Disclaimer: I don’t own them, other people do. Life just isn’t fair.
Authors Notes: This is a BtVS/The Pretender crossover that has been going around my head for a while as well as a kind of answer to Malaskor’s challenge. This will be AU, obviously, and I reserve the right to change any details I see fit to help the story. Set during season three of Buffy, haven’t decided where in the Pretender this will be placed. Angel does return from hell, but not in Sunnydale and doesn’t contact Buffy or the others as he feels he’s caused them enough trouble. Xander lied at the end of season two, Buffy worked it out whilst she was AWOL and they argued about it when she came back.PrologueThe Centre,
Blue Cove, Delaware.
Broots was weaving his way through the corridors of the Centre, trying desperately not to drop the large brown paper package he that was currently holding. As was normally the case, any mail that was for the attention of Miss Parker was actually delivered to him; no one else in The Centre was brave enough to deliver it to her directly. Not that Broots could blame them, as the last three people who had taken mail to her in the past had either been fired or had met with an unfortunate ‘accident’, making it impossible to continue working there.
For some reason that most at The Centre couldn’t quite fathom, Broots was liked, well at least tolerated, by Miss Parker and largely got off easy, and normally able to leave her office with nothing more than an insult to his dress sense and/or his parentage. He finally arrived at the door to her office and somehow managed to knock without dropping the package.
“What is it?” an irritated voice from inside barked out, causing Broots to flinch.
Taking that as the closest thing he’d get to an invitation, Broots opened the door and went inside.
“Morning Miss Parker,” he greeted with a smile, “I have a package for you.”
“Well don’t waste time talking Broots,” she snapped, “give it to me.”
Broots carefully schooled his features, as he’d wanted her to say those words to him on more than one occasion, although not for that reason, and a few choice images from his ‘night time’ collection whizzed through his mind. He knew that if she ever caught on about how he thought about her from time to time, he most probably wouldn’t live to tell about it, or if he did he wouldn’t be capable of talking at all.
“Here you are,” he replied eventually, and placed the package on her desk.
Miss Parker stood up and circled the table to get an all round look at the package, patently ignoring Broots as she did so. She hadn’t been expecting anything, which had immediately made her suspicious, especially given who would normally be the one to send her something unannounced, and didn’t want to get too close to it just yet.
“Any idea where it came from or who sent it?” she asked the nervous looking man, casting only the most fleeting of looks in his direction before returning her gaze to the mystery object. She already knew who had sent it, but it never hurt to have her theories proven.
Broots had been dreading that very question, as he knew that Miss Parker wouldn’t be happy with the answer, although he guessed she already knew who it was from, given that he was the only one who would send her something without he prior knowledge. That’s not to say she’d have been all that happy with any other answer he might have given, in fact Broots sometimes thought that she didn’t have a happy bone in her body, but this particular person always managed to ride her last nerve without any effort. It didn’t help that it was he job to catch him, which meant that every package he sent was a taunt that he was still out there.
Miss Parker’s natural expression of slight annoyance converted into a sneer the instant she heard Jarod’s name, as though it were an ingrained response. Of course, given what Jarod had put her through the last time he had sent her anything, Broots wasn’t all that surprised she wasn’t happy to see anything more from him.
“I wonder what wild goose chase old monkey boy wants to lead me on this week?” she wondered aloud.
Broots, knowing she didn’t expect or want an answer, wisely kept silent.
She carefully opened the package, remembering the occasion when she had ripped open a package sent to her by Jarod impatiently and had ended up covered in bright fluorescent green dye; if she had found him that day, or even the following week, Miss Parker would have emptied an entire clip into him before he would have been able to say a word.
Once all the wrapping was removed, Miss Parker could see that the package consisted of a large corkboard with a single black jigsaw piece pinned to the centre. With it was a note, written in Jarod’s unmistakable penmanship. She read it aloud.‘Hello Ms. Parker,
I hope you enjoyed your trip through the Canadian wilderness, I know I did. Sorry I couldn’t be there to meet you, but I had an urgent appointment that I just couldn’t break. More pieces of the puzzle will arrive shortly and the solution will be a revelation.
Speak to you soon.
“What do you think he means?” Broots asked.
Miss Parker shook her head at Broots’ question, too focused on the latest mystery to snap at him for talking. “I have no idea,” she replied absently, as though she were talking to herself more than him, “but when it comes to Jarod, I rarely do. I’ll give the note to Sydney when he comes in.”
“He’s not here yet?”
“He’s having to deal with one of his other projects,” she said irritably, not liking the fact that the silver-haired psychiatrist was off doing other things when he should be there to help her. “He said it was something to do with the hormonal responses of people when looking at a painting.” She handed the note and the wrapping to Broots. “Have these analysed for everything you can think of; I want to know where he is. Make a copy of the note for Sydney so that when he finally graces us with his presence he can start doing his job.”
“Right away Miss Parker.” Broots made his way to the door, only to stop when Ms. Parker called out to him. “Yes Miss Parker?” he asked.
“Change that shirt,” she ordered, “not even Liberace would wear something like that.”
“Yes Miss Parker,” he said, sighing quietly. He’d hoped he’d get away without being insulted, but he should have known that he had more chance waking up with a full head of hear.Sunnydale High School,
Principal Snyder was feeling very pleased with himself as he talked to his newest employee. After the unfortunate death of Ms. Calendar, he had one of the school’s brightest students, Willow Rosenberg, acting as a substitute to save money and effort in finding a fully qualified replacement.
The school board had been on his back for months to get a replacement for Ms. Calendar, but he had managed to fob them off by stating that with the budget restraints he was currently under and the Mayor’s ever-watchful eye, he’d had trouble finding the right applicant.
He had actually been searching for a replacement, if only to cover his back if anyone were to check for themselves on his progress, and had been pleasantly surprised when his search seemed to have come to an end. The man currently sitting across the desk from him in his office was more than qualified for the job, and had no problems with the less than stellar salary that was on offer. The extensive background check the Mayor required him to perform on all applicants came up clean, and the clincher had come when he had informed the Principal that he was available to start with immediate effect.
The man was currently listening to his usual speech about how the children of the world should bow down and kiss the feet of the teachers who bestow their wisdom upon them, and he was near the end.
“… Should never have to take any backchat from them and you can never give enough detentions. One last thing; if a student has the surname Harris or Summers, expect the worst and have plenty of detention slips handy whenever they’re in the room. Well that’s about everything, I’ll have Ms. Rosenberg show you around. Welcome to Sunnydale Mr. Weisstemplar.”
“Please, call me Jarod.”