: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Belongs to Joss Whedon and the rights to Final Fantasy VII belong to Squaresoft. Challenge Based
: Plot idea taken from Challenge 1155: SOLDIER of the Hellmouth: Dawn of an Age
at Twisting the Hellmouth. Notes
: Un-beta’d (because I don’t have one). The title isn’t exactly golden, but I hope this is decent. I have more planned out and wrote this in the interest of keeping it BtVS 1997 cannon, i.e. don’t mention things from the future like Advent Children since the game was only released one month prior to Halloween. Enjoy.
“Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think.” --Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
In a place not so much up as over, beings of unfathomable power played an ineffable game of cards.
Fortune peered at her at her atrocious hand. There was no way she’d be the first to fold in over 400 years. Before she was able to consider bluffing, however, a universal flux shook through the PTB’s realm. I’m not called Lady Luck for nothing.
Relieved, she looked over at the red faced destiny, his mouth transformed into a snarl.
“Damn it!” He threw down his cards in frustration, a royal flush. Twice Lucky
She was cut off by a shriek from Gaia, who angrily swept the cards off the table, eyes watering.
Unaffected, Ares pushed away from the makeshift card table with a gauntleted hand. “Excuse me, but it appears my schedule just filled up.”
“Hey. Guys. Card game, here?” Fortune irately attempted to remind the other deities of their quickly crumbling game, manicured hand rapping against the table.
Everyone in the room briefly paused to regard her before dismissing the idea of having to explain whatever was troubling them. Destiny began to pace, arcane obscenities tumbling from his lips. The leather clad God of War, on the other hand, was inching out of the room, surreptitiously away from what appeared to be a broken Gaia, whose tumbling tears were already forming small puddles.
Rolling her eyes, Fortune attended to Gaia, stroking her locks of withering green hair. Over the top of the green head she stuck her tongue out at an unabashed Ares.
“So, uh, seriously, what happened?”
“You really didn’t notice?” Destiny sighed, a force that could shake worlds.
“Um, no.” Ares snickered at Fortune’s expense, vanishing smugly into a door somewhere behind Destiny’s line of vision.
“Some idiot mage just summoned Janus, in the name of chaos,” began Destiny, the natural pallor of his face returning as he explained to the very blond Fortune what exactly had gone wrong.
“Two-faced, sure. A dirty poker player, definitely, but isn’t he more of a transitions kind of guy? Representing the middle ground, and given patronage for new beginnings and stuff.”
“Exactly. He specifically promotes transitions. Invoking him for chaos works
, but is just as able to bring about a new era.” Destiny, the god made to look as ordinary and unmemorable as blank piece of paper, removed the makeshift card table from the top of a large diorama.
“Yeah, like a harvest,” remarked Fortune, unimpressed.
“Yes, but hardly anyone invokes him for the harvest, or marriage for that matter, anymore.” Destiny studied the diorama, noticing the fresh splotches of clear parchment that littered its surface.
“He’s been bored stiff for centuries.” Fortune’s attention drifted away from the now sniffling Gaia.
“That’s the problem.” The plain man squinted at the dark ink, enshrouding other large sections of the scripture completely.
“Well, I bet he got a kick out of being summoned!”
“He had a little too much fun actually; it’s what reduced Gaia to a sobbing puddle.”
Fortune peered over at the diorama, “So what? Some hellmouth kids were transformed into their Halloween costumes. Oooh, scary. They just went back to normal.”
“Except him.” He pointed to a name near the top of the page labeled ‘Earth.’
“Sephiroth? What kind of lame name is that?” She squinted, “Eew, geeky. A video game character.” She shifted, tossing rays of golden sunshine over her shoulder, “Let me get this straight. Because some kid dressed up as some insanely powerful fictional character, the rest of the world is going to compensate?”
“It’s already started. Earth is coursing, full of a new life stream in place of the normal latent magics and molten core.” Gaia joined the other two, surveying the parchment.
“The people will adapt, just as they always have. However, he’s
“I don’t believe the people will appreciate the knowledge that their new world is from a videogame either.” Gaia issued a small hiccup and dabbed at her face daintily with a tissue, pretending she didn’t have a bipolar breakdown a few seconds ago. “I think it’d be best if I destroy all evidence of the game’s existence.”
“Good thinking.” Destiny turned, grimacing, “I’ll just rewrite everyone’s
tedious fates. Again.” He began to leave, grumbling.
The green haired power turned to the blond. “Why must you always require such tiresome explanations?”
Fortune took her pinkie out of the ear she’d been scratching, “What?”
The Earth goddess slapped herself in the face, “I’m surrounded by idiots.”
Fortune looked around, “I’m the only one here.” And the only sane one at that.
Just because she didn’t have a freaking breakdown every time Earth spiraled out from under the PTB’s big umbrella of a plan didn’t mean she was somehow crazy. Did it?
Gaia nodded, “Yes, and you spectacularly failed to notice a giant spasm in the contingency of Earth and its time space continuum.”
Sticking her tongue out in response, Fortune waited a beat then said, “Next time you need a shoulder to cry on, I know where I won’t be. Besides, I noticed. I just didn’t know what to do about it.”
“For starters, solve the Sephiroth problem.”
Gaia stalked off, leaving a pouting Fortune slouched over the remnants of Destiny’s old plans. Scanning over nothing but millions of human names, she had no inkling of what to do. Deciding to eliminate anyone this Sephiroth
didn’t know, she was left with Sunnydale residents.
Lifting up the tablet of names she peeked into the stereotypical, smoky viewing pool beneath. What’s this guy look like anyway?
She nearly smashed her fingers dropping the tablet at the conjured image. Electric green eyes and long silvery hair that could melt any girl’s heart. He’s gorgeous.Too bad he’s stir-crazy
, but then the imaged wavered, revealing the teenager trapped underneath. Eh, I don’t feel so guilty now
. I’ll just make someone his arch rival. That should take care of things. Win once, win twice, right?
Finger lazily running down the list of names, she let out a yawn. Slayer? Nope, already a champion. Tree girl? Nah, she’s gonna be a witch someday. Watcher? Too old. Harmony? She seems nice, but having guy memories might be pretty awkward. Okay, no girls. Oz? Not a wizard, but he’ll be dating the female equivalent soon enough. Souled vampire? Sunlight challenged. Ugh, where do these people come from? Hey, check out this kid. He’s been possessed twice, well, as of tonight anyway. Eh, if anyone gets the hang of it, he will.
“Alright!” Rubbing her hands together the goddess stood, finger poised above the name. “Alexander Harris, I choose you! May fortune light your path.”
She twirled, issuing a tiny golden orb of light from her fingertip to the script before dropping her casting stance like Cordelia would drop an out of style Louie Vatton purse. Fortune’s nose crinkled in disgust, “I have got to update my technique.”
The world below gave a lurch, kick-starting back into action like an old car, The Powers’ interference a mere ripple in the pond of life. However, the fundamental quirks, disagreement, and general whimsical attitudes shared by the divine beings were probably what also left teenage girls saving the world on a regular basis, backed by nothing but old men with musty books.
As Rupert Giles smashed the Bust of Janus the air rippled, Ethan’s spell surging back towards the very statue that called forth its power. However, instead of the energy nullifying itself in a harmless, invisible collision, the magic particles again propelled away from one another like magnets in too close proximity of the same pole. Spanning out across the crust of the earth, the spun themselves into something far more potent and greater than bits of disorganized chaos.
Buffy gasped as she felt a fresh, invigorating power surge through her. Wrenching off her dark wig, she gave Spike a right hook to his jaw as she intoned sweetly, “Hi honey.”
A snarling Spike regarded Buffy angrily, “This isn’t over yet Slayer!” Acknowledging his losses he quickly fled the scene.
“That’ll teach him.” Dusting her hands off she hurried over to the keeled over, groaning form of Xander. He was clutching the sides of his all too spiky head, as if attempting to keep his brain from leaking out his ears.
Wait, what was up with Xander’s spiky hair? It was usually shaggy, and messy yes, but definitely not jagged and this length. Squinting, she leaned over his huddled form and began to pat his back. “You okay Xand?”
“He collapsed as soon as the spell ended,” supplied Cordelia.
The stoic vampire crouched in front of Xander and asked in slightly louder tone than Buffy had done moments before, “Are you alright?”
In response Xander’s face swam up from its earlier residence a mere few inches above the cement. Bright blue eyes met Angel’s dark ones, expression wavering. Angel jerked back in shock, but not in time to avoid Xander depositing his lunch all over his shoes.
“Augh! That’s disgusting. You could have warned me first.” Angel grimaced at his new and now horribly doused shoes.
Cordelia scoffed. "Better you than me. The last thing I need is to have my designer shoes ruined after the disaster that happened to this suit."
“Uuugh, S-sorry.” Xander groaned again as he rose to his unsteady feet. Was it him, or was the rest of the world still moving?
“You look really awful Xand. Are you sure you’re not possessed? Your hair’s crazy and spiky and your eyes are doing this glowy blue thing.” Buffy wiggled her fingers for emphasis. Her Xandery shaped friend was, well, not in his normal Xander-shape.
“Quick, what’s your name?” Oops, maybe she shouldn’t have referred to him as ‘Xand’ a second ago. Hope he didn’t catch that.
His head bobbed for a second, considering something that should have been a second nature response. “Xander,” he said, but for a brief moment he was sure the name that was about to roll off his tongue had been something quite different. Groaning, he reflexively dragged his overly large Halloween sword off the ground until it was perpendicular to the concrete so that he could lean on it for support.
“You really really sure? No funny stuff. Your eyes are a totally different color, kind of like that time with the hyena.” Noticing the sudden worry manifest itself on her friend’s face she amended “Not that it’s a bad sort of blue or anything. You don’t look evil, but the last time your eyes went glowy and different you ate the school mascot.”
Xander regarded his friend’s wary expression tiredly before he croaked, “It’s really me Buff. Right now the only thing I have a hankering for is a twinkie.”
He didn’t seem to be lying. Gawd, she was just ready for this night to be over. “Okay then, but if I find out you’re some evil spirit I’m going to kick your soul so far out of my friend’s body that you’ll regret ever being born.”
“Umm, good to know?” That edgy expression clenched it, this had to be Xander. Except, if something was possessing him wouldn’t it also know to make that face?
Angel sniffed, “He doesn’t smell possessed.”
The three teenagers regarded the vampire quizzically, a little disturbed.
“What? Evil possessions sometimes have a terrible stench.”
“Oookay. On that note, I think I’ll walk Xander home now. Want me to carry that?” She motioned toward the large sword, but Xander shook his head. She turned to Angel, face set in a soft pout, “Meet me at my house? Xander looks a little worse for wear, so I'm gonna take him.”
"You sure you’re okay?" Angel asked with some residual worry.
"Great, I'm just glad to be me again." Buffy pat herself down. That big dark wig was a real pain.
Buffy prodded Xander and they both left, with little complaint from the young man. To him, everything seemed to be overlapping and his brain processing as if in a pool of jelly. He gave a sluggish wave and would barely notice the lapse between the walk home and when his head hit the pillow, despite Buffy's attempts at conversation.
Their exit left the popular socialite awkwardly alone with the souled vampire.
"You better clean yourself off or lose the shoes because I do not want to smell Xander's rank lunch while taking all these kids home."
Angel managed an annoyed eye roll before Cordelia resumed her talking, "Hey, where's Willow?"
Xander rolled over, registering the onslaught of morning light. Groaning, he opened his eyes to see his creaking, four-bladed fan. He didn’t remember having a fan. No, he’d always had that fan. But he could remember complaining to his mother about the lack of a fan when the mountains would experience a rare bit of hot weather. He buried his face in his pillow. His mother didn’t have blonde hair.
Wincing, Xander recalled the immense pain he had endured last night. It had felt like an out of body experience. At the time, he couldn’t tell if it was his or someone else’s. It was intense at the molecular level. Not that he really knew what that felt like, but after last night he could take a wild guess. Behind the pillow, his expression tightened as he remembered experiencing something similar, at a time when his vision had been distorted behind a strange wall of water, bubbles dribbling from his lips. He had been trapped.
He gasped, inhaling a mouthful of pillow. Not Hojo, not again.
Jumping out of bed, he stumbled into the restroom and flicked the light switch on, trying to get as far away from his thoughts of the Nibelheim basement as possible. Honestly, he didn’t know where that sort of response had come from. He’d never met anybody named Hojo, yet in the mirror, his eyes mocked him, almost glowing. They were an intense blue he couldn’t remember seeing on anyone else’s face, or his own for that matter. But he could clearly remember the basement laboratory, the place that had given his eyes that otherworldly look.
His forehead crinkled. Xander bent closer to the bathroom mirror and bared his teeth, chomping. He made a few faces, pushing his nose up, pulling his eyes down, stretching his ears away from his head. Everything looked in order, but he still felt… different.
He flexed his arm. Yup, some muscle. Niiice. Wait, were those pierced ears? Definitely don’t remember that happening. Oh right, that time when he went out and foolishly got drunk with the other failed cadets when he was fifteen.
Except his seventeenth birthday was coming up, and he’d never failed any sort of soldier exam.
But he could still remember lifting the heavy sword that was currently propped up against his nightstand when he’d trained. Then again, he was sure he’d never trained for anything short of his old Street Fighter competitions with Jesse at the arcade.
Routinely, he bathed, brushed his teeth and hair, grimacing as the strands atop his head stuck out at odd angles. It was still a dark brown, but he was almost expecting blond. For a split second, if his hair had been an inky black, he would have thought he was a someone else different than the person he was already confusing himself with.
Could that make any less sense? Groaning, he pressed the heels of his palms into his eyes. This was too weird!
After dressing he had to suppress the urge to take the sword with him. Normal people didn’t carry big-ass swords like that, even if he could remember doing it quite regularly.
Pausing in the hallway, he eyed his five year old picture suspiciously. His eyes were brown, but when he touched the frame the image seemed to waver, and his eyes were blue, only they weren’t the creepy, glowy blue he’d seen in the bathroom. Shaking his head, he decided to take an aspirin before leaving the house. He was getting a headache.
“Xander. . . Xander. . . Xander!”
“Yeah, I know, there are some outside. Now what’s up?”
“We were talking about that seismic shockwave thing that happened after Giles broke the bust last night,” the red head shivered involuntarily, “ Maybe it’s what made you toss your cookies on Angel’s shoes, umm, I hope he doesn’t mind. And I think it,” the redhead made a vague hand motion at her face, “you know.”
Giles continued to polish his glasses, “In case you haven’t noticed Xander, your eyes are blue, and your hair is the most unkempt I’ve ever seen it. Are you sure you’re feeling quite alright?”
“I think so, but I have this killer headache.” He winced, “Well, maybe I’m not as okay as I wish I was, but there isn’t any other aching, which is always of the good.”
Giles glasses seemed to shine with an interested light as he balanced them back on the bridge of his nose. “What about your mind?”
“Do you remember anything out of the ordinary? I heard you were, ah, possessed by military personnel last night. Anything left over from that? For instance, Buffy appears more adept at French.”
“I’m totally a believer. Hooked-on-Hellmouth does help your grades.” The blond gave a cheesy thumbs up and smile.
“I know who my new French cheat-,” he spared a glance at the disapproving Willow,” er, study partner is. Actually,” Xander flinched as he recalled the wind flapping past him as he rode a motorcycle, an ungodly ‘skkkkkkrtch’ sound resonating to the side of him as he dragged a long metallic object a bit too close to the ground, “when the spell ended I think,” he struggled with the words, “I got some memories from someone completely different than who I was originally possessed by.”
But they weren’t someone else’s
. It was strange, he almost couldn’t remember not
“You’re having after affects that don’t even pertain to who you dressed as?” Giles worriedly reached for his glasses again.
“I think so. Before the spell ended I just had some guy stuck in my head who thought he was Alexander Harris, military officer with a really big sword, but after he disappeared. It was like I was someone else entirely from that.”
“Xander rented a huge sword from that Ethan guy,” Buffy supplied, before frowning at Giles’ darkening countenance at the mention of his wayward friend.
Xander smiled sheepishly, “He said they were all out of plastic guns, so he gave me the sword as a replacement saying that it was a soldier’s weapon.” At the watcher’s disapproving look he amended, shrugging, “Hey, it was pretty cool and super cheap.”
“I suppose we’ll have to track Ethan down then. He must have put some extra magic into your costume Xander, and we need to know why and what he did. You shouldn’t feel like anyone but yourself, with perhaps a few fading habits from the costume.” Giles failed to mention that the boy could have merely been the one in a million statistic affected fully by the fickleness that was chaos magic.
“Yeah, we’ll do anything to get you back to normal Xand,” Buffy paused, “and to get rid of your porcupine hair.”
Xander was about to shut his locker when an errant fellow junior slammed into the ground at his feet, books and papers flying everywhere. Absently, Xander snatched a few of the papers out of the air.
After a grumbling Jonathan gathered most of his books, his spectacled face rose to meet the elder boy’s. Their eyes met, Xander’s impassive and Jonathan’s laden with surprise. Xander fancied that he looked a bit like Harry Potter wearing those glasses.
“S-sorry,” despite the apology Jonathan couldn’t stop staring at Xander in wonder.
“It’s okay. You should watch where you’re going though. You could seriously hurt someone with all of those books.” A bit disturbed by the stare Xander shifted his weight, “Umm. . .”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that. Thanks.” Jonathan made a quick grab for the notes in Xander’s hand, causing Xander’s eyes to skim the page before the notes were wrenched out of his grasp.
Towards the bottom of the page he was able to make out one worrisome word amidst the sea of numbers, Jenova.
“You-,” he began, but Jonathan was already bee-lining down the hall.
Preparing to follow, Xander was cut off by Cordelia and her harpies, and thankfully largely ignored.
“Watch where you’re going, hedgehog.”
“Andrew, we have a problem.”
“Hm?” the freshman straightened the lapels of his coat, “I’m sure your eyesight will be back to normal by the end of the week.”
“Not that,” Jonathan rolled his eyes before pushing the indirectly aforementioned glasses further up his nose, “and I thought we were supposed to be writing our memoirs, not accessorizing.”
Andrew pouted, “But it looks so cool.”
“It won’t look cool if you forget how to pull it off.” The reply came in a huff.
“Oh, fine. What was the problem again?”
“Do you know Xander?”
“Yeah. Have you seen his hair lately?”
“Pre- or Post Halloween?”
“Nope, can’t say that I have,” Andrew paused, “Does he still even have hair?” The reply came as an exasperated nod. “Ooh, is it macho-Wolverine hair?” A head shake, “…is it blue? No? Blonde? Long?”
After growing increasingly suspicious, he squinted, “It’s not silver is it?”
Jonathan almost growled in frustration. “No,” he leaned forward, the light reflecting off his glasses, masking his eyes, “it looks sort of birdish
“Like… an endangered peregrine falcon?”
. I was thinking of something a little more pertinent to, you know, our current situation.”
“Like chocobo? He has chocobo
hair? But, chocobos are yellow,” a pause, “well, unless you correctly use the sophisticated breeding system. Then it could be practically any color.”
“And now we’re just plain off topic, although I do find chocobo breeding quite fascinating.”
“You would wouldn’t you?”
“Ehem,” the older boy trudged on undaunted, “The point is that Xander has unmistakable spiky hair and blue eyes that can only be described as mako treated.”
“Oh. So he was Zack! Man, I didn’t know he played Final Fantasy too. This is so cool. We should totally invite him to hang out with us. Then maybe he could introduce us to Buffy and Willow, compare comic book collections-”
“He looks like Cloud, not Zack!” Jonathan’s near screech cut the hypothetical situation short, consequently diverting Andrew’s senses to the remnants of his calm, collected possession persona. “Even though his hair is still brown and Cloud admittedly stole a lot of personality characteristics from Zack, along with his clothes, he was most definitely Cloud. Besides, his hair was short, and he didn’t have the clothes or sword to mark him as similar.”
Andrew mulled over the new, interesting tidbit of information. “So, why didn’t you just tell me he looks like a dark haired Cloud?”
The other teen answered with a simple, tired shrug.
“We can probably use this to our advantage.” Andrew turned and regarded his companion, uncharacteristically snide, “Besides, I think you’re just jealous because you were ripped off, having dressed up as nothing but a second rate scientist.”
Lip curling in disgust, Jonathan ignored the comment, stemming from the inherent friction between the duo’s costumed selves. “Have you heard from Tucker?”
“He came home last night, but left before I woke up. My Darth Vader mug allowance was gone too. Thankfully, I hide the real stuff behind the Sailor Moon tapes.”
Jonathan arched an eyebrow in response.
Good, bad, continue?
Constructive criticism and reviews appreciated.