Some of my newer friends might not know that I used to write fanfiction regularly under the username ozma914, and I'm happy to say it led to over a dozen fanfic writing awards. I've been busy with original fiction, but I miss the stress-relieving fun of working hard on a story I don't have to worry about getting published (because that would be illegal, ya' know).
One of the great fanfiction traditions is crossovers, so to mark the publication of Storm Chaser Shorts I crossed my most common fandom, Buffy the Vampire Slayer , with a character from my own original universe. It's also kind of a crossover with two other fandoms, since once character appeared only in an episode of Angel, and there's mention of another TV show that will be fun for those who watch it.
I had a blast writing this, so if you like the idea of throwing my Storm Chaser characters into other universes ... I'm open to suggestions!
A/N: This story is set in my post-“Chosen” universe in which the Buffybot and Tara have both been brought back to life – more or less – through magical means. Some of the same magic restored a semblance of sanity to the imbalanced slayer Dana, from the Angel episode “Damages”. Kara Philips is an original character who's been around since my very first fanfic, and those four appear in a series of stories called "Four Friends". This tale, which takes place before the events of Storm Chaser or Storm Chaser Shorts, first appeared last week on fanfiction.net at http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8353053/1/License_and_Registration_Please
Title: License and Registration, Please
Author: Mark R Hunter (ozma914)
Characters: Buffybot, Tara, Dana, Officer Chance Hamlin of Storm Chaser, OC slayer Kara
Warnings: A little silliness.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss and co, except for the ones who belong to me.
Summary: Post Chosen: A slayer mission is jeopardized by the Buffybot's driving, and by a traffic cop who's just a bit too shrewd. 2,200 words
“I believe that police officer is pulling us over.” The Buffybot broke into a wide smile and steered toward the highway’s berm. “Yay! I love to meet new people!”
Rousing herself from a half-sleep, Tara looked back to see red and blue lights flashing behind their nondescript Ford. “Bottie, how fast were you going?”
“Oh, I matched the flow of traffic. Don’t worry, I was going at a safe speed for the conditions.”
“Uh-oh. What state are we in?”
“Indiana,” Bottie told her. “US 6, north of Fort Wayne.”
In the seat behind them, two young slayers who’d staked vampires, beheaded demons, and sauntered through downtown Chicago at 3 a.m. sat back in their seats, wide eyed and pale. Kara nudged Dana. “No talk about what we do for a living.”
“Why not? Maybe cops should know.”
“Yeah, and maybe we’d spend the next three days in a psychiatric ward. No talk about a robot and a ghost in the front seat, either.”
Tugging on her safety belt, Tara reflected on all the ways this could go horribly wrong, not to mention the demonic ceremony they were scheduled to break up in less than ten hours. “Okay, everybody act casual.”
Kara and Dana sat stiff as statues, their eyes saucers. Buffy threw a hand out the window and waved vigorously.
Oh, boy. As Tara watched a giant of a man unfold himself from the squad car, she went to plan B. “Okay, everybody act … sexy. It works in the movies.”
“Kara’s sixteen,” Dana pointed out, sounding shocked.
“Okay – cute, then.”
The blue clad trooper slowed as he approached the car, examined the back seat, then bent down to look in Bottie’s window. “Good morning, ladies. Do you know how fast you were going?”
“Good morning!” Bottie chirped. “Seventy-four. The speedometer’s off by two miles per hour, though.”
The cop’s eyes were shadowed by the brim of his campaign hat, but his lips quirked as if he was trying to decide whether he was being jerked around. “The speed limit in this area is fifty-five.” He was a looker, Tara realized – the kind of guy who’d make her heart skip if she went that direction. His skin was a bit too tanned to match his blue eyes and blonde sideburns, and muscular arms showed that he skimped on the donuts and not on the exercise.
Bottie hesitated. “You’re very handsome, officer. We, on the other hand, are all pretty, which is a better description of females. Except for Kara, who’s only cute because she’s underage.”
The trooper’s lips thinned into a straight line. “License and registration, please.”
Tara dug into the glove compartment and passed Bottie the registration and insurance information. She took the opportunity to glance into the back seat, to see how the girls were holding up. Kara stared straight ahead, looking as guilty as humanly possible, but it was Dana that Tara worried about most – sometimes she lashed out when she felt trapped.
To Tara’s surprise Dana seemed considerably more relaxed, and just stared at the trooper with open curiosity.
“Bottina Elizabeth Summers, of Chicago.” The cop glanced at Bottie. “Bottina?”
“My parents wanted an original name.”
Oh my gosh, who came up with that fake ID? It had to have been Andrew.
“Hm. Wait here.” The trooper headed back to his car.
The four sat silently for a moment, until Dana’s quite voice murmured from the back. “Trooper Hamlin is going to be encountering a force of nature very soon.”
Bottie and Tara exchanged glances. Behind them, Kara leaned forward. “Force of nature? Vampire? Demon?”
“Don’t know. I’m seeing … a young woman. Maybe another slayer? Somebody who’ll have power over him.”
Someone with power over him? That sounded more like a witch. Tara shook herself. “We can’t tell him anything.”
“What?” Abandoning her stiff posture, Kara leaned forward. “But Dana said force of nature – that’s our line of business.”
“We don’t know that,” Tara told her. “Maybe it means a hurricane, with a woman’s name. You know how it goes: We can’t just go around telling people the world is full of supernatural scary stuff.”
She had to stop there, because the trooper had arrived back at Bottie’s window. His nametag, Tara noticed, did indeed say “Hamlin”.
“Miss Summers, I take it you’re an employee of the West Chicago School For Girls?”
Bottie blinked. “Oh – the license plate. Yes, I’m the physical education instructor, and my friend Tara, here, is a teacher. Kara and Dana are students. The name alliteration is completely coincidental, although I think it’s kind of fun.”
Hamlin’s gaze swept over all of them, then zeroed back in on Bottie. “As a teacher, don’t you think you should be serving as a better example for your students? Or are you working on what not to do? Please tell me you’re not their driving instructor.”
Looking ashamed, Bottie cast her eyes down. “Yes, officer. You’re right, I’m really sorry.”
Thank goodness, it looked like they were going to get out of this with nothing more than a speeding ticket.
“Bottie,” Dana announced, “is very emotional for a robot. And it’s strange how solid Tara is, and how easily she blushes, because ghost can’t usually do that well.”
Hamlin blinked. “All of you step out of the car, please.”
The heat hit her as soon as she opened her car door, and not for the first time Tara wondered if those spells that turned her more or less alive again had been such a great idea. Not that they’d been completely voluntary. It was great to be able to enjoy a nice spring day, but the Midwest’s current drought made her wish she could turn it off.
“Over on the other side of the car, please – we don’t want anyone getting hit by a passing vehicle.”
Dana lined up with the rest of them, and glanced around at the fields and distant farms before focusing on the trooper again. “You’re very caring. Do you have a sibling? Or a daughter?”
Hamlin blinked again. “I have a sister.”
“My family all died, and I was the slave of a psychotic sociopath.” Dana looked to Bottie. “Did I use the right terminology?”
“Close enough,” Bottie murmured. Her bubbly personality completely deserted her as she realized what a jam they were in.
“I’ll need to see all your ID’s.”
They passed them down, and Hamlin browsed through them. “Tara McHenry, Kara Philips, and Dana …” He squinted at the card.
“Slaiermonstonkowski,” Dana supplied.
Andrew, I’m going to turn you into a freaking toad.
“Hm. Is this an approved field trip?” This time the trooper looked at Kara, who unfortunately had chosen that day to wear her yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the words “will slay for food”. Definitely time to tighten up the dress code.
“My father’s a teacher at the school,” she said.
Bottie nodded. “But this isn’t a field trip. We’re taking Dana to a special clinic in Boston, for treatment.”
“Treatment of …?”
“Paranoid schizophrenia,” Bottie said. “Tara and I go together, because sometimes she can be a handful.”
Hamlin looked at Kara again.
“I’m her best friend … I can help keep her calmed down.”
“She doesn’t like long car rides,” Bottie added, “so I try to get her there quickly. Sorry about that.”
My goodness, what a band of liars I’m Watching.
For a long moment Hamlin hesitated, looking from them to the ID’s. Then he removed his campaign hat, revealing a shock of close cropped blond hair, and stooped a bit to be at Dana’s height. “Dana, how are you feeling now? Can I help you with anything?”
“The voices are quiet. Your sister would make a good slayer.”
“Well, she’s more into pop music.”
Dana gave him one of her rare smiles. “You should get used to hearing jazz and classic rock. And you should keep your eyes to the sky, because that’s where the danger comes from for you. Do you have any Twizzlers?”
“Like Red Vines … Walter likes them.”
“I’m afraid not …”
Bottie caught Tara’s eye, and pantomimed tearing off her own sundress. Tara frantically shook her head. If the officer decided to search their car, even the stripping thing wouldn’t help when he reached the cache of weapons in the trunk.
“I’m afraid I don’t carry any food at all in my squad car, Dana.”
“What if you get trapped in a blizzard?”
“That’s … actually a very good point. I’ll see about stocking some snack bars and bottled water later, but right at the moment I don’t have anything.”
“Oh.” Her head tipped down, but she kept her gaze aimed up at him in that unsettling way she had. “May I get back in the car?”
With a glance at the others, Hamlin swept his hand toward the car. “Sure. And you too, Kara … you two others, come to my car with me.”
Tara half expected to get cuffed and stuffed, but instead Hamlin paused by the police car, leaned against the hood, and crossed his arms. “You’re driving from Chicago to Boston with a mental patient who hates going on long drives.”
That was actually fairly accurate, but Tara figured saying so would be a mistake. “She has issues with flying. Really, she’s not that bad – she just has a bit of trouble with reality sometimes.” So far, Tara was the only one of the four who’d stuck to the truth. To a degree.
“And a sixteen year old student has been allowed to take this cross country trip with said mental patient.”
Having expected that part, Tara pulled an envelope from her skirt’s wide hip pocket, and handed it over. She had the strangest feeling she was playing mental chess.
He read it over – twice – then looked up. “Wait here.”
They waited, while he got into his car and closed the door. “You should erase his memory,” Bottie hissed.
“Wh-what? Bottie, I’m ashamed of you. You know I’d never do that. I’ve told you what – happened.”
“Okay, but in the interest of the mission? I mean …” Bottie sighed. “I know.”
“Remember, we really are a school, and Richard really is Kara’s dad. The rest is … negotiable.”
“Stripping would have distracted him. Maybe I should offer him sex. I used to do that, you know.”
“Ick.” Tara shook her head, and tried to fight off a feeling of nausea. As far as she knew Bottie’d had only one sex partner, and Tara was no fan of the circumstances.
It was minutes afterward when Hamlin climbed out of the car and handed her the paperwork. “Well, your story checks out, mostly.”
“Of course it does!” Bottie chirped.
“Your Mr. Giles confirmed things. As for your destination in Boston …” He gave Tara a hard stare. “You didn’t mention that the study Dana’s involved in was sanctioned by the FBI.”
“Oh, well, we’re keeping it low profile.” Okay, she’d had to lie there, since during their rare visits the FBI agents who hung around Walter’s office mostly pretended they didn’t exist … Walter must have pulled some strings to keep them out of trouble. She found it hard to believe he had it together enough to manage that.
“I see.” Hamlin crossed his arms again. “Miss McHenry, I’m not much into conspiracy theories, but I suspect there’s more to this trip than you’re letting on.”
“Oh?” She fought to keep her voice steady. “W-well, that’s …” Okay, so she hadn’t thrown in the part about Walter’s role in inventing some interesting demon detecting devices, and how the eccentric scientist’s only real help to Dana had been keeping her supplied with snack food. Or the upcoming demon apocalypse, conveniently also in Boston.
“Did you talk to Agent Astrid?” Bottie asked. “She’s really nice!”
The trooper took a deep breath. “Apparently the whole thing is above my pay grade. I don’t have a problem with that –“ He leaned forward, his eyes suddenly menacing “—As long as it doesn’t involve my area. So you slow down, go about your business, and don’t unleash any of whatever it is in northeast Indiana. Are we clear?”
“Yessir,” Bottie squeaked.
She should have kept her mouth shut, but as they headed toward their car Tara couldn’t help turning back. “Trooper Hamlin --?”
“Yes?” He hadn’t budged.
“Dana’s … special.”
“No, I mean … look, sometimes she just says nonsensical things. But after knowing her so long … well … I just think you should watch the skies, like she says. I think this time it means something.”
He glanced up. “I hope it means rain.”
Five minutes later Bottie got up to cruising speed and, at Tara’s direction, set the cruise control. “So, how did the rest of it go?” Kara asked.
“We’re apparently on the FBI’s radar. I guess we should have figured as much after the run-in Willow and Kennedy had with that Mulder guy in Sacramento.”
Dana leaned forward, giving her hand an agitated wave. “Tell someone to keep that guy on our radar.”
“Why?” Kara asked.
Her friend fell back, looking frustrated. “Don’t know.”
“We will,” Bottie assured her. “I’ll do it – he was very handsome!” She glanced down at the car’s dashboard and added, “The speedometer reads 56, but we’re actually going 54. That explains why the guy behind us is so impatient.”
Tara sighed. It was going to be another long trip.