Summary: This is my attempt to answer some questions I had after season 7 of Buffy and season 4 of The West Wing. The main character is TWW's Sam Seaborn, but everyone else shows up for quite a bit.
Disclaimer: All this is Sorkin's, Whedon's, Pratchett's, Gaiman's, and "whoever created Doctor Who"'s. No money's being made, don't sue me please.
Notes: SPOILERS up to Lies My Parents Told Me and whatever the parallel Angel episode is, and through Red Haven's On Fire on The West Wing. There's a primer if you're not sure about the characters or settings here:
Please read the primer if you're unsure of anything, because there are some things I didn't explain in the story (it would've taken way too long).
He drove north.
There wasn't anything in Orange County for him, not that he knew of at any rate, so when the election was over and everything was said and done and he'd gone on the requisite number of walk-of-shame post-voting interviews, he packed his stuff in the rental Saturn, and hopped onto the highway and drove north. He’d heard the strangest rumors about L.A., and it had been a while since he’d been there, so he supposed he could take a vacation before heading back to Washington. He could spend a few days there, and nobody would say anything to him because, hey, how do you chide a guy who's just lost such a newsworthy election?
So Sam Seaborn, Senior Counsel to the President of the United States of America, and failed Congressional candidate for California's 47th district, drove past the sign that thanked him for visiting Orange County and did hope he would return for another enjoyable visit in the future, and headed towards Los Angeles.
In a small cabin in Lower Tadfield, nobody really cared that Sam Seaborn had lost the California 47th. This mostly had to do with the fact that, while the election results had made national news in the United States, Lower Tadfield neither had nor wanted anything to do with that side of the Atlantic.
In that cabin, Newton Pulsifer and Anathema Device were cleaning up. It had been a while since they'd done a good cleaning up, and the things that had accumulated in corners and cupboards were threatening to come to life.
So they were making heaps of trash all around them, tossing all sorts of strange things about, deciding what to keep and what to throw out, when Newton saw a box. It looked vaguely familiar, all box-like and brown with sharp edges and twine wrapping it shut, and so he opened it, curious.
He stared at its contents for a second, and then asked: "Dear heart? Why do we still have this?"
About half of the way to L.A., Sam decided the silence was too much. The radio didn't seem to work, so he glanced around the front seats. A tape lay discarded on the floor of the passenger side, and, keeping his eyes on the road, he picked it up and glanced at the label. Dvorak, possibly left there by the previous renter. He stuck it in the tape deck.
"-Little high, little low, any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me-"
That was in no shape, way, or form, Dvorak. He popped the tape out again, and figured the silence was better, now that he thought about it.
About three-quarters of the way to L.A., the sun began to set on Sam.
But when it suddenly and completely disappeared when he reached the city limits, he knew there was something just a little bit fishy going on; the streets looked almost completely deserted, save for a few badly dressed folks brooding in the shadows here and there. Looking around from the safety of his car, he thought perhaps it would be a good idea to just head right on back to Orange County, and catch a plane back to D.C.
Now, of course this was the time his car chose to break down in the middle of the pot-holed street. And as he sat nervously in his car, Sam noticed, in front of the vehicle, a pair of yellow eyes staring directly at him.
The Doctor's TARDIS cared even less about the outcome of Sam Seaborn's election than anyone in Lower Tadfield, but by the way it was acting up, one could easily have mistaken the TARDIS for a disgruntled Orange County Democrat.
Ace leaned against the control tower as the Doctor did . . . something on the other side. "How long is this gonna take?" she asked - not really miffed or anything, just bored enough to resort to that kind of questioning.
"As long as it takes," the Doctor replied, bustling as he tried to fix whatever was wrong. "Don't worry, Ace, we'll be there soon enough."
Ace quickly stepped out of the way as he reached for something on her side of the tower. "But where's 'there' this time, Professor?"
"There's there," he said, and the TARDIS shuddered ominously before the familiar wail started as it landed. "Or, rather, here." He opened the viewscreen and looked at their surroundings.
Ace frowned and cocked her head at the sight. "From the looks of it, 'here' isn't the resort town on Karikos you wanted to go to, is it?"
The Doctor stared at the deserted, darkening street that stretched out beyond the TARDIS door. "I daresay it isn't."
"Okay," Sam sighed, unbuckling his seat belt. As he opened his door, he wondered if those yellow eyes that stared at him like he was so much meat were contacts or surgical implants of some sort. At any rate, he made a note not to get them for himself.
Popping the hood, he tucked his half-loose tie into his shirt and walked to the front of the car as if he knew what the hell he would be looking for. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about cars, would you?"
he muttered. When no one answered, he said under his breath, "Guess not."
"Sorry man," came a voice from the darkness, a voice that didn't sound sorry at all. "It's just, well, a lot of us never understood the use of cars. Being born before they were invented and all that." A man with a gnarled face and oddly vertical hair stepped out of the alley and strode towards Sam. "They just get in the way."
The part of Sam that wanted to say, "Eep! You're a scary, scary man and I'm going to run away right now!" stayed mercifully quiet. He instead asked, quite calmly, "Get in the way of what, exactly?"
"Our food," he said, licking what looked to be a set of fangs in his mouth. If Sam weren't so busy being paralyzed with fear, his knees might have knocked.
"You can't eat him," a new, feminine, and very memorable voice said. Sam turned around and saw another deformed face in the shadows. He couldn't quite make out the details, but there was something just a little familiar there . . .
Now, if one were to say, "The only reason people outside the California 47th do not care about Seaborn's campaign is that they're not from the California 47th themselves," one would be incorrect. Because walking down the street in an average (looking) town smack-dab in the middle of the California 47th was a group of disinterested (looking) young adults who were part of his district, and they didn't care because, well, an apocalypse was due in a month or two, and that kind of put a damper on their patriotic voting spirits. And, also, some of these youth weren't from his district, or even old enough to vote, and that too put a damper on their patriotic voting spirits.
Xander rounded a corner, and saw an odd silhouette on the pavement a few feet away from the group. It registered after a second what it was he was looking at. "Uh, Buffy?"
Buffy and the potential slayers that had come along for training had noticed the same thing he had, and were approaching it warily. "Yeah?"
"We're not all of a sudden British, are we?" He poked its blue exterior with his axe.
"Not unless Giles forgot to tell us something," Buffy muttered.
"And only if we're in the fifties," Molly added. "They blew those things up years ago, got rid of every last one." These young people, with their stakes and swords and axes, had never seen a police call box in person.
There's a first time for everything, one supposes.
"I didn't mean to keep it," Anathema said, peering curiously at the book that was lying open on the ground. "I just . . . forgot, really."
Newt hesitated as he looked down at the same book. These matters always got to him. On the one hand, there was the whole prophecy thing - somewhere in that book, there might be a passage about how it was supposed to fall out of their closet on this day in particular. They might end up having to pore over it for one reason or the other.
On the other hand, maybe their having it, maybe Anathema's forgetting to get rid of it had already screwed the prophecy up. Maybe they weren't supposed to have it at all. He scratched the back of his neck. "Well," he began very slowly, "what do you want to do with it now?"
Anathema, having had the very same thoughts as Newton, regarded him almost, but not quite, nervously. "There's that bookstore in London. You know the one. I think maybe that's the best place for it, yes?"
Newton nodded vigorously. If they were meant to have the book by the end of it all, it would make its way back to them one way or another.
"Hang on, Ace," the Doctor said, peering at a dial that was going a little bit wacky. Ace's hand hovered over the button that would open the door, and she watched as the Doctor tapped on the dial, peered at it again, and then brought the palm of his hand down on it. "Hmm. Not right at all."
"What is it?" she asked.
"A temporal-spatial flux. Whenever the TARDIS travels, it slips through natural creases and folds in the space-time continuum. The one we slipped through - rather, were pulled through - seems to be more amorphous than normal, and slightly ragged."
She shook her head. "That's all Greek to me."
He looked at her with keen eyes and a serious face tainted with just a hint of eagerness. "The fabric of time and space is strange here. I'm not sure how, exactly - it could simply be weak, or it could be something completely different."
"So, it's less a case that we came here accidentally, and more a case of we got . . . sucked in?"
"Right. There's something rotten," the Doctor intoned, "in the state of California."
Ace very nearly rolled her eyes. Then she saw the viewscreen, looked suitably alarmed, and cursed profusely.
"Ace!" The Doctor looked at her in shock at her language, and then followed her gaze. In the middle of the street, in the dark, was a group of young adults being led by a little blonde woman with a big sword; and they were all staring at the TARDIS, their weapons very obviously poised to kill or maim anything that came out of it.
"Oh," the Doctor said, eyes going almost comically wide. "I agree."
"I like to eat alone," the man with the funny hair growled.
"Then eat somewhere else," the woman growled back. "You know who this guy is?"
Funny Hair managed to look disinterested, superior, and annoyed all at once. Sam had never seen that look on anyone other than Toby and maybe Leo. "Lunch?" he said, obviously peeved at the intrusion.
"Actually, it's closer to dinnertime," Sam piped up.
"Ah, damn," the man said, looking with detached annoyance at the sky.
"That's the one bad thing about no sun - you never know what time it is."
"Hey, Angelus," the woman yelled. "Don't be a dumbass. Find something else to eat."
Sam couldn't make out her face for the shadows and the lumps, but her voice - it sounded like, like . . . oh, hell no. "Hang on," he mumbled.
Angelus ignored him and glowered at her. "Why haven't I killed you yet?"
"Because of what I'm about to tell you," she said. "This guy's deputy communications director at the White House. You eat him, you're gonna have the entire 82nd Airborne on your ass."
"Promises, promises," Angelus snarled. He took one last look at Sam and muttered, "Democrats taste funny anyway," before vanishing into the night.
Sam didn't quite notice, since he was too busy gaping at his savior. Mandy?"
Mandy Hampton's face smoothed out, and her fangs disappeared as she smiled at him.
"Hey, Sam. Long time, no see, huh?"