BtVs by Whedon and M.E. and the shows/games referenced, such as Abrams' Early Edition
, aren't by me either.
Song lyrics by Earth, Wind and Fire.
My roommate said I should write the story with a premise in mind. Mine is ‘People can rebuild themselves’.
So, I've been reading reviews... More Xander, check. Reasons why she didn't become Xena, check and double-check. Camera wielding vampire actively noticing the TARDIS, check. Cordy in flight, check.
I don't have much plot beyond the next chapter. Suggestions welcome :)
Also, CPTSkip said 'Just when we thought we knew who the Scoobies were going to be, you change all the characters around.' and asked for more. 'Sure,' I say with an ominous chuckle and widened eyes. 'Why not?'
4/12/12 Had a problem with Gary's cat, so I decided to 'show' rather than 'tell'.
---------Stargate Command, Cheyenne Mountain, Earth
"We're getting reports from air traffic controllers about some ship with a nonsense I.D. code requesting a flight plan."
"And you think it's alien in origin? They're usually a lot more subtle than that."
"Considering the pilot claims to be from the 31st century? Wait, I'll patch you in.""... And you expect me to just hover here while you cut through the red tape? No. No, I don't think so. I'm going home and you can just go ahead and fine me afterwards. Over and out."
"Radar indicates a fairly large object moving at a controlled rate of speed. It's making no attempt to cloak itself."
"That's new, too. Can you get me a visual?"
"Sure. Right here."
"Well, that's definitely not one of ours. I don't think I've ever seen any vessel in that particular blue before, either."
"I'd say it's green."
"I don't care if it's aquamarine. People, we are not bursting into to song here. Ahem. Contact any resources we have on the ground and tell SG-1 that... Wait, where did it say it was heading?"
"New York, sir. Except she called it New
"Figures. Tell our people that we're either about to make first contact with our descendants or some alien drama queen out for a joyride in her daddy's car."
The Adventurer entered the TARDIS he half-way remembered as being his, with the distinct sense that something wasn't right.
For one thing, it seemed, if anything, to be slightly smaller on the inside than the outside.
"This isn't what's supposed to be here. I can't remember the colors, or the smells, or having a really good meal while driving this, but I know I have the skills to do so. What am I missing? Also, now that I think about it, am I drawing a blank because my memories have been erased or because they've been wadded up into a little ball? Think."
He sat down inside the cramped confines of the box and stared off into space.
"I have a sonic screwdriver. I have the skills to lock and unlock the TARDIS. It was unlocked. Why? Would I leave it alone for a year or two without setting safeguards in place? Yes. I would if only I could use it. Maybe I do have the key."
He lifted up his sonic screwdriver and jammed it into the floorboards using the skills he knew
he had to identify the problem, which was that the TARDIS' true interior had somehow been shifted out of reality.
Smiling, he began fixing it back into place.
The small space suddenly filled with a pale and blinding blue light.
...Chicago, ILBeep. Beep.
Captain Jack Harkness, late of time patrol, late of Torchwood, late of the entire universe he'd explored from literally beginning to end, sat up in bed and fumbled for the alarm clock.
When he realized exactly what
was beeping, he leaned too far into his arm and tumbled off the bed with a loud crash. This woke his flatmate up, who quickly came in from his side of the loft to investigate.
"Hey, Jack, when I said you could move in here I was expecting you to be more quiet at nights. Hey. Are you okay? You didn't, uh, you didn't die in your sleep or something?"
"No, I'm good." In the course of saving Life as he knew it, Jack had been made immortal, mainly in the sense that death and age sort of wore off after awhile. "Just a bit shaken up. You know that coral my friend gave me? What I've made out of it?"
"You mean the guy you followed - No. Well, I mean good. I guess you and he will be heading back to your own world, then?"
"Eh. This side of the Rift isn't... It touches more places than just my version of Cardiff and there's a seal to consider. No, more than anything I want to find him and tell him he's not alone. Here, or..."
"So, you still have no idea what he looks like?"
"Nope." Jack frowned as he crossed the room and sank into the couch. "No-one could have survived that much force. Last I saw was his time machine leaving our universe and it's not like you can see through the windows."
"You know, you've never really explained to me why he transforms every time he dies and you manage to stay exactly the same no matter what."
"Hey, he may be long-lived, but he's mortal. He can only regenerate a finite amount of times and that's the end of him. Same with his family, the ones he lost before I met him are gone completely... Me, I'm unique."
"If you say so. Thanks for the last couple of months. I guess, yeah, it's been almost a year since I started getting the paper and, well, if you hadn't shown up things might have gone a bit worse."
"I'm sure you'd have done well enough and, hey, it's not like I'm the only friend you've got. Besides, it's not like it's been all fun and games, we have different styles and-"
"Good point. If I didn't know better I'd say that you died a few extra times just so you could impress me."
"Whatever works. Ahem, I can't say when I'll be back, or how long I'll stay - it's a big brand new universe out there to explore. Then again, if the time machine works I could be on the roof right now listening in."
They both paused a second to stare at the ceiling.
"Right," Gary said, shaking himself. "Like that's not the least bit creepy. Well, do you need a lift? It's only three hundred miles."
"Much as I'd like it that easy, Gary, it's not. From these readings here, the energy spike's coming from the West Coast."
"What? Jack, they found you in Ohio. That's the entire reason you've been hanging out here rather than my version of the U.K., right?"
"Well, barriers have weak and pliable patches. For all I know I popped out the wrong one and the Doctor never was in Cleveland in the first place."
"Great... And Jack?"
"Like I've said before, that's my
couch... Please put some clothes on."
The Adventurer smiled as the formerly shadowed box around him was redefined with dimension and color. Light came forth from numerous spaces along the spacious interior as well as from the weakly pulsing central column around which controls were arranged.
"Ooh!" he announced, taking off his scarf and his coat and hanging them on a nearby hook. "This place is huge. There are rooms off the side of this. Funny. I know how the effect's made, but I can't place why. I know the place was grown for me and how to help it make a new one, but who took care of it? Was it me? My parents? I hope they're nice.
"Wowzer! These aren't just rooms, they're hallways! I wonder if there's an attic? Oh, wait," he said, returning to the main control room to fish the sonic screwdriver out of the coat and secure it in his pants' pocket. "Can't forget this. I know I can use it as a torch if the lights go out. Wait. 'Torch'. 'Flashlight'. I'm British! No, wait...
"Good machine," he said to the TARDIS as a whole. "I'm going to explore you from end to end, or at least until I get bored. Then I'm going to help restore you to full power, because this just doesn't look right," he said, rubbing the central column. "And I'll take you for a spin. I think that for my maiden voyage, we'll go wherever you want to go, alright? We should come back here afterwards though, because if I lost my memories here, here's likely where I'll find them again. Whoever I am...
"Hey," he said, a wide grin spreading across his face. "Maybe I have kids."
Joanna eased open the front door of Ethan's Costume Shoppe, freezing when a bell jangled above her head.Oh well,
she thought. So much for stealth.
"My dear, it's good to see you. I trust that Rupert's wearing his goody-two-shoes face and has told you nothing about me, right?"
"Not much other than not to-" Joanna said as she suddenly whipped out her chakram and threw it at angle to slightly reduce its momentum, hoping to leave the mage unconscious rather than dead.
The shining metal disk sped through the air, ricocheting off the ceiling before hitting Ethan Rayne in the back of the head. The mage merely smiled as the disk fell limply to the floor as a vaguely frisbee-shaped piece of rubber.
"... Let you say a single word," Joanna finished rather lamely as she backed up a step.
"Sorry, my dear," he said with a wave of his hand.
Joanna's custom-made form-fitting breeches became cheap knock-offs as her long black hair shifted into a wig and slid to the floor, revealing Buffy's shades of blonde.
"You're under the influence of a spell I made earlier and I can nudge
it in spots as I wish. You see," he continued, chortling. "You're not Xena, or anything like her. You probably don't even think of yourself as having
a name unless somebody's already asked. You're a collection of skills and a tiny lying voice in the back of your head telling you have memories when it's really just making things up on the spot.
"I suppose I could have gone for the heavy-duty spell, the one that would draw a true personality and memories out of the ether of potential and explicitly shape your body to match it, but that one's tricky and a lot harder to sustain, let alone render permanent. No, you have the same face as you did before the spell, the same height. You're just a teenage girl in a dark, scary town and you are powerless to do anything about it.
"The hints of memories that shape your thoughts are ridiculous anyway," he said, turning to walk away. "I've seen the show and it's portrayal of the Greek Gods is completely wrong. Trust me, you'll
find no friends among them here."
"Beyond all that you've said, I still have my faith," she said in a steel-cored voice that made him freeze in his tracks. "Funny, I have the feeling that there's something obvious I'm missing," Joanna the Warrior Priestess said as she rubbed the cross that Buffy always wore around her neck. "But I just don't understand why you people keep assuming I'm Greek
He had time to spin half-way around before the first running kick landed, sending him sliding through the crowded racks of costumes. He came to a stop against the far wall near some discarded supplies.
"Oh. Still showing a bit of cheek," he said, pulling himself to a sitting position. "I like
There was one vampire, out of all the guys Spike had paid to record the events of Halloween night, who was the most bored. He'd latched on to the trail of the black-haired guy because he was always hanging out with the Slayer. The guy had meandered through the town, only to wind up shutting himself up in some kind of blue box.Sure,
the vampire thought. That, uh, 'Police' box made a great entrance, but as soon as he opened the door I could see it was empty. I can't even hear any interesting noises coming from it and I'm running out of batteries. So either I leave or I open the door again and see what he's up to, despite the risk of getting staked.Oh well,
he thought as he moved to do so. The things I do for pay.
He gently slid open the door, surprised at the amount of light that poured out.
"Hey, pal," he said out loud, despite himself. "You glowing in there, or..." the words dried in his mouth as his eyes adjusted. Sure, there was lights in the floor and the ceiling, but what worried him the most was the dim pillar of light in the center of the room that pulsed as if it 'saw' him.
After a minute or so of standing in place, the vampire shook himself, risked a glance around the room to see if the Slayer's friend was visible - he wasn't - then leaned back out of the box and closed the door.
Whimpering faintly, the night air fresh on his face, the vampire gently slid to the ground and sat there, his back against the box.
"There's something in the light and it doesn't like me," he said, rocking in place, before whipping his head around and grinning viciously into the night. "Spike is going to love
Ethan Rayne hit the wall for a second time and a thin trickle of blood trailed down his lip. He reached up to wipe it off. He hadn't once lost his smile.
"Girl, all I see in you is skill and speed. No real power," he said reaching out with a hand to one of the boxes. "Let me assure you I've still got some tricks up my sleeve."
He put his weight into his arm in an attempt to stand up. Unfortunately, the flimsy cardboard box crumbled slightly under his weight.
Unfortunate, because he had been too distracted by the battle to remember exactly where he'd left the 'package'. That he was in danger from it simply hadn't crossed his mind.
As the enchanted box squished, it compressed the universe it contained inside of it. Which, thanks to the 31st century tech it was mimicking, was the universe around it.
As Ethan Rayne
stood up his
head touched the
ceiling. He felt
this was rather
odd because he'd
never felt shorter
and fatter in
his life."Unfortunately, my dear," he
squeaked. "That wasn't one of them. I don't think that I want try a spot negation if it might mean negating reality itself, so congratulations, I'm going to have to break the connection wholesale. I may love chaos in general but this right here is infringing on my freedom."
into the back
room and tried
to lift the
bust of Janus
above his head
, which resulted in a large dent in the ceiling
and several chips falling from the statue's 'brains' and
raining to the floor.
Snarling, he threw the bust
to the floor where it shattered, ending the spell.
All across town, wherever the shock caused the magic to recede, the spell's effects reversed, leaving the formerly enchanted residents more or less as they were before, although rather more confused.
Shaking herself, Buffy ran forward after the mage, only to realize he'd taken her moment of adjustment to disappear out the back.
She considered chasing after him through Sunnydale, but the healer in her had her heading back to the car where Willow and Giles were.
She turned around in time to see the little shop bell go flying off as Giles slammed open the door with enough force to shatter it.
"Where is he!" he yelled. "Ethan, all you've done is remind me exactly why being Ripper was so fun
and I can't wait to let him- Why hello, Buffy," the Watcher said as he adjusted his glasses. "Did you happen to see which way he went?"
"You. Me. Talk later," she said, walking forward to see Willow standing against the car, also suddenly recovered from the paralyzing glare. "Right now Willow and I have got to patrol and escort the kids we're responsible for back home."
"Why, yes," Giles said, reigning his inner darkness back into place. "Have fun."
Spike accepted the tape from the madly-grinning vampire, who left with his pay and a few parting words.
Spike turned to Drusilla as he popped in the tape and said: "So, camera-boy says we're going to love this one. I somehow doubt it. We've seen too many tapes tonight already..."
After a bit, he pressed fast-forward.
"See, what did I tell you? All he does is bump into the Wizard of Oz group. We already saw this scene from the guy who was following Angel around. Now look, he's just wandering off on his own. Boring."
Spike ejected the tape and tossed it unceremoniously into a corner.
"You know, for a guy who hangs out with the Slayer I thought he would've picked a more interesting costume..."
...*Ring - Ring*
"I've half a mind to kill whoever this is! I've just been up half the night trying to track the bastard across town only to come back to the shop to find it cleared out behind me! I've only had an hour's sleep, if that, and-"
"Giles, it's me, Cordelia."
"Cordelia? Well, I don't have any specific gripe against you. Are you okay? You do realize you're calling me at 3:00 in the bleedin' A.M. right?"
"Well, it's 6:00 A.M. in New York, which is where I'm calling from by the way."
"Oh. The spell took you that far, eh? Oh my God! Is the sun up yet?"
"No, but it's getting there. Why?"
"Are you still whatever you dressed as?"
"No, I took my wig off and stashed it inside my car before I called. Speaking of which, how am I going to get that
shipped back to Sunnydale?"
"Your car's with you?"
"Yeah. It's back to its four-wheeled shape but thanks to that special Halloween hood ornament that guy had me slip on to match my costume-"
"You are lucky, young lady. Very very lucky to have stopped in New York. I went through the notes Ethan had on his spell, well, scrawls, really, and he was planning on drawing power and fuel from the essence of night, but with sunlight the spell achieves permanence."
"Ethan did all of this? You mean, I'd have been stuck as a one-eyed courier for the rest of my life? The Chase fortune would have a heir with no memory? Yipe. I'd have to work and have no idea I was better than that."
"Ahem. No. You'd still have been transformed, yes, but your memories and personality would return to consume the shell that had been running your body. I assume he wanted to give people a night of worry-free chaos backed up by a lifetime of regret with everything they did under its influence permanently etched into their faces."
"If you could see me, you would know I was shuddering. Remind me to give him a swift kick in the balls next time I see him. So, you're fairly smart and, while I regret to say this, professionally trained in all this supernatural stuff. How am I going to get myself and my car back complete with a believable explanation?"
"I'll think of something."
"Great. It's that military guy who was trying to talk to me earlier. So, I was watching this live taping of a Japanese soap opera and you can't believe what Aeris was up to this time... Good, he's out of earshot. Guess he didn't recognize me without the hair and the boots. Where were we?"
"Well, that should do it." It had taken the black-haired men a few hours to catch up on sleep, put Jack's life in order and remold his 'Time And Relative Dimension In Space' detector into something that would pass through airport security.
"Let's get going," Gary Hobson said as Jack put his hand on the doorknob. "You'll definitely be on time for your flight, but I'll be cutting it rather close-"
As Jack turned the doorknob there was the sound of a cat's 'Mwowr
' and the thump of something hitting the hallway floor.
Jack threw open the door to reveal, as usual, the absence of anyone who could have dropped the paper.
Surprised, Gary glanced over his shoulder at the clock which read '6:00 AM.' The paper had arrived half an hour early. "Huh." He shrugged. "I guess it didn't want to miss you?"
Jack waved at the paper and Gary walked across the room to retrieve it, brushing away the orange cat that had sat down and started to groom itself in the exact center of the paper.
Jack walked up close behind the slightly taller man and began to read over his shoulder as Gary paged through the edition of the Chicago Sun-Times that had November 2nd, 1997, the next day's date, written across the top.
Gary shook his head as he turned to meet the other man's eyes and Jack let out a sigh of relief. "Looks like it will be a slow news day. Nothing stopping you from leaving on time."
"Good," Jack said, cheerfully stretching his arms behind his head. "A man can only take so many plane crashes in his lifetime... Well, let's be off."
"Well," the Adventurer monologued. "My interest in exploring the ship is sated, for now, and I've had enough of repairs for the moment. Yep, it will be at least a few more hours work before she's flightworthy. Good a time as any to check out the local watering hole and see what kind of trouble I can get into, not that I'll ever admit to myself that's what I'm doing."
Cheerfully whistling, the alien patted the TARDIS' central column with a muttered 'Good Ship', and went to open the doors.
The timeless nature of the TARDIS had protected the the Adventurer's spell fragment from the outside forces trying to break it in the absence of the much larger chaos working, so when he opened the doors and the first rays of the rising sun hit him, Xander's mind merged fully with the rest of his body.
"Oh. Hell," Xander said as he sank to the floor, his two new, very Gallifreyan, hearts beating wildly in his chest. "Wait a second."
Fumbling, he pulled out his wallet and flipped it open to the mocked-up I.D. he'd made after beating a series of adventure games.
"I have been playing way too much Quest for Glory," he said, shaking his head as he pulled himself to his feet. "Okay, to recap, unless the Cowardly Lion is a native to this dimension, I have no reason to believe that the... alien species I've become is out there somewhere waiting for me to sign up... Other than that I'm in one of their machines.
"Hello," he said, pulling out the sonic screwdriver and flipping it on. "Yep, still works. Right, I can balance my life between being a time-jumping alien and a full-fledged Slayerette. It does help that it's Saturday and - looking at it from a fresh perspective - my parents really do suck.
"So, I've got a full set of skills, enough to fix this machine. No particular grudge against whoever did this to me, though I rather think it was that Ethan guy. Note to self: If you think it's a bad idea to trust someone who resembles a British High Elf without the pointed ears - don't. No clear-cut alien memories other than his perspective on what happened last night. Check.
"Well, I'm going to go home, get a fresh set of my
clothes, check to see all my friends survived the night, do all the repairs I can and, then, take this baby for a spin."
Flight A left Chicago. Flight B left New York. Flight A was delayed. Flights arrived in Los Angeles. Planes from LAX to Sunnydale Airport leave rarely, but they're still faster and more comfortable than the bus. Therefore,
"Hey," said Jack as he stopped next to Cordelia. "Looks like we're sitting together. My name's Jack."
"Cordelia Chase," she said, smiling at the man in the dark wool greatcoat.
"Nice to meet you," he said, sliding past her to take the window seat. "Know much about the town we're flying into?"
"Other than that there's a gang that thinks it's funny to butcher people who invite them in after dark? Yeah, I live there."
"Oh, good. Round trip?"
"Yeah, but I had a much nicer flight on the way out."
He smiled slightly at her and turned to look out the window as the plane took off.
She turned to face down the aisle and inconspicuously fanned the base of her neck.
"Hotness," she mouthed silently to herself.
...*Ring - Ring*
"Jenny, this is, uh, Rupert. I was wondering if, seeing as it was Saturday..."
"I don't have any plans myself. When would you like to meet up?"
"I'd say lunch this afternoon, maybe a matinee afterwards?"
Once in Sunnydale, after parting ways with Cordelia, Jack rented a car under the identity he'd forged with his Torchwood-learned skills. He loaded the vehicle up with his luggage and belted one very important piece into the passenger seat.
Using the fresh readings from the rigged device, he navigated through the town to one specific cemetery and parked within sight of the TARDIS. Racing to the machine, he thanked his lucky stars that it was still there and showed no signs of taking off any time soon. Death by clinging to the outside of the TARDIS was something he wanted to do only once.
Pulling open the door, he was greeted by the sight of a young black-haired man in a garish Hawaiian shirt dancing as he whipped from panel to panel in a flurry of activity.
The young-seeming man was singing to himself as he moved across the room, hitting every note with a completely non-human level of precision."Now December found the love that we shared in September.
"Only blue talk and love,
"Remember the true love we share todayyy yeah
"Aaahhh Ba de ya - say do you remember
"Ba de ya - dancing in September
"Ba de ya - never was a cloudy day
"There wasn't Ba de ya - say do you remember
"Ba de ya - dancing in September
"Ba de ya -"
The man looked up and smiled warmly as if he hadn't just been caught doing something strange. "Hey," he said. "This wouldn't happen to be yours would it?"
"Nope," Jack said. "But I'm growing my own. I've got it belted into the front seat of my car. The name's Captain Jack Harkness. I mean anything to you?"
"Nah, sorry," he answered with a shrug. "My name's Xander. There was this big personality explosion in town last night and I got hit by a stray shot. Woke up here with one more heart than I went to bed with the night before."
"Okay, so you're not a Time Lord in human-form with Chameleon Arch induced amnesia, are you?"
"Not unless my best friend since kindergarten has had her memories tampered with too."
"Worth a shot," Jack sighed, deciding to try a different tack. "I jumped in from another reality, riding the baby budded TARDIS I'd rigged up like a surfboard in hopes of finding its 'daddy'. Looks like I did, but I was mostly hoping to find its pilot, the Doctor
"Oh, so real 'Time Lords' have that one name thing going for them, do they? I thought it was just my abject weirdness."
"Hmph. So, why was there a 'personality-explosion' on Halloween night?"
"Oh, some guy decided to create costumes that took away memories and added skillsets in hopes of causing chaos. I picked up a sonic screwdriver and a locket, which the guy claimed came from a yard sale, borrowed those clothes over there off my friends and became a target for the universe to throw darts at. So, tell me about the guy you knew, was he... Hey, are you okay?"
The blood drained from Jack's face as he stared over at the scarf and the coat hanging from a hook on the wall.
The normally unflappable Captain had become, well, flapped.
"So," asked the immortal Jack. "You're saying you picked up those clothes from some specific people you know. Where can I find them?"
"Why on Earth should I tell you?"
"I'll give you one good guess."
Giles and Jenny sat next to each other in the darkened theater. They were in luck as the Sun Cinema was having a special All Saints' Day
movie marathon. As the second movie rolled around Jenny nudged Giles and said that she was getting up to get some more popcorn. He smiled, patted her hand again, and she stood up to leave.
After a bit, Giles felt someone slip into the seat next to him and a warm hand gently slip into his.
The warmth was a good thing, because Giles could unquestionably tell that it did not belong to a vampire.
"It's a good thing that I'm not my girlfriend," Giles said without turning his head. "Or you'd be on the ground right now writhing in pain. As it is I'd suggest that you classify this as an honest mistake and back the hell off."
"Sorry to interrupt you on your date," Jack said. "If I still had my Doctor-Detector I'd have been able to track you down a lot sooner. As it is, I had to visit the major date spots in this town manually. Now, the Doctor I presume," Jack said, releasing Giles' hand as he stood up and turned to face the aisle. "Miss me?"
Jenny Calendar stood there for a second, frozen in shock, as the bags of popcorn fell from her hands to scatter along the theater floor.