I said once in WOW Will Ruin Your Life
that that story was possibly the most godawful idea in all of fan fiction. I take that back. This
story is the most godawful idea in all of fan fiction. But it wouldn't go away until I wrote it. DON'T JUDGE ME.
I'm still working on Strangely Literal, but I'm thinking I need to go back and add some to the most recent chapter. I haven't worked it out in my head yet, so I'm doing this as a one-shot until I can sort it out.
Many thanks to Phouka and Phoukabro for kindly letting me borrow the "Oh, The Places He Goes!" series as a background setting for this story, prior to their 4400 crossover. I don't know if it's really in line with what he had in mind, but I had fun writing it at least. (Also, if you've never read Phoukabro's series, you should do so. It's good times.)-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
A new, albeit slightly dusty van pulled up to a field. A few houses were visible in the distance, and further away, something that looked vaguely like a castle.
From the driver's seat, Xander looked back over his shoulder. "Are you sure about this, Dawn?"
Dawn was on the floor of the van seated cross-legged, staring dubiously at a map of the area. "This is as close as we can get on the roads. The location is a little further that way." She pointed vaguely in one direction that would take them through a field before consulting her open laptop. "7 Brooktree Lane is the closest address I can pin it down to."
"Yeah, but there aren't any signs that I can see. It's a pretty enough little town, though," Xander noted, glancing out the passenger window at the field. "Although I'd swear that castle was smiling at me."
Dawn shook her head and murmured a word to end the locater spell she'd been using. "We'll just have to go ask directions, then."
:"What?" Xander was aghast. "You're asking me to defy the ManCode?"
"In the interest of doing something other than sitting here in the van, yes."
"Fair enough." Xander didn't have very many traditional male modes of behavior anyhow. Constant exposure to his female friends and romantic prospects had disabused him of most of these notions. He and Dawn gathered up the things they figured they'd need and began to walk through the field toward the nearest house.
The area got even more peculiar as they walked. There was a stand of some sort in that field and off to one side, a car that seemed to be in reasonable shape, but didn't appear to have been driven anywhere for some time.
As they walked up the front walk to the house they'd picked to knock on for directions, Xander snorted at the mailbox. "Heh. Nerd humor." He jabbed a thumb at the name on the side.
Dawn blinked curiously at it. "Is that supposed to be a parody of an email address?"
"Sort of. It's how I dimly recall Willow doing email when we were kids."
Dawn shrugged and decided to forget about the whole business. By unspoken consent, she was usually the first face people saw when they went retrieving Slayers together. Xander had an open, friendly face and all, but the eyepatch could be a little off-putting even so. She brushed her hair back over her shoulders and knocked on the door.
From inside, a growly, barely coherent voice bellowed, "DOORBELL!"
Other voices too indistinct to make out bickered back and forth for a moment, until the dispute ended in an, "Ow!" Then there was shuffling toward the door. Dawn and Xander exchanged a dubious look.
Finally, the door opened to reveal a pale, overweight young man wearing what appeared to be a gray wrestling outfit. "Hello?" he greeted in a voice that seemed to be chronically depressed.
"Hi!" Dawn greeted cheerfully. "I'm sorry to bother you, but we're looking for an address near here, and we can't seem to find any street signs."
"Oh," the young man replied mournfully. "Yeah, we don't really have any streets, so it's kind of hard to find your way around from an address. What is it?"
"7 Brooktree Lane," Dawn replied hopefully.
He thought for a few moments then shook his head with a sigh. "I'm sorry, I don't remember whose house that is. Maybe one of my brothers know. Would you like to come in?" The poor guy sounded even more despondent when it seemed that he couldn't help them.
"Um, sure." Dawn glanced back at Xander, both of them clearly suppressing commentary about the state of this town or the portly man that was trying to help.
They entered and followed their chronically sad host through the kitchen and up the stairs. As they came onto the second floor landing, they could hear a voice talking and keys clattering madly on a computer keyboard.
"...and so, Jumbo, I'm a-not going to any conventions any time in the foreseeable ever. Get somebody else to be your clown, man. Unless you send me over a hot college co-ed or two. Then, maybe we'll talk." Seated at the keyboard was a shorter man, wearing a luchador wrestling mask and boxing gloves for no readily apparent reason. No shirt, black wrestling tights and red boots completed the inexplicably strange sight before them.
Dawn and Xander raised an eyebrow apiece and exchanged another glance.
Their tour guide sighed. "Strong Bad? These two people are looking for an address, and I forgot-"
Strong Bad turned to look at his brother and froze in place when he caught sight of Dawn. "Oh. My. God." He immediately turned back to his computer and began furiously began typing again. "JimBob, I'm sorry I ever doubted you. The hot college co-ed you sent has arrived safely. I will be coming to your conventio-"
"They don't know anything about your stupid email, Strong Bad!" their guide, Strong Sad yelled. "They're looking for an address around here."
"Oh, man! Thanks a lot, Wet Blanket." Disgruntled, Strong Bad turned back to his computer and erased his last addition after he'd gotten a look at Dawn. "At least I don't have to go to any dumb convention now. Whose address are they looking for?"
"We don't know who it belongs to, we just know that it's 7 Brooktree Lane," Xander supplied, shifting positions with Dawn since the outburst of Weird had occurred.
"Hmm," Strong Bad scratched his chin with one boxing glove. "Nope. Can't remember." He leaned back to shout, "Oh, The Cheat!"
Dawn and Xander weren't sure what to make of that, until a small yellow blur sped into the room and came to a halt behind Strong Bad. "Meh?" he asked.
Strong Bad jumped and spun around. "Jeez, The Cheat! How many times do I gotta tell you not to sneak up on me like that?" he scolded a one foot tall yellow creature with black spots.
"Meh, meh, meh." The Cheat didn't seem to be too impressed with Strong Bad's jittery nerves.
"Oh my god. He's so cute," Dawn cooed. She crouched down to the floor and held her hand out to the little creature. "Why's he named 'Cheat', though?"
"His name is 'The Cheat'," Strong Bad corrected, echoed by more of The Cheat's squeaking sounds. "It's like 'A Tribe Called Quest' or 'A Pimp Named Slickback'. You have to say the whole thing."
Dawn looked momentarily confused but obeyed. "It's nice to meet you, The Cheat. Can I hold you?"
"Meh!" Squeaking in joy, The Cheat jumped into Dawn's lap. Once she started scritching the top of his head, he began to make a content trilling sound not unlike a cat's purr. Strong Bad gave his partner/pet a dirty look for monopolizing the attention of the pretty girl in the house.
Xander decided to deal with the immense strangeness he'd encountered thusfar, by not dealing with it. "Do you know anyone that would
know whose address that is?"
Strong Bad scratched his chin. Somehow. Through a mask and boxing gloves. "Well... only guy I can think of that might know that is Bubs. He's kind of our local retailer, internet provider, repairman and shady black market dea- I mean, legitimate businessman
!" Strong Bad looked around nervously before continuing. "Anyways. If anybody would know, it's Bubs."
"Great." Xander looked at Dawn. "You want to keep cuddling him, don't you?"
Dawn beamed up at Xander. "Oh, come on Xander. He's adorable!" The Cheat preened under the attention.
Xander sighed. "Alright, let him come with us. Is Bubs, uh, office far?"
"Nah, he's in the field behind the house." Strong Bad shrugged.
"Do you people not believe in roads?"
"Well, we only have two cars in town. My car and Bubs' Baloney Sammich Wagon. So, I guess you could say we don't really need much by way of roads." Strong Bad hopped up off his seat with a distinct scooting sound. "C'mon! I'll hook you up with Bubs. We can get to know each other!" Strong Bad cast a not-so-stealthy look of lasciviousness at Dawn.
"Whatever." Xander didn't want to bust his bubble yet, since his checking Dawn out was distracting him enough to help them find who they were looking for. "Wait. You do all your shopping through Bubs?"
"Pretty much, except for mail order and online ordering." Strong Bad agreed.
"Then how does the mail carrier know which house to deliver to?"
"Everything that comes into town, comes throu-"
"Through Bubs." Xander was starting to wish he had a pair of glasses, just so he could clean them. It must be why Giles wore his. He seemed to have good enough vision to browse through books even when he wasn't wearing the things. "Can we just go?"
"A-right a-this-a-way!" Strong Bad gestured to the hallway and pushed Strong Sad aside. "Outta the way, Obsessio Depressio! Seriously hot girl and guy with a wicked eyepatch comin' through!"
"I wish I had an eyepatch." Strong Sad sighed.
Anything else uttered by the inmates of the house was lost behind the closed door. Dawn was still cuddling The Cheat. Xander was already regretting coming on this trip.
"So, uh..." Strong Bad gestured towards Xander's head. "What's with the patch?"-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
"And that's why my parents never let me have a Red Ryder BB Gun ever again," Xander concluded the latest in his series of fabrications about his eye as they approached something that looked like a ramshackle little concession stand in the middle of a field.
"Aw, man. I was hoping you were like, an international spy or a shark hunter or something." Strong Bad slumped his shoulders in disappointment. It was apparent that he was leading Xander and Dawn directly to the concession stand.
"This is Bubs' office?" Xander muttered in disbelief.
"Oh, yeah. Don't let the shack thing fool you. Bubs can and does have the last thing you'd ever expect back there."
The most bizarre man Xander had seen yet popped up from behind the counter. "Hi, every-customer!" He wore a shirt that was a louder color of orange than any Hawaiian shirt Xander had ever owned, and seemed to have a bug-eyed look going on.
"Hi, Dr. Nick." Xander snorted.
"Woah. New customers! Strong Bad, where'd you find these people?" Bubs studied Xander and Dawn with interest.
"Oh, it's a great story. I was answering this email and told the guy to send me a hot college co-ed--"
"We're trying to find someone, but your town's house numbering system is a little, y'know, non-existent." Xander interrupted Strong Bad's stream of thought. "Could you tell us how to find 7 Brooktree Lane?"
"Hang on, lemme look!" Bubs produced a notecard box from somewhere and began to flip through it. "Lesse... That's the King of Town.. that's Coach Z.. ugh, that's the Poopsmith..."
Xander raised an eyebrow at the last name listed. "The what?"
"Let it go, man." Strong Bad put his boxing glove on Xander's arm. "This is one of those things where ignorance is not just bliss, it's freakin' weekend in Tahiti with the Swedish Bikini Team."
"Call me fat, dumb and happy, check."
Bubs perked up. "Ah, here it is! That's Marzipan's house!"
Dawn looked up from where she was still fawning over The Cheat. "You have someone in this town named after a dessert?"
Bubs shrugged. "We don't tell her we know what that word means."
"And it helps the rest of us stay sane." Strong Bad shuddered theatrically and mumbled something that sounded like 'a-jibblie-jibblie-jibblie'. "If I had a nickle for every time I was tempted to ask Homestar what he had for dessert-"
"Don't you do it, Strong Bad!" Bubs glared and aimed an accusing finger at him. "We took an oath!"
"Sorry, man. I lost my head."
"Strong Bad, can you take us to Marzipan's house?" Dawn intervened before Xander could lose his patience.
"Yeah, sure. Not on my list of most favorite things to do. In fact, it's on the same list as 'slamming my head in the door of my car after The Cheat's been on a nacho cheese bender'." Strong Bad seemed to think this was a dire fate. "But, c'mon, let's get this over with."-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
After being introduced to Marzipan and her boyfriend, Homestar Runner, (who had a speech impediment of Elmer Fudd proportions), Xander and Dawn took turns questioning the soft-spoken woman, asking if she'd recently noticed an increase in her upper body strength. Which was kind of hard to determine at first glance - she seemed to always keep her arms behind her back.
"Oh, yeah!" Homestar exclaimed. "She threw me out a window when I accidentally broke a stem off of one of her plants!"
Strong Bad affixed a stern look on Marzipan. "You threw Homestar through a window and didn't tell me first? I woulda filmed that!"
"I didn't know it was going to happen, Strong Bad." Marzipan scowled at him before returning her attention to her visitors. "How did you know about this?"
"Uh.. do you trust these two?" Xander glanced to Homestar and Strong Bad.
"I trust Homestar!" She gave Homestar a sappy look. "And, well, Strong Bad can't do much harm with the information, if he knows whats' good for him." Marzipan gave Strong Bad a menacing glare.
While Strong Bad was hastily assuring her that he would behave, Xander and Dawn exchanged a glance and began to fill Marzipan in on precisely why she'd had a sudden surge in her strength and reflexes. Her reaction wasn't exactly what they'd expected.
these demons down?" Marzipan demanded, aghast.
"Well, yeah. Most of 'em are evil. Killing people, sacrificing virgins or babies, the whole nine yards." Xander failed to see the problem.
"You're prosecuting them because their beliefs are different from yours!" Marzipan protested. "Ooh! You people need to get out of my house right now! I have a protest rally to organize!" She began to flounce away in a huff, pausing to glare over her shoulder and declare, "Demons are people too, you know!"
As the door slammed shut behind her, Xander looked around at everyone. "Okay, what just happened?"
Homestar shook his head. "Don't worry about it. In twenty minutes, she'll be busy trying to get everyone to donate to the preservation of some jungle fungus or something. Still, you should probably go. If she sees you, she won't forget as fast."
"No problem." Xander had had just about enough of this weird little town. "Dawn?"
"Yeah, I think we're good." Dawn nodded. She and Xander exchange a look that agreed on one thing - nobody would ever believe these freaks even if they did go around telling about the demon world. They bade Homestar and Strong Bad goodbye, and Dawn gave The Cheat a farewell snuggle before they hastily retreated back to the van.
As they were leaving, they could clearly hear Strong Bad complaining. "Oh, man! Homestar, you scared my co-ed away!"
Xander and Dawn walked in silence for most of the walk back to the van. Xander finally spoke up. "We never tell anyone about this. They wouldn't believe it, even if they'd been here with us."
"Agreed." Dawn climbed in the passenger door. "Wish we could bring The Cheat with us, though. I bet Gobo would love him."
"I think The Cheat was the sanest one of the whole bunch." Xander made a face.
In the back of the van, The Cheat smiled, his gold tooth gleaming. He was glad they thought so. He wasn't about to give up a ready source of cuddles so easily.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Crossover is based off of the animations found at http://www.homestarrunner.com
Disclaimer: Copyrighted characters are copyrighted. Property o' Joss Whedon and Matt & Mike Chapman