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Environmental Difference

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Summary: Wade and Quinn rescue Doyle, a souled Darla, Lindsey, Wesley, Cordelia and Gunn from their First Evil overrun world. On their Earth, Faith, Dawn and Xander run into them. Set one month after Not Fade Away. Now with fluffy epilogue to explain plot gaps.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Sliders(Moderator)KiwikatipoFR152060,07324311,6529 Dec 0610 Jan 07Yes

Fugitives

Environmental difference

Author: Kiwikatipo

Disclaimer: BtVS and Angel belong to Joss Whedon/ Sliders belong to Tracey Torme Fox/Sci fi channel I don’t own them, someone else does.
Timeline: One year after ‘Chosen’ a month after ‘Not Fade Away’. June 2004.

Summary: The folks from Sliders were always running into clones of themselves. This pair of Sliders are the double of the Quinn Mallory from the very first episode (he had complete control of his sliding device) who is married to this world’s Wade. So are they on Buffy's world or in yet another doppelganger universe? You work it out.


San Francisco
Russian Hill
1st June 2004

“You know honey?” Wade said to her university professor husband in the bathroom that morning. “I’m positive we did the right thing bringing those poor guys back through the vortex with us. But I don’t know how they’ll adjust to this world, especially Cordelia Chase.”

“She’s a talented stage actress isn’t she?” Quinn shrugged, rinsing his razor blade in the sink. “She’ll land a role in a commercial or something in no time.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Wade still looked dubious. “But you’re right I guess. A girl born on the wrong side of the tracks like Cordelia is a born survivor.”

****

Wes jumped startled, instinctively reaching for the knife he carried in his jacket. Something had brushed against his arm as he napped on the Mallorys’ couch.

“Relax Wyndam.” Cordelia ordered, her long black hair swinging against his face. “We’re safe remember?”

“Hard to bloody take it in.” Wes looked up at her with red rimed eyes. “What do you want, Ms. Chase?”

“Your pack of cigarettes. I’ve run out.” Cordelia sighed. “I can’t find my brand on this world either huh? There’re no Luckies, but only Morley’s in the same color packaging. It’s a fricking downer.”

Wes felt in his jacket. “Here...” He handed his cigarettes to her, then got up himself.

Cordelia and Wes sat on the Mallorys’ balcony, looking at the peaceful harbor scene below them. Their cigarettes shared outside were going to be a regular occurrence for them both, from now on they realized. No one seemed to smoke much here, not compared to back on their world. You couldn’t even smoke in bars in this California.

“So what are you gonna do?” Cordelia asked him curiously, leaning back on the patio swing chair she was seated on. “Now we’re here in this world. Contact the Watcher’s Council? See your Mom?”

“No, my double died last month on this world. It would upset Mum too much, but she’s not my real mother is she? My mother, Leslie Wyndam divorced my arsehole father Roger Pryce when I was four. He’s alive in this world apparently. Wonder if he’s a prick in this dimension too.” Wes mused. “No… I think I’ll go solo demon hunting. There’s money to be made if one goes about it the right way.”

“I can totally see you doing that. A cold son of a bitch like you, Wyndam.” Cordelia confirmed without malice. “I’m not big with the family reunion crap with my parents either. Although it seems my Dad’s in jail in this dimension as well. But not for armed robbery - tax fraud. What a fricking joke… like Dad could count past twenty thanks to the brain injury he got in the Gulf.”

“There’s a second Gulf war going on in this dimension.” Wes mentioned. “And terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center Towers, not the Empire State building on 9/11 but politically it seems much the same as our world.”

“Except it hasn’t been taken over by the First Evil and super ugly vampires.” Cordelia reminded him.

“Yes, there is that minor difference of course.” Wes sighed. And Faith was alive here. But Wes was trying not to think of that. It would be a mistake to get in contact with her. He had to keep telling himself whoever this world’s slayer was… she wouldn’t be his Faith.

****

“My darling boy.” Darla crooned to her two year old son in her lap. Oh how she loved him. The only good thing in her world she and his father had ever produced together.

A male hand was passing her a mug. She drank down the warmed pig blood her partner gave her gratefully.

“Thanks, you still my protector in this world, my only love?” she asked rhetorically. She knew the Midwestern man would be. Their love was eternal. Well as long as he lived. They had fifty years left tops she supposed. He was healthy but took risks.

Lindsey McDonald kissed his undead lover affectionately on the top of her blonde head. “Always Darla.”

“Do you think you can get a job here?” Darla asked him, as he took her son Connor from her. She gestured to their surroundings with her head. “I love what the Mallorys' have done with their basement.” She smiled sarcastically. “But I want us to have our own place again. With a view please. I do love a view.”

“We’ll get our own place again with UV light filters on the windows. Up high, overlooking the bay.” Lindsey promised, rolling a ball to Connor and making the toddler giggle. “I just need to get fake ID and papers, then I can start working as a paramedic again.”

“You’ll give and give in this world too? Saving everyone, just like you saved me.” Darla smirked. “Good thing I’m here to take care of you.”

“Good thing I’m here to look after Connor, when Doyle’s visions send you off on more hairy adventures in the middle of the night.” Lindsey added. He picked up his step son. Connor’s father had been the most evil vampire that had ever existed. Lindsey's mortal enemy.

“Come on, little guy, Dad’s gonna take you for a walk in the park.” Lindsay loved Connor like his own son.

Lindsay walked up the basement stairs as Doyle and Gunn came down them. Lindsey frowned at Gunn. Lindsey would have been happy to leave Gunn behind to die. But Darla had said that wouldn’t be right.

At the time Lindsey left his home world, Wade and Quinn had been screaming at everyone to jump now before the vortex closed. Lindsey had been holding Connor. Wes Wyndam dragged a sobbing Cordelia off her boyfriend’s dead body. Wyndam had thrown the young actress through the vortex then jumped himself. Doyle had pushed Lindsey and Connor through the vortex with him. Darla apparently untied the on and off evil Wolfram and Hart lawyer from his chair. Pulling Charles Gunn through the vortex with her.

It had been a good thing the Mallorys’ had been telling the truth. The refugees indeed emerged in the Mallorys’ basement. Otherwise Darla would have gone up in smoke in the midday sun.

“So have you thought over our offer, Charles?” Darla drained the last drop of pig’s blood out of her cup. She didn’t want to worry everyone, but it wasn’t as nutritionally satisfying to her as the blood back on her own world.

“Yeah, be your muscle basically now that Groo is dead.” Gunn sneered. “I’m a lawyer, Darla. I grew up in the Haight district in Frisco remember? Not participating in street fights in the hood. I don’t see what use I’d be to you.”

“You need to fan those dying embers of your own goodness, Charles, before they burn out.” Darla twisted her mouth. “You can’t give up on redeeming yourself. Satan’s law firm might not want you anymore, but Doyle and I do.”

****
20th June 2004
San Francisco

Wade and Quinn dropped into Darla and Doyle’s new office. Cordelia was polishing the sign that read 'D & D Supernatural Investigations' ‘we save the forsaken’.

“Impressive,” Wade admired. “So got many cases?”

“Yeah, they’re rolling in.” Cordelia replied, hanging the sign back up on the office front door. “Darla’s a good business woman. I guess being a merchant’s wife back in colonial Virginia always set her up for it.”

“So how did someone like that wind up a vampire?” Wade asked intrigued, sitting on a desk adorned with a vase of flowers.

“Um, she was dying in childbirth. No cesareans back then. (That was how she had Connor, by c-section.) This Master Vampire wanted to torment her husband. Ripped the dead child from her belly then turned her. Gross, but vampires are gross. Can’t believe I’m working for Darla again.” Cordelia shrugged resignedly.

Back to the same gig as when Cordelia had first hit San Francisco a teenage runaway. Working for a vampire bitch with a soul and a psychic Irishman with booze and gambling problems. Cordelia’s rent needed to be paid. She was staying downstairs in Quinn’s mom’s place.

“Got a part in a play in a local theater group at least.” Cordelia volunteered to her new friends. “I’d ask you to come along to a performance except it’s avante garde B.S.”

“You’re too hard on yourself, princess.” Doyle entered the office with a battle axe dripping green blood. “Top of the morning to you, Wade, Quinn.”

“Oh I’m sorry.” Cordelia looked around her blankly. “Did a half demon Irish moron speak?”

“You hold bloody grudges, woman.” Doyle opened the fridge door and drew out a soft drink.

“Yeah…I do.” Cordelia narrowed her eyes at him, not just because he had left green blood on the floor from his axe. She blamed Doyle for Groo’s death. She had to blame someone. But she and Doyle were happy to pretend that her beef with him today was that he had accidentally erased a message on the answer phone from her new agent.

****
1st August 2004
San Francisco

On the rolling lawns of San Francisco University’s grounds, a young girl sat in the hot sun. She was reading a book she had ‘borrowed’ from the library. She wasn’t a student at the college. In fact Dawn Summers was intending to go to Oxford University in a year. To study being a watcher. But her Dad had moved to San Francisco last fall. He had begged Dawn to come stay with him this summer. Make up for his mid life crisis induced neglect of her and Buffy the past five years.

Buffy involved with her life in Rome had told Dawn to have a good time, but not get her hopes up. Dad had turned out to be a loser sadly. The fact Hank Summer’s couldn’t make his second marriage work with his Spanish secretary just confirmed it for Buffy.

A scuzzy looking demon came up to Dawn. “Good book? I’m sensing you’re struggling with it.” He sat down uninvited beside her. He picked at a blade of grass.

“Yeah I am a little, you need to be big with the deciphering of medieval Russian to enjoy its finer points.” Dawn drawled. “Who are you and what do you want, apart from a ski mask over your head?” The demon did not blend in a crowd. He was butt ugly.

“My name’s Barney.” The demon held out his hand. “I’m a demon as you’ve probably noticed. I heard through networking your sister’s a slayer.”

“Yeah.” Dawn nodded, not taking his hand. “I guess your ears are big enough to pick up a whole lot.”

“You’re kinda hostile.” Barney was hurt.

“I grew up on a Hellmouth and spent the last year attending an international Roman high school. I drip with the survival instinct when it comes to sleazebags.” Dawn shrugged. “So I repeat, Barney, what do you want from me?”

“Your help.” Barney looked as innocent as he knew how.

***

In her office Darla was frowning at a case file. They undercharged on that one definitely. The client was from Pacific Heights. Cordelia should have billed her higher. Oh Doyle approved it. That explained it.

Darla smelled someone she knew come into the office. It was Wes, dressed in motorcycle leathers.

“Hello Darla. I need your undead souled assistance with something.” Wes requested, motorcycle helmet under his arm. “Don’t expect me to give you a ruddy penny for it either.”

“I do so loathe cheap Englishmen, Wes.” Darla warned him. Her stomach growled with hunger. Damn. She was starving. Lindsay was worried about the weight she’d lost since they’d come to this world. Said she’d have to start drinking human blood. He could get a job in a blood bank, slip her some.

“You look ill.” Wes mentioned. “Gaunt.”

“How personal of you to mention that.” Darla walked over to the refrigerator. Allowing her demon visage to show when she drank the pig’s blood. It was like drinking water when she needed wine.

“Have you tried other animals’ blood, chimpanzee, gorilla?” Wes suggested. He had suspected Darla would have problems digesting the pigs’ blood here. The pork on this world tasted strange to them all for some reason.

“Why yes, I simply call the keepers at the zoo once a week, ask them to send over Bobo the chimp for a TV dinner while I watch American Idol.” Darla kept her vampire appearance. She was turning into more of a bitch than normal she knew.

****

“So this demon assassin’s hunting you?” Dawn drank her milkshake in the campus Ice cream parlor. “Why?” She swished her straw in the contents of her glass. “Guy must have a reason.”

“I never said I was a Boy Scout.” Barney said honestly. “I’m an empathy demon. I can read emotions. It gives me a slight advantage at cards. You know, Black Jack, Poker. Ooh, it’s also good for the fights. Like right now you have an ice cream headache from your milkshake.”

“Uh huh, you sound like a con artist. Anyhoo, as regards to your major stalking problem, what do you expect me to do about it?” Dawn asked puzzled. “I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m a seventeen year old high school student on vacation with her Dad. Not a demon bodyguard.”

“I thought maybe you could hide me out?” Barney said hopefully. “Put me up. I’d behave like a gentleman, um gentle demon. I swear.” He stifled a burp from eating his ice cream sundae too fast.

“I’m real sorry but no. My dad would have a heart attack.” Dawn shook her head. “He doesn’t realize that demons exist even.”

“Oh, that’s a shame ‘cause I hear your big sister was always hiding out fugitives. Ex vengeance demons, innocent werewolves, on the run soldiers, chipped vampires, murderers…” Barney paused watching Dawn’s expression closely. “Like that super nerd kid.”

“Yeah well, I am so not Buffy in that regard.” Dawn shrugged callously. “I’m sorry honestly. I hear on the grapevine that some new supernatural private eye firm has opened up downtown. Try them.” She stood up to leave.

“Yeah I will, thanks for your time and the sundae.” Barney smiled greasily.

“No problem. Sorry again not to be more help.” Dawn walked off quickly. Crap was he onto her?

Barney picked up his cell phone once Dawn was out of sight. “It’s me,” he said excitedly. “I think I know where she is.”


****

Dawn unlocked the door to her father’s house. “Honey, I’m home.” She called jokingly.

She went into the fridge to get herself one of her Dad’s beers. She picked one up for her house guest as well.

She walked into the living room. Faith was curled up on the couch watching the news. Dawn passed Faith a beer bottle and glass.

Faith didn’t know why Dawn wanted to create dishes by putting beer in a glass, but shit it was Dawn’s house. Faith owed the kid big time right now.

“You been on the idiot box again?” Dawn asked Faith, sitting down beside her on the couch. She sipped her beer. Faith might have tried to kill Dawn when she was twelve, but at least Faith didn’t give her grief about drinking underage.

“Yeah. You sure your old man isn’t gonna catch on, that I’m the wanted fugitive being shown on the news flashes every damn day?” Faith worried.

“Nope, Dad lives on his own freaking little planet.” Dawn said bitterly. “And hey Faith, I have a favor to ask, don’t punch me in the face okay? When I put in my request.”

“Uh,huh. I’m reformed remember. What gives? Have I not been picking up after myself enough?” Faith wiped at the mark her beer glass left on the coffee table guiltily. Oops.

“Please don’t screw my Dad.” Dawn said bluntly.

“Whoa, Hank baby came on to me, Dawnie. And I didn’t okay? I turned him down. I’m real sorry you walked in on him making a pass at me in the kitchen.” Faith said virtuously. “Good thing he’s outta town this week huh?”

“Yeah, because that’s why you invite your daughter to stay, so you can leave her, while you take off for some dumb sales convention.” Dawn picked at a fingernail crossly. “No wonder I have freaking abandonment issues.”

***

Lindsey walked into the D & D office with Connor in his arms. The vampire he loved was busy talking to Gunn, Doyle and it looked like Wes Wyndam was back in San Francisco. Wes was looking better than Lindsay had seen him last. They all were apart from Darla.

“So you free to come home, baby?” Lindsey asked Darla. His immortal beloved was not well, not strong. She was starving to death sort of. Darla was of course already dead. And too afraid to drink human blood in case it changed her personality.

“No, Wyndam here, wants me to find some boring demon kidnapper.” Darla sighed. “This demon’s tedious M.O. is to capture his victims and then auction their body parts off at auctions down in L.A. it looks like our dear friends Wolfram and Hart often put in bids.” She looked at Gunn expectantly.

“Yeah, I’m on to it, Darla.” Gunn stretched. “What’s the weather like outside?” He asked Lindsay.

“Hot.” Lindsey held out Connor to give his mother a kiss good bye.

Doyle spilled his coffee cup. He put his hands to his head in pain.

“Oh use your demon form to receive the vision, Doyle.” Darla snarled bored. “You get no sympathy from me, you melodramatic Paddy.”

Darla went to hug Connor good bye. She sniffed her son’s hair. The toddler smelled so delicious. In a maternal way! Darla thought that in a maternal way, she did, she truly did.

She kissed Lindsey farewell lingeringly. She could hear his heartbeat calling to her.

Darla pulled herself together. Perhaps she’d kill a stray dog tonight on the way home. She probably needed fresh living blood that was all.

She turned to her business partner. Doyle was bracing himself against the desk gasping. Wyndam and Gunn watching concerned.

“So are you going to write the details down? Or pose like that so I can see how you don’t work out enough?” Darla hinted delicately to Doyle.

“When I’ve recovered from the blinding headache the vision just gave me, you undead sow, I will.” Doyle snapped.

Darla held out a pen and pad. “Never going gray, but becoming rapidly more irritated.”

Doyle groaned and wrote down the address. “It’s a teenage girl and her room mate I think. A young woman, can’t make her out. They’re going to be attacked in an hour by two demons. They have black greasy hair, blue skin, a mouthful of fangs and four eyes each. Nasty looking bastards.”

“Great, another freebie we have to do.” Darla bitched. She picked up a battle axe from the cabinet on the wall. “Did it look like they could afford to pay us?”

“Well, the address is in Pacific Heights so probably.” Gunn took down a crossbow. He’d been practicing, he thought he’d got pretty darn good with the thing.

“Need some help?” Wes offered to them.

“Oh the more the merrier, Wyndam darling, I’ve always thought that.” Darla leered.
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