Critters an' Varmints
TITLE: Werepossum Blues
DISCLAIMER: I own nuttin’. Joss and Mutant Enemy and others own Xander, Willow and all characters associated with BtVS; Tom Deitz owns David Sullivan, Liz Hughes, Alec McLean and Calvin McIntosh (from Darkthunder’s Way, Stoneskin’s Revenge and Ghostcountry’s Wrath, among other titles. Check ‘em out if you can find ‘em…it’s worth the search.)
TIMEFRAME: After S7 Buffy; between Ghostcountry and Gryphon King for Deitz. And of course, the Enotah County kids are drug kickin’ and screamin’ into the 21st century as opposed to the late 1980s…
SUMMARY: The search for a newly-Awakened Slayer in Enotah County, Georgia doesn’t go exactly as hoped…* * *
Willow Rosenberg pushed her glasses – a recent necessity for reading and driving – further up her nose and squinted through the rapidly-receding morning fog at the road sign. Enotah County, 3 Miles,
it read. Easing the Ford Escape hybrid into the turnout just before the sign, she pulled onto the graveled shoulder and shifted into Park.
“Xander!” she said softly.
The snoozing carpenter in the passenger seat snored gently in response.
“Xander!” said Willow again, more insistently. Xander Harris slept on.
Willow blew an annoyed breath out through pursed lips. “Alexander Lavelle Harris! Wake up!” she barked, poking the dark-haired man sharply with her right index and middle fingers.
“Hah-hoo-wha!” he snorted, floundering into an upright and semi-conscious state, his eye wide open and then blinking furiously.
Willow noticed with a little smirk that he had a thin line of drool coming from the right corner of his mouth. Evidently, Xander had noticed it too because he swiped it away with the cuff of his Ohio State University sweatshirt and casually crossed his arms, hiding the damp sleeve.
“What’s the what, Wills? Why am I awake at” – he consulted his watch – “six thirty-five in the morning?” He yawned.
His best friend since kindergarten and the Yellow Crayon Incident ™ grinned unrepentantly at him, her green eyes twinkling in a way that boded no good for his continued Z-bagging. “We’re here,” Willow stated simply.
“We’re where? Young Harris?” the still-befuddled young man wheezed, sitting completely upright and squinting his eye at the fog-draped highway.
“No, we came through Young Harris about fifteen minutes ago, and you were sleeping so I didn’t want to wake you,” the red-haired woman said, waving a hand dismissively. “We’re just outside Enotah County, where the Seers said the newest Slayer was!”
Now fully awake, Xander rubbed his face and looked where Willow was excitedly pointing, at the Enotah County 3 Miles
road sign. He sighed. “There’s a Winn-Dixie or a Kroger off this next exit, right? Yours truly needs some caffeine before dealing with a freaked-out teenage girl.”
Putting the Escape back in gear, Willow gave him a fond smile. “Of course there is, Xan. Don’t worry; I won’t let you face the big bad Slayer without at least two cups of coffee in you.” She snickered a little – but only on the inside – as her best friend gave her a pathetically grateful grin. * * * Sullivan Cove, Enotah County, Georgia, same time
, Fargo, get your furry ass back here!”
David Sullivan was NOT having a good day.
First, the last cup of coffee in the pot was burned. Then, the tractor had decided to seize up and gasp and sputter –“like to have choked,” as his Uncle Dale had put it. And now, his erstwhile temporary housemate, the Cherokee wizard-in-training Calvin Fargo McIntosh, was scuttling around the house madly, having transformed himself into a possum -- by accident
-- while trying to re-wrap his uktena scale in its protective deerskin bag. David didn’t know if it was because Calvin’d been mad at himself for being clumsy, or it was a planned accident to get him to lighten up.
Lord knew, he’d been no prize in the friend stakes the past two weeks. College was out for the summer, but his lady, Liz Hughes, was spending the first three weeks with her dad down in Gainesville. The tiny redhead would be back in Enotah County the next day, and David was wearing himself out to keep his mind off the fact that tomorrow
“Davy? Someone’s comin’ up the driveway!” his ten-year-old brother, Little Billy, shouted from the front porch.
“Oh, fabulous,” the older blonde muttered, diving to the floor and finally snagging the reddish-furred marsupial. The uktena scale around the possum’s fuzzy neck thunked against David’s chest as he corralled the squirming mammal between his arms and wrapped it quickly in Cal’s discarded t-shirt.
“Calvin! You gotta change back right now
, man! There’s somebody comin’!” he whispered urgently to the possum.
It chattered at him, totally unconcerned, blinking its little beady eyes.
“For the love of – Fargo
! Change back now
The possum hissed, showing its small, needle-like teeth.
Little Billy had evidently grown tired of waiting for his older brother to come to the door. David could hear voices coming nearer to the front porch, and outright panic set in. How would he explain a possum in the house, much less a possum with a shiny vitreous tooth around its neck?
He involuntarily tightened his grasp on the critter, squeezing it a little too hard. It squawked indignantly and began thrashing in his arms.
The voices were right outside the kitchen door, Little Billy’s piping but changing voice chattering away excitedly. A woman’s lighter tones answered him, with a man’s baritone occasionally joining in. Then, several things happened at once.
Little Billy pushed the screen door open. It banged into the wall, setting the possum off again with a cacophony of screeches and squeaks.
David lost his grip; Calvin-the-possum dropped to the floor and made a break for the door.
Calvin-the-possum ran straight for the strangers. The tall man with the eye patch scooped him up and fumbled a little, trying to get a football grip on the marsupial.
Which promptly sank its teeth into the tender skin between thumb and forefinger.
The red-haired woman raised an eyebrow at David.
“Household pet? Or something else?” she grinned. “I’m Willow Rosenberg, and this is Xander Harris…we’re from the IWC and we’re looking for Elizabeth Hughes regarding the scholarship to study abroad…is she here?”* * *