Perchance to Dream
Disclaimer: I do not own Battlestar Galactica or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This story is purely for enjoyment. No profit is made.
Story type: Crossover: BtVS/nBSG
This is something that just popped out of my brain. Lord knows where it came from. Be warned it will be updated slowly.
As the credits rolled Xander tried to ignore the bouncing of the geek father down the couch. "That was so cool!"
Xander just shrugged and got up. To tell the truth, he hadn't really been paying much attention.
"You all right, Xander?" he looked back at where Dawn was sitting between his and Andrew's spots.
"Yeah, why?" He asked.
"This is just the kind of stuff that you used to like watching."
He could tell she was concerned. "It's good TV, Dawn. I just can't get myself interested much right now." He chuckled. "I suppose, after Africa, I need something a little more uplifting."
Her eyebrows went up. "Triumph of the human spirit and saving the human race against all odds not uplifting enough for ya?"
He made a dismissive gesture. "It's not that part. It’s on a personal level." pointing at the TV screen he said, "You can't tell me those aren't some screwed up people."
"Their worlds just ended. Billions dead. They've got pretty good reasons to be screwed up."
Xander couldn't help just staring at her for a moment, and then he said, "So do we." He turned away and began to exit the room. "But I still know better than to make some of the mistakes they are."
The hair on Xander's neck stood up. That was Andrew's voice, but... Stopping he looked back at where the young man was sitting. All he saw was a 20's something man looking curiously at him over the back of the couch.
"Yeah." He said, slowly. Something was off. "I could do better."
"Prove it." The smile that slowly began to twist Andrew's lips was definitely not Andrew. In fact it took him back to that time in Kinshasa where... Shit.
Xander twisted all the way back around and hurled himself toward the figure on the couch.
His motion seemed to slow as the world faded away around him.
Crap. He stared into infinite white nothing that surrounded him and tried to move. Nothing. Double crap.
A black dot appeared in the whiteness and grew larger, resolving into a figure, which glided closer yet somehow didn't see to move at all. It still looked like Andrew on the surface but here, in this place, Andrew's face was a translucent mask that covered something darker writhing beneath.
It stopped and arm's length from him. Xander stared at it, remembering.
It spoke, it voice resonating back from the emptiness surrounding them. "You didn't think it would hold me forever, did you?"
"We'd kinda hoped. Yeah."
"So I'm gettin."
Its head tilted to the side, considering. "At first I had thought to obliterate you. You are too dangerous to keep even for the pleasure of your torment." Its gaze bored into his as it paused for a moment. "But I have come to realize you have done me an inestimable service."
Ohhh, there was that sinking feeling.
"So I will send you away, Alexander Harris. To...do better." It began to smile. That, awful, twisted smile. "Know that where I send you to is real. It was not. You knew it as merely an idea, a fiction. But your soul being forced..." It hands raised to gesture around them. "...into this place allows me to prompt the multiverse to realize it in full, to breathe reality into its possibility."
Okay. Evil babble. Not of the good. Particularly considering the power of the entity in front of him. As he remembered it all the practitioners except Willow and Mubai had died from the backlash.
He opened his mouth but before he could get a sound out it placed its finger over his lips. The burning cold of its touch prickled against his skin.
"Shhhh," it said. "Understand, Alexander, your thread will be woven into their tapestry as one of their own. I have destroyed his thread, and you are taking his place. They are not to know, for if they do their universe unravels, and...." Its hands slammed together with startling violence. "All the souls in that creation are no more."
His thoughts flickered about. Fiction. Possibility. The TV movie they'd been watching... Oh God no. He tried to speak, to shake his head, but found he couldn't. The light around him began to fade.
It leaned in so close he could feel it's breath, icy cold against his ear and spoke words that resonated in his skull. "This has all happened before, and will happen again."
Then there was only darkness.
* * *
His brain was throbbing. And it was dark. Or not dark, his eyes were closed. It took him a couple tries for his eyelids to lift. This resulted in him immediately squeezing them shut against the blinding glare.
He heard movement beside him and a, husky, vaguely familiar voice said, "Lee?"
What the hell? It was hard to think. Something touched his shoulder and the light on the other side of his eyelids darkened.
The voice said, sharply, "Cottle." As if calling for someone.
Xander pried his eyes open again. It was easier this time. The light was less, masked by a figure leaning over him. Blinking, he focused on the face of the figure. The scarred cheeks, blue eyes, glasses… and memory came flooding back.
The horror must have shown on his face because William Adama said, "It's all right Lee, you're safe. Kara is safe."
The man's other hand reached up and rested tenderly against the side of Xander's face, his voice barely audible. "I thought I'd lost you."
I have destroyed his thread and you are taking his place... The voice echoed in his head. Xander, unable to speak, closed his eyes against a gaze full of a father's love.
He feigned drifting off into unconsciousness as another person approached the bed.
His body felt wrong, like a wearing a pair of cloths that didn’t quite fit.
“Bill?” The new voice was associated with vaguely remembered images of a cigarette smoking, gray haired man, in a doctor’s coat.
“He opened his eyes.”
Xander felt new hands on him and he forced himself not to react as they took his pulse and then each eye was peeled open in turn and a light shined into it.
“Pulse is strong. Pupil response is normal.” The hands touched his head and he had to fight not to twitch as pain throbbed from the point of contact. Ah, a head injury. That explained the wool that seemed to have been stuffed into his brain.
“Gods damn, Bill.” The hands lifted away. “The injury he took…He died on that table.”
“Maybe you’re better than you thought.” Their voices were pitched low, as if not to disturb a sleeping patient.
“Nobody’s that good. I didn’t do this. You’re looking at a fraking miracle.”
“I don’t care what it was. He’s alive.”
“Bill,” the Doctor seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Until he wakes up I won’t know for certain what kind of impairment there is.”
The hand returned to his shoulder and rested there as if reassuring the toucher that he was still there. “How bad is it likely to be?” He sounded like someone bracing for the worst.
Xander couldn’t dig up much concern about his mental functioning. IT wouldn’t have left him like that. It would want him to experience his current situation in all its agonizing detail.
“Probably pretty bad. His autonomic system seems to be functioning but the scan showed damage to various structures of the brain. There’s likely to be significant memory loss and impairment of cognitive function. On the other hand, he may be almost normal. Until he wakes up there’s no way to...”
The sound of a …phone? Halted the conversation.
First there was the Doctor’s voice answering it then Adama’s. “Saul...are..he’s what?” There was a tired sigh and then, “Tell the president I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
The doctor said, “I’ll tell you as soon as his condition changes.”
“Starbuck is likely to be here after she’s off CAP.”
“I’ll fill her in.”
Both people moved away and Xander was left alone.
* * *
Jebus. This was bizarre even for him. He was in the body of Lee Adama: a Lee who an immensely powerful supernatural entity had just murdered to put Xander in his place.
Assuming it was telling the truth Lee wouldn’t really have existed in the first place if he wasn’t here but somehow that didn’t make him feel much better.
He choked off that line of thought. It was useless; he’d leave any philosophizing to Giles and Wil. He was here and the people here were here.
Or something like that.
If he’d understood correctly he had to keep up the charade of being Lee. If he didn’t …
A hell of a corner it had painted him into.
Short of Willow or Giles working some mojo to get him back he couldn’t see a way out, and he had the feeling that they had their hands very full at the moment.
God, he hoped everyone was okay.
They’d come for him in time, if they could, but until then he’d have to play along. He’d remember everything about the series he could and then plead brain damage on the rest.
Convenient it had left that “out” for him. He supposed it wanted him to suffer for a while before the universe went poof.
As he began to review his memories of the show he vainly wished he’d watched more of the episodes. And maybe paid more attention. And…
* * *
Voices brought him back to consciousness, the Doctor…Cottle, was it? And a female voice that also sounded familiar.
“…extent of the brain damage.” Cottle’s voice finished.
Huh. Must have drifted off.
He heard movement as someone approached the bedside. Whoever it was stood in silence for almost a minute then he felt a hand take hold of his.
“Hey, Lee.” It was Kara Thrace. “Heard you woke up today. It’s about time, slacker. You’re making the rest of us jealous.”
She fell silent again, and when she spoke again her voice was quieter. “Frak it. Lee, wake the hell up.”
Now? He thought. Why not? The situation wasn’t going to get any better with waiting.
He opened his eyes again and tried to look toward Kara. The muscles in his neck felt like rubber.
As his eyes tracked toward her he heard her sudden intake of breath and her hand tightened on his. “Lee?”
He focused on her face, opened his mouth, and found his throat was too dry to get a word out.
A wide smile lit up her face as brown eyes stared down into his. “Hi, Lee.”
Another person entered his line of vision, and older man, gray haired, with a tired, lined face. “Captain Adama. I see you’re back with us.” The gruff voice was definitely Doctor Cottle’s.
Starbuck moved to the side as Cottle reached over out of Xander’s vision and picked up something. “Here,” he said, “This should help.” Something wet touched his lips and dribbled a touch of moisture down his throat.
As the water sank into the parched tissue he found himself able to speak. “Thanks.”
Oh, that was freaky. Hearing that voice coming out of his own mouth… but it wasn’t his mouth, was it?
“Starbuck, could you step outside for a moment?” When Kara didn’t immediately move away he said, “Out.”
Giving Cottle a vaguely mutinous look she said, “See you in a bit, Lee.”
* * *
Cottle poked and prodded him with surprisingly gently hands, asking him to move this or that, testing reflexes, and all the while asking quiet questions. “Do you recognize where you are? Do you remember what happened?” and so on. Xander answered as many as he could but couldn’t mask his frustration and fear at fewness of ones he knew solid answers to.
Resting a hand on his shoulder Cottle said, “It’s all right, son. You brain is just trying to repair and sort things out. Some of this should get better.”
“You took a hell of a hit. Let your body sort itself out before you go worrying about things. Okay?”
Xander nodded at him. Thinking, not worry? If only you knew.
“Do you feel up to a few visitors? You may have noticed the insubordinate pilot wearing a hole in the deck plates outside. And I need to call your old man and tell him you’re awake.”
Actually he wanted to run and hide. But when had that stopped him? “Sure.”
“I’ll send her in in a moment.”
* * *
Bill nodded to the marine as he passed, trying to shake off the irritation left over from dealing with Dr Baltar. He had nothing save a feeling, but for all his brilliance, there was something very wrong in that man’s head.
He turned his thoughts and feet toward the man lying in the medical bay.
That was three times now, three times the world had stopped, and nothing mattered save the fact that one of his son’s was dead. With Zack it had been distant, another officer informing him of the accident, but so very final. No more chances. He’d watched Lee die twice now, but each time he was given back to him. It was almost enough to make him believe in the gods.
Entering medical he found Kara pacing in the waiting area with frenetic energy. His heart skipped a beat. "Kara?" His eyes flicked toward the care area as she spun toward him. Had something gone wrong?
Her statement unclenched the sudden knot in his gut.
“Cottle kicked me out and is checking him over.” In spite of the casual way she phrased it he could see the profound relief in her eyes.
He looked toward the doorway to the care rooms, and asked, “How did he seem?”
Looking back at here he watched her gaze darken. “Didn’t have much of a chance to see.” Suddenly she wouldn’t meet his eyes. “But he seemed lucid. If a bit groggy.”
Seeing her posture, shoulders bowed, eyes downcast…. Hell. He’d thought the Chief’s report had gotten through to her. “This wasn’t your fault.”
Her eyes snapped up, surprised. “Sir…”
He cut her off. “You didn’t invent metal fatigue.”
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“It happens.” He held her gaze “It was not your fault.”
“What if he’s…” She trailed into silence.
The words she didn’t say hung there in the silence. Damaged. Crippled.
He shared that fear, but she didn’t need to see that. He simply said, “It is what it is, but let’s not borrow worries until we know what the problems are.”
“Less than I’d feared. Damned if I know why.” Cottle’s voice came from the doorway.
Cottle said, “His cognitive processes seem to be intact. He is lucid, aware of his surroundings, and his physical reflexes seem normal.”
Kara’s looked between him and Cottle, her expression heart-wrenchingly hopeful. “Then the brain scan was wrong. He’s fine?”
Bill braced himself as he took in the Doctor’s expression.
“No.” Cottle looked away from Kara and met his gaze. “I don’t know the full extent but there has been a great deal of memory loss. Time will reveal the exactly how much, but it is severe.”
“Can we go in?” Bill asked.
Cottle nodded. “Yes, but not for too long.”
Bill started toward the door but stopped when Kara remained standing where she was. “He’ll want to see you.” He said.
* * *