Disclaimer: I own nothing. To avoid spoilers, a more complete disclaimer is given at the end of this story.
All right, first of all, this was not
some kind of dream. He was really here, dressed in his normal, everyday clothes, not to mention being in absolutely big
trouble. Okay then, that dealt with the what, when, and where. How wasn’t important, except where it might help in Andrew’s return back to his bed in the Scottish castle of the International Watchers’ Council, in which he’d been fast asleep just a few moments ago. That left just why and who. So, it was time to start being logical, just like Commander Spock, which if there was any justice at all in the entire universe, this Vulcan would one day appear through a dimensional portal into the main dining hall and announce to a shocked room filled with chowing-down Slayers that this Starfleet officer had come to reclaim his long-lost son (otherwise known as you-know-who) with a human woman that had both mysteriously disappeared during a transporter accident years ago.
Um. Getting back to the other stuff….
Could he have been kidnapped out of his bedroom due to a fiendish plot (what other kind was there?) by one or several of the IWC’s foes in order to strike fear in the hearts of the remaining Scooby Gang members and their companions, with these defenders of the world and their allies then putting up a brave face amongst each other, while inwardly each would feel real hopelessness at the vanishing of their foremost warrior? Very likely.
Or, he could have been the subject of someone’s careless wish. The newcomers to the IWC had been told
about this over and over, with the most gruesome warnings given to the rookie Slayers and Watchers against ever again using the w-word in conversation where there was the merest possibility that a vengeance demon was loitering in the vicinity, just waiting for the opportunity to cause real trouble by granting that inadvertently-expressed desire. Yeah, that could have occurred, but why would anyone want something like this
to happen in the first pla--
Er. Could it be remotely possible that he’d accidentally offended or bored or irritated or annoyed or, well, maybe slightly got on someone’s nerves in the castle so much that they’d intentionally expressed a wish to send him right here? No, that couldn’t be true. He’d been the same as always lately, doing his enjoyed job as researcher-emeritus in his very own computer room (Mr. Giles had made him take down the placard with the title of ‘Andrew’s Lair’ off the front of the door, though) right in the deepest, most secure part of the castle, where all the wards and locks and big steel doors had given him such a wonderful feeling of being safe and protected.
Of course, that had also made it difficult for people to come down into the former dungeons in order to visit him, so he’d made a point during his dinner meals to fully share with everyone else there at their tables his latest studies on the day-by-day statistics of Slayer encounters with the various species of demons over the last fifteen hundred years. Everybody within hearing range had seemed to deeply appreciate such a complete report given concerning this, with all of them staring unblinkingly at him, their mouths open in awe at the superlative erudition currently being demonstrated by the young (and rather handsome) man.
So, no, it seemed most probable that the first of the three explanations he’d just come up with was the correct reason for him appearing--
Oh, dear. There was indeed a third rationale to account for being right here in this darkened battlefield in the middle of the night, where the innocents he was guarding maintained their peaceful slumber behind himself, and the moans and wails of the army of evil before him indicated that they were going to advance any second now. Drawing himself up in his sudden hauteur, Andrew glowered at his foes beginning to lurch in his direction, and he bitterly reflected that it was truly spiteful how envious people back in the castle could take the news of his repeated victories during his newest diversion, and then use this information in such puerile pursuits as their recent fondness for practical jokes.
Actually, from what he’d picked up from overheard stray comments, along with actually observing assorted victims grimly going around their business in the castle after a supposedly-humorous prank had been played upon these unfortunates, there had always been practical jokes performed among the other inhabitants of the IWC headquarters. The only specific rules concerning these tricks seemed to be “Not during an apocalypse, and nothing that Willow can’t change you back from.”
Andrew had never quite understood the whole point of this while seeing those around the castle waiting for their newest skin color to fade away or their additional tentacles to drop off, but apparently in the constant battles against the world’s demons and other unholy creatures, humor was a favorite defensive mechanism often used to break the tension during the endless conflicts. Still, it was evidently now Andrew’s turn to undergo such a childish experience as being the cause of malicious amusement for certain people who were undoubtedly watching him at this exact moment, all while snickering to themselves and betting with others that this latest round of silly entertainment would create absolute panic in the mind of the last living member of the trio of would-be evil masterminds that had bedeviled Buffy Summers back in Sunnydale.
How ridiculous. He was Andrew Wells, gamer supreme, and he was not
going to be defeated. Giving the advancing army of zombies his haughtiest stare, the man reached into his jeans pocket for what he knew beyond a doubt would be there. Sure enough, his fingers closed around several small objects, and when he took out his hand and looked at what was now innocently resting there on his palm, Andrew smirked in absolute confidence, looking forward to ultimate victory.
Ignoring the closest zombie that had staggered forwards from the suburban street onto the edge of the backyard, Andrew dropped the largest seed in his hand onto the ground by his left foot, watching with fascination as this plant kernel burrowed into the mowed lawn, and then immediately sprouted into a smiling sunflower plant that started to bob its blossom in time with unheard music. Looking up to observe the nearby zombie that had the rotting flesh, slack jaw, and unvarying gaze of all its fellow walking dead zealously yearning for fresh, juicy brains, Andrew then tossed one of the smaller seeds onto the ground a few paces ahead of this opponent, nodding with satisfaction as this action produced from the lush lawn a small, purple mushroom that quickly started firing fungical projectiles directly at the advancing zombie.
Just when that dead man’s decayed left arm fell off, Andrew was distracted by a sudden blast of light coming from next to himself, and he turned to see that there was now a little glowing-yellow orb floating in mid-air directly above the still-bobbing sunflower. Fearlessly, the former Sunnydale resident grabbed the ball of light without any ill effects save that it instantly vanished, and in his head, a scoreboard then indicated in big numbers, “25.”
Andrew Wells then started seriously playing his newest favorite computer game, with his enjoyment only increasing while smugly contemplating how afterwards he was going to really needle those people who’d clearly never expected him to so crushingly win a real-life contest of ‘Plants vs. Zombies.’
Further Disclaimer: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and also all those characters shown in the noted PopCap Games creation are the property of their original owners.
Author’s Note: Yes, I really, really like that game. I also really, really like votes for my stories nominated in the 2010 Crossing Over Awards. Find ‘em, read ‘em, and vote for ‘em!