I am still doing my best to get that first chapter for The Many Conquests of Xander Harris done up so I can open up that story to fellow authors interested in playing along, but this idea hit me like a ton of bricks and I guess my nostalgia circuit was kicking in, so here is another new WIP that I'm starting instead of working on an older WIP that should really get finished. It's the story of my life, of all author's lives, we are at the fickle whims of our muse.
That being said, I do so hope that I won't dissapoint with this zany idea... I don't think I've ever seen anything this intense before... Warning species transmogrification is involved with our three intrepid scoobies becoming a different species. They're cute and cuddly and soft and bounce around a lot.Disclaimer: All characters belong to Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the property of Joss Whedon and M.E. Productions. All characters belonging to Walt Disney studios are the property of same, this author makes no claims otherwise. I'm trying not to give it away until you read it in the crossover, but suffice it to say I'm sure you'll be thrilled by this... Those old enough to remember the classic that started it all for Walt Disney's Television Cartoon Programming. So sing out in chorus and join us for the first chapter.
The plan had been sound and might have worked, if not for one crucial element – The Shadow Men had created a lie – a lie that told how they successfully chained the essence of a demon into the body of a young girl to grant her the strength necessary to stand against the darkness.
This lie led to the ultimate fate of our heroes as Willow Rosenberg’s spell to activate all of the potentials backfired with horrible results – everybody died – The First won. The Earth would be plunged into hell as the army of Turok-Han ran rampant across the globe, but The Powers had known all along that the Shadow Men had lied.
And so in order to ensure that The First failed and Buffy Summers’ plan ultimately succeeded they engineered what is commonly known as – a do-over – Willow’s spell succeeded through different means. The Potentials were all activated and The First was defeated… But as is often the case there is a price to be paid for the use of arcane mystical arts such as those used to defeat The First.
“Buffy!” Willow screamed – literally screamed – as she rushed into the room of her oldest friend and the oldest living Slayer in recorded history.
“What?” Buffy leapt from her lotus position – she’d taken up meditation these days in order to perfect her Slayer skills even greater than before – she refused to let the responsibility she now faced for all of the activated potentials to become a weakness.
“The Potentials, they’ve lost their power,” Willow said.
“That’s not possible,” Buffy said suddenly feeling a gnawing pit in her stomach.
“I know, I mean I made that spell very carefully and used the scythe as a focus, I did my work I knew what I was doing and they should have kept their powers until the day they died. But now they’re all getting weak and can barely lift stuff, some of them are even getting sick, Buffy! We have to do something to stop this because if this happens to some of them while they’re out fighting vampires and stuff it could mean.”
“Breathe, Willow,” Buffy told her friend with a slight smirk.
Willow stopped her ramble and took in a deep breath – her cheeks lost their slowly sickening pallor of blue – and she shot Buffy a sheepish look. “Sorry, it’s just, this shouldn’t be happening.”
Buffy started to pace the length of her room considering all of the options. She had to figure out what was going on, but she didn’t know where to begin to look.
Xander came running almost out of breath. “Willow,” he said gasping as he leaned forward with his hands on his knees. “I heard you screaming,” he managed to get out once he’d caught himself.
“The potentials are all losing their Slayer essence,” Buffy stated matter of factly.
“No!” Xander stared at the blonde in shock. “How?” he blurted.
“I don’t know,” Willow admitted with a shake of her head.
“If you’ll promise not to hit me I can probably tell you why,” an unfamiliar Brooklyn accented person stated.
“Whistler!” Buffy accused with a growl.
“Now before you get all bent out of shape, Slayer, can I just say two things?” Whistler pleaded flinching as Buffy approached him a dangerous gleam in her eyes.
“Forty seconds,” Buffy told him angrily.
“Your plan was brilliant, but it was never going to work, see the Shadow Men lied about how they empowered the Slayer. They wanted to control her so they concealed the truth behind that little show you were privy to.” Whistler waited with bated breath.
“Go on,” Buffy instructed slowly.
“Well I’m going to have to cut a long story short and just get to the chase.” Whistler smiled slightly and then settled himself on the edge of Buffy’s bed. “There were two races that were once strongly linked, humans on one side and another race with great cunning and knowledge. They built a device that when combined with their magic potion allowed for the creation of a valiant and noble protector of mankind, she who would become known as the Slayer, but back then she was called the Valkyrie.”
Xander, Willow and Buffy stared at Whistler impatiently.
“Right. The Shadow Men, jealous of the freedom of this Valkyrie and at the fact that this second race could create such wonders sparked a war in order to steal their secrets, but they were far too cunning for that. They went into hiding, unfortunately the Valkyrie was captured and the Shadow Men cast a powerful controlling spell upon her,” Whistler explained. “This spell was so dark and so powerful that it knew the potential children that would be born with the ability to assume the mantle of the Valkyrie, so that when she died it passed itself on to the next in the line, and so on and so forth until we come to you.” Whistler sighed. “You just love to defy convention.”
“It’s what I do,” Buffy said with a shrug.
“It’s what we do,” Xander reminded his hardened gaze aimed at the balance demon. “That doesn’t explain why the potentials are losing their power.”
“I was just getting to that, carpenter,” Whistler said. “See, Glenda here had good intentions, but she only knew half the story, so when she passed all of the Slayer essence onto the others all she did was pretty much bupkis,” he elaborated. “The Powers stepped in, but see, because they helped out to prevent the First from winning and killing all of you they kind of cheated. So now we’ve got a situation back in the past that needs sorting out.” Whistler took off his hat and shook his head. “It’s a real mess.”
“Let me guess, it has something to do with that device you mentioned,” Buffy observed.
“Bingo, Slayer,” Whistler said with a knowing smile.
“What? Did it not get invented now or something?” Xander asked snarkily.
Willow frowned slightly. “That couldn’t be, otherwise everyone would be losing their powers, Buffy and Faith too,” she pointed out.
“Yeah, see, because of what the Powers did there is a seriously evil force back in the past who has stumbled across this machine… Creating the Valkyrie is only one of its uses, in the hands of someone clever enough and with access to that particular magic potion they could cause a real mess,” Whistler said. He got up off of Buffy’s bed with a sorrowful expression.
“If we do this will the Potentials get their power back?” Buffy demanded. “I’m responsible for them, Whistler,” she added a dangerous edge to her tone.
Whistler shook his head. “It was a one time deal, Slayer, to fix up the monumental mess you made when you disrupted the Balance,” he told her.
Buffy angrily reached for a nearby weapon only to find that Whistler had vanished.
“Hey! Don’t kill the messenger,” his voice said from the nether. “Besides, if you pull this off we’ve got a swell prize for all of you. See, the Valkyrie was turned into the Slayer, but that doesn’t mean she has to stay the Slayer… If you catch my drift.” This time it was apparent Whistler was gone for good.
Buffy frowned slightly.
Willow pursed her lips in curious thought. “I wonder what he meant by that,” she said.
“I don’t give a damn,” Xander said frustratedly. “But what I do know is he took off without telling us how exactly we’re supposed to help out in the past when we’re here, I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but time travel isn’t one of our specialties,” he pointed out.
Willow nodded. “Not even I can pull that off,” she agreed.
“So, how do we get to the past to stop the big bad?” Buffy asked curiously.
“Pum-ast travenuml num-ow!” a voice called from the ether.
Willow felt a strange magical signature and let out a cry of shock.
Xander felt a stinging sensation all over him and did his best not to curse.
Buffy however was feeling dark thoughts concerning Whistler and his little trick – she felt the floor under her vanish and then blackness.
“Shouldn’t we have done better at explaining just what she and her two friends are getting into?”
Whistler eyed the Powers’ temporal specialist as the balance demon fiddled nervously with his hat. “Are you kidding?” he asked. “Do you have any idea how close I came to being killed?”
The temporal specialist shot Whistler a look. “Oh, well, if that’s all,” she said dismissively.
“She’s dangerous,” Whistler said not understanding how the temporal specialist could be so calm.
Laughing she shot him a look. “That’s nothing, you should see Gruffi when he’s in a bad mood,” she said.
Whistler shook his head. “How’d you get this gig again?”
“Because Gummi Bears learned how to Time Travel centuries before humans started building their machines,” she reminded smugly.
Whistler sighed and not for the first time wished he had a good cigar he could be smoking right now.
Dashing and daring, courageous and caring, faithful and friendly with stories to share… All through the forest they sing out in chorus, marching along as their song fills the air.Gummi Bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventure that’s beyond compare, they are the Gummi Bears.Magic and Mystery are part of their history, along with the secret of Gummiberry juice. Their legend is growing, they take pride in knowing, they’ll fight for what’s right in whatever they do!Gummi Bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventure that’s beyond compare, they are the Gummi Bears. They are the Gummi Bears!Musical Interlude…Dashing and daring, courageous and caring, faithful and friendly with stories to share… All through the forest they sing out in chorus, marching along as their song fills the air.Gummi Bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventure that’s beyond compare, they are the Gummi Bears… Gummi Bears, when a friend’s in danger they’ll be there, lives and legends that we all can share, they are the Gummi Bears. They are the Gummi Bears. They are the Gummi Bears!Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears in…Origins and Mysteries
Drekmore was home to countless Ogres in the time before mankind discovered the secrets of indoor plumbing – the Gummi Bears of course knew about this fascinating secret already, but that is not the focus of our tale – in Drekmore Castle a lone human sits. Controlling all of the Ogres with a tight fisted, heavy handed approach and mostly because Ogres are stupid creatures – unlike Trolls who are much more cunning and currently worship the Troll God Olaf.
Duke Sigmund Igthorn – once a knight of Dunwyn – was banished for his treachery and attempts to overthrow the kingdom crowning himself king. At first he relied merely on his Ogres to attack Castle Dunwyn and conquer it, but one fateful day he encountered a race of beings once thought to be merely mythical.
The Gummi Bears. A race of anthropomorphic bears, mostly teddy bear sized and fairly short compared to humans, they had a special ability granted them by their secret elixir. Gummiberry Juice.
Duke Igthorn learned that day that by drinking Gummiberry Juice humans, and by extension Ogres, gained enormous strength, sadly this effect was temporary and once the juice ran its course could not bestow its gifts to a human for another whole day.
The fact that young Cavin somehow managed to defy this rule upon first encountering the Gummi Bears was a mystery that Duke Igthorn long attempted to decipher – the secret was not so secret however – since Cavin had been in possession of a Gummi Medallion for much of his young life he’d been granted a slight reprieve from that rule.
Igthorn remained unaware of this fact, for he had not encountered the young Dunwynian Page until after he’d given his medallion to the Gummis. So Igthorn continued his quest to learn the secrets of permanent Gummiberry Juice power, and in so doing discovered a book of ancient writings depicting the tale of a young woman turned champion.
Igthorn smiled as he continued to read the pages of the Book of the Valkyrie as written down by the First Watcher and Chronicler of the Valkyrie’s noble deeds. “Vampires and Demons are notoriously difficult to find,” he observed. “They continue to hide in their holes, unlike these dimwitted muscle bound apes I surround myself with on a daily basis,” he complained as he continued to read the valiant tales of the noble Valkyrie. “They’re afraid of this woman, their numbers are not great enough yet to stand up against human kind, fortunate for me, I don’t have to worry about them… But this Valkyrie, I have heard rumors of course, but to discover this book.” Igthorn smiled greedily. “Toadwart!” he bellowed as he realized his goblet of wine had been emptied.
“Yes your vileness,” Toadwart said as the diminutive Ogre came rushing into the room with a pitcher of wine and some grapes on a tray.
“Tell me, Toadwart, what do you know of this Valkyrie?” Igthorn asked as his servant refilled his goblet.
Toadwart let out a nervous gasp and nearly dropped the ceramic pitcher. “She is dangerous, oh lordly one,” he said. “Killing ogres indiscriminately, oh please, your vile and nasty one, surely you aren’t thinking of hiring her to capture the Gummi Bears,” Toadwart nervously stammered.
“Of course not, you blithering buffoon!” Igthorn shouted at the pint sized ogre. “But tell me, if there is such a person as this Valkyrie, how did she obtain her super human strength?” he asked in a silky smooth tone as he took a sip of the newly poured wine.
“Good exercise and a proper diet,” Toadwart said scratching his head thoughtfully.
“NO!” Igthorn snapped. “You simple minded sap, it’s obvious to anyone with the knowledge to put two and two together!” he added.
Toadwart held up six fingers and tried his best to figure out what Igthorn meant.
“Put those away before you hurt yourself,” Igthorn muttered with a disgusted sigh. “Toadie, my sniveling little wart, this Valkyrie must have access to a great supply of Gummiberry Juice… Either that or…” Igthorn stopped the light of understanding in his eyes and he began to laugh. “That’s it!”
“What’s it?” Toadwart asked.
“Toadie, what happens when a human drinks Gummiberry Juice?” Igthorn asked in a patient and deliberately slow tone.
“They get super strong.” Toadie said.
Igthorn nodded. “Right, but then the power wears off. Not good for fighting demons, now is it?”
Toadie shook his head mutely.
“Perhaps you can be taught,” Igthorn muttered. “Don’t you realize, her strength would leave her halfway through any battle, demons are tougher skinned than you lot of unwashed illiterates,” he pointed out.
Toadie sniffed at his arm. “Toadie not smell so bad, he took a bath last year,” he said.
“That’s beside the point!” Igthorn snapped impatiently. “The Valkyrie is always super strong, and the only way that she could be always super strong is if she cracked the code, discovered the secret, obtained a permanent use of those bouncing bears strength elixir!” he stated mater of factly.
“Maybe she just born that way?” Toadie suggested dumbly.
Igthorn’s face turned bright red in anger and Toadie was suddenly sailing across the room and out the door with his serving tray close behind him – the pitcher smashed against his face drenching him in wine – Igthorn marched angrily out of his room and glared down at the disgusting little toad.
“What did Toadie say?” the small ogre asked fearfully.
Igthorn let out a breath and calmed himself. “Tell my Ogres to meet me in the courtyard at once!” he instructed. “We’re going hunting.”
“For Gummi Bears?” Toadie asked nervously.
“No! For Valkyries,” Igthorn informed with a dark and sinister smile.
Toadwart gulped. “Dukie making big mistake,” he said.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Toadwart! Now get going!” Igthorn commanded the force of his yell sending the ogre runt tumbling backwards down the stairs.
“Ouch, ooof, ow, ugh, urgh,” Toady said as he bounced down each step. “Toadie has a bad feeling,” he said rubbing his head as he came to a stop at the bottom of the tower stairs.
Xander heard Buffy and Willow arguing about something and rolled over – unfortunately he’d landed in a tree upon arrival and was unaware of this fact – with a loud crash Xander landed in a heap of bushes with curious looking berries on them.
“Ok, memo to self, self no more sleeping in trees,” he said with a groan as he rubbed his head and slowly got up.
“Xander, will you please tell Willow that we are not going to try using magic to find a path out of here?” Buffy requested. “At least not until we find some decent clothes,” she added pointedly.
Opening his eye Xander noticed that Willow and Buffy were standing a little ways off – at least he thought it was Willow and Buffy – something about them looked different and he couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
“What’s wrong with our clothes?” Xander asked glancing down at himself. He stared at himself very carefully for several moments trying to figure out if he’d hit his head harder than he thought when he came crashing out of that tree. “Do I have fur?”
Buffy harrumphed and folded her arms over her chest. “Gee, Xander, I don’t know, let me see if I can figure that one out for you, mister obvious.”
Xander glared at Buffy. “Hey! Don’t get bitchy with me, Buffster!” he snapped.
“We’ve been arguing for over an hour,” Willow complained in a tired tone. “I don’t know why the Powers turned us into four foot tall bears, but there has to be a reason for it, and being in a foul mood won’t help,” she pointed out calmly. Willow was unfortunately beginning to feel testy with the whole being the voice of reason thing – and there was no reason for Xander and Buffy to start going at it when Xander had only just now regained consciousness.
“Sorry,” Xander apologized. “I’ve been out of it longer than you two and the first thing I do is snap at you… Not exactly nice,” he added wondering where his pinky had disappeared to. “Ok, so let’s recap, there’s this race of creatures who gave the Slayer her powers, only she was the Valkyrie not the Slayer, and somehow this device they used is either discovered by or going to be discovered by this majorly wicked dude… Force of evil thing… And somehow we were sent through time to stop them, only for some weird reason we were transformed into talking bears with… Say why exactly is my fur forest green?” he asked.
“The same reason why I’m chartreuse I suppose,” Willow said with a shrug.
“Whoop-de-do,” Buffy said circling her head with a finger. “How come I’m a combination of cream colored and black? And why did we arrive naked?”
“Technically we’re not,” Xander stated calmly. “Also it’s the standard time travel thing for most sci-fi, you can’t take anything back with you… Plus I don’t think our old clothes would exactly fit our new bods, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Xander chuckled and brushed a paw through his fur.
“This is close as I ever wanted to get to learning how the other half lives,” Buffy commented. “You just know Faith is never going to let us hear the end of this, I can already think of several lewd comments she’d make on principal alone.”
“How do you know Faith knows about the furries?” Willow asked.
Buffy quirked a brow, which looked odd on her new furry face. “I’m more curious to know how you know of that term,” she said with a sly smirk.
Willow’s fur darkened in a blush. “I used to be a hacker, remember, Buffy? I kind of, left a few sites like that with some nasty little viruses I cooked up when I learned about some of those… Types of people.”
“Go, Will,” Xander said with a chuckle. “Being all mean spirited and illegal and stuff.”
“Don’t encourage her, Xander,” Buffy instructed.
“Sorry, I have no idea what came over me,” Xander lied with a chesire cat like grin.
“Sure you don’t. So, now then, back to our original problem… We still need clothes,” Buffy said.
“Not to mention a roadmap to our objective in this time period,” Willow said.
“Well… I’m sure we can think of something,” Xander said. “How about we get me an eye patch first though, I don’t want to freak anybody out with this injury.”
“Are you crazy?” Buffy shouted. “We’re not going near any humans looking like this, they’d turn us into stuffed toys for their kids,” she added. “Or smother us in hugs, I’m feeling kind of cutesy myself at the moment.”
Xander sighed and knelt down to grab a few leaves and some vines left lying on the ground from his fall. Using ingrained wilderness survival techniques he quickly fashioned a makeshift eye patch and managed to straighten it over his missing eye. “There really isn’t a reason for modesty,” he said.
“Says the guy standing out in the open for all the world to see,” Buffy accused.
Xander glanced down – he could feel his guy parts still there, but the fur was covering them up – shaking his head he started to approach the girls. “We’re bears,” he stated. “We don’t exactly need clothes… As for the going up to humans bit, I’m going to have to agree with you on that until we can figure out why we got changed in the first place, how, and more importantly into what,” he said crossing his arms over his burly chest as he shot a knowing look at Willow.
Sighing Willow came out from behind her hiding place. “Xander is right, Buffy,” she said. “He can’t see anything.”
Buffy grumbled, but was soon out in the open too. “You tell anybody you saw me naked back home, Xander, and I’ll castrate you.”
“Buffy, we’re the closest friends ever,” Xander said. “I hardly think this would be that much of a deal for somebody like us.”
“I guess you’re right,” Buffy reluctantly agreed.
“Is she still Slayer strong?” Xander asked Willow.
Willow nodded. “She tested that out first thing after we woke up.”
“I can still hear good too,” Buffy said over her shoulder.
Xander’s nose started to twitch. Closing his eye he breathed in a delectable aroma from somewhere off to their immediate left. “Am I dreaming or do you smell something really, really good?” he asked his stomach beginning to rumble.
Willow rubbed her tummy – marveling once again at the strange and unnatural yet pleasing sensation it caused – and nodded. “I’m starving.”
“Time travel will probably do that to anybody,” Buffy said trying to ignore her own ravenous hunger.
“First rule of survival, find food,” Xander stated.
“I thought it was find shelter,” Willow said.
“More like stay alive,” Buffy muttered.
“Forget it, let’s just go see where that aroma is coming from…” Xander paused as he realized certain problems finding it could lead to. “We’ll use these trees and bushes for cover, just in case it is some humans,” he promised.
“Great.” Buffy grinned. “You go first.” She shot Xander a knowing look.
“Fine,” Xander stated marching off into the trees.
“Oh I do hope there’s a small smackeral of something,” Willow said patting her tummy again.
Buffy shot her an incredulous look.
“Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking the exact same thing,” Willow accused with a pout – which looked funny on her new bear face.
Nodding slowly Buffy burst into a childlike grin. “Ok, but we don’t tell Xander that.”
“Agreed.” Willow nodded.
“We’d better hurry up before he pigs out on everything,” Buffy said hurrying to catch up with Xander.
Willow silently followed – part of her wondering at the rapidity of their acceptance at being transformed into anthropomorphic bears – then again it wasn’t too far out there to believe considering everything they’d had to deal with the past eight years.
Seated out in the open with a large picnic lunch the Gummis of Gummi-Glen were certain that today they wouldn’t be bothered by any of the humans from nearby Castle Dunwyn. Mostly because today was a grand ceremony and everyone was supposed to be in the small village surrounded by the castle walls.
Duke Igthorn and his Ogres hadn’t been seen for a good few weeks – so they were taking a bit of fresh air with lunch for the day.
Cubbi smiled broadly as he reached for a roll. “Yum, yum, Grammi, you always make the best food,” he said taking a big bite out of it.
“Why thank you, dear,” Grammi said smiling warmly at the compliment.
“I don’t like this,” Gruffi complained. “We shouldn’t be out here,” he told the others.
“Button up and enjoy this nice fresh air!” Grammi ordered.
Gruffi mumbled something under his breath and picked up a bowl of stew.
Zummi – the oldest and wisest of the Gummi-Glen Gummis – was currently flipping through some pages of a book he’d brought with him. “This is really fuite qascinating, er, I mean quite fascinating,” he observed. “It says here that the ancient Gummis perfected a spell for time travel, but… for some reason that spell was left out of the great book.” Frowning slightly Zummi absently nibbled at a stalk of celery.
“Time travel, now why would anybody want to travel through time?” Grammi wondered. “It sounds dangerous.”
“Maybe that’s why we can’t find them anymore,” Sunni said. “Maybe they went and hid in the future.”
“It’s possible,” Zummi mused.
“I still think it wouldn’t be smart traveling through time,” Grammi said. “What if you messed with something you shouldn’t or accidentally undid something that was supposed to happen?”
“That’s why the great Gummis probably erased that spell from the book,” Gruffi pointed out.
“Gee, all this talk is making me hungry,” Tummi said.
“Everything makes you hungry,” Grammi reminded.
“I know, could you please pass the stew, Grammi?” Tummi asked.
“That’s your third helping already, Tummi,” Grammi scolded.
“I can’t help it, I really like your cooking, Grammi,” Tummi said with a winning smile.
“Nice try, but save some for the rest of us,” Grammi said knowingly. “Here, have some broccoli.”
Tummi eyed the vegetable in front of him. “Yuck,” he complained to himself.
“Tummi, there’s nothing wrong with broccoli,” Gruffi stated eating one after he spoke. His face turned sour and he forced himself not to spit it out. “See?” he said after swallowing.
“Oh I know, Gruffi, but Grammi always overcooks it,” Tummi said.
“I what?” Grammi demanded putting her hands on her hips angrily.
A twig suddenly snapped nearby and the Gummis all froze.
“Who could that be?” Cubbi wondered.
“None of the humans are supposed to be out in the forest today,” Grammi said picking up her ladle and brandishing it like a weapon.
“It’s probably ogres, or trolls,” Cubbi said hopefully brandishing his wooden sword eager for a fight.
“Oh, I hope not,” Sunni said nervously.
Xander frowned slightly – when he first found the bears gathered around the picnic he’d been surprised yet hopeful – these ones were sort of similar to their new appearance. Except for the clothes. So it was possible that they could help them. When he overheard their conversation he began to realize that they must be the second race – the ones that built the device which created the first Slayer, or Valkyrie.
As far as he could make out they were collectively known as Gummis, and each one had a name similar sounding to it. Then Buffy had to go and take a step forward alerting them to their presence.
“Smooth move, Buffster,” he muttered aside to her.
“Those are bears that look sort of like we do now,” she observed ignoring his sarcastic tone.
“Yeah, and I count at least four male bears and only two females,” Willow added. “I guess that means you’ve got to introduce us to them, Xander, no way am I letting perfectly strange men or women see us.”
“Two of them are only kids,” Xander said. “What should I say happened to our clothes?” he asked. “I mean, they’re all dressed up, kind of looks suspicious if three strange bears just show up out of the blue without any clothes.”
“I don’t know, tell them a human stole them or something, just get us something to wear and more importantly to eat,” Buffy ordered pushing Xander towards the group.
“Ok, ok, geeze, Buffy, you don’t have to be so rough,” he said nervously.
“Whoever’s in there better come out right now, or else,” Gruffi called towards the trees.
“That wouldn’t be the best idea just yet,” a mysterious voice called out from their immediate left. “Would the two ladies kindly vacate the premises?”
“Who is he calling a lady?” Grammi wondered.
“He means you and Sunni,” Zummi explained.
“Oh, oh right,” Grammi said with wide thoughtful eyes. “Come along, Sunni, dear,” Grammi said.
“But why, Grammi?” Sunni wondered.
“We’ll sneak up on him and get the drop on him,” Grammi whispered to the girl.
“Ok, Grammi,” Sunni said.
Together the two of them left the immediate area. Once they were out of eyesight Xander slowly took a step out into the open.
“Oh my goodness,” Zummi blurted.
“It’s a Gummi, just like us!” Cubbi shouted excitedly.
“Humph, I’ll just bet,” Gruffi said eyeing Xander suspiciously. “More likely it’s one of Igthorn’s ogres in a magic disguise.”
“But where would he get a magic disguise like that?” Tummi wondered.
Xander smiled and waved hesitantly. “Uh, hey there, fellow… Erm, Gummis,” he said hastily trying to cover up his slip of the tongue. “Do you think you might spare a change of clothes, you see… I was… uh, bathing near the river with some friends when these humans showed up and… Well we kind of had to leave our clothes behind,” Xander said hoping his lie was believable enough.
“Oh really,” Gruffi said closing one eye. “And I’ll just bet that you expect us to buy that load of garbage.”
“Hey, I mean, we’re all Gummis here… Aren’t we?” Xander took a nervous step back.
“That’s just it, we’re the only Gummis around these parts. In fact we’re the only Gummis still alive that we know of, so you’d better start talking fast, pal, before we’re forced to clobber you and undo that magic disguise!” Gruffi barked taking a threatening step closer to Xander.
“Just my luck we’d have to be turned into an endangered species,” Xander grumbled under his breath.
“Gruffi, wait a minute, maybe he’s telling the truth,” Zummi said climbing to his feet. “There is a way to tell if he’s really who he claims to be, I read a spell in the great book and jotted it down… Now where are my notes?” he said reaching into the folds of his cape.
“Oh no, Zummi, we don’t have time for any silly spells.” Gruffi rolled his eyes.
“If Grammi and Sunni get too impatient they’re in for a real show,” Cubbi said giggling. “Maybe we could at least get him something to wear.”
“I’ll get it,” Tummi offered moving over to the largest tree close to their picnic area.
“Tummi, wait!” Gruffi called out, but it was too late.
Tummi opened up the secret door to their home and bounded into the hole vanishing before Gruffi could react.
“Terrific, now this stranger knows how to get into our home!” Gruffi complained.
“Aha! Here it is,” Zummi cried holding up his notes. “Revumneal trumuth numow!” he recited aiming his hand at Xander.
Xander felt a strange tingling sensation through his fur and before he knew it he was approaching the mystical bear. “Hi, name’s Xander Harris, how are ya?”
“That’s no Gummi name,” Gruffi said.
“True, my friends and I were transformed into Gummis by the Powers that Be so that we could get your help… I think… there’s this important device that created this all powerful warrior woman called the Valkyrie, apparently as near as we can figure it was built by your race to help the humans against the demons and the vampires… But now some majorly evil force is about to get their hands on it so we need to stop them, and the best way to do that apparently is for us to be Gummis.”
Gruffi stared at Xander with his mouth hanging open.
“Wow,” Cubbi said.
“A likely story!” Gruffi snapped quickly recovering from his shock. “Well, Zummi, I guess one of your spells works for a change.”
“All of my wells sork, I mean spells work,” Zummi said puffing out his chest.
“Here ya go,” Tummi said as he reappeared with some clothes in one hand. “They used to belong to some of the Gummis that raised Grammi and Zummi when they were little, I hope they’ll fit,” he added with a helpful smile.
Xander grinned. “Oh I’m sure they will,” he said. “Buffy, Willow, I’ve got some clothes!” he called out to them waving them forward.
“Bring them here you big doofus!” Buffy shouted out. “No free peep shows,” she added.
“Whoops, forgot my head,” Xander said slapping his forehead.
“I think I’d better take that spell off of him,” Zummi muttered digging through his notes again to find the counter spell.
“Say, Xander, how’d you lose your eye?” Cubbi asked. “Was it in a big important battle?”
“Nope, just had some preacher poke it out with a finger when I tried to help a lady out,” Xander replied truthfully.
Cubbi grinned. “Oh wow.”
“This is just great!” Gruffi said raising his paws upwards in frustration. “Hold it, mister Xander Harris, or whatever your name really is,” he added.
“That is my name, Alexander LaVelle Harris,” Xander stated truthfully.
“Oh dear, oh dear, where is that counter spell?” Zummi asked hastening his search.
“Listen, Xander, if you’re not a Gummi and some all powerful beings transformed you with magic into one, then what are you really?” he demanded.
“Oh right, forgot that part,” Xander said. “We’re three humans from the future,” he answered honestly and with a dopey grin.
“You’re what from where?” Gruffi said stunned.
“Humans from the future,” Xander explained slowly.
Tummi, Cubbi, Gruffi and Zummi stared at Xander speechless.
“Take that you!” Grammi cried out suddenly dropping down from the nearest tree and walloping Xander on the head with her ladle.
“Nighty night time,” Xander mumbled with that same dopey grin before collapsing.
“Oh dear!” Grammi exclaimed quickly covering her eyes.
“Did you get him, Grammi?” Sunni asked.
“Stay there, Sunni!” Grammi called out.
“Why?” Sunni wondered.
“Because no self respecting girl Gummi cub should be witness to this,” Grammi stated her cheeks burning with embarrassment. “Gruffi, get him up and dressed before Sunni comes charging in here!” she ordered.
“But, but,” Gruffi stammered still at a loss after what had just been revealed.
“Never mind the buts, just do it!”
“Perhaps I shouldn’t have used so much power in that spell,” Zummi said flustered himself as he undid the spell he’d placed on Xander.
“Xander Harris, where are our clothes?” Buffy demanded from the woods.
“I’ll bring them to you,” Grammi said quickly. Scooping up the discarded clothing she rushed into the trees to get away from the sight. “More Gummis,” she gasped upon meeting Willow and Buffy.
“Gummis?” Willow repeated. “You mean like the candies?” she asked.
“What candy?” Grammi wondered.
Buffy was fed up and really feeling hungry at this point. “Forget it,” she said snatching up something from Grammi and wriggling into it. “We’re famished, mind if we talk about this over a nice cooked meal?”
“Of course, dear,” Grammi said with a smile. “Wait until you taste my stinkweed stew.”
Willow shared a look with Buffy. “Stinkweed stew,” she repeated.
“So much for that smackeral,” Buffy said with a sigh.To Be Continued…