Xander Harris opened his eyes, his awareness of his surroundings returning.
He had spent the last two hours, as he had made a habit of doing every evening during the last month and a half, 'reality gazing'. That was, using one of the few powers inherited from his Halloween possession he had control over to search through the seemingly infinite number of realities that existed out there, Even though he was only able to see bits and pieces of what the realities were like, it was enough to allow him to determine if they were good for creation of pocket dimension . He had already found one he recognized, as it existed as a tabletop game in his own reality.
He shuddered; as much as it was fun to play the game, the reality of Warhammer 40000 he had marked as 'off limits' Never mind four people, odds were an entire squad of fighters empowered via the pocket dimensions could be decimated if they entered a fight with the creatures of that reality. No benefit from it warranted that kind of risk.
Still, the discovery revealed an intriguing possibility he was since trying to prove. Namely, that the Marvel universe wasn't the only one reflected in some way in their own. There was a good chance there could be others, and Xander thought it would be a good idea to seek them out, as the knowledge from whatever way they were known into this reality would allow them to better anticipate what to expect if they were ever used for templates for pocket dimensions. So far, he was out of luck. And being distracted by thinking about the recent events wasn't helping with his search any.
The morning after they had destroyed the arm of the Judge, Miss Calendar had called Giles and Buffy to reveal to them that she had come to Sunnydale with the sole purpose, at least at first, to keep an eye on Deadboy, as she was from the clan that cursed Angelus with his soul in the first place. The reason for her to decide to come clean after an year of keeping secrets was that her uncle had come to town, and had ended up informing her that there was a release clause in the curse. One that Buffy had apparently come close to triggering. The news that she needed to keep her distance from Angel, or she risked having to deal with his demon, had not sat well with the Slayer, who, according to what Xander heard later, had refused to believe it until she had spoken with Miss Calendar's uncle.
Angel, on the the hand, had disappeared for a couple of weeks after being confronted with the facts about his curse. Upon his return, he had spoken with Miss Calendar, and had asked her for help in finding out if the curse could be modified to ensure that his soul would only be released at the moment of his demon's death, something the teacher had agreed to. The vampire with soul had then informed Giles that he would remain in Sunnydale to help out until he knew for sure if the curse could be changed, but would keep his distance from Buffy just in case, and that he would leave if it turned out that nothing could be done about his soul.
Of course, it remained to be seen if the vampire with soul would keep his word, as at least as far as Xander was concerned, the Brooding Wonder's record of doing the right ting was lacking. If he had really wanted to do the right thing, why had he persisted on skulking in the shadows and brooding during all the dangerous ordeals Buffy had gone through since he had come to Sunnydale? From what the boy new, Angel had been as active as he could have been from the start only the last few months, and considering how badly the Slayer had reacted on the news that their relationship created a chance of Angelus being released, and therefore had to end, it was likely that they hadn't been doing only Slaying during the joint patrols these few months.
Xander sighed. Even if he was to ignore the mess with Deadboy's soul curse and the strain it had put on several relationship, there was still Cordy. The relationship with her was getting nowhere. Her insistence that everything was kept a secret kind of killed any chance of it progressing in a meaningful way. He sure as hell wasn't about to spill his secrets to someone who, while willing to make out with him in private, ultimately valued him less than her position on the school's social ladder.
Not to mention he really wished the nightmares about the guy in armor who was fighting demons would stop. He didn't mind dreaming about the demons that much; sure, they were scary, but there was nothing worse than what they had already dealt with. No, the far worse part was the fact that in the nightmare, he
was hitting on the guy. When awake, the very thought of doing so made him want to puke.
In a large hall in the middle of the Silver city, the Angiris Council gathered.
“Have you made any progress?” the Imperius asked.
“Some.” Auriel answered. “Although it seems that none but the five of us can even detect this major new Evil we sensed. We have determined, however, that it is virtually identical to the Maiden of Anguish, and that it currently resides within a realm beyond our reach. How did this come to be is unknown.”
“It is likely, however, that its appearance is connected somehow to a human child who possesses an ability to copy portions of our realm.” Itherael added. “it is thanks to him doing so that we have managed to glimpse his realm, for when he copies our own, the barrier that separates the realms is slightly weakened. It is odd, however. The boy's ability does not appear to be strong enough to be able to copy one of the Seven.”
“So my own observations are correct.” Imperious said with a sigh. “Fortunately, the foolish child doesn't have the power to breach the barrier. And currently, neither does the Evil that was inadvertently unleashed upon his world.”
“It is also fortunate that the boy's power has no allegiance in itself.” Mathael added. “Thus it would be as difficult to the demons to see into that realm as it is to us. With the Prime Evils imprisoned within Sanctuary, odds are none within the Burning Hells has realized what is going on yet.”
“But it won't last long.” Tyrael commented. “the boy's realm is awash with magic. If we do not do something, it won't be too long before the new Evil gains enough power to summon a demonic shell for itself to inhabit from the Abyss. If that happens, there would be no limit to the amount of power it would be able to absorb from the realm it currently resides in. We need to do something.”
“But what? Even when combining all of our power, we would still be unable to get even the weakest members of our host across.” Imperius pointed out.
“We don't need to. That realm already has beings like us, as well as beings like the Evils struggling for dominance. And while our counterparts can do little, as they have no idea what they are dealing with, I believe their champions can. We only need to claim one of those destined to be champions as our own.”
“You have always favored the mortals, Tyrael.” Imperius scoffed. “And time and time again, they have failed you. What makes you think this would be any different?”
“Yes, I am all too familiar with their failings.“ The Archangel of Justice answered. “But I also know their strength. Their potential is easily as great as our own. And these humans do not have demons' blood in their veins. They will not be as easy for the powers that lord over the Burning Hells to corrupt as those in Sanctuary are.”
“Sometimes, I wish I had your faith in them, Tyrael.” Imperius grumbled. “But while I am not convinced this is such a good idea, you are right about one thing. We have to do something while there is still time. And your suggestion is our only option at the moment. However, I insist that the power we grant is limited, and lasts only until the Evil unleashed in that realm is vanquished. If the boy is somehow responsible for the creation of this Evil, then it is only fitting that he is responsible for its destruction. We know that every time he uses his powers, the trial, however minor it is, strengthens both him and his companions. Our chosen should be sent to him, to earn the extra power needed to prevail in the coming conflict.”
“Agreed.” Tyrael said with a nod, soon followed by the other members of the Council
“It is decided, then. We have the time until the next time the boy gives us an opening to determine the best way to deal with this problem.”
“Eww!” Buffy cried in disgust, shoving demon gunk off her clothes, as Giles inspected the results of the latest spell he had learned. While she had been far enough not to be harmed by the shockwave when he had made the demon's corpse explode, pieces of the corpse too light and small to cause harm had flown far further, and had reached the Slayer. Unfortunately, due to the medieval looks of the armors they had picked up from the pocket dimensions,it was pretty much impossible to remain inconspicuous while using them, even with the Sunnydalers' talent of ignoring anything out of their concept of normal. As a result, the armors were being used almost exclusively within the pocket dimensions, the only exception thus far being the affair with the cross of Du Lac. Which meant that whatever Buffy was wearing tonight (the watcher hadn't paid much attention to her attire) was now good only for the garbage bin.
As far as the more... practical matters about his new spell were concerned, however, the results were more than satisfactory. Two unlucky vampires, who had been closest to the explosion had sustained enough damage to be destroyed, and the other demons, lured by the Slayer near the first corpse, were maimed enough by the blast to be easily killed even by an ordinary human.
Which none of the four of them were anymore, as they had discovered a few days ago, when Xander had jokingly tackled some of the Slayer's training tools, making the Watcher realize the boy was doing far better than he had any right to, even if he was nowhere near Buffy's level. The round of testing that followed confirmed that all of them were physically stronger, as well as more dexterous they were before.
Giles idly wondered if his new spell had the property of Willow's deep freeze spell to miraculously miss the allies near the point of impact while damaging enemies. If it had, it would be very handy in a tight spot. And with the steadily increasing income they were having, it wasn't like replacing ruined clothes was much of an issue. A/n: The stats improvement from leveling up has been accounted for, and the Angels are plotting. And to clarify: there won't be any non - canon sexualities in this story, the dreams I've had Buffy and Xander have a merely a joke referring to the sexes of the character classes in Diablo 2