Chapter One YAHF Night
Yep it's yet another Halloween fic. What can I say the concept just sang to me. Actually I started this one because I was interested in seeing if I could write a crossover with Buffy and G I Joe. So far it seems to have come off with a great start. But I could be biased. Anyway...Disclaimer: I Sithicus hold no ownership rights to any of the characters portrayed in this fanfic, except Desdemona who is a character of my own creation. The remaining characters, situations, relationships, etc, etc belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions and Marvel Comics/Hasbro. If you're a fan of G I Joe please don't kill me for what happens. Also I make no claims to the contrary, I simply use these characters to express my muse until I can make it big as a writer or what have you. So without further ado, welcome to Cobra Regenerated Summary:
It's Halloween again the time when all kids and kids at heart run around dressing up to score free candy or scare the beejbus out of their friends, but this particular Halloween isn't going to turn out very good because this Halloween Cobra is about to return. And Buffy Summers & Friends are about to be swept up in a war even worse then the one they might have waged had the Fates not intervened.
G I Joe was the code name of America’s Daring, Highly-Trained Special Mission Force; its purpose to defend freedom against Cobra. A Ruthless Terrorist Organization determined to rule the world, they apparently succeeded on June Twenty-Third Nineteen Eighty-Eight, Cobra attempted to invade American soil and engage a hostile takeover of the United States government.
The price was high for both sides, many brave men and women gave their lives so that Cobra would be stopped once and for all, and in the end Cobra Commander apparently perished as his transport exploded during the fight.
Cobra was defeated, G I Joe disbanded and a smaller task force known as the Initiative rose in its place to handle other terrorist threats, the world was free of the constant grip of fear that had been like a specter since Cobra first revealed itself. Cobra was eventually forgotten and eight years passed in relative peace, but that was precisely what the organization had wanted all along, and now in Nineteen Ninety-Seven Cobra would be making its triumphant return. The big question was could the world oppose. Deadliest of foes?
October Thirtieth; Thirteen Forty-Five Hours
Sunnydale, California; World History Class…
“And so M.A.R.S. Corporation was at last detained for crimes against the world, its leaders arrested, tried and sentenced to maximum security prison The Rock.” Mister Dennings read aloud from the history text, Xander barely paid attention wondering about Halloween and what he was going to do.
He’d scrounged up some old army fatigues he’d found at his Uncle Rory’s house for tomorrow nights’ free candy-fest, they’d been packed up in the man’s attic, but there hadn’t been any weapons. He had enough cash to buy a plastic one the question was where to get it? You could always count on Party Town, but that new shop, Ethan’s. Had a sign out front advertising special opening week prices, decisions, decisions. Maybe he should get Willow and Buffy to help that is if they wanted to get dressed up and go out Halloween.
Xander really wanted to as a sort of last hurrah before growing up and being all serious Scooby sidekick, he’d thought last year when he did it to honor his best bud Jesse would be the last, but he couldn’t resist the sweet siren call of tantalizing chocolate. Especially when it was free. “I want you to study chapters ten through eleven for tomorrow class, that’s Dreadnoks and Political Sciences.” Dennings called out as the bell rang snapping Xander from his thoughts, quickly gathering his things he made his way to next period and a quick discussion with Willow about the costume shop choice and Halloween plans.
October Thirty-First; Twelve Thirty Hours
Secured Location Saudi Arabia; Cellblock A-One, One Thirty Seven…
The man sat silently in the darkness of the facility; he had been here less then five years awaiting the moment promised him. Others were held at this facility, some he knew, some he wished to kill and be rid of their annoyance, but at last the time had come.
No longer would he be forced to rot in this so called impregnable prison; smiling to himself he listened to the almost imperceptible ticking of the clock at the guard station.
At precisely Twelve Hundred Thirty-Five Hours and Three Seconds all hell broke loose, smoke filled the facility at the south-eastern quadrant and cries in Arabic could be heard.
“Go, go, go.” Footsteps vanished down the corridors; the man sat patiently and as expected the wall imploded at the point of breach striking several guards. Uniformed soldiers marched upon the prison guards, automatic weapons fire reverberated amongst the walls and cries of the dead or dieing told the prisoners what was happening.
A bright light penetrated the cell nearly blinding the man; two armored men in grey toned bodysuits entered the room, one of them carrying two suitcases the other guarding his flank.
“Ah precisely on schedule I see.” The former prisoner commented shielding his eyes, the one carrying the suitcases opened both quickly and stood back awaiting his leaders’ call. Approaching the larger of the two first he removed a change of clothing black and red in color with a pair of matching gloves and silver gauntlets, dressing in under five minutes he smiled as he pulled on the last glove. “Much more to my liking.” Turning to the smaller suitcase he now removed two halves to an ornate metal mask polished silver; both uniformed men instantly snapped to attention and aided the man in putting it on. “Status report.” He commanded his tone two octaves lower as the technology imbued in the mask was activated, the trio marched out of the cell as one and the man on the left began to speak.
“We have freed those ordered to; all other prisoners shall die in the explosion eradicating all evidence of our presence here.”
“And the other plan?” He asked smoothly.
“Almost in motion.” A new voice spoke up as a blue and red armored man with a helmet that covered the top half of his face joined the others.
“You’ve done well Scrap-Iron no doubt the Commander is pleased. And. The Baroness?” Though he tried to keep it out of his voice a tone of almost desperation slipped out.
“Eagerly awaiting your return Laird Destro.” Scrap-Iron replied smiling James McCullen Destro the Twenty-Fourth emerged into the moonlight of the early morning sky a free and very dangerous man.
October Thirtieth; Isle de Cobra, Fifteen Forty-Five Hours
Gulf of Mexico, Amphitheatre…
They stood at attention arms held tightly against their shoulders, battle masks or helmets polished to gleaming, equipment laden backpacks strapped into position. Backs ramrod straight, men and women devoted mindlessly to the cause gleaned from terrorist cells around the globe.
Completely remorseless and brainwashed into the service of the glorious Cobra thanks to Dr. Mindbender’s Brainwave Scanner all former ties and loyalties have been forgotten, each group of specialized troops had a single leader at the head of their formation awaiting the assembly to be addressed. Standing on the stage were the Imperial Procession, Crimson Guardsmen and elite Crimson Guard Immortals, protectors of the benevolent leader of Cobra.
The Crimson Guard Co-Commanders stood to the left of the throne born on the backs of six strong men in service of the Royal Guard, to the right was a bald man wearing a monocle and a garishly flamboyant purple uniform. Beside him was a woman of stunning and exotic beauty in a form fitting black scale patterned uniform, and beside her was a man in a combination of black, brown and red with an eye patch over his right eye and a mechanical though sophisticated prosthetic below his right elbow.
Seated atop the throne dressed in his full crimson colored battle regalia was the man himself, believed dead these past eight years. Cobra Commander.
“The men await your orders Commander.” The monocle man informed, inching his head in brief acknowledgement the Commander smiled beneath his hood.
“Loyalists of Cobra, the day we have waited for these long eight years is at last upon us. Our existence to the general populace of Earth has remained a secret, fallen to the annals of history. A bogey tale told by aged soldiers and generals to mewling offspring in order to amuse and frighten, a credible threat made laughing stock, harmless.” The Commander glanced to each face within range.” But are we harmless?”
“Sir, no Sir!” The chorus cried an echoing sound that set the Earth to trembling.
“Did G I Joe succeed in Defanging us?” The Commander demanded his serpent headed battle staff gripped tightly in hand.
“No! Never!” The masses cried.
“And that is their undoing, their fatal mistake for in believing us to be neutralized they allowed us to amass the true power we required. Even as I speak those captured and imprisoned are being released, sleeper cells within every governmental body in the world are poised to strike and no one is prepared to stand against us.” The Commander proclaimed a wide grin spreading across his face hidden from view beneath the crimson hood he wore as he watched his army cheer. It was indeed a heady feeling this sense of power, a feeling he could definitely become used to once he ruled all of creation.
“Bring out the prisoner!” A Crimson Guard shouted, four burly blue armored Cobra Troopers dragged a chained and beaten form up onto the stage. Stripped of his customary outfit he was barely recognizable, hideously scarred features marring a once handsome face, old scars from a time in his youth.
“Their spies came again; it was foolish to believe that all our enemies would fall for the ruse.” The Commander began indicating the barely conscious man. “But this fool shall never report back and they will know the truth too late to prevent our triumphant and glorious return!”
“On and on he drones, the Commander should learn to get to the point.” Baroness muttered.
“To right.” Major Bludd agreed with a grown. “Hopefully Destro will bring his pomposity down a little.”
“Executioner, show our troops what our enemies can expect upon our return.” The Commander ordered, a fully covered man in black, grey and red marched up to the prisoner in polished black army boots. A brown holster was strapped just below his heart, reaching up he drew the pistol and pulled back the hammer. The prisoner having resigned himself to death once discovering the extent of Cobras’ plans did not show a hint of fear, and as the trigger was inexorably squeezed he made a silent prayer, it might even be considered a wish.
The gunshot reverberated loudly in the silence of the moment, and then every man and woman erupted into frenzied cheers.
“I mourn the loss of a worthy foe.” Major Bludd whispered.
“Wherever Storm Shadow has hidden himself he probably is doing the same.” Baroness murmured softly, cheering and reveling the death of an enemy in this fashion screamed of dishonor even to her, but she would not counter his
orders for all the world.
“Farewell brother.” Cobra Commander whispered his left hand clenched into a fist. “You made your choice long ago when I approached you that day.” He added softly.
October Thirtieth Harris Household; Fifteen Hundred Hours
Sunnydale, California; Alexander Harris’ Basement Bedroom…
Xander was yet to return home; currently he was researching to help out his friend Buffy against a demon that showed up last night. She’d prefer to kill it before Halloween, so no one was present to notice the strange shimmering light, what might have been sunlight. Dance across the fatigues hidden in a box under his bed, the fact that the sun couldn’t have possibly reached them was a big indicator that something Hellmouthy had occurred, for someone had saw fit to grant a wish to a desperate man before his death, a wish that would change the fate of three teenagers come Halloween night.
October Thirty-First Harris Household; Oh Seven Thirty Hours
Sunnydale, California; Alexander Harris’ Basement Bedroom…
Xander eyed himself in the mirror wondering if this was a good idea; the fatigues at least fit him, but Willow and Buffy and vetoed his idea of dressing up. Still he couldn’t resist the call of free candy, childish it may be, to some candy was the be all end all to chocoholics the world over.
Tugging the cap down he was surprised to find it practically covered his eyes hiding them in shadow; he was also surprised as a shock ran all over his skin.
“Whoa, static shock.” He exclaimed jerking slightly. Something fell off the hat fluttering towards the ground; Xander reacted instinctively snatching the item from midair. “Ok that was a little freaky.” He admitted to himself turning the object over he was surprised to find it was a picture, a picture of a pretty blonde woman burnt around the edges slightly. “Mmmm, wonder who she is.” He mused aloud then he noticed the time and quickly pulled the shirt off over his head knocking the hat to the ground. “I’m going to be late.” He grumbled.
Undisclosed Location Georgia; Ten Thirty Hours
Current Headquarters of G I Joe Task Force…
The quartet gathered around the table, the room was nondescript featuring six chairs, the table, a lone light fixture and one square window barely big enough to let the sun shine in. Each of the four individuals knew the other by name, and hadn’t seen each other for eight years; the one who had called this group together wore three stars on his uniform and a welcome, familiar general’s hat.
“Gentlemen and lady.” He greeted with a stern expression. “It’s worse then we feared. Our three man reconnaissance team was killed in the line of duty, Cobra is ready to make a very unwanted return and none of the governments of the world are prepared to defend against them.”
“Which of our men died sir?” The blonde on the left asked. Instead of his usual army fatigues he was dressed in a black and white business suit having just come from a meeting with the heads of CIA.
“Sneak Peek, Tunnel Rat and…” The General paused to eye the lone woman amongst them. “Snake-Eyes.”
“No.” She gasped her expression falling; the brunette next to her placed a hand on her shoulder. His uniform was still as neat as ever and his beret indicated his status as an Army Ranger.
“Where did we get this intel, sir?” He asked.
“A reliable informant operating deep under cover.” The General stated. “We’ve known this day was coming, ever since the body failed to turn up after our last encounter with Cobra. We all know what must be done.” The others nodded slowly.
“It’s time then.” The blonde stated rather then questioned.
“Yes, each of you will contact the men and women on your lists.” The General reiterated. “The call sign is Delta Seven Oh Five.”
“On it General.” The blonde returned rising from his seat and offering a quick salute.
“Scarlett.” The General spoke up as the others left the room, the woman paused resisting the urge to break down in front of her C.O. “He didn’t die in vain; we’ll get those snakes this time.” He proclaimed.
“I know sir.” She said her voice wavering. “He. He was a great man.”
“He was indeed and a great soldier.” The General agreed. “We will do everything in our power to recover his body Shana.” Scarlett turned and made her way out of the room she needed to grieve, the General picked up a phone after she was gone and dialed a number by heart.
“Hello?” A voice answered on the other end.
“Mainframe, Delta Seven Oh Five.” The General relayed.
“Understood sir.” Mainframe replied before hanging up.
Sunnydale High; Oh Eight Forty-Five Hours
“Snyder must be in charge of the volunteer safety program for Halloween this year.” Willow observed as the trio passed the Principal and Lisa who was reluctantly signing her name onto a clipboard.
“Note his interesting take on the volunteer concept.” Xander commented with a slight shake of his head.
“What’s the deal?” Buffy asked. Willow started working the combination to her locker so Xander decided to field this one.
“Oh, a bunch of little kids need people to take them trick-or-treating. Sign up and get your own pack of sugar-hyped little runts for the night.” He explained in usual Xander fashion.
“Yikes. I’ll stick to vampires.” Principal Snyder suddenly placed his hand on Buffy’s shoulder causing her to spin around slightly startled and concerned that he may have heard her just now.
“Miss Summers. Just the juvenile delinquent I’ve been looking for.” He pronounced.
“Principal Snyder!” Buffy exclaimed glancing furtively for a way out.
“Halloween must be a big night for you. Tossing eggs, keying cars, bobbing for apples, one pathetic cry for help after another. Well.” Propelling Buffy over to the sign-up table he smiled, or at least his expression might have passed for a smile on anyone else. “Not this year missy.”
“Gosh, I’d love to sign up, but I recently developed carpal tunnel syndrome and can tragically no longer hold a flashlight.” Buffy stated in a pathetic attempt at escaping the inevitable, of course when the Powers that Be got involved even with a pathetic excuse for a man like Snyder there was just no escaping it. The Principal held up the clipboard and pen expectantly.
“The program starts at four; the children have to be back at six.” He stated, reluctantly Buffy took the proffered objects and signed her John Hancock. Xander smiled at Willow, he’d wanted to get the both of them out with him and this was the perfect opportunity. Concerned Willow glanced up at Principal Snyder just as he produced two more pens for each of them, Xanders’ expression changed and Willow claimed one of the two.
Sunnydale Art Gallery; Oh Nine Thirty Hours
Joyce Summers smiled as she examined one of the new pieces she’d just put out, it was a small sculpture from an up and coming artist in Baltimore they never gave her the artists name, but the piece was breathtaking.
As she stood back to get a better view her office phone rang startling her, she wasn’t expecting any calls today. Reluctantly leaving the sculpture she entered her office and answered the phone.
“Sunnydale art gallery, Joyce Summers proprietress speaking how may I help you?” She greeted.
“Delta Seven Oh Five.” A voice out of the past answered taking Joyce by complete surprise, her expression of shock couldn’t be seen by the person on the other end, but they would be able to tell by the quaver in her voice just how she felt about this unwanted intrusion.
“Is this genuine?” She demanded her accent slipping as the persona of Joyce Summers faded to be replaced by the true personality within.
“It is. We understand you’ve worked hard to replace your sister after her untimely death and the unfortunate business with her daughter, but your country needs you again.” The man on the other end stated firmly, Joyce or rather the woman posing as her sighed a deep tired sigh and nodded in understanding.
“You’re right as always Duke, but what am I going to do about Buffy? Hank is not getting custody of her that son of a bitch murdered my sister.” She returned a dark edge creeping into her tone.
“Yes, it was unfortunate that she happened to marry a Crimson Guard Immortal.” Duke began with an edge of steel in his tone. “General Hawk has informed me that Hank Summers is dead Courtney, apparently there was more going on with him then the usual M.O. He’s also informed me that he will okay placing Buffy under surveillance and has already hired a Christine Sutherland to replace you for missions.” Duke informed as gently as he could, Courtney nodded again this time with a reluctant sigh and removed her contacts revealing her grey eyes.
“Ok Duke, I’ll be at the rendezvous tonight.” She relayed. “I guess it’ll be good to be a red head again.” She added with a slight smile that failed to reach her eyes. “I’ll miss her, we were actually bonding.” Duke was silent for a beat.
“Wild Bill will be there, Duke over and out.” Duke stated before hanging up the phone, Courtney Krieger glanced back to the beautiful sculpture with a last look of longing in her eyes. She was tired of fighting Cobra.
“I will tell her the truth someday Joyce I promise, but you know what happened when she found Hank and you that day.” She sighed. “It took a year at that mental hospital to help her snap out of the trauma coupled with my posing as you and lying about your death. I’m sorry Joyce, I shouldn’t be leaving her, but duty calls.” She whispered speaking to her dead sister as she often did when Buffy began to try her patience just a little with all the late nights and sneaking out, being part of a covert task force in the United States Military Courtney wasn’t as naïve as Joyce might have been had she survived. Opening one of her desk drawers and removing a patch from under a false bottom she eyed it. “Yo Joe.” She recited bitterly.
Sunnydale High; Ten Forty-Two Hours
The trio of Scoobies left class for free period and Xander was beginning to find it hard to keep his excitement down, the others knew he’d wanted to celebrate for Halloween, but there was no sense in being pleased the troll had shanghaied them into kiddy patrol.
“I can’t believe this. We have to get dressed up and the whole deal.” He complained or at least pretended to.
“Snyder said costumes were mandatory.” Willow pointed out.
“Great.” Buffy began as they reached the door to the lounge. “I was gonna stay in and veg. The one night a year things are supposed to be quiet for me.”
“Halloween quiet?” Xander asked. “Oh, I figured it’d be a big old vamp scareapalooza.” He remarked. Together the trio entered the lounge and made for their usual spot.
“Not according to Giles. He swears that tomorrow night is, like, dead for the undead.” Buffy and Willow sat down while Xander swung around to the opposite chair and proceeded to drop his satchel down on the table. “They stay in.” The Slayer added.
“Those whacky vampires.” Xander smiled. “That’s why I love’em, they just keep you guessing.” Moving over to the vending machine he proceeded to drop his coins in and hit the button for his selection. When nothing came out he picked a different drink and began to get frustrated when nothing happened again, he proceeded to whack the machine. Larry chose that moment to come up and put his hand on his shoulder, a flash of something traveled through his mind and reflexively he spun around adopting a defensive position.
“Harris?” Larry eyed him warily, freaked out slightly Xander quickly returned to his usual laid back pose.
“Hey Lar. You’re lookin’ Cro-Mag as usual. What can I do you for?” He asked covering up his concern with a snarky joke that as usual went completely over the jocks head.
“You and Buffy, you’re just friends, right?” Larry asked.
“I like to think of it less as a friendship and more as a solid foundation for future bliss.” Xander returned.
“So, she, she’s not your girlfriend?”
“Alas, no.” Larry eyed Buffy as he practically stalked around Xander.
“Do you think she’d go out with me?” Larry eyed Xander no longer seeing Buffy, so he failed to notice when she and Willow looked over at them.
“Well, Lar, that’s a tough question to… No. Not a chance.” Xander replied keeping eye contact with his tormentor. “Though I’d love to see you try.
” He thought to himself.
“Why not?” He questioned. “I heard some guys say she was fast.
“I hope you mean like the wind.” Xander cautioned something inside of him taking over inch by inch; mentally he began to assess Larry’s current weaknesses and the tenseness of his muscles.
“Yeah, you know what I mean.” Larry taunted, by now Buffy was approaching the duo silently with murder in her eyes. Or at least the threat of a possible berating, Xander tensed all of his muscles sub-consciously as ancient knowledge passed between his brain and his limbs, Larry was about to make his own move and now Xander was ready.
“That’s my friend that you’re talkin’ about!”
“Oh, yeah? Well, what’re you gonna do about it?” Larry demanded pumping his chest out in a sign of daring, in response Xander snapped his leg out catching Larry from beneath the knee and above the ankle before the teen could act on his own impulses. This sent Larry falling head first towards Xander, spinning around he chopped his hand into the small of Larry’s back ensuring that the blow only winded him rather then cripple.
Larry collided with the vending machine, a Diet Dr. Pepper rolled into the slot as the jock went down, hard. Xander and Buffy caught each others’ gaze, the formers’ shocked and scared the latter’s stunned and confused. Turning Xander grabbed the can of soda and dashed out of the room leaving Buffy and Willow behind, he was completely freaked out.
“Ok, what just happened here?” Buffy asked as she returned to her seat next to Willow.
“I’m not sure.” She admitted timidly. “Could Xander have been taking secret Karate training?”
“Not unless he’s been doing it in his sleep.” Buffy countered. “Should we go after him?”
“No, I think he was just as freaked out as we were.” Willow returned. “He needs to come to grips with what just happened first, at least that’s what my mom always says.”
“Good idea, whatever just happened though I hope it wasn’t Hellmouthy I couldn’t deal with another Xander gets possessed deal like the Hyena episode.”
“I suppose so.” Willow shrugged. “So, how was your date last night?” She asked looking to change topics.
Xander was scared, ok so maybe not about taking out Larry with what amounted to one hit because he’d deserve it after talking the way he had. But still, Xander had never once done that before. He was freaked because he’d known exactly what to do, how to do it and even how to kill Larry with only a touch.
It wasn’t like the Hyena incident, but he was definitely getting a sense of someone else trying to possess his body. He needed to talk to Giles; the Watcher could do a bit of research and then help explain Kung Fu Xander.
November First; Oh Three Forty-Two Hours
Tokyo, Japan; Arashikage Dojo…
Thomas Arashikage also known as Storm Shadow once the personal body guard and assassin for Cobra Commander in his quest to discover the identity of the one responsible for killing his uncle was in deep meditation when it happened, having woken up at One AM to prepare for the rigors of the training of his new student.
He had sensed the loss of his sword brother Snake-Eyes and had been having trouble sleeping anyway the past few nights, now he sensed a powerful yet familiar presence attempting to contact him, desperate to warn him.
As well as another unfamiliar presence slowly coming into the world of the mystical, powerful and sometimes dangerous martial arts practiced by the Arashikage Clan, these two incidents were somehow connected.
“Sensei what is wrong? I sensed your distress.” The voice of one of Snake-Eyes and his shared students asked. Opening his eyes Storm Shadow grew solemn and thoughtful.
“I am uncertain Tiger Claw, but I fear it will have some bearing on us before the month is over.” He returned. “Contact Kamakura and Desdemona in America, have them journey to California as quickly as is possible. Whoever, whatever I am sensing, it will be there that they shall make themselves known and I fear the other clans in league with Cobra will also sense his rebirth.” The man codenamed Tiger Claw bowed respectfully and left Storm Shadow to his meditations, the current Hard Master of the Arashikage Clan closed his eyes once again and attempted to clear away the mystery surrounding the presence.
October Thirty-First; Eighteen Forty-Two Hours
Trans-Carpathia, Scotland; Castle Destro…
Iron Grenadiers saluted at their posts as the lord Destro made his way through the hallways; Destro was proud to be free and smiled as he once again roamed the halls of his ancestral home. As he neared the central banquet hall two individuals joined him, one of whom was dressed rather impressively in the colors of clan Destro the other less flamboyantly attired in an advanced uniform of the Iron Grenadier minus the helmet-like mask.
“Darklon, Metal-Head tell me cousin how fare our weapons manufacturing plants?” Destro questioned joyously.
“The armed forces of the United Nations could not prevent M.A.R.S. from continuing operations.” Darklon replied his voice reverberating strangely due to the helmet he wore.
“They need us to supply them with advanced arms to combat the impoverished fanatics unassociated with Cobra.” Metal-Head pointed out with a dark grin.
“It pleases me that M.A.R.S. did not perish in my absence.” Destro commented with a chuckle. “I assume that fool Cobra Commander is chomping at the bit to proceed with phase two of his Initiative plans, but I decided to return here first for personal reasons.”
“True.” Darklon agreed with Destro’s assessment of the Commanders state of mind with a nod. “But the Initiative program is failing miserably now that Hank Summers is in hiding, his own fault for allowing his wife to discover the truth about his status as Crimson Guard Immortal.”
“Summers is not in hiding I’m surprised your intelligence on the man is so incomplete dear Cousin Darklon.” Destro countered knowingly. “Before our fall Firefly was ordered to execute him.”
“Was his death verified?” Metal-Head wondered uncertainly, Destro paused outside of one of the rooms and pushed the doors open revealing a well kept master bedroom. His parents’ former room, approaching the portrait of his father and mother he glanced upwards at the image with a hint of longing in his eyes.
His father had been a broad chested man with dark brown hair and clear green eyes, his mother was an elegant woman dirty blonde hair and blue eyes gracing her beauty, her smile had been radiant and it was said she could charm the Banshee herself with but a single look.
“Of course it was verified.” He growled. “The bastard son of my father was delivered to me personally while I was imprisoned prior to his execution.”
“Hank Summers was the son of Uncle Destro the twenty-third?” Darklon blurted. Smiling secretively Destro nodded.
“Though that’s not what his blood tests showed, mother always was one to keep the family skeletons in other peoples’ closets.”
“Too true.” Darklon agreed with a laugh. “We have the files you requested on Doctor Walsh, but…”
“Laird Destro.” An Iron Grenadier interrupted from the doorway, the three men turned as one to acknowledge the man. “The Baroness has contacted us; her Night Raven is about to land.”
“Thank you Iron Grenadier.” Destro said with a brief incline of his head. “Metal-Head, Darklon come we must greet our lovely new guest and we shall discus Maggie Walsh afterwards.” He stated striding purposefully from the room; his allies complied in the request and followed him out leaving only the empty room and the painting of Lord and Lady Destro.
Ethan’s Costume Shop; Fourteen Forty-Five Hours
Buffy Summers, completely oblivious to her strange and perhaps far too coincidental lineage being discussed a continent away was browsing for a costume that would spark an interest in Angel, currently she was examining a plastic pumpkin wondering whether or not it might be practical.
Willow approached just as the pumpkin went off lighting up and screaming, hastily placing it back on the shelf Buffy turned to greet her friend.
“What’d you get?” She asked impatiently.
“A time-honored classic.” Willow returned with a small grin as she produced a ghost costume. Buffy wasn’t sure where to start on this one so she decided to bite the bullet and plunge in.
“Okay, Will, can I give you a little friendly advice?”
“It’s not spooky enough?” She asked slightly disappointed.
“It’s just… You’re never gonna get noticed if you keep hiding. You’re missing the whole point of Halloween.” Buffy stated taking her friend by the arm and leading her down the aisles.
“Free candy?” Willow asked hopefully her eyes darting towards the rack of costumes Buffy was leading them towards nervously.
“It’s come as you aren’t night.” Buffy corrected. “The perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions.”
“Oh, I don’t get wild. Wild on me equals spaz.” Willow babbled.
“Don’t underestimate yourself. You’ve got it in you.” Buffy stated firmly removing the ghost costume from her friends hand and tossing it clear across the store narrowly missing the proprietor in the head, it vanished in a bin of other costumes and Willow watched as a younger girl snatched it up forlornly. “Now this, this screams wild.” Her friend stated holding up a tight looking black scale patterned suit with a red Cobra emblem on the chest.
“Oh no.” Willow blushed furiously. “I can’t, I, I, I’d look too much like a tramp or something.”
“Nonsense you’ll look fabulous.” Buffy argued thrusting the outfit into her friends’ hands; Willow held it up uncertainly while Buffy bent to retrieve the accompanying black boots.
“But who am I supposed to be?” She asked.
“The Baroness, a former operative of the now defunct Cobra terrorist organization.” A cultured British voice responded with a friendly smile the proprietor stepped into view from behind the two girls eyeing Buffy as though she might be dangerous.
“Gah.” Buffy exclaimed. “Do all you British guys have to sneak up on people?” She demanded with a pout, Ethan smiled knowingly.
“My humblest apologies young lady, but it’s a habit I can’t break.” He returned sincerely. “Secrecy and stealth are the first things you’re trained for with MI6.” He added cheekily.
“Ha, ha very funny.” Buffy dead panned. Ethan grimaced slightly at the bad attempt at humor, but after all the Slayer wasn’t exactly known for her wit.
“So you’re Ethan?” Willow asked politely, the older man nodded with a winning smile.
“Guilty as charged. And might I say that costume will be most becoming on such a rare flower such as yourself.” He added. Willows cheeks grew hot and she mumbled something incoherently. “Now, what about your breathtaking blonde friend?” He asked glancing to Buffy with a charming twinkle in his eye. Buffy didn’t respond instead she seemed to glide over to a dress makers’ mannequin on display near the window, Willow and Ethan followed both with smiles on.
“Wow.” Buffy said fingering the material of the elegant dress in the window, earlier an eighteenth century noblewoman’s dress had sat there, but Harmony Kendall bought it before the Slayer arrived. Now an elegant old style Royal Blue ball gown rested there with matching sapphire necklace and elegant looking slippers, the self same gown a certain Scottish noblewoman had worn for her portrait in the early nineteen twenties.
“Please, let me.” Ethan requested removing the gown and holding it up so Buffy could see what she looked like in the mirror.
“Magnificent.” The proprietor cut in grinning broadly. “Yes, I know. Almost as if it were made just for you.”
“Oh, uh, I-I’m sorry.” She began turning to Ethan. “There’s no way I could ever afford this.”
“Oh nonsense. I feel quite moved to make you a deal you can’t refuse.” Looking back to the mirror she took the dress from Ethan and held it up to her chin with a dreamy smile.
“It’s amazing.” Willow opined softly.
“Too bulky.” Xander spoke up joining his girls at last. “I prefer my women in spandex.” Ethan glared at the young man, Willow squealed and wrapped him into a hug and Buffy managed to snap out of her reverie.
“Xander what happened?” She demanded. “You’ve been avoiding us since the Larry incident.”
“Uh, nothing.” He replied softly his mind still haunted by what he and Giles had discovered in his books. Or rather what they hadn’t discovered. “It just startled me what I did that’s all.”
“You’ve got some explaining to do.” Willow accused forgetting that Ethan was there.
“Not now Wills, please?” Xander pleaded seeing the haunted look in his eyes the red head nodded.
“All right, but we’re having that talk before next year.” She stated.
“So what did you get?” Buffy asked while Willow hid her suit behind her back so Xander couldn’t see what Buffy had talked her into getting.
“Just some weapons to go with the fatigues I found in Uncle Rory’s attic.” He replied holding up a replica gun and knife, something else was strapped to his back, it almost looked like a sword.
“Excellent.” Ethan clapped his hands together. “Shall I ring them up separately or would you prefer the group package discount?” He asked smiling like the chesire cat; Ripper was going to have one hell of a night.
1630 Revello Drive; Fifteen Twenty Hours
Sunnydale, California; Buffy Summers’ Bedroom…
“Where’re you meeting Angel?” Willow asked as Buffy tried on a different pair of earrings, nothing seemed to match with the so-called fake sapphires she’d bought with her dress.
“Here. After trick-or-treating mom said she’s gonna be at a party tonight.” She replied examining her new look, satisfied she smiled.
“Does he know about your costume?”
“Nope. Call it a blast from his past; I just hope this isn’t too modern it isn’t like the picture.” Buffy admitted. “But I’ll show him I can coif with the best of’em.” She added turning to the bathroom door. “Come on ‘Baroness’ you can’t hide in there all night.”
“O-okay, but, but promise you won’t laugh?” Willow half asked half pleaded.
“Pinky swear.” Buffy returned with raised hand.
“God this is way tighter then I-I would have thought.” Willow complained at last emerging from the bathroom, her costume clung to her in all the right places revealing curves Willow herself did not acknowledge at all. The bust was eye catching almost at once due to the red on black Cobra symbol placed centrally across her breasts, her boots made her appear a few inches taller and the fake glasses she’d found in the pocket made her look what some would call ‘sexy beyond belief.’
“Wow.” Buffy smiled. “You’re drop dread gorgeous Wills.” Embarrassed Willow looked around for a place to hide. “I mean that really.” Buffy said with genuine conviction in her voice, unused to the compliment Willow just shrugged.
“Th-these pockets are, are murder.” Was the first thing she could think of to say. “I don’t think I want to keep this on Buffy, it just isn’t me and, and I couldn’t find the right kind of black wig. The Baroness isn’t a red head.”
“But Willow that’s the point.” Buffy retorted walking around her best friend so she could use the mirror. “Look Halloween is the night that not you is you, but not you. Y’know?”
“I g-g-guess you’re right Buffy, but are you sure dressing up as a terrorist is the way to go?”
“Willow.” Buffy started only to be interrupted by the doorbell ringing. “Oh! That’s Xander.” She announced. “Don’t worry so much about who you are tonight Wills, the Baroness is just a character and you’ll probably never meet her anyway. So let’s go.”
“Yeah. O-o-okay.” Willow reluctantly agreed following Buffy out of the room.
Meanwhile downstairs ‘Joyce Summers’ left the kitchen where she’d stashed her suit case to answer the door, upon opening it she was surprised to find Xander there in genuine military fatigues. Something about them nagged at her, but her thoughts were dismissed as soon as Xander snapped to attention and offered a salute to which she reflexively responded.
“Evenin’ ma’am Private First Class Alexander Harris here to escort your daughter to our appointed rounds.” He stated almost as though he were a genuine soldier, ‘Joyce’ couldn’t remember the last time she’d ever heard him use his full name, something was wiggy to use her niece’s catchphrase.
“At ease soldier.” ‘Joyce’ returned with a genuine smile. Xander instantly relaxed seemingly unaware that he’d been standing at attention since greeting her. “Where’d you get those fatigues Xander? They look genuine.”
“My Uncle Rory’s attic, he said they belonged to the son of one of his old business partners though don’t ask me why he has them.” ‘Joyce’s’ smile widened until her gaze fell upon the picture tucked away in the corner of Xander’s hat, it was a picture she’d seen before. Buffy came downstairs though before she could bring it up. “Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe. I completely renounce spandex!” Xander exclaimed upon catching sight of Buffy, ‘Joyce’ eyed her niece in utter confusion at the sight of her in the floor length gown.
“Thank you kind sir.” Buffy returned with a curtsy to which Xander bowed in such a way as to remind ‘Joyce’ of the one who once kept that picture with him at all times. “But wait till you see…”
“Baroness!” ‘Joyce’ blurted reaching for a non-existent gun as Willow appeared at the top of the stairs, both girls eyed her warily while Xander looked both awestruck and ready to pounce gun clutched tightly in hand pointing in Willow’s general direction. His other hand was clutching the hilt of the plastic knife tucked away in his belt.
“Mom?” Buffy asked, ‘Joyce’ shook her head.
“Oh I’m terribly sorry Willow I spoiled your big entrance.” She apologized.
“Th-that’s ok Mrs. Summers.” The red head returned looking slightly downcast; Buffy shot her mother a questioning look. In all the confusion no one noticed Xander snapping out of his trance, but the boy looked powerfully upset due to the fact that he’d actually pulled the trigger on his plastic gun upon first seeing Willow in her costume.
“Willow words can not express… You are H.O.T. Hot.” He blurted covering up his growing fear, Willow blushed.
“R-really Xander?” She asked meekly a hopeful look passing through her eyes all too briefly.
“I hereby retract my previous renouncing of spandex.” He replied right hand raised as though taking an oath, her cheeks blushing furiously Willow joined the others.
“Mom we’re gonna be back early I think.” Buffy began suspiciously. “Have fun at your party, I… Want to talk when you get back.”
“Right, you three have fun too.” ‘Joyce’ returned as the three teens left the house, she waved after them and then shut the door with a sigh. “Smooth move Courtney you practically declared yourself to be a completely different person with that, I’ll blame Duke if he hadn’t called I would still be in Joyce’s right mind instead of my own.” She muttered to herself. “Better tell that Christine woman to think fast, but still what could have possessed Willow to dress up as that European trash?” She asked herself with a shake of her head.
Undisclosed Location; Same Time
“Mrs. Edith will be cross.” Drusilla spoke aloud picking up her doll. “Naughty snake comes to gobble up the kitten, snap, snap the naughty snake will go.”
“Dru what the bloody hell are you on about?” Spike asked entering the room. “Nobody does anything on Halloween, its tradition.”
“Changes come, naughty snakes want to control the garden and red, white and blue will fight them.” Dru replied. “Mrs. Edith says she will go, my poor Spikey and I are doomed, the kitten has claws.” Spike looked worried at that, years had taught him never to take Dru’s ramblings for granted.
“Dru, luv, are you sayin’ we’re gonna be dust?” He asked seriously.
“Grandmummsy is waiting Spike my pet.” Dru replied simply. Spike’s eyes widened in fear and he quickly left the room hollering for his minions, Drusilla giggled madly and stroked her dolls’ hair. “Father will be lost, the great snake rules all. Kitten needs help; does Mrs. Edith think we could help the itty bitty kitten?” She asked. Her eyes widened in shock and for the first time since being turned sanity graced them again, Drusilla screamed loudly at the top of her lungs almost wailing and flung the doll away causing it to collide with the wall and shatter to pieces.
Sunnydale High; Sixteen Hundred Hours
“Okay, on sleazing extra candy. Tears are key; tears will normally get you the double bagger. You can also try the old ‘you missed me’ routine, but it’s risky. Only go there for chocolate. Understood?” Xander’s group all nodded some with awe twinkling in their little eyes, smirking Xander straightened from his crouched position. “Ok troops, let’s move out.”
“Stop staring Billy.” Jane, Billy’s sister ordered with a pout. “It’s rude.”
“But, she’s so pretty.” Billy pointed out; Willow blushed and tried to get the little boys in her group to pay attention. Even without hormones they obviously liked the way she was dressed.
“Miss Rosenberg I see Miss Summers’ delinquent habits are rubbing off on you.” Principal Snyder stated approaching Willow’s group from down the hall. “I trust you won’t be coming to school in that.” He added disdainfully.
“Uh, n-n-no Principal Snyder.” She returned before hastily leading her children out of the building. “Now I wish Buffy had let me go as the ghost.” She muttered humiliated, one of the other boys whistled from where he was. Larry grabbed him by the shoulder and shook his head, apparently what Xander had done to him made him a little more careful about what kind of rumors he spread around. As well as how he treated girls.
The night was warm and filled with the cries of children trick-or-treating, a party for the parents was being held on Sunnydale Universities campus and the Bronze was about to host a killer party for the teenage set. As promised the night life were off hiding or whatever it was they did on All Hallows Eve, but in the back room of the newly opened Ethan’s the man in question was incanting a spell.
What Ethan couldn’t know was that his so-called harmless fun for the evening was about to turn the lives of three particular teenagers upside down. And The Powers that Be were about to have all their plans for the next five and a half years completely destroyed, the Fates had woven new destinies for the Slayer and her friends.
“Persona se corpum et sanguium commutandum est. Vestra sancta praesentia concrescet viscera. Janus! Sume noctem!” Ethan cried out completing the spell a smile gracing his lips as he imagined the utter chaos soon to be unleashed.
Unknown Street; Sixteen Fifty-Nine Hours
Snapping back to reality with a jerk he glanced around wondering where he was, disoriented his memories assailed him up to the moment of his first death, alongside them the life story of a young man also became revealed. Shaking his head to clear it he suddenly realized two things, first of all his spirit had taken possession of another’s body most likely because of his silent wish made upon the moment of his death.
And secondly the woman calling herself Joyce Summers would most likely have a ride out of here and he needed to debrief the others on what he’d discovered on Cobra’s Island.
“Sunnydale.” He stated to himself the sound of a voice almost like heaven after four decades of silence. “Local military base unlikely, the Initiative could get wind of her evac, which only leaves one possible location. Stowing the automatic MK 16 over one shoulder with its strap the young man in a body previously home to the soul of Alexander Harris quickly faded into the night, blending into the surrounding darkness with practiced skill and ease.
Her vision clearing slowly she looked around at the utter chaos in the streets as creatures out of Mindbender’s worst dreams stalked others or fought even uglier creatures. She had no clue what had happened, but she was certainly not on Cobra Island any longer or with Destro in his bedroom.
“If this is another one of the Commanders’ little games of loyalty testing I will snap his neck when I get back to the island.” The Baroness complained seeking out any possible avenue of sanity amongst the darkness. “I should seek some semblance of shelter considering I have no weapon.” She observed. The owner of the house she was in front of lay in a growing pool of blood two midget monstrosities devouring the hags flesh. Curling her lip she made her way off into the night ignorant not only of the fact she was currently not in possession of her own body, but that this persons’ body had twenty-twenty vision.
Lady Margarite O’Shaunnesy Destro could barely believe her misfortune, the demons were running rampant and she had no husband at her side to aide in defending herself, she also had a strange sensation that something wasn’t right.
“I am too short.” She announced as at last the uncertainty cleared up and she became aware of her strangely shrunken state. Reaching into her handbag she removed a mirror and examined her face, it was not her own, far younger and lacking the high cheekbones that had graced her own face. “If I have told James once I have told him endlessly not to play with magics.” She sighed returning the mirror to its place; slipping a stake from her handbag she sorely wished she had a better weapon. “I shall have to locate a telephone and attempt to undo what my dear husband has wrought, I just hope that the Giles family is still employed by the Watcher’s Council, I fear much time may have passed judging by the state of the automobiles parked here and I seem to recall my death.” Lady Destro searched the handbag and found a student ID card with an address on it; surely they would have a phone. Leaving the chaos in the streets she walked off into the night intent on her mission unaware that a pair of eyes watched her.
To Be Continued