Disclaimer: Not Mine. Joss, DC, and WB own all.
AN: DON’T READ ANY FURTHER until you’ve read the first story in this series, ‘A League of Their Own’. This will not make any sense if you don’t. There will also be five stories running alongside this one, ‘Power’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Trick of the Light’, and ‘Justice Society’. Keep an eye out for them.
The man known as Fate let out a sigh as he practiced his transfiguration techniques. Sometimes, life was downright boring. For some reason, Buffy had insisted on not telling anyone, not even Giles or Ms. Calendar, about their recent ‘upgrades’. Xander could, of course, see the practical side of the argument. The fewer people know a secret, the more likely it is to be kept. So, they had come up with a suitable cover story for their costume transformations, and Xander had enchanted their costumes with concealment fields, keeping anyone from looking too closely at the faces of those who didn’t wear masks.
Of course, this also meant he had to stay in high school. The memories he’d kept from the long-lived Kent Nelson would have allowed him to graduate immediately, something he would have gladly done. But, he had to appear completely normal, at least for the moment. Stupid secret identity…
With another sigh, Xander let the coffee table he’d been toying with revert to it’s normal form of Ethan Rayne. The Englishman coughed as he stood up. “Is this absolutely necessary?”
“Yes,” Fate answered. “One of the things I’m good at is reading the Karmic Scales. You are currently out of balance. Some suffering is necessary in order to put things right. I wouldn’t be comfortable releasing you until we’ve done that.” He glanced at his watch. “In any case, I don’t have any more time to spend on this. I have an appointment to keep.”
Ethan snorted. “What, first period chemistry?”
“Of course not,” Xander said, smirking under his helmet. “World History is first period.”
Xander strolled through the halls of Sunnydale high. He could sense that the others were already in the library, so he headed there. “Gooooood morning, everyone! G-Man, Ms. C, I see you both have that ‘Freshly Frenched’ look.” He smirked as the two adults blushed furiously, and turned to the other four Scoobies. “Ladies, as always, it’s a pleasure.”
Giles managed to recover some modicum of dignity. “Xander, please, try to keep your disruptive influence to a minimum. I wish to discuss the appearance of these new super beings in Sunnydale. If their powers are demonic in origin, then we may have a serious problem on our hands.”
Xander suppressed a snort. “Sure thing, G-Man.”
“Good. Now, that we know of, the new Supers consist of someone who resembles Doctor Fate, who also appears to be the only male of the group, and four young women. One bears the symbol that Superman chap wears, another dresses all in white, another in black, and the fourth member wears a red and blue body suit.”
Xander glanced over at the girls, wincing slightly. Buffy's outfit was nearly identical to what she wore when ‘working’, except she didn’t have any S shields on, and wasn’t wearing her gloves. Cordy was wearing a white turtle-neck, with white pants, and white shoes. Willow was wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, and black boots. Dawn wore a red shirt, with blue jeans, and red-and-white shoes.
Clearing his throat, Xander nodded. “Yeah. I hear the guy in the helmet is just going by ‘Fate’, no ‘Doctor’. The others are calling themselves Power Girl, Photon, Crow, and Brawl, respectively.”
Giles nodded. “Thank you, Xander, that’s most helpful. Do you have any idea what their powers might be?”
“Nope,” Xander lied smoothly. “Haven’t actually seen them in action. Although…” he shot a glance at Buffy, “if Power Girl’s outfit is any indication, she might have some of Superman’s powers.”
’ Xander thought to himself, ‘that might be worth checking into. Does Buffy only have Connor’s powers, or does she actually have half-Kryptonian DNA? I’ll cast a parentage spell next chance I get…
“That’s an good point,” Ms. Calendar nodded. “And if she does have his powers, we might have good reason to worry. He’s one of the most powerful individuals on this planet.”
Buffy's eye twitched. “We don’t have any proof that they’re hostile,” she pointed out, doing her best to keep her voice level. “All they’ve done is fly around California, helping out where they can. In fact, Power Girl helped get a bunch of kids out of a burning building this morning. It was all over the news.”
Giles nodded. “That’s true, Buffy. However, it may be a ruse. We must be careful. They have mostly been seen in and around Sunnydale.”
Xander smirked. “Well, we could just dress Buffy up in something along the ‘scantily’ way of thinking. Fate might show up, and we can get some answers.”
Giles began cleaning his glasses. “Xander, I highly doubt someone like Fate would be enticed by such a thing.”
‘Ohhhhhh, yes he would,
’ Xander thought to himself.
Buffy, in an attempt to keep herself from laughing, glared at her Watcher. “So what, you’re saying I’m not enticing enough for him?”
Giles gulped, suddenly very
aware of what he’d just said. “Um… Uh… Well, you see now…”
Cordy started snickering, followed by Dawn. Though Willow didn’t join in the laughter, one side of her mouth quirked upward.
Buffy broke into a smug smile. “Don’t worry, Giles. Just keeping you on your toes.”
Visibly relieved, Giles returned his glasses to his face. “Quite. Very well, back to the topic at hand…”
“Why don’t we just try talking to them?” Ms. Calendar asked. “I mean, we wait until one of them flies by, and we flag them down. They shouldn’t mind a little one-on-one if they’re really on the side of the Angels, right?”
“And if they happen to be siding with the devils?” Giles asked.
“Well, then we have Buffy kick them to the curb,” the computer teacher said confidently.
The five teenagers exchanged grins. Technically speaking, Buffy was
the strongest of the group, when she backed up her muscles with her TTK. Her strength levels weren’t quite up to Superman’s standards, but she could probably knock Wonder Woman on her shapely behind.
“Sounds like a plan,” Xander nodded. “Ten bucks says Fate shows up.”
Giles let out a sigh. “Xander, must you be so childish?”
“No, I’m serious. I’ll bet you ten bucks that Fate shows before any of the others.”
Giles just grimaced.
“Okay, I understand,” Xander said. “I mean, if you’re too scared to bet a measly ten bucks…”
Giles knew Xander was trying to get a rise out of him. He knew it was a childish ploy, and that he’d probably end up regretting it if he let it get to him. But, he didn’t care. “Fifty!”
Xander smirked. “Done.”
Giles sighed as he waited on the balcony of Jenny’s apartment.
“You’re an idiot, you know.”
He sighed. “Yes, I know.”
Smirking, Jenny sidled up next to him. “If Fate actually shows up, Xander’s going to be smug about it for weeks.”
“Okay, just so we’re clear.” Jenny sat on a lawn chair. “How long do you think we’ll have to wait until one of them appears?”
I don’t know,” Giles said. “They make fairly routine patrols, so I’d be surprised if we didn’t run into them tonight. And if not tonight, then tomorrow, certainly.”
“Actually, you won’t have to wait that long.”
Giles and Jenny both jumped to attention, turning to face the new voice. Giles cursed silently. It was Fate.
The blue garbed man tilted his head respectfully. “Doctor Giles, Miss Calendar. I believe you wished to speak with me, or one of my companions?”
Giles cleared his throat. “You’re aware of that?”
“There is very little in this area that I am not aware of,” Fate informed him. “I am quite aware of your Slayer, for example, and her friends. I know very many of their secrets, as well as yours. Both of you.”
Giles’ hand reflexively went to his forearm, while Jenny gulped audibly.
Fate put up a hand. “Please, do not misunderstand. I merely wish to speak plainly. I do not wish for our respective groups to be enemies. I do not believe it would be in our best interests. I and my teammates are only interested in keeping the peace.”
Jenny eyed him. “Do you mind if I ask what the source of your powers is?”
“Mine alone, or my friends as well?”
Fate nodded. “My powers come from Nabu, one of the Lords of Order.”
Giles gasped softly. That name was well known in supernatural circles. “Then it’s true, that Doctor Fate draws his power from an Elder god?”
“It is,” Fate confirmed. “I am the second champion for Nabu on this plane. For lack of a better term, I ‘encountered’ him recently, and he found me to be worthy of serving his interests.”
“And your friends?” Jenny asked. “Do their powers come from him?”
“They do not serve Nabu,” Fate said evasively. “They are heroes, but they do not serve any particular higher being.” He paused. “Well, Brawl may have some connection to the Greek gods, but I’m not sure. I’d have to ask.”
“I see…” Giles nodded slowly. “Very well. So, you won’t interfere with my Slayer?”
Fate shook his head. “No. I have no reason to. However, I will ask that you do not interfere with our work, either. If we arrive first, we have priority, and vice versa.”
“Agreed,” Giles said, holding out his hand. Fate shook it.
Jenny cocked her head, smirking. “So… what do you look like under that helmet?”
The return smirk was evident in Fate’s voice. “I’ll leave you to wonder about that. Good evening.” He flew away.
“Well, that was interesting,” Giles said.
“Yes,” Jenny agreed, smirk still in place. “Very interesting.”
Xander hummed happily as he materialized in the Tower of Fate. That had certainly gone well.
“I take it from your expression that they’ve been successfully snowed?”
Xander turned to see Dawn smirking at him. “Why, yes, they have. Once Giles found out I’m connected to Nabu, he turned a particularly interesting shade of white.”
Dawn snorted. “I bet. What about Ms. Calendar?”
“Not sure,” he admitted. “She seemed awfully smug about something, but she’s like that a lot when she’s around G-Man. She has skill for flustering him that I am truly in awe of.”
“True,” the faux Amazon nodded. “You’ve gotta respect talent like that.”
“Are you two finished?” Cordelia interrupted, coming into the room. “You and I have patrol, Brawl. And Ethan needs some more trouncing. He insulted my hair.”
Xander eyed the Queen C’s new style. It was cut just above the neck, much more conservative than he was used to. “Any particular reason for the change?”
She shrugged. “It was getting in my face when I caught that mugger last night. Figured this was the best solution.”
He nodded. “Well, I think it suits you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll chastise Ethan properly. Maybe he’ll enjoy being a pig for a little while. If it was good enough for Circe, it’s good enough for me.”
The next day, Xander walked into the library, a somewhat expectant look on his face. “So, Giles. Did we have any super activity last night?”
Giles didn’t even bother to answer. He simply slid two twenties and a ten in Xander’s direction.
“Thank you so much, my good librarian. Please, if you’re feeling lucky in the future, don’t hesitate to say something.”
Giles glared at him.
At that moment, Ms. Calendar walked into the room. “Excuse me, Xander. Could I have a word with you?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
She shook her head. “Not here. Out in the hall, please?”
Shrugging, Xander did as he was asked. Once out the door, he leaned against the opposite wall. “What can I do for you, Miss C?”
She crossed her arms across her chest. “That was a mean thing you did to Rupert. Funny, I’ll grant you, but a bit mean. You shouldn’t have manipulated him like that.”
He shrugged. “Manipulate him how? I made a bet, it paid off. How was I supposed to know Fate would actually show up? It’s not like I know the guy.”
Ms. Calendar raised an eyebrow. “Oh, I’m pretty sure you know him. In fact, I think you know him as well as you know yourself.”
Xander stiffened. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
She smirked. “Exactly what it sounds like, Fate.
Xander’s eyes went cold. There was a blinding flash of light, and he was in his Fate garb. He pointed his scepter at the computer teacher. “What do you know?”
She gulped slightly. “Well, nothing, until just now. I had a feeling, though. I mean, four girls and one guy? The way you all took to dressing after Halloween? There’s no way you just went as a soldier. I don’t know if you noticed, but you’ve been dressing in blue and gold for the last five days.”
Xander winced internally. He hadn’t
“And then the bet really set my senses abuzz,” she continued. “Believe me, I’m not trying to threaten you. And believe it or not, I actually understand why you didn’t say anything. Rupert would have no choice but to report this to his superiors, and I’ve heard some horror stories about their methods.”
“Even all the way out in Romania?” the master sorcerer asked.
She winced. “So you weren’t kidding when you said you knew our secrets?”
“No,” he shook his head. “It was actually fairly easy to detect the faint residue of familial magic on you. Tracking it to it’s source was child’s play. I also detected a similar trace on Angel. More specifically, on his soul. Your family was the clan that cursed him.”
She shrugged. “We’ve got a big yen for vengeance.”
“Yes, I see that. But, you’ve got the wrong ideas on how to go about it.”
She gave him a surprised look. “What do you mean?”
“The demon inside feels no guilt,” Fate elaborated. “The soul does. The young man who lived in that body before it died. All the demon feels, is rage. Anger over being trapped. And if he ever got out…”
“He’d be ten times worse than he ever was before,” Jenny finished, putting her head in her hand. “Damn. I didn’t see that one coming.”
“Very few people look that far ahead,” Fate said. “In any case, it’s not my place to do anything about it. He’s a vampire, something outside Nabu’s jurisdiction, and mine by association.” He flashed back into his civilian clothes. “However, if Angelus gets free, I won’t be able to do anything about it unless I catch him red-handed. From what I know of him, he’s sneaky.”
“He is that,” Jenny nodded. “So… what now?”
“Now?” Xander glanced at his watch. “I’ve got Algebra II.”
“So then,” Power Girl said as she used her TTK to separate a vampire’s head from his shoulders, “Larry says to me, ‘Come on, Summers. When are you and me gonna hook up? A man’s got needs.’”
Crow smiled slightly, the only sign of amusement. “I take it he’s going to have trouble reproducing any time in the near future?”
“You got it,” Power Girl nodded. “My knee didn’t agree with him polluting the gene pool any more. He’s just lucky I turned my powers off…”
“That’s the truth,” Crow remarked dryly. Another vampire popped up from behind a mausoleum. Crow’s hands flew up. “Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!
” A wave of black energy sliced through his neck. “I guess we should just be glad most of the other jocks aren’t stupid enough to try anything like that on you. The entire football team might be put out of commission.”
Power Girl snorted.
“Good evening,” Fate floated down next to them. “How goes the Slaying?”
“Well enough,” Power Girl said. “Not too many obits today that fit the profile. We were just about to hit the last cemetery. Care to join us?”
“Sorry, can’t,” Fate shrugged helplessly. “My powers come with rules. Unless I happen across a vampire actively feeding, I’m not allowed to intervene.” He took a breath. “Um… I pretty much just happened by because… Miss Calendar kinda… figured out who we are…”
“It wasn’t my fault!” Fate defended himself quickly. “Not entirely, anyway. She’s only been in Sunnydale for about a year-and-a-half. She’s not as good at blocking things out as some of our other residents. She just put the clues together.”
Power Girl pinched her nose. “Will she tell anyone?”
“No, she promised not to. Vamp behind you, by the way.”
Without looking, Power Girl shoved a stake into the vamp’s chest, ending him. “Thanks.” She sighed. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to hope she keeps that promise. Not like we can Slay her, or something…”
“Be easier if we could,” Crow commented offhandedly. “Of course, the other heroes don’t do that.” A pause. “I don’t think.”
Fate snorted. “No, I’m pretty sure they don’t. Anyway… I’ll leave you two to your patrol. I’ve got to give San Diego a once over, and then check in with Brawl and Photon. They’re in LA and San Fran, I think.” With a salute, he flew away.
San Diego, as it turned out, was relatively quiet. Only a mugging or two, and one convenience store hold up. Given that he had a little extra time before he had to meet his teammates, Fate decided to check in on another city or two. His first stop, Star City.
Fate glided over the tall buildings, enjoying the peace being at this altitude provided him. It was just so quiet…
… Most of the time.
Fate looked down quickly, spotting a man decked out in green, wielding a bow and arrows. He was easily recognizable as Green Arrow. He was fighting a shorter man, who was easily catching any arrow fired at him, and throwing them back with great accuracy. Intrigued, Fate moved closer.
“Come on, Drakon! Give it up! You haven’t beaten me once yet, and I’ve lost count of how many times I put you away!”
The shorter man, Drakon, wasn’t too pleased by that statement. “We’ll see, Robin Hood!” he threw a few more arrows. Fate had to admit, he was pretty good at that. He didn’t even need the bow.
Green Arrow dodged expertly, and pulled out another arrow. He fired it and, to Fate’s surprise, the tip opened up to expose… a taser? Fate smirked beneath his helmet. Nice. When Drakon caught it, the metallic arrow carried the charge easily, overloading his nervous system. He passed out. Green Arrow shook his head, and pulled out a pair of handcuffs.
“A commendable effort, Green Arrow.”
GA looked up, surprised by Fate’s presence. “Uh… thanks. Hey, you’re one of those new guys, right? The Doc Fate look-alike?”
Fate rolled his eyes, though GA couldn’t see it. “Just Fate, if you please. I admit, our uniforms are similar, but that is because we draw our powers from the same source. I had some spare time after doing a fly-over of San Diego, so I thought I’d look in on Star. It would appear she is in good hands.”
GA finished cuffing Drakon, and smiled. “Heh. Thanks. I hear you’re based out of that little town, um… Sunny-something-or-other?”
“Dale,” Fate said. “Sunnydale. Yes. It’s quite a supernatural hotbed, an ideal location for a sorcerer.”
“I bet.” GA lifted Drakon to a semi-standing position. “Hey, I don’t suppose you could…?”
With a wave of Fate’s scepter, Drakon was sent to the nearest police station.
“Thanks. I know he doesn’t look like much, but all that muscle makes Drakon a heavy little bugger,” GA said, cracking his neck.
Fate nodded. “It’s no problem. I am familiar with that kind of situation myself. Apparently, many criminals have taken to training their bodies in preparation for one of the Long John types. If it weren’t for teleportation spells, I don’t think I’d be able to cope.”
GA smirked. “Well, what do you know? A magician with a sense of humor. I didn’t think those existed, outside Zatanna.”
Fate shrugged. “Well, I’m new. Haven’t really had the opportunity to learn all the rules yet.” He glanced at his watch. “Oops. I took too long. I have a couple of ladies waiting for me, one of which is strong enough to actually carry out the various threats they’re likely to throw at me.”
GA winced. “Please, I understand. Go.”
Fate nodded, and disappeared into a portal.
Green Arrow rubbed his beard thoughtfully, then pulled out his cell phone, hitting 3 on the speed dial. “… Yeah, Z? It’s Green Arrow.”
*Hey, Arrow,* Zatanna’s cheerful voice came from the speaker. *What can I do for you?*
“I was just curious, anyone in your circles ever mention a place called Sunnydale?”
Zatanna didn’t answer.
“Z? You okay?”
Her reply sounded shaky. *Where, exactly, did you hear that name?*
“That new Fate character. He said it was his home base, and that there was a lot of supernatural stuff going on there.”
Arrow held the phone away from his ear for a moment, rubbing it gently. “You gotta shout into the phone?”
*Sorry, it’s just…* she took a calming breath. *Most of us mystics stay away from there, and for good reason. That place houses a portal to hell, like the one reportedly under Themyscira. Unless something big’s going down, we don’t like to be around those kind of energies. It messes with our heads.*
Arrow frowned. “Huh. Okay. That’s weird. Why would he hang out there?”
* I don’t know,* she admitted. *Only a native would have any kind of resistance, and even then, it’d be shaky, especially if they’re a mystic.*
“Hmm…” Arrow looked up at where Fate had been. “I think I’ll pay the place a visit, OOC.”
“Out Of Costume,” he elaborated. “This place sounds like it bears a little investigating.”
*Be careful,* she said. *I know I won’t be able to talk you out of it, but I’d rather you didn’t get yourself turned into a vamp, or some fool thing.*
He smirked. “I’ll do my best, Z. Talk at ya later.” As he hung up, Arrow wondered idly how tough a vampire could actually be…