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Home is Where the Thriller Rejects Are

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Summary: TW season 3. The dead rising in California would be business as usual for Dawn and Willow if it weren't for White Witch numero uno's magic going wonky and landing them on a baby hellmouth overpopulated by werewolves. Oh, and more zombies, of course.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Teen WolfTwistedSlinkyFR1514,2560464322 Oct 1322 Oct 13Yes
Spoilers: For the first half of Teen Wolf season 3. It's set several years post Buffy (does not take the comics into consideration).

A/N:Written for the Zombi-fic-ation (LJ) bonus round of Zombie Fest.

Prompt: 312. Teen Wolf/Buffyverse Crossover - Willow and Dawn are on their annual roadtrip to check in on regional slayers, when the plague breaks out. Wonky magic, somehow getting lost in the Beacon Hills preserve and being saved by the pack, and Sterek, all bonuses but not needed. Extra bonus if Deaton was a former Watcher.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to anything from Teen Wolf or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


~0~

"This certainly brings back memories," Dawn noted, her voice chipper for someone covered in dark viscera. "It just isn't a real roadtrip if there aren't zombies, you know?"

She threw her weight against the bathroom's door, severing the four grayish fingers that had wormed their way inside. High heeled boots squealing as they skidded against the tiled floor, she bent her knees to keep her footing as she pushed the flat metal bolt into place, then twisted the knob, locking out the moaning crowd beyond.

"California, home sweet home, how we've missed your kooky apocalypses," Willow sing-songed, smiling despite the fact that a decaying body missing its skull-cap was currently laying on the floor beside her, spilling a puddle of black goo onto the hem of her peasant skirt. She leaned over the toilet seat, brow wrinkled as she stared inside, looking for something. "You know, I find myself homesick for the good ole US-of-A all the time, especially during the Scottish winter, and I always think 'maybe we should visit our home state again soon'. Then, every year, we swing over to check on our girls in this region and suddenly I remember why we voted not to set up a base here: California wants us dead."

"I think you're forgetting one very important detail," Dawn pointed out. "If we don't go to California and check on Veronica, then we miss out on the delicious platter of snicker doodles she inevitably sends us home with."

Willow didn't look up from the ceramic throne, but she nodded solemnly. "This is true."

"So, off-subject-but-on, do we think someone in this random gas station was carrying voodoo zombie god memorabilia of some sort?"

"Remember those emergency sirens we hear as we came in, and how neither of our phones seem to have a signal? Between that and the crazed infected couple who crashed through the front doors, I'm thinking this is a bit more wide spread. It could be some amateur warlock's spell gone awry, but, in the past, typically duty-summoned zombies haven't been quite as - "

"Drippy?" Dawn supplied.

She frowned, pressing her shoulder blades against the creaking door. The locks wouldn't hold against the convenience store's half-dozen now-undead shoppers and attendants. It rattled against her spine, as if to clarify that point.

"What's with the black goo anyway?" Dawn asked. "I'd say that it's smelling up the joint, but I'm pretty sure that's just the dead guy it's in."

"Oh, it has a stink all of its own," Willow replied. "It smells like…" She lifted her head up for once, then leaned down, holding back her long red hair as she sniffed the zombie-corpse. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. "Like magic and disease. Which, not exactly an uncommon mixture in our line of work, but still… I should probably collect a sample to run some tests on."

"So this is definitely magic and not a 28 Days Later scenario? Which I reference because of the 'whoa those dead people can run' thing." Dawn bit down her nervous chuckle when a nail popped out of the bolt lock. "And this thing kinda spreads like the stomach flu at a preschool. Thriller Reject 1 had barely bitten into the clerk's arm when the poor guy's nose started to spew ink. Speaking of which, we're running out of time here, Will. Game plan?"

"Oh boy," Willow muttered, staring down into the toilet again. "This is not good."

"Will, did you hear me?" Dawn leaned forward as far as she could without pulling her weight from the door, but she couldn't see anything in the toilet. "You're seriously scrying using toilet water?"

Willow huffed. "More like attempting since all I'm seeing is the local zombie scene, and if Mister Zombie here hadn't broken the mirror with his head, I'd use it instead."

"You could have just plugged the sink."

The witch pouted. "I'm stressed," she said. Then she stood up, crossing over to help Dawn with the door. "And who wouldn't be? Zombies are overrunning a little community gas station and…and my magic won't do so much as send a fireball in their direction."

"But you did pop the popcorn down that aisle," Dawn noted.

Willow groaned in frustration. "I just don't get it. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm kinda a badass witch with some pretty deep links to my inner goddess strength. And it's not that I've been severed from my power. I can still feel it there, but…It's like Nature decided 'Hey, you can't use that right now.' I barely picked up any images in the…um, can we not tell my students about the toilet?"

"I make no promises."

"Dawnie."

"Fine. Lips sealed." Dawn smirked. "So, in summary, you're not broken, you just can't do anything with your power?"

Willow's eyes widened. "That's it! I can't use my power. But mine isn't the only power here!"

"Uh, sorry, Will, but I already tried to lay a shielding ward when the crazies started to attack and it was a no go."

"A.) I think Buffy would kill me if I tried to tap you, and B.) not you." Willow nodded at the corpse. "Him. The goo has magic in it. It's not the usual type, but maybe I can tap into it."

"That does not sound safe. Or hygienic. But seeing as, other than a knife and a stake, our weaponry is in the car outside and this room has no windows or even a handy ventilation shaft…What's the plan?"

Willow shook her head. "I won't know how much I can get from him until I try. Maybe we could get a message out? Send for help?"

The door knob shot off, hitting the tiles with a clink, and a set of fingers wiggled through the hole.

Dawn blinked at them. "Uh, try for something a bit more proactive."

"Noted."

Willow dropped to her knees, reaching out to dab her fingers into the inky liquid pooling on the floor. Dawn freed one hand, clenching onto the other woman's shoulder and closing her eyes, focusing. She knew the Key's power wasn't in her after all these years, but Willow had taught her the Witchcraft-101 basics early on, like she had all the other Watchers-in-Training.

"Uh oh."

Dawn didn't like the sound of that. "Uh oh?"

Then she opened her eyes. The good news? They weren't in the bathroom anymore. The bad news? They were surrounded by woodland, and Dawn was wearing heels. Never a good combo. The worst news? There was something with glowing red eyes staring out from the shadows.

Dawn let out a slow breath and froze in place. "Must be a Tuesday," she muttered. "Uh, Will?"

"When I tried to tap into the zombie's magic, it pulled us here. I don't think we went far…I'm still feeling the power-block, and the zombie-mojo, even though, obviously no zombie corpse to draw from. Even so…it feels stronger here. I think we're probably still in the same town as the service station - "

Willow rambled on, her goo-covered hand still in the dirt, eyes downcast as she tried to get a feel for the energy around them. Dawn hoped the witch would glance up before the big-bad was on top of them.

"Beacon Hills. Yeah, there's a sign that says 'Beacon Hills Preserve' fifteen feet from us," Dawn said, at a whisper, and rolled her eyes. "And that's not the only thing fifteen feet from us. Will. Seriously. Look up."

"Oh, here's a thought!" Willow snapped her fingers victoriously. "Maybe the magic took us to where it was born, or, uh, corrupted. This could be ground zero for the outbreak!"

"That's not a good thing," Dawn said, slowly lifting her boot to pull free the hunting knife tucked against her leg. It was getting some usage today - take that, Buffy, for saying she just wore it that way for the sex appeal.

The growl was what pulled Willow from her moment of discovery. She stood up straight, lightly touching Dawn's elbow to let her know that she saw the danger ahead.

"California's trying to kill us," Willow repeated, quietly. "It's mad that we sunk one of its towns."

"We're letting Xander check-up on this region next year. He can bring us some snicker doodles. We'll visit the girls in Mexico. I'd rather take on vampire-hiring drug cartels any day," Dawn said.

Twigs snapped in the bushes behind them right as the red-eyed creature in the shadows let out a furious growl and charged. The women pushed apart, leaving space for the leaping beast to land. Dawn was already trying to form a game plan. Usually, Willow UberWitch took lead in these situations, but without her magic, they might be in trouble. Still, they hadn't survived living on a Hellmouth by solely relying on superpowers…Dawn raised her knife in defense, falling into a fighting stance.

But the creature ignored her, sweeping one clawed hand through the bushes, yanking out a zombie, and throwing it headfirst into a tree's thick trunk. Something cracked, and it wasn't the tree. The body went still, falling to the ground with a thud.

Red eyes turned to Dawn, and she resisted the urge to take a step back when the moonlight lit up his furrowed brow and fanged mouth. And pointy ears. Her eyes widened with realization. Not a vampire. A werewolf…or at least a partially transitioned werewolf. She had to fight off the sudden urge to ask him what species he was, not that he likely knew. Not everyone read academic texts on supernatural species (or wrote them).

"Thanks, wolf boy," she said, when he didn't attack.

He raised a brow in surprise, the glow in his eyes dulling down, a teenage boy now in front of her. "Uh…you're welcome?"

Footsteps sounded from the woods and another boy appeared in the small clearing, looking decidedly more human and accessorizing with a hoodie and a black goo soaked baseball bat. He slid to a stop, sneakers kicking up dirt and bat raised in preparation for a fight. Wolf boy held his arms out to keep the newcomer from running past toward Willow.

"Woah, Stiles - they're not dead. Or, uh, undead."

The other boy glanced at the women, not looking the least bit surprised to see random people in the woods in the middle of the night. "Ladies," he said, raising a hand in welcome before turning his sights back on his companion. "Yeah, Scott, I see that," he huffed, catching his breath. "But could you maybe not run ahead of me when it's dark and, I don't know, there are freakin' zombies wandering the forest!"

Wolf boy - Scott - winced. "Oops."

Dawn snorted. "Nice."

"Ehem." Willow stepped forward, inserting herself between the two teens, her 'teacher' face on. "Excuse me. Did one of you boys recently dabble in necromancy or read any ancient books written in a strange language?"

"No!" Stiles' gaped at her a moment before he turned back to Scott with a stage whisper. "You didn't read from the Necronomicon, right?"

Scott frowned. "What's that?"

"From the Evil Dead movies."

"Oh, the creepy skin book?"

Dawn raised a hand to cut them off. "Actually, it was originally popularized by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, who tried to convince people it was fiction, and this conversation has become irrelevant…I hope." She glanced over at Willow. "It's not the Necronomicon, right?"

Willow shook her head, brushing off the suggestion. "No, that was taken care of in the '90s."

Dawn shrugged. "I don't think these two started the zombie apocalypse."

"Of course we didn't," Stiles snapped. "Wait - who are you people, and what you doing out here?"

Dawn wasn't sure when this part of the job had gotten so easy, but she didn't so much as hesitate to pull a card from her pocket, handing it to Stiles. "We're with the W.I.C. And since you seem to be handling this whole undead situation rather well, I'm going to guess you already know your buddy here is a werewolf, so we can skip the whole 'more-things-in-heaven-and-earth-Horatio,' speech, and move straight on to 'we're here to help.' This situation? It's kind of our usual Friday night activity."

Willow nodded. "Not that we're here on official business. We were just passing through when 'oh look, zombies'."

Stiles blinked, still processing. "So, happy accident?"

"You appeared out of thin air," Scott stated, as if his thoughts had just circled back to that realization. He turned back to his friend. "They appeared out of thin air."

Willow chuckled nervously at that, shooting Dawn a sideways glance - so much for avoiding that conversation. "Magic. We should have worked that into the introduction - hi, I'm Willow, and I'm a witch."

Stiles eyes widened. "You can apparate? That's awesome! Wait - you're not a Darach, right? Because we're kind of over those."

"You recently had a problem of the Dark Oak variety?" Willow frowned in thought. "When was this? A couple weeks ago?" She poked Dawn in the arm when Scott nodded. "Remember that coven in Washington state reporting a huge magical disturbance? We were distracted by those duck demons in Vancouver, and no Apocalyptic Event occurred, so we never investigated…"

"Think it caused the outbreak?" Dawn asked.

Stiles and Scott shared a look. "Think this night is one big wolfsbane-induced hallucination?" Stiles asked.

Willow shook her head, ignoring the boy. "No, no…That was too far back. Look at how quickly this spreads. If this was related to a big magical event like that, the zombies would have shown up immediately. Something happened recently. Still, it's something to keep in mind. A dark druid marking the land could be the cause of my magic suppressing itself."

"Duck demons?" Scott muttered. He shook his head. "Uh, the dark druid is dead…and she was more concerned with killing people than raising the dead."

A howl sounded, long and wailing. The small group froze.

"Someone's hurt." Scott turned from them, his face shifted back into a werewolf's as he listened. "Sounds like...Derek?"

Stiles' stared out at the night, eyes wide. "But he's not supposed to be in town…Is he? 'Cause if I find out he didn't actually move and he's just been avoiding my calls for no reason, I'll - " The other boy took off running without answering. Stiles glared at his backside. " - I'll be stuck in a zombie-infested woodland with two Hogwarts' professors I don't know. Obviously. Scott!"

He took off after his friend, bat held high, and Dawn, on instinct alone, moved to follow, Willow right behind her.

California was definitely out to kill them.


~0~


It would have been awkward enough, being in a van full of strangers, but somehow being trapped in the seatless back of a veterinarian's work vehicle while said-vehicle was surrounded by a horde of zombies made matters worse. Dawn found herself picking the black gunk out from under her thumbnail with the tip of her knife as she traded glances with a literally-thumb-twiddling Willow, who'd positioned herself across from the watcher.

Dawn found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with Stiles, her other side at the back door and her spine pressed to the solid metal wall behind her.

The three werewolves - which, hey, who knew Beacon Hills was apparently a werewolf Mecca? - were closest to the caged door leading to the front of the vehicle, where a few way-too-fast corpses were smashing through the windshield. And then there was the overly-calm Dr. Deaton, who was looking through his first-aid kit for more bandages for Wolf-Man #2, who Dawn had to admit was dead-sexy, even when he was pale and leaking black ooze from a zombie bite; Derek, she hadn't had the chance to speak to much, though she imagined he was the ten-words-or-less brooding type, even when he wasn't trying to heal himself from a fatal bite.

The wolf in question's head lolled back onto the empty dog kennel he was positioned against, and he grimaced in pain, tightening his grip on his arm.

The moaning-zombies soundtrack wasn't enough to break the silence.

So Stiles slapped his hands together. "Now that everything has been introduced…Anyone up for a game of truth or dare?" When no one immediately answered, he cocked his head at the man across from him. "No takers? Peter? I'm sure we have enough time for one round before, you know, Derek turns into a raging undead wolf-beast who rips your face off for being the heinous ass-monkey who started this whole mess."

Dawn was starting to like this kid. She imagined that if Xander and Willow had ever had a love child, it might have turned out like him.

Everyone in the van glared at the guy currently leaning away from the bowing cage door where the closest zombie's fingers were peeking through. Dawn and Willow also shot Peter Wolf a dirty look now that they'd been filled in on the whole 'raised from the dead' backstory, which had happened somewhere between running into a clearing to find a werewolf being bitten by a corpse ("Karma," Dawn had noted) and the lot of them being saved by a van-driving veterinarian with a shame-faced, abet sassy, werewolf in the passenger seat.

Peter crossed his arms over his chest. "You all just assume I'm responsible for this? And here I thought we were all friends again." He sneered at Willow and Dawn. "By all, of course, I'm not referring to those two. I've never even heard of the W.I.C."

Derek gave a low, anguished growl before his eyes rolled up in pain, a sound which clearly stated, 'You're a lying ass-monkey, and I'm going to eat your face.' Stiles leaned over, cautiously holding onto the injured wolf's shoulder to steady him. Eyes cinched closed, the wolf reached up, touching the young man's wrist and holding him there. Dawn raised a brow. She'd have to ask Willow if her radar was going off around those two, but first, to torture Mr. Sassypants -

"Watchers International Council. We were better known as The Watcher's Council in past years," Dawn chirped. "Heard of us now?"

The color drained from Peter's face. "They were destroyed."

Dr. Deaton perked up, glancing over his shoulder at the women and giving them a studying look for the first time that evening. "They've returned?"

"We rebuilt," Willow explained, a tight smile on her face. "We're a kinder, more understanding Council. But we still hunt down those who use magic to kill innocent people." Her attention shifted back to Peter, a bit of darkness showing in her eyes. "And, buddy, you're officially on our list."

Peter raised his hands in surrender. "No reason to be rash," he said, trying for friendly and failing. "It didn't happen like that - this was completely unintentional."

Scott's jaw dropped. "You really did raise an army of zombies?"

"No!" Peter shrunk slightly. "I might have tried to…Well, I bit someone this morning…"

"Bit?" Scott's gaze narrowed. "As you tried to give an 'alpha' bite? Even though you're no longer an alpha?" His voice lowered in anger. "Right?"

"I thought it might work, since…" He gave Derek a bitter frown, then returned his attention to the rest of the group. "Well, obviously, I didn't intend on this happening. I assumed the man would either die or become one of us. Instead he became one of those."

Willow caught her face in one palm. "Idiot."

Dawn moved to the edge of her seat. "Of course! You're dead, or, at least, your magic is dead, the magic that lets you get your wolf on. You can still go all canine, but it's just a shade of your former self. Let me guess, you worked a bit of dark magic to try to get back your 'alpha' power? You villains and your over-complicated plans for taking over…"

Peter suddenly found the corpse beside the cage interesting. "Perhaps," he said, quietly.

"You dumbass!"

Deaton wrapped an arm around Scott's waist to keep him from tackling the other werewolf. "We can fix this," Deaton assured, trying to calm the enraged teen. The vet looked at Willow. "I'm assuming. With your help."

"Please say the cure involves making Peter dead again," Stiles pitched in.

Dawn elbowed him lightly. "Don't provoke the werewolves while we're trapped in a tin can with them. Please?"

Willow moved closer to Derek, a difficult task in their crowded position. "It won't help the people who've been killed, but I think, if you're the source of the tainted magic, we can draw out the infection using you, Peter…I think I understand why my magic hasn't been reacting properly. I draw my power from nature these days, and nature's busy trying to clean up this mess."

Dawn cocked her head at that last part, reading Willow's expression easily enough. The witch gave a small shake of her head, a promise that she'd explain the small lie she just told later, which only added to Dawn's curiosity.

"Then you need me," Peter noted, perking up. "Perhaps we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement if I agree to help? The Council allows me to leave, unharmed for my - "

"Actually," Willow interrupted, eyes nearly a shade of black, "I'm sure I can use you as a siphon, even if you're dead."

Peter swallowed hard. "I'd be happy to help."

Willow grinned back pleasantly. "Good puppy."

~0~

Dawn slouched down into one of the waiting room's chairs, watching through the glass front door of the veterinarian's office as the emergency vehicles kept rolling past. It was a mess outside. Corpses had fallen over in the streets, and the infected with minor bites and scratches had suddenly come to their senses, confused as to why they were wandering the town in search of flesh. This would take some explaining, but Dawn had a feeling the authorities would find some way to write this off as a disease outbreak.
They always did.

She heard a door close and saw a cheerful Willow step out Deaton's office. "Stiles is going to give us a ride to our rental car back at the service station," she explained. "Just as soon as he and Scott get back from checking on their parents."

The witch took the seat beside Dawn.

"Okay, you officially look too eager to share a juicy tid-bit with me," Dawn said.

Willow shrugged. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Spill."

Willow sighed. "Okay, but really, I shouldn't be saying this while there's an injured werewolf in the operating room. Super-hearing and all." She waved a hand in front of her, and Dawn felt a weak shield rise up around them.

"You got past your block?" Dawn smirked. "Let me guess - this has nothing to do with 'nature' using up all the good juju?"

"Not so much. And once I figured out what the problem was, I realized what was wrong," Willow admitted. "It's just been so long since I was hit with a wave of magic strong enough to cut me off from my Source. I haven't felt anything like it since I stayed at the Cleveland base a few years ago and tried to set up new wards…I'd forgotten how different magic felt on a leaky hellmouth. But dropping the 'you made a baby gate to Hell' bomb on the kids didn't seem very fair while their friend was hurt."

Dawn's eyes widened. "Seriously?"

"Yup. I put it together when I remembered where I'd heard the name Beacon Hills before. Remember that map we found in those old Council files?"

"Of the potential hellmouths?" Dawn nodded. "It showed suspected hot-spots too, places where they were afraid hellmouths could open, if enough magical force was applied. I recall the Bermuda Triangle and D.C. being on that map. Beacon Hills? Not so much."

"Dr. Deaton said this area has always been a weak beacon for the supernatural - which, hey, if the name fits - but in the past, wolf packs have kept it, well, cleaned up. The only magic in the area has been done by the druids who aid the packs. Long story short, a few too many dips into the dark magic well in recent years has made the draw stronger and, consequently, thinned out the barrier between dimensions."

"Oh boy."

"Oh boy is right," Willow agreed. "But I think they'll be okay. Dr. Deaton's family used to be on the Council payroll…well, until the Council decided it hated werewolf sympathizers. And those kids, well, they have their own Scooby gang forming. I mean, we'll need to send in some people to help clean up this mess, and make sure they have all the right resources, but I think Beacon Hills is in good hands."

"I think they call it a 'pack' instead of a Scooby gang." Dawn smiled. "This brings back memories, doesn't it?"

Willow returned her grin. "Don't worry, we'll be back to visit. Often, judging from these kids' track record with the supernatural - apparently, on the other side of town, a banshee was using her call to trap zombies. She goes to school with the boys."

Dawn raised a brow. Impressed. "Only in California…"

"Home sweet home," Willow agreed.

The End

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