I Thought I Taw a Putty Tat
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the characters from BTVS or C.S. Lewis’ novels.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: As usual, if you have any comments or preferences, please don’t be shy. RandR.
The bad guys were weird in their normalcy. A pack of wolves, the Slayer mused while kicking one into the river. Not really what I’m used to dealing with, but I don’t see a dogcatcher anywhere.
The kids the wolves had been chasing had run off, and Xander was doing his best to distract the rest of the pack from following them. For someone with no magical abilities or other special advantages, he was doing okay. Faith dodged a lunge from the last one standing, grabbed it by the tail and the scruff of the neck before throwing it against a tree.
“Xan? The kids clear?”
“Long gone, Faith. Let’s follow their example. I don’t think any of the pooches are gonna tell us what’s going on, or how we got here.”
“Probably not,” Faith allowed dryly. They headed for the path the children they’d helped had taken. They were the only people either of them had seen and weren’t about to pass up an opportunity to find out where they were and what was going on. There had been no swirly portal or impressive lightshow. They had just stepped through a door and found themselves… wherever they were.
The next four hours were spent following the kids at a distance. Despite Slayer speed and stamina Faith was never able to overtake them. It wasn’t Xander’s fault. He could easily keep the pace she set and still catch up with them, but something always got in the way. On one occasion, it was a minotaur leading a group of small demons that neither Slayer nor Scooby recognized. Faith made short work of the minotaur and Xander was able to handle most of the smaller ones on his own, but the delay gave the kids, who were moving quite rapidly it seemed, time to pull ahead.
On another occasion, they lost time taking the wrong path. Fortunately, though, the path led to an overlook where several creatures Xander was certain were trolls were trying to set up a landslide to stop the children as they traveled through a mountain pass. Unlike the wolves, the trolls could speak and more time was lost trying to get the two Faith left alive to do that. All they were given though, were promises of a painful death at the hands of their queen.
There was no end to the strangeness of the place, but one thing both agreed was just plain odd, was how fast the weather was changing. When they had arrived, it had been the dead of winter, now there was green grass under their feet and the sun was warm on their faces.
“Not that I’m complaining,” Xander commented, looking about. “Boy from SoCal not really big on snow, but what is going on?” Faith only shrugged. “Wonderful. We’re God knows where following three kids who seem to have half the evil things in this dimension breathing down their necks and we’ve no idea why.”
“Don’t sweat it, Xan. We’ll figure it out, then we’ll deal.” She held up a hand to halt the sarcastic answer she knew would be coming, and to take a moment to wonder why he was being so snippy. It was one of their weirder gigs, definitely, but something about the place was really rubbing him the wrong way. “We’ll deal. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.” She stopped. “Something’s up ahead,” she hissed. “I’ll go right, you go up the hill.” She nodded toward an animal trail branching off from the path they’d been following. “Get above whatever it is.” Xander nodded, suddenly all business and moved off silently.
It took him a little longer than he expected to reach the vantage point Faith had indicated. When he did, though, he got a shock when he looked down. She was standing face to face with a huge creature. Without hesitation, he drew the sword he had taken from one of the ugly demons and jumped. It was not a straight drop, merely a very steep slope, and Xander had to concentrate to reach the bottom without falling on his face, but when he reached the bottom, having only touched the slope a few times on his way down, he found that the Slayer was alone. “Faith?”
She had looked up to watch his dramatic entrance, and only then turned back, searching the small glade at the base of the hill. It was empty accept for themselves. “That’s weird,” she muttered. He could see that, while she was confused, she wasn’t on edge, and he relaxed slightly.
“I thought I taw a putty tat.”
“You did. You did see a putty tat.” Faith grinned, wondering what the massive lion would have thought of that.
“So… not complaining, but it didn’t try to eat you.”
“Nope, just wanted to talk.”
“About what?” Xander asked, not at all surprised by the notion that the large feline could speak.
“He was telling me how to get home. Apparently this isn’t our story.”
“Yeah. We were supposed to wind up somewhere else.”
“Shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque, huh?”
“I guess,” she shrugged. “Portal is this way, come on. Place is weirding me out.”