A lovely writer, Teaotter, wrote me the most gorgeous and thought-provoking S5 Joyce fic, which I can't pimp enough:
losing farther, losing faster
Go! Read! Comment if you love it! Bring a hankie! Then check out the other goodies. Yum!
I contributed something, which I suspect is of limited appeal due to super small fandom, although it is a crossover with BtVS, so who knows? You can read it at AO3, but for consistency's sake, I'm also including it in my journals. I've written another crossover with these fandoms, Two Faces Have I, which I think might be more successful, since it uses the POV of the Buffyverse character we know, while this one uses the POV of the character that is outside the 'verse.
Title: From the Mouth of Hell to Hoppers 13
Word count: 2400
Fandom/Characters: Love & Rockets "Locas" crossover with Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Maggie, Hopey, Penny, Izzy, Giles, Xander, Faith
A/N: All credit to Jaime Hernandez for his characters. ♥ Oh, and Joss, too.
Summary: Maggie and her friends are going to spend the afternoon by the pool, unless the "earthquake" from up north puts the kibosh on things.
Basically I got as far as Oxnard and the engine fell out of my car. And that was literally, so I ended up washing dishes at the fabulous "Ladies Night" club for about a month and a half while I tried to pay for the repairs. Nobody really bothered me or spoke to me there until one night one of the male strippers called in sick and no power on this Earth will make me tell you the rest of that story.
—Xander, talking about his post-graduation summer in The Freshman, BtVS Season 4
Maggie Chascarrillo was fixing the pump for the motel swimming pool when the quake hit. The sound was ferocious, a roaring monster, but she could tell the epicenter was a ways off. From the north, if she was any judge. Water sloshed over the lip and onto the concrete deck, but that was about it for excitement. She’d been through too many of these.
The maid stumbled out of the building, wringing her hands. Maggie headed over to reassure her.
“¿Do you think it’s safe inside?” Rosalba asked.
“Sure. This place has been through lots worse on any given Saturday night, right?”
Rosalba surveyed the second floor breezeway and its thin metal railings with skepticism.
“It’s okay, really. The Northridge quake would’ve flattened it, if anything would have. It may not be pretty, but it’s not gonna fall down.”
“I’ve only got three rooms left to do, anyways,” Rosalba grumbled. “I’m picking my kid up from school after that.” She shot Maggie a challenging look.
“Might as well. We’re not full or anything. I’ve almost got this thing working.” She pointed at the pump housing. “A couple of my friends are coming for a swim later. You could bring your kid.”
Rosalba harumphed, tightened her apron, and marched back in without another word. Maggie sighed. What genius had decided that she should be the boss around here? Oh right — Mr. Matsumoto, her friend Daffy’s dad. What did he know? He just bought up the properties and somehow turned them into more money. It didn’t mean that making her the manager was so smart.
She attached the pump cover and flipped the switch. It churned happily. Maggie the mechanic strikes again. She wandered back to the office and got some change out of her bag for the vending machine. A diet soda and some cheesy afternoon TV ought to fill the time until her cronies stopped by. Settling in behind the desk, she snapped on the set. Every channel was showing news about the earthquake. Stupid natural disasters were murder on daytime television.
A couple of hours later, a battered school bus shuddered to a stop outside. It made so much noise that Maggie figured it had to be more entertaining than watching every person on every channel speculate about what was happening in Sunnydale. She went to gawk out the window like some old neighborhood snoop. People slowly piled out of the bus and stood on the sidewalk looking back and forth between the motel and the Taco Loco across the street while steam billowed out from under the hood.
They were covered with dust and more than a little banged up. Maggie looked over her shoulder, where the TV showed footage of a huge swirling dust cloud, and back to the group on the sidewalk.
Hoppers wasn’t an especially noteworthy place. It was sandwiched along the landward side of Oxnard, on the wrong side of the freeway, but it was less than an hour away from Sunnydale and on the way to LA, so people stopped sometimes. Usually when they had to, due to breakdowns and flat tires. There’d been lots of refugees from Sunnydale in the past week. Most of them gave the motel the stink eye and moved on as quickly as they could. It looked like this group couldn’t be choosers.
A couple of guys started across the parking lot toward the office, walking like they had aches on their aches. She slipped behind the counter and took a quick count of the room keys. The tall one — kind of handsome for an old guy, if he wasn’t so thrashed — ducked into the office, another guy with an eye patch right behind him. Fairly Handsome braced himself against the counter. The eye patch guy slumped against the wall. They both looked exhausted.
“Pardon me. I’ve got a rather large party, and I wonder if you might have accommodation for us.”
Oh, fancy English accent.
“I’ve got 12 rooms available until Friday checkout. Three queens and rest are doubles. How many do you need?”
“We’ll take them all. Two nights, please.” He dug out his credit card and handed it over. He exhaled with relief and shot a look of inquiry at the guy with the eye patch. “Can you get them settled in while I deal with the, uh, bus?” He seemed to think better of this, and asked gently, “Perhaps we should put Andrew on it?”
“No, man. I’d rather stay busy.”
Maggie flipped the “No Vacancy” sign on while she waited for the approval to come across. Old habits die hard, though, and she started talking.
“I could take a look at your bus, if you want. It’s probably just the dust that’s got it messed up.” She mentally cringed. Way to open your big, fat mouth, Chascarrillo. Let the scoffing begin.
They both turned to look at her, but they didn’t laugh. Like, at all. Maybe they’d forgotten how.
“That would be very kind,” said the English guy. The approval beeped and she pushed the paperwork for him to sign across the counter. The name on the card read “Rupert Giles”. She checked the signature.
“Here you go, Mr. Giles,” she said, handing over the keys. She pointed out which were the queens, but left them to figure it out from there. “I’m Maggie, the manager. Let me know if you need anything.”
He thanked her and they went outside to wave over the group standing on the curb. They drifted over to Eye Patch Guy and began sorting themselves into their rooms. Huh. Almost all of them were teenaged girls. Weird. Maybe a cheerleading field trip had gone wrong. Or maybe they were all Miss Teen USA contestants who barely escaped the earthquake. Except that these girls didn’t really come across as cheerleaders or beauty pageant types. Maybe they were a track team supervised by their English coach and his one-eyed assistant. Hopey was going to have a field day.
Hopey and Penny piled out of Izzy’s car. Izzy stayed inside, banging her head against the steering wheel. Maggie closed the engine compartment of the bus and wiped her hands on the motel towel hanging from her waistband. Hopey met her on the sidewalk, bouncing with excitement.
“Mag-a-lag-a-ding-dong! Some kind of day, huh?” she crowed, dragging Maggie by the hand toward the motel.
Maggie feigned boredom. “Didn’t compare with that time we almost went boom in Zhato, eh Penny?”
Penny laughed. “You know, baby? As thrilling as our daring helicopter escape was, there is something different about today. It feels like the air has changed or something.”
“That’s ’cause it’s full of Sunnydale,” Hopey pointed out.
“Ewwww,” chorused Maggie and Penny.
Penny nudged Hopey’s shoulder and sprinted for the pool, pulling her dress off as she ran. “Canonball!” she yelled. She leapt, tucking her perfect body into a perfect, golden-skinned, orange-bikinied sphere and plummeted into the water. Maggie helped Hopey up from the ground, and they both admired the sonic boom and accompanying tall plume of water.
“Yanno, we might be able to beat that if we double-teamed it,” observed Hopey.
Maggie shook her head. “Nah. Let her make a splash. I’m gonna get Izzy.”
She walked over to lean against Izzy’s car and watched as Hopey toed off her shoes and stripped down to her bathing suit. Hopey marched, with lots of elbow, straight to the pool’s edge and beyond, dropping feet first into the water which closed over her head with a quiet “blip”.
“They’re driving you crazy, huh?” Maggie asked from the side of her mouth.
A voice came from the inch-tall crack at the top of the driver’s side window. “I’m still trying to figure out how they do it, when I’m the one that’s driving.”
“C’mon. Sit with us. Breathe the different air.”
“You feel it too? My skin has been itching all day. Or all month.”
“See? All the more reason to hang with us near the refreshing chlorine. It’ll cure what ails ya.”
Grumbling, Isabel got out of the car, jamming her enormous sunglasses onto her nose. She grabbed her bag of poolside essentials from the trunk and trailed after Maggie to the deck. She settled herself at the shallow end, legs hanging in the water up to her calves. She was bundled up from her chin to past her knees, and wore a wide-brimmed black straw hat. She held a large black umbrella and was completely engulfed in shadow.
“Ahh,” she said, producing a plastic bottle of one of her homebrewed teas from her enormous bag. “You were right. Sunshine and stinky bleach. Just what the doctor ordered.”
Maggie flopped down into a deck chair to watch Penny and Hopey horse around. Hopey could hold her own when it came to splashing, but Penny definitely had the edge when it came to diving under the surface and tossing Hopey into the air. She was getting an unusual amount of height, and Hopey was starting to get pissed.
“Lay off, Atoma!” she snapped. She climbed out of the pool, and stomped over to the chair beside Maggie, griping, “Someone is a little overenthusiastic today.” She stretched out on the chair and fell silent.
The three of them watched Penny frolic for awhile. Eventually, Maggie fell asleep. When she woke up, there were several more girls in the pool, and most of the deck chairs were occupied.
Izzy had retreated to a chair as far as possible from the new arrivals, but Hopey was leaning forward and watching them with interest.
“Hey, Magpie! When did you get paying customers?”
“Oh, right. I meant to tell you. That bus over there got in this afternoon, full of girls and a couple of chaperones. I don’t know what their deal is, but they were pretty messed up. I think they’re from Sunnydale.”
“They don’t look messed up now. Not a lot of bathing suits, though. Must’ve had to leave in a hurry.”
Maggie could practically hear the gears turning in Hopey’s head. She looked around. Most of the girls were in street clothes, a few in shorts and tank tops. A couple had bathing suits or at least underwear sets that would just about pass for them.
“Huh. I guess so. At first I thought they were cheerleaders…” Hopey shook her head at that idea. “…but then, I thought maybe a team or something…” She drifted off as Hopey stood up and waked over to one of the girls and started up a conversation. “Or, I guess I could have just asked,” she said to herself.
The girl was standing there, watching the scene. She had dark hair and big, dark eyes. She wasn’t real tall, but she held herself with a buttload of assurance. Looking closer, Maggie decided that she was older than she’d first appeared. She had to be in her twenties, even if the other kids were still kids. She was keeping her face carefully blank while Hopey talked. She wasn’t Mexican, probably, but she reminded Maggie of her cousin Licha back in the old Widows days, without all the Chuca makeup. Her body was still, but it held the promise of violence if pushed. Maggie would put dollars to donuts that she’d done time. Curiouser and curiouser.
Something Hopey said caused a smile to bloom across the woman’s face. She gestured for her to sit down. They settled in for a long conversation. It was only when Penny walked to the diving board that they stopped. As was so often the case, all eyes followed Penny’s progress. She bounced on the end a few times and then flew into to the air, arms outstretched, and seemed to hang there for long seconds before jacknifing into a perfect pike dive. The water barely rippled as she slipped in.
Hopey found Maggie’s eyes. Izzy rose to her feet, shaking her head.
“Has your friend shown this kind of ability before today?”
Maggie started and looked up to see Rupert Giles standing next to her chair.
“Uh, well, she’s sort of always led a charmed life, but that? No.”
“As I thought. Excuse me for a moment.”
He strode off. After that it got hectic. Penny was surrounded by the people from the bus, all of whom wanted to congratulate her about something. She was swept away to one of the rooms by Rupert, Eye Patch, and the hard, but pretty, woman that had been talking to Hopey.
Izzy, Maggie, and Hopey huddled at poolside.
“What did she tell you, Hopita?” asked Izzy.
“Wouldn’t you know, she says they’re some kind of all-girl, evil-fighting super heroes! That Sunnydale thing? That was them, ‘kicking evil ass back to the Stone Age’. She says they won, but the town is gone. I wonder how long they plan to stick around? ‘Cause if that’s what winning looks like, we should either get out or get some front row seats.”
“What to they want with Penny?” asked Maggie.
“Hell if I know. But I’ve got an awful feeling…”
“Dios mio,” whispered Isabel.
“Babies!” cried Penny, skipping over to envelop them in a group hug. “You’ll never guess! After all this time, I’m going to be a real, live super hero!”
“Ow,” said Maggie. Izzy and Hopey couldn’t speak, but managed a couple of squeaks. Penny let them go.
“Today is turning out just perfect!” she said, clapping her hands and hopping up and down. “I can’t wait to tell Herv.”
“Ol’ Horned Head is going to love this,” said Hopey, between gasps for breath.
“I know! Hey! Hopey! We should all celebrate at your work tonight!”
Hard but Pretty walked up with Eye Patch guy. “Oh yeah? Where’s that?” she asked.
“My friend is a bartender at the fabulous Ladies Night club,” explained Penny, raising her arms in the air and doing a sinuous dance.
“This can’t be happening,” groaned Eye Patch guy.
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