Title: The Lemon – Part 1 of x
Author: Wicked Raygun
Summary: Buffy gets her driver's license and buys a car. The End is extremely nigh. BX
Disclaimer: Based on characters created by Joss Whedon. I am merely borrowing them to put on a puppet show. Watch them dance.
Spoilers: Takes place after the season finale of season 6.
Notes: This may or may not be funny. Please let me know.
Also this is un-betaed. All mistakes are mine. Please feel free to offer constructive criticism, especially about the last couple lines, since I haven't had a chance to research this.
Also bear in mind that I know nothing of the California DMV, seeing as how I live in Puerto Rico.
This story is dedicated to my wife, Jackie, who I am crazy in love with.
Distribution: Ask and you shall receive. Just email me and I'll get back to you quickly using new-fangled technology. See, I get email on my phone now. Surely jet packs and flying cars are just around the corner.
That summer the world hadn't ended. But for those left in Sunnydale, it might as well have. Willow and Giles were in England. Anya was now Anyanka the Justice Demon for Scorned Women – now with more PC labeling. And Spike was, well, no one knew where Spike was. And no one could even pretend that they cared so long as he just stayed away. It was a summer about rebuilding. In the case of the Magic Box, that was meant literally. But for Buffy, Dawn and Xander it meant something more emotional and spiritual.
But first certain practicalities had to be taken care of. Tara was buried in a quiet ceremony. None of her relatives showed up. But that didn't matter much since all the people who really loved her did. The Scoobies had all long ago decided that blood, didn't necessarily mean family.
Then after watching Buffy struggle through one set of bills, Xander quietly stole all of her paperwork, and took them to the accountant who worked with him at his company. He asked his advice, and was told only one thing: declare bankruptcy, and do it now! The following conversation with Buffy had not been an easy one, not on Xander's ears, Buffy's pride, Dawn's patience or the walls for that matter. But it was something that needed to be done. After the yelling, tears, and throwing of dishware it was decided.
Moving out had been surprisingly less emotional than one would imagine.
"Are you okay with this?" Xander had asked Dawn while helping her pack up her room.
"I don't know. It's a big change. I keep looking around and remembering all the things that happened here. You know all the kidnappings, random violence, sexual assaults, concussions, floods, murders, vampires, zombies, hell gods, assorted demons and of course the more typical teenaged drama. And all I can think of is, 'could we make more money if we burnt it down?'"
"No fire insurance. Buffy checked."
Luckily Xander's lease was up for renewal anyway, so the three of them moved into another apartment in his building with a room for each of them. There was a lot of packing, selling, painting and moving – Buffy had jokingly deemed it the Month of Boxes. None of them much minded though. Keeping busy helped keep them sane.
They hadn't yet decided what they would do when Willow finally came back, although occasionally the girls would notice Xander perusing the Real Estate section of the newspaper.
Buffy was no longer working at Doublemeat – a fact they all celebrated with champagne. With Anya gone, she and Dawn were now working at the slowly-being-restored Magic Box. Officially, Buffy was listed as the Assistant Manager. This meant she worked there during the day, and patrolled after hours. To try to stave off the inevitable demon attacks, the Box now closed at sundown – daylight savings be damned – except on Fridays and Saturdays where they did most of their business anyway. Buffy always worked those shifts.
After mostly moving in – there were still many, many, boxes left to be unpacked – things became tense again. In order to stave off the ensuing insanity Dawn came up with an idea that was agreed upon by all. They would each spend the rest of the summer trying to improve one thing about them selves.
Xander had decided he was going to lose the weight he had gained stress-eating in the months prior to his wedding-that-wasn't. He found that he actually kind of liked taking the occasional salad to work, especially once he figured out that salad and dressing should be stored separately. He'd also bought an exercise bike that he parked in front of his TV, because according to him there was nothing like reruns of Baywatch for motivation. After a month, he'd lost about 10 pounds already and was looking noticeably slimmer.
Dawn had decided that she wanted to be more proactive in the slaying. This meant that she spent her free time doing research, learning everything she could. Buffy tried to talk her out of it until Xander reminded her that they were effectively working with a research handicap with just the two of them. Relying solely on his and Buffy's research skills would get real ugly real fast. So Buffy relented. She even eventually took her out on a couple of patrols, and Dawn staked her first vampire – only missed the heart twice.
But it was Buffy's self-improvement that would forever change their lives. At first they just laughed. It was only when they realized she was being serious that the terror set in.
"You want to what?"
Buffy sighed. "I want to finally get my driver's license."
"Because I need to learn to drive."
"But I can drive," Xander said, desperately trying to reason with her while thoughts of his insurance premiums skyrocketing danced in his terrified head.
"And so can I," Dawn added. She was more worried about the multiple grievous bodily injuries that would surely ensue.
"Not legally, you can't. Besides, this isn't about you. I've always regretted not getting my license. This is something I really want to do."
Dawn and Xander looked at each other, finding similar doubts in their faces.
"It means a lot to me," Buffy said, pleadingly.
That decided it for them.
And so began Buffy's Quest, as Xander had dubbed it. It started off safely enough. First Buffy had to study for the written exam and get her learner's permit. Her original permit had expired years ago, although she still used it occasionally as an ID. She studied for a couple weeks during the off hours at the Magic Box, until she knew the California Motorist Code backwards and forwards.
When she finally took the test, she didn't get a single question wrong. This frankly amazed Dawn and Xander, but they both wisely kept the thought to themselves and instead congratulated her and told her how proud they were of her, while quietly dreading what was to come.
They went through five different driving instructors, before Buffy found out that she had been somehow black listed. She suspected a demonic plot. The truth was more preposterous but far less sinister. Apparently professional driving instructors 'hang out'. Why they would do so is a mystery of the world that's better left unexplored. And so with no other option available it was left to Xander.
He went down fighting though. First he offered to pay the driving instructors double, then triple their hourly rates. Most of them just laughed. A few took the time to press their genuine concern that the world would be better off if Buffy Summers never, ever touched a motor vehicle for as long as she lived. There are few harder things in the world to do than argue with someone who you agree with completely.
After coming to grips with his doom, Xander Harris set about to teach Buffy Summers how to drive. His resolve did two things. First, it made Buffy smile. No small thing, in the mind of Xander Harris.
The second consequence was a little bit more abstract.
His resolve sent out a powerful psychic wave cascading through the dimensional rifts of time, space and destiny. Several thousand people had their destinies altered forever. Artifacts of great power shattered. A powerful seer who had been driven mad many years ago came out of her stupor, blinked and began laughing. The First Evil suddenly lost its tenuous grip on this universe and was sent hurtling into oblivion. And an entire universe of powerful demonic beings bent on conquest and suffering unraveled at its mystical seems – incidentally destroying a powerful entity known as Jasmine, which in turn set off cataclysmic events that can't even be written of here, since no language on this dimensional plane could do it justice.
Let it suffice to say that Xander Harris had effectively destroyed destiny itself. It was a Tuesday.
Buffy, Dawn and Xander were oblivious to all of this except for a frantic phone call from Giles about a week later where he ranted about some mystical event having altered reality in some unknown yet seemingly benign way. Buffy listened to him on the phone for about six minutes before she just tuned him out and wondered about the new nail polish she was using. The color just didn't seem to suit her.
So on a Saturday morning in August, Xander Harris let Buffy drive his car. Ten minutes and two near misses later, Xander was driving again. He drove her to the parking lot of the new Sunnydale High School which wasn't open yet. There the practice began in earnest.
The first problem was Buffy's braking, which was, let's just say, overly enthusiastic. She had a tendency to stomp on the brake when only slight pressure was required. After two entire practice sessions she learned to ease her foot down carefully. She still seemed to hit it a little too hard before a turn but she was definitely showing signs of improvement.
When September came, Xander blessed himself at a nearby church. After that he let Buffy drive into the public streets of Sunnydale.
There is a sound that a tire makes when it scrapes along a concrete sidewalk. That sound would forever haunt his nightmares, but amazingly enough, Buffy didn't hit anyone that day. She did almost plow into a demon however. But since the demon had been trying to kill them at the time Buffy convinced him to let it slide.
So now it was a matter of repetition. Xander would pick her up at the Magic Box, she would drive them home, and he would beseech any and all gods in existence for their mercy. All the while he would point out corrections she needed to make. Buffy tended to be a bit more panicky during night driving, but the potential to hit someone was far less.
As time went on, he noticed that Buffy was becoming much more comfortable behind the wheel. This was both a blessing and a curse. The good was that when she was relaxed she was less prone to making mistakes that could get them killed. But it was also bad because, well, Buffy tended to treat driving like some sort of competitive sport, and viewed other motorists and pedestrians as opponents to be defeated rather than, say, people. When someone had once recklessly cut her off at a turn, Xander had spent a terrifying ten minutes trying to talk her down from following him home and beating him into a bloody pulp.
Road rage, thy name is Buffy, Xander once lamented.
But time went on, and on a Wednesday in October, when Xander was looking over some paperwork that he had taken home to finish, Buffy tapped him on the shoulder.
"Xand, we're home."
It was with no small amount of shock that Xander realized he head spent the entire drive from the Magic Box looking over his papers. He had simply trusted Buffy behind the wheel.
He had trusted Buffy behind the wheel!
It was also that moment where he realized that he hadn't commented on her driving for more than a week. Before he spent his time telling Buffy to slow down, look both ways, watch out for that tree, pedestrians have rights too, Buffy! But lately he merely remained silent and simply let her drive them home.
"I think," he said slowly, almost unable to comprehend the words he was about to say. "Uh, I think you're ready."
This led to Buffy returning to the DMV. Miraculously, there were no casualties. She had to take the practical exam three times, but she passed. Buffy Summers was now a licensed driver in the state of California. God help us all.
Anticlimactically, the world did not explode. But a plane carrying the sarcophagus of an Old One named Illyria suddenly suffered from engine failure and crashed into the ocean over the Marianna Trench.
It is reasonably possible that the two events were not related.