Life, Death and Sub-Con
Here's a random bit of insanity that decided to rear it's ugly head. I asked myself, who's the character I use the least as a focus for my stories. I got the answer. I've been dealing with that blasted SMB2 Overworld theme stuck in my head for close to a week now and I've decided to let some of you suffer.
Don't worry this isn't taking over any of my other ideas. Just another one to add to the pile. Although if it weren't for the fact that one of my stories is 'technically' not mine because of the status of Tales of the Barman II, this would actually be my 100th story on TTH. As it stands I don't think Tales of the Barman II counts officially so, we're only at 99 Sithicus only stories.Disclaimer: Joyce and all Buffy-related characters are the property of Joss Whedon and M.E. Productions. All characters from Super Mario Brothers are the property of Shigeru Myamoto and Nintendo of Japan. This author makes no claims of a contradictory nature to these facts and uses all characters as a fan-fiction type story.
Joyce Summers stood on a small hill overlooking a vast grassy plain. The last thing she recalled was that she’d been heading for the couch to rest for a few minutes and hopefully overcome her headache – it wasn’t even that bad of a headache – she’d just needed a moment to recover and then she could finish preparing dinner for Buffy.
She was going to come over and spend a few hours with them before heading out to patrol. Joyce had loved that her daughters were so worried, but really the doctors had said she’d fully recovered.
So she couldn’t quite figure out how she’d gotten to this point. In fact she couldn’t even understand where exactly she was.
The wind blew aimlessly around her feet and Joyce glanced down. She blinked several times – was she actually wearing what she thought she was? It couldn’t be possible. It just wasn’t possible.
Finally she had to voice her concerns. “Why am I dressed in Buffy’s slaying outfit?” she asked. “Although I have to admit, I do make this look good,” she added with a slight smirk as she ran her hands over the leather material of the jacket and the matching skirt.
Joyce frowned slightly as she felt a curious sensation in her body – almost as though some outside force were affecting her – and she started to move forward. It wasn’t voluntary either – someone or something was controlling her actions.
She approached the closest tuft of grass and knelt down – grasping it in her hands she plucked it out of the ground revealing a large turnip with a smiling face on it.
“This is too surreal,” Joyce remarked as she spotted a strange looking creature with a white expressionless mask and a red hood. She tossed the turnip at the creature clonking it on the head and it vanished as if it’d never been.
Joyce continued marching along – plucking vegetables of various assortments out of the ground – and then tossing them at creatures she couldn’t begin to describe for what seemed like hours. Occasionally the terrain would alter its shape or design and she’d have to leap over obstacles or across oddly placed platforms.
After what seemed to be forever she finally reached a branching path. One which led up a long series of vines hovering down from the clouds – like something out of Jack and the Beanstalk – the other entering the side of a large cliff via a doorway.
Joyce was tired of being somebodies puppet. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m going to end this farce now!” she declared.
As if answer to her words the clouds began to darken and a large shadow appeared in the sky floating along lazily – it blotted out the sun as it traveled along – and Joyce found herself looking at the profile of a large air ship. It could be nothing else.
“Look’s like another one,” a voice said from the deck of the ship.
Joyce couldn’t see who had spoken – despite trying her hardest. “Hello!” she called out. “Who are you? What is going on here?” she demanded.
“I don’t get why we were talked into this crummy job,” a new voice complained.
“Penance,” the first voice reminded.
“Heads up!” the second voice warned before a large anchor on a chain came clattering down to land a few feet next to Joyce.
Joyce stared at the chain unsure of herself. “This is only a dream,” she said.
“More like a nightmare,” the first voice informed. “Hurry up already before Player One get’s back!” he added.
At last Joyce understood that this was actually happening to her and she was understandably frightened – though she had a feeling her daughter would find a way to get her back.
“Will you come on already? Or we’re leaving you here,” the second voice stated coldly – this one was feminine.
Shrugging and trying to dredge up memories of P.E. Class back in high school Joyce scrambled up the anchor chain. Once she reached the strange floating vessel she took a moment to discover who it was that had rescued her.
Her eyes widened in surprise when she found herself face to face with two odd looking turtle creatures. “What is this?” she asked.
The first of the turtle creatures – a male with wild rainbow hued hair and a pair of goofy looking spectacles on his face snorted. “A rescue. Of sorts, welcome to the land of Sub-Con,” he informed.
“The place where all dead dreamers turn up,” the girl turtle creature informed with a cruel sneer – she was in the middle of applying lipstick and had an ugly looking pink and white polka dotted bow on her head.
“Dead!” Joyce repeated in shock.
The male turtle sighed. “Forgive my sister, she can… well no she’s just a jerk,” he said adjusting his glasses slightly and making him appear to reflect the image of another bespectacled male Joyce knew.
“But how can I be dead?” she demanded.
“The same way we all can,” the female turtle stated matter of factly. “After a while you might get better though,” she added. “Depends on if we decide to keep you as a pet.” She smiled wickedly at her.
“My name is Iggy Koopa, this is my sister Wendy O’Koopa, we were recently flattened by a pesky Italian plumber in blue overalls,” he explained. “We pick up stray passengers to keep them from being forced to dance for Wart’s amusement,” he elaborated with a tiny shrug.
“But… how did I end up here?” Joyce demanded. “The doctors gave me a clean bill of health, I survived the operation. This doesn’t make sense!” she protested unwilling to believe the truth.
Wendy O’ sneered. “Couldn’t we just throw her back?” she asked her brother.
Iggy sighed as though he were extremely put out. “We want to conquer the mushroom kingdom,” he reminded. “But that doesn’t mean we’re anti-social or lacking in certain social graces,” he added.
“I liked you better when you were bona fide insane,” Wendy O’ groused under her breath.
“Oh shut up,” Iggy said slapping his sister in the arm. “To answer your questions… well to be perfectly honest we’re not entirely sure how some humans wind up here when they die. All we know is that it takes a powerful dreamer to breach the barriers and come here rather than the afterlife of their choosing. Perhaps you felt you had some unfinished business,” he suggested.
Joyce frowned falling deep into thought as she tried to unravel the mysteries surrounding her death.
“Then again it could just be the energy you were exposed to,” Wendy O’ piped up with a playful smirk. “Iggy likes to pretend he’s existential and stuff. We smelled the magic pouring off of you from way back there,” she added indicating the distant skyline.
Joyce sighed. “I might have known,” she said. “This has something to do with Dawn’s keyness,” she added. “Well… I guess I’ll have to make the best out of a bad situation. You mentioned something about coming back?” she asked with a slight inquisitive smile gracing her lips.
Wendy O’ and Iggy shared a fearful look.
“We’re not going there,” Iggy said. “It’s not that we don’t want to help you… it’s just…we’re not exactly welcomed around there.” He nervously wrung his clawed hands together and shot his sister a look.
Wendy O’ let out an indignant squawk and then shook her head. “I’m not going to say it,” she said.
Iggy grumbled under his breath and reached into his shell – somehow that defied Joyce’s ability to understand the young turtle thing pulled out a red jar of some kind – eyeing it skeptically he passed it to the older woman.
“What’s this?” she asked taking it in her hands and studying it carefully.
“A special brand of Sub-Con magic,” Iggy explained. “Toss it in the right spot and you’ll open a portal to subspace.”
Wendy O’ snickered. “If you can find it.”
“Well… Thank you. I suppose,” Joyce said with a kind and confused smile. “I thought being dead and all would come as something a little more deniable – if you take my meaning,” she added.
Iggy chuckled. “After three times you tend to get used to it,” he said. “In your case though I suspect that this keyness thing you mentioned helped ease the transition.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever!” Wendy O’ said with a determined glare. “You’re cut off from Player One’s ministrations now, so get off o’ our ship and have fun explorin’ Sub-Con,” she informed with a wave of dismissal.
Joyce sighed slightly and moved to head back down the anchor chain.
Iggy shook his head. “No need for that,” he said. “We’re not totally insensitive,” he added with a friendly toothy smile. Once again he reached into his shell and pulled out a magic wand with a jeweled top – waving it in Joyce’s direction he created a floating bricked platform.
Joyce eyed it briefly. “What does that do?” she wondered suspiciously.
“Hop on and it’ll take you back down,” Iggy explained. “It’s just an elevator,” he added with a shrug.
Joyce nodded gratefully to the short creature and proceeded to once again defy the laws of physics. The floating elevator platform began to descend. “I’m not sure why, but I should be more concerned about this ‘death’ thing,” she muttered.
Wendy O’ watched her go with a gleeful smile on her lips.
Iggy frowned slightly. “We should have warned her about Fry Guy and Mouser,” he said.
“No way!” Wendy O’ argued with a vicious backhand aimed at her brother. “We may be stuck doing this stupid job until daddy get’s his hands on another Power Star or two, but there is no way I’m playin’ that nice with anybody!” she stated in an annoyed tone.
Iggy shook his head exasperatedly. “You’d think after being ‘killed’ three times you’d learn something,” he said.
Wendy O’ glared at him. “Don’t give me that line! What did you really give her? That was no magic potion,” she said.
Iggy burst into an insane cackle. “But it was!” he said flipping his sister off. “It just isn’t made with standard Sub-Con ingredients… It’s a new recipe I perfected for traveling between Sub-Con and the Mushroom Kingdom. I just haven’t exactly tested it yet.”
Wendy O’ laughed happily. “I knew you were play acting,” she said. “Oh I can’t wait to see what happens when she uses that thing,” she added rubbing her hands together in evil glee.
Joyce studied her choices once again. Now that she wasn’t being forced to hop and bop creatures she had the time to figure out where she should go next – up the vines or into the cliff face door.
She couldn’t be too sure that either choice was the best one – let alone safe – but she had a feeling that the fact her youngest daughter’s mystical energy had sent her here would also mean she couldn’t be hurt by any of the creatures of this world.
“It would be nice to have someone to talk to though,” Joyce said aloud with a sigh as she finally decided that climbing up into the clouds wasn’t exactly inductive of avoiding danger. After all she couldn’t exactly fly. “Those two creatures were sort of helpful, but that still doesn’t explain why I’m dressed like Buffy,” she added in afterthought as she approached the door and turned the knob.
It was darker inside of the cliff – Joyce had to wait a few moments after the door was closed again to readjust her eyes. What she found inside didn’t exactly instill any kind of confidence. A waterfall was flowing endlessly through the middle of a giant gaping chasm.
A few tufts of grass stuck out of the ground and a ladder led up into the spray filled abyss where the falls source was located.
Joyce frowned briefly unsure of whether or not she should just turn around and go back the way she’d come. Sticking her free hand into a pocket she was rewarded with a few stray gold coins – confused at their sudden appearance she wondered what they were for.
Absently fondling them she studied the ladder carefully – she was no expert, but it seemed sturdy enough – all she had to do was start climbing. “I suppose I’ll have to put this in my pocket then,” she said eyeing the potion jar.
Joyce moved it to her pocket and it mysteriously shrunk down to fit. Smiling at this happy coincidence Joyce approached the ladder and started to climb – as she did she began to get wet from the spray thrown off by the falls.
Observing her from a higher ledge the Ninji blinked. This wasn’t the person he’d been expecting to come here. In fact he’d been expecting a rotund plumber by the name of Mario – and had prepared for said plumber accordingly – he wasn’t sure what to do with a woman dressed in leather who insisted on talking to herself.
The Ninji couldn’t understand. And he wasn’t exactly the improvising sort – so he decided he’d observe the woman carefully before attacking and dealing with her – maybe if he caught her for his master Wart he could get a reward.
But first. That shiny potion jar had looked important – he was going to swipe it from her as soon as she wasn’t paying too close attention to her surroundings and then he’d know exactly what the potion was.
Ignoring the now dead Ninji – a shadowy unseen observer eyed the approaching form of Joyce Summers with recognition in it’s eyes – this mysterious person knew who she was.
Studying her briefly the person in question decided to approach the woman carefully – after all, the person had a feeling that they wouldn’t exactly be able to explain their current situation – they were still having trouble with it themselves. And they’d been dead for three years already. If you could call this death.
Slipping out of the shadows the person moved to greet Joyce and offered a friendly smile. “Now isn’t this an interesting surprise.”
Joyce froze mid-motion and glanced up into the face of a person she had not expected to meet ever again. A person she’d only ever met once in the past – a very long time ago – from her perspective. “I don’t believe it,” she said.
“Hello, Joyce,” Jenny Calendar alias Janna Kalderash greeted with a warm and pleasant smile on her face.
“Janna,” Joyce gasped in surprise.
“Love the new look,” Janna teased with a smile.
“Janna,” Joyce repeated as she slowly approached the woman.
“Miss me?” Janna asked.
In response Joyce rushed the woman and embraced her in a strong hug. Smiling she moved closer until their faces were mere inches apart. “Does this answer your question?” Joyce said before she pressed her lips against Janna’s in a deeply passionate kiss.??? To Be Continued…
Author's Post Note:
Intriguing isn't it? MWAHAHAHA. It's not a pairing I see often - or like - at all. So I figured I give it a shot. I promise we'll get to see some flashbacks explaining how the two 'hooked up' as it were. Just nothing too explicit, after all it's rated FR-15 and we have to keep the violence to Super Mario Bros. Levels. ROFL. (Not to imply that their meeting was violent... I just couldn't pass up that joke... I mean. We're in a Super Mario Bros. Cross-over and we have to keep the violence to Super Mario Bros. levels due to the rating... How is that not punny?)