The Teddy Bear's AGM.
Crossover:Inspired by, BBC Radio Four's comedy sketch program, 'John Finnemore's Souvenir Program' and the children's song, 'The Teddy Bear's Picnic'.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:Written in glorious UK-English (the original and best) which is different to US-English.
Timeline:Set in the 'It’s Grim Up North' reality.
Warnings:Beware low flying aircraft.
Summary:A 'Grim Up North' story; Buffy goes for a walk in the local woods and gets a great, big, grim surprise.
It was a bright, sunny, warm day in late June, so warm in fact that Buffy hadn't worn her thermal vest even if it wasn't yet August. The truth was that being a California girl, Buffy would never adapt to the cooler temperatures of northern England. But, today it was warm and generally nice, even the wind from off the North Sea had died down to a pleasant breeze that prevented any hint of humidity from spoiling her day.
Today, Buffy's mission was to check out Warsett Hill. The reason for her nature ramble was that just over week before an elf knight had appeared within the defences of Slayer Central near Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Said knight had then cast a 'Thrall' spell over Buffy and taken her back to her chalet on the old holiday camp where the Slayer Organisation had its headquarters. Once in her chalet the evil elf knight had forced (forced might be too strong a word for what happened as Buffy was a more or less willing participant) her to have sex with him.
Luckily for Buffy she broke the spell and stabbed the elf knight...several times...no, make that a lot of times...so many times in fact, that she'd had to not only buy new bed linen but she'd also had to buy a new mattress, carpet and have Xander in to wipe down the walls, floor and ceiling with bleach and repaint them. The body of the knight himself was disposed of in the deep, dark, cold waters of a flooded stone quarry up on the North Yorkshire Moors.
In fact every piece of evidence that an elf knight had appeared, sexually abused Buffy and then had been killed had been quickly and efficiently disposed of except for one. That 'one' was the elf knight's horse. Having found the beast waiting patiently for its master outside her chalet, Buffy hadn't felt right about simply killing it; true it was a large (much larger than any normal horse), black (I mean really black), monster of a horse, with glowing red eyes, that ate flesh rather than grass or oats. But to Buffy it was still just a 'dumb' animal that didn't deserve to be killed out of hand.
Also as has been mentioned it was big, while dealing with the disposal of a basically human sized body was well within the capabilities of the Slayer Organisation. The disposal of such a large horse was something else again. There was also the fact that the 'horse' would probably put up a fight with its sharp teeth and huge hooves when it realised someone was trying to kill it. So, the creature had been stabled (instead of stabbed) in a secluded part of the camp until someone (someone like Willow) could work out a way of sending it back to its home reality.
After doing a little research Willow had announced that the stone circle on the summit of Warsett Hill was probably the gate way to the elf knight's home reality (elf knights not being that common even in Northern England). If a gate way could be opened the horse could be sent through and the gate sealed behind it...or so Willow said. It was strange then that Willow had not volunteered to accompany Buffy on her trip to the hill claiming that she'd never be able to get baby Abby's stroller up the footpath leading to the neolithic stone circle.
Having suggested that baby Abby could be left with one of any number of trainee slayers, who were all eager to take their turn looking after the witch's daughter, Buffy received a dark look from the mega witch and decided not to press the issue. However, Willow did give Buffy one piece of advice, she told her that it might be an idea to take on some form of disguise. As Buffy was a fairly well known figure in and around Saltburn-by-the-Sea; agreeing with Willow, Buffy had donned the costume that she'd worn to the previous year's Halloween party.
As she climbed the gentle slope through the woods that surrounded Warsett Hill, Buffy found herself thinking how non-threatening the woods appeared to be, this immediately put her on her guard. Checking on the position of the hunting knife she had hidden under her disguise, she continued along the footpath until a large teddy bear stepped out from behind a tree and spoke to her. To almost anyone else in the world the sudden appearance of a large, talking teddy bear would cause a person to question their sanity, not so Buffy Summers. Having been confronted by much worse things than large, chatty, toy bears, she was only temporally taken aback.
“Erm...excuse me, Miss...” the creature spoke with a generic northern accent; it was maybe five feet tall and wore a dark blue cap on its head with 'Security' embroidered on the front.
“Me?” Buffy came to a halt about six feet short of the bear and pointed to herself.
“Yeah...” the bear nodded; its fur was a dark, golden brown and its eyes a bright blue.
“Hmm?” Buffy replied innocently and as if it was the most natural thing in the world to be confronted by oversized toy bears.
“May I ask you where you're going?” the bear asked in a friendly northern bear-like voice.
“Oh nowhere really,” Buffy shrugged, “just out for a walk,” the bear was being polite so Buffy saw no immediate reason to stab it with her knife.
“A walk?” this time when the bear spoke it sounded just a little suspicious of Buffy's true motives for walking in the woods.
“Yeah totally, just a little walk in the woods,” Buffy reinforced her previous statement.
“Oh,” the bear scratched the side of its nose with a paw that Buffy could now see concealed some vicious looking metal claws, this was obviously no 'soft-toy', teddy, “I'm afraid the woods are closed to the public today, Miss.”
“Closed?” Buffy frowned, she was on a public footpath and no one was allowed to close public footpaths, instead of immediately attacking the bear to enforce her right-of-way, she asked, “Why?”
“I think you know why...” the security bear replied with a knowing chuckle.
“No idea,” Buffy admitted with yet another shrug.
“Well,” the bear gestured to the surrounding woods, “just take a look around you...”
“Oh!” for the first time Buffy noticed that the woods were in fact populated by an unusually large number of animated toy bears in many different colours and sizes, “Yes,” she admitted, “you're like, totally busy today.”
“Yes, Miss,” the bear said firmly, “you see today's the day the teddy bears have their Annual General Meeting.”
“I heard it was a picnic...” Buffy blurted out, all the while wishing she'd brought along some trainee slayers as back up, there did seem to be an awful lot of bears.
“No,” sighed the bear tiredly, “its not a picnic...”
“I can see sandwiches from here,” Buffy pointed out, “marmalade sandwiches if I'm not totally mistaken.”
“It's catered!” cried the bear in frustration, “I'm not saying its not a catered event.”
“And you're having it in the woods?” Buffy pointed out
“Well, we had to!” the bear although frustrated that everyone thought its fellow bears were having a picnic, tried to explain, “You realise,” the bear continued as if talking to a rather slow witted five-year-old, “that every bear that ever there was is gathered here for curtain because they wish to be part of the governing body's decision making process...that's a lot of bears! There's not a conference hall in the country big enough to house them all!”
“Why can't I go in?” Buffy asked changing the subject.
“Are you a teddy bear?” the security bear asked levelly.
“I might be...” Buffy replied while not meeting the bear's gaze.
“You don't look like a teddy bear...” the bear pointed out, “...you look like some sort of penguin.”
“What!?” Buffy cried upset that her costume hadn't been immediately recognisable, “I'm a nun!”
“You're a nun?” this time the bear scratched the side of its head.
“No...” Buffy admitted guiltily, “...but this is a nun costume...”
“Why are you wearing a nun costume?” the bear asked reasonably.
“I was told that if I went down to the woods today I'd better go in disguise,” hearing herself say it out loud, Buffy now thought that a nun's costume possibly wasn't the best choice she could have made.
“Yeah...” there was just a hint of sarcasm in the bear's voice now, “...an easy mistake to make, I think probably what they were trying to say was that you should go in disguised as...a teddy bear!”
“I see that now,” Buffy replied tersely, “I just thought you were having, like, a fancy dress picnic.”
“We don't wear fancy dress for our AGM,” the bear replied sternly, “any-more than when we're having a picnic. This is a serious event, Miss...”
“What are you discussing that's so totally important?” Buffy wanted to know trying to get the conversation of her choice of costumes.
“I can't tell you...” again the bear was talking as if to a particularly slow child, “...you're not a teddy bear!”
The sound of bear-like cheers drifted through the woods to Buffy's ears.
“What's that?” Buffy asked.
“General Secretary Paddington is going to make his key-note speech,” explained the bear in a slightly worried tone of voice.
“Rise up! Rise up...!” chanted a multitude of bear voices.
“Why are they chanting 'rise up'?” Buffy asked becoming more and more concerned as the chanting got louder and louder.
“Erm...” the bear tried to laugh Buffy's concerns off, “...I'm sure they're not, Miss, no seriously go while you can.”
“Eat the children! Eat the children...!” chanted the bears
“Eat the children?” Buffy reached for the knife that was hidden behind her back.
“What can I say, Miss?” the bear shrugged helplessly, “Prepare for a big surprise?”
Calling for back-up, Buffy had held the teddy bears at bay long enough for Willow and a couple of trainee witches backed up by a dozen or so young slayers who then fell on the teddy bears like wolves upon the fold. To be honest teddy bears (even the larger ones) weren't as good at fighting as they at first appeared to be. The witches and slayers had made short work of them although many hundreds of bears had escaped into the surrounding countryside. They would have to be dealt with at another time, for now the forces of light would have to make do with rooting out and killing any teddy bears who were still hiding in the woods.
While Willow was considering raising a mild breeze to clear the smoke from the woods another idea intruded on her mind. Ever since she'd given birth to her daughter, Abby, Willow, like most mothers, had been concerned for her child's safety. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your standpoint) most mothers weren't mega-powerful witches. Being the child of a mega-powerful witch was inherently dangerous for any offspring. Even as Abby was being born someone had tried to kidnap her, no doubt to use her as the main ingredient in some dangerous and powerful spell.
Of course Willow and Kennedy did their best to protect their child, plus there were always packs of slayers and witches around to baby sit. But with the best will in the world, the two young women couldn't be around all the time and teenage slayers and witches could be distracted or could simply get bored; they were teenagers after all. What Willow needed was something that would never get bored, that would always have time for Abby and always be there to protect her day and night.
Looking at the remains of a large teddy bear slumped against a tree, Willow's mind started to work at high speed. She'd done it before, at least she'd repaired the Buffy-bot and kept it working while Buffy was spending six months dead (possibly for tax reasons). Couldn't she do the same with a teddy bear? Of course she could; mix a little magic with technology and a deadly assortment of state of the art weapons. Yes! She could do it! She could make it stronger, faster, brighter, she could be the first witch to build a robotic, teddy bear, a bear-bot if you will; and it shouldn't cost her more than about six-thousand Pounds!