Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy/Angel. XKCD belongs to... someone. Who isn't me.
Spoilers: Up to "Shells"
So, I wound up stuck in this desert. How I got there is an interesting story.
A friend of mine, Dawn, was kidnapped by a hellgoddess. I know what you’re thinking, hellgoddesses don’t exist. Well, they do, and we had to fight one.
Anyway, to make a long story short, she was bleeding Dawn out to make an interdimensional portal. Buffy got caught up fighting Glory (that’s the hellgoddess), so I went to save Dawn.
I threw the guy who cut Dawn off the tower they’d tied her to. Once I’d freed her, Dawn told me that only her blood could close the portal. Since the portal was going to destroy the entirety of everything, I decided this was a necessary thing to do.
Now, I was never anything special. And old girlfriend of mine called me ‘The Zeppo’ once. It was more or less accurate. I was the only member of our group with no powers. Naturally, that made me expendable. So, I did the only thing I could do. I grabbed her, and jumped.
We fell through the portal. We seemed to slow down some when we were falling through the energy. It gave me time to twist us around so that I would hit the ground.
Dawn walked away. I didn’t. I was ripped from my body.
And here I was, stuck in this infinite expanse, surrounded by sand and rocks.
I never felt hungry, or thirsty. Never got tired. I just walked.
I rederived modern math in the sand, and then some. Physics, too. I worked out the kinks in Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. Took a lot of thinking, but this place had fewer distractions than a Swiss patent office.
One day, I started laying down rows of rocks. Wasn’t hard to do. By then I’d figured out how to use the power of my brain for whatever I needed. Telekinesis was my first trick, then I mastered magic. After a while, I got to the point where I knew how to push
in such a way that I could make objects appear out of thin air.
Anyway, back to the rocks. Each new row followed from the last in a simple pattern. With the right set of rules, and enough space, I was able to build a computer. Each new row of stones was the next iteration of the computation.
Sure, it was rocks instead of electricity, but it was the same thing. Just slower.
After awhile, I designed it to be a physics computer. Every piece of information about a particle was encoded as a string of bits written in the stones.
With enough time and space, I could simulate two particles interacting. And I had infinite
time and space.
So, I decided to simulate a universe.
The eons blurred past as I walked down a single row. The rows blurred past to compute a single step.
And in the simulation, another second ticked by.
I watched the universe unfold. To my fascination, it was identical to my own. I saw the worlds that had lived and died before Earth ever formed. And to my amusement, there was
a planet called Krypton, and there was
a single survivor who went to a planet very similar to Earth. Superman, had in fact, lived, billions of years before the stories of him were written.
After some time, Earth was formed. I paid special attention to it, wanting to understand it better. I watched the Demons rule the planet. Many of them were not actually evil, just a bit self serving.
I saw the first humans. They did come from a garden, a place that some might call perfect. They seemed to have been created randomly. I had learned that a ‘random’ event was, in reality, a higher power at work. I’m fairly certain it was The Creator, but my computer never simulated that level of reality.
In any case, the humans moved out of the garden after a few thousand years. That was when the Demons began to lose their purchase on that level of reality. I saw the Demon the Shadow Men used to create the first Slayer. It was, in fact, the Demon
who’s name was Sineya, not the Slayer. The Slayer had no name. Children in those days didn’t have a name until they’d lost their virginity, and though she was attractive according to the standards of the time, she just hadn’t pulled it off.
Anyway, I saw everything until the end of the world, and continued my simulation. It went on until the end of that universe.
And then I was bored. I had just designed an entire universe, and it had run it’s course. What do you do after that?
After a few billion years, I came up with an answer: Escape this place, and go home. At least I’d have someone to talk to. I knew time had to have passed since I left, even if I was going faster than them. It made me wonder when I’d end up…
“You’ve destroyed my Qwa'ha Xahn.”
Spike shrugged. “Yeah, OK, but you gotta admit, he had it coming.”
Illyria regarded him coldly. “It offends me that you think he matters.
“You’re right.” Angel brought out a sword. “He’s not the problem. You are.”
Angel swung his sword at Illyria, Prompting her to duck. The others joined in the fight. Illyria threw Angel across the room, then punched Spike in the chest, knocking him into the opposite wall. Wesley fired a shot at her. She kicked Knox's body at him, knocking him down.
Angel got to his feet, swinging his sword at her, but she outmaneuvered him, ducking his blows and kicking him across the floor again. Spike came at her next, swinging his own sword, but Illyria avoided him as well. Angel rose once again, forcing her to fight them both. Annoyed, she grabbed their swords, swinging them into opposing walls.
“Unimpressive.” She sneered.
“Yeah, well, they’re only vampires. What do you expect?”
A figure came out of the shadows. He looked at Illyria with a small smile, seeming amused by the whole situation.
“Who are you?” She asked.
Angel and Spike both looked up. They recognized him instantly.
“Harris.” The elder vampire growled.
“Whelp?!” Spike laughed. “I thought you were dead! You come back for one last Twinkie?”
Xander snapped his fingers. Spike was completely silent. His mouth continued to move, but no sound came out.
Xander continued looking at Illyria. “So, and Old One, huh? How’s that working for you?”
Illyria gestured at her body. “I have fallen far. My old form was much more impressive.”
He shrugged. “Eh. I’ve seen your old form. I mean, it had it’s uses, but I wouldn’t call it ‘impressive.’ Now, Cordelia’s body was impressive.”
Illyria searched Fred’s memories. “Cordelia. Her mammaries were rather large.”
Xander’s eyes glazed over. “Yeah. I miss that.”
Wesley, who had been observing the by play, stood. “Why aren’t you referring to him as ‘muck,’ or some such? He’s a human.”
She nodded. “He is. But he is not muck. You are muck. He is beyond you. He is beyond me.”
Spike doubled over. He was still silent, but it was obvious what he was doing. He was laughing.
Xander snapped his fingers. Spike’s body locked up.
“Something you want to say, Deadboy Jr.?”
“No.” Spike replied, his silence lifted. “I’m good.”
“Thought so.” Xander nodded, and the vampire was released.
“What are you, that Illyria should respect you?” Wesley asked.
Xander thought for a moment, thinking of how to word it. “I push, and a galaxy collapses. I pull, and one person becomes insanely successful. If I choose, the universe will end.”
Angel stood up. “So, what, you’re God?”
Xander chuckled. “Hardly. He can’t be bothered with the little things. He has to look at the big picture.”
“What’s bigger than the universe?”
“The all of everything.”
Angel frowned, trying to wrap his mind around that.
“Don’t bother, Deadboy. It’s beyond your ability to comprehend. Individual universes, the multiverse, individual dimensions, the bridges between them, anti-universes and dimensions… That’s a fraction of the first molecule in the tip of the iceberg. Infinite levels. We’ll never know it all. He controls me the same way I control the universe. I’m just a tool.”
Illyria looked at Xander, trying to classify him. “Would that make you a demi-god, then?”
He shrugged. “I guess. It’s as good a description as you can get out of this language. It’s… a little limited.”
“It is.” She agreed. “Will you stop me if I attempt to destroy the muck of this world?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I come from them, so I’ve got a loyalty thing going on.”
“And if I were to protect them?”
Xander smiled again. “Then I would repair you. Your body can’t take the stresses of your power. It’ll blow, eventually.”
Illyria nodded. “Than I shall protect them.”
Xander winked. “Good choice.”
Illyria felt her body… shift
. Suddenly, she felt at home, despite the different shape. She looked at her benefactor with electric blue eyes. “Thank you.”
He nodded. “You’re welcome.” He glanced at his watch. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.” He vanished.
Illyria turned to Angel. “Tell me. How does one… Protect? I am not experienced with this.”
Angel sighed. Why did Harris have to cause him so much trouble?*Because it’s fun, DB.*
The vampire rolled his eyes. Of course.
Xander appeared in an expanse of white. He smiled at the person there to greet him. “Hey.”
Cordelia chase smiled back. “Hey, Dweeb. How’ve you been?”
“Oh, you know. Spent an eternity in a really big desert. Went crazy a few times, with brief bouts of sanity. Made it back. You?”
She shrugged. “Fought evil. Went evil. Ascended.”
“Cool.” He smiled, and wrapped her up in a hug. “It’s good to see you again, Cordy.”
She hugged him back, tightly. “You too, Xander.” She pulled back. “You missed my mammaries?” Her eyebrow was in the air.
He grinned unrepentantly. “Can you blame me?”
“Oh, hell no.”
They shared a laugh.
“So now what?” She asked.
“Not gonna tell.” He answered. “I just thought I’d throw a monkey wrench into the way things were going. I’ve seen the original chain of events, and this should prove… interesting.”
She groaned. “You’re gonna make me watch it as it happens?”
She shook her head. “You’re evil, Harris.”
He grinned. “It’s a living.”