AUTHOR'S NOTE Welcome to yet my newest BtVS crossover. I was going to wait until I finished posting something else to post this, but decided not to. Anyway, there are a couple things I have to explain before this fic gets underway.
One, for any of you not familiar with New England, "Downeast" is the triangular eastern area of the state of Maine. If the gang left the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts four hours before this takes place, then it would place them right in Downeast. Trust me.
Two, yes "Passions" does exist as a television show in the Buffyverse, but it's so much fun to play with mixing characters that I'm choosing to ignore the above fact.
Three, Xander mentioned in "Chosen" that he has to retake a driving test every year due to his eye patch. I know he wouldn't be taken to the police station for driving with only one eye, but I thought it was an interesting jump start to the story.
Finally, this story contains spoilers for "Chosen" in Buffy, but if you haven't seen "Chosen" by now, then why are you reading Buffy fiction?
DISCLAIMER Don't own them! I wish I did, but I don't. Sigh.
She was getting close.
"Stop here!" Willow Rosenberg commanded the driver of the car.
Her best friend since birth, Xander Harris, complied. "Will, where are we?" he asked.
"Shh!" Willow put a finger to her lips as she got out of the car. She knelt down and laid a hand on the pine needle carpeted ground. Tall evergreens rose up on either side of the deserted road. Xander shuddered. He didn't like areas so devoid of humans.
Willow stood up after only a moment. "We're almost there." She got back into the car. "Keep going straight."
Xander nodded. He craned his neck for a second, glancing in the backseat. "Buffy's still asleep."
"Mmm," Willow agreed. "She was up all night patrolling. I guess they have vampires in New England too."
They drove in silence for another hour. Every once and a while, they passed through a small harbor hamlet, full of bustling people. It was just the three of them – the original three. When Willow had said that she'd sensed a strong magical presence in the remote parts of Downeast Maine, Xander and Buffy hadn't let her leave without them. Dawn had been sent to live in England as a graduation present. She'd finally graduated high school in Italy and had begged to visit Giles. It became the perfect situation when Willow had set out on her journey.
It was only after they'd left Europe and arrived back in the United States that Willow realized how much she'd missed her two best friends. She and Kennedy had traveled to Rome from Rio to meet Buffy and to leave Kennedy in charge of the active Slayers in Europe. Faith still commanded those Slayers in the US, based on the Hellmouth in Cleveland. Buffy had mentioned trying to contact her while they were in the States, but so far that hadn't happened.
Whatever the circumstances, Willow, Buffy, and Xander were enjoying their trip together. They were the core group. That had never changed.
Xander gripped the wheel tighter than he normally did. "Xander? Are you okay?" Willow asked.
"Yeah. It's just, I'm not used to driving with this ice and snow and stuff." He cracked a grin. "You know, the whole growing up in Southern California thing."
Willow laughed. "I hear you. It's cold up here!"
Xander swore as he hit a frost heave and the car bounced violently. In the backseat, Buffy sat straight up. "What happened?"
"Sorry, Buff," Xander apologized.
Buffy yawned. "It's okay." She stretched. "How long have I been asleep? Where are we?"
"We're somewhere downeast," Willow said. "You've been asleep for almost four hours."
Sighing, Buffy tried to get comfortable in the back. "How long ago did we leave the hotel?"
Willow laughed. "About four hours ago. You fell asleep almost as soon as we crossed over into New Hampshire."
"Oh." Buffy glanced out the window. She whistled. "Not too much up here, is there?" Willow shook her head. "Do you know where we're going?" Buffy asked her.
With a sigh, Willow shook her head again. "Not exactly. But I know we're getting closer."
"For which I think I can safely say, we are all glad for," Xander added.
Willow nodded emphatically. "I'm done with the car."
The pines gradually gave way to snow-covered fields. In the distance, the three could see the ocean to the right. "The ocean's on the wrong side," Buffy remarked.
Softly, Xander began humming "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Willow and Buffy stared at him. "What?" he asked. "It was on TV last night at the hotel. I love that movie!"
Willow pouted. "I thought A Charlie Brown Christmas was our Christmas movie!"
"Aw, come on, Will. You know I love Charlie Brown way more than I'll ever love the Grinch!" Xander grinned. "I'll say one thing for Maine, though. It is pretty cool to see real live snow during for the Holidays."
Buffy smirked. "I'm pretty sure that snow isn't alive, Xand."
"Ha ha," Xander said. The girls just laughed at him.
The mood was broken by Willow's sharp cry of "Pull over!" Xander immediately yanked the wheel hard over, thus nearly driving them into a tree. Willow got out of the car while Buffy and Xander tried to clear their spinning heads. She was only gone for a second before sirens began wailing only a little bit behind them. Xander sighed and smacked the wheel in irritation as a police cruiser parked behind them.
"Will, get back in the car!" he called impatiently. Reluctantly, the witch complied.
An older, but still handsome police officer approached the driver's side. "You guys alright?" he asked. "I heard the tires squeal from a ways away."
Xander nodded and handed his license and registration out the window, all the while trying to hide his face. It didn't work.
The cop's face turned sour when he saw the black eye patch. "Son, why are you wearing that patch?" he asked.
Xander sighed. "Why do you think? It makes me look cool?"
"Are you handicapped?"
"If you're asking do I only have one eye, then yeah. I suppose I am handicapped," he bit back.
"I'm sorry, but I can't let you continue to operate that vehicle. It isn't safe."
Willow was not pleased. "What do you mean, not safe? Just because Xander lost his eye fighting – "
"Uh," Buffy broke in. "Fighting…gorillas! Gorillas and monkeys in the zoo. You know, those things can be vicious." She gave Willow a look.
The cop just shook his head. "Losing an eye severely damages depth perception. I'm going to have to ask one of your friends to drive the rest of the way."
Buffy and Willow looked at each other. "Uh…" Buffy said. "That may be a problem."
"And why is that, exactly?"
"Neither of us knows how to drive," Willow said.
The officer sighed and closed his eyes, seemingly trying to compose himself. "I'm bringing you in to the station. Drive very carefully. I'll be following you."
He gave Xander his license, registration, and a hard look before returning to his cruiser. Xander sighed angrily. Just before he rolled up his window, the group softly heard the police officer radioing in the call. "Harmony Station, this is Chief Bennett. I have a traffic violation, code 2-2-4-0. I'm bringing him in."