Stranger than Fiction

(Author's note: I've noticed that there aren't too many Beetleborgs fanfics out there, and while I thought about this an idea came to me…What if a romance took place between Jo and a certain vampire who lives at Hillhurst? This story takes place when Jo is somewhat older. When Little Ghoul sees the changes that have come over the young girl and how the house monsters are looking at her, she gets an idea…)

Chapter 1

Jo McCormick sighed and rested her head against the passenger seat window, trying to ignore the waves of nausea that rolled slowly over her abdomen and teasingly caressed her throat. Her brother Drew was usually such a careful driver, but like her, he was excited to be returning to their hometown; his driving that day left much to be desired.

Charterville. Hometown of the Beetleborgs, the place of their birth, a place of memories…

Nukus and his mate Horribelle, as well as Vilor and the huge giant created by Les Fortunes to be used against Robo Borg, had finally been sent back to the comics. It had taken a year since the first appearance of Nukus, but they had done it with the help of Robo Borg and the Astral Borgs. There were no more comic book monsters to fight. And there never would be, since Les Fortunes, who had been battling mental illness, had taken his own life soon after the defeat of Nukus. The two had never gotten along, but with Nukus went his chance to finally get even with his goody-two-shoes brother, Art.

It was truly a shame; that same goody-two-shoes had grieved bitterly for his brother, and was inconsolable for a long, long time. Jo had never seen a grown man cry before, unless she counted Flabber, but the phasm was, to say the least, melodramatic. She knew she would never be able to rid herself of the image of Art Fortunes as he was that day, sobbing his heart out in Flabber's parlor. Even the house monsters had kept a respectful distance; indeed, no one understood death like they did. After all, not every dead person was given the preternatural life that they possessed. Jo was surprised by their quiet approach to the whole thing, but she assumed that Art's tears had just made them uncomfortable, or had embarrassed them. At any rate, they had left him alone.

A year after the defeat of Nukus, Jo and Drew's family had moved, splitting up the Beetleborgs and leaving Charterville in the hands of the Titanium Silver Beetleborg, Roland. They had kept in touch for ten years, and now that it was time for college, Drew and Jo had decided to go to…where else? Charterville University. Drew, the eldest of the two siblings, had even put off going until Jo was ready, just so that they could go together. The reunion of the Beetleborgs was much too important to be spaced out every five or so years. They had decided in their correspondences that it was best to all come together at once.

Drew took a corner too sharply, and Jo gulped. She cracked a window, and the greasy smell of deep fried fast food assailed her nostrils. She pressed her lips together, and rolled up the window. Think of water, think of ice, think of water, think of ice…

"It is kinda hot in here," said Drew, opening his own window. Damn him!

"Pull over," she groaned, unbuckling her seat belt. "Now!"

Drew took one look at his sister's face, and pulled over to the shoulder. The vehicle had barely stopped before she tumbled out of the car, her hand pressed over her mouth.

While his sister was heaving in the gutter, Drew fished around in the glove compartment for something that might settle her stomach. All he could find was half a role of Lifesavers, but they were better than nothing. He got out of the car, and walked around to the back, where she was leaning against the trunk and staring at the horizon. "Here," he handed her a Lifesaver, which she eyed dubiously before she took it and popped into her mouth. Wintergreen…she preferred peppermint, but at least this took the awful taste out of her mouth.

"We're nearly there," Drew told her, handing her the rest of the role, and digging his hands into his pockets. "Why don't we stop at Hillhurst? Give you a break from all this driving."

She nodded, chewing the mint and heading for the passenger seat.

* * *

Before Drew and Jo reached the house, the door was yanked open by Flabber, who divided into seven versions of himself, each one playing a fanfare on a trumpet. "Whoo-hah!" the middle one cheered, "Hail the conquering heroes!"

"Is that them?" said a voice from inside the house, and a tall young man appeared in the doorway.

"Roland!" Jo cried, jogging up the steps to greet him.

"Hey, what about me?" Flabber pouted, folding his hands in front of him.

"Hey, Flabber!" she laughed, giving the phasm a warm hug. "It's been too long, you guys."

Roland spotted Drew leaning against his car and watching the spectacle with a satisfied smile. "Ten years." Said Roland, ignoring Flabber, who was literally crying a waterfall on the porch. "It really has been too long."

Drew shook his head and approached them, and gave Flabber a joking swat on the arm. "Nice to see you too, Flabber, but you're dripping snot on your shoes!"

"Wha…eew!" the phasm shook his right foot, and then his left. He frowned at Jo, who was trying not to laugh, and said sarcastically, "Thanks for telling me. Well…are you coming in or not?"

* * *

Count Fangula was the only monster that didn't try to cause some sort of chaos that afternoon; he was busy going through a stack of Anne Rice novels, and laughing at her assumptions. He had to admit that he liked her style, though. At least she was accurate about how vampires were made, and about how it felt to drink living blood. He also enjoyed the chapters that involved risqué material, though contrary to Anne Rice's statements, he knew that vampire men could in fact perform their manly duties. He himself had been born of a vampire father and mother. His father had gotten staked, but his mother was still around.

Meanwhile, Little Ghoul was finding it very entertaining how the other house monsters behaved towards Jo. The girl was admittedly very beautiful at twenty-one, and she actually had to throw Frankenbeans across the room for getting fresh. Yup, she still had her super strength. The only one missing out on everything was Fangula…

"Hmm…" Little Ghoul's red eyes brightened, and she set off in search of Flabber's phasm handbook. This was too good an opportunity to miss!