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Why They Lost Their Best Customer

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Summary: Xander Harris solves an enduring mystery of the ages-- Oh, all right, maybe just forty years or so. Happy now?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Miscellaneous > Surprise Crossover(Recent Donor)ManchesterFR1344,53143212,54224 Aug 1027 Aug 10Yes

Chapter Four

As Xander went down the last step above the stone floor, and after checking with his flashlight to make sure there was enough room, he jumped over and past the dead demon, landing on the left side of the body, to then stand there for a moment warily regarding the corpse. After all, he’d often seen the generic horror movie with the predictable scene where the monster plays dead until it can catch off guard any of the following: the cheerleader, the sorority pledge, or the camp counselor, all of them currently dressed in their skimpiest underwear. Continuing to closely examine the deceased fiend, Xander inwardly groused to himself that in all his life since he’d fallen off his skateboard in front of a true babe and then gotten involved with the supernatural world, that specific event regarding unclad hotties had somehow never occurred whenever he was around. Oh, no, it was always the other thing, usually involving some unholy creature with sharp fangs promptly going for his throat, and his typical reaction to that as well from high school on.

“Been there, done that, soaked the t-shirt in holy water and spun it into a lash, along with snapping it right into a vamp’s face. Got some good distance, too,” the man with an eyepatch snorted, while horizontally waving the flashlight at waist level. At the edge of the light on his left, something loomed up towards the cave’s ceiling.

Taking a few cautious steps nearer, Xander blinked at what was revealed there in the circle of illumination. It was a wall of large wooden crates, with all of these neatly stacked on top of each other to about twenty feet high, and running from the back wall of the cave to away from the man standing there, disappearing into the darkness further on in the cavern. Wandering closer to the strange wall, Xander noticed there was a company name stamped on all the sides of the crates, just barely distinguishable under the dust and cobwebs that coated the wooden boxes. The name wasn’t familiar to him, which didn’t really mean anything -- for all he knew, that company had gone out of business years or even decades ago, judging from how much grime had accumulated on the unopened boxes. Of far more interest to the man was the fact that he couldn’t think of any way to easily get into one of the crates to see whatever it might contain.

Sweeping his flashlight to the right, Xander’s mood perked up at finding a real prize. There, in the middle of the room, was a single crate with its lid already removed and leaning against the side of the container, which kept the man from seeing into the crate. Striding over, Xander stopped in front of the opened box, the top of which was also completely covered with dusty cobwebs. Gingerly poking his flashlight into the mat of spider silk, which caused it to brightly glow, a flick of Xander’s wrist ripped away the organic shroud to reveal--

Shit!” barked the flustered one-eyed man, as he hurriedly backed away a few steps away from the crate, to then apprehensively stand there as he again aimed his flashlight at what he really hoped was something that could be easily explained away by anything else despite having a pointed nose cone mounted on the front of a thick steel cylinder, and also possessing four metal triangular fins attached at regular intervals around the end of the cylinder. “Please tell me that’s not a rocket!” groaned Xander to himself.

A sudden horrified thought made Xander whirl around, to again aim his flashlight at the body of the unfortunate demon lying at the foot of the stairs, and in the next moment, the light then shifted to shine against the wall of crates. Still holding his beam of illumination there, Xander gloomily muttered aloud, “A demon, and what looks like lots of boxes of rockets! You idiot, what are the odds you had to be the one to stumble onto an old Initiative base! Even if it’s not really that, this isn’t exactly good news anyway!”

His face grim, Xander now swept his flashlight around, to then see on the right side of the cavern some more unidentifiable objects. When he headed over there, the man found a large machine shop, with more than enough tools and equipment capable of building virtually anything. The only thing that alleviated the slightest Xander’s growing concern was that every piece of machinery was also coated with decades of cobwebs, definitely a sign that nobody had laid a finger on any of this in all that time.

Working his way along the various apparatus towards the far wall of the cavern, a further sweep of Xander’s flashlight revealed a large table out in the middle of the room. Walking over, the man found there a rolling chair and a floor lamp in front of this piece of furniture that was quickly recognized as a draftsman’s tilted table, with what looked like a large blueprint still pinned onto the surface of the table. Brushing away more dust and cobwebs that coated the sheet of drawing paper, an act that made him sneeze several times, Xander then shone his light onto the blueprint. It was barely legible, with the ink on the paper almost completely faded away, making it necessary for him to lean forward until his nose almost touched the tabletop and squinting intensely at what had been sketched on the plans.

*Lessee….some kinda launch pad….why would anyone make it so complicated?….the rocket’s supposed to take off and travel along the dotted line….and then land right onto that-- What is that squiggle?*

As a baffled Xander straightened up to then absently scratch the right side of his head with the flashlight, he accidentally shone it into his remaining eye, forcing him to stand there blinking away the afterimages, as he mulled over this new discovery and how it just brought up more questions. *Seem like some kinda inventor/mad scientist thing going on here, instead of a military base or bunker. But what’s the point? Not to mention the why and how and who and-- Oh, the hell with it. I’ll just leave it to Giles and Wils and the rest of the big brains back at the castle to figure it all out when they poke around here.*

Still seeing dots in his vision, Xander stood patiently before the table to wait until his vision was finally unimpaired before taking the steep stairs back up to the outside world. During this, he idly panned his flashlight along the width of the table to see if there was anything else there to be discovered, only to notice something abruptly sparkle in the upper rim of the beam of light just over the edge of the table. Frowning, Xander walked around the table to find out what had caused that odd result. After a few steps forward, the far wall of the cavern loomed up before him, with the man momentarily disregarding this to instead concentrate on something much more interesting.

Stopping a few feet in front of the sheer wall, Xander stared down at where his flashlight was pointing, directly at a small, knee-high pile of rocks and other stony rubble in various sizes that had clearly been earlier gouged out of the foot of the wall by the cobweb-draped pickaxe leaning against the pile. Suddenly feeling a little faint, Xander shut his right eye for a moment, and then he quickly opened it to once more stare at the rocky heap, which hadn’t changed the slightest. Finally, a numb Xander tucked away Willow’s teleportation charm into his jeans pocket, and with his now-free left hand, he reached out to pick up the baseball-sized rock right at the top of the pile.

Straining to lift the unexpectedly heavy rock to chest level, Xander pointed his flashlight at the stone chunk at a range of a few inches, which produced a vivid yellow radiance intermingled with flashes of brilliance from crystals intermingled with the thick veins of mineral deposits running throughout the rock. His right hand then slowly moved the flashlight away from the rock to again point the now-shaking light at the small pile of other stones, which also glowed the soft yellow of a cloudy sun. Lastly, the circle of illumination then moved up to the face of the far wall, which seemed to be one solid slab of pure gold!

After a while, a faint voice echoed throughout the cavern, “Well, even split three ways, there’s no way Buffy, Wils, and Dawn can possibly complain about their present from me this year. No sirree, the only thing that might cause a teensy little problem is when I go on vacation next year, how am I gonna come up with something that’ll top giving them a whole gold mine?!”

It was at that point that a dazed Xander Harris let slip from his fingers the twenty-pound gold nugget that unerringly landed onto his big toe, resulting in howls of pain resounding throughout the cavern, bringing back familiar sounds to this chamber that were common forty years ago and earlier, that had ended due to the fatal mishap happening to Wile E. Coyote, when that persistent pursuer of the Road Runner had his stairway accident along his hurried way to complete that super genius’ task of mining enough gold to pay for the latest shipment from the Acme Company.



Further Disclaimer: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Warner Brothers cartoon characters are the property of their original owners.

Author’s Note: Well, I always wondered how that coyote actually paid for all his gadgets from the Acme Company…. (It never made all that much sense to me about someone else’s idea a few years ago that this cartoon character was a product tester for the factory.) Anyway, this is the Buffyverse, so despite Wile E.’s various appearances in movies and other media in this reality during the last forty years, that exact dimension had seen the last of him after the release of the 1964 cartoon ‘War and Pieces’, which I picked since it was the final movie featurette entirely done by Chuck Jones and the rest of the Termite Terrace gang just before the Warner Brothers corporation closed down their animation studio, and a classic era ended. Yeah, considering that character previously survived having entire mountains falling onto him, it was worth a giggle to kill him off with just a simple domestic accident. Ah, the irony.

Oh, and the Road Runner? My best guess is that after hanging out in the desert for a few weeks waiting for his incompetent foe to show up again and provide that speedy bird with some more amusement, a bored Accelerati incredibilus shrugged its non-existent shoulders, called out for one last time “Meep! Meep!” and then zoomed off into the sunset.

Thanks for all the reviews! Kudos to MarcusRowland and RudesMom for being the first ones to correctly guess the story crossover.

The End

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