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Another Turn On The Wheel

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Summary: The Circle of the Black Thorn has decided to create a servant who will eliminate all of their enemies for them. Unfortunately, however, they didn't bother to consider all of the possible consequences of getting exactly what they asked for.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > GeneralGreywizard + 4 othersFR18106,15928638,00829 Oct 0915 Mar 12No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: The Buffy and Angel characters all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Anyone else you might recognize doesn't belong to me, either. Deal with it. I have.

Category: Multiple crossovers ahead. A new one with each chapter.

Time frame: Begins during Angel the Series Season Five, Episode Twenty-one, "Power Play,' but then goes *seriously* AU.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up in either BtVS or AtS up to this point, why are you reading this story? Goes seriously AU immediately after the start of the story.

Character Bashing: Nah. Not this time. Really. I'm showing what the characters involved consider as their justifications for the actions they take in the story, so don't say I'm bashing them.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Bill Haden, Theo (Starway_Man) and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this story.

Author’s Note 2: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

~~~

Somewhere underneath Los Angeles, CA
May 13, 2004


The man knelt in the center of a darkened room, his hands bound behind his back and a bag over his head concealing his face, and he grunted with pain each time he was struck by the sticks held by the various robed figures surrounding him.

Angel watched impassively for a moment from the other side of the roaring fire that blocked the doorway, before finally leaping through the fire into the room, his sudden appearance causing the man's attackers to back away. Bending over the man, Angel helped him to his feet and removed the bag from the man's head to reveal –

– the bruised and bloodied features of Alexander 'Xander' Harris.

The ensouled vampire somehow managed to conceal the dismay he felt upon recognizing the man and immediately rationalized to himself the actions he knew he would have to take very shortly by noting that if the Circle of the Black Thorn had kidnapped the Heart of the Scooby Gang – well, then they had already decided he would never have the opportunity to leave this place alive, one way or another. And it was for the greater good, after all.

And having known and worked with Harris back in Sunnydale, Angel also knew that the man had long ago accepted that he would almost certainly not end up dying of old age or in any sort of comfortable setting. Besides, it wasn't as though he'd ever really liked the kid.

"Huh. What a surprise seeing you here, Deadboy," Angel heard Harris manage to gasp out upon seeing his rescuer. "And I'm guessing you're probably not the cavalry showing up for the last minute save, either."

"Yeah, you're right about that, punk," Angel smirked, easily sliding into his supposed role of the corrupted CEO of Hell, Incorporated as he let his face shift into his demonic features. "You've stuck your nose into things that don't concern you one time too many, boy, and this time, none of your idiot Scooby Gang friends even know you're in trouble, I'm guessing."

"Well, then," Harris said as he abruptly head-butted Angel's face, smashing the vampire's nose flat, "I guess there's no reason not to do this, is there, Captain Hair-gel?"

Roaring with only partially-counterfeited anger, Angel backhanded the human viciously, knocking him to the floor before turning to address the robed figures watching them.

"Is there any valid reason for us to keep this fool alive any longer?" the vampire snarled as he wiped the blood flowing from his nose from his face.

"No, not any more," the closest figure answered with a growling rasp, pushing his hood back to reveal the speaker as the group's necromancer, Cyvus Vail.

"Harris needs to die before we can make any further use of him," the demon smiled viciously at the bloody and battered man who lay sprawled on the floor before them. "Their witch has wrapped his soul with enough protection that it isn't worth the effort that would be necessary to turn him against his fellow do-gooders.

"It's his body that we're going to use to destroy their precious Council and all of those fools who've thrown their lot in with them, you see," Vail declared with an even wider smile.

"Working together," the warlock went on, indicating his fellow members of the Circle of the Black Thorn, "we're going to empower his body so that it'll be even stronger and more resilient than any Slayer could hope to be.

"Your little witch and her coven have managed to ward you and the other members of your group against ever being Turned and replaced with any sort of demon that might be able to possess a body, like our good friend, Angelus, here," Vail noted as he stared at their prisoner who lay glaring up at him as he spoke, "so what we're going to do is replace your soul with another – one more attuned to our own agenda, you might say – and then, using your face and your memories to guide him, he's going to go out and find all of your friends and allies, and he's going to kill every single one of them.

"After all, everyone knows that Alexander Harris is the one person out of all of the Council's members who cares the most about Slayers," the demonic warlock sneered. "So who would be a better choice to get close enough to a Slayer to kill her than you, hmm?

"Just think, Harris – your face is going to be the last thing that all of those Slayers you and your friends Called last year will see before they die," he smirked triumphantly.

"How do you feel about that?"

"If I thought I it'd help, then I'd wish that all of you bastards live just long enough to see your plans going belly-up completely, you scaly-faced sonuvabitch," Harris snarled back at the demon as he tried to force himself back to his feet. "What the hell, I'm gonna wish for it, anyway, you –"

"All right, you can kill him now," Vail interrupted, looking over at Angel and ignoring Harris' comment.

"Just don’t mess up the body too much."

Walking over to the prisoner, Angel grabbed hold of Harris' shoulder and yanked him upright before twisting his head to side and sinking his fangs into his neck.

"You cowardly, bloodsucking bastard," Harris managed to curse Angel before too much blood was drained from his neck to allow him to remain conscious, anymore.

After he finished drinking from his most recent victim, Angel twisted Harris' head even further, snapping his neck with an audible 'crack,' and then carelessly tossed the corpse to land in front of the demonic necromancer.

Thoughts of what his ex-lover, Buffy Summers, and his former associate – and at one time, potential love interest – Cordelia Chase, would think of him for what he had just done to Harris briefly passed through his mind, but he shrugged them off as he reminded himself again that everything he was doing was all being done for the greater good.

Destroying the Circle of the Black Thorn, finally and completely, was the only thing that mattered to him now, and he would do whatever was necessary to accomplish that.

"Okay, Vail There you are, one still intact dead body, as requested," Angel told him with a cheerful smile as the rest of the Circle unmasked themselves. "Now, let's get this show on the road.

"What do we need to do next?"

***

Taking his designated place in the ritual circle inscribed around the altar on which Harris' body had been laid, Angel watched with keen interest as Vail and the other members of the Circle of the Black Thorn present – Marcus Hamilton, the Archduke Sebassis, Senator Helen Brucker and Izzerial the Devil – began the rite which would empower and then resurrect Harris as the Circle's deadly, clandestine weapon.

"Apep, personification of darkness and chaos, hear our entreaty, oh great one, and grant us the boon we seek," the warlock began his invocation.

"Take this body lying here before you and fortify it with the essences we sacrifice to you, so that this creation will be strengthened with power enough to destroy utterly any who would seek to stand against it," Vail continued the chant as he gestured towards Harris' body.

"Bolster the body offered with the flesh we tender here – flesh stolen from a child of your foe, Rao – that this servant not only be sustained and gain strength and power from the sunlight that forms his domain, but that he also command the fires of destruction," Brucker intoned as she tossed a piece of flesh atop the altar.

"We offer the night-black waters of the river Styx with which to bathe the proffered body, great one, that he be rendered invulnerable to harm, both physical and arcane," Hamilton chanted as he emptied a flask over the body.

"Take this brain of an illithid and merge it with the body offered, that the being formed from this union you oversee incorporate both its abilities and the memories of this sacrifice, .so that he might track and find his prey by its very thoughts, preventing them from ever finding a place of refuge from their destroyer," Izzerial declared loudly as he placed the specified organ on the altar stone.

"We beseech you finally, great lord of chaos and darkness, to bind to this sacrifice a soul whose hands are stained with the blood of those they have slain without regret or remorse, that this being will be created as death, an engine of destruction and devastation, the destroyer of any who would stand against him," they all chorused together, finishing the incantation intended to focus the attention of the being invoked for their malign ritual.

On the altar in front of them, Xander Harris' body began glowing with a greyish luminescence.

~~~

Tee'sayfahn, Patron Saint of Abused Prisoners of War, watched with interest from her dimensionally phased position above and to the left of the sacrificial altar as the Circle's newest prospective member resumed the mistreatment of their helpless victim.

{ Yes, indeed, } the 'justice' demon thought to herself as she watched the ensouled vampire beat and then drain the blood from his helpless victim, { this one is most certainly entitled to a wish. }

{ And the fact that, properly directed, it will help strengthen my Lord D'Hoffryn's power while eliminating several potential future adversaries will only help prove my value to my Lord, } she decided with a smile.

{ And besides, if Anyanka actually at some point did consider marrying this mortal the way Halifrek said she had, } she reflected to herself, taking a moment to remember both of her deceased colleagues, { then I can finally discharge that outstanding debt I owe her by granting this Xander Harris' quite literal last wish. }

{ Now, how best can I grant his wish with the least amount of interference? I certainly don't want to anger Apep! He might be the personification of darkness and chaos, but that doesn’t mean he appreciates other beings meddling in his business, } Tee'sayfahn pondered as she watched the ritual progress.

{ Ah, } the currently invisible demoness smiled as she listened intently to the words of the ritual, focusing her attention on one particular section, { that’s the key incantation, right there. }

{ Yes, that gives me plenty of latitude to work with, } she grinned with anticipation.

{ Now to get busy. }

~~~

Author's note: The following chapters will demonstrate just how creative a 'justice' demon can be when they're looking to grant a client's Wish. Each subsequent chapter will feature a different potential 'candidate' who's taken over Xander's body.
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