And now for something completely the same...
A Higher Authority
Author: BigHead / firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: See Part 1
Chapter 3 – And now for something completely the same...
It all had gone nowhere fast.
Giles had made a couple phone calls to have someone come and replace his door, and now was researching one of his old books. Jenny was talking softly with Cordelia, the latter little by little getting back to some semblance of normalcy. Their first option on finding more about the characters they had dressed as came empty, since the phone in Xander’s home just rang without anyone picking it up.
“Anything?” Jenny asked softly. He raised his head from the tome, closing it.
“Nothing solid, and no good news, so far. Whatever Ethan did, it is far above anything I’m finding in my books. Every spell, every invocation that I’ve reviewed has a time limit, which is typically nothing longer than a few hours. We should have returned to normal by now.”
“So, something else is keeping us like that. Do you think this might be permanent?” she asked.
“Without further information, I can’t answer that,” he said, cleaning his glasses. “I’m sorry,” he said, touching her shoulder in a supportive manner.
“Nothing to be sorry for. It’s not…”
::Jenny?:: the voice echoed inside her brain, and she jumped, surprised. Radiotelepathy? How?
::Xander? Where are you?:: she asked, while turning to address Giles. “I’m talking to Xander,” she said, and the British man looked at her oddly. “Radiotelepathy,” she explained, getting another even odder look.
::You won’t believe if I tell you, so it’s better if I show you. Where are you?::
::I’ll be there in a sec.::
As soon as he finished ‘talking’, right in the middle of Giles’ living room, a yellowish wall of energy appeared. The Watcher, not knowing what to expect, pushed her aside, covering her with his own body. It would be sweet, if Jenny was just a defenseless girl, which she wasn’t anymore. However, the surprise of seeing the interface to the Carrier’s Embarkation Room supplanted whatever reaction she might have.
“Holy fucking shit,” she voiced out loud. Cordelia had back-stepped closer to them, afraid of whatever might come from it, until a moment later it disengorged a smiling Xander, carrying a small blonde girl in a lady’s dress in his arms.
“I come in peace, bearing gifts,” he said with a smirk. Behind him, the door disappeared.
“Xander? Buffy?” Giles looked at them, surprised.
“Hi there, G-Man. Where can I deposit our sleeping lady?” he asked.
“Is she all right?” he asked, worried.
“Perfectly fine, just asleep,” the teen said.
“W-well, I believe the couch to be sufficient for now.”
He deposited the Slayer with the utmost care, and then turned back to them. “Hi there.”
“Does that take us to where I think it takes us?” Jenny asked first, pointing to where the door had been a few moments ago.
“Yes, and we have a lot to talk about, but first things first. Hey, Cordy,” he said, coming closer to the shook up woman.
“Nice light show, dweeb,” she said, but her voice had no hint of its previous strength.
“I know. Look, I know from someone knowledgeable enough that what you’re feeling, or better, not feeling, is temporary. Your body is still adjusting to the changes, your nerve clusters are taking a bit longer to adapt, that’s all. You’ll go back to your nearly former self in about a week.”
“You mean I won’t be a freak anymore?” she asked, hopeful.
“Not exactly,” he said in what he hoped was a comforting voice. “You’ll go back to feel enough to behave normally, but the changes like the speed, strength and invulnerability are permanent. You’ll have to train so you don’t hurt anyone with your strength.”
She nodded, in silence, trying to absorb what he had just told her. “I’m a freak,” she murmured.
“No, you’re Cordelia Chase, Queen of Sunnydale High. And you’ll be even more,” Xander said, mysteriously.
“What happened, Xander? How do you know so much? What was that bloody thing you appeared from?” Giles asked, his accent returning with his nervousness.
“I think we all should have a seat, this might take a bit to explain,” the teen said, and they all found some comfortable places to sit, even with Buffy taking most of the couch. Xander himself sat at one end of the couch, and put Buffy’s head in his lap, and started to caress her hair slightly.
“What did you guys find, so far?” he asked to Giles and Jenny.
“That an old…friend of mine did enchant our clothes to make us turn into the characters. However, what I found so far doesn’t allow the enchantments to remain for so long. We should have gone back to normal already.”
Xander nodded. “I know parts of why this happened, but not the entire deal. My…benefactor, who shall remain anonymous for the time being, explained parts of what happened, but not the entire deal. You see, she said she came from the future, and I have every reason to believe what she said is true, because she told me things about myself that I never, ever, spoke to anyone alive, yet.”
“How do you know she’s – and since you called her a ‘she’, I believe her to be female - trustworthy?” Jenny asked.
“I don’t, but what she told me won’t change the fact that I should or should not trust her about the information. She said herself she couldn’t tell me much, by fear that we could irrevocably change the future, so things must progress as they should. What she told me were bits and pieces that would help our journey progress smoother, like what I just told Cordy here. One other thing she told me is that what Ethan did was to make an invocation to Janus last night, using a bust of the god as a focal point.”
Giles nodded. “This fits with one of my research venues, but unless Janus himself manifested on this plane and empowered each and every one of us personally, the effects would be gone by sunrise.”
“Yes, I know that as well. However, she didn’t say why we kept our powers, but she went as far as to say they would be needed in the days to come. What we need to do now is try to figure out why we maintained those powers, and what happened last night, because I don’t remember much, I just remember until I killed Spike, and the rest is a blur.”
“You killed Spike?” Giles jumped from his seat, surprised.
“Didn’t even break a sweat to do it,” Xander said, proudly.
“How this is possible? He’s responsible for killing two Slayers already, and he’s known to be one of the worst, most vicious vampires in existence,” the Watcher continued, flabbergasted.
“You want to explain it, or should I?” The teen asked, turning to Jenny.
Jenny turned to Giles. “From what my memories tell me, I believe Xander wouldn’t have too much difficulty to kill the entire demon population of Sunnydale and still leave the city standing afterwards.”
“H-how?” the older man sat again.
“All thanks to a fictional character called Bendix, a bastard who created the ultimate soldier, the Midnighter. And who is the character I dressed as, last night. I can analyze a fight a million times before someone moves a muscle, and the outcome is decided before it even began. I win.”
“Always,” he finished, darkly.
“Y-you can defeat a Slayer?” Giles asked, looking minutely to Buffy, sleeping comfortably against the teen’s leg.
“In two moves,” Xander replied. “But I have no intention on fighting Buffy, unless if it is for sparring. She’s a friend, and I protect my friends, always.”
They remained silent for a few moments, trying to absorb what the teen had said, so far.
“And me?” Cordy asked.
“We’ve never been close, Cordelia, but even with all our barbs towards each other, I still consider you a friend. So, if you need me, for anything, I’ll be there. Besides, I have some more knowledge of what will happen with you, but that isn’t all that important in the long run. I think you’ll find your new life quite interesting from now on. This is a very strange world, Cor, and I think you’ll like to keep it that way.”
The stunning brunette nodded.
“Why do I, all of a sudden, remember coffee that tasted horribly, like a dog pissed on it?” Giles asked, surprised.
“I have no idea, Giles,” Xander said with a smirk.
“Well, I think we have to find out what happened last night in the first place, and I know I’d like to pay a visit to our ‘creators’,” Jenny said, her new personality finally asserting itself and taking charge, as it was accustomed in its fictional life.
“I’d like that too,” the teen replied. “But first, we have a few stops to make.”
Xander started ticking fingers.
“Take Buffy back home, get my working clothes, get Cordelia some decent clothes and find ourselves a Drummer.”
In the planes above them, in a realm where the so-called Powers That Be lived, a meeting was taking place.
“We must act, before all of Our plans unravel,” a disembodied voice replied.
“What should We do?” another voice asked.
“The damage has been done already, and can’t be undone. We must remove the players from the board and find new ones,” the first voice said.
“You’ll do no such thing,” a third voice entered the conversation, this one from a corporeal being which appeared in their midst.
“Who are you, Mortal?” they asked in unison.
“Someone who thinks you’re too full of yourselves,” he said, defiantly.
“We can remove you as well,” one voice said.
“I’d like to see you try,” he muttered darkly. “Those plans of yours are fated to failure in the long run, and a lot of people will suffer because of it. I won’t allow it anymore.”
“Who do you think you are, to give Us orders?”
“Someone who knows how to reach the Upper Echelons and be heard. And believe me when I say, They won’t like to hear what I have to say.”
The Powers silenced for a moment.
“We shall allow this to continue for the time being. But if the Balance is too affected, We will interfere, and deal with you first.”
The human smirked. “Yeah, yeah. And like I said, I’d like to see you try,” he said, and vanished, leaving three very pissed off Powers behind.
“We must deal with this nuisance,” one of them said.