It's Alive!
Part Five: Bleed and Die, Yub Yub
by Holly

"So, let me get this straight," began two voices in unison after a lengthy, confusing and chaotic conversation.

"You first," Rogue Leader said politely to the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy perched on the edge of the table next to Janson's spilt Corellian whiskey. "You guys are pilots from the Star Wars movies, which is like an alternate reality to ours, and there's a demonic stuffed toy on the loose." She glanced at the various Scooby gang members who were scattered around neighbouring tables; Xander and Anya too occupied with each other to take notice of the goings-on, Willow and Tara looking guilty about the spell mishap, Giles viewing the level of technological advance apparent in the cantina with consternation, and Spike smoking next to the dusty remains of Harmony. None of them were very encouraging.

"A stuffed Ewok, yes," Wedge confirmed, with Janson, Tycho and Hobbie nodding away in agreement behind him like Agamarians. "And you are: a Vampire Slayer, two witches, a vampire, an ex-librarian, an ex- demon and a construction worker, respectively," he said, nodding at them in turn. "This is very confusing."

"We're here to help though," Willow said, anxious not to upset men with hi-tech weaponry strapped onto various parts of their bodies.

"I'm not," Spike chimed in, exhaling smoke at the witch. Buffy shot him a withering glare. "I'm just here for the entertainment since the telly in me crypt's bust. Can't watch Passions on it, and Rupert won't let me watch it round his place," he added quietly.

"You talk over the important dialogue," muttered Giles.

Buffy rolled her eyes and unsheathed the ubiquitous Mr Pointy from her belt. "Well, we're not in Kansas any more, but freaky evil things are my specialty. Time for slayage. Point me in the direction of the Ewok."

"Buffy, you can't just run off and face this thing, we need more facts about the creature," Giles pointed out, looking to the pilots for information.

"What, Giles didn't bring any dusty old books about evil Ewoks?" joked Xander. "Wouldn't it be cool if-"

Wedge cleared his throat to cut off Xander's tangent. "We don't know how the toy became animate, but we do know that-"

"It's got a vibroblade," said Hobbie.

"And it worships pineapples," said Janson, patting his tropical fruit.

"And it was last seen in the detention block," added Tycho.

"Right. We start the hunt in the detention block then," asserted Buffy, ignoring Janson's obvious fondness for his pineapple. "Lead the way."

Wedge pulled out his blaster, trigger-finger at the ready, and headed out the door of the cantina with a gesture of the head for the group to follow him. On the way out, Xander tapped Jansen on the shoulder.

"Do any of you guys have a lightsabre? I think I'd make a pretty cool Jedi."

Anya deftly stepped in. "Please don't encourage him, he'll only hurt himself." She pushed him away from the pilot and out the door.

"Only hurt himself, huh? That reminds me of someone," Hobbie said pointedly to Janson, and then frowned. "What's a Kansas?"

"It's a pop culture reference," said Giles as he passed. "A rare one that I understand."

In the stark, grey detention block an overhead light guttered harshly, illuminating the apprehension on each face. Wedge, in the lead with Buffy, thumbed his comlink to contact the security officers but the response was a buzz of static. "Not good." The block was deserted.

Lagging behind the group was Spike, eyeing the transparisteel-fronted cells with bitterness, and thus far not amused by the hunt for the Ewok. "This place reminds me of them soldier boys' lab. Say, any of you blokes know a good doctor? Skilled in the arts of chipectomies?"

"Shut up, Spike, or you can join Harmony," said Buffy. She pointed to the far end of the corridor at an intermittent dark stain on the ground. "What's that? It looks like-"

"Blood," growled Spike, as his fangs lengthened and his features changed in response to the bloodlust. "I can smell it."

Buffy and Wedge dashed up to the last cell where the blood trail meandered through the open door and was pooling below the terrified figures of the two security officers that were on duty that evening.

Both men were gagged and bound to their chairs, which were lashed together back to back next to the far wall of the cell. Their uniforms were bloodied and they were wide-eyed with fear.

Wedge set about freeing Zennick, the unfortunate officer who'd informed him of the Ewok's escape, and Buffy pulled the gag from his colleague. "You'll be all right," she tried to reassure him, seeing that the terror had not left his face, but he wasn't looking at her.

His attention was solely on the diminutive furry creature outside the cell who had closed the door and keyed the electronic lock. They were trapped.

They were all trapped. Wedge turned to his three subordinates and

Buffy to her five Scoobies. "Did you all follow us in here?" she asked. There was apologetic mumbling and as much sheepish shuffling as was possible for so many people in such a cramped cell.

Kettch was pacing slowly, eerily up and down in front of the cell, chuckling to himself as he twirled the vibroblade in his paw, a stolen blaster nestled in a holster he was wearing like a bandolier. "Bleed and die, yub yub, bleed and die!" was the crazed mantra he chanted as he paced.

"It's an Ewok with a knife," Xander said disbelievingly. "A crazy Ewok with a knife. This one has to go in our Top Ten Weird Monsters That Buffy's Fought."

"I think the Mayor-snake was weirder than this," Anya pointed out, and Giles added that the time Ethan Rayne turned him into a Fyarl demon probably deserved a place in the top ten too.

Willow shook her head sadly. "I will never be able to watch Return of the Jedi again."

"It's OK, honey," said Tara, giving her a comforting hug. "I didn't want to mention this to you before, but I think Miss Kitty Fantastico peed on our copy of Jedi. It is very unwatchable now."

"Wayward kitties aside, how do we get out of this cell?" Buffy asked Wedge, who shrugged helplessly.

"We can't. They're well-designed cells."

"But how did the Ewok escape?"

More helpless shrugs. "By magic, I guess," Hobbie said glumly.

"Then that's what we'll use," Buffy said matter-of-factly. Seeing the pilots' dubious expressions, she nodded towards Willow and Tara. "Weren't you paying attention earlier? Here we have two very powerful witches. Willow, do you know an unlocking spell that could get the door open?"

"Alohomora?" Giles suggested to uncomprehending faces. "See, I can do the pop culture thing too." He looked very pleased with himself.

Just as Willow and Tara agreed on the appropriate spell, a roaring, black-clad figure leapt out from the shadows and tackled the manic, muttering Ewok.

"Yub yub!" shrieked Kettch, jabbing the vibroblade this way and that, kicking his legs like a child having a tantrum, in the hope of injuring his assailant, but the bleached blond vampire was having none of it. The air was filled with the sound of ripping and screeching, and then the Ewok was subdued.

Kettch was, in fact, more than subdued: he was now a mess of stuffing and worn scraps of fake fur, strewn across the floor, the two glass eyes rolling gently to a stop.

Spike grinned and lit a cigarette as opened the cell door from the control panel on the wall. "I've wanted to do that for a long time," he said, not for the first time that day.

Buffy was almost bringing herself to thank Spike when he added that he hated the vicious little Endor rodents, and always cheered on the Empire in the Star Wars films. Realizing what a terrible and dangerous thing that was to say in front of Wedge, Tycho, Janson and Hobbie, four pilots who had lived under the Empire's rule and fought in the Rebellion, Buffy punched Spike. Not for the first time that day.

After a round of lomin ale back in the cantina, it was time for the two groups to go their separate ways.

"It was an honour meeting and working alongside the Vampire Slayer, Miss Summers," said Wedge formally, shaking her hand. "I just wish you were a little easier to contact in case we ever have to deal with another demonic stuffed toy."

"Knowing Willow's motherwort habits," - at this comment Willow looked meekly at the floor - "We'll probably be back soon," replied Buffy.

"Can I get a lightsabre next time?" Asked Xander, only to be silenced by a look from Anya.

Willow re-invoked the spell that had brought them to that galaxy far, far away, and willed that they return home, but without Harmony's ashes because Giles didn't want them making a mess of the couch he'd just had steam-cleaned.

"May the force be with you," said Buffy, Xander, Anya, Willow, Tara, Giles and Spike all together, and then they glared at each other for spoiling what they thought was a very witty and original joke.

The air in the cantina glittered pink, and seven figures hiccupped out of existence in a cloud of jasmine scented incense.

"So Janson," said Wedge, thinking of the remains of Kettch that were currently being incinerated, "now that the Ewok's gone, what are you going to torment me with?"

Janson's gaze dropped slowly to the pineapple. Tycho slapped Wedge on the back, grinning. "You shouldn't have asked!"


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