All characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the BBC, etc. I thank them for letting us play in their sandboxes.
Fortunately, the TARDIS contained a sonic shower that was able to remove Fyarl mucous stains from clothing in short order. After taking a more traditional shower, the Doctor was able to don his usual clothes, including his beloved scarf, although his hair was still damp and unusually muted. He came out of his TARDIS to find Buffy sitting on a tombstone and staring at the moon.
"Where are the others?" He held out a bag. "Jelly baby?"
Smiling, she took one. "After we dropped Ethan off, Spike wanted to do a beer run to the Quickie Mart, Leela wanted to see what a Quickie Mart was, and Dawn wanted to find out what Leela would make of a Quickie Mart. I wanted to talk to you."
He found another tombstone and sat down facing her. "About the Key to Dimensions…"
She watched him closely. "Are you going to keep looking for it?"
He shrugged. "Why would I do that? It's too dangerous to use. The only reason I could have to find it would be to make sure it's safe. And I'm convinced it's both well-hidden and well-guarded. In fact, I believe it may be quite capable of defending itself."
She nodded, looking grim. "I'm starting to agree with you."
He cocked his head to one side and regarded her for a long moment. "I'm sure the Key is safe and well, but what about you?" He raised a hand to stave off her automatic protest. "Oh, I have no doubt you will continue to manage. But it seems to me you have a lot of responsibilities, even for a Slayer."
Buffy started to take offense, but when she looked into those gentle, half-mad eyes, it occurred to her that was speaking to her as an equal with pretty dire responsibilities of his own. "It's…okay, really. Although when Anya gets back and finds out her store's been trashed again, I may wish I could ride off in that box of yours." She stared at the TARIS wistfully.
"Well, perhaps I can take you for a ride sometime." He stood as a huge black car pulled up on the street and Leela bounced out, followed by Spike and Dawn.
Leela held out her purchases. "Look at these extraordinary things. This is something called beef jerky. It tastes almost of animal meat with strange spices. And these are called 'Doritos.' They make your fingers orange. And look!" She set a baseball cap on her head. It read, "Born to Hunt" in large green letters.
"Very stylish," said the Doctor solemnly.
"And there was a machine where we played pingball!"
"Pinball," Dawn corrected her. "And then you broke the machine. And then some guy grabbed your ass, you drew a knife on him, and they threw us out."
"And good times were had by all." Buffy's tone was resigned.
"Indeed." The Doctor accepted a beer from Spike and reflected that many of his adventures had gone worse that this night's.
The TARDIS hummed happily as it faded out of existence, leaving nothing behind but a square of squashed grass.
"Cool," said Dawn. "Who did you say that was?"
"I think that is the Doctor," said Spike. "The same one we met once before, I mean. He changes his appearance somehow. He paid us this visit before he came to ask me for the Sulovite eggs last month." He sneered. "Bloody time travelers. As if it wasn't confusing enough getting through one day at a time."
Buffy looked completely unsurprised. "You just got there? I'd worked that out hours ago."
Spike tried for a dignified expression. "I got it in the end."
"But you didn't get your thousand dollars."
"No." Spike looked thoughtful as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bag. "Jelly baby?" he asked.
"Ooooh." Dawn dived for the gooey treats as Buffy began to laugh.
"He stole my jelly babies." The Doctor searched through his pockets again, turning up his sonic screwdriver, a yo-yo, two balls of string, and the part from the TARDIS' chameleon circuit that he was going to fix any decade now. But no jelly babies.
Leela picked up the yo-yo. "They are only sugary, sticky shapes that make me think of cannibalism. Why does their loss upset you so much?"
The Doctor scowled. "How dare that annoying, insignificant little vampire take my jelly babies? When I do meet him again I'm going to get my own back."
After a false start, Leela remembered how to make the yo-yo slip down almost to the floor and then ride back up the string into her hand. "Is he so insignificant? He fights bravely by the side of a great warrior." The sensation of the toy smacking against her palm was surprisingly satisfactory.
"Hmmph." The Doctor snorted, still offended. "He's still just an ancient, unevolved vampire named after a cartoon dog. It's not as if he were bloody William of Aurelius."