I don't own anything. Buffy is not owned by me. Nor is Zombieland. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me.
Buffy strolled casually down the street, an axe over her shoulder. She stopped at an intersection and raised her head towards the sun, taking a deep breath of fresh air. She smiled gently as she enjoyed the warmth of the late fall day. The gentle breeze stirred her hair and she sighed in pure pleasure.
It was funny that it had taken an apocalypse for her to appreciate the world again, but it was true. For nearly a year she had been simply marking time, waiting to die again. When her best friend had sought to end the world, she had finally found herself, at last remembering why she had loved her sister so strongly, and why life had been worth living. She hadn't been truly happy, but she had no longer been depressed either.
Then it had happened. She still couldn't believe that, after so many years of stopping apocalypse after apocalypse, it had been a disease that had wiped out mankind. Mutant mad cow disease had spread around the world, and before the month had been out, the human race had been on the verge of extinction.
Somehow though, Buffy was happier than she had been since before her mother had died. It made no sense, and she often felt terribly guilty about it, but she was happy. She had no one to answer to. The vampires had been torn apart or starved out by the zombies, and the demons had suffered similarly. Without humanity to protect, her calling as the Slayer was meaningless. She was just one more survivor, fighting day to day to keep alive, and she loved it.
For the first time since she had been called, the pressure was gone. For most of her life, if she wasn't fast enough, or strong enough, or smart enough, then people would die. If she really screwed up, an apocalypse would happen, and everyone would die.
Then the apocalypse had happened, and it hadn't been her fault. Now there were no victims to die when she failed. No demon wanted to end a world that had already been destroyed, and if one did succeed, it wouldn't really matter. It wasn't like things could really get much worse, after all.
No bills, no bosses, no crap jobs. No demons, no vamps, no patrols. No stupid victims, no nosy social workers, no suspicious cops. Everything that she hadn't been able to relate to after her resurrection – the real world – had been swept away in the span of a week.
For the first time since Buffy had been fifteen years old she could live just like everyone else. Not that there were that many other people to live like, but that just meant that she could decide how a person could live. She smiled beatifically as she continued towards the grocery store. Life was good.
Of course, things weren't perfect. Willow and Giles had been in England when the zombie outbreak had happened, and the last that she had heard from the Land of Tweed had been rumors of complete devastation. While she still held out hope that the coven could have survived, she wasn't holding her breath. Her best friend and her second father were most likely dead, and even if they weren't, she would probably never see them again.
Dawn hadn't taken the end of the world very well. Her friends had all died, and she hadn't spoken for over a week after the zombies had wiped out Sunnydale. She was a Summers, however, and she had eventually started to pull herself back together. She was quieter than she had been, but Buffy really couldn't complain about that – it made her life easier (her relief about that fact made her a bit guilty as well, but she ignored that easily as her other guilt).
Xander and Anya were both sad and withdrawn as well, but they were back together. With everyone dead, D'Hoffryn had written off the world, and Anya had been transformed back into a human again. It hadn't taken long for them to come back together with everyone else gone, and they were closer than they had been even just before the wedding that wasn't.
Then there was Spike. When she had first found him in the basement while clearing out the zombies at Sunnydale High, he had been insane. After what had happened when she had last seen him, she hadn't been sure what to do with him. Plus, the crazy thing had been a problem. But after a few months of regular blood and living in her basement, he had recovered quite nicely. She still wasn't sure what to do with him, but she wasn't about to give up on any of her people after losing so many.
Still, while the others had been adapting, they weren't really happy. Which was what had driven Buffy out of her house that afternoon, just as she had headed out every other afternoon that week. She was convinced that her friends just needed to remember what they still had, and then she wouldn't have to feel so guilty about being happy. What they needed was the best Thanksgiving in the world.
Of course, a great Thanksgiving was difficult to pull off even without a zombie apocalypse. She smiled as she remembered her freshman year of college, and all of the trouble that she had gone through to make the perfect dinner. No matter what, this time things would be perfect.
Buffy reached the grocery store and strolled down the aisles, her eyes sharp for what she needed. She had almost everything, she simply need the last item before she could finish preparing dinner. Just as she started down another isle she saw a large black vehicle with a white three painted on its door pull to a stop in front of the store. She quickly hid, although she did so from a place where she could see what was going on.
Four people climbed out of the vehicle and slowly took in their surroundings. The driver was a tall man with a cowboy hat holding a sledgehammer with a gun strapped to his side. From the passenger's seat came a young girl of about twelve wearing flannel and holding a gun in her hands. From one side of the back came a pretty brunette with a pump shotgun, and from the other came a lanky, curly haired young man with a double barreled shotgun.
The four of them gathered outside of the entrance to the store and shared a low conversation, before the man in the cowboy hat hefted his hammer and kicked the doors in. He strolled inside and looked around for a moment, before the others followed him in.
"I haven't seen a zombie since we came to this town," the cowboy hatted man said with a drawling Texas accent.
"You say that like it's a bad thing," the curly haired man said as he hefted his gun over his shoulder.
"'Course it's a bad thing; things are gettin' too borin' this way."
The four survivors split up and began exploring the store while Buffy watched from her hiding spot, fascinated. She had almost believed that her group were the last survivors on the planet, having not seen anyone else in almost three months. Apparently, though, she had been wrong.
"Damn it!" the Texan shouted. "No Twinkies! Again!"
"Hey! Yams!" the little girl shouted gleefully.
Buffy's eyes widened for a moment, before she began to circle through the store towards the voice. The last thing that she needed to put together the perfect Thanksgiving feast were yams, and now someone else had found them. Creeping silently through the shelves, she reached the area where the girl had found them, but saw only empty shelves where the item should be.
"Why do you want yams?" the curly haired man asked.
Before he could say anything else Buffy stepped out into the open near where the four people had gathered at the center of the store. She purposefully made her last step audible, causing them to all turn around in surprise.
"Where the hell'd you come from?" the Texan asked.
"I live here," Buffy said, raising an eyebrow. "Haven't seen anyone but my group in a while."
"Your group?" the woman asked.
"Yeah. My friends and I. Also: the yams," she said, holding out her hand.
"Yams?" the curly haired man asked.
"Yeah. I need 'em. So, give."
The little girl put her hand on her gun and glared at Buffy. "No way. They're my yams."
Buffy glared back, putting more Slayer intimidation into it than she normally would have even for vampires. "My town. My yams."
The girl gulped for a moment, before glaring back. "No way. I found 'em fair and square."
Buffy gripped her axe and growled. "I am putting together the perfect Thanksgiving, and I need those yams. I won't let anything or anyone stop me from getting them."
The woman started to raise her shotgun, and without even looking Buffy reached over and grabbed a can of peas, hurling it at her and striking her wrist with enough force to cause her to drop the weapon. "Also," she said, her eyes still locked with the little girl's. "I don't like guns."
"Whoa!" the curly haired man said. "Um, we don't need any problems..."
"The hell we don't," the Texan growled as he began to draw his own gun, only to have it knocked from his hand by another can of peas.
"Anyone else wanna get cute?" Buffy asked, spinning her axe. "Now, yam me, or I'm gonna get cranky."
"Maybe we should just give it to her," the curly haired man said. "Its just yams."
"No!" the girl shouted. "They're my yams."
"Again: my town, my yams," Buffy asserted.
"Look, why don't you just get some other yams?" he tried again.
"I've been to every store in the whole region," Buffy said, shaking her head. "No yams."
"I can't believe we're gonna die for some yams," he moaned.
"No!" the little girl shouted. "Mom always had yams, every year. And even when she was gone we always had yams. I'm not gonna have Thanksgiving with no yams."
The Texan had simply watched until then, but after that he straightened slightly and raised his hammer. "You heard the little lady. They're her yams."
Buffy wavered for a moment, but she refused to be stopped. She had beaten a goddess to save her sister. She wouldn't let some little girl ruin her perfect Thanksgiving. Eyeing her opposition for a moment, she settled on what she hoped was the weakest link. "I have Twinkies."
The Texan lowered his hammer. "Yeah?"
"Yup," she said, nodding. "My friend Xander loves 'em, so I cleaned out every grocery store around. We have a Twinkie room."
"Well," he said gruffly. "It's just yams."
"Tallahassee!" the woman shouted, glaring at him.
"Two words," Buffy said. "Twinkie. Room."
The man, Tallahassee, shrugged, lowering his hammer. "Sorry."
The curly haired man looked back and forth between her and the woman standing next to him for a moment. Buffy examined him, deciding he was the next weakest link. "Wanna know why there aren't any zombies around?"
"Sure," he said curiously.
"'Cause I slayed 'em all," she said, packing every bit of menace she could into her tone. He gulped and stepped back involuntarily, earning him a glare from the woman at his side.
"Come on," the woman said, stepping forward with her hands spread innocently. "Maybe we can work something out. I mean, its just a can. Why don't you get something else?"
"No," Buffy said. "Its the last thing I need for a perfect Thanksgiving. I will have the perfect Thanksgiving."
They were at an impasse. No matter how badly Buffy wanted the yams, she was having a hard time actually gathering the nerve to beat up a twelve year old girl for them. Eventually the curly haired man broke the silence. "Hey! Here's a crazy idea. You've got a house with people, and food, and Thanksgiving stuff, right?"
"Yeah," Buffy said slowly.
"So, how about this: we come to your meal!" he said. "That way, we both get the yams."
"Are you crazy," the woman hissed quietly. "You saw that axe, right? Plus, she's completely crazy. She's willing to kill us over some yams!"
"So's Little Rock," the curly haired man said dead pan, nodding at the little girl who was still glaring at Buffy. "How about we start over. I'm Columbus. This is Wichita. The girl with the yams is Little Rock. And he's Tallahassee."
"Buffy," she said flatly.
"Buffy!" Tallahassee objected.
She glared at him menacingly. "Buffy," she repeated slowly.
"I got disarmed by a Buffy," he said in horror.
"You're about to get a head shorter by a Buffy," she said with a bright smile, as she toyed with her axe.
"So!" Columbus interjected. "How does four more for Thanksgiving sound?"
Buffy studied him them a second, before finally beaming. "Sure! I've got lots of food. Lots. Cornucopias even. Just give me the yams..."
"Like I don't know that one," Little Rock said, rolling her eyes. "I'm carrying my yams."
"Fine," Buffy huffed. "Come on, I've got food o'cookin', and time o'wastin'."
The four whispered among themselves for a moment, before following her outside. Buffy set a brisk pace, but the others were able to follow her through the empty town to her house, which was surrounded by fenced gardens and animal pens in what had once been the neighbor's yards. Stepping inside, she called out. "Guys! I'm home! And I've got guests!"
Two sets of footsteps pounded down the stairs, Xander leading the way followed by Anya. Buffy smiled when she saw their rumpled clothing and kiss swollen lips. She knew it was only a matter of time until the next generation was on its way, and she couldn't wait.
"Who're the strangers, Buffster?" Xander asked warily, pausing at the bottom of the stairs while Anya peered over his shoulder.
"These are Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock, and Wichita," she answered brightly. "Place named peoples, these are Xander and Anya. Where're Spike and Dawnie?"
"Spike's in the basement," Anya answered brightly while Xander sized the newcomers up. "Dawnie's in her room. She's sulking."
Buffy rolled her eyes while using Slayer speed to snatch the yams from Little Rock. Ignoring the girl's objections, Buffy beamed over her shoulder at the wary groups while heading towards the kitchen. "They had the yams, so they came along for Thanksgiving. I'm going to get this started now, okay?"
When she was out of the room, Columbus swallowed nervously and asked, "Is she always like that?"
Xander snorted. "Now she is. Before the apocalypse she was all depresso-girl. I think everyone dying was finally too much and she just spun around the other way."
"Still, much better than most people who go crazy," Anya said brightly. "Spike went crazy and talked to himself in the basement for weeks. And Dawnie just whines and whines. At least Buffy is perky and helpful. It's the best kind of crazy!"
"She's not crazy," Xander staunchly defended.
"The yams are on!" Buffy said cheerfully as she strolled into the room with a huge, poorly handmade straw hat on her head. "I'm gonna get me some eggs for deviling." As she strode out of the front door she began to warble off key. "Oh! Slayer Buffy had a farm, Eee Eye Eee Eye Ohh! And on this farm she had some chicks..."
The entire group had stared after her as she went outside, before turning around to look at Xander, who squirmed uncomfortably under their gazes for a moment. "Fine. She's crazy. But fun crazy, with the feeding us, and the handicrafts, and the off key singing."
"Handicrafts?" Wichita asked dubiously.
"Yes," Anya said, beaming. "She made very ugly straw hats for everyone. She even made spares. You will probably receive them as gifts before you leave. I advise you take them and wear them."
"I ain't wearin' no straw hats," Tallahassee snorted.
"Yeah, not a good idea," Xander said shaking his head. "She may be happy crazy, but you really don't want to get her unhappy crazy."
"Why?" Columbus asked. "What's unhappy crazy like?"
"Like happy crazy, only with an axe," Xander said with a sage nod. "So, you know, axe happy crazy."
"Little girl like that?" Tallahassee said dubiously.
"Oh yes," Anya said nodding. "She's very scary. The first week the plague wiped out the town she stayed out for two days. When she came back she had crazy Spike in tow and said nothing else was still in town. Xander went out and found that all the zombies were dead."
Columbus gulped. "Right. Axe happy crazy bad."
"So... what's this I hear 'bout some Twinkies?" Tallahassee finally asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
It was nearly an hour later when the entire group gathered in the dining room, which had been so heavily decorated that nearly every square inch of the room had some poorly made decoration or nicknack that Buffy had prepared for Thanksgiving. Slowly the only free places at the table were filled with platters of food carried in by a humming Buffy. When she returned to the kitchen to grab the drinks Dawn stopped glaring sullenly at the newcomers long enough to stare in horror at the food. "What is that!?" she whispered furiously, pointing at the centermost plate.
"Turkey, I reckon," Spike said, eyeing it askance as well.
"Looks like she took it outta some cans," Tallahassee said, shrugging. He was very mellow, having sampled some of the room of Twinkies.
"They make canned Turkey?" Columbus asked, appalled.
"Apparently," Wichita said.
Buffy finally brought in the last of the food, setting it on the table before standing in front of her seat. Looking around, she beamed at everyone. "It's perfect!"
"Perfect?" Dawn asked, horrified. "It's all canned!"
"It isn't all canned," Anya objected. "The eggs are fresh, and I grew the squash. They are very nice squash, aren't they?"
"They're great, Anya," Buffy said, smiling at her. "We couldn't have started the Summers' Family Farm without you."
"Couldn't do it without me," Anya whispered smugly to Xander, who smiled indulgently at her.
"'Course, we wouldn't have had anyway to grow anything if Xander hadn't built the farm," Buffy said, smiling at him.
"And hey," he said smiling at her. "No farm without stuff to grow, which you got for us. And no farm if zombies ate us, so you know, go team Buffy."
"Thank you! And if it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't have any reason to do all this. That's why this is the perfect Thanksgiving. I mean, normally we'd have a real bird, but I couldn't find any turkeys to kill. Plus, not too big about killing the cute little animals anyway."
"I think it's great," Columbus said, smiling nervously. "I mean, here we all are, about to eat a real Thanksgiving dinner. This morning, we were just hoping for something to eat. Now, look at all of this. I don't know you guys, but we're together, like a, well, like a family. Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?"
Wichita smiled and kissed his cheek, while Tallahassee looked choked up, although he tried manfully to hide it. Little Rock blinked back tears before smiling slightly at Buffy. "I guess the yams do look pretty good."
"They're perfect," Buffy said. "You know why? 'Cause Columbus is right. Thanksgiving is perfect when it's with your family. And that's what we are," she said, looking first at Dawn, who squirmed guiltily for her complaints, then the other Scoobies. "We're a family. Which is what I'm thankful for. 'Cause we get to spend Thanksgiving together."
Everyone smiled, and Columbus looked at his companions, who all shared nods. They might not say it out loud, but they all felt the same way.
Both groups soon forgot all of their troubles, and simply enjoyed a meal shared between families.
It really was perfect. At least, it was until Buffy insisted on everyone wearing her straw hats. But by then they were too drowsy from overeating to really complain, anyway.
That went in strange directions that I hadn't originally intended. I had planned on a darker piece about Buffy and the Scoobies squatting in a post apocalyptic wasteland, with Buffy insisting on the perfect Thanksgiving despite the circumstances. I watched Zombieland specifically because it was a post-apocalyptic movie that I had been meaning to see that sounded like it would fit well with what I was trying to write.
Then this story happened. For some reason, Buffy just would not be sad about the world having ended (probably because I started writing this literally minutes after finishing Zombieland). Eventually, I decided that she was a little bit left of sane, and moved on. Also, not really sure why it got so sappy there at the end. Oh well.
The image is some public domain clip art.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!