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You Must Be M.Y.T.H.-Taken

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Magical Mystery Tour". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy and Xander try to get back home from the hell dimension Acathla dropped them in.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > FantasyGreywizardFR18310,38414114,76017 Sep 094 Dec 12Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: All of the Buffy characters belong to Crack-Head Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc.; I'm just borrowing them for a while. Anyone else who might show up that you can recognize doesn't belong to me, either. There is no intent to profit from this. Only the story is mine, and even that is negotiable.

Category: Story No. 2 in my 'Magical Mystery Tour' universe, following 'Xan Carter of Mars.' Another insane trip through the halls of my muse's imagination, involving multiple crossovers with various shows and books.

Summary: Buffy and Xander try to get back home from the hell dimension Acathla dropped them in.

Time frame: Immediately follows the final chapter of my 'Xan Carter of Mars' story.

Character Bashing: None.

Author's Notes: Thanks to Lori Bush, Bill Haden, Drake the Archr and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

{ word } is thought.

:: word :: is mental communication.

~~~

"Some roads aren't meant to be traveled alone." – Proverb

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." – Lao Tzu

"There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars." - Jack Kerouac

"We're a long, long way from home. Home's a long, long way from us." – Bruce Springsteen

~~~

Previously, in ‘Xan Carter of Mars’:

An unidentified hell dimension


"You ready, Buffster?" Xander asked, as she wrapped her arm around his waist and pressed herself against him. A little more tightly than was actually needed, perhaps, he thought – not that he was complaining in the least about it, mind you.

They’d awoken less than an hour ago, taken care of their basic hygienic needs, eaten a quick breakfast that consumed the majority of their remaining supplies, and now they were ready to leave this not-at-all-like-a-little-bit-of-heaven that they arrived in, courtesy of the Acathla Transportation Service.

"Oh, I’m definitely ready to take a ride with you, Xand," Buffy grinned up at him with a throaty purr, a response that made him blink a couple times and then decide that now was most definitely not the best time to try and figure out exactly what she might have meant by that. He swallowed the lump that had somehow materialized in his throat upon hearing that playful growl and took a deep breath through his nose.

"Okay, then. Here goes," he announced, his voice at least back to normal, trying not to notice the pleased expression on Buffy’s face at his reaction. He pressed both of the inset buttons, and there was a brilliant flash of light and a sound like a piece of cloth being torn, and suddenly, they were – elsewhere.

"Greetings and salutations, sir, madam, ves, or whatever title of respect might be appropriate, gentle-beings."

A towering green-scaled semi-humanoid, clad in an outfit reminiscent of something from ‘1001 Arabian Nights’ as envisioned by Cecil B. DeMille, was standing a few feet away, smiling at them with what looked liked about three hundred teeth on display, all of them shiny and razor-sharp.

"Welcome to the Bazaar!"

~~~

Part 1

Xander looked around in surprise; they were currently standing inside a six-by-six foot cordoned-off area that appeared to be adjacent to an apparently unending expanse of flea-market type stalls, tents and/or pavilions containing what, at first glance and judging by the signs he could see and the come-ons being touted by various nearby vendors, certainly seemed to offer an endless supply of pretty much anything a potential customer could imagine or desire.

"Ah, hi there," he managed what was probably a very wan half-smile at the massive, olive-green, Hulk-like figure standing a few feet away, while unobtrusively pulling Buffy a bit closer to him. He could feel her tensing up in much the same way that he remembered she usually did prior to launching an attack, when they were back in Sunnydale, and he hoped that she wouldn’t simply lash out reflexively at the massive dentist's dream currently standing in front of them.

"Uh, if it's not too much trouble, sir, would you mind telling me exactly where the heck it is we've happened to end up, here?"

"You're in the Bazaar, kid," Godzilla informed him, obviously off-script. "The one location in the multi-verse where you can legally buy literally anything you want.

"As long as you can meet the vendor's price, that is," he then added with a toothy smile.

Xander hoped it was the demon’s professional greeting smile, since the demon – the being – whatever – the guy staring at him, in addition to being almost as wide and heavily-muscled as he was tall, seemed to have more teeth than a shark, and all of them looked to be capable of biting through steel plate.

"You two look kinda confused, so let me explain. You‘re currently at one of the Bazaar's arrival gates," the massive guard being went on, "where you are provided, at no personal charge, with a translator amulet that will enable you to speak to anyone here who you might encounter.

"The amulet will also provide you with a conversion table that will enable you to determine the equivalent price of any purchase you are considering making in terms of your local currency," the being continued in the semi-bored tones of one who is reciting the same spiel they have delivered an endless number of times in the past as he also offered them two small but heavily runed amulets that looked to have come off some mass production manufacturing line.

"For the record, the Bazaar's management in no way asserts that any of the prices indicated for any item offered for purchase are a true representation of the item's actual value, and neither does it offer any guarantees as to the validity of any claim made on behalf of any item offered for purchase or trade. All sales made are the sole concern of the parties involved, and the Bazaar’s management makes no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the usefulness, suitability or effectiveness of any item or service offered," the olive-scaled being went on in a disinterested voice.

"Thanks, buddy. That’s good to know," Xander nodded agreeably while making sure to keep a secure grip around Buffy’s waist with his arm.

Their greeter had been pleasant and cordial so far and while Buffy appeared to be keeping her ‘See demon, kill demon’ reflexes under control, at least for the moment, there was no reason to tempt fate unnecessarily, by Xander's way of thinking. After all, a quick glance around revealed a wide variety of body shapes, colors and sizes, with the vast majority of them being decidedly non-human.

"Excuse me, but if it’s not too much trouble, do you think you could direct us to somewhere we could get something to eat?" Buffy politely asked the green-skinned behemoth who’d greeted them, flashing him one of her more devastatingly charming smiles.

The arm she’d had curled around his waist as they had transported here was still tightly clutched around him, Xander noted (not that he was about to complain about Buffy Summers wanting to hold onto him at any time, mind you) and he could clearly feel the tension that filled her petite form, but it also seemed as though she was barely managing to rein in all of her Slayer instincts and refrain from trying to slaughter everyone and everything around them.

"I’d be delighted to do so, miss," Huge, Muscular and Scaly smiled back at her with what appeared to be genuine geniality. Evidently, the Buffster's charm was effective against pretty much anything male she encountered, Xander decided as he let himself relax just the tiniest little bit.

"Just head down to the first intersection you come to on your left, go past four intersections and turn right at the fifth," Godzilla Junior directed them. "The food court will be on your right. Just stay away from the Korean place – the Kim Chi burns on its way out."

"Thanks for the information, big guy, we really appreciate it. And have a good day, okay?" Xander nodded his gratitude and Buffy threw him another dazzling smile before they headed off in the direction indicated, the bags holding their remaining supplies and the loot they’d garnered from the ambush back in whichever hell dimension it was that they’d ended up in held securely in their hands.

~~~

"I think we just got taken, Xand. Suckered like a pair of country bumpkins."

Buffy’s comment as the two of them made their way down the main street of this particular section of the Bazaar received a small nod of the head from her companion as Xander indicated his own agreement with her observation of the most recent transaction they’d conducted with the proprietor of the ‘small’ curio shop they’d just left.

After satisfying the rumblings in their stomachs with a fast and relatively satisfying meal (and who would have thought that something called Geno’s Kentucky Fried Lizard Parts could actually taste so much like chicken? Just more evidence that the scientists who said birds were actually descended from dinosaurs were correct, in Xander’s opinion, and he was sure that somewhere, Harlan Saunders was dancing a jig), the two had made their way through the maze of shops to the area where the shops specializing in carvings, statuary and other ‘objet d'art’ were located.

"Yeah, you’re probably right, Buff," Xander concurred as he surreptitiously glanced around and back over his shoulder in a reflexive check of his environment. "Judging by the size of the smile on that guy’s face when we were leaving, he must've pretty much stole whatever those carved statue thingys are from us.

"On the other hand," he noted with a shrug, "since we don’t have the slightest idea what those things really are or how to use them, and we both pretty much agree that they’re both evil and magical and neither of us wanted anything to do with them, and he did pay us in gold and threw in that other stuff we wanted, I think we made out pretty well on the deal, all things considered."

"Yeah, I guess you’re right," Buffy agreed, with her own shrug of semi-indifference. "I didn’t say anything at the time, ‘cause I didn’t want to take a chance of messing anything up when you were talking to that sleazebag, but what exactly were those things you were haggling with him about, anyway?"

"Well, I’m not completely certain, but a couple of them looked an awful lot like some Ancient devices I had found and was starting to study back in Weelha'az, right before those idiot tribesmen managed to blow everything to Kingdom Come," Xander explained with just the hint of a pleased smile on his face, "even down to the symbols inscribed on them.

"Stumbling over something like that in a place like this is a really incredible piece of luck!" he declared with a fervor that reminded Buffy somewhat of her Watcher, a thought that she found both endearing and also the slightest bit disquieting, since the half-formed plans she had lurking in the back of her mind concerning the two of them in the future most certainly weren’t anything she would *ever* consider doing with anyone old and British.

"Well, I’m glad that we found something to make our trip here scholarly worthwhile," she grinned at him teasingly.

"Hey, getting to go anywhere with you is more than sufficient reason for doing anything, Buffster," Xander declared as he slipped his arm around her waist, his words immediately producing a brilliant smile on the diminutive blonde’s face and making her snuggle up against him even closer than she had been a moment earlier.

While justifying his actions to himself as merely additional insurance that he’d have an instant’s advantage trying to stop her if she decided to try and eviscerate any passing demon, Xander also had to admit that walking around anywhere with the gorgeous petite blonde pressed against his side wasn’t something he was at all adverse to doing, either.

And the fact that Buffy not only didn’t seem to mind, but had seemed to mold herself against him as she laid her head on his shoulder as they walked around only served to improve their situation.

All in all, things seemed to be going along quite well.

Which, to Xander's mind, could only mean that Murphy was poised and waiting to rear his pointed little head as soon as it would prove most inconvenient to them.

Not to mention, dangerous.

~~~

"Huh, doesn't that guy over there remind you of good ol' Neanderthal Larry?" Xander smirked as he indicated a hulking, slope-browed individual lumbering along the street a short distance in front of them.

"Yeah, I guess so," Buffy nodded her agreement with his assessment after swallowing the last of her pastry. "He does have that same kinda struggling-to-think expression Larry always had when you'd ask him a really difficult question – like, what day of the week is it?" she giggled, taking the opportunity offered her to simply relax and enjoy the moment and not worry about possible looming Apocalyptic menaces that might be threatening the world.

Yeah, sure, the Slayer reflected, it was entirely possible that her and Xander's falling through the portal that Angelus had opened using Acathla hadn't really stopped the possible world-ending event that had been looming over everything, but there was absolutely nothing either of them could be doing about that at the moment, since neither she nor Xander had the faintest idea about where exactly they were or how they could get back home, so she might as well just enjoy the quiet while it lasted.

Speaking of which – it probably wasn't going to be very quiet too much longer, since the guy they were discussing looked to be leading a small group of equally scruffy-looking delinquents who were following an extremely well-built woman with sea-green hair who, in turn, seemed to be tracking a kinda skinny, not-quite-as-scruffy-looking-as-the-others young kid, who had what looked to be an honest-to-god-for-real baby dragon trailing along after him, down one of the smaller, even less reputable-looking streets in the area.

And if the goon they had just been discussing was anything at all like the Neanderthal-like quarterback they'd had to go to school with, he and his friends were probably looking to beat up the younger kid just on general (lack of) principles and then molest the woman, mostly because there wasn't anything better (or worse) they could be doing, at this particular moment.

"Xand," Buffy said, the tone of her voice warning him that something was probably about to go wrong, as she let her arm slip away from around his waist to casually grab his hand and she moved the least bit away from him so as to give each of them sufficient space to react to any potential threats.

"Yeah, I see 'em," he nodded acknowledgement of the situation, as the two of them turned the corner to trail their quarry down the somewhat narrow lane they were following.

"Man, this place *really* stinks," Buffy commented, making a face as the wind blew an exceedingly foul stench in their direction.

"Yeah, you've definitely got that right, Buff," Xander agreed. "I think this must be the equivalent of where the local sewage system empties into," he noted as he tried to not inhale too deep a breath.

"Hey, Bozo, if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking - why don’t you leave the kid alone?" he called out as they rounded another corner and saw the group ahead of them gathered around the skinny kid who, for some currently unknown reason, had his arms around the green-haired woman who had been following him and who had her arms wrapped around him, too.

"You talking to me?" the would-be hard case half-growled as he turned to look over his shoulder and gave the two of them what he probably considered an intimidating look, and which Xander thought was much closer to a whiny, constipated pout. Robert DiNiro, he definitely wasn't.

"I guess so, since I don't see any other clowns standing around here, do you?" Xander replied as he continued walking towards the group who had by now completely surrounded the youth and the girl.

It took a moment, but an expression of anger eventually filtered up to fill the gang leader's face as he realized he'd just been insulted, and he took a step forward towards Xander as he clenched his fist and pulled his arm back as if he were preparing to punch the newcomer.

The brunet's reaction was to simply slide in close to his opponent and drive a short, powerful and completely unanticipated left hook of his own into the other's face, dropping him in his tracks.

The disbelieving expressions on the other gang members faces were almost comical, Buffy decided as she watched them react to the sight of their hulking leader being taken out of the fight with but a single punch just seconds after the confrontation had begun.

And when one of the faster-reacting minions ignored her and took a step towards Xander, apparently expecting to be able to successfully sucker-punch him from behind, the petite blonde merely took a half-step forward and drove her foot up into his stomach, her kick literally lifting him up into the air to slam against another of his companions and send both of them sprawling onto the ground behind them.

Seeing how quickly and casually the two newcomers had taken down three of their number in just a matter of seconds, the remaining gang members instantly took to their heels, leaving their fallen companions to whatever fate might be waiting in the wings.

"So, you guys come here often?" Xander casually asked the wide-eyed youth, who was staring at them with undisguised amazement, and the somewhat older, green-haired woman who was now viewing them with a calculating look that reminded him more than a little of Cordelia Chase when she thought the object of her gaze might possibly be of use to her.

~~~
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