Chapter One: Remix, Remagic
Disclaimer: I do not own the copyrights to Buffy or Stargate, and I do not derive financial profit from writing fanfiction using these series.
Chapter One: Remix, Remagic
Gregory hummed contentedly as he flipped rapidly through the ancient tome, one of many overflowing the tables in the small apartment. He thanked Janus for the serendipity that led to his inheriting the magic books from an old woman he'd met by chance during a freak nine car pile-up. He'd never dreamed she would be so grateful for the love potion that enabled her to dupe her middle-aged gold-digging suitor into signing a proper prenuptial. The books had been in her family a long time, but the talent had left her bloodline; otherwise, she never would have been looking for a sorcerer. As a devoted promoter of chaos, her request had appealed to him.
Finishing the last note with a flourish, he snatched up the papers and hurried to the kitchen. Lifting a large copper skillet from a hook, he wiped the dust from the inside with the his flannel shirt tails. Boxes and bottles, a little of this and that, and he had all the ingredients assembled. Turning on the gas, he cheerfully stirred the melting and bubbling powders. Softly singing “Yellow Submarine,” he noticed the mixture turn bright purple. Finishing the verse, he switched to chanting as the purple began to glow. With a flash and a horrible smell, most of the contents of the pan evaporated, leaving a thin, slimy black residue. Gregory chuckled.
“Well, that was unexpected. I don't think it was supposed to work that way.”
“Hey, cut the giggling,” Xander groused at the group of girls following him along the dark street, but his cheerful eyes gave him away.
Buffy slid up along side him. “If you wanted them to take you seriously, you should have listened to me. Andrew's idea of a 'cool' costume . . .” She shook her head.
Xander warily eyed her costume, which highly resembled a leather dominatrix harness. “Sorry, Buffy, much as I appreciate the visit from Rome, the sadomasochistic scene is so not my thing. And some of these girls are under seventeen. I don't want to answer questions about my 'mistress.'”
She sighed. “Fine, but I don't think dressing as a geek counts as a real costume for you.”
“Hello, dead geek! And he's a total genius-geek, not just a dork-geek.”
The slayers burst into full belly-laughter. One girl, walking near the back, fell to her knees gasping with it.
“Oh, my costume!” She leaped to her feet, hastily brushing off the dirt.
“I guess anyone with a brain would be a step up!” A voice, half-choked and indistinguishable with mirth, floated in.
Xander scowled. He wondered, not for the first time, how he'd ended up playing denmother to fifteen teenaged girls who were definitely not boyscouts. “Hey, now, I call foul!”
Buffy plucked at his wispy white sleeve. “How many people have mistaken you for an angel now?”
“That's only because they lack imagination, so they see the Christmas lights and bing! They think Christmassy costumes,” he protested.
“I think it's because Andrew chose a sci-fi show so obscure that no one's ever heard of it.”
“Nuh-uh, it's new and hip. They're just too old.”
Buffy laced her arm through his, careful not to tangle herself in the string of lights. “Why'd you ask Andrew anyway?”
The carpenter shrugged. “I thought it'd be fun to go as the greatest genius in all fiction. I was thinking of Donatello, but Andrew said this guy was way smarter.”
“Dona-whats-it? Wasn't he an artist?” she wrinkled her nose.
“The Ninja Turtle!”
He glanced around with mock stealth, and then leaned close to whisper, “The costume was easier too. Just white and glowy.”
His companion glanced behind them at the white streamers. “With tentacles,” she added.
“I think they're supposed to be floaty-aura thingies. Blame the costume designers on the show.”
Buffy pursed her lips mockingly. “I blame everyone who worked on that show. Come on, Wormhole X-treme?”
Xander stared at her in surprise. “Is that the name of it?” He smirked. “You know, I've never seen an episode, so I can't say if it's bad or not, but if you can . . .” he trailed off with a meaningful eyebrow wiggle.
The slayer hurriedly pushed away from him. “I'm gonna go scout ahead.”
Watching as she jogged away, the Scooby nodded in satisfaction.
A tug on his sleeve made him look down. One of the youngest slayers looked up at him in confusion. “I thought demons took a holiday on Halloween.”
“They do, Miriam,” Xander said gently.
“Then why did Buffy go scout? Doesn't she know?” Her little freckled nose wrinkled.
A distinctly malicious smirk spread over her caretaker's face. “Oh, yeah. She knows. She just wanted—”
Suddenly, a purple haze whooshed around them, the cloud moving so quickly that even the slayers had no time to react. They bent over, coughing hard. Then the strange smoky substance moved past, down the street. Slowly, the group straightened again. Miriam screamed.
“I can't touch Xander!”
“Who?” asked the glowing figure. The little girl and the rest of the slayers gathered close, squinting through the light.
“You're not Xander,” said one in a dire tone. “Where is he?”
“I don't know—wait!” He sounded surprised. “I do know.”
“Spill it, then, glowworm,” Buffy growled from behind him. When the purple haze had swept past her, she'd immediately returned, but apparently, she wasn't quick enough.
A wail interrupted the stranger. “Haley, I dusted Haley!”
Jack decided that he needed to stop feeling self-satisfied and safe, even on Earth surrounded by his best friends. Every time he did, something upset the applecart. The appearance of a young man with an eyepatch in the place Dr. Daniel Jackson had been occupying moments before, positioning exactly the same down to the hand wrapped around the beer glass, was new and alarming, but hopefully they'd be able to sort out this mix-up without the world almost ending or aggravating the ulcer Washington was giving him.
“Whoa!” the stranger said, scoping out O'Malley's with unusual poise. “Um, hi,” he greeted the three people sitting at the table staring at him. He reached up and touched the eyepatch. “I take it that I look like me and not someone else.”
“I am not familiar with your regular appearance, but you do not look like my friend Daniel Jackson,” Teal'c informed him.
“No, nope, can't say I'm Daniel Jackson. Xander Harris.” He stuck out his hand towards the person who'd answered him, but Jack took his hand.
“Jack O'Neill,” he said. “Murray and Sam Carter.”
“Uh, nice to meet you. You know, I'm really glad you're taking this so well, I'm sure we can figure out what happened, and I'm really very sorry that you were out with your friends and suddenly got me instead. It was sudden, wasn't it? I mean, did you notice anything weird happen when I got here? And where is here anyway?”
Jack's eyebrows rose at the marathon babbling. He asked casually, “You think you can figure out what happened? You had something to do with this . . . what was your name again?”
“Xander. Well, no, but the weird stuff usually happens to me.”
“No kidding? I would have said the same thing about us, but I guess with a name like Zander--”
“It's short for Alexander, so no weirdness there.” Xander rubbed his temples. “Oh, man. You get into weird stuff too? This could truly be badness. If it were just you guys, what would have just happened?”
Jack shifted. “Why don't you go first?”
The young man opened his mouth, then shut it, reluctance clear.
“Why don't you start with how bad you think this could be?” Sam encouraged.
“Well, hopefully not world-ending bad.”
Jack briefly shut his eyes. So much for a fun, relaxing holiday with his old team. Across the table, he could hear Carter breathing too slowly and calmly, a sure sign of imminent disaster. The clank and murmur of the restaurant was intrusively loud in the agitated silence. Xander rested his chin on his hands, thinking.
Then he straightened abruptly, as if poked. “Hey, I'm hearing a voice in my head!”
Teal'c asked, “Is this not customary?”
Jack and Carter began to turn towards him, then settled back into their seats.
“Don't ask,” Carter said when their new dinner companion looked curiously at Teal'c. “For once, I don't want to know.”
“So what's this about a voice?” Jack prompted impatiently.
Xander tilted his head to one side. “I think it's your Daniel Jackson.”
The general looked concerned. “He's talking to you inside your head?”
“No, I can hear his thoughts.” The one-eyed man concentrated harder. “Whoa, I like, can look and see what he knows.” Then his brown eye opened so widely that Jack wondered irrelevantly if the other one simply fell out, but the next sentence out of their guest's mouth made all extraneous thoughts on this unreal situation disappear. “Wormhole X-treme is real?” he squeaked, all pretense at machismo vanishing. Jack thought longingly of Tums.