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Tales from the Barman...

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Tales from the barman...". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Ok, simple premise for anyone to join... Xander has opened his own bar, club by the name of 'Nights', anyway he's the barman there and 'collects' stories off his customers, multiple crossings allowed. dig in people.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered(Past Donor)Methos + 119 othersFR18269293,17611712102,222,3388 Feb 0728 Jun 07Yes

Half-Way There by (Current Donor)Shieldage

BtVs by Whedon/Mutant Enemy, Marvel Universe and its characters/events by the parent company and its many artists and writers. Same for DC.
Star Wars by George Lucas and his companies.

Chain Letter 1&2 by Christopher Pike. Multiparagraph digest of the plot and many of the twists appears below, as told by one of the survivors. The books ended some years back, before she left for the university. This assumes she succeeded in her career goals.
The books are twenty years old, so I don't feel too bad about the immense spoilers. I quite like the author, so this may turn some people onto his older - and bloodier - books.

I've stretched some Star Wars backstory, but if I contradict anything or just have it wrong, my apologies.

Referring to #162, 165, 172, 186 (MarcusRowland's Picture and Bartender), 199 (MarcusRowland's Willow), numerous others, and The Empire Strikes Back.
Very indirect reference to Challenge 1598 (Imaginary Xander)

Reviews, corrections and advice on revising much appreciated. :)

As I understand it, this Cain Marko has a counterpart in the Regular Marvel Universe. I'm bringing in a version of Thor that's a rough cross between his Ultimate and Regular incarnations. He may have the newer one's voice and fashion sense, but his hammer is pure old school.

Continuity Note: Both Marvel and DC superheroes exist as natives in this reality, therefore this version of the bar overlaps with some Chapters and not with others.



Part I



Long ago and far away, on the planet Dagobah, in a reality adored by millions of fans... An ancient creature watched his headstrong student fly away, to face an enemy he did not understand.

"Near the end, my time here is," Yoda stated sadly. "Come and gone, my world has. To the next generation, the pieces fall."

As the bright spot that was the X-Wing faded away in the distance, Yoda picked up his stick and began to hobble at a brisk pace towards his goal. He had been putting this off for far too long.

Yoda was old, terribly old, but his race was long lived. If he performed this task, he'd be dead in less than a year.

Dagobah was home to a very powerful cave, one rich in the Dark Side of the Force. For years it had served to mask Yoda's Light Side energy from the Emperor's spies, but the time had come for it to be cleansed.

If Luke succeeded and returned, his training would be over anyway. If the New Jedi Order were to succeed, Yoda had to shed his physical form. Without the strength he had in his youth, he was a walking target. No matter what, tough times were ahead.

If Luke was killed, then his sister would need a guide. Yoda had no way of physically leaving his adopted planet. Thanks to a certain technique he had learned, the loss of his body would leave him one with the Force, able to communicate with his new charge wherever she was in the universe.

If Luke joined the Dark Side, Vader would have Yoda's location. Yoda had no desire to survive long into that future.

Purifying a concentration of such dark energy would not only shorten Yoda's lifespan, it would slightly weaken the Dark Side of the Force. A very very small amount, to be sure, but sometimes tiny shifts are all that is needed for change to happen.

These thoughts and others filled the ancient master's mind as he navigated the treacherous route, avoiding the nastier denizens of the swamp.

He arrived at the dark cave, poisoned by the essence of a twisted Jedi. Yoda was fully prepared to, for once and for all, do battle with the Dark Force within.

Someone had beaten him to it.


"The smell of evil, gone it is," exclaimed Yoda. He was thrown completely off balance.

The amount of energy it must have taken...

Luke had been brought to the place. Yoda had hoped the boy would question its nature and the Jedi Master's reason for living close to it. That had ended disappointingly, but the cave still had been potent.

Now... Yoda entered the cleansed place with his own advice running through his head: "Find you will only what you bring with you..."

In the dimness below, Yoda finally saw the reason for the change. It was far from anything he had expected. Before him stood a wooden door with a knob.

He hadn't seen this particular door in decades.

Relief erasing some of the wrinkles around his tired eyes, he opened the door and stepped through.

...

It was still late afternoon, but Cain Marko was already in Nights, polishing off a gray-tinted beer.

"It's depressing I tell ya, I get this strength from a minor god of destruction, so all I had to do for a fix was go out and shove my fist through a wall... and the wall behind it. But now that I'm a good guy, fighting bad guys, my energy is leaching away. See this muscle right here? Just pitiful..." Cain grimaced as he plunked the empty glass on the table. "Lay another one on me. Something stranger."

"Listen, I've never gained strength from my brushes with the Dark Side of the Force, um, unless you count the hyena," said Xander, as he opened the door where the odd drinks were kept. "So, I can't- AAAAAAAAAAH!"

"Portal! Don't worry! It's okay," Willow's floating head babbled from inside the cabinet. "Have you ever met a Xander from another reality?"

"Er... No," Xander answered, once his heart had stopped racing. It was true as far as he knew. "Why do you ask?"

"We lost our Xander at a party with nineteen other Xanders... No trail of him leaving the multiverse, nothing! We're trying everything we can think of, but..." her voice trailed off, her eyes moist. "It's like he simply ceased to exist."

"Twenty 'me's at a party. Unlucky. Check. Wait..." he said, his brow creased in thought. "Have you searched his room - or his hairbrush - for stray hairs, DNA, anything like that?"

"You think a ritual link would-"

"No, I'm just thinking about a family called Foster and the conservation of energy... Your Xander might have been an imaginary friend empowered by something, a dream-made-real... Your memories and photographs would be valid, because he would have been physically there, but any stray hairs - or bloodstains - would be artifacts sustained by the spell. If that's the case, they've been unraveled along with the rest of his body."

"Gotcha. You sound like you've put some thought into it before," the floating head said, then promptly vanished, back to whichever reality it came from.

"Weirdly enough we, I, had this conversation with my version of Willow," Xander said, then paused, noticing the absence. He finished aloud anyway. "When we were thinking about what might have happened if Dawn had jumped instead of Buffy..."

Cain took a good long look at his empty glass and pushed it away from him.



Xander was still lost in thought when a short green figure took a seat at the bar.

The newcomer had to speak to attract his attention. "Barkeep, tell me, please, gone from here, how long, have I?"

A startled Xander turned to look. He greeted the alien with a warm smile. "Yoda! Good to see you again. Months for us, but... It looks far longer for you. Were Luke and Leia born okay?"

"Yes, on my return to the asteroid colony, within the hour it was. Shame it is, that came your warnings only after the Academy ceased..." Yoda shook his head sadly. He looked up again with a gleam in his eye. "Though handy your advice was. Bribed in advance Owen Lars was, so some training Luke had... Bail Organa leads the Rebel Alliance still. Han Solo he approves of."

"Survived the Death Star, eh? So, where in the, uh, series are you now?"

"Arrived Luke has from the ice planet, Hoth. And left again, in haste."

"Figures. Well, the bar hasn't burned down, again. I threw an amazing birthday bash for Willow, she's been my best friend since childhood," is all that Xander said, but underneath he was thinking: Yeah, Jesse used to be there, back before... we both still miss him. "... It went off without a hitch."

Yoda noticed the faint undertone of pain, but he kept his thoughts to himself. Cain started drumming his fingers on the countertop.

"Weirdly enough, I'm trying to join a band with a Star Wars themed-name," Xander continued, smirking faintly. "Andrew - heh, Yoda, he practically worships the ground you walk on, at least as far as the movies go... He and a couple dimensional expatriates decided Buffy needed a theme song, so they put their heads together. I'd like to be a full member of the band, but I don't have enough free time... Oh, right. This is Cain Marko. He's a regular at the bar, as well as a villain-turned-superhero, you're familiar with the theme."

"Pleased to meet a classic," Cain said. He and Yoda shook hands, which was interesting.

"Well, back to my problems," announced the brown-haired strongman, as he turned to face Xander. "Y'see, despite this problem, I have some hope. That fight a while back with that blue gal, Illyria, gave me a large burst of energy... but now I'm getting antsy. What I really need is an honest, near indestructible hero, with a sense of humor. You know, someone who'll laugh it off and still buy me a beer after I pummel him."

With impeccable timing, Thor - Norse god of thunder - walked into the bar.

"You!" shouted the long-haired deity, apparently not realizing Cain had gone good. They'd fought before.

"You!" shouted the Unstoppable Juggernaut as he rose from his seat, a fierce grin stretched across his face.

What happened next, happened too fast for Xander to see, but it was enough for the wards to eject both heroes.

"Huh," muttered Xander. "I wonder who set that up."


After a couple moments of quiet, Xander caught Yoda's curious expression. "Oh, right, that was Thor. I guess he dropped by to give Cain a work-out."

"Thor? Oooh. Changed he has. Taller too."

"What? Oh. No, not that Thor," Xander said, remembering Yoda's first visit to the bar. "Umm... You have a bunch of semi-aware natural forces floating around places full of stories and beliefs, the natural forces listen, get interested, gain power. Eventually they become the stuff they've heard about. Then they go on and create new stories. Well, he's one of them. Gray Alien Thor either inspired the original bits or modeled himself after them, though I'm quite certain his human-warrior hologram had brown hair..."

Hmm, Xander thought to himself. I need to get those two in a room together...

"Oh yeah, and two important points about deities. One, God," Xander continued, gesturing at the smiley face on the skee-ball. It winked. "Was the only thing fully self-aware before the creation of the multiverse. Two, the first storytellers and believers weren't human, and probably not strictly alive. And, hey... Speaking of that, I have a friend who needs to get a life. Would ya mind showing some of your moves? I mean, I suppose your training skills are somewhat rusty after-"

"Rusty? Rusty? Trained I have, generations of Jedi! Skill like mine, if fades it does, goes slowly."

"Good. Hey, Tallyn! Could ya pull Andrew away from prepping for his D&D game?"

The blonde Slayer poked her head out of the kitchen. She'd come in early to cook. "Ya mean that literally, boss?"

"Umm... Kind of."

"Take it easy. Gotcha."


About a minute later, Andrew Wells was shoved into the main room of the bar. "Hey, I said I only needed a few more sec- ... That's Yoda!! OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod..."

"Drinks, you owe me," Yoda said, as he turned to face Xander. "Many. And food."

"Right. Oh yeah, the favor I asked you? Break it to him, slowly," Xander advised as he poured a small shot of Romulan ale. "Fortunately, he should snap into knowledge-geek mode any second now."

After a bit, Andrew had regained control of his mouth, so he asked: "How is it that you speak English?"

"Power granted by the Force," stated Yoda, his hands moving in a circle. "A name has it not."

"That and the new translation spell on the bar," Xander pointed out.

"Ah," Andrew nodded. "So, would you be here on a mission for the Reformed Jedi Council, eagerly searching for new apprentices?"

"No. Midichlorians flow in my blood, attune they are to the flow of the Force," Yoda answered, head bobbing. "The midichlorians of this reality are not Force-Sensitive, therefore no human here is."

"Oh," Andrew sighed, disappointed.

"However, mind I would not, practice with a student willing to learn meditation and combat..."

Andrew tried to stand up and sit down at the same time, with the net effect of making him look silly. However, his recovery was quick. Once he took a few deep breaths, he was able to slip completely into his 'serious apprentice-leader' mode.

Within seconds Yoda was respectfully yet urgently pulled to the room of the bar set aside for Slayers who wanted to spar, yet didn't want to walk back to their school.



As they left the room, a brunette young woman walked in the front door. The wards tagged her as having limited experience with the supernatural, as well as that she'd been on the good side when things went down. Xander looked up, not expecting to recognize her. Oddly enough, he did.

"It's the weirdest weather out there, fourteen lightning strikes in the last five minutes and no rain," she said as she slid off her coat and hung it over an arm. "Didn't feel safe driving through it. I know it's early, but could I stay in here until it blows over?"

"Sure," Xander said, grinning. "Hey, Tallyn, could you pour some of that wonderful soup? It's on the house for the star of 'Ophelia'."

A pan clanged in the background.

"I wouldn't worry about the storm so much," Xander continued. "I have the odd feeling it's a lot less dangerous then it looks. Er, I'm sorry, I've seen some of the quality work you've done, but... I'm not so much with-"

"Alison Parker," she stated. The Wall caught her attention. She was able to see Methos' sword, most of the pictures, and many other items in detail, but when she tried to examine some of the stranger things, her eyes glazed over visibly - thanks to one of Willow's spells. She turned back to Xander, not realizing she'd missed anything.

"Pleased to meet you. I'm Xander Harris, chief bottle washer and apprentice Nerf Herder."

"They play here?"


At this point, the Slayer emerged from the kitchen. She was grinning from ear to ear as she presented the actress with a restaurant-quality bread bowl full of heavenly-smelling soup.

The bread bowl was replicated. The soup wasn't.

Having a bar on a dimensional nexus helped, a lot, but Xander didn't feel right about charging for the gifts that kept on giving. Like the Romulan Ale, or the Holy Tab.

The replicator was for strictly non-paying customers only. Having an eternally energetic chef who had been trained by an Immortal was one of the main things that kept Nights in the black.

The actress was quickly swept up and seated at one of the nicer tables. After proper introductions were made, Tallyn went back to her cooking.


Xander took the time to admire Alison's odd collection of features, that, when taken as a whole, gave her a distinct beauty. He was familiar with her work because good Shakespeare remakes were required viewing in the Slayer House, just in case life turned into a Renaissance Faire.

Despite himself, he found his gaze being drawn to her left arm. He remembered seeing...

She followed his look, then stared at his face. She stared into his remaining eye and the eyepatch that covered the ruin of the other.

She opened her mouth, closed it, then simply pulled up the left sleeve of her blouse, revealing the scars on her arm.

"Glass panels, in my own house, when I was still in high school," she choked out. There was clearly more to the story.

Xander patted his eyepatch and grinned ruefully. "Fight in a wine cellar. My fourth year past graduation."

"I don't want to talk about it," she simply stated, then returned her interest to the delicious soup.

Somewhat disappointed, and slightly worried, Xander took the hint and returned to his post behind the bar. That was a good thing, because they shortly had company.



A somewhat battered Thor eased himself through the front door of Nights, this time making enough of an impression on the wards that Xander raised an eyebrow.

"You do realize," Xander asked, giving his most intense one-eyed stare. "That you're reading as both 100% deity and as 100% 'man gaining powers from super-science'? That's just... odd."

"It's just a plot by my half-brother Loki trying to gain control of my personal history and use it to drive a wedge between myself and my fellow heroes," Thor stated, an oddly resigned smile on his face. "Pay it no heed."

'Either that, or you're a normal person being set up...' Xander thought to himself, then made a mental note for Willow to increase the wards against deities messing with his head. It had gotten silly by this point.

"You sound like you're getting used to him," Xander said as he polished yet another glass.

"HA! The tales I could tell you," Thor said, then trailed off, his eyes taking in the wall behind the bar. "I guess you have an open mind... Well, let me tell you a tale from our youth, of how we faced the ice giants and saw the fire-born Surtur for the first time..."

'Black gloves with the fingers cut out,' thought Xander, as he poured the Norse god some honeyed mead. 'That's either for that warhammer, or some superhero thing...'

"Sorry to interrupt," Xander said, eyeing the hammer. What was it called? Mjolnir, right. "But my curiosity just got the better of me. Where's Cain?"

"Oh him? Don't tell him I know he joined that British team. I heard he was here looking for exercise and I felt a rematch was in order. Just so you know, the fight's still happening. I simply knocked him across the state. It should be another five minutes before he gets back here."

"Guess again," said Cain from his position at the door.

"Well, it's not that large a state," Thor said as he raised his hammer. The wards ejected them from the bar again.

A brilliant flash of lightning illuminated the bar as the heavy door swung shut.

By now Alison was convinced this was no ordinary bar.


Xander was still standing there, entranced by the sounds of the battle outside, when Andrew ran up, shouting: "Ooh! In Paradise X - an alternate future - Loki gets his father to turn Thor into a girl!"

"Andrew, what have I told you about importing comics from other dimensions?"

"... Call you, give you the list and name the day that I'd finish them by, so you could read them?"

"Exactly."

"I have it right here."

"... Thank you."

"Hey, Xander. Getting Yoda to spend time with me, even though I've been annoying to you... Thanks."

"Welcome. You took over the position of 'guy who gets tied up for comic relief', once I'd grown out of it, so it's the least I can do. Just don't go Sith on us, okay?"

"Cool! Er, I won't."

"Good."


"Given me this, Andrew has," Yoda said, as he hobbled up on a brand new cane made of rosy-colored wood. "Ooh, and very useful it is, too."

He twisted the cane one way and, ffffftt, the dartboard across the room sported a few new feathers. He twisted it another way and eight inches of stainless steel popped out.

"Fabricate replacement darts on Dagobah, I can. Served me well, my old cane has. Buried it with me I would have, but to leave a body behind is something I do not plan to do," Yoda said with a conspiratorial wink.

The Master Jedi very carefully placed the walking stick he had been using for decades on the polished surface of the bar. "Rare wood this is, from Genesia. Guard it well."

"Gimer wood is used as an aid in meditation and can sustain its owner in the absence of food, " Andrew stated, apparently quoting from memory. "That's why I decided his new cane had to be made of enchanted apple wood. It offers health and the promise of choice."

"Well, that's very nice of you, Andrew," Xander stated as he gingerly picked the offered stick off the table. "Yoda, I will be sure to put this in a place of honor, right above the... Enchanted? Exactly how long have you been planning this?"

"Umm, as soon as I heard Yoda had stopped by I started planning and saving, most of my share of proceeds from the band has gone to pay for this... I just wanted to show Yoda how much respect he has in this world, just in case he ever happened to be here again... Yoda, hey-hows-about-you-rapping-for-my-band? You'd fit in."

"What?"

"What?"

"What?" asked Alison Parker, who'd walked over to get a closer look.

"Or at least play the blissl?" Andrew wheedled, pointing at the flute hanging from Yoda's neck.
"You ready to talk?" Xander asked Alison. She mutely nodded yes, so they segued back to her table, away from the weirdness.


Part II


"I'm going to tell this," Alison Parker started, with a pained expression on her face. "Roughly in the order it happened, which isn't at all what it was like to live through it... There was a Satanic cult in the San Bernadino Valley, where I used to live, that believed they could achieve immortality through human sacrifice. They took a guy away from his wife, shoved a needle in his brain and left him to die in the desert. My friends and I were driving home that night from a concert when our car was drawn to his body...

"We'd lost control of the vehicle, had gotten pretty far off-road, our driver was tipsy and our lights were off - Dumb story - when we hit him. Not knowing what to do - and somewhat certain we had killed him - we buried the guy and swore ourselves to secrecy. Not our brightest moment. During the burial, one of us - Neil - quietly pocketed the guy's expensive ring. He didn't start wearing it for a couple months, so none of us made the connection...

"Senior year started well enough, I had been cast as the lead actress in a play. One of the girls from the car was in a supporting role, another was on set design, so we'd hang together after school. That's when the first Chain Letter arrived. The envelope was a horrid purple, it reminded me of rotting meat, and there wasn't a return address. The letter inside was from someone claiming to be 'The Observer - The Recorder - The Punisher - The Caretaker' and it had our names and three columns - like this -" she said and grabbed a bar napkin.


Dawn Summers popped out of the back room where she'd been studying. She moved as fast as she could with an open laptop, over to Xander and Alison's conversation.

"Xander, I set a program up to report any live news feeds directly related to the bar. It looks like Cain's on TV," she interrupted, placing the computer on the table, next to the remains of the meal. Then she spotted Yoda and Andrew meditating... "Yoda's training Andrew?? My turn!" she yelled as she ran to them.

--"Well, it looks like another random fight between superheroes out there."

--"Yes, James, I heard Juggernaut was operating out of London. Think this could be a result of international tensions?"

--"Maybe, Sally, but as you know, both 'heroes'
claim to draw power from patron deities. It could be a turf war... Oh, wait. It looks like two members of the JLA have arrived. Can you make out what they're saying?"

--"No, but it seems this fight is almost over," the female newscaster said as Wonder Woman went after Cain with her lasso. "It seems like Batman has squared off against Thor. Think it's true that S.H.I.E.L.D. has provided him - not the rest of the JLA, but specifically
him - with the weaknesses of most known superheroes?"

--"Not unless Thor's weakness is smoke grenades. Switching to infrared. Darn! That was a thermal smoke bomb, I can't see what's happening on this spectrum either!"

--"Goes to show that 'the Bat' is prepared for nearly anything. Well, it seems that Thor's hammer is arcing out of the smoke and up, up, up in the sky... Wait! What if it hits someone?"

--"Oh, good, there's the Batwing-" James said as the black aircraft fired something at the runaway warhammer. "Do you think that's Robin, or that it's being powered by remote control?"

--"I don't know, but the hammer's headed off in a new direction. Probably a precisely calculated geometric angle designed to carry it to somewhere safe."

--"Lost track of it. What would you say, a street in the low fifties?"

--"More like--"


At that point, one of the concealed windows in the bar exploded and the immense hammer thudded to the floor.


Startled, Alison and Xander leaped to their feet, only to slowly sit down again. The screen of the laptop quietly went black.

"Did he come through the window too?" Alison asked, pointing towards Yoda.

"No. The broom closet."

"Ah. Where was I?" she asked. After a moments thought, she wrote down the first names of her friends, though she did decide to leave Detective Eric out of the story completely...


The list of names, reading Fran Kipp Brenda Neil Joan Tony Alison, was lined up next to the empty Column II and Column III.

"Coded instructions for each of us would appear in the Personals section of the newspaper. If we did the task, we were to advance our name one Column and pass it on to the next person. The Caretaker threatened us with suffering if we failed in a task and with turning us in for manslaughter - or worse - if we went to the police. Fran vandalized a mural she was proud of. Kipp refused to flunk Calculus and his brakes were cut. Brenda insulted our director and was kicked off the play. Neil faked a seizure in class, he'd been sick anyway but he was sensitive about it. Joan had a rebel image so, when she refused to dress as a clown, a jar of cockroaches was thrown through her bedroom window. Tony, my new boyfriend, refused to throw a race, but his drink was spiked with tranquilizer before he even got on the track. I wasn't about to flub my lines opening night, so the set collapsed on me. Then Column III started...

"We'd gotten frankly sick of it and the demands were getting worse, so Fran went to stay out of town. She disappeared. Kipp vanished, leaving his bedroom doused in human blood. Brenda told every teacher in school to go to Hell, so she was okay, but... Neil's house burned down when his mother was away. We identified the body by the ring Neil had been wearing the past couple weeks. We found out then that Neil had a fatal brain tumor... Neil's mother had no idea where the expensive emerald ring had come from, so Tony went back to the place in the desert we'd buried the man. Tony found the man's empty grave and realized Neil must have faked his own death using the body. It was too late though, Brenda and Joan had already been kidnapped at gunpoint. I had my own gun and managed to stay ahead of Neil for a bit, but he'd jammed my front door and I managed to get these scars trying to escape. Well, we ended up bound in a basement - Kipp was okay, oddly enough the blood wasn't his...

"Tony arrived and we had our showdown. Neil finally came to his senses and... We basically forgave him. He passed away a few weeks later in a cabin in the woods, mostly at peace, despite the brain tumor. His mom never found out he'd survived the fire. Tony buried Neil in the desert in the old grave and all was well until the Chain Letter arrived again. Behind the scenes, one of the Satanic cult members had been whispering lies into Neil's ear and she was the real Caretaker... Only not quite. After dumping the man's body that night in the desert where everything started, this woman, this... Jane... committed ritual suicide. Her very dead body walked out of the morgue that night...

"The new letter that Jane had sent had five names in Column III. If we did the tasks we would be closing our names inside a Box. It turned out the Box was mostly real and entering it would quite possibly mean damning our souls... The tasks amounted to mutilation and murder, so when Fran and Kipp refused to carry them out, they died in accidents arranged by undead Jane. Undead Jane also seduced Tony, we'd somewhat broken up over my choice of university, so he was being brainwashed in a much more direct way than she had done with Neil. My name had been left off the list along with Neil's so, only half-realizing it, I went up to the cabin where he'd died to be closer to him. He'd had a huge crush on me and I had never really seen it...

"Though I didn't realize it then, Neil was waiting for me there. It was an idealized version of Neil, made up of all of the good in him, so he wasn't exactly recognizable, but he gave me some good advice. I left in a better mood, not realizing I'd talked to an angel, or a ghost... Meanwhile, Brenda had cut off her finger and put her name into the Box. Joan loaded her father's gun and gave it to Tony. Tony and Undead Jane arrived at the grave in the desert to kill me. I'd found out about Undead Jane's walk from the morgue and was trying to find out if Neil had done the same... I loved Tony and I knew that he was under her control or he'd never try to kill me. I couldn't let her damn him so, during the struggle, after telling him what I was about to do, I pulled the trigger on the gun and shot myself in the chest...

"Tony came to his senses and shot Undead Jane point blank in the forehead. She collapsed to the ground, embalming fluid flying everywhere. Angelic Neil appeared out of the desert, just in time for some kind of dark parasite to emerge from Undead Jane and try to escape across the dirt. Before it could reach my mouth, angelic Neil squished it. Once the real 'Caretaker', I guess that's what it was, had been destroyed, Neil started to walk away, but Tony recognized him. Tony begged him to save my life. Tony was asking for a miracle. After a bit, Neil took hold of Tony and told him that Joan hadn't put her name in the Box. She'd loaded the gun with blanks. I was okay, just bleeding and in shock, but even a blank can kill a person if the gun is pressed to their forehead, like Tony had done to Jane... So I guess a miracle was granted, though it's all in how you look at it."



"Wow," Xander breathed, but Alison wasn't quite done yet. Out of her purse came a Ziploc bag, holding something wrapped in a paper towel. After it was unwrapped, she slid the mottled purple envelope over to Xander. A pale green letter could barely be seen inside.

"I've been carrying this around with me," she said, after another mouthful of water. "For a long time now, as a reminder, as a warning. I heard what you said about keeping objects on your Wall, guarding them, I want you to take it..."

In the background, Andrew and Dawn were arguing. The fight reached such a heated level that Yoda stood up and hobbled away from them, towards the front of the bar.

"Thanks for listening, I needed that... But now," Alison continued. "Any questions or comments? Except for asking what happened to Brenda, afterwards... That I won't talk about."

Yoda bent over the immense warhammer where it lay on the floor. It seemed to shrink at his touch.

"God exists," Xander stated, confidently. "So if you want the spiritual explanation, then your friend, Neil, may have wound up as an actual Angel. If you go the scientific route, then he, like a friend of mine named Daniel Jackson, may have Ascended... You know how Obi Wan and Yoda became one with the Force at the end of Star Wars? Nearly exactly like that."

Yoda lifted the shrunken hammer to get a better look at the inscription. He read the words to himself in a breath barely above a whisper: "WHOSOEVER HOLDS THIS HAMMER, IF HE BE WORTHY, SHALL POSSESS THE POWER OF THOR"

"Speaking of which," Alison asked, gesturing in the Jedi's direction. "Exactly why is he-"

"Now that's a long story," Xander said, with an easy smile. "It all started when... OH MY GOD! Yoda! Don't Touch-!!"


A bright bolt of lighting shot into the bar, through the crack in the window. It completely enveloped Yoda and Mjolnir.

The thunder was deafening.

When it cleared, a new Yoda was standing there.

He had grown seven inches and put on a few more pounds of pure muscle.

Newly clad in a winged helmet and body armor, the alien master held the warhammer like it had been made for him.


Xander jumped up from the table, abandoning the gaping actress, and ran towards the 'odd' drinks cabinet. The one-eyed bartender had no thoughts on his mind other than pouring himself a shot of something strong, because - even for Nights - this level of weirdness was practically overwhelming.

When Xander opened the cabinet's door, a glossy piece of photographic paper slid out onto the floor. He bent over to pick it up.

It was a print of a wall very much like his Wall... A close-up of two photographs.

The left photo showed two women. The dark-skinned woman, from her leather duster and her name signed at the bottom, was Nikki Wood, the Slayer, Robin Wood's mom. The other woman, who'd signed her name 'Melaka', wasn't recognizable, except for the fact she was holding Buffy's Scythe...

The right photo had an older version of Xander and Willow's best friend Jesse. What he might have looked like if he hadn't died and become dust in the Bronze so many years ago... What he might have looked like if he'd survived and opened a bar, very much like Xander had done...



As the front door opened and the bar was suddenly full of superheroes trying to find out what the heck was going on, Xander very quietly pinned the print to the Wall.

He'd frame it later, but that was later...

It'd been a long day at Nights, and it wasn't even dusk yet.



Author's Note: Well, it looks like communication, however indirect, has been set up between alternate versions of the bar - Thank you very much MarcusRowland, for creating the two others in question, as well as to Methos for founding it in the first place.
I'm leaving the fate of Yoda-Thor (as well as his name) up to you guys and your imagination. Want to add another chapter with him, or a spin-off fic? Will he pull a Beta Ray Bill and have his apple-wood cane enchanted into his own miniature Mjolnir? Or will he, somehow,
become the New Thor?
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