The Scarer and the Slayer's Sis

Disclaimer:  I don't own the rights to either "Buffy" or "Monsters".
I think that would be Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Disney and Pixar.  If
you ever actually thought I did own the rights, would you be
interested in buying some Florida farmland or the Brooklyn Bridge from
me?  I should probably mention Herbie and Cy are my own creations.  I
love the Monsters, Inc. characters but none of the ones from the movie
suited this story.

Timeline/Spoilers:  This story takes place before the events of the
"Monsters, Inc." movie.  As for Buffy, somewhere sixth season, before
"Seeing Red".  Buffy's back, but that can't really be a spoiler for
anyone, anymore, can it?

The Scarer and the Slayer's Sis

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Monsters Inc. crossover fan fiction story
Written:  May 2002

Author:  WyseQuack

Herbie watched as, along with all the others, his door was brought out
onto the factory floor on the overhead line.  It reached his station,
and was lowered and locked into place.  The indicator light up top
began to glow, and Herbie resolutely stepped up, opened the door, and
stepped through.  At last, he was an official, honest-to-goodness

He reached behind and closed the door, as he had been trained to do.
Wouldn't want anything besides himself slipping through to
Monstopolis, after all.  That would be bad - even disastrous.

That looked after, he took a moment to look around and take in his
surroundings.  Then he did a double take.

Were little girls' rooms always this cluttered?  It hadn't seemed that
way during his training.  The bed seemed a lot bigger now, too.

He was starting to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.  He
took a cautious step forward, then another and his unease only

"For somebody breaking into the Slayer's house, you're kinda timid,
y'know?" said a voice into the silence.

Herbie jumped straight into the air, and turned one hundred eighty
degrees so his legs bore the brunt of his impact with the roof.  Since
all eight of them ended in sucker feet, he stayed attached to the roof
after the impact.

"I am _not_ timid!" Herbie objected.

"Maybe I should've said jumpy?" Dawn Summers observed with a snicker.

Herbie fought down the urge to argue with the annoying girl, and just
looked at her instead.  She was big.  Very big.  Much bigger than he'd
been led to expect any of the children he was going to encounter would
be.  The mockups in his training had been so much smaller.  Shouldn't
somebody have _warned_ him?

Then, something else penetrated.  "Slayer?" he said in a confused
voice.  He didn't like the sound of that word.

Dawn studied the unexpected guest sticking to her bedroom ceiling.
Amazement washed over her features as she realized.

"You didn't know?" she asked.  "That's _so_ different.  Usually all
the demons and monsters break in here _because_ it's the Slayer's

Herbie shuddered.  He didn't even know what a demon was, but he didn't
like the sound of it.  He had more immediate concerns on his mind,

"What's a Slayer?" he asked.

"That would be somebody who goes around beating up vampires, monsters,
and other assorted nasties so they don't cause any more problems,"
Dawn replied.

Herbie started to skitter backwards towards the closet door.  Thinking
the ceiling free of clutter, he didn't bother to look where he was
going.  However, he'd forgotten about the light fixture, which he
wound up stumbling into.  As a result he ended up plummeting to the
floor, making an "oomph" sound on impact.

Dawn burst out laughing.  She quickly collected herself, and asked the
intruder, "Are you all right?"
Herbie made a non-committal sound and tried to regain his composure.
This kept getting better and better.  "Do you beat up monsters a lot?"
he asked.

"No, Buffy goes psycho-girl trying to keep me away from that stuff.
She seems to think I'm made of glass or something."  Dawn paused, then
resumed, starting down a different track.  "Wait a minute - the way
you said that.  Did you think _I_ was the Slayer?"

"You're not?" Herbie asked, mildly puzzled.

"No.  That's my sister Buffy.  You really _are_ out of the loop,
aren't you?"

"Is she going to attack me?" Herbie asked with a hint of fear.  He
took a quick look around the room, assuring himself there was no one
else present, then eyed the closed door to the hallway nervously.

"Depends on why you're here.  Are you going to try to hurt, eat, kill
or kidnap me?  Or anybody else?"

The tone was curious, not fearful, but Herbie still wound up staring
at the girl in shock.  "Why would I want to do any of those horrible
things?  Why would anyone?" he replied.

"You're really _not_ from around here, are you?" Dawn said with a
mischievous smile.

"No, I'm from Monstropolis."

"Never heard of it."

"You're not really supposed to."

"Yeah, well, the life I've got, I end up hearing a lot of things I'm
not really supposed to.  So why _are_ you here?" Dawn finished,
steering the conversation back on track.

"To scare you," Herbie admitted, a trace of apprehension apparent in
his otherwise calm voice.

"To scare me," Dawn parroted.

"So you'd scream," Herbie elaborated.

"Good job so far," Dawn commented in a voice heavy with irony.

"There's no need to get insulting," Herbie said defensively.

"Excuse me," Dawn started in an indignant tone, "who snuck into whose
bedroom in the middle of the night to frighten whom?  You're lucky
insults are all I'm using."

"It's just my job," explained Herbie.  "It's nothing personal."

"You're saying your job is to sneak into people's bedrooms to make
them scream?" Dawn asked.  Her tone remained indignant, and the volume
she was using seemed to be slowly but steadily increasing.

"Well, yeah.  Children's bedrooms, to be exact."

"Why?  Just for kicks?" Dawn asked, the outrage in her voice still

"No.  We need the screams," a defensive Herbie began to explain.

"For what?" Dawn asked in a much calmer voice than she had been using,
her  confusion apparent.

"Monstropolis runs on scream power.  Believe me, we wouldn't be doing
anything this dangerous if it weren't necessary."

"Dangerous?  Dangerous how?" Dawn asked.

"Humans and the human world are highly toxic to us," explained Herbie.

"Why don't you use something safer then?" Dawn asked.

"Like what?" Herbie asked.  Then, his curiosity aroused, he inquired,
"What do you use here?"

Dawn paused to think for a moment.  "I'm not sure," she told him.  "I
never thought about it much.  I think we burn oil and coal - which
spews pollutants into the atmosphere and destroys the ozone layer.
Then there's nuclear power, which leaves byproducts that will be
dangerously radioactive for thousands of years.  Well, there's solar
power - unless it's night time or cloudy.  You know what?  Forget I
ever mentioned it," Dawn finished, slightly abashed.

"Okay," Herbie agreed.

He collected himself and rose to his feet.  As he had eight of those,
it took him a few moments.  "You're not the least bit scared of me are

Dawn shook her head.  "Nope.  Sorry."

"Any chance you'll scream for me anyway?"

"There's a problem with that.  Buffy, oddly enough, is actually home
right now.  If I scream, she'll hear it, and rush in here and start
using lethal force on anyone and anything she doesn't recognize.
Which would be, well, you."

"Lethal force?"  Herbie inquired with dismay.

"Uh huh."  Dawn nodded for extra emphasis.

"And she beats up monsters a lot?"

"All the time," Dawn confirmed.

Herbie shuddered again.

"I've got a new idea," Herbie said.  "Why don't I just shuffle back to
the closet door, open it and go back home?  Will that keep your scary
sister from beating me up?"

"Probably," Dawn replied.  "Buffy doesn't usually attack anything that
hasn't attacked her or somebody else first.  Well, except for
vampires, but they're always evil.  Except when they're not, like
Spike and Angel."

"You're a very strange girl," Herbie commented as he continued to
study her.

"You're a furry blue-green semi-cute spider thing who turned my closet
door into some kind of inter-dimensional portal, you came here to
scare me but you're not frightening at all, and _you're_ calling _me_
strange?" Dawn countered.

"I'm sorry!" Herbie spat out.  "Please don't hurt me!"

"I wasn't going to," Dawn told him.  "You realize at least one of us
has this scaring thing backwards?"

"Yeah, well, I was told little girls are a lot easier to scare than
you seem to be," Herbie told her, a hint of irritation beginning to
show in his voice.  "I'm thinking about having a _long_ talk with the
people who run the training program."

"Who are you calling little?" Dawn asked, irritated herself.  "How
many times do I have to tell people I'm fifteen, not five, before it
sinks in?"

"You're what?" Herbie asked, shocked.

"Fifteen.  Is that some kind of problem?"

"I was supposed to be going to a two year olds bedroom," explained

"So how'd you wind up in mine?" Dawn asked him.  Then the answer hit
her, _the_ monks_! The monks, and their crazy spell.  And she'd
thought all the weirdness from her being the Key was over and done
with.  She should have known better.

"Actually, I think I know how it happened.  I kind of am two years
old.  Well, depending on how you count, I'm two, fifteen, or several

"I don't understand," said Herbie.

"Actually, I don't either.  What I'm saying is, in a way, I'm two
years old, but I look a lot older - fifteen, to be exact.  I think of
myself as fifteen, normally, and so does everybody else - it's just
simpler that way."

Herbie just stared at her.

"Clear like mud?" Dawn prodded.

Herbie nodded.

"Okay, simple version.  I'm not your typical two year old."

"So other two year olds will be easier to scare?"  Herbie asked,

"Probably," Dawn told him.  "I don't know actually know any,
"That's a relief," Herbie told her.

"Wait a minute.  These other kids - you're not going to hurt them, are

Herbie was perplexed.  "What kind of horrible creature would want to
hurt children?  Even if they _are_ toxic _human_ children?" he asked.

"I could give you a list," Dawn offered.

"Eep," was all Herbie managed to say in response at first, appalled
that the girl could make such an offer - and seem genuine about it.

After a pause, Herbie continued.  "We don't have time to hurt anybody,
even if we wanted to.  Get in, get the scream, get out, and on to the
next door - that's the way it works, or at least the way it's supposed

Something occurred to Herbie.  "Oh, no.  I've been here forever - and
I'm not even going to get a scream from here.  I'm going to be in so
much trouble - and it's my first day.  I've gotta go - now," he
stated, starting toward the door.

"Will you come back?" Dawn asked.

"Not if I can possibly avoid it," Herbie said as he grabbed the closet
doorknob.  He yanked the door open, tossed out an apologetic, "No
offense," as an afterthought, then disappeared into the closet,
slamming the door behind him.

"None taken - I think," were the words Dawn sent in hopeless pursuit
or her now departed visitor.

Buffy paused outside the doorway to Dawn's bedroom.  She'd been
walking down the hallway when she'd thought she heard - she wasn't
quite sure _what_ she'd thought she heard, but it was something out of
the ordinary.

She rapped gently on the door and opened it.

"Dawn?  Everything okay in here?"

"Sure, Buffy," came the response.

"Were you talking on the phone in here?"  Buffy asked.  "I thought I
heard voices.  Isn't it kind of late for that?"

"No, I wasn't on the phone.  There was a guy trying to sneak in here."
At least, I _think_ it was a guy, Dawn told herself.  With some
species (Was that even the right word?,  she wondered) it could be
hard to tell.

"You're sneaking guys into your bedroom late at night?" Buffy said in
a voice that conveyed both skepticism and bemused disapproval.

"Like you never did anything like that," came Dawn's own amused
response.  "And _I_ wasn't sneaking _him_ in.  I'd never even met

"If that was supposed to be reassuring, it wasn't - or it wouldn't be,
if I believed a word you were saying.  But I can play along, if you
want.  So where's this guy now?" Buffy asked, her voice changing from
parental to playful.

"He left.  Turned out he had the wrong bedroom," Dawn told her,
feigning mild disappointment."

"Really.  Was he cute?"  Buffy had slipped into her conspiratorial
gossip voice.

"Kind of," Dawn admitted.  "But not to die for, or anything."

"So you're not heartbroken, then?"

"Hardly.  It wasn't that sort of," Dawn paused, struggling to find the
right choice of word, and finally settled on, "thing."

"Disappointed?" Buffy asked her.

Dawn shook her head.  "Nah, I think it'll be a little while longer
before I actually start _wanting_ anybody to creep in here at strange

"Glad to hear it," Buffy told her.  "I'll let you get some rest,
then," she finished and started to pull Dawn's door closed.  In the
process she moved her head in such a way that she caught a glimpse of
something she hadn't previously noticed.

"Or not," Buffy contradicted herself.  She stepped fully into the room
and switched on the light.  She looked up at the ceiling.

"Dawn, are those footprints?" she asked, pointing.

Dawn studied the footprints while her mind raced.  She knew Buffy
would totally over-freak if she heard the real story - and it wasn't
like Spider-Muppet was a _real_ threat to anyone.  But Buffy would
never take her word for that, and would probably end up giving her
another lecture.  Probably about responsibility.  When it doubt, give
Dawn a quick lecture and disappear - that seemed to be Buffy's motto
on the subject of raising her teenage sister, and Dawn _so_ didn't
want to go through that right now.

Finally, Dawn opened her mouth.  "You think something's been walking
around my ceiling?  Without my seeing or hearing anything?"  She
wasn't _actually_ saying she hadn't seen or heard anything, Dawn

"You have another explanation for those marks?" Buffy asked.

Dawn took another few seconds to think, then offered,  "Any chance  it
could have to do with stress on the house from all the magic spells
and demon attacks that have gone on here?" 

Buffy studied the 'footprints' for a long moment.  "Yeah, maybe," she
finally said.  Her voice lacked conviction, but she was apparently
willing to let the matter rest.  "I wonder why I never noticed those
marks before?"

"I think you had other things on your mind besides inspecting your
sister's bedroom ceiling," Dawn told her.

"Yeah, I guess," Buffy told her.  "Sorry if I started to freak.
Occupational hazard.  But now, I really will go and let you get some
rest," she finished apologetically. 

"Thanks, Buffy," Dawn told her as she shut the door.

"Well, that was strange," Dawn muttered softly to herself as she was
left to her own thoughts once again.  She wasn't ever sure whether she
was referring to her peculiar visitor, or the fact that for a minute,
she and Buffy had almost seemed to be connecting as sisters once
again.  That hadn't happened often enough lately - sometimes it seemed
to Dawn like _she_ was the one raising Buffy, not the other way
around.  When Buffy did remember Dawn existed, it almost seemed like
it was the Slayer protecting the Key, not about being a family, and
Dawn wound up feeling smothered, rather than protected.

As strange as it sounded, her intruder had renewed Dawn's hope that
whatever was wrong between her and Buffy, the two of them could and
would fix it.  For that, she would always be grateful.


As Herbie stepped back onto the Scare Floor, his assistant, Cy, told
him, "Great job, pal.  Really potent stuff, there."

He wasn't teasing.  He really meant it, Herbie realized.

"B-b-but," Herbie started, only to break off as Cy continued.

"You might want to think about getting back here a little faster
though," he told Herbie as the first door was removed from the station
and the next was inserted.  "You won't win the Top New Scarer award if
you don't start going through doors faster than that."

By then, the new door, was in place and active, so Herbie went through
and did his job.

After the shift was over Herbie convinced a reluctant Cy to take the
crazy girl's door off his Scare List.  Cy tried to change his mind
because the scream from there had been so powerful.  But Herbie was
adamant, and Cy was smart enough that if a Scarer wasn't going to go
through a certain door, there was no point in keeping it on his Scare

The mystery of how Cy had collected a scream which had never been made
would puzzle Herbie for a long while.  But not forever.  Mike and
Sully would see to that.

Author's Note:  For those brave those souls who read this even though
they knew little or nothing about Monsters, Inc., Mike and Sully are
the main characters of the movie.  In the course of the film, they
discover something that will explain Herbie's private mystery.  I'm
not going to risk spoiling the movie for anyone by going into
specifics here, but if you really need to know what it is, e-mail me
and I'll tell you.