Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Addams Family characters are the property of their original owners.
Dawn happily sang under her breath, “…they’re allllllll together ooky!
” to then finish with a triumphant double-snap of her fingers.
Walking besides the Key, a young black woman grouchily noted, over the sounds of their feet crunching upon the gravel lane, “You do know, that tune’s gonna be bouncing around in my head for the next week? Besides, you’ve already said you weren’t even sure if we landed in the tv show, or not.”
Continuing in their hike towards the menacing mansion at the far end of the lane, with this decaying house looming upwards at the low clouds of today’s grey skies, Dawn shrugged, “There’s at least a half-dozen versions, starting with the New Yorker cartoons. Then came the black and white show, its remake a few decades later, the couple of made-for-tv movies, and of course, the big-screen films.”
She glanced over at Rona sniggering in reaction to the litany recited by a devoted fan of the Addams Family, before further snarking at this Slayer, “I still can’t believe you barely know anything about that really strange but funny program!”
“I grew up watching the Cosby Show, not something which gave the Brady Bunch a decent run for having the whitest folks around!” snorted Rona. She went on, “Plus, that Uncle Fester guy, he really creeped me out.”
“Um,” hesitated Dawn, only then realizing for the first time ever, in that all of the media imagings of Charles Addams’ eerie creations, there’d been virtually no black characters shown among the weird going-ons. Well…there was
Cousin Itt. Who knew exactly what that walking furball looked like underneath all the hair?
Rona also paused at Dawn’s sudden stop by one of the shaggy bushes lining the sides of the lengthy driveway, turning around to eye where her game partner was shamefacedly studying the ground. Sighing, the dark-skinned woman dryly said, “Don’t worry, Dawnie. I’m not gonna bust your chops about the whole business. It just comes down to this; because we’re different in some ways, we’re also going to like different stuff, okay? Believe me, if we were going to meet the cast of In Living Color, I’d be just as excited. Go ahead and enjoy it, girl.”
“Thanks, Rona!” gratefully acknowledged Dawn, who lifted her head to smile in real appreciation at the sardonic Slayer. Who then stiffened into startled readiness, when Rona watched Dawn abruptly stomp hard on the gravel next to the bush the pair of women had halted against a few moments before. Her gaze flicking down at where Dawn’s boot had heavily landed, Rona had the impression of a thin strip of something frantically making its escape while snaking back into cover under the lowest leaves of this shrubbery.
Rushing over to Dawn’s side, Rona was ignored by the Key with this Summers sibling now angrily pointing a finger straight towards the bush, yelling at it, “Knock it off! We’re not trespassers, because we have a reason to be here! Behave, or I’ll tell your owners you need a thorough trimming, right down to a stump!”
Breathing fiercely, Dawn glowered at this seemingly innocent foliage, before giving a satisfied nod. She looked at where Rona was gaping at her companion, with the Slayer then dazedly mentioning, “Uh, Dawn…you just threatened a plant.”
Shaking her head in correction while reaching out to tug along a stupefied Rona by her shirtsleeve, Dawn told the black woman when they resumed their walk, “Yeah, you got to be firm with the strangler vines. Give ‘em an inch, and they’ll take your throat.”
A minute later, at the front door of the crumbling mansion, Rona watched in total bewilderment while Dawn cautiously leaned forward to press the doorbell button at her full arm’s length, making sure not to step forward to do this. In response, the muffled sound of an immense gong being struck once somewhere inside the building came through the door. Rona also felt the wooden planks of the porch where they were standing vibrate, as if bolts hidden below the floor of this covered shelter had just moved. Now back up at her normal straight posture, Dawn carefully extended her right foot, and she applied a gentle pressure with it to the top of the doormat there. In a flash, this slid out from under Dawn’s boot, along with the trapdoor below, revealing a square hole leading downwards into utter blackness.
Both New Council members watched in silence the latest demonstration of Addams home security now slide back into its original position. Rona broke this by clearing her throat and then approvingly commented, “Now, that’ll
discourage even the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Any other surprises I should know about?”
Prodding the booby trap once again with her boot, only to have it stay immobile this time, Dawn absently advised, “Don’t go all Slayer on me when Lurch opens the door. He’s, well, he’s--”
Before Dawn could finish cautioning Rona, the front door indeed swung ajar, exposing to the sight of a gawking pair of females a colossal being formally attired in a butler’s uniform. This set of garments strained against the servant’s massive form like a circus tent draped over the Rock of Gibraltar. Pale eyes sunk deep into a craggy countenance lifelessly studied the latest callers to a very strange family’s home. A mouth with lips resembling ancient scars opened to reveal tombstone teeth, to then issue from the utmost depths of the butler’s torso a short question in full basso-profundo mode:
Brushing off her shoulders the thick layer of dust which had just pattered down from the porch rafters, Dawn cheerfully nodded, “Yes, Lurch. I’m Dawn Summers and this is Rona Nichols. If it’s possible, we’d like to meet Mr. and Mrs. Addams, and ask them for a small favor. But, if they’re too busy, please don’t disturb them on our account. We’ll leave at once, thank you very much.”
During all of the above, Rona had been worriedly eyeing the daunting figure stock-still inside the front doorway. She wasn’t getting off any demon vibes from big-and-bigger, but this didn’t necessarily mean that…whatever…was harmless. Particularly since even in the gloomy daylight, not a single breath had been taken by the butler after asking that thunderous inquiry. Before Rona could take Dawn aside and suggest they forget the whole thing, and just skip ahead to the next task in the scavenger hunt, Lurch boomed out again, “COME!”
Shaking her head, both to cure her ringing ears and also to keep the next load of falling dust out of her dreadlocks, Rona incredulously watched the what-is-it turn around in a dutiful manner. Lurch then started plodding away, going down the inside left hallway past the main central staircase with all the impassive inevitability of an immense iceberg floating through the shipping lanes. Worse of all, Dawn fearlessly stepped into the house and followed after, waving Rona along without even bothering glance over her shoulder, in absolute surety the superhuman female would have the Key’s back.
Muttering some especially pungent bad language under her breath about stupid Summers sisters, Rona stalked inside the Addams mansion, quickly catching up with Dawn and staying a half step behind and to her friend’s left side. As they kept walking down the gloomy hallway to the rear of the enormous house, the black woman shifted her Slayer senses into their highest level. This was definitely wise, since it allowed Rona to react in time at the sight of a dagger come flying out of an open doorway in the corridor. Dawn was at that moment passing by this room, with the deadly knife thrown from within the unlit space being aimed directly at the younger woman’s head.
In a blur of action, Rona snatched out of mid-air the thrown dagger by its hilt, just before the weapon would’ve hit Dawn. A hazy red film of sheer rage fell across her vision and an infuriated Rona swiveled her own head to glare at where two children had now stepped out of their room to stand motionless side-by-side in the doorway. On the left, a chubby boy perhaps twelve years old stared vacantly at the halted visitors. Rona paid no further attention to this kid, since the other one, a girl maybe a year or two younger was clearly responsible for the recent hostile attack on Dawn. A minor clue to verifying this was another dagger expectantly gripped in this little lady’s left hand, ready and willing for further homicide.
“You little bitch, I’m gonna--” Rona began to snarl, while bringing up the dagger she’d just caught.
However, in the middle of the Slayer’s unfinished threat, the pigtailed girl scornfully interrupted, “You’ll do what? Punish
Rona stopped dead in her tracks from her menacing advance towards the Goth kid dressed in solid black all over -- shoes, stockings, and short dress with midnight-velvet collar -- by the sound of the second question from this girl. It was genuinely creepy, being delivered in a tone of absolute yearning, as if she desired nothing else in her life.
Gaping at the weird beyond belief pre-teen, Rona then became aware of Dawn stepping up to stand by the Slayer. Risking a quick glance sideways, the warrior woman saw yet another astonishing sight: the truly evil smile presently on this friend’s lips while she stared unwaveringly at her attacker.
Shifting back her gaze to match Dawn’s intent examination, Rona saw a faintly puzzled look flash across the girl’s pale face, until it went back to the same bored contempt which had been there a moment before. Though, this rapidly changed into startled wariness when Dawn started gleefully speaking to her, “Oh, Wednesday, my best bud here’s just too nice
to do all that much to you except for a really hard spanking you’d just laugh off. Me, on the other hand…I’m your worse nightmare!”
With those last words, Dawn abruptly pointed at the other girl apparently named after the middle day of the week, and then the Key vigorously wiggled her fingers in a very complex gesture. A bewildered Rona had the sudden recollection of Willow once performing the exact same thing during a Cleveland Hellmouth patrol, right before this uber-powerful witch had magically transformed a bunch of nasty, people-eating demons into a dozen Chia pets, with each of these terracotta Scooby-Doo figurines also sprouting a healthy crop of herbal foliage.
A horrified gasp came from the somberly-clad girl, showing she’d recognized the gesture. This was helped along by Dawn cackling, “You’ve got two seconds to scram with your brother and leave us alone, or your ‘I’m-so-bad’ outfit gets changed into a bright yellow sundress printed all over with blooming flowers! But it won’t stop there! You’ll also be a perfect blonde with curls galore, and for the crowning touch, there’ll be a big ribbon tied into a bow holding your new hairstyle in place!” Lowering her voice, Dawn purred the coup de grace, with a smug whisper for the final word, “Oh, in case I forgot to mention it, that ribbon’s gonna be…pink.
Her face now set in utter terror, Wednesday grabbed Pugsley’s arm with her free hand, and she dragged her brother backwards into the dark room out of sight. The last the two women saw of this boy, he was devotedly gaping at Dawn, having at the same time a thin line of passionate drool dribbling from the corner of his mouth.
Smirking, Dawn brought up her extended index finger to her lips, and she pretended to blow smoke away from the fingertip. Without further ado, the Key dropped her hand, to next start strutting with real pride down the hallway. Lurch, who’d come to a patient stop and hadn’t turned around during the whole absurd affair, also continued on, his broad back filling up almost entirely the hallway while he escorted today’s callers to his master and mistress. Rona just trailed along after, feeling rather numb.
This dazed mood quickly changed, particularly when Lurch opened the double doors to their destination. Standing outside in the hallway, the butler let the two women enter the study without following after them. Instead, with superb timing, the unnatural servant announced at his full tooth-rattling intensity exactly when Rona had stepped past him, “VISITORS!”
Enough was enough. Gliding sideways in the study, both to take herself away from that man-monster and also to have a free line of fire past Dawn, Rona whipped up and back her right hand still holding the dagger she’d caught moments ago. This time, it was the Slayer who threw with all her might this razor-sharp knife, directly at the guy placidly standing next to the unlit fireplace in the study’s far wall. Zipping through the air across the room, the dagger landed point-first, with the blade then fully sinking up to the guard with a wicked-sounding Crunch!
noise. For a few seconds, the knife-hilt sticking out of the mahogany paneled wall continued to quiver until coming to a rest, just a fraction of an inch away from the side of the man’s neck.
This short, mature male with a pencil mustache and greased hair, wearing a dark red smoking jacket, and keeping his hands in his pants pocket didn’t react in the usual way others might’ve done. Such as screaming, fainting, and/or running like hell. Instead this man’s already crazed grin became just a little bit wider, since it couldn’t have possibly shown even more insane delight. Gomez Addams now merrily chortled, “Ah, querida, at last we have guests who understand the proper courtesies!”
“But of course, dear,” calmly responded the pallid woman seated in an armchair entirely made of reindeer antlers in the far corner of the study. Glancing past the two visitors halted in the middle of the room, Morticia Addams called out, “Thank you, Lurch. That will be all.”
The butler obediently bowed his head and he softly closed the doors, with faint creaking sounds from the floorboards giving way under vast weight beyond slowly dying away indicating he’d headed off to his other duties. Both Dawn and Rona warily glanced over their shoulders to check on this, and when they looked again at the other two people in the room, Morticia had half-closed her slightly protuberant eyes. Taking a deep breath through her nose, this eerie woman offhandedly spoke, “As I was saying, Gomez, you couldn’t expect any other behavior from a Slayer.”
The mouths of the New Council members dropped open simultaneously, with Dawn asking incredulously, “There are Slayers here?
The dark-haired woman whose clinging floor-length dress was as black as her long tresses dryly interrupted Dawn, “Oh, no, young lady, I didn’t say that. Rather, how shall I put it…I’ve come across the scent of those charmingly bloodthirsty girls before.”
A cool look of interest now passed across the bone-white face of the mistress of the mansion, who next sent a considering glance directly at Dawn. Morticia then mused, almost to herself, “Though, I must confess it’s most surprising to also encounter someone who actually smells like a color in the spectrum. Which, in your case, happens to be the aroma of every possible shade of green. Would you be so kind as to explain that, Miss…?”
Trading a very nervous look with Rona, Dawn switched back her attention to the lady in the unique chair, who’d been joined by her husband now standing next to his seated spouse and gently stroking the top of her shoulder. Both Addamses were clearly waiting for some kind of answer from their visitors, as they gazed in amused curiosity at Dawn. Swallowing hard, Buffy’s sister sheepishly started off, “Ah, about that -- maybe later, okay? Let me start with our names: I’m Dawn Summers and this is Rona Nichols.”
Turning her head slightly to nod in the Slayer’s direction, Dawn missed how the man and wife across the room simultaneously flinched a little at the first introduction. Rona didn’t which only made her inwardly vow to keep a closer eye on those two. The black woman then heard Dawn continued, “We need to ask you a little favor. See, earlier today, one of our friends talked us into joining a scavenger hunt, and she set up some tasks for me and Rona. Right now, one of those undertakings--” (Rona felt the hairs at the back of her neck prickle at the sudden happy smiles appearing on that gonzo couple’s faces) “--involves something that needs to be done here.”
“Oh, Gomez, games!” ecstatically sighed Morticia, reaching up to pat her husband’s hand.
“Si, cara mia!” growled the pasty-faced man in his own sordid elation, who next seized the seated lady’s wrist and maniacally kissed her slim fingers ending in blood-red nails.
During every second of this, both Rona and Dawn felt a sudden urge to take a long, cold shower due to the intangible wave of overjoyed sleaziness wafting their way, sent off from the Addamses fervently adoring each other. It wasn’t bad,
per se, just totally unexpected and somewhat disturbing. Akin, say, to having a five-gallon bucket of warm chocolate syrup poured onto your crotch right after you told your lover in bed with you, “Surprise me, honey!”
Absently fanning her face to provide a little breeze to cool her flushed features, Dawn loudly cleared her throat. This managed to make the couple across the room look up from their latest round of married seduction. Determinedly staring over the Addamses’ heads, the Key tried to keep her voice from cracking while coming out with exactly why they were here: “No, nothing like-- Never mind, just forget it! Look, it’ll take only a minute or two, and then we’ll be gone and you can go back to-- Um, whatever…”
Rolling her eyes, Rona leaned over and briskly clapped a palm over Dawn’s babbling mouth, shutting her up before this young woman said something really stupid. Still holding her fingers there, Rona directed her next words to Gomez and Morticia.
“We both need to shake hands with Thing.”
On the other side of Morticia’s antler armchair from where Gomez stood, there was an antique table with a circular top. In the center of this furniture, there rested a small wooden container the size and shape of a shoebox. Polished to a mirror finish, this odd object had a lid with a tiny knob in the middle to be used by anyone lifting the lid. However, right after Rona spoke, the top of this box now flipped open, entirely on its own.
A disembodied hand know to one and all as Thing (or to those fleeing for dear life after seeing this truly scary creature, “AAAAAHHHH!”) leapt out of his home. Landing onto the tabletop and perching there on his fingers, each of Thing’s five digits were quivering with real eagerness.
The other four intact people in the room all stared at this definite display of anticipation. Finally, Morticia inquired somewhat doubtfully, “Is
it all right with you, Thing?”
There was a pause, until the sallow-colored hand ending at the wrist deliberately bent and then straightened his fingers. This caused Thing’s entire form to bob once, just like someone nodding their head in acceptance.
“Capital, old man!” jubilantly called out Gomez to his fencing partner and hand-of-all-work. The Addams patrician then beamed at Dawn and Rona, just before asking them, “So, which of you exquisite senoritas is going first?”
In a blur of Slayer speed, Rona yanked out from her jeans pocket the video camera provided earlier by Willow, and she held this digital recorder ready. Shooting her snickering friend the dirtiest look she could manage at short notice, Dawn glanced back at the table where Thing was excitedly leaning forward into her direction. Squaring her shoulders, the Key took a tentative step ahead, and she held out her hand…
In another majestic bound, Thing soared up and off from the tabletop, arcing through the air, and with perfect judgment, he landed directly into Dawn’s grip. This startled young woman felt strong fingers clasp her own, and then Thing enthusiastically moved the remaining five percent of his former body into a good dozen handshakes, making Dawn’s arm jerk up and down. Staring in absolute wonder at what was plainly enjoying it all, Dawn couldn’t help but notice two things: first, the stump of Thing’s wrist ended in smooth skin, and second, the hand holding hers was icy cold.
Just about anyone else would’ve gone into complete hysterics at that point, but not Dawn Marie Summers, Sunnydale survivor. On the contrary, what she was blissfully feeling right now was a happy recollection of one night when Spike had been babysitting her. It’d wound up with this English vampire showing her in the Revello Drive living room how to dance the waltz, and a pair of hands as chilly as the grave had expertly guided her in the steps. Starting to laugh in sheer enjoyment, Dawn shook back as hard an undead hand, until in their shared accord, the Key let go at the same time as Thing.
In another graceful arc rearwards, Thing flew with the greatest of ease, alighting without harm onto his fingertips back at the tabletop by Morticia. Flipping up to balance on his stump, Thing then gaily waved at a giggling Dawn, who waved back.
Next, everybody looked at Rona. Even Thing, who somehow managed to express his focused attention upon the black woman. Lowering the still-running video camera, the Slayer sighed in mild exasperation, to then grumpily stride over to where Dawn was wickedly grinning at her friend. Passing over the camera, Rona eyed the disembodied hand now utterly motionless, and she imitated Dawn in approaching the table with her outstretched arm coming up…
With unexpected swiftness, Thing sprang right at Rona’s face, his fingers thrust out like claws. Dawn had just lifted the camera to record everything, and she watched in shock through the viewfinder at what happened next, when Rona had to use every bit of her Slayer speed. Flesh met against flesh with slapping sounds, as both participants went up against each other in an intense challenge.
Her face splitting in an ear-to-ear grin, Rona returned Thing’s high five, hastily dropped her hand to waist level and palm up just in time to perform a low five, did a fist-bump against each other’s knuckles, and flawlessly drummed her fingertips onto the yellowish ones meeting her own digits. The dap concluded with Thing bouncing off the top of Rona’s hand helping him along with a push, and he did a perfect triple back somersault with a full twist which returned him in a perfect, ten-point dismount onto the antique table.
With her astonished eyes as wide as saucers, Dawn slowly lowered the video camera. Opening her mouth, Dawn let it stay like that as she tried to think of exactly what to say about that little display of total strangeness done by Thing and Rona. As for this Slayer herself, she didn’t notice. Rather, she was clapping her hands in glee while whooping to the room at large, “Oh, yeah! If I’d know about this, I would’ve watched the show full time!”
Flicking her gaze towards where the Addamses were witnessing it all with knowing smiles on their faces, Rona eagerly asked them, “So, how’d it happen? Doesn’t look like vitiligo-- No, it’s albinism! He’s an albino, right?”
Bouncing up and down on the tabletop to attract everyone’s notice, Thing dropped and rolled onto the right side of his form, and speedily moved his fingers into a thumbs-up gesture which indicated a delighted Rona had indeed guessed correctly. Dawn, on the other…hand, was completely bewildered. She reached out to give a triumphant Slayer a poke on the other woman’s shoulder, and said with utter bafflement, “What’s going on, Rona? Why are you so happy?”
Instead of answering right away, Rona guffawed out loud for several moments, until she got herself under control, and pointed with satisfaction at Thing preening under the attention. In a supremely vindicated tone, the black woman declared, “Dawnie, that guy there, he’s a soul brother!”
Feeling as if her brain had just overloaded, Dawn stared in full bogglement at Thing. Who himself had now shifted into a posture of giving the staring Key a lazy, one-digit salute of a sweeping extended index finger which stopped to point right at her with his thumb resting onto the side of the curled-in third finger matching his ring and little fingers. There was no way this gesture done by a bleached hand having virtually no pigment in his skin could’ve meant anything else but: Word.