This quirky little ficlet just hit me last night when I saw the film again after ages. Don't ask me where it came from, it just showed up so here you go.Disclaimer: All characters from Buffy belong to Joss and ME Productions. The characters of Pops and company belong to Jim Henson Productions as well as Disney now that they bought up the Muppets, sigh, anyway I the author make no claims otherwise. This is purely a work of fanfiction, hope you'll enjoy it. I know I kind of spoiled the crossover, but hey there's no way around it.
Walking through London wasn’t as fun as it could have been for the demon hunting Watcher known as Xander Harris, this was because he was currently on a mission to check out a holding of the old Watcher’s Council, he was dressed in a stylish business suit that Giles’s secretary had picked out, if she were twenty years younger she could have passed for a British Cordelia. He wasn’t carrying any weapons plus it was a gloomy and wet day, all in all Xander was feeling rather depressed.
“That can’t be the address,” his companion blurted when the building came into sight. Xander had to admit it definitely had seen better days, the building looked to be condemned, if he had to guess it’d need a complete overhaul, it’d cost a good fifty thousand or more just to make necessary repairs especially with that huge hole in the wall leading into the lobby.
“This is supposed to be a hotel?” Xander said walking into the building and glancing around in mild bemusement. Stirring from behind the registration counter a funny looking old man blinked up at him with a curious expression on his face, he might have been human, except for some strange reason he looked almost like he was made out of felt.
“You two checkin’ in?” he asked.
“Not exactly, we’re with the Watcher’s Council we came to look over the property to see about refurbishing the place for.” Xander didn’t get to finish as a massive thing stepped out through the kitchen doors and stood towering over the one-eyed Watcher and his shorter traveling companion. The dark skinned Slayer eyed this creature with a look of pure bewilderment.
“Don’t try anythin’ girly,” it said instinctively recognizing a Slayer when he saw one.
“My what big teeth you have,” Xander quipped taking an involuntary step back.
“They don’t mean any harm Sweetums,” the old man said waving his hand in a dismissive gesture.
“But, they’re from the Council,” the creature called Sweetums argued and Xander had serious trouble not making an ill timed joke concerning the beast’s name or stifle his desire to burst out laughing.
“The ones we hate got blown to smithereens.” Sweetums grumbled something and marched back inside leaving an extremely relieved pair of humans behind.
“What was that?” Rona blurted in complete shock. “And how come I didn’t sense him?”
“Security, ever since Beauregard drove his cab through the lobby we’ve had trouble with uninvited guests even with the anti-vampire wards.” Xander stared at the old codger with an expression of disbelief, somebody actually drove a taxi through the lobby, that well that was just too crazy for words.
“Uh, so why does I mean did the Council pay all your utilities for you?” Xander asked politely. “We went over all the paperwork and couldn’t really find anything,” he said sheepishly.
“Follow me and I’ll show ya,” the old man said hopping down from his stool and leading them over to the elevator which looked like it hadn’t worked since nineteen fifty-three. “The name’s Pops, least that’s what everybody calls me.”
“Huh?” Xander blinked curiously.
“Oh nothin’ just got tired of the writer callin’ me the old man,” Pops explained to his guests.
“Writer,” Rona repeated cluelessly.
“Don’t draw attention to yourself like that and try not to break the fourth wall too much, gotta handle it tastefully ya know to respect the source material,” Pops said making Xander and Rona share dumbfounded looks, “by the way you didn’t address the Slayer’s question about Sweetums.” Pops chuckled and turned back to Xander and Rona who were standing in front of the elevator looking exceptionally nervous. “Anyway, this elevator does work, problem is it only goes one place.” Pops pulled the door open and ushered the pair inside, then he scrambled up onto a large cardboard box and pressed the switch, with a clanking of gears and a squealing blast of sound the elevator plunged at impossible speed into the bowels of the Earth. Fifty feet down it came to a teeth rattling, bone jarring stop and the door opened revealing a pristine room of old style charm.
“Whoa, I think I left my stomach up there,” Xander said with a gurgle as he stumbled out of the elevator.
“Here’s why the Council bought and maintained this place,” Pops said walking over to a large stone slab resting in the direct center of the room, on top of the stone was a solid metal anvil and imbedded in the anvil was a gorgeous looking sword that would have had Buffy green with envy.
“This can’t be what it looks like,” Rona said a hint of awe escaping in her tone.
“Yep, that there’s the actual sword in the stone, stuck there for years by Merlin to await the return of the legendary King Arthur. Makes a great demon repellent too, they pretty much stay away from here all except the vampires.” Pops chuckled and rested his tiny felt hand on the anvil. “That’s why the Council maintains this dump, only it didn’t always look like a dump, idiots in charge figured nobody’d find out what they had stashed here if they made it look like just another forgotten rundown old building,” he said with a sigh. “Place used to stand for somethin’, now it’s just a homeless shelter and a tax dodge.”
“Well not anymore,” Xander stated, “we could use this place to house a lot of newly chosen Slayers and this definitely deserves more respect than what those clowns showed it,” he added resting his hand on the pommel of the sword. Pops broke into a broad smile.
“You mean that?” he asked hope gleaming in his almost non-existent eyes.
“Yep,” Xander replied.
“I guess that means we are checking in,” Rona added with a soft smirk.
“Oh I wish you hadn’t said that,” Pops said with a frown.
“That you’re checkin’ in,” Pops replied, as if on cue a good two dozen characters practically popped out of the woodwork including several rats dressed in bellhop uniforms.
“Somebody’s checkin’ in!” one of them exclaimed Pops gave a resigned nod and before Xander or Rona could even guess as to the reason for the old man’s discomfort the residents began a song and dance routine straight out of a Broadway show.
“Every time,” Pops complained under his breath while the two humans were bombarded by hyperactive and obviously lonely figures singing cheerfully about the Happiness Hotel, “I never should have signed that contract with that frog when we made the picture.”The End