The Chewtoy Arrives
A/N: The idea for this struck me back in August of '12 and it wouldn't let me go. So to satisfy my muse, I pounded out the following and then buried it deep on my hard drive. After-all, self-insert stories aren't any good, right? Anyway, from time to time the muse bites me again and I add a bit more to this, then one day I was chatting with a fellow writer and somehow I got the WEIRD urge to send this to them, and they liked it. So I decided I'd try posting it. If feedback warrants, there may be further developments!
=DDisclaimer: I do not own Buffy, nor do I own any other fandom that eventually gets crossed in this story. I DO own a Red, 2004 Chevrolet Colorado, however any depictions of said vehicle in this story are performed by a stunt double.Gratuitous Self-Insert: Out of Place – Out of Time August 15th, 2012 – Somewhere on I-70 in Utah
Everyone has plans. Hopes. Dreams. Even me.
Of course, like most, those were as unrealistic as it gets. I mean, who wakes up when they're twelve and says 'I want to be a retail manager when I grow up.' When you're that age it's all about space ships, fire trucks, fighter planes and superheros. And then, thirty years later you look back and wonder what the hell happened. I was supposed to be a go-fast driver. You know, one of those crazy nut-jobs who think fun is landing forty tons of airplane on a pitching postage stamp in a thunderstorm at midnight.
I was also supposed to be rich by now.
Life is a genuine bitch at times. Like right now, driving down a dark highway between my friend in Denver's place and my new job on the left coast. I'm guessing I'd made it as far as Utah before I ran into the storm. Ten o'clock in the evening, night black as pitch, rain sheeting down in waves that barely allowed visibility beyond the hood of the rental box I was driving.
Oh yeah, and the brilliant blue-white lightning crashing against anything and everything around me.
Thank God for rubber tires.
Another flash of light arced out of the sky, splitting into a double fork, the boom of its passage combining with the afterimage to completely overload my senses as the bolt crashed into equidistant cardinal points around my vehicle. Luckily for me, the truck was barely moving.
I woke up to the sound of a car horn dopplering by me. Shaking my head I reached down and restarted the truck's engine. I guess I was lucky it had only stalled and not been fried by the close strike. In my rearview mirror I could see the storm continuing to roll east. Shrugging, I slipped the clutch and got moving again. I expected to be in San Diego in another two days of driving.~~~***~~~
I'd cut south from I-70 to I-40 then turned south from Barstow. I grinned, not many people bothered to see both ends of a transcontinental highway. It didn't take long before I hit the west coast sprawl that was centered around Los Angeles. I was feeling good, traffic was congested but far better than a lifetime of only hearing about the bad days had lead me to expect. I played by my usual rules. Right-most lane for locals leftmost lane for idiots and me somewhere in the middle cutting along at plus five. Just fast enough to keep from getting run over, but slow enough to avoid attracting the attention of ticket quota slaves.
I knew it was too good to last.
South of LA the highway came to a screeching halt. Well the left lanes were screeching anyway. Nice thing about being in a large vehicle is the ability to see over most other cars on the road. I'd spotted the blockage a fair ways off and had already managed to work my way into the right lane, so when things stopped, I was only about twenty stop-and-roll minutes from being able to take the next exit. I figured I'd grab a late lunch, check my maps and continue south at a more leisurely pace on one of the state highways.
Maybe I shouldn't have been so leisurely over that Ruben sandwich. Then again, I dare anyone NOT to be leisurely over a good Ruben. Lunch had turned into dinner, a gas stop and a quick browse through a used book store that was beside the restaurant. I hadn't gotten back on the road until nearly six and now somehow, I'd made a wrong turn and missed the highway south. Instead I seemed to be moving on a succession of streets that headed any direction but straight, ended at the most inopportune times or just plain left me with the choice of two paths, neither of which was pointed toward where I was trying to go. Two hours of weaving back and forth through small towns and the environs of South LA and it felt like I was further from San Diego than I had been when I left Dan's place in Denver. Added to that was this funky feeling that something was rather off.
The sun was dropping behind the trees and buildings when I spotted the first thing that was extremely freaky. Of all things, it was a car dealership. The big Chevrolet sign cheerfully announcing Sunny Dale's Motor Company's year end closeouts on the 97' model year cars.
I blinked and looked in the side-view mirror at my eight year old, 2004 Chevy Colorado strapped to the trailer behind the boxtruck.
What the FRACK!
I was so weirded by the car lot thing that I almost missed the second freakout. I'd already driven past the sign before I realized what it had said.Welcome to Sunnydale
Somehow I managed not to slam on my brakes in the middle of the street. Turning in to a mini-mart I parked by the curb. No way in hell was this place where it claimed to be. The weirdo vibe kicked in again and I looked around. Plenty of cars on the road and none of the newer than the late 90s. Yeah, lets do the time warp. NOT! Something really weird was happening... well DUH, this place did call itself Sunnydale.
Okay, if this really was Sunnydale then I most ascertainly was not in Kansas any more. And I did not mean that as if I had not only been there a few days ago. Or was that fifteen years from now... Damn. My mind began flashing over the rules of Sunnydale and I realized two things immediately.
One: The powers that be were infamous for screwing with people's lives and if this wasn't some elaborate impractical joke then I was their newest chewtoy.
Two: PTB Chewtoy or not, the fracking sun was setting and I had absolutely no wish to be breakfast for some sanquinely challenged photophobe third shifter with an overbite.
All of this meant that I needed someplace safe to hole up until morning. I briefly considered getting back in the truck and driving on until I reached San Diego, but I came to the sudden realization that if I was a chewtoy for the PTBs, then any attempt to do so would result in me ending up right back here in the middle of the freaking night. I needed options and damn fast.
I only knew one address in this lousy town though, and there was no way in hell a single mom with a teenage daughter and no concept of what went bump in the night around here was going to let someone neither
of them knew crash in their spare room.
On the other hand, that could be a very very quick means of verifying where and when I was. With a groan, I slipped out of the truck and entered the mini-mart. Ten minutes later, I had a 20 ounce Dr. Pepper, a local map, two phone numbers and an address. Following the directions I'd jotted on the back of the map, I soon found myself cruising down the 1600 block of a quiet residential street past a very familiar looking craftsman house, with a Jeep Cherokee in the driveway.
I looked down at the phone in my hand. I didn't want to know how it was working currently, I was just glad that the accent on the other end sounded right. “Rupert Giles?” “Speaking.”
The voice on the other end sounded vaguely suspicious. Considering where we were, I couldn't blame him one whit.
“Mr Giles, you don't know me and my story is going to make you want to call the nice gentlemen with the long-sleeved self-hugging white coats but I really need help and I think you're the only person who has a prayer of figuring out what the hell has happened.” God, I never pictured myself as a Willowbabbler. “I'm really not sure you have the right person. I'm just...”
“A librarian.” I finished for him. “I know. I think I can convince you to hear me out with three words.” “And what might those words be?”
“Watcher, Slayer and Hellmouth.”A/Endnote: Tune in next time when the mick in the green jacket and bowler nearly makes me wreck the truck!