Note: I hold no rights over any copyrighted material. All characters and creations belong to their original owners. The fandoms that I am using are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Doctor Who.
"It's called a Cromptorocarth," explained the Doctor, "and it's not visible to the naked eye. It's more like… have you ever had one of those feelings, like someone was looking at you but when you turned around, no one was there?"
"Yeah," said Buffy.
"Well, it's nothing like that," the Doctor replied, adjusting his bow tie.
"So we're tracking something we can't see," said Buffy, "by using… paranoid feelings?"
The Doctor dug into the pocket of his tweed jacket, and produced a very complicated looking gadget. "No, we're using this," said the Doctor. "Clever little device I cooked up. Detects the interstitial ripples of the creature as it flies through the…" He noticed the lost look on Buffy's face. "It goes ding when the creature is nearby," he amended.
"Okay," said Buffy. "I can handle that."
"Well, yes, except the problem is, in order to function properly, it has to be wired up to a running car," said the Doctor. "Which is important, because this Cromptorocarth can fly fast. Very, very fast. Approaching ninety miles per hour, maximum velocity." He handed the dinging device to Buffy, as he spotted a woman getting out of her car. He rushed over, slipping the psychic paper out of his pocket. "Excuse me. Detective John Smith, Sunnydale police department. We're going to need to borrow your car."
The woman looked around her. "Is… there some dangerous criminal around?" she asked.
"Yes," the Doctor agreed, snapping the wallet shut. "Very dangerous, and very confidential." He draped an arm around the woman, and whispered to her. "Top secret. Keep it on the hush hush. That sort of thing." He pulled away, then clapped the woman on the back, as she handed him her car keys. "Much appreciated!" he told her.
He turned, and tossed the keys to Buffy, then slipped into the passenger seat of the car. For a moment, Buffy couldn't move. She just kept staring at those keys.
"You look a little young to be part of the police department," said the woman.
Buffy gave the woman a reassuring smile. "I'm… older than I look," she said. She ran to the car door, and hissed at the Doctor, "I don't have a license!"
The Doctor brandished the psychic paper at her. "And now you do."
"No, I mean, I don't know how to drive!"
"Don't know how to drive?" the Doctor asked. "Of course you know how to drive. You've driven plenty of times."
"Yeah, but not well," said Buffy.
"Driving should be easy for you!" said the Doctor. "You said you had quick reflexes."
"Quick for killing vampires, not quick for driving a car!" Buffy said.
"Tell you what," said the Doctor. "If you see any vampires while you're driving, try to run them over. That way, you'll be just fine."
She looked back over her shoulder, at where the woman was still gazing on at them, with increasing suspicion. "Couldn't you?" she asked the Doctor.
"Drive the car!"
"The way I see it, one of us has to drive the car, while the other has to hook this device up to the internal wiring system," the Doctor explained. "So unless you know hyperspacial mathematical theory, I'm guessing you're the one who's going to drive."
Buffy smiled back at the woman, then darted around to slip into the driver's side of the car. She put on her seatbelt, then adjusted her mirrors.
"What are you doing that for?" asked the Doctor.
"I'm trying to drive!" Buffy exclaimed.
The Doctor buzzed the sonic at the motor, and it whirred into life. "Every extra second you take means the Cromptorocarth is farther out of our grasp. Now, let's get out of this nice lady's way, so that I can begin to dissect her car without her noticing." He gave the nice woman a cheery smile and a wave.
Buffy looked behind her, then pulled into traffic. "You are going to help me drive this thing, right?" she asked.
"Certainly," said the Doctor, as he began to disassemble the dash board. "Call it a driving lesson. Most important rules for driving are: always follow your instincts, watch out for weird alien creatures — particularly the invisible, flying variety, and don't follow anything the GPS tells you to do, because it's evil and it wants to kill you."
"What's a GPS?" asked Buffy.
"Something that you won't hear about for at least another year," said the Doctor. He flipped the invisible-creature detector over in his hand. "Now, let's get this baby working." He glanced back at her. "Oh, and turn onto the motorway. We'll need a minimum velocity of seventy miles an hour before it functions the way it should."
"The motorway?" Buffy asked. "What's a motorway?"
"Highway. Freeway. You know."
"I can barely do city streets!"
"You'll do fine," said the Doctor. "Just signal your turns, check your blind spot, and if you see any cars that are bright red with orange spots along the top, they're not cars, they're giant insects from the third moon of Jelzibulius, and they're here on holiday."
"What?" asked Buffy. "What do I do if I find one of those?"
"I don't know," said the Doctor. "Take a photo! Say hello! Buy a new pair of shoes!"
Buffy turned onto the highway, and accelerated up to speed. The Doctor, beside her, buzzed at something inside the dashboard. The radio blared on. Buffy, startled, swerved the wheel, then tried to get back into her original lane.
"Could you warn me next time you're going to do that?" Buffy demanded.
"Sorry!" the Doctor said, as the radio shut off. He spent a few more seconds with the sonic screwdriver, and then shouted, "Aha!"
"Is that a good aha, or a bad aha?" asked Buffy.
"A good aha," said the Doctor. "Very good. The device appears to be working."
A clear ding sounded through the air. Followed by another. And then another.
"Didn't you say it dinged when the Crummy Portocar was nearby?" asked Buffy.
"Cromptorocarth," the Doctor corrected. "And yes, I did." He shook the device. "Which means that, according to this device, the creature is…"
A high pitched scraping, screeching sound came from the car roof above their heads. A harsh cry that sounded like no animal Buffy had ever heard before (and that was saying something) pierced the air.
"…right about there," said the Doctor, looking up at the roof of the car.
The scraping came even louder, and Buffy winced at the sound. The Doctor clapped his hands. "Right! I promised you a driving lesson! Time for a driving lesson. How to get a vicious, invisible and highly carnivorous creature off the roof of your car 101."
Buffy gripped the steering wheel tighter. "I'm never going to get my license," she muttered.
The Doctor looked back over his shoulder, at the cars around them. "Looks like there's enough space around us," said the Doctor. "All right. I want you to, very quickly and very sharply, spin the wheel to the right, and then to the left."
Buffy did as she was told.
"No, not like that!" cried the Doctor. "If you're not burning rubber, it's not going to work!"
Buffy forced the car to zigzag across three lanes. The front part of the roof of the car flipped up, and the Doctor buzzed at it with the sonic. There was a terrifying scream from the invisible creature, and the Doctor settled back down in his seat.
"It didn't work," said Buffy.
"Apparently not," said the Doctor. "No matter. On to try two! Oh, one thing." He reached forward, and snapped the rear view mirror off the roof of the car.
"Are you just doing this because you're trying to make me fail?" Buffy demanded.
"Mirrors," the Doctor explained. "Good for seeing monsters. Well, not so much for vampires. But very good for other monsters. Met an invisible monster, once, with Vincent van Gough. He could see it. We couldn't. That was exciting." He tilted his head. "No, actually, it was rather dull." The car roof bent down over their heads, and they could hear the creature hissing.
"Right," said Buffy. "Vincent van Gough a pretty good fighter, then?"
"No, terrible fighter, but a marvelous painter," said the Doctor. "A brilliant genius. Completely and utterly insane. And not someone I'd trust at the wheel of a car."
"My driving skills rank above a famous painter who was also insane," said Buffy. "Good to know. I'll be sure to share that with the good folks at the DMV."
The roof tore a little more, and the Doctor waved the mirror around. It shone sunlight in Buffy's eyes, and she just caught herself before she veered into the central divider.
"All right," said the Doctor. "Lesson two. When trying to defeat an evil monster who is tearing off the roof of your car, always remember your center of mass."
"My center of what?" Buffy asked.
"Evil creature, riding on the top of the car," the Doctor said, "probably fairly heavy, raises the center of mass closer to the top of the vehicle, which means, you can do this." The Doctor reached out, and yanked the wheel hard to the right. The car swerved around, and then…
Oh, God, the car was rolling.
Buffy clung to the wheel, as the world around her seemed to topple and swish around. She was very, very thankful that the seatbelt was holding her in place. Then the car lurched, and Buffy found that the car was… the right way up again.
A high pitched buzzing came from her right, and the car engine vroomed.
"Seems everything's still in perfect working order," the Doctor said. "All good to go."
Buffy just gave him a venomous stare, then glanced over at the windshield — now riddled with cracks and fissures. The Doctor studied the windshield intensely.
"Ah," he said.
He unbuckled his seatbelt, then kicked the windshield out with one of his boots. Shards of glass sprinkled through the air like drops of rain. Buffy shielded her eyes.
"There we are," said the Doctor, doing up his seatbelt again. "Perfectly reasonable."
"Except that there's no windshield, no rear view mirror, the blinkers aren't working, and — oh, maybe you didn't notice, but the car's about a foot shorter, now, than it was before," Buffy said.
There was a scream, and one of the back doors flew off.
"Drive!" the Doctor shouted.
Buffy pressed her foot down on the gas pedal, and nearly collided with a car to her left as she merged, blindly, into oncoming traffic. The wind whipped at Buffy's hair, and the upholstery in the back began getting slashed, as the screeches increased.
"Is it in the back seat?" Buffy asked.
"Partially," said the Doctor, still looking in the rear-view mirror. "Its front-most claw is tangled in the seatbelt."
Buffy really, really, really wished she weren't driving, now. Because she
could have taken care of the monster, easily.
The Doctor squinted ahead. "There should be a UNIT base around here in a couple miles or so. Look for exit Alpha Tao Squared."
"There is no exit Alpha Tao Squared!" Buffy shouted. "What highway do you
think we're on?"
The car seemed to jerk into the lane to Buffy's right, skittering on a cushion of air as the creature tried to break free. A truck honked its horn at Buffy, as it slammed on the brakes.
"Sorry!" Buffy shouted back at it.
"Actually," the Doctor mused, "I might be thinking of the third moon of Jupiter in the 73rd century. Which is too bad, really, because they have the most incredible—"
His speech was cut off, as he was grabbed by an invisible claw which raked across his chest and severed the seatbelt holding him in place. Buffy grabbed the knife that she'd concealed before this adventure started, and slashed at the air in front of the Doctor. Nothing happened. And she couldn't use the rear view mirror, because the Doctor had taken it and dropped it out of reach. Damn. Buffy rolled down her window, the glass shattering as she did, and ripped the side mirror off the car, aiming it towards the Doctor. She could see the large, alien talon seizing the Doctor, as he struggled against it. She dropped the mirror and slashed at the creature with her knife, this time striking it right in the upper arm.
The Doctor gasped, as the creature dropped him.
"You… you brought a weapon!" he said. "After I specifically asked you not to!" He paused. Then, with a little smile: "You wouldn't happen to have brought any others?"
"You wish," said Buffy.
The Doctor gave a little pout. "Last time I was here, you managed to conceal a crossbow. What happened to that?"
"Crossbow didn't really go with my outfit today," said Buffy. She glanced back, at where the upholstery continued to get slashed up by the invisible monster. "Looks like our monster's still in the car."
"Ah, actually, we don't want to get it out of the car," said the Doctor. "Probably best to keep it trapped here. That way, at least we know where it is."
"I thought the plan was to get it out of the car!" Buffy said.
"So it was," the Doctor agreed. "There's a rule for you. Never have a plan. That way, you're never in danger of having the plan go wrong."
Buffy glanced over at the gaping wounds on the Doctor's chest.
"Why don't I
come up with the plans from now on?" Buffy said. "My
plans actually work."
"And what's your plan?" asked the Doctor.
Buffy swerved the car so that it would impact, on the Doctor's side, with a truck. The monster screeched, louder than any of the other times, and the car bounced away, not even touching the truck. Buffy did it again, and the frantic clawing of the back seat slowed. One more time, and the car wobbled, then toppled onto its side, on top of (what appeared to be) a cushion of air.
Buffy smiled proudly, and managed to pry her hands off the steering wheel. "See?" she said to the Doctor.
That was when a car hit them from behind.
After some calls to UNIT and a lot of paperwork that Buffy had to sign, in which she promised to keep the entire thing secret so as to avoid a public panic (like anyone would care anyways — that was Sunnydale for you), Buffy and the Doctor wound up walking home.
"You know, I feel kind of bad about that woman we borrowed the car from," said Buffy. "I mean, it was kind of a nice car."
"I wouldn't worry," said the Doctor. "I'll make it up to her. What sort of lottery does this state have?"
"Are you allowed to do that?" Buffy asked. "Isn't it cheating?"
"Of course it's cheating!" the Doctor said. "What would be the point of playing the lottery without time travel? It would be statistically impossible to win anything."
"Yeah," said Buffy. "I think that's kind of the point." She sighed, and kicked a small pebble out of the way on the pavement, as she kept walking. "Where did you learn to drive, anyways?"
"Learn?" asked the Doctor. "I didn't need to learn. I pilot a four-dimensional time machine. Compared to that, driving a car is easy."
"No wonder you never land in the right time and place," said Buffy.
The Doctor hesitated. Then he planted a wide grin on his face. "Well, Tardis navigational systems have always been a bit off…"
"And how many tries did it take you to pass your Tardis-flying test?" asked Buffy.
The Doctor scratched his head, but said nothing.
Buffy stared at him. "Oh, my God," she said. "You never actually—"
"It was a very tricky and thoroughly biased test!" the Doctor insisted.
Buffy cracked up.
"What?" asked the Doctor.
Buffy tried to compose herself. "Nothing, nothing." She looked over at him, and burst out laughing again. After a few seconds, she managed to stop, and took a deep breath. "How… how'd you manage to get your hands on a time machine, if you failed the test?"
"I… borrowed it," the Doctor admitted.
Buffy actually had to stop walking, she was laughing so hard.
"It's not that funny," said the Doctor.
"No, I know," said Buffy. "It's just… you ran away from home, you failed your driving test, you nearly flunked out of school—"
"Fifty one percent is passing!" the Doctor insisted.
"—and now I find out that you stole your ship," said Buffy. "If Giles ever heard half this stuff, he'd give me a three hour lecture on how I should choose my role models more carefully."
The Doctor looked at her, startled revelation blossoming in his blue eyes. "I'm your role model?"
Buffy stopped laughing. She looked down at the ground. "Um… a bit?"
"Well, yeah," said Buffy. "I mean, if that's okay."
The Doctor thought about this for a few moments. "Would it mean that I'd have to start acting responsibly around you?"
Buffy took the Doctor's hand. "Doctor," she said. "You are the oldest five-year-old I know. And that's perfectly all right with me."
The Doctor beamed. "Wonderful!" he said, and they started on the long journey home.