The Sentinel (and Blair will be appearing later) is property of Pet Fly. Joss owns all things Buffy.
Oh, and if you suffer through some weirdness at the beginning, I do hope it makes sense about a third of the way through.
Xander opened his eyes, closed them, and then blinked several times as fast as he could. Yeah, like that ever worked. Funny enough, all the freakish and hellmouthy things in his life didn't really care how fast he blinked, although it did amuse Spike. And then Spike and Angel would kill whatever was freaking Xander out, but there was definitely a lack of vampires in this scene.
"Um, Commander, I'm guessing he's not one of us," the blond one said, and Xander refused to even allow himself to think the name. This wasn't possible. Nope, not possible. Not happening, and if he just ignored it, it would all just go away.
"Paris, call the captain," Chakotay ordered. Oh yeah, that was definitely Chakotay, and Paris was definitely Paris and not some random blond guy. And Xander was standing in the middle of the Voyager bridge in his yellow pajamas with a guy pointing a phaser at him. Either he was having the most realistic dream of his life, or he'd just had a total break with reality. Odds were running fifty-fifty.
"Yes, sir," Paris agreed, tapping on that stupid table desk thing as he sat in the chair that always made Xander wonder what science fiction writers had against seat belts. As the recipient of many head traumas, he could say from experience that they were not fun. Nope, no fun at all. Hey, maybe he'd had another head trauma. That would explain the major weirdness.
Chakotay took a firm step closer, holding a hand out to the side to keep the ensign from shooting. "I'm Commander Chakotay of the Starship Voyager. And you are?" he asked Xander, and Xander opened his mouth without anything actually coming out. Giving up on words, he reached up and pinched his arm.
"Ow," he whispered to himself. Chakotay looked over at Paris with that same expression Angel had on his face a whole lot of the time... the look that said he totally did not understand what was going on.
"Perhaps it is deficient," Seven of Nine suggested. She stalked closer with that predator's gait and skin-tight suit that made Xander think naughty thoughts. Lots and lots of naughty thoughts--like what would happen if Seven of Nine, Buffy, and Faith all ended up in the same mud pit. Not that he thought about Faith like that. Much. Since she was technically the only person he'd ever had sex with--and since the sex had been remarkably not bad--his penis did tend to think about her, even when he was definitely not thinking about her. Only now, his penis was way more interested in thinking about Seven of Nine.
"Seven, stand down," Chakotay ordered.
"Come on Chak, let her have a little fun." Paris stood up and went over to lean against Chakotay, and Xander's eyebrows went all the way to the top. He so did not remember this episode. Paris rested his palm against Chakotay's chest, and Chakotay got this indulgent expression on his face as he looked at Paris fondly, and Xander knew THAT had never happened in the show.
"I should inspect him for weapons or deficiencies," Seven announced grandly, and then she was there with hands reaching everywhere. Her hand stroked up his sides before fingers slipped under his shirt and traced across his stomach. The Borg implants on her fingertips made him shiver. One of her eyebrows rose, and then her Borg hand darted down the front of his pajama bottoms.
"Hey now, that is inappropriate touching," Xander objected.
"I am checking you for weapons," she declared archly, her fingers wrapping around his cock so that Xander made a slightly unmanly squeak and grabbed her shoulders to keep from falling over. Oh yeah, Xander Jr. was totally into this fantasy. If this was some head-trauma induced fantasy, he was going to throw himself into way more headstones.
"That's not a weapon," Xander panted.
"We shall see," Seven said, and again that eyebrow rose.
"Okay, this is... this is way more real than my usual wet dream."
Paris laughed. "If this is a dream, do you mind dreaming us back home? I'm getting sick of Neelix's cooking."
"This isn't a dream," Chakotay said firmly. "And aren't you supposed to be piloting? There's time for this later, get your attention focused on your work Tom." Chakotay slapped Paris on the ass, and Paris gave Chakotay a look that Spike would have been proud of.
"This is officially freaky," Xander whispered to himself. "Freaky enough that I really think I need to wake up." He slapped himself hard across the face. The heat and sting made his one eye water.
"Hey, if you're into a little violence with your sex, I can help you with that," B'Elanna appeared out of nowhere, and Xander retreated fast enough that he slammed his hip into the computer panel. And damn that thing was hard.
"No, no violence with the sex. Me and Klingons are definitely on the no list," Xander babbled, holding both hands up in surrender as he tried to back up. He found his retreat blocked by Seven of Nine who snaked an arm around his waist and pulled him close to her body. His poor cock was getting all kinds of excited now, but his brain was definitely putting up warning signs. Unfortunately, the sight of hot women pretty much vetoed any rational thoughts.
"How do you know she's Klingon?" Chakotay demanded. Now he just looked angry.
"Report!" Captain Janeway strode onto the bridge, and why had Xander never noticed just how many scary women were on this ship? Of course, he'd never before been trapped between two of them with the third staring at him. A little scary... something along the lines of Cordelia or Faith... that was hot. Right now, even his cock was starting to think there were way too many scary women in the room. No wonder Paris and Chakotay had retreated to a nice safe homosexual corner of this universe. Xander's cock was starting to think about a strategic retreat.
"We have an unexpected visitor who just appeared on the bridge," Chakotay offered in a tone that was all military. Paris turned around to face front, but he had a wide smirk on his face.
"I believe he is deficient, but he is unarmed," Seven declared, her hands slipping under the elastic of his pajama bottoms.
"Hey, I resemble that remark, and trust me, I've been called deficient by way better than you," Xander complained as he shoved at her hands. It was a little like trying to shove Spike away, not that Spike ever grabbed his cock in one hand and reached down for his balls with the other. Oh, he offered, but there was definitely no Spike touchage. "And this is a dream. This is a dream or a hallucination. I just need to make myself wake up." Xander closed his eyes tightly. "Wake up wake up wake up."
He gasped and then found himself sitting up even though he didn't remember ever having laid down. And the weird just kept right on coming. Xander was sitting in a pile of red and gold pillows in front of a huge fireplace flanked by two statues of gold cats with diamond eyes. None of the lights were on, so the fire cast flickers around the room.
"Darling, you're awake," a voice purred. Xander twisted around and nearly swallowed his tongue as a woman in a tight black outfit sashayed toward him, black cat ears sticking up through her thick, auburn hair. Oh yeah, he remembered this. He used to watch old Batman reruns with Jesse and drool all over Catwoman. And she was just as drool-worthy now. She made an umming noise deep in her throat as she knelt next to him, handing him a glass of wine. "After that ridiculous prank of the Joker's, all of Gotham is blacked out. We'll have to make our own warmth."
"Um... I have absolutely nothing that I can say that doesn't make me sound crazy," Xander said. He took the wine and stared at it. This... whatever this was... went way past dreamland.
She laughed wildly, her fingers trailing up and tangling in his hair. "You are so delightfully unassuming, darling. I am so glad I traded in one do-gooder for another." A white cat ran over Xander's legs and then disappeared into the shadows.
"Okay, this... this is so not happening." Xander pushed her hands away and scooted backwards.
She cocked her head to the side and made a little whine in her throat. "Oh Xander, you know better than to make me angry." She opened her mouth and made a little rowr sound.
"Angel!!" Xander bellowed. That made Catwoman sit back, her eyes wide with surprise.
Xander scrambled to his feet and managed to drop his wine glass along the way. "ANGEL! Angel, where are you? I'm losing my mind here!" He backed up to the window, and he could see the dark city below him. It was hard to tell with the blackout, but that definitely looked like Gotham.
"Xander, are you unwell?" Catwoman asked.
"Oh, I am unwell like you would not believe. Angel!!! Angel, I'm losing my mind here!" Xander screamed at the top of his lungs, and two guys in yellow and black tiger striped shirts burst through the really garish, gilded double doors. They hurried to Catwoman's side, and now she looked outright concerned.
"Nope. No, you are not even you. You are a television show, and I am losing my mind. Angel!!" Xander screamed as loud as he could, and Catwoman, her henchmen, and her scary-ugly bedroom shimmered and vanished into a sort of bland grayness. Xander spun around, but there was just a big old nothing in every direction.
"I'll have you know that I worked very hard on this wish. You are totally inconsiderate." Xander spun around again and found himself face to face with a demon. An unhappy demon. An unhappy girl demon, and this was not looking good. Blue veins and heavy wrinkles and folds covered a face that otherwise looked pretty humanish.
"Um, I'm sorry," Xander offered, not exactly sure what he was apologizing for, but he'd gotten used to that with Spike. Demons had all these weird rules in their brains, so you just had to apologize.
"You should be," she said firmly.
"And I'm perfectly willing to be even more sorry, only can you please explain what's going on?" Xander asked, doing his best to sound respectfully requesting instead of bossy or commanding or frustrated—all of which tended to not go over well with demons.
She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him for a second. "I'm trying to give you love and happiness. This is not the kind of wish I usually do, so don't start thinking that I'm not good at my job. I'm great at my job. I can make a man's penis shrivel to the size of a Q-tip. I can make flesh fall off bones. I can turn a man into a gibbering idiot who drools on himself for the rest of his life."
From the intense expression on her face, Xander was guessing that she wasn't even kidding. "Impressive resume," he said with a weak smile. She looked at him with suspicion. "No, seriously. I mean, I know this vampire who loves to brag about his torture techniques, and he's never described anything that creeps me out as much as the penis shriveling, although the flesh falling off comes a close second. Heck, Spike and his railroad spikes just got bumped to third in my list of things I never, ever want to experience."
The demon nodded and actually managed to look a little happier. "Exactly. I am the best at what I do. A vampire certainly does not have the experience or the creativity to touch me."
"And what exactly do you do because if the plan was for penis shriveling, I'm hoping there's some sort of deal we can make."
"I do not make deals," she informed him primly. "I am Anyanka, vengeance demon and patron of scorned women. I've had men offer me jewels, wealth, power. I do not take bribes."
"Oh shit." Xander closed his eyes and sent up a quick prayer. Then he sent up a second and third one. He was so seriously in deep shit that he needed all the help he could get. "Cordelia," he sighed. "I swear, I did not mean to do anything to hurt her. I wouldn't ever—"
"Oh please," Anyanka waved her hand dismissively. "You let her publicly humiliate you. That is more class than most men show. Even if she called on me, I don't think I would have bothered with her because there are men out there far more deserving of my torture. Your mother called me."
"Mom?" Xander really wished Anyanka would bring back one of the fantasy rooms because he so needed to sit down. His head was spinning and reality was moving way too fast for him to keep up. "My mom called for vengeance on me?"
"No." Anyanka sounded really frustrated now. "She earned vengeance against your father. I offered to make your father's balls fall off or shrivel up into peas, or give him a good case of leprosy, but she insisted that her only wish was for you to find happiness with someone. So, I'm trying to find someone for you to be happy with. Now, I don't have all day, so you need to get with the program and start being happy." Anyanka touched her necklace and the two realities appeared on either side of them like ghost images floating in a fog.
On one side, Seven of Nine was pressed up against his back, B'Elanna standing in front of him with a predatory look on her face, and Paris looked like he was about to go pop some popcorn so he could enjoy the show. It was weird looking at a ghost image of himself with this look on his face like he was caught between shock and lust. It was a weird look on him. In the other scene, Catwoman was just starting to walk toward him, a whip hanging from her hip and her henchmen on either side. In that one, Xander looked way more alarmed, but from the way Catwoman's hand hovered over the whip, he had a right to be a little alarmed. "Pick one," Anyanka finally said impatiently.
"Because I pulled these from your mind. It's your mother's wish, but this is where you go to be happy, so go be happy in one."
"Wait... my mind? You're wandering around in my mind? Way with the creepy."
She rolled her eyes, and suddenly she transformed into an attractive woman with light brown hair and truly stunning eyes that were brown with just a touch of gold to them. "Like I care what a human is thinking about." She gave him a look that made it clear she thought he was stupid, but it was one of those looks where the person thinks you're cute-stupid. "I just need to get this wish finished."
"By making me happy?" Xander asked, just trying to make sure he'd actually heard this right.
"By making sure you're with the right person to make you happy. Your mother doesn't want you getting screwed by love the way your father screwed her. And can I just say that your father is a real bucket of slime? I've met chaos mages and slime demons I've liked more than that man."
"Hey, I know mass murders and demons that I not only like more, but that I trust more than him. He sold me," Xander quickly pointed out. "That was enough to drive me into therapy, so don't look for me to go defending the family honor here."
"I may shrivel his genitals just on principle."
"Go for it, only, can we not talk about it, because parents and genitals really should not ever be said in the same sentence." Xander made a disgusted face as he tried to wipe that image out of his mind. Anyanka gave him another of those fond-idiot looks.
"So, which world are you going to pick? I need to recycle the other one. I have other wishes I need to get to."
"Is there a door number three?" Xander asked hopefully.
"Do you want Faith?" Anyanka asked, and that was actually a serious look on her face.
"What?! No! I mean... no. She has issues, and her issues are way more issuey around me, and then her issues spill over into my issues, and the breeding of issues is very bad for all involved."
Anyanka was already nodding. "I got that from your memories. Like all men, you're weak when you masturbate, but at least you don't have those really gross fantasies where you think everyone else exists only to service your penis. Her needs have nothing to do with your penis. So, that leaves Seven of Nine, B'Elanna, and Catwoman. B'Elanna is the most attractive. I like her forehead. And she kills well, that's always a plus in a mate. But then Catwoman and Seven of Nine are good at killing, too. You have good taste in women."
For a second, Xander wasn't really sure what to say, because getting complimented on his taste in women by a demon was probably not good. It was about as disturbing as... well, as the rest of his life.
"Okay, as much as I have to admit that all of these women are incredibly hot. Seriously hot," Xander admitted as he looked around at the frozen scenes, "this isn't exactly the 'ever after' kind of relationship. This is more the 'giving the brain something to think about while the hand is doing its thing' kind of relationship."
Anyanka frowned at him. "I granted a wish. You have to be happy with someone."
"Hey, I'm happy now," Xander pointed out.
"You're happy with your hand. Your hand does not count as someone. And I will not have a failed wish on my record. That sort of thing can give you a reputation, you know. Eleven hundred years and I don't have a failed wish on my record, and I am not starting with you." She had her poking, pointing finger going now. "So, if you don't want forever with any of these women, we just start over."
The scenes faded into the fog, and suddenly Xander found himself at the center of three new images. In one, Chakotay was reaching out for him. Xander was dressed in an ensign's uniform, but from the look on Chakotay's face, he wasn't going to be wearing it for long. The second scene showed him standing on the bridge of the ship from V, and Diana the reptilian invader had her hand up his shirt. The third scene showed the Knight Rider guy pinning him up against a car.
"Hey, no, no, that is not right," Xander pointed at the Knight Rider scene.
Anyanka patted him on the arm. "Oh please. If you don't want a woman, then we have to find you a nice man or non-human. You know you had that fantasy about Michael Knight, and he's not that bad. He tried to get revenge on people who do wrong, and I like that." She nodded as if approving of him and Michael Knight doing it on the hood of the car, and that was from so far back in the denial box that Xander couldn't even bring himself to look at it. Nope, he was firmly focusing on Diana. At least she looked like a curvy woman... who ate people. And oddly, she wouldn't even be his first date to try and eat him.
"You do know this is not going to end well. I'm a mammal, she's a reptile. She's so going to eat me," Xander pointed out.
Anyanka tilted her head to the side. "She could make you happy until she ate you. It's not like she'd be your only relationship where the other person considered you a food group."
"And way to go with the disturbing," Xander sighed.
"I have other wishes to get to. I've provided five perfectly good scenarios, so why don't you pick one so that I can get on with the making you happy in love?"
"I'm just supposed to pick one?"
"Hey, I don't normally give options here. This was supposed to be a quick wishverse with you and B'Elanna and Seven of Nine having sex all over the Voyager, so you should be grateful that I made a housecall at all. Options... well, let me tell you, you will not find a whole lot of people I've given options to. Although there was the one man who I tied so that this sword was caught between his penis and his balls, and he had the option to cut off one or the other or starve to death. That was a good wish." She smiled, and even with her pretty, human face on, that was not a pretty expression.
"Creative," Xander said weakly.
She smiled brightly at him. "I was very proud of it. His wife wished that he had to make hard choices, the same way he'd forced her to choose between public humiliation and poverty. She was very satisfied."
"I bet." Xander swallowed and tried to figure out how he was going to get out of this one.
"I'm very good at my job," Anyanka told him proudly.
"So, you want to make sure that the wish really works out. I mean, if my mother wants me happy with someone and I'm in this fantasy that gets boring, that would be bad, right?" Xander asked.
Anyanka frowned for a second. "You do have a lot of experience with excitement. But Voyager is in the middle of hostile space. There are lots of chances for you to get taken over by Borg or eaten by an alien virus." And boy didn't she just sound cheerful about that.
"Yeah, but I'll know it's not real, not like my life is real," Xander pointed out. "I won't be fighting to keep people I love safe. And I won't have a chance to make a real connection with someone in my world."
That seemed to make her think. "You aren't connecting with someone now."
"Only because I've been getting over Cordelia. I feel things deeply. I don't want to just go rushing into a relationship with the girl who serves coffee on the corner."
Anyanka frowned at him. "She's boring, and small. She is not right. Seven of Nine is far better for you."
"But I'll know it's not really Seven of Nine."
"I could wipe your memories."
"And then it wouldn't really be me, and since my mom wants *me* happy, that wouldn't really make the wish true, would it?"
"Oh please, I've screwed with people way more than that." She touched her necklace again and all the scenes vanished so that they were again standing in the middle of gray.
"You're 1100 years old, right?" Xander tried a new tactic.
"Yes??" She drew the word out, hissing it dangerously.
"Then giving me a little time to get my head screwed on straight is not such a big deal. I mean, you're pulling out heroes and villains, guys and girls, humans and non-humans. Face it, you can't give me the perfect partner because I'm so screwed up in the head I don't know what I want." Xander gave her his best pleading expression.
"Huh." She stared at him. "It is a strange set of fantasies."
"That's me, strange to the end. And if my mother's wish is for me to be truly happy with someone, well, you can't be expected to pick someone who would make me happy if I can't figure it out for myself."
"But I need to finish the wish," Anyanka said with a frown.
"And I would not want to ruin your record, but if you gave me a little time, I could work through some issues, maybe come to a better understanding of what I want in a partner." Xander tried really, really hard to not think about the fact that all he wanted to do was get back to his apartment so he could go running to Angel. Yep, he was going to hide behind Angel until he was ninety and his cock no longer worked. Anyanka frowned at him, and terror swept through Xander as he realized he was thinking about what he didn't want to think about and she could read his mind.
"A month," she said.
Xander snorted. She glared at him, and he put on his most polite smile. "Hey, it took me two years of therapy to work through my dad issues. I think it's going to take that long to work through any sexual identity issues."
She frowned again and her veins and wrinkles reappeared as she became a demon again. "One year. One year and I'll be back to finish your mother's wish."
Xander opened his mouth to argue, but he was suddenly standing in the middle of his bedroom. Slowly, he turned and tried to figure out what had just happened. The red numbers on his alarm clock read 4:56 am. His VCR was blinking 12:00. His soda bottle and cake plate were on the table next to his bed. It looked just like when he'd gone to bed. Xander walked over to the bed and sank down, weariness and terror both still pulling on him.
"Oh yeah, and I thought my life would get less weird after high school," Xander said to the air. Grabbing his robe off the floor, Xander headed for Angel's apartment. If it had been a nightmare, at least he could torture Angel by making him listen to the story... or the story with Michael Knight edited out, anyway. If Anyanka really did exist, they obviously had a problem. Xander really did not look forward to spending the rest of his life dodging Borg and alien viruses. And with his luck, he'd get infected by both within a week of being in the Delta Quadrant.