****I DON’T OWN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER OR DC COMICS. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER IS OWNED BY JOSS WHEDON AND MUTANT ENEMY. DC COMICS OWNS ITSELF, I THINK.********
The last couple of weeks had been entertaining to say the least, Zarina thought to herself. First, another student created a primitive version of what could be called Big Bang juice turning him into a very angry and strong metahuman. According to Buffy, Pete had died in the midst of the fight and the DMA took the body for an autopsy. The Homecoming dance had came on and gone and what Zarina remembered most was the fact that Buffy and Cordelia were almost killed by hunters participating in some event that was called “SlayerFest ‘98". Fortunately, they weren’t hurt.
Faith and Zarina were sitting in the living room of Zarina’s home but their attention wasn’t focused on the television but on each other. The Slayer seemed a bit bewildered.
“No shit.” She said to Zarina.
“Yah, those are the recognized rules of being a super hero.” Zarina replied. “Now, repeat them for me.”
“Alright, the first law is the lives and safety of innocent bystanders must always be protected.” Faith said repeated the first law almost verbatim.
“Translate it into something more your style.” Zarina stated.
“If anyone is dumb enough to still be in the area when the shit hits the fan, then they need to be kept safe and gotten out of the area as quickly as possible.” Faith translated the first law into her own words.
“Second law?” Zarina asked.
“The lives and safety of myself and members of my team will be protected to the extent that it doesn’t violate the first law.” Faith continued.
“Translate.” Zarina said to her friend.
“As long as there is nobody who shouldn’t be there, then make sure I keep my friends and I safe.” Faith replied.
“Good.” Zarina said smiling. “Finally, what’s the third law?”
“The lives and safety of all opponents will be protected to the extent that it doesn’t violate the first two laws.” Faith said. “Translating that, if it’s a choice between a bystander and/or a team member and the life of the villain, kill the bastard.”
“Very true but we try to not kill them if it can be helped.” Zarina said. “On a different note, my boxing instructor is visiting Sunnydale. I thought if you wanted to burn some energy during the day today then you and he could spar.”
Faith smiled. “Thanks for the thought but I think I’d break him.” Faith replied.
“Trust me, if you manage to break this guy; it’ll be an accomplishment.” She informed Faith. “He spars regularly with Power Girl and she doesn’t break him. I don’t think you’ll hurt him too much.”
“Cool.” Faith replied. “So, you headed to school?”
“Yah, funny how school can literally feel like hell when it is located on the Mouth of Hell.” Zarina answered smiling.
Faith’s attention was drawn to the televison as the morning news went to the business report. The slayer’s eyes widened and she grabbed the remote turning the volume up.
“The business community was surprised today as a relatively new but well known superhero became the majority shareholder in K.O.R.D Industries. Zarina Zatara, the daughter of Zatanna Zatara, has stunned the business world with this move.” The reporter said.
“Damn, Zarina.” Faith exclaimed. “When did you do that?
Zarina fainted from the shock and fell onto the couch. Faith reacted immediately.
“Damn it.” She exclaimed. “Zatanna, Zarina can’t seem to handle a purchase or two!”
“You didn’t cast a spell to help you decide what stocks to buy, did you?” Giles asked her.
“No, Mr. Giles.” Zarina said a bit shocked. “I did a little math and thought that K.O.R.D Industries would be a good investment so I looked for a good broker. I did do a spell to make certain that my broker wasn’t demonic or affiliated with the forces of darkness but that was the only
spell I did.”
They were in the library and fortunately, Zarina fainting in her living room had allowed her to be the only student in the library to not have a box of band candy forced upon her to be sold. It wasn’t like anyone hadn’t already tried to sell her a bar which she refused each time. Willow seemed a bit more interested in the math she did.
“Where could you have learned how to do math that complicated to make you think K.O.R.D Industries would be a good investment?” Willow asked.
“Tip to remember: if you walk into a room where the Martian Manhunter is working on what looks like a very complicated formula, don’t ask any questions whatsoever. He’ll give you the most boring math class you’ll ever experience and you’ll have to listen to him because he’s got one of those voices that just keeps your attention.” Zarina explained. “Trust me Willow, he may be a bit boring but you’ll learn.”
“So, guess you’re like the richest girl in school now?” Cordelia asked. Gee, Cordy, way to show your materialistic side.
“I guess, unless you or the other Cordettes own a majority share of a Fortune 500 company.” Zarina replied with a bit of sarcasm before noticing Buffy open her box of band candy. “And for the last time, Buffy, I’m not buying any of that candy. My favorite chocolate is a bit out of this world.”
“Why do I think you meant that a bit literally?” Giles asked.
“I met a guy back at the Event Horizon who I trade things with.” Zarina explained. “I think it was a guy anyway or maybe it was a girl, species wasn’t really familiar but the person loves books especially those cheap romance novels so I trade them for a pound of Thanagarian chocolate. Trust me, it’s out of this world.”
Buffy’s shoulders sagged with resignation. “Oh well, I bet I can get my mom to buy some of this junk.” She said with a sigh.
The bell rang for the next class and they began to walk out but Willow got in front of Zarina before the magician could leave. The redhead seemed a bit nervous about something and it showed.
“Something bothering you, Wills?” Zarina asked.
“It’s nothing but I was wondering if you might want to get together later and do some magic?” Willow asked her. “I’m kinda curious what your spells are like.”
“First, you have to understand that there is a difference between our magics.” Zarina explained. “You’re a practitioner, right?” Willow nodded her head. “Well, as I recall, practitioners have to call on a deity to empower a spell. Which one do you invoke?”
“Whichever one needs to be invoked for the spell to work.” Willow answered and she noticed that Zarina seemed to wince. “What’s wrong with that?” How do I explain this to her?
Zarina thought when an idea popped in her head. She grabbed a bowl she knew Giles had in the library and filled it with water.
“Picture this clear water was how your own soul looked.” She said before saying a quick summoning spell to summon a box of different food coloring. “Now, your first spell is what generates your initial pool of magic.” She lets a drop of green food coloring fall into the water. “This pool will grow slowly but safely if you specialize. If you ‘experiment’ like you’ve been doing, then this happens.” Zarina then let drops of yellow, blue, red, and green fall into the bowl. “You’ll gain a lot of power in a short amount of time but you won’t gain the wisdom you’ll need and eventually, all you’ll be able to do is magic as dark as your soul.” The water became as black as night and Willow paled. “I’m not trying to scare you but you need to know the dangers that practitioners face. If your magic becomes dark, then Doctor Fate may be called in to deal with you. I don’t want that to happen.”
“But your magic, you just do it without even trying.” Willow replied. “It’s suppose to be hard and difficult and trying and you’re suppose to put a lot work into it but you don’t.”
“Willow, I’m genetically human but I’m homo magi
.” Zarina explained. “I’m the descendant of Atlanteans. My children will be homo magi
and so will their children. Magic is a part of my being. I don’t need to invoke a deity because I already have magic. Like my mother, I keep about two hundred spells on hand but I can improvise when I need to. You need to realize that I might seem to have it easy but you’re wrong. I have to use my magic in order to stay confident with it.”
“Oh, I got to get to class.” Willow said. Her redheaded friend seemed to have a slouch as she walked away. I didn’t mean for what I said to hurt so much but you had to hear it, Willow.
Zarina thought. Knowing my luck, Doctor Fate would ask me to defeat you and I don’t know if I could.
January 8th, 1998
Zarina was drenched in her own sweat as she sat down. She should have known that Wonder Woman’s idea of a Christmas gift was too good to be true. The young magician had only been here a week and every day seemed like hell. She didn’t know if that so called gift wasn’t actually a form of punishment or not but she did seem to be learning. Artemis was only landing three quarters of the blows she threw at her.
“Now I know why this is also called Paradise Island.” Zarina said admiring the view.
“If not for the foul magic that befell you, you wouldn’t be able to be here.” Artemis reminded her.
“Please don’t remind me.” Zarina said with a laugh. “Still kind of freaks me out.”
“Not as much as the bathhouses did, I bet.” Artemis replied.
Zarina blushed. How the hell was she suppose to have known that the Themyscirans had communal bath houses?
She thought to herself.
Zarina walked into the gym to see Faith and Ted Grant in the boxing ring going at it. Both were sweaty and it was rather evident that they’d been at it for awhile. She walked over to a table that had an outlet near it and set her top hat down on the table with the top of the hat laying flat on the table. She pulled out a blender, a dozen eggs, a bottle of Tabasco sauce, a gallon of milk, three glasses, and a few cans of tuna. Faith and Ted got out of the ring and both smiled in her direction but she guessed that it was for different reasons.
“Thought you could use some Tiger Tonic, Mr. Grant.” Zarina informed as she began to combine the ingredients. Some milk, a couple eggs, two cans of tuna, a little Tabasco sauce and she turned the blender on.
Faith stared at the ingredients. “Are you sure that’s even healthy?” She asked.
“Hasn’t killed me yet.” Ted said answering the Slayer’s question. “Tiger Tonic, makes you fit and vigor.”
Zarina quit blending the ingredients and poured the contents of the blender into the three glasses. She handed a glass to each of them before picking up her own glass. Ted lifted his glass up into the air a bit.
“To good health.” He said before drinking his glass.
Faith was shocked when she saw Zarina drink her glass and deciding that it wasn’t poisoned, she chose to drink hers and immediately regretted the decision. Her eyes widened and she ran towards where she knew the bathroom was in the gym. Both Ted and Zarina laughed as she ran.
“So, what did we agree upon?” Ted asked. “It’s twenty bucks I owe you, kid.”
“Personally, I thought her being the Slayer would’ve helped her.” Zarina said taking his money.
“I still don’t understand how you did better.” Ted replied. “I still think Batman pours his out into a plant.”
“It’s an acquired taste.” Zarina remarked as Faith came back to them a little squeamish. “Still feel up for patrol?”
“Yah, unless I have to drink another Tiger Tonic.” Faith replied.
“This town seems too quiet to patrol for anything.” Ted said to them. “What do you girls patrol for?”
“Vampires, demons, anything that might want to rip, tear, and mutilate the oblivious residents of a town built upon the mouth of Hell.” Zarina replied. “Kinda why I suggested that you head back to LA; I’d really hate to have to fight a vampire version of you and I don’t want to piss off a certain blonde who likes to show cleavage.”
“Kara might get a little mad at you, that’s for sure.” Ted said thinking about it. “I’m off and don’t forget; we still spar this Friday.”
“Looking forward to it.” Zarina replied. “Have a safe trip.”
“See you later, Wildcat.” Faith said getting a surprised look from Zarina.
“I told her, kiddo.” Ted said before Zarina said anything. “Figured it would ease a few tensions so that Faith here wouldn’t hold back.”
“Oh, okay.” Zarina said letting out a sigh of relief.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something, Zarina.” Faith said as she plunged a stake into a vampire. “How many superheroes do you know?” She pulled the stake out and the vampire became dust.
“Know personally, about fifteen or twenty.” Zarina replied destroying another vampire with a ball of magically conjured fire. “Know, as in they act like they’re an overprotective aunt or uncle, seems like all of them. The house seems to have a gift from each of them.”
“Cool, might explain a few things I saw in the house.” Faith said. “So, seems like patrol is done for the night. It seems too quiet.”
“I know.” Zarina replied agreeing with her friend. “Something’s up. Buffy said that she and Willow were going to be at the Bronze tonight. Maybe they have an idea what the hell’s going on.”
“Beam me up, Scotty.” Faith said knowing what the young magician had planned.
“.eznorB eht ot su ekaT” Zarina stated whisking the two away and releasing them in front of the building just as Buffy, Oz, Cordelia, and Snyder came out of the club.
“Zarina, maybe you can figure out what the hell is going on here.” Buffy said gesturing to a bizarrely grinning Snyder.
Snyder grinned as he saw Zarina. “Cool, can you do that trick with the rabbit?” He asked her laughing. “I love that trick.” Light up in my mind’s eye what is effecting the adults.
“Damn, he must have found some good weed.” Faith remarked.
“Are most of the adults like this?” Zarina asked.
“Yah, they’re acting like they’re us.” Cordelia remarked.
“.stluda eht gnitceffe si tahw eye s’dnim ym ni pu thgiL” Zarina said as a glow came from one of Snyder’s pockets. Immediately, she grabbed Snyder and yanked out a chocolate bar. “It’s the band candy.” She released her hold on Snyder as Buffy grabbed the troll-like principal.
“Where did these chocolate bars come from?” She interrogated the man.
“From the school board who got them from the factory in town.” Snyder replied before giving up the address.
“Oz, Cordelia, Willow, go find Giles and tell him where we’re going. Faith, Zarina, let’s check out that factory.” Buffy said.
“.ereh yatS” Zarina said to the man as they piled into the Jeep Cherokee that Buffy had apparently driven here.
Riding in the same vehicle as Buffy was driving said vehicle was an experience that she didn’t want to repeat. Needless to say, they did arrive safely at the factory to see a hoard of adults were gathered around the back entrance as the factory workers were throwing more of the chocolate bars to the masses. Buffy noticed her mother and Giles were already there and ran over to them.
“Giles, Mom, you don’t want anymore chocolate.” Buffy ordered her Watcher and her mother.
“It’s alright, Buffy.” Giles replied. “We ran into Zatanna a little bit ago and she purged us of the magic that had affected us.”
Seemingly relieved, Buffy and Faith knocked out the guards and the quintet entered the factory where they saw the individual responsible. Before Buffy or Giles would say the man’s name, they were beaten to the punch.
“RAYNE!” Zarina shouted running towards the mage who’s eyes widened with surprise.
“Oh shit!” Ethan shouted and tried to run away but was tackled to the ground as the young female magician began to rain blows down upon him.
“WHO UNBOUND YOUR MAGIC?!” Zarina shouted at him landing a blow with each word. “FAUST? MORGAN LE FAY? CIRCE? WHO WAS IT, YOU SON OF A BITCH?! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME, YOU BASTARD!”
Alarmed, Buffy yanked Zarina off of Ethan and put a hand over her mouth in order to make certain the young magician didn’t say anything she might regret. Giles picked Ethan up and slammed him into a wall.
“What the bloody hell did you do to her?” Giles asked concerned over hatred that Zarina seemed to have for his former friend.
“I just sold a magician costume last Halloween.” Ethan replied wiping blood from his broken nose. “That’s all.”
Buffy let go of Zarina feeling the tears that the magician had shed on her hand as she fit the pieces together. She began to shake her head as her own tears began to fall from her eyes.
“It can’t be.” She exclaimed. “It just can’t be.”
“It can’t be what, honey?” Joyce asked her daughter.
Faith could only stare in disbelief as one of her personal heroes fell to the ground crying. She went over to Zarina to comfort her like the magician had comforted her in the past.
“Xander?” Buffy asked in disbelief. “Is that really you?”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!” Zarina exclaimed. “You guys weren’t suppose to find out.”
Giles’ look of anger for Rayne was replaced with a look of disbelief. “Good Lord, how could this be possible?” He asked himself.
“!EMOH EM EKAT” Zarina shouted teleporting herself away from the factory and Faith looked over at Buffy and Giles with only one thing to say.
“For those of us in the studio audience, who’s Xander?” She asked.
After taking care of the situation that Rayne had been subcontracted out to distract them from, Giles and Buffy stood on the front porch of Zarina’s home as Faith had already went in. Having already been warned about the wards that had been placed on the home, neither the Watcher nor the blonde Slayer were going to chance what effect the wards might have on either of them. Neither of them had told the others what they had found out because they didn’t even believe it themselves but Zarina’s reaction seemed to leave what evidence they had to seem rather credible. The door opened and Zatanna stood there gesturing them in. Giles was reluctant to go in and it wasn’t about the wards. Zatanna’s face could speak volumes without the magician uttering a single word. She was mad as hell.
“I temporarily bypassed the wards.” Zatanna informed them. “The bypass won’t last long.”
Buffy and Giles entered and Zatanna gestured them into the living room where they sat down.
“What the hell did you do to Xander?” Buffy asked.
“Nothing, except let one of my top hats get stolen.” Zatanna answered.
“Why the hell hasn’t anyone changed him back and—!” Buffy exclaimed before Zatanna interrupted her.
“Reyals eb teiuq.” Zatanna interrupted causing Buffy to not be able to speak. “Rayne managed to tap into true chaos with his spell and my stolen top hat had caused the spell to be able to copy my soul in order for the possession to be successful. When the spell ended, my cloned soul and the soul of your friend merged.”
“You mean that Zarina is an amalgamation of both you and Xander.” Giles replied. “How is that even possible?”
“Believe me, Mr. Giles. No one knows but there was nothing anyone could do.” Zatanna told them. “For a while, she was kept on suicide watch as she had began to go insane. She was still trying to think like Xander and myself and it was causing her mental breakdown.”
Giles could see the tears begin to run down Zatanna’s cheeks as she recounted the events that had occurred.
“I stayed there in the Watchtower watching her slip further and further away and I couldn’t take it anymore.” She continued. “I ran into her room and hugged her tightly. That’s when I named my daughter.”
“But...” Giles said before the magician interrupted him.
“Don’t you even think about saying what I know you were about to say.” Zatanna snapped at the Watcher. “Zarina is more my daughter than Buffy is like yours. I love her with every fiber of my being and if either of you do anything to harm her, trust me on one thing. There will be a long line that starts behind me of people who will beat you to death with shovels. Coming back here to try to protect those she left here was the hardest decision she’d ever made and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you fault her for doing so.”
“But why the charade?” Giles asked. “We had thought Xander was dead and now for him now being Zarina; what are we suppose to think?”
“Batman investigated Alexander’s life here and wanted to come down here and dangle a bleeding Anthony Harris from a street light.” Zatanna replied. “Plus, Zarina needed to learn control of her powers which Doctor Fate and I taught her. Besides, it wasn’t like she could have just picked up where she left off.”
“Can I see her?” Giles pleaded.
Faith entered the living room looking rather tired. “Not now, she just cried herself to sleep.” She told them.
“You know then?” Giles said a little surprised. “You don’t seem taken aback by it.”
“Zarina’s my friend, doesn’t matter who or what she was in the past.” Faith replied. “I know her now; that’s what matters.”
Zatanna gestured for Giles and Buffy to leave and they were ushered towards the door.
“Don’t worry, Buffy.” Zatanna said to the Slayer. “The spell will wear off in a few minutes after you leave.”
“Ms. Zatara, if you would,” Giles pleaded again. “tell Zarina that I still care. That hasn’t changed.”
“I will, Mr. Giles.” Zatanna replied. “Good night.”
“Good night.” Giles replied before he led a furious Buffy away.
Zatanna walked back into the living room after closing the front door to find Faith sitting down on the couch. She sat down next to the brunette Slayer.
“Thank you for what you said.” Zatanna said. “I’m glad you and my daughter are friends.”
“So am I.” Faith replied. “I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t of met her that night when she saved me and Diana from Kakistos.”
“You look tired, Faith.” Zatanna said. “Good night.”
“Good night, Ms. Zatara.” Faith replied before one of Zatanna’s hands grabbed hers.
“Faith, my friends call me Zatanna.” Zatanna informed her smiling.
“Good night, Zatanna.” Faith said before heading off to bed.
A white semi with a long white trailer was driving down the highway. The driver of the semi glanced over at his female partner.
“So, what do you think this Wilkins guy wants with our cargo?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” His partner said. “But I hear it’s going to be a big bang, Baby.”
Author’s End Notes: Originally, the company that Zarina was going to accidentally take over was going to have been LexCorp but I decided against it because it would have caused a few problems so I went with K.O.R.D. Industries. Man, do I suck at foreshadowing anyway because I think any idiot can guess what’s to come for the poor residents of Sunnydale. Well, read and review and hopefully the plot bunnies will keep multiplying for this story.