This was not how Buffy planned to spend her weekend.
Of course, she rarely planned to spend her weekends staking some vamp’s ass and banishing demons (if she could help it, and she almost never could, what with Sunnydale being, well, the Hellmouth and therefore Evil Creep Capital of the World). This, however, was most decidedly in another universe.
How did she know this? The two kids who were very obviously trying to pretend they weren’t some kind of superheroes.
And superheroes? Did not exist. Out of all the crazy stuff Buffy had seen over the years, she knew that superheroes, the kind in spandex and capes, only existed in comics.
The two kids were on some kind of camping date or something. Okay, maybe not a camping date. They were actually in a very nice private little cabin with a large fireplace that Buffy had found herself tumbling through.
“Holy shit!” one of the boys said as she landed, coughing, on the floor by their feet.
“Hold it right there!” the other shouted, reaching to his side.
Buffy managed to control her coughing enough to say, “Where the hell am I?”
The two boys, both with dark hair and (frustratingly) taller than her, glanced between each other. The one called Tim was nudged by the other with an elbow.
“Oh, uh, just my, uh, father’s cabin,” Tim said. “Just. Hanging out.”
Buffy’s bullshit radar was going off the charts.
“Look,” she said, standing up and dusting herself off, “I really don’t care what you guys are up to. Can you just tell me where here is?”
“You’re the intruder,” Tim said. “You tell us what you’re doing here.”
Buffy took a deep breath and counted to ten. This was not the first time she’d ended up somewhere (or somewhen) unknown but she didn’t really need snotty kids who were clearly breaking and entering themselves.
Okay, so they looked to be about her age, maybe only a year or two younger. Still.
“Are we in California?”
Tim just glared at her. The other one shook his head. As he did so, she noticed his rattail. A RATTAIL. Yeesh.
“We’re-” he began to say, but Tim elbowed him.
“You tell us who you are and how you got here, or I’m going to-” He stopped and cursed. “I’ll call the cops.”
“Just out for a stroll,” she said with her best “fuck off” smile. “Just point me toward the nearest phone and we’ll be out of each other’s hair in no time.”
Wow. Buffy really did not like this kid at all.
She took a deep breath and said, “Okay, I’m the Vampire Slayer, and I was following a vamp when he disappeared into this crypt, only instead of being a normal crypt with dead bodies, there was some magic portal thing, and next thing I know, I’m sucking on your fireplace ash. So I’d really just like to get home and we can ignore this whole thing happened, okay?”
She followed this up with her cheerleader smile.
“Do you think we should contact you-know-who?” Rattail Kid said in what was probably meant to be an actual whisper.
“He doesn’t know we’re here,” Tim said. He was harder to hear. “I’m dead if he knows.”
“Well, what do we do about her then? She sounds a little-” He circled a finger at his temple.
“And what if she’s actually some kind of-”
Oh god, she could not suffer through this any longer. “Look, I’ll see myself out.” She turned and saw what had to be the main door. “Sorry about dropping in.”
“Hey!” Rattail cut her off from the door. “Look, it’s over ten miles to the nearest town, you can’t go out there by yourself.”
Tim grumbled something she couldn’t catch.
“Well, unless you’re willing to give me a lift-”
“We don’t have a car.”
“Kon!” Tim said. “Shut up!”
“What?” Kon waved his hand at the window. “I’m not going to let a girl walk ten miles in the freezing cold and deep snow!” He tugged on his jacket. It was leather. Buffy tried not to roll her eyes.
Tim did roll his eyes. “Show her our entire freaking hand, why don’t you.”
“Just sit down,” Kon continued, “and we can talk about this all like reasonable people, yeah?”
“I don’t have time for this.” Buffy pushed past him. “Lose the misogynist attitude, kid. I can take care of myself.”
“You don’t even have a jacket.”
Point. Her pink sweatshirt was cute if not actually all that warm. But Buffy wasn’t going to let that stop her. She couldn’t stay cooped up in this place with two seriously annoying kids.
Kon turned to Tim. “Can’t we, you know.” He made a whooshing motion with his hand. “And then we can come right back. No one will even notice.”
Tim shook his head firmly. “We get anywhere near Gotham, the radar will be reactivated.”
“Then the farm?”
“And if she’s some kind of maniac? And I don’t want to be caught in their Christmas dinner. Sorry. Plus Clark would tell HIM.”
This time, for real, Buffy was leaving. Whatever kind of spies or punks or secret caped crusaders or whatever these kids were, she didn’t want to deal with it. She had to get home. Probably to her own dimension given that Gotham was no place she’d ever heard of. She made her way quietly toward the door and opened it to slip out.
Unfortunately, there was a big, nasty vampire there in the doorway. The same vampire she’d been trailing when she’d gotten into this mess.
The vampire launched himself at her, snarling. Buffy grabbed his arms and held him off.
The smell of decay wafted over her, making her choke. “Brush your teeth, will you?”
Buffy brought up her knee and shoved. Only the vampire was shoved much further than she had intended. In fact, it went so far back that he was flung back through the doorway and smacked into a tree, splintering it in two.
She was good, but not that good. Not on her own, at least. She looked suspiciously at Tim and Kon. Kon’s face was focused. The instant he saw her looking, though, he looked worried and confused.
She was definitely not in her own universe.
Without further hesitation, she left the cabin and pulled her stake from her pocket. She walked over to the groaning vampire. “Any last words?” she said.
The vampire gave out a muttered, “Huh?” which, honestly, wasn’t the worst last word she’d ever heard, and then Buffy drove the stake through his heart.
The vampire turned to dust.
“What the hell was that?” Kon said, appearing suddenly behind her.
“Vermin,” Buffy said. “You should be safe now.”
Tim approached them very slowly, his movements deliberate. His hands floated around his waist almost like he was some kind of old timey gunslinger. He wasn’t wearing any guns. Buffy couldn’t see any sort of weapon on him.
“We don’t kill,” Tim said. Were Buffy anyone else, maybe his glare would have scared her. But she had faced scarier monsters than this kid could imagine.
“We?” Buffy scoffed. “That vamp was undead, kid, not exactly living.”
They were going to crack. There was something weird about them. And they’d reveal it sooner rather than later.
“You going to help me, fine, but if not? Don’t get in my way.” She turned to trudge through what was definitely going to be ten miles of snow, pulling her hoodie closer to her (damn, it was cold), and then something slammed into her.
“Watch out!” Too late, Kon, Buffy thought. Buffy grappled with whatever had run into her. She caught the stink of sulfur. Not a vampire. Some other kind of demon.
“This is really not my day.”
She threw it off.
Tim and Kon were nowhere to be found. There were, however, three more demons bearing down on her. Good. No need for anyone to get in her way. She picked up the stake and swung at the nearest demon.
Her blow didn’t connect. Instead, a black boomerang or something hit the demon in the side.
“Hey, ugly breath!” What an original insult. Kon stood in a fighting stance, now dressed in bright blue along with his leather jacket, and it really did fit the rattail look. Unfortunately.
Tim stood next to him, with another one of those black boomerang things in his hand. He was dressed in red with a black domino mask. “We got this,” he said.
Superheroes. Yup. Great.
“I don’t need your help.” Buffy kicked a demon in its stomach. It stumbled backward; before it could regain its footing, a rope wrapped around its legs and it fell.
“I’m okay with teaming up,” Kon said. He slammed into another one. “More the merrier, right?”
“Not on our secret vacation,” Tim muttered. “We’re so dead after this.”
“Not if we don’t tell!”
Aha. That explained some things. Secret teen superheroes who were secretly dating under their secret guardians’ noses.
Buffy understood what that was like.
She sent a punch to a jugular. “Less talking, more ass kicking.”
After that, they made short work of the demons. But they ended up tying them up instead of sending them back to the hell where they belonged.
Superheroes. Buffy shook her head.
“So, Tim, Kon,” she said, crossing her arms and nodding to each. “What do you plan to do with them, and can you get me to the nearest library or occult bookstore?”
“Who’s Tim?” said Tim, completely deadpan.
Buffy rose an eyebrow.
Kon, fortunately, actually had an answer. “I know just the woman for both those problems…”
So maybe superheroes weren’t totally useless. Tim had a secret jet that got them across the country in half an hour, and this Zatanna woman had killer fishnets and boots.
Maybe Buffy could salvage the weekend with a little well deserved shopping.
“Zatanna will see you home,” Tim said.
“It was really great to meet you,” Kon said with a hearty handshake and genuine smile. “If you’re ever in the universe again, don’t hesitiate to drop by.”
“I’d rather not be around,” Buffy said. “But thank you.”
Zatanna waved them over when she finished dealing with the demons. She pressed her hands together and then raised them above her head.
“Dnes Siht Lirg, Yffub Sremmus, Kcab Ot Eht Esrevinu erehw dna nehw ehs sgnoleb.”
Buffy felt the magic swirl around her. It didn’t feel quite like the magic of her own universe, which left her feeling uneasy.
Tim and Kon trusted this Zatanna. Right now, that had to be enough for Buffy.
She caught sight of them, pretending not to be holding hands and clearly bickering. She couldn’t hear what they said, however. The magic had cut her off in a strange silence.
It swept her back and out, and then she fell, hard.
“Thanks for the soft landing, Zatanna…”
Then she realized that she wasn’t alone.
Instead of a cold crypt or even the private cabin of Tim and Kon’s, she was in a very large living room. A giant Christmas tree was in one corner by an equally giant window, and a man with red glasses and a woman with hair even redder than Willow’s stood in front, holding decadently wrapped gifts. There was another man, short and hairy, by the roaring fireplace. And then there was a statue made of metal that she swore moved.
“I found the matches!” a girl yelled as she appeared through the wall carrying a Menorah. “We can call-”
That’s when everyone, including the statue which definitely was moving, noticed Buffy.
She heard a snkt, and she turned to the gruff looking man. He now had knives between his fingers. Wait. Correction: he had knives sticking out of his knuckles.
“Who the hell are you?” he said.
What a great weekend this was.