I wrote this for a Buffy fan fiction event called Seasonal Spuffy. It was published on Election Day in my attempt to remind Buffy fans to show up and vote. It was featured in the New York Times during Buffy’s 20th Anniversary.
Buffy woke. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. Something felt wrong. No, everything felt wrong. She blinked. It was too dark to see a thing, so she reached for the light on her nightstand and clicked it.
Fumbling out of bed, she looked down and couldn’t even see her feet. The usual street light didn’t pour in from her bedroom window. Her slayer sense tingled and hair stood up on the back of her neck.
Carefully, she picked her way to the window and peered out into the night. Pitch black. The power must be out all over town.
She shook her head, trying to clear it.
What day was it? Why did she feel so out-of-it?
The last thing she remembered was getting off her shift at the Doublemeat Palace and falling into bed, exhausted.
“Dawn?” she called. “Dawnie?”
There was no answer.
She rushed out the door, navigating the dark hallway by memory. “Dawn!” She sidled into her sister’s room and ran her hands over the bed covers. The bed was empty.
A wave of panic crashed over her. She took a steadying breath.
There was an easy explanation to this. There had to be. It was clearly too late for Dawn to be at the Magic Box. She was probably hanging out at Spike’s crypt again. At least, Buffy desperately hoped she was.
She threw on her jacket as she bounded down the stairs. Once out the front door, she headed due south, toward Restfield Cemetery. She had to pick a path down the street. Strange. An unusual amount of rubble cluttered the road and she nearly ate the pavement a few times.
When she finally reached Restfield, she rushed to Spike’s crypt and kicked open the door. She looked around. No one was home. Worse, even. It looked vacant. Abandoned. The comfy sofa was gone as was the television and end table. His fridge was even missing.
“Spike?” Her voice echoed off the bare walls.
She slid the stone cover from the tomb, then climbed down the ladder to his bedroom. Mussed bed. End table with candelabra. At least that room looked like it had been lived in recently.
“Hello? Spike?” she repeated, glancing around.
A figure stepped from the shadows. A shock of white hair, a swirl of leather duster, a look of astonishment on his face. Spike. “Buffy! Where have you been?”
She waved her hand through the air. “Nevermind me. Where’s Dawn?”
His brows arched up. “With your Watcher.” He took another step toward her. “Where did you go, Slayer?”
“What’s happening? The power’s out all over town. And why would Giles take Dawnie without … what do you mean by where have I been?”
He tilted his head to one side. “You went missing, Buffy. For a long while.” His voice was tightly leashed and conflicting emotions played across his face.
Buffy shook her head. “No. I went to bed last night, just like normal.”
“Not on my end. Haven’t seen you since early November last year. I always reckoned the Mayor was to blame.”
“Mayor Snake?” Buffy’s jaw dropped. “I can’t have time-traveled. That’s beyond lame.”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Oh, you wish it was Wilkins. He only wanted to eat the Senior Class and bring about eternal darkness.”
“I am not liking the sound of this,” Buffy said.
“This new bloke—Donald Drumpf. He’s worse than any of the Big Bads you’ve seen before. When you went missing, we figured he’d done something with you.”
“And you just, what? Wrote me off?”
He narrowed his blue eyes at her. “You don’t know what it was like. You best watch yourself. I stayed here for you—inside the wall, no matter how bad things got.”
“There’s a wall now?”
Spike nodded. “Fifty foot wall, all around Sunny-D.”
“Well, that sounds … ridiculous and fictional.” Buffy shook her head to clear it. “I’ll worry about this mayor later. For now I need to see Dawn. Did Giles take her to his apartment or …” Buffy trailed off, not liking the look of discomfort that had darkened Spike’s expression.
“You really don’t grasp the way of things in Sunnydale now.” He took a hesitant step toward her. “The Watcher took her ‘cross the pond, luv.”
“Across the pond?” Realization dawned on her. “To England? Giles took my little sister to a foreign country?”
“Had to. Once the platelet got kicked out of Sunnydale”
“Okay, Spike,” she interrupted. “Tell me what’s going on right now.
Spike held his hands up in surrender. “I been tryin’ to, luv.” He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one. Took a deep draw. “The mayor didn’t want any undesirables in Sunnydale. That’s why he built the wall around town. They went after the ‘sub-humans’ first. Kicked out all the demons and the vamps. Little sis didn’t pass the test. Some rot about her birth certificate, so out she went.”
“But … to England?”
“Giles is a foreigner, Buffy. Drumpf booted that lot, too.”
Buffy gaped at him. “This is crazy. This mayor can’t just kick people out of their homes, willy nilly. I’ll talk to Giles—get him to come back.”
Spike shook his head. “You’re not gettin’ it. What would be the point of that? The Mayor’d just kick them out all over again.”
“Well, then, I’ll get the rest of the Scoobies and— “
“Willow and Tara were exiled with the rest of the witches. They headed for Canada. Xander followed soon after. When people were still allowed to leave.”
Buffy shook her head, trying to take it all in. Spike pointed the lit end of his cigarette at her. “And don’t you get riled up and taking the Mayor on yourself like a fool.”
Like hell. She wasn’t going to allow this. She couldn’t. Buffy climbed the ladder with Spike hot on her heels. She rushed out of the crypt and headed toward the exit. Toward town.
“Oi,” Spike shouted, running to keep up. “He’s going to boot you out too. Being how a Slayer isn’t really human either.”
“We’ll see about that. I think it’s time for the mayor to learn a lesson about who the real sub-human is.”
* * *
Buffy and Spike walked along Main Street on their way to City Hall. Though the storefronts were dark, a dim glow illuminated the street from the far end.
The story here was grim. A few bums milled around, looking on the verge of starvation. Buffy recognized one of the unfortunates as her old High School History teacher. He scurried away in fear as soon as Buffy approached him.
Main Street was pretty much … gone. The book store was closed. Where the Magic Box used to be, there was now only a crater. The only business that looked to be still functioning was the old coffee shop. It was a butcher store, closed now. The sign in the window was sloppily hand-lettered: Meat! Cat, Dog, Fox.
Buffy turned to Spike in horror. “Kitties and puppies?”
Spike shrugged. “People have to live. They’re desperate. Had to pay for that bleeding wall, didn’t they? Drumpf jacked up the town debt and folks are payin’ the price for it. He pisses on our necks from that golden tower and tells us it’s raining.”
“And foxes? Sunnydale has foxes?”
“Wildlife took over once things got out of control.”
“I am so going to enjoy kicking this guy’s ass,” Buffy muttered.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, luv.”
“What do you mean?”
“The mayor’s got people protecting him.”
“I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it,” Buffy said.
Spike raised his brows at her. An expression that always got under her skin in a way that only he could.
“What? Are they super-powered minions or something?” she asked.
Spike shook his head. “Just normal people, but they’re all jacked up on fear and hate. Drumpf keeps ‘em like that round the clock.”
Buffy stopped and folded her arms. “So, how does he wind them up? And why do they let him?”
“Not sure,” Spike said. “Best I can figure it’s something in their diet. I reckon there’s something in the wild meat that ramps up their fear. Makes ‘em afraid of ‘outsiders’ and the like. I’m tellin’ you, Slayer. Mayor Wilkins seems like a model of good government compared to this clown.”
“I’m beginning to get the picture,” Buffy said.
They continued down Main Street, picking their way through the debris of Sunnydale. As they neared City Hall the dim glow intensified, making it much easier to step over the rubble. Just before they turned the corner, Spike held up a cautionary hand.
“Best to approach this from a side-street,” he said. “Get a lay of the land and see how to cut through his fan club.”
Though she balked at being told what to do, Spike did have a better understanding of the situation, having been forced to live in this hellscape. She nodded and followed him down an alleyway. As they approached City Hall, the glow was bright enough that they had to duck low and stay in the shadows.
Just above the tree line, Buffy could see the tip of a bright, gold tower. She turned to Spike. “The town is dark, but he still has power?”
“That sort always does,” Spike muttered.
Buffy was so fixated on the glow that she walked right into a garbage can. Luckily, her slayer-speed kicked in and she caught it before it clattered to the ground and announced their presence. As she righted the can, an almost inaudible meow sounded from inside.
She tore the lid from the can. A small, grey kitten looked at her with wide eyes. Meee-ooww.
“Awww!” She reached down and scooped up the kitty. “Hello there, sweetie!”
Spike looked at her impatiently and pursed his lips. She ignored him.
“Oi.” He held out a hand for the kitten. “Don’t have time for that now, Slayer.”
“I’m not giving her to you!” She tucked the kitten into the big inside pocket of her jacket. “You’d just use her for kitten poker.”
“Then put her down! You can hardly do battle with a kitten along for the ride.”
“And let people eat her? I don’t think!”
“Fine. Maybe we can pick up Rover and Spot on our way. Invite the whole bloody pound.” Spike shook his head before continuing.
When they reached the end of the alley, she was finally able to get a clear view of where the mayor dwelt. The old city hall had been replaced with a gigantic tower, the enormousness of which was only matched by the sheer gaudiness of the thing. Gold paint had been slathered on the rickety-looking structure. Spotlights highlighted large golden ‘D’s which had been affixed every few feet.
“Holy Mother of God,” Buffy said, once she was able to pick her jaw off the ground. “It raises tackiness to an art form.”
“Subtle as a gold-plated brick, this one,” Spike muttered.
“It’s like Glorificus and Mayor Wilkins had a love child.”
“And bathed him in Cheetos.”
“Huh? Buffy asked.
“Oh, you haven’t seen him yet.” Spike smirked.
“What are we waiting for then?” Buffy stood up to go, but Spike held her back.
“Not so quick, luv.” He pointed toward the base of the building. Buffy had been so distracted by the brightness of the tower that she hadn’t looked at the darkened base.
A huge crowd of people milled around the structure. Their level of trust was impressive; the tower didn’t look structurally sound enough to withstand a light breeze.
“Those minions I was telling you about,” he muttered.
“There are hundreds of them,” Buffy said, sizing up the crowd. “I’ll never get past them.”
“Since charging in through the front is out of the question, we’ll have to find the back door.”
“There isn’t one. It’s a simple operation.” Spike thrust his chin out. “Right then. I reckon I should cause a distraction and lead them away.”
He looked sideways at her.
“A few dozen, maybe. But that mob?”
Spike scoffed. “Bet I can.” He extended his hand. “Come on, Buffy. Wager?”
She hesitated for a moment, then shook. He dropped her hand and turned to leave.
“Hey, wait,” she said. “You didn’t tell me … what happens if you win the bet? Because this kitten is not on the table.” She patted her coat pocket reassuringly.
“You’ll see.” He threw a grin over his shoulder, then stepped out of the alleyway and began running toward the far side of the tower.
“Hey, you lot!” Spike shouted, waving his arms above his head. The people milling about the base of the tower stopped and stared at him. “They’ve just torn a hole in our wall! All the undesirables are pouring through! Mexicans! Crying babies! Feminists!”
He had them at the f-word. A roaring sound erupted from the group as they moved en masse, as a single-celled but rabid organism, toward Spike and away from the tower.
“I’ll be collecting on that wager,” he shouted as he ran toward the wall.
Buffy watched, slack-jawed, as the horde pulsed out of sight. When the last straggler was out of sight, she rushed to the unguarded tower base. The entrance was simple, if gaudy: an unlocked door, spray-painted gold. The door knob was a large letter ‘D’.
“Speaking of knobs,” Buffy mumbled. “Guy has a serious crush on his D.”
She opened the door and slipped inside. She was surprised, and greatly relieved, to find there was no security. Not yet, anyway. There were no furnishings, either. Just a huge spiral staircase clinging to the wall.
The whole structure seemed more about being showy than having any practical purpose. The interior was as golden and classless as the outside. All along the sides were over-sized photos in—what else—golden frames.
Buffy could see what Spike meant when he described the Mayor as a Cheeto. His skin was the orange color of a rub-on tan. He had the puffy eyes of someone who drank too much and his pumpkin-colored hair was done in the style of Miami Vice, but in a comb-over. Most of the photos were of Drumpf alone, but a few featured him with various minor celebrities. The mayor with Scott Baio. One with Ted Nugent. Another with Gary Busey. It was like a wall in the lamest Hard Rock Café ever.
Buffy squinted up the staircase, but didn’t detect any movement. Surely it couldn’t be this easy.
“Fine by me,” she muttered. “The sooner I can kick the D to the curb.”
She scrambled up the stairs, careful to keep her footsteps as silent as possible. No sense in alerting the orange trash monster to her presence.
About halfway up the tower, just as she was approaching an alcove, she heard a faint clank coming from just ahead. Very quietly, she slipped into the shadows beneath an enormous photo of the mayor riding a horse, shirtless.
As the metallic sound grew louder, Buffy held her breath. Was it some kind of security device? Or a person with a weapon?
Someone stepped into a pool of light from where one of the spotlights had been shining on one of the mayor’s photos. Buffy couldn’t have been more shocked.
And she was wearing chain mail.
Buffy rushed toward her. “Anya! What are you doing here?”
“Buffy!” Anya pulled her head back and smiled brightly. “What a surprise! We haven’t seen you in forever!” She acted every bit as though they’d bumped into one another shopping and she wasn’t being held captive in a tin despot’s weird golden tower.
“Do you need help? Are you being held prisoner?”
Anya’s eyes widened. “Prisoner? Goodness no! Dear Leader wouldn’t do something like that. He has the greatest respect for women.”
Buffy narrowed her gaze. “Are you a robot?”
“Of course not, silly.” Anya shook her head. “I’m one hundred percent woman. And all American, too. Born on the Forth of July.”
“I’ve heard that one before.” Buffy waved a hand in the air. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m helping Dear Leader achieve a Capitalist Xanadu!”
Buffy couldn’t think of a thing to say to that.
“We’re making America great again!” Anya gushed. “Like it was in the days when business was king. Carnegie, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt …”
“Yeah, well, I mostly slept through history,” Buffy said, “but didn’t we also have child labor then? And women couldn’t vote? And I think black people—”
“There you go!” Anya interrupted. “Little Miss Buzzkill. Ruining it for the rest of us. We’ve got a pure capitalist dream going on here.”
Buffy shrugged. “I dunno. It looks kinda medieval to me.”
“Point of fact – there’s not a purer form of capitalism than a feudalist society.” Anya fluttered her eyes and her lips twitched. “Our wealth is trickling down to the masses. Dear Leader might even let the proletariat have healthcare soon.”
Buffy looked at Anya, puzzled. “Listen, we don’t have time for your pro terriers. And what you’re doing to dogs—and cats—is horrible.”
Anya returned Buffy’s puzzled look.
“I need to see your boss,” Buffy said. “The Big D.”
“Dear Leader is at the top of the tower, but I’d have to advise against it.”
Buffy shook her head. “Because I’m one of the unwashed masses?”
“Goodness no.” Anya looked at the wall where a security camera was mounted. She pulled Buffy into the alcove out of view. “Because you’re unprotected.”
“This chainmail isn’t for battle, Buffy,” Anya said. “It’s cause Dear Leader tends to get a little … handsy. More like an octopus.” She forced a smile. “You know. Boys will be boys and all of that.
Somehow, Anya found it in her to look offended. “It’s not like I let him do anything.” She sighed heavily. “Trust me, there aren’t enough Tic Tacs in the world.”
“You should leave, Anya. Now. Nothing is worth being Donald Drumpf’s toadie.” Buffy pushed past her and began climbing the stairs. “Spike’s on the east side of town leading a mob around. If you’ve still got a shred of decency, you’ll go help him.”
“What about Xander?” A wistful look crossed Anya’s face. “Have you seen Xander?”
“No. First I need to bring down the mayor, then we’ll worry about getting the Scoobies back together.” Buffy called over her shoulder. “Now get out of here and help Spike! You’re better than this!”
* * *
A few more flights and Buffy reached the top landing. She twisted the knob— another over-sized golden D—and opened the door. Not knowing what to expect, she raised her fists in fighter position and entered the room.
She’d thought the tower had been garish so far, but this enormous room made her redefine the word. The walls were covered in the same gold finish, but more portraits of Drumpf were packed onto every square inch. These were even larger than the ones along the staircase—some ten feet high. Oversized chandeliers crowded the high ceiling, so many that it looked like a lighting fixture store. Perched near gold-tinted sofas and chairs were gold-encrusted tables laden with gigantic candelabras and huge crystal figures.
Dominating the entire room, in dead center, was a statue of Donald Drumpf himself. It was thirty feet high and made of gold, naturally. The statue was illuminated by spotlights and dozens of American flags encircled it.
“Scrooge McDuck called,” Buffy mumbled. “He thinks you should dial it back a notch.”
“Hello there.” A male voice spoke through the maze of gold and crystal. “Did you get lost, little lady?”
Buffy strode toward the sound. “Not lost. I came for you, Mr. Mayor.”
She rounded a seven-foot vase and saw him. Donald Drumpf, seated behind an enormous desk. In person he was smaller than she expected. He wore a simple black suit, American flag tie and his orange hair was styled in his trademark comb-over. Behind him was a row of television monitors, some tuned to different TV stations, others monitoring his tower.
Donald smiled and stood, then made his way around the desk. “I’ve been watching your approach.”
Buffy crossed her arms. “Aren’t you going to ask what I’m doing here?”
He sniffed. “You’re attracted to me. You can’t help it. All women are.”
“That’s not it. I’m here to kick your—”
“My tower is very, very amazing,” Donald said, completely talking over her. “But I’m sure you noticed that coming in. Everybody says so, believe me. Thousands of people. Millions of people.” He reached into his trouser pocket and fiddled with something. She couldn’t help but notice that he had freakishly small hands. They were the size of quarters, but orange, with inch-worms for fingers.
“Not here about the décor,” Buffy said. “Though you really should give out shades to visitors because all this—”
“And my statue?” Donald interrupted again. “You couldn’t miss my statue. It’s very, very phenomenal.”
“Yeah, uh …” Buffy cut in. “But I’m here about—”
He walked over to his statue, careful to position himself in a spotlight. “It’s an original Briss. The guy is top of the line. Everyone is saying it, believe me. He’s from France or maybe the Ukraine. Yes, He’s a personal friend of mine. A good friend. I first-name him. He calls me Donald. I call him Hugh.”
Buffy took a step toward him. “Stop interrupting me. It’s disrespectful.”
“I am bigly respectful to women. Nobody is more respectful to women than I am. Believe me.” He sniffed as he took a long look at her. His eyes crawled over her body—first up, then down.
Buffy suddenly felt the urge to end this confrontation as soon as possible. “I’m here to kick your sorry, gold-plated ass out of town.”
Donald’s mouth formed an ‘oh’ and he looked at her in amazement. “I resent that statement. I am many things, but I am never, ever sorry. About anything. You are a very, very nasty woman. Sad”
“You pumpkin-colored, racist, Libarace-wannabe! I’ll show you how nasty I can be.”
His brows raised and his lips curved into a pervy smile.
“Ew!” Buffy shook her head. “I meant nasty as in kicking you out of town. Not … ew!”
“You’re all talk,” he said. “Very low-energy. Sad. But I’d give your boobs a solid eight.”
“Okay, that’s it.” Buffy rushed toward him, intending to grab him by his Armani collar and drag him down the stairs. He was surprisingly deft, however, and side-stepped her. He ducked, then grabbed an American flag. He swung wildly and the flag fluttered past her head.
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll give them a nine.”
Buffy held up a finger. “Listen you Creamsicle Mussolini with the taste and temperament of a 3-year-old. How can you be so clueless? I’m kicking your ass because you’ve ruined my—”
“Wrong,” he interrupted.
“Because you’re a creepy pervert who—”
“—stokes the worst part of our natures and sets us against each other and—”
“Stop interrupting me!” she shouted. “I’m kicking you out because you ruined my town, like some creepy puppet master.”
“No. No. No! You’re the puppet master!”
“I’m not the puppet master,” he said. “You are.”
Buffy shook her head. “My god. Are you twelve?”
Donald raised the flag pole and rushed at her, swinging it in a wide arc, aiming at her head. Buffy casually reached out and snatched it, then snapped it in half.
He fell against an end table, sending an enormous crystal candelabra crashing to the ground. “Oh,” he muttered, shoving his tiny hand into his pocket again. “My people aren’t going to like this, believe me. And I have good people. The best people.”
Buffy squinted at him. “What are you doing? With the hand and the pocket?”
“Tweeting.” He sniffed. “I’m very, very good at tweeting. I don’t even need to look at the screen. Lots of people are saying it. It’s tremendous. And by the way,” he stood up, brushed himself off, “the people love me. You? Not so much. Very, very unattractive. Not my first choice. Sad.”
He rushed around the side of his statue, grabbing another flag as he went. Buffy ran the other way, meeting him around the back. He made another wild swing at her head. She snatched the flag out of the air and threw it across the room, taking out an oversized crystal swan in the process.
“You’re coming out of your tower, Donald. The easy way or the hard way. Right now, I’m kinda in favor of that second one.”
She rushed toward him, reaching for his collar. Just as she grasped his suit jacket, she felt his hands inside her coat.
“Anya wasn’t kidding about that octopus thing,” she muttered.
He slipped his fingers inside her coat pocket, then pulled out the little grey kitten that Buffy had put there.
“Let go of me,” Donald shouted. “Or the kitten gets it, bigly.”
Buffy blinked. Horrified.
This was it. He’d crossed the line.
“Don’t. Grab. My. Pussy!” Buffy shouted.
Slayer speed activated. She snatched the kitten from Donald’s grip with her left hand; she punched him—hard—in his mid-section with her right. He sailed through the air and thunked against the groin section of his statue. When he collapsed at the base with a thud, the statue wobbled wildly.
Donald shook his head, then reached inside his pocket and pulled out his phone.
“You can’t tweet now! Buffy shouted.
Donald’s tiny wormlike fingers flew over the screen. “You’ve rigged this whole thing you … you … woman! When my people find out—and I have tremendous people, the best people, believe me. Everyone is saying it. They are very, very—”
“Your statue! Your Briss!”
He looked up. An expression of horror crossed his face.
The statue swung to and fro in increasingly dire arcs. The thing tipped toward him – teetering for a moment – then fell downward. Directly toward where Donald lay.
She’d never reach him in time.
He scrambled to get out of the way, but his hands—his itsy-bitsy hands—could find no purchase.
He was crushed under the weight of his own Hugh Briss.
The impact crushed the marble floor and sent ripples through the tower. The structure began to sway slightly and Buffy gripped the kitten a little tighter. It seemed even more unstable than Glory’s tower had been. Donald had been just another gold lamé god—all show, no substance.
Buffy sped down the stairs, accompanied by the groans of the tower and the excited mews from the kitten. She barreled out of the door and sprinted toward the alley she’d come from. Spike had just arrived, his leather duster fluttering around his ankles as he ran toward her. They reached one another just as the tower collapsed in a cloud of glitter and gold dust.
“Drumpf is gone?” Spike asked, disbelief shining in his blue eyes.
“Donald go splat.” Buffy looked over Spike’s shoulder. “What about his minions?”
“Anya showed up. Big surprise, that.” Spike fished his cigarettes out of his pocket and lit one. “She led them away. By the time they return—well, no tower, no leader—maybe they’ll find something better to do with their time.”
“I hope so.”
“Reckon the first step would be changing their sodding diet. Keep ‘em off Fox. Makes ‘em bloody paranoid. Get a few taco trucks in here.”
“Good idea,” Buffy said. “And I can get Dawnie back.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something, luv?” Tongue behind his teeth, Spike took a swaggering step toward her.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Buffy looked at the ground and crossed her arms.
“Our wager?” he pressed.
“That was … not fair. I was under a lot of stress and …”
“Rigged, was it?” His lips curved into a smile.
“I’m so not in the mood for this,” Buffy said.
“Oh, I think this might be right up your alley.” Spike waggled his eyebrows at her.
Buffy waited. When she realized the big jerk wasn’t going to tell her, she let out an exasperated sigh. “Okay then, what is it?”
He stepped in front of her, legs wide. He didn’t even attempt to hide his smirk. “Well,” he drawled. He took a long pull on his cigarette, dragging it out. Relishing the moment. Very slowly, he pulled a necklace out of his pocket. It featured a large, dark crystal in the center. Buffy could sense the raw power—roiling off it in waves. “Got this little bauble from a demon named Skip. You’ll never believe what it does. Turns out that—”
Buffy sat up in bed. She reached out and, still high on adrenaline, threw her alarm clock across the room, silencing it.
What the hell had just happened? A dream? No, that would be the lamest narrative device ever.
She shook her head and sat up to find herself in her normal room, with the power clearly on. By the light outside her window, it looked to be early morning.
Willow rushed into the room. “Buffy, are you okay? Did it work?”
“Did what work? Was I supposed to have the most horrible dream of my life? Because if so—job well done.”
“Horrible?” Willow looked at the shattered alarm clock and looked crestfallen. She plonked down on the bed beside Buffy. “It wasn’t supposed to be horrible.”
“Oh, no. Will, did you do something? Some kind of magic or …”
Willow twisted her hands together and didn’t look up. “Today is Election Day. You asked me to remind you to not forget, so I did a little spell—just to remind you to hit the polls.”
“There was pole hitting all right.” Buffy looked over to see Willow fighting back tears. She squeezed her friend’s hand. “It’s okay Will. You were trying to help and hey, it did the job.”
“Wanna go vote?” Willow smiled weakly.
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, I do.”
Then she turned to you, the person reading this story.
“Oh Buffy,” Willow said, sounding worried. “Don’t go breaking the fourth wall. Joss can get away with it because he’s, well … Joss. But it can come across as a little preachy. Don’t hit them over the head like an After School Special.”
“When it’s important enough, readers will cut you slack,” Buffy said, still looking directly at you, her green eyes glittering with tears the way they did whenever the world was about to end. It always made you tear up, too.
“Please,” she said. “This matters so much. There’s never been an election like it. We can’t let the D’s of this world control the narrative,” Buffy said.
“This voting thing isn’t up to me. Even with very complex rigging, as a fictional character, I can’t vote.”
She stood and took a step toward you, chin up, sincerity burning through her expression. “So it’s up to you. All of you. You have the power. Can stand up. Will stand up. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong? Now … go. Vote.”
“Yup, I called it,” Willow said, shaking her head. “Completely over the top.”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. No money is being made from this work. I still really need to have drinks with Joss.
You can check out my books here.