with Danny, and Danny still hosts Wake Up, San Francisco
with Becky as his producer. Nicky and Alex are about to graduate high school (provided that their reaction to Danny’s illness doesn’t lead to them having to repeat a year). And Danny..? Well, I don’t know if he’ll survive or not, but if he doesn’t go back to the doctor, things aren’t looking good.
For the record... I rarely
watched Full House
. I just thought that, since I’d put Rona in San Francisco, I might as well do a crossover with one of the most well-known TV shows to be set in that city.
Your feedback (reviews and e-mails) are, as usual, greatly appreciated. I'll see you again on September 27 with another crossover -- one that's far more serious than the story you just read.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA