*This is a really stupid way to go!* Xander Harris desperately thought, as he felt himself beginning to pass out from lack of air, due to his face being tightly pressed against the rank fur covering the chest of the being that was also without the slightest difficulty squeezing the very breath out of the New Council troubleshooter.
Just before the darkness swallowed up Xander's mind, he managed to hear a young woman's voice angrily shouting, "FAIRCHILD, YOU PUT THAT NICE MAN DOWN, RIGHT NOW!"
A couple of hours later, a considerably more cheerful Xander reached out across the dining table for the steaming bowl of mashed potatoes there, happily intending to add some seconds of this tasty food to his empty plate. In the middle of this, the one-eyed man abruptly stopped short, fully expecting his bruised ribs to bitterly protest that action. However, aside from some minor twinges being produced by his torso, he felt absolutely fine. In fact, the exceedingly pungent salve that had been slathered all over his upper body seemed to have as well permanently cleared out his sinuses, not to mention destroying any possible cold virus that had been lurking in there.
From one end of the dining table, keen eyes in a wrinkled face examined their guest, with the elderly woman in her gingham dress then asking with evident satisfaction, "I reckon my concoction fixed you up right fine, young feller?"
Xander grinned at the oldest member of the Clampett family, as he appreciatively replied, "It worked like a charm, ma'am!"
"Oh, pish," came a cheery reproof from this aged lady. "I told you, call me Granny! I ain't a high-falutin' ma'am! Not that any of them snooty wimmen-folk from the town back home would've turned down one of my potions if they really needed 'em, mind you."
Xander gingerly touched his chest, enjoying how he could breath once more without feeling like knives were stabbing into his lungs, as he agreed, "Yeah, you do really good work, just like my bestest bud Willow. She'll be overjoyed to meet you, along with the other members of the Cleveland coven. We've never been able to find a genuine Appalachian witch before, much less one who was willing to pass on what she learned."
A faint sadness touched Daisy Moses' features, as she informed their guest, "Now, sonny, I ain't a real witchy woman. Even back when I was a li'l gal, they was mostly gone from the hills, or dyin' off. I was lucky enough to get one of the last of 'em to teach me, even though Nancy kept tellin' me that I barely had enough of the Talent in my blood to make it worthwhile for her to waste time showin' me the basic spells."
From the other end of the dining table, a mature man's voice came, as a startled Jed Clampett asked, "You mean Gana?"
"Who?" was chorused in confused unison by Jethro and Elly May from their seats on the opposite side of the table from Xander, as they all stared at the girl's father over his perplexing question.
Granny answered in her normal brisk tone, making the three younger people turn their heads towards this woman, "Oh, he means Great Aunt Nancy, what the young'uns in our village called my Maw's oldest sister. You never knew her; she passed away when yore pappy was a pup."
Wincing slightly at decades-old painful memories from his childhood, Jed then cleared his throat, and sheepishly admitted to his mother-in-law, "I've got to say now, I wasn't all that sad back then over Gana's death. I hated every minute of her visits to our cabin when she did her doctorin' for us. That was one scary woman."
Giving her daughter's husband an irritated glance over his speaking ill of the dead, Granny then had to admit, "Nancy had a hard life. She didn't like most folks, and she wasn't much inclined to be nice to anyone at all. Family, though, was somethin' else, which was why she agreed to school me. Nancy once tole me that even if I didn't have any magic in me for anythin' but my tonics, mebbe it'd show up again in my offspring. Which it has now, in my granddaughter."
At those final words, Granny then thoughtfully eyed Elly May blushing under the scrutiny of all there. Just as the silence around the table was becoming uncomfortable, it was broken by Jethro speaking for the first time since sitting down there and vacuuming up his food. As if to himself, that burly young man muttered, "So, my li'l cousin's a Slayer. No wonder she always beat me at arm-wrasslin'."
Xander had to blink at that last comment, particularly how it seemed to represent the casual acceptance of the Clampett family of everything he'd just told them. About the New Council, Slayers, Watchers, witches, vampires, demons, and why a teenage girl in Beverly Hills was currently driven to go out at night and hunt for those creatures of the dark who menaced humanity. On the other hand, even though Xander personally had only blurred memories of that recent event, anyone else would have promptly become convinced things had gotten really strange after witnessing a young woman effortlessly subdue her huge pet and then just as easily detaching from this brawny animal's stubborn hug a gasping visitor, who'd entered the grounds of a Southern California mansion without ever expecting to be at once pounced upon by a four-hundred-pound black bear named Fairchild.
Bringing back his attention to the dining table inside this enormous house occupied by the Clampetts, Xander felt a sudden chill run down his spine at seeing himself now being intently regarded by every member of this close family. Without taking his eyes off their guest, Jed warningly rumbled to Jethro over what that younger man had just said, "Well, son, as long as you remember that, it'll keep you minding your manners at this Cleveland place with all them strong girls, when we go there to stay."
"You bet, Uncle Jed."
Xander's mouth fell open in surprise over that totally unexpected statement from the older man at the head of the table that had caused such an obedient response. Without actually thinking things through, the New Council troubleshooter began, "Mr. Clampett, if you feel that you have to move to Cleveland to be with your daughter, that's not really necessary. Yeah, Cleveland's our main Slayer training center for the North American continent, but when the training's over, if Elly May wants to be assigned to work here in Los Angeles, she can do that. So-"
"That don't matter, Mr. Harris," Jed sternly interrupted his guest. "See, like you told us, Elly May's gonna be learnin' to fight those monsters and such that want to gobble up us humans, right?"
"Uh, yeah," Xander admitted, before trying to put the best face on things. "But there's lots of Slayers now who can fight together, instead of just one of them, like before! And the New Council is finally providing serious backup for the girls-"
Again, Jed interrupted Xander, as his family silently watched. "That's what I'm talkin' about. Sounds as if you and your friends, you ain't just in a single fight with them demon critters that's gonna be over and done with right away. To be more clear-cut, it's a war to the death that'll last for generations. No, what you got there is nothing less than a honest-to-goodness feud."
There was absolute silence around the table after that last hissed word. Jed's stern face was iron-hard, as he now spoke in a wrathful voice. "We ain't blamin' you nohow for Elly May bein' made a Slayer, 'cause from what Granny says, she always had a chance to be that, and now she is. But if a Clampett's just become involved in a feud, then all the Clampetts are gonna join in that dispute 'til the end of the war, however long that takes, or what it takes."
Xander sat in his chair, struck absolutely dumb, as he now looked around the table, to see beyond a doubt the close family resemblance in the set features of the others there. A family that over the centuries had outlasted empires, kingdoms, and enemies of all stripes. The Clampetts had once been a humble band of Scots hill-folk that had been exiled to wander the world, until they found another home in the green hills of a country far across the Western Ocean, ending up with their descendents becoming heir to an immense oil fortune. Humbled, Xander spoke the only words that could be said.
The grim mood in the dining room immediately lightened, as the Clampetts all beamed at their won-over guest. Granny was the first of them to speak, as she then scolded, "Jethro, you lazy lump, you get to the kitchen and bring back the main course! Smartly now, because it's time to take the roast out of the oven afore it burns!"
Not minding at all the familiar admonishments that hid real love from the elderly woman, Jethro promptly got up from his chair, slyly winking at Xander as he left the room.
The former Sunnydale resident had his attention diverted from this by Jed's jovial drawl, "Mr. Harris, we've got the serious talkin' done with, so now we can get down to fillin' our bellies with proper vittles. Y'see, one reason why we believed you right off over what you told us, about demons, is that Elly May watched what she stalked and brought down turn into total goop, which don't usually happen in huntin' season. Still, some of the smaller strange critters she brought back alive to show us, and Granny figgered out how to fry 'em up good."
It was at that exact point after Jed Clampett had finished, when Jethro then strode back into the room, both of his hands in cooking gloves holding a roasting pan that contained a large, sizzling piece of deep purple meat possessing three drumsticks on each side. As Xander gawked in absolute disbelief at what was being brought nearer to the table, an irresistible odor of pure deliciousness coming from this cooked demon wafted to the nose of the man with his eyepatch, causing his mouth to promptly fill up with saliva.
While Jethro proudly placed the roasting pan onto the waiting platter before his uncle and Jed picked up the carving knife and fork resting by his plate, Xander made an immediate decision that led to him tucking his napkin under his chin and determinedly thinking to himself, *Hey, it's not like that's an actual member of my own species!*
Several hours later, a pleasantly-full Xander was stretched out on his very comfortable bed in the offered guest bedroom of the Clampett mansion. Sleepily gazing up at the ceiling, the man abruptly burped. Snickering to himself at the yummy flavors of his past meal once again present in his mouth, Xander also had a wide grin appear on his face at remembering the phone call he'd made earlier tonight after dinner to a certain Englishman. The New Council troubleshooter had then achieved a lifetime goal of hearing Rupert Giles' gripped glasses crunching into multiple shards due to a frenzied cleaning shattering the lenses. All because of the news given to the head of the New Council that their latest Slayer wanted to bring along every one of her pets when moving to the Cleveland training facility.
Said multitude of pets, as gleefully described by Xander, included: "A bear, a mountain lion, and I didn't really look for it, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if there was an actual tiger here, too!"
Feeling himself slipping deeper into slumber while still savoring his mentor's reaction over that little bit of news, Xander cheerfully yawned, and then he mused over his plans for tomorrow, when he'd search for what a rallying Giles had asked him as a favor to investigate, as long as the younger man was in Southern California. It seemed that their organization in its previous form, before the First Evil basically wiped it out, once had a minor mystery. Despite what the Scooby Gang had thought, Buffy Summers hadn't been the first Potential in Los Angeles to be missed by the old Council. A couple of decades ago, the now-lost mystical devices used to find girls worldwide having the likelihood of becoming a Slayer had indeed detected the emergence of such a female child in that American city, but despite weeks of searching, none of the Council trackers scouring this metropolis could actually find that girl.
Eventually, the Council had given up in sheer disgust, thinking there'd been some kind of mistake, and going on to the next Potential, and that seemed to be the end of it. However, in recent weeks, some scraps of the old Council's records had been found during the reconstruction of their headquarters, and these fragments included the basic location (down to a ten-mile radius) and part of the undiscovered girl's name. Since Xander was in the area anyway and had Willow's tracking spells that were entirely different from the old Council's magics, it couldn't hurt for him to make one last check there. Not that this man needed to actually do anything if he unexpectedly found the missing Potential, since she'd certainly be too old to become a Slayer now. Still, why not go look?
Shrugging in his bed, Xander's last thought before dozing off was that he didn't really anticipate getting that lucky. No, it was the missing Potential who'd been the fortunate one, never falling into the hands of those Council bastards back then. She'd probably gone on to have a happy life, this girl called Bradley or Bradford or any other last name that started with B-R-A-D…
Author's Note: While writing this story, I started thinking about exactly how well the Beverly Hillbillies would do in the Buffyverse, only to conclude that to survive there, those specific characters from the Clampett family had to come from both the 1960's television show and the 1993 movie. Here are my choices and my reasons. Write me a review if you want to comment on this!
Jed Clampett: Movie version. Buddy Ebsen was basically just too nice. Jim Varney, on the other hand, showed real toughness.
Granny (Daisy May Moses): TV version. Cloris Leachman wasn't all that convincing as the moonshine-makin', mountain doctorin' Granny. Irene Ryan, though, could be a feisty old biddy, and she'd do quite well as an actual witch, don't you think?
Jethro Bodine: TV version. If you compare Max Baer, Jr. and Diedrich Bader, any proper Slayer (Faith, say) would take one look at the big, strong, handsome, and extremely dimwitted guy played by this first named actor, and immediately drag him to the nearest bed.
Elly May Clampett: Movie version. Again, Donna Douglas was simply too sweet. Erika Eleniak, however, was more than capable of kicking demon ass. There's also a few little things like 'Baywatch' and 'Under Siege'…