The Buffy characters are owned by Joss; the Charmed characters, by Aaron Spelling. All I own is the plot, Malvolio, and the concept of Taarnhelm. This fits in somewhere after Normal Again on Buffy , and right before the vampire episode on Charmed.
X X X X X
The new Source (but you can call him Cole) was hard at work trying to figure out the talent needed to give Phoebe the final push to move out NOW. She’d agreed a week or so back, but found a couple of reasons here and there to delay.
The Source couldn’t afford second thoughts. Severing Phoebe Halliwell’s ties to her sisters as much as he could was of paramount importance. So he stepped up the nuisances, minor power outages and so forth; but he couldn’t do that too much or Paige would get suspicious again.
Paige. It didn’t matter how much he tried to convince her otherwise, something in Paige just wouldn’t let her believe that Cole was a good guy. Too bad for her that she was right, but the Source couldn’t afford any outright attacks. So he had to work a balancing act.
Suddenly the Seer appeared in front of him. “What is it?” he asked, not angrily but with a definite “this-better-be-good” tone in his voice.
“There’s . . . something,” the Seer said uncertainly. “Something big that could put a crimp in your plans. The details are vague . . . what have you heard of a power called Glorificus?”
The Source laughed. “She thought she was a god, and now she’s dead,” he said. “I’m not interested.”
The Seer shook her head. “No . . . she’s on the comeback trail. I’m not entirely sure how . . . but I definitely see her remanifesting in San Francisco in two days’ time, then going to . . . the Hellmouth. Two days after THAT I see hell on earth. And not the metaphorical kind you’re aiming for, either. If . . . If this comes to pass, all your plans, all your schemes . . . all your wishes for that child we both hope grows inside Phoebe Halliwell . . . all will lie in ruins. And that, I guarantee you, I DO see.”
“No,” the Seer said. “Nothing concrete. All sorts of possibilities.” Noting the sour look on the Source’s face, she said, “You should welcome my words. Without them, you would know NOTHING of this grim future.”
“Great,” the Source said. “Everything’s going to go to hell, but I can’t tell you how or why. See you later. Your advice might be more welcome if it was more concrete.”
The Seer hesitated. “There is –“
“Yes?” The Source said, rapidly losing his patience.
“There’s something new AND old about this. Something that is, simultaneously, new and old. It plays a vital role. It sounds silly, I know –“
“So you have no desire to see this future come to pass?” The Source asked.
“No,” the Source said. “But if a version of hell’s truly coming to Earth, the Charmed Ones aren’t going to want it either. I think YOU should tell them about it.” At her hesitance, he said, “I would have no reason to know about it . . . and this isn’t something we should trust to the whims of fate, or to whatever demons I can frighten into working for me. They might decide they prefer Glorificus’ version of hell to my own.”
“Alright,” the Seer said after a time. “But this is the way we need to go about it.”
* * * * *
Spike knocked furiously on the front door of the Summers residence late one night. When Dawn finally opened the door, Spike made a production of a sigh of relief and said, “Good to see you, niblet. Sis around?”
“Upstairs sacked out,” Dawn said. “Rough night of Slayage.”
“Wake her, would you? And stick around; this concerns you.”
Fifteen minutes later a very irritated Buffy Summers, Dawn and Spike were sitting in the Summers living room. “You’ve got five minutes to make this good, Spike,” Buffy said.
“It won’t take me five seconds,” was Spike’s response. “Doc’s back in town.”
They blinked, then Buffy said, “So call Bugs Bunny or something.” Dawn’s head shot up.
“Are you bleeding kidding? Doc. That bloke who threw me off a building and –“
“The guy who cut me,” Dawn said. She looked almost terrified.
“And set the stage for me dying,” Buffy said. “What’s his angle? And what’s yours?”
“Mine is watching out for little sister here,” Spike said. “I made you a promise a while back and I plan to keep it. His? Well, the last time he was around he damn near unleashed hell on Earth to get that piss-ass god of his back home. From what I hear he seems to think he’s got a line on doing it again.”
“Small flaw in that theory, Spike,” Buffy said. “Glory’s dead.”
Spike said, “Yeah, well, so were you. Not that much of a handicap in these parts.”
“How do we know she’s dead?” Dawn asked abruptly.
Spike looked at her nervously. They’d never actually told Dawn about Giles’ strangling Ben. “She was dead,” Spike said. “I saw the body. There was no life in it.” To his relief, the little bit seemed to go along with that. “I don’t know his plans; he plays things close to the vest. Only way I even found out what I have was by beating the living hell out of one of Glory’s remaining minions.”
“She still has minions?” Buffy asked. “I would have thought they’d have packed up and moved on.”
“Kind of hard for some to do,” Spike said. “And if Doc gets his way they won’t exactly have been wasting their time.”
“So we find Doc and we pound him until he dies,” Buffy said. “Problem solved.”
“This guy’s survived a sword through the heart and being thrown off a five-story building,” Spike said. “Plus, he knows a LOT about magic. And then there’s his tongue.”
“His tongue? Never mind, I don’t want to know.”
“No, you don’t. So do you want to take a little trip to his apartment?”
“I thought you said pounding might not be the answer,” Buffy said suspiciously.
“Can’t hurt,” Spike said, shrugging.
* * * * *
Phoebe opened her eyes and looked around. She was at the edge of a desert. Immediately to her right was a fairly steep hill. “What’s . . . going on?” she asked.
“A good question,” came a voice from maybe thirty feet away. She looked up and saw . . . Tara? In a kind of flowing dress. “And the answers will be here soon. Be ready.”
Phoebe shook her head. “This can’t be a prophecy,” she said. “I don’t get my visions this way.”
“Accept that which you cannot change,” Tara said. “You may think you know what’s coming . . . what’s to be. You have no idea.”
“Uh-huh,” Phoebe said. “I’ll be waking up now.”
As she turned around she heard Tara say, “Be back before tomorrow’s eve.”
Phoebe looked forward and charging towards her up the hill was a wild-eyed blonde woman, who slapped her once, twice . . .
And abruptly she was being shaken. She’d fallen asleep at her keyboard. Before she could be shaken again, she grabbed the shaker’s hand and said, “What are you doing?” The nearest clock read just past midnight.
“I saw you all moving around with your head on the table. I wanted to make sure you were okay –“
“What are you doing up so late?”
Before there was any answer, Paige walked in, a bit bleary-eyed. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I just thought –“
“Leave the just thinking to me,” Paige said. “And get to bed, would you? You’ve got softball practice tomorrow morning.”
The young woman stopped at the door. “You know, just because you’re my big sister doesn’t mean you ALWAYS get to boss me around.” Then she stormed off.
Paige went after her. “Eve!” she said. “Eve!”
They’d woken up Willow and given her the five-second summary, then asked her to stay with Dawn. Dawn, thank goodness, had had no desire whatsoever to come with; one encounter with a man willing to slice her open had been more than sufficient.
Not that, if she got the chance, she wasn’t planning to gut Doc with a rusty knife. That’s assuming there was any left. Spike was surprisingly graphic, even for him, as to what he was going to do with the bastard when they caught him; it started with acupuncture with toothed swords and moved on from there.
“I never thought I’d be saying this,” Buffy said, “But I’m riding along in your train of thought this time.”
“Good to hear,” Spike said.
“Of course, the odds of him actually BEING at this apartment –“
“Slim and none, I know, and likely Slim’s split town. Still, it’s the only place to start now that that ponce Willy finally wised up and split Sunnyhell for somewhere safer.”
“Really?” Buffy asked. “I hadn’t heard that. Where’d he go?”
“Somewhere in the West Bank, I think.” Buffy took this in stride for a second, then looked at Spike oddly. “Gotcha, love,” the vampire said.
Buffy just laughed.
But he was wrong about the apartment. “I don’t get this,” Spike said as he and Buffy kicked down the door. “Place looks just like it did last time I was here.”
“Are you sure he actually left town?” Buffy asked as they walked inside.
“Believe me. I scoured this place stem to stern looking for him. Neither hide – well, scale – nor hair of him. And here it is, looking all sparkly.”
And right then the demon himself appeared across the room. “Hello, there, Spike,” Doc said pleasantly. “Didn’t expect to see you again. And YOU. Didn’t we meet on the top of a building?”
“I threw you off of it,” Buffy said. “I was hoping you’d splat.”
Smiling, Doc said, “Nope. I bounced. Anyway, what can I do for you folks?”
“I’ve got other plans,” Doc said.
“Care to share?” Buffy asked.
“My last name isn’t Doom,” Doc said. “I’m not going to blurt out my mad schemes. And now, if you’ll excuse me –“ he turned like he was making ready to go.
Spike growled and charged across the room . . . and crashed into the wall. He turned around and swung at Doc – and his fists passed right through the demon. “Bloody hell,” he said. “You’re a ghost.”
“Not a ghost,” Buffy said slowly. “Something more like . . . a hologram.”
“Impressive,” Doc said, sounding like he meant it. “No wonder you’ve survived being a Slayer for so long. Of course, you didn’t really survive, did you . . .? Oh well. Fair is fair. You came back, after all.”
“To hell with this,” Spike said, more than a little pissed at having been taken in by the illusion. “Let’s get out of here.”
Doc, or the reasonable facsimile thereof, said, “Diavoli che il revere Glorificus, uccide gli intrusi!” Suddenly three red-skinned demons appeared in front of them. “These are more of Glorificus’ followers. They’re not too happy with you.”
“More illusions,” Spike spat right before one of them decked him in the head.
“Not hardly,” Doc said, and vanished – and the contents of the room along with him.
It was a tougher fight than it should have been, with Spike having been ambushed. But eventually, Buffy and Spike managed to kill the three red- skinned demons, though they were battered and bruised when they finished the fight.
“Damn it to hell,” Spike said. “This was a trap. Who knows where the hell that scaly bastard’s gotten to by now?” He looked around the apartment, but apart from the two of them and the three dead demons there wasn’t anything else there.
As Spike started to invent new swearwords, Buffy thought for a second. “We don’t know where he’s gotten to . . . but I think we know what he’s up to.”
“What?” Spike asked.
“Before he introduced us to our play dates, Doc said something about fair being fair about how I came back from the dead.”
“You don’t think –“
“Oh, I definitely do. He thinks he’s got an angle on bringing Glory back.”
“You bet he does,” said someone in the doorway.
They turned. Spike started towards the being standing there, but Buffy held him back. “Don’t worry,” she said. “This one’s not out to hurt us – just annoy us.”
“I should resent that, but I don’t have any time to waste.”
Buffy said, “Well, then, why don’t you just cut to the chase, Whistler?”
* * * * *
Phoebe said, “Paige!”
Paige came back into the room. “Yeah?”
“Let your sister stew for a minute. We got bigger fish.” She sighed. “Better go wake up Piper too.”
Fifteen minutes later the Charmed Ones were downstairs sitting around the dining room table. Piper had a “this-had-better-be-good” look on her face, but she didn’t say anything. Quickly, Phoebe explained her dream. When she was done, Piper said, “Um, sis . . . you don’t get premonitions in dreams.”
Phoebe sighed. “I know, I know. But there was something about this one.”
“Yeah,” Paige said. “What’s this about tomorrow’s eve?”
“Tomorrow’s eve is today,” Piper said. “Time travel? Unless it has to do with your sister.”
Glaring, Paige said, “Don’t even joke about that. We’ve managed to keep her out of trouble so far, and I REALLY want to stay the course there.”
“With time travel, well, it wouldn’t be the first time,” Phoebe sighed. “But I didn’t get that impression. And the blonde woman –“
Paige said, “What about her?”
“I didn’t get as good a look as I wanted thanks to YOUR SISTER,” Phoebe said pointedly.
“So sorry,” Paige said. “From now on I’ll keep her chained to her bed.”
“Could the two of you perhaps cut down a bit on the acid?” Piper said. “I’d like to not have to replace the floor.” They looked at her. “Right. Too late for jokes. The blonde woman?”
“Well, she tried to kill me. I’m not sure. In the few seconds I saw her, I got the impression she was very, VERY evil.” The door opened behind them; as Cole walked towards them, he left it open.
Cole said , “Did you get a premonition about a small, bad-tempered blonde?”
“Uh-huh,” Phoebe said. “Um, honey, I know we’re kind of casual around these parts, but it’s still considered good manners to shut the door when you come in. And why are you so late, anyway?”
“The reason I’m so late is standing outside,” he said. “Waiting for a guarantee you’ll hear her out.”
“Is this about the blonde?”
“Yeah, and it’s not a woman. Her name’s Glorificus. She’s a god –“ at the Charmed Ones’ disbelieving looks, he said, “Well, she was powerful enough, she had worshippers and she called herself a god. Not too many people argued with her. She’s dead.”
“Then why are we worried?” Piper asked.
“Because,” a voice said from the doorway, “She’s coming back.”
They recognized the voice; all three spun in their seats and saw the Seer standing there. “What’s in it for you?” Phoebe asked skeptically.
“Because her brand of evil is not MY brand of evil,” the Seer said in her mellifluous voice. “What Glorificus desired before her demise is to return to her home dimension. But the way she plans to return would bring about chaos and anarchy – chaos and anarchy I have no desire to see. Nor should you.”
“If all it’s going to do is mess with your plans,” Paige said.
“The last time she tried it,” the Seer said calmly, “Dragons appeared and a massive building was changed into a habitat for monsters so vile I would have nothing to do with them. And she FAILED that time. If she succeeded –“
Phoebe looked at Cole. “You believe her?” The fact that the last time Cole had encountered the Seer the woman had left him unconscious inside a crypt made Cole’s belief hard to swallow.
Cole nodded. “I do. It took her a couple of hours to convince me – that’s why I’m so late. Back from – back from my time as a demon I remember hearing about her. A being so powerful they simply called her “The Beast.” The Source wasn’t worried about her, but remember . . . the Source was insane.”
“But she’s DEAD,” Piper said.
A voice from the stairs said, “Who’s dead?”
In a voice pushed beyond the edge of patience, Paige said, “Calvin Coolidge. Now go back to bed.”
When it became obvious that no one was going to say anything, Eve went back upstairs.
“You might want to tell your sister,” the Seer said, “to hide in her room for a while. If someone is planning to return Glorificus to the world things could get very dangerous.” Her smile was insincere.
“Thanks for the concern –“ Paige began.
Cole interrupted her, “Sorry, this may be a stupid question,” he said. “But who the hell was that?”