Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy, or Rugrats.
AN: Even though I'm not from America, I thought I'd contribute to the 4th of July spirit anyway by Scooby-fying the classic Rugrats episode, 'Barbecue Story'. Enjoy!
One-year old Buffy Summers toddled through the tall grass in her backyard, pretending that she was exploring the Jungle. Numerous bugs crawled around. Buffy picked up one of the bugs, a stripey beetle with large pincers, and, giggling, lifted it towards her mouth.
"Buffy, no!" cried her Mother, Joyce, scooping her daughter into her arms at the last second, stopping her. "Don't eat that, you don't know where it's been!" Joyce tossed the bug away, not noticing as it landed on the shoulder of Buffy's Uncle, Giles, who was chatting to Joyce's friend Robin.
"And we walked fifteen miles in the snow to.." Giles was explaining, until the beetle's pincers clamped onto his nose. "Good Lord!" He yelped, wrenching the bug off and throwing it away, in the direction of his cousin Carl, the Father of Buffy's cousin Cordelia, who was talking business with D'Hoffryn and Ira, the Fathers of Buffy's friends Anya and Willow.
"During the wind-fall profit, we invested in CDs and banking.." Carl was saying, until the bug landed on his chest, and he cried out in alarm. "Get it off me, get it off me!" He swatted it away, sending it flying onto the nose of Oz, the Summers' family dog, who quickly scratched it away, letting it scurry back into the grass from whence it came.
It was the 4th of July, and the Summers, Chase, Rosenberg, Harris, and Jenkins families had gathered for a barbecue. Hank, Buffy's father, was grilling burgers, wearing a Chef's hat and an apron reading 'Tip The Chef'. Oz sat at his feet, staring longingly at the burgers.
"I love a good barbecue" Hank grinned to himself. Meanwhile, Jessica, the Mother of Buffy's friend Xander, was setting out salads and condiments on one table, while Buffy's bratty older cousin, Cordelia, attempted to raid another table loaded with deserts. Joyce set Buffy down in the playpen with her friends and headed back to her husband, glancing over his shoulder.
"How are those burgers coming honey?"
"Great, Joyce" Hank grinned. "They'll be ready in no time."
"What's wrong with Oz?" Joyce frowned as she glanced at the panting dog, who was still staring at the burgers.
"Aww, nothing, he just wants one of these burgers" Hank chuckled, scratching the dog's head. Oz licked his lips hopefully. "But you can't always have everything you want in life, can you big fella?"
"I hate Barbecues" Xander grumbled, sitting in the playpen with Anya, Buffy, Willow, and Tara, Willow's friend who stayed with her often. "There's nothing for us to do."
"I know" said Buffy happily, "We'll play with my new ball!" She held up the ball, which was pink with a purple stripe around the middle, and a picture of a star on each side. It seemed to twinkle. The Scoobies looked at it it in awe.
"Wow, Buffy" Willow gasped.
"W-Where'd you g-get it?" asked Tara.
"Giles gived it to me for fort of the lime" said Buffy proudly.
"What's fort of the lime?" Willow frowned.
"I don't know, but it's why I got this ball and it's my most favouritest toy in the whole wild world!" said Buffy. "Here Willow, catch!" Buffy threw the ball, and Willow held her hands up to catch it, but another, taller child reached out and took it right out of the playpen.
"Nice toy" Cordelia smirked, inspecting the ball.
"Gimme my ball, Cordy" said Buffy, glaring at her cousin.
"Ask me nice" Cordy teased.
"Gimme my ball, please" Buffy sighed.
"Pretty please with sherries on top?" said Cordelia in a sing song voice. Buffy frowned. She'd played this game with Cordy before, and she didn't like it.
"Gimme my ball!"
"Say 'Cordelia is the nicest, prettiest, bestest person in the whole wide world'.."
"GIMME MY BALL!" Buffy screamed, making a grab for her toy before Cordy jerked it away.
"Well if you can't be nicer than that, I guess you'll never sees your dumb old ball again" Cordy taunted cruelly, before she tossed the ball high into the air, sending it sailing over the fence into the next yard. The Scoobies gasped in horror. "I'm leaving" said Cordelia as she walked away, not caring at all about what she had just done. "You twerps are no fun to play with."
"Don't worry, Buffy" said Xander.
"Yeah, it was just a dumb old ball anyway.." said Anya. But it wasn't just a dumb old ball. Not to Buffy. The little girl began wailing at the top of her lungs, quickly drawing the attention of Joyce.
"What's wrong Buffy? What happened?" she cried, rushing over and scooping her daughter into her arms. "Aww, cheer up Sweetie, that's a good girl.." Over her Mother's shoulder, Buffy could see over the fence, and, in the distance, her ball! She stopped crying, instead letting out a squeal of joy. "There we go, all better now" Joyce smiled, kissing Buffy's forehead and setting her back in the playpen before heading off to mingle with her guests.
"Why'd ya stop crying?" said Anya, confused.
"You coulda gotted anything you wanted!" said Xander.
"I saw it!" Buffy grinned. Willow and Tara glanced at each other nervously. That grin, along with the glint in Buffy's eye, usually meant trouble.
"Saw what?" asked Xander and Anya in unison.
"My ball!" cried Buffy happily. "It's ober the fence?"
"Ober the fence?" Xander frowned.
"But who knows what's on the other side of that fence?" cried Anya.
"She's right, Buffy" Xander agreed. "Maybe you should just forget about it."
"Forget about it?" yelled Buffy in disbelief. "I could never forget about it, it's my ball!"
"But Buffy, it's the next yard!" cried Willow, as if her friend was proposing some sort of grand trek.
"And you're only a b-baby" Tara pointed out.
"We're not just babies, we're the Scoobies!" said Buffy, "And sometimes, a Scooby's gotta do what a Scooby's gotta do!" During this speech, Buffy's diaper began to fall down so she quickly jerked it back up, blushing. Then, quickly recovering from her embarassment, she picked up a toy screwdriver, using it to unlatch the playpen, which fell open. "Who's with me?" Xander stepped forward. Anya stepped forward. Willow and Tara looked around nervously, both hesitating, but quickly realised they were just prolonging the inevitable and, rather reluctantly mind you, stepped forward to join the others, hand in hand. "Okay, let's go!"
Meanwhile, Hank was still cooking burgers, while Oz still waited stubbornly at his feet.
"Hank Summers Cordon bleu" he grinned proudly to himself. Behind him, the Scoobies toddled by unnoticed, heading for the fence.
"Hank, how much longer are they going to take?" Joyce sighed. The guests were becoming impatient.
"Can't rush these things Joyce" Hank replied.
The Scoobies had reached the fence, and Willow looked up at it with a mock disappointed sigh.
"Well, it's too high. Guess we're just gonna have to go back.." she grabbed Tara's hand, the pair turning and attempting to flee, but Buffy stopped them.
"Don't be silly, Willow" said Buffy, pushing a panel of the fence open to make a gap just big enough for a toddler to squeeze through. "The fence is broked, remember?"
"Yeah, but we was kinda hoping you didn't" the little redhead sighed.
"I still d-don't think this is a g-good idea, Buffy" Tara stuttered.
"Aw, come on" said Buffy. "Don't be babies." She, Xander, and Anya crawled through the fence, and after another moment of hesitation, Willow and Tara followed.
"Where's the ball Buffy?" Xander asked.
"I don't know ezackly, but it's here somewhere" Buffy replied.
"Come on, guys" Willow pleaded. "Let's go back, before it's too late!"
"No" said Buffy. "Let's split up and search." Xander and Anya agreed with their leader, and the three headed off in different directions. Willow turned to Tara.
"How's about we split up together?"
"G-Good idea" Tara agreed, taking Willow's hand.
During Xander's search, he came across a brick barbecue in the yard. He opened the hatch at the bottom and poked his head inside.
"Hello?" he called, causing a cascade of soot to pour down onto his face. He frowned, annoyed.
Elsewhere, Willow and Tara found a hollow log. Willow poked her head inside it to have a look.
"Nope, s'not in here." Unfortunately, when she tried to get out again, she found herself stuck. "Uh-oh."
"D-Don't worry Willow!" cried Tara, seizing her friend's feet and beginning to pull. "I'll g-get you out!"
Anya had not had any luck either, and she soon met up with Xander and Buffy by a fountain.
"Didya find it?" asked Buffy.
"Nope" replied Xander.
"Me neither" said Anya. Buffy frowned, suddenly realising that the search party was missing some members.
"Where's Willow and Tara?"
"Over h-here!" came Tara's voice. The others rushed in the direction of her voice, finding Tara still trying in vain to free Willow from the log.
"Willow! What happened?" cried Buffy. A stream of muffled words came from the log, but Buffy couldn't hear them properly. "Huh?"
"She said she was l-looking for the b-ball and she g-got stucked" Tara translated. More muffled words. "N-now she says to h-hurry up and g-get her out." The others nodded, and with the combined strength of four Scoobies, Willow was soon free.
"Are you okay, Willow?" asked Buffy, concerned.
"Am I okay?" cried Willow, fuming. "Am I okay? First you maked me break out of the playpen, then you leaded me and Tara here to a place that makes us ascared, and then I gets my head stucked in a tree, and for what, huh? Nothing! I wish you never even sawed that stupid ball! Where is it Buffy, huh? Where? Where?"
"There!" cried Buffy, pointing into the distance. Way on the other side of the yard, next to a doghouse inside a pen that was, unbeknownst to them, the home of a very vicious dog, sat Buffy's ball.
"Oh" said Willow sheepishly.
"I knowed we'd find my ball!" cried Buffy, rushing over to the pen. "Come on, help me up!" Willow gave Buffy a boost to to help her into the pen, then Tara gave Willow a boost, and Xander gave Tara a boost. Spotting the childen, the dog growled from inside it's house, rattling the chain that kept it bound there, but for now, they remained blissfully unaware of the danger they were in.
"Me next!" cried Xander.
"No, me next!" Anya argued.
"You guys should stay here" said Buffy, ending the argument. "We're just gonna go get the ball, and then we'll be right back."
"Okay" agreed Xander and Anya in unison. Buffy, Willow, and Tara headed over towards the doghouse. The ball still seemed to twinkle. Buffy smiled, reaching out towards it.. And then she heard a growl, and the dog came charging out of the house towards them.
"Come on, Buffy!" cried Willow.
"Let's g-get out of here!" cried Tara.
"Not without my ball!" yelled Buffy. The dog reached the end of it's chain, straining against it as it snapped and snarled at the children. Buffy bravely stepped back towards it, reaching for her ball..
"Please don't eat Buffy" Xander and Anya chanted in unison. "Please don't eat Buffy, please don't eat Buffy.."
Buffy grabbed the ball, grinning, but her joy was shortlived as the dog's chain began to break.
"Okay guys, I got it, let's go!" cried Buffy. She Willow, and Tara fled back towards the edge of the pen. Willow gave Tara a boost over, and then Buffy boosted Willow, who lingered at the top, reaching for her friend's hand.
"Buffy, come on!" she cried. "Jump!"
"I'm trying!" cried Buffy desperately, Willow's hand just out of her reach. "It's too high, I can't reaches you!" Suddenly, the doghouse broke, and the dog charged. Buffy screamed..
It all became too much for Xander and Anya, who fled back into Buffy's yard, rushing to the arms of their parents. Noticing them, Joyce glanced towards the playpen, gasping in horror to find it open and empty.
"Buffy!" she cried, looking around. "Hank, I can't find Buffy!"
"Willow and Tara are gone too!" yelled Ira, distressed. Hank abandoned the barbecue, joining the adults in the search for the missing children. Oz eyed a burger that was beginning to slip off the grill, until his advanced canine hearing picked up a high-pitched scream. Oz leapt onto, the table, spotting the screaming Buffy over the fence in the distance. He bolted towards the broken fence post, getting a tiki mask stuck on his head along the way.
Meanwhile, the evil dog had just reached Buffy, and was about to snap her up in it's jaws, when Oz made a heroic leap into the pen, growling. The dog looked into the face of the mask Oz was wearing, whimpered, and scurried back into it's doghouse.
"Oz!" cried Buffy happily, pulling the mask off and climbing onto his back. Oz leapt back over the fence, pausing to let Willow and Tara climb up, before heading for home.
Back next door, the adults were still searching frantically for the missing children.
"Buffy?" called Hank desperately, peeking inside a trash can.
"Hank, look!" cried Joyce, relieved. Hank turned to see Oz pulling Buffy through the broken fence, still clutching her ball, while Willow and Tara crawled through after them. "Oh, my baby!" Joyce swept Buffy into her arms, showering her with kisses. "You gave us quite a scare, little girl!"
"Good boy, Oz" Hank smiled, scratching the dog behind the ears. "You saved the day."
"Anyone else smell burning?" asked Jessica, nose wrinkling.
"My burgers!" Hank yelped, seeing the grill had caught fire in his abscence.
That night, the Scoobies sat in the grass with Oz, watching awestruck at their Neighbourhood's Fourth of July fireworks display. As they watched, Hank approached to offer Oz the ruined burgers.
"There you go, Oz ol' boy" he smiled. "Nice and crispy, just the way you like 'em." Oz gobbled them up happily. Buffy hugged her dog, giggling, as fireworks continued to explode across the night sky.