Disclaimer: This author owns no rights to Radiolab or its affiliates. Radiolab is broadcast through WNYC public radio in New York. If you haven't given them a listen, you really should. This author has no right to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or any characters herein, real or fictional.

Author's Note: Has anyone ever done a fanfiction for a radio show? War of the Worlds? Fresh Air? The Prairie Home Companion? I've yet to see any, but would LOVE to read it! Please let me know, and please review! (not that I'm expecting much - this is just for fun;-) Pardon the lack of a beta, I'm doing this in a few spare hours of free time. My apologies for any errors!

Without further ado . . .

Radiolab Meets the Hellmouth

Giles was nervous.

He was an avid listener to public radio, and took pride in considering himself the number one fan of Radiolab, a popular science podcast. Through some stroke of luck, the show's hosts had written to him in hopes of conducting an interview.

Giles held no delusions. They were here for the Hellmouth, not to get to know him. Still, he was determined to put on a happy face, and nothing said happy like a cup of Earl Grey. His fingers shook while he poured the tea into its porcelain cup, rattling precariously against its saucer. He inwardly berated himself for being such a nervous ninny.

Footsteps echoed in the hall outside of the library, steadily gaining volume as they drew nearer. He recognized the delicate "pit pat" of Buffy's heels clicking against the tile, but the louder "clop clopping" sounds were unfamiliar.

Giles placed his tea on the circulation desk, where it sloshed messily onto the pristine wood. Drat! Already he was setting himself up for a bad impression!

Someone cleared their throat, and Giles looked up at Buffy's amused expression.

"Ok, Giles?" she asked smugly. Buffy knew he'd been counting the hours until this meeting, and had teased him mercilessly for it. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail, and her heels were high enough to be unsafe, but she stepped aside before he could scold her.

All organized thought left his mind in a state of shock.

Two men of about the same height strode confidently into the room. The one closest to Buffy was thin, with dark hair and glasses. The second was perhaps his own age, wearing a blazer and a pair of jeans. Both smiled jovially at him.

It took everything Giles had to keep himself from swooning. Get a grip on yourself, Ripper! he chastised. He took two steps forward and held a trembling hand out to the dark-haired man:

"You must be Mr. Abumrad," he managed to say. "I'm Giles, Buffy's guardian. And the school librarian," he added belatedly.

"Excellent to meet you, Mr. Giles," smiled Mr. Abumrad. "Please, call me Jad. This is my good friend and co-host, Robert Krulwich."

The older man took Giles' hand in a firm grip, shaking it vigorously. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Giles! And of course, you can call me Robert," he added with a smile. "We've heard a lot about your Hellmouth, and wondering how it would stand up to the laws of science. Do you mind if we take a quick look?"

"Erm," Buffy interjected, "I'm not sure that such a good idea. Right, Giles?" Buffy cut him a meaningful glance.

"Well," Giles dry-washed his hands, "you see, we've had quite a few nasty demons escaping the Hellmouth of late. We really don't want you put you in harm's way. Would you be willing to take a bird's eye view, say from a helicopter?"

A wrinkle formed on Jad's forehead. "But surely Buffy can defend us, right? Don't they call her the slayer for a reason?"

Robert gave sad puppy-dog eyes to Giles and Buffy in turn.

Buffy snapped her gum and sighed. "Fine," she conceded. "Just let me call Spike for backup, okay?"

Jad hopped a few times and clapped his hands excitedly. "Fantastic! This is what we've been hoping for, thank you so much, Buffy!"

"Mmhmm," she mumbled, dialing Spike's number on the rotary phone. "Yeah, I need you up here now." Pause. "No, we're not going on a date." Buffy rolled her eyes. "Yeah, these two idiots want to see the Hellmouth." Pause. "That's what I said, but whatever, will you help me out? They're like, famous or something." Pause. "No, they're not on Firefly." Pause. "NO! Get your mind out of the gutter, just get up here. And bring weapons. Lots of weapons."

Buffy hung up the phone and turned a dazzling smile on Jad and Robert. "He'll be right up," she assured them.

The two radio hosts exchanged a worried look, but Robert couldn't contain his curiosity. Gathering his courage, he confronted the teenager:

"Miss Summers, we've heard many rumors about your supposedly superhuman powers," Robert confided. "I'm a bit skeptical about this whole vampire thing, to tell the truth. Will we be able to observe your powers while we're here?"

Buffy raised a blonde eyebrow and blew a bubble. "Alright," she tossed her ponytail. "You asked for it. Follow me, boys." She wiggled her fingers over her shoulder on her way through the library's double doors.

"This is not a good idea, Buffy!" Giles shouted after the girl and her two eager followers. He bent to take a quick swig of earl grey, then raced through the doors and after them.


{insert creepy looped cello music performed by Zoe Keating}

In the center of a flat plan of dusty, scorched earth, lay the opening into Sunnydale's Hellmouth. It was a thing surrounded by dripping fangs, connected to each other by the webs of venomous spiders. The diameter of the thing was perhaps five meters across. Little impish demons scampered along the ground before the opening.

Jad and Robert were speechless. "The little dancers - what are they?" Robert gaped.

"They're called wimps," Buffy explained. "Usually harmless, unless you step on their tail."

"What happens if you step on their tail?" Jad voiced the obvious question.

"They bite your ankle, injecting poison into your bloodstream until it turns to wine and you die of alcohol poisoning," she replied. "Hence the "w" in wimps. Stands for wine. Or the whining that happens when people get bit by them. Usually makes 'em get overly sentimental before they die, but that's probably just the booze."

Jad's eyes were wide with terror, and Robert elbowed him in the ribs.

"Oh, please," Robert cajoled. "Wimps? You can come up with something better than that."

"Don't tempt her," came a voice from behind Jad and Robert, who jumped simultaneously with surprise. A platinum blonde had propped himself against a nearby palm tree. His face was pale and shimmered in the sunlight.

"Wait-" Jad began. "Aren't vampires supposed to dust or something when they're exposed to photons?"

"Photons?" Buffy repeated in disbelief. "Ugh, they're brainy, Giles."

"Be polite, Buffy," Giles rebuked her. "My sincere apologies, Jad, Robert."

He steepled his fingers and gained a lecturing tone. "It is a common misconception that vampires cannot be exposed to sunlight - or photons, as you so astutely pointed out, Jad. The photons interact with charged particles in the vampires' skin, resulting in a crystallization of their outer layer of epidermis. The crystals appear to shimmer in the sun's rays, before they are shed in an oncoming wind."

Robert's lips were pursed thoughtfully, but Jad stared unabashedly at the vampire.

"Can I take a closer look?" Jad asked hopefully. "For science. I need to know."

Spike gave a melancholy sigh. "Very well," he gestured for Jad to come toward him. "Just don't tell anyone - bad enough that horrible milksop in Oregon broadcasting our secret to the world. It took a long time to build up our broody, all-knowing, evil face to the world."

Jad stopped a few feet away from him. "But I'm the co-host of Radiolab - it's my job to tell people these things. To inspire curiosity in the human mind, to incite the imagination, to kindle the firing of synapses in children and adults around the world-"

"OH MY GOD ITS A GOAT ON A COW!" Robert screamed.

{insert high-pitched shrieking noise from Zoe Keating's cello}

Jad squeaked and jumped away from Spike, while an enormous cow strode self-importantly out of the Hellmouth. On its back was the unmistakable figure of a goat. Its horizontal pupils stared at them unblinkingly, while the cow sampled a bit of dust from the ground.

"I don't believe we've been introduced," said the goat. "My name is Nathan."

Jad and Robert stood rooted to the ground, speechless. This went against every known scientific theory, and their minds were working on overdrive to digest it.

"I'm Spike," said the vampire. "What's the cow's name?"

"We're both Nathan," said the goat. "The cow does the eating, and I do the thinking and talking."

"But that's impossible," came a voice from behind Jad and Robert. They both squeaked and jumped at once.

"I'm Jonah Lehrer," said the voice, which belonged to another skinny man with glasses. "What you are saying goes against everything known in the science of neurology," he declared. "A goat and a cow cannot share a mind! It would be one thing if you were conjoined twins, but you are two separate species!"

Buffy snapped her gum. "To hell with all this neuroscientific speculation," she mumbled. "Should I kill it, Giles?"

"NO!" Jad and Robert shouted at once.

"You can't kill it," Jonah grumbled. "We need to take it in for testing."

"But I don't want to be tested!" Nathan cried. "All we wanted to do was find a nice field of grass in which to graze, and suddenly I found myself here. I'm meant to be here, just let me be!"

"Nonsense," Jad scoffed. "You're not meant to be anywhere. That's just stochasticity."

"Toaster!" Buffy shouted.

"Huh?" Spike was becoming more and more lost as the conversation went on.

"I was being random. Stochasticity," Buffy gloated. "Duh."

"Besides," Jonah said, "you're a goat. On a cow. Or a cow-goat. Either way, you shouldn't have such an extensive vocabulary. Dammit, you should only be working with your Basil Ganglia!"

"What I want to know," Jad began, "is how any of this is possible. Do the laws of science not have any effect on this space? Are we in a sort of rational dead zone?"

"Could be," Robert said. "Is that your hypothesis, Jad?"

"It is!" Jad grasped the first step of the scientific method like a lifeline. "Let's form a prediction!"

{insert suspenseful, driven music from Zoe Keating's cello. Preferably using open strings and tapping}

"I predict that a bunch of demons are going to attack us . . ." Buffy looked at her watch, "in two minutes."

"But that doesn't pertain to the hypothesis, Buffy," Giles scolded. "What are they teaching them in schools these days?"

"I predict that this place is a scientific dead zone," Jad declared.

Robert nodded his support. "But how do we test it?" Both men frowned at the dusty ground.

"You'll need to mull it over for a while," Jonah said. "Gravity still works here. What about the other forces in the standard model? Are only some parts of science rebuffed, while others are welcome?"

Jad held his fingers to his temples. "You're right, Jonah, we're just going to have to come back in a week or two, once we've come up with some tests."

"Here they come!" Buffy exclaimed, whipping out her stake. "As predicted!"

"That's my student," Giles smiled down on her in a fatherly way.

Dozens of horned demons issued from the Hellmouth. Jad, Robert and Jonah ran for the nearest palm trees and began to climb unsteadily upward. Buffy and Spike ran toward the demonic flood, uttering primative sounds of blood lust.

The demons bore down on Spike and Buffy, who fought back with tooth and claw and wooden stake. Buffy executed several round-house kicks, and Spike sank his fangs into the necks of many jugular arteries.

Suddenly the ground rumbled, and even more monstrous creatures emerged between the Hellmouth's webbed teeth.

"Giles!" Buffy cried. "There are too many! What should we do!"

Jad, Robert and Jonah looked guiltily at one another from their perch amid palm leaves and coconuts, but knew they would be more a hindrance than a help.

Things were looking very bad indeed, when suddenly Nathan raised a cloven hoof to his lips and gave a piercing whistle. The monsters continued to fight, heedless of the high-pitched sound.

{insert high harmonics from Zoe Keating's cello}

A new sound began to form between the roaring of the demons and Nathan's whistle. A whooshing sound, as from the heartbeat of the universe. Something faded into being beside the Hellmouth. Something shaped like a big, blue box.

"Good God," Giles breathed.

"No way," whispered Jad.

"You've got to be kidding me," Robert chuckled like a gleeful child.

"I knew it," Jonah smirked. Robert and Jad turned on him, their eyebrows raised. "Just kidding," Jonah admitted sheepishly.

The blue box solidified, and its front door was flung open from the inside. A scrawny figure emerged, with a shock of dark hair and a boyish expression:

"Get in!" he cried. "I'm the rescue party!"

"But how could we all fit in there -" Buffy began, but was cut off.

"Bigger on the inside," the man explained hastily. "I'll take us wherever you want, whenever you want, just get in here before we're all killed!"

Buffy threw her stake to the ground and ran toward the box, Giles hot on her heels. Spike growled but followed suit. Jad, Robert and Jonah scrambled down from the trees and ran full out for the blue box.

"Room for one more!" the scrawny man called. "Hurry!"

Nathan reared on his back legs and scrambled inelegantly into the blue box. The door was shut, and before the demons could do more than bang on the box's exterior, it had faded out of existence.

{insert Zoe Keating playing the prelude from J.S. Bach's first 'cello suite}

The End

(The following week's episode of Radiolab featured a personal interview given by Albert Einstein.)