My previous experimental attempt was a really bad idea and met with dismal failure. I had thought of sitting on this, but then inspiration struck. Now here is a new fleshed out version of the story with alternate dialogue and much in the way of changes. Not only does fate play with Willow and Eddie Brock, but Xander and Buffy get in on the act as well.Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this story are the property of the following corporations/creative individuals. Buffy and all related characters from the Slayerverse are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions and Twentieth Century Fox. Peter Parker, not the Amazing Spider-Ham, and all other characters are the property of Marvel Comics a subsidiary of Walt Disney, so I guess we'll be seeing a Peter Porker Spider-Ham animated film soon, right? Er, anyway, this author makes no claims otherwise as to the above statement. Enjoy.
It had taken a considerable time to achieve his personal goal of meeting with this particular individual, requiring a great deal of patience and some work manipulating the embodiment of Death herself. That being said, the creature once known as Adam had finally achieved his goal of coming to speak to one of the only beings in existence capable of granting him the opportunity at resuming his personal quest for global domination.
Now he sat across from him within his own realm, a home that defied mortal understanding. Adam could not smile, at least not in a fashion that would appear natural, therefore he settled upon neutral expressions to avoid unnerving those he interacted with.
“Your proposition is most intriguing, I must admit to that much, but perhaps I’m missing something here. Would you care to go over it again, for the benefit of a senile old man?”
Adam stared at the being before him with a look of knowing. “Though I find your claims of senility to be false I will indulge your whims.” Adam’s statement was born of pure logic, something that could not be contested. Unfortunately being a creature of logic had its weaknesses. “My proposition is a simple one, using pawns of my choosing we shall play one of your infamous games, the prize. Should I win, Death has seen fit to grant me the same courtesy she has given to you Elders, fitting as I am the ‘only’ representation of my kind in known existence. Should you win, you would receive four new pawns to use as you saw fit for any future contests which you may indulge in.”
The being across from him stroked his chin in brief contemplation. “A rather roundabout way to gain immortality, tell me, Adam. Why did Death send you my way?”
Adam took a moment to compose his thoughts. “As I was artificially created by humanity Death sees no true place for me in her realm, but consigning me to purgatory or limbo or even oblivion is not so easy. Parts of me are made up of demons, other parts man, though my previous lives’ souls were already taken to their respective domains in death, I myself am an enigma which has caused no end of frustration for the woman. Being artificial I have no true soul to place anywhere, so she has agreed to my simple proposition though she insists upon using these rules to challenge me.” Adam once again did not smile, but his eyes did appear to light up with bemusement, as though he found some bit of humor at his words.
Smiling with genuine amusement the Grand Master leaned across his games-table and reached out a hand towards the amalgamation of demon, man and machine. “Very well, we shall play the game, however I have a few stipulations of my own.”
Adam nodded. “She said you might.”
The Grand Master nodded in turn and conjured several pawns from his game piece case. “We must play using pawns of your choosing, however I would ask that you indulge me the chance to modify my pawns to the exact specifications required of the game. I also have an idea of where to put you should you lose our little contest, provided Death has no objections.” Glancing up he waited expectantly.
“She does not.” Death materialized within the shadows behind Adam. “Personally I would welcome your assistance in dealing with this troublesome anomaly, I have no doubt you will win this little contest.”
The Grand Master broke into a wide grin. “So, Adam is it? Tell me, what pawns have you chosen for me to play with?”
Adam smiled this time, his expression would have unnerved any ordinary being. The Grand Master was far from ordinary and had seen much worse. Adam told him exactly who his four pawns were to be.
Sunnydale, April Seventh, Nineteen Ninety-Seven:Xander Harris stood watching as the zoo keeper was devoured by his hyenas. He was partially disgusted with the sight, but equally intrigued. Even as he stood there watching a man being eaten alive some force compelled him to slip away from the others, just as it had helped him escape from confinement in the library.Xander slipped inside of the small office he’d noticed attached to the hyena pen, it was partially curiosity, partially compelled. Walking up to where the notes were being kept for the spell he chanced to glance underneath them to discover alternatives that the zoo keeper had tried. Frowning slightly Xander picked up a small diary.Written in small cursive letters were three words. They were written in a language he could not understand, but he recognized the word Kravinoff as a name. Flipping open the journal he came to a marked page, with translated writings from the zoo keeper.“Though the formula is effective it does not result in permanent transformation, as a constant source of the strength enhancing potion is required to maintain the levels of superhuman strength and power that the imbiber gains. Further study into this avenue is ill advised at this time. I must find another way to have the power I seek.”Xander didn’t know what compelled him to do it, but he slipped the journal under his shirt and rejoined the others before they got to asking what exactly he was doing in there. He remembered everything he’d done as the hyena, he remembered enough of it to know that something like that must never be allowed to happen to him again or anyone else. So he took the book intending to destroy it. Would that fate should be so kind.
Sunnydale, June Second, Nineteen Ninety-Seven:Buffy lay drowning in the Master’s cave, her life slowly slipping away. Unaware that Xander and Angel were coming for her she considered what had happened to her as the Slayer, she ran over everything in her life up to this point and found that she was not ready to die. How was it then that this was her fate? How could a prophecy literally come true through her inevitably foolish actions?Unseen by the dying Slayer a small canister that had been stolen at one point by The Master’s minions tumbled after being dislodged from his escape; it was labeled with all kinds of warning labels and danger signs. Inside was a liquid that had proven untested, and written in big bold letters on the bottom of this canister were the words of the logo of the company which had created it. Osborn Industries.The liquid broke free of the seal and seeped into the pool, drawn inexorably through the disgusting waters of the Mater’s lair until the body of Buffy Summers, still in its last desperate acts of trying to save her life, breathed the liquid into her lungs.Xander Harris and Angel, formerly Angelus of the Scourge of Europe, arrived not long after and through the miracle of CPR brought Buffy back to life.“I feel stronger.”
The Grand Master smiled as he placed two of his pawns onto the board. Adam had his four already arrayed in a select pattern awaiting his opponent to finish his preparations and machinations of past events.
“Everything is set up to begin our first round, Adam,” the Grand Master informed as he plucked a third pawn from his piece box and examined it carefully. “A pity that this will result in the creation of an alternate timeline from which these pawns originate from, but after all one can’t make good pawns without breaking a few pesky rules of space and time. Shall we begin?”
Adam nodded and picked up his first pawn placing it on a section of the board which represented a church bell tower. “I believe you have the first move.”
The Grand Master grinned. “Indeed I do, now then Miss Rosenberg, time for you to play your part. Let us see just how much we can do to break your mental stability.” Moving a black and white piece with red hair towards the representation of a church on the board the Grand Master waited patiently for events to play out.
Peter Parker: Spider-Man Issue #1 Symbiosis Mysticana:
Edward ‘Eddie’ Brock stood in the cold of the night staring up at the stars, he had just found out that he had terminal cancer and hadn’t much longer to live. The doctors’ were optimistic, granting him perhaps another year, but Eddie knew that was a lie. He had decided that he wasn’t going to end up like those he’d seen while working for the Daily Globe covering Cancer Patient stories, he had no intentions of dieing miserable and alone in a hospital bed a former shell of himself.
“This is as good a place as any.” Eddie shrugged, if he was going to confess his sins and then atone for them in one single act of irrational thought it really didn’t matter where he did it. He had always been a deeply religious man after all and knew that he needed to make amends for what he’d done.
Approaching the church’s front entrance he was startled when a darker shadow detached from the shadows pooling near the front door and stepped into the light revealing a young man. A young man with an eye patch, wavy dark brown hair and a leather jacket covering most of the rest of his clothes.
“Sorry, but there’s… Um, you just don’t want to go in there.” He offered a lopsided smile.
Eddie frowned wondering why someone would be barring parishioners from a church of all places. There were of course any number of legitimate reasons, but Eddie was a reporter and had seen a lot during his career. “Maggia?”
The one-eyed man took a step back stunned at the casualness of Eddie’s one word. “No, not like that, man! It’s… Complicated.”
His explanation didn’t address the issue of what was going on inside the church, but Eddie could tell he was sincere enough and the last thing he wanted was to deal with another super powered or supernatural event when he was about to end his own life. He didn’t need any stupid visions from God or whatever to make him see the error of his chosen action, he already knew it was a coward’s way out, but he wanted nothing more to do with this world.
“Whatever, guess I’ll just try that church over there,” he said indicating the church further down the street with a shrug of his head. Turning away from the stranger he headed off into the night and reality itself almost seemed to scream as time itself splintered off this reality from another.
Glancing around as the other man left to make sure nobody else was around, or that the other man wasn’t looking back his way, Xander Harris sighed in audible relief and touched a finger to his head out of some strange reflexive habit.
“That was close, good thing you finished off that demon before he showed up, Willow.
Inside the church two women stood over the corpse of a scaly, spiky looking creature. Its head had been severed from its shoulders and the red carpet of the vestibule was stained a sickly combination of blue and yellow.
The brunette was dressed similar to the man outside, in mostly leather clothes of a dark blue in color to blend in better with the night, she was holding the weapon that had slain the beast.
The red headed woman was wearing a more conservative, less revealing outfit of flowing greens and violet hues, her skirt was longer and her top wasn’t as tight as her companion’s.
“Xander says he just had to turn someone away from here,” she observed.
The brunette smirked as she moved over to one of the hanging tapestries to clean off her sword. “Then it’s a good thing he was out there.”
“Kennedy, that’s really disrespectful. Even for someone who isn’t Catholic,” Willow chastised her girlfriend as she watched her actions.
Kennedy shrugged. “I’m certain the priest will understand.”
Willow rolled her eyes. “I forgot, you’re an atheist.”
Kennedy shook her head. “Correction, I just don’t think there’s anyone actually up there. Big difference.”
Willow sighed and kicked the corpse of the demon. “Stupid demons, why couldn’t it have just been a vampire? They’re so much easier to clean up after,” she complained.
Kennedy laughed. “Relax, Willow, we’ll have the place cleaned up in no time. Giles has an in with some restoration people, these stains will come out no problem.”
Willow stuck her tongue out at Kennedy playfully. “This isn’t exactly my idea of a fun date, Ken.”
Kennedy grimaced. “I wish you’d pick a better nickname, Wills, seriously you make me sound like a Barbie doll sometimes.”
Willow smiled suggestively. “I thought you liked it when I treated you like my own personal Barbie doll,” she teased.
Kennedy smiled herself and sultrily approached her girlfriend. “That’s when we’re in the bedroom, dear.”
The foreplay was suddenly interrupted by the loud ringing sound of the church’s bells. Both women were instantly on alert spinning around, Kennedy had her sword up and at the ready.
Willow had spoken a quick cantrip in Latin and a glowing ball of mystical fire was burning in her left hand.
“Bell tower.” Kennedy began heading towards the steeple stairway.
“Who could be up there?” Willow frowned, she’d made double sure that nobody was even in the church at this time of night before she and Kennedy lured the demon inside to deal with it out of sight of prying New Yorker’s eyes.
Outside Xander strained to make out what was going on up in the bell tower, he could just make out the silhouette of someone standing near the bell. The ringing of it seemed to be louder than was possible in the silent night air.
“My freaky quota for the week just hasn’t been met until we stumble onto someone ringing a bell for no apparent reason,” he grumbled under his breath. “Willow, they didn’t get past me on the ground, be careful it could be one of those ‘spandex’ card carrying members trying something to lure one of his or her foes out.
Willow frowned as she heard Xander’s telepathic warning. “New York, is it just me or is it more of a center for the weird and mysterious than even Sunnydale used to be?”
“Nobody’s in here, they’re definitely ringing it from up there,” Kennedy informed indicating the top of the steeple with the tip of her blade.
Peter Parker, the sometimes Spectacular, Amazing – though never Marvelous – Spider-Man was fighting against his greatest foe yet. His own costume, the alien symbiote shrieked in pain as the sonic assault of the ringing church bell forced it to separate from his body.
“This hasn’t been one of my better nights.” Peter raised a fist and struck the bell again, using his spider-enhanced strength to make the thing pitch louder than it ever had in its life.
With a painful and inhuman shriek of pain the symbiote detached itself completely from Spider-Man’s body and pooled about the floor in an inky black indistinct shape. Frightened and rejected it sensed a source of body heat not far, if it wished to escape from the sonic assault of the bell it needed to act fast and assume a new host.
Seeping through the floor it made a beeline for the bottom of the bell tower and an unsuspecting red-haired Wicca below.
Willow stepped into the shadowed steeple’s ground floor first her spell forgotten as she searched vainly for the impromptu bell ringer, part of her was hoping it just turned out to be an early Halloween prank, but since it was the middle of November that probably wasn’t the case here.
“Xander thinks it could be one of those super heroes,” she relayed to her girlfriend. “Probably not a good idea to threaten them with a sword.” She smiled as she turned back to face her lover.
Kennedy rolled her eyes. “This is why I allowed those Watcher dudes to take me away from here,” she complained under her breath.
Without warning sticky black tendrils began to coalesce above Willow’s head and before Kennedy had a chance to notice them or cry out a warning they attacked.
Shrieking in sudden fear Willow felt an invasive presence within her mind, all trace of the calm, well-practiced Wicca vanished as her very being began to get taken over by the symbiotic life form seeking merely to survive in this harsh environment.
Heedless of his own safety Xander charged into the building, his Willow was in danger, nobody screamed like that if they weren’t afraid for their very life.
Kennedy stood helpless, her first act against the attacking squirming black creature had been to lash out with her sword, with confidence that she wouldn’t hit Willow. The thing had unleashed a flurry of tentacles at her batting the sword aside and sending her crashing against the wall.
As Xander came charging into the steeple’s ground floor he froze in shock.
Willow was no more, her entire body had become coated with the strange black substance. She stood for a moment revealing a lot more to her friend than she ever had before, the strange black stuff was skin-tight. It was broken up by a white spider based pattern on her considerably enhanced bosom with a matching pattern on her back.
Incoherent the thing before them shrieked in Willow’s voice and that of another.
Raising her black-encased arm, Willow pointed the top of her hand straight out, from the base of her wrist a strange white fluid emerged latching onto something unseen above her head with an odd thwipping sound to accompany it.
Before either of her companions could react she literally flew out of the building smashing through a stained glass window and not stopping for anything.
Kennedy fought to catch her breath from her collision with the wall. “What should I do?”
“Don’t lose your head!” Xander barked at her whirling to face her, his lone eye glaring menacingly, but the menace was not meant for her. He knew something weird had gone down and it involved someone still up in the bell tower, in fact they appeared to have collapsed a short ways away from the staircase. “Looks like you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!”
“Xander.” Kennedy reached out to stop him from doing anything foolish. “I know you think you can intimidate just about anyone, but we’re talking about someone who is probably strong enough to snap you in twain like a twig.”
Xander shot her a glare. “At the moment he’s not going to be doing anything. Not until we get him back to NY Slayer Central and ‘talk’.” Breaking Kennedy’s grip effortlessly the former carpenter marched with purpose up the staircase to the top of the bell tower.
“Interesting first gambit,” Adam remarked as he studied the placement of the pieces of the game board.
The Grand Master grinned. “We are still establishing the players properly before enacting the first actual round of our little ‘contest of champions’.”
Adam nodded. “True. It would appear that already one of my pawns is incapacitated.”
“An unfortunate side effect of the forced separation from the symbiote, I assure you it will pass.” The Grand Master tapped his chin briefly as he contemplated the game board once again.
“I understand what you have done, but I do not understand why you have done it.” Adam was curious, perhaps his one fatal flaw.
The Grand Master smirked knowingly. “These pawns, once I own them of course, are going to factor differently into my designs. I already have my Squadron Sinister for the truly large scale games I enjoy playing, but I’ve always wanted to dabble in that corner of the playing field reserved for our famous Arachnid based super human. He has often intrigued me, I have witnessed many timelines in which he does certain things which defy conventional wisdom, therefore I wish to test his mettle just as surely as I am testing yours.”
Adam nodded in understanding. “I see. My move I believe.” Plucking a female pawn from his unused side of the board he sent her towards the church.
The Grand Master steepled his fingers as though he were an expert chess player and resumed observing events.
Sunnydale, October Second, Two Thousand and One:The group cast the spell in secret, just as Willow had planned, but when nothing happened they dejectedly made their way out of the graveyard. Apparently summoning Buffy back from the dead just wasn’t possible.Deep within her grave, Buffy Anne Summers gasped for air and let out a sudden shriek of madness. Unobserved she began to claw at her casket’s lid, her enhanced strength allowing her to break though within a short length of time.Emerging from the earth, disheveled and dirty, still dressed in the clothes she’d worn upon her burial the ‘former’ Slayer raised her head to the heavens and screamed. Her cry echoed far above to the realm of her oppressive overseers, and the Powers trembled in sudden fear, something was not right.
A greater distance away within a New York high rise an older man glanced up as though something had triggered his senses, frowning with curiosity he rose from his desk and his current bout of planning against his arch nemesis and moved to the scrying bowl he had picked up to spy on those who had been exposed to his Goblin Formula.What he saw made Norman Osborn smile.
Sunnydale, Date Unknown:“What am I?” Buffy demanded of the man standing across from her.“Oh so much more than what your friends have made you out to be, my dear Miss Summers.”Buffy smiled and it wasn’t a pretty thing. “Then I didn’t come back wrong? The demons I tortured, the girl I watched a vampire almost drain to death before saving her, I’m not some demented demonic freak?”The man grinned. “Only if you wish to be, me dear, it’s all up to you. I merely thought you would, appreciate, some insight as to why you have ‘cheated’ death as it were. And perhaps give you a little present.” He held up a mask.Buffy stared at it. “That so isn’t my color.”“Well, it’s always there if you change your mind.”
Felicia Hardy, alias the Black Cat, was currently trying to find Spider-Man. After he’d run off from the Baxter Building once Reed told him what the Symbiote actually was she’d received a worried call from the Human Torch. So she’d gone off to try and find the spider before he hurt himself, or anyone else, finding a trace of him however wasn’t that easy.
Pausing on a rooftop not far from a familiar looking old church, briefly she recalled a time when she’d encountered Daredevil near this area, she spotted a group of people acting suspiciously. Suspicious enough for someone dragging an unconscious body out of a church, or the dead weight of something definitely no longer living, as in deceased, considering it was missing its head.
“Gross, gross, so totally gross, why am I always called in for demon corpse clean up?”
“Shut up.” A male voice barked these words, Felicia frowned, she moved closer and froze. The male was hauling a naked man, a very familiar naked man. “Get rid of that thing and meet back at Watcher HQ, we’ll take sleeping beauty in for questioning concerning that mysterious black gunk that possessed Willow.”
Placing the spider in the back seat of an unmarked car the man paused and glanced up, as though he could sense someone watching him.
Felicia slunk back into the shadows.
Shaking his head slightly he turned to a pair of brunette women. “Kennedy, Dawn, let’s go.”
The younger of the two sighed and slipped into the driver’s side of the vehicle. “The least he could do is ask nicely.”
“He’s worse off than me and she was my
girlfriend,” Kennedy said.
The car started up and drove off.
Felecia followed it with her eyes, but she had no hope of tracking it without some sort of help. There was only one person in all the world that might be able to track someone by scent, unfortunately she wasn’t too sure if she could trust him not to go in kamikaze style to start busting heads. Still she didn’t have much of a choice, turning quickly she began making her way to Westchester.
The inside of her mind was in turmoil, part of her was screaming out profanities left and right while another part was trying desperately to erect some sort of mystical mental barrier, she didn’t want these thoughts. Everything was so chaotic, she was having trouble determining where Willow began and where the Symbiote began, not to mention Peter. She had the memories of a life not her own, it was driving her to the point of madness.
Eerily similar moments to her own life played out inside her mind, she saw Tara shot dead before her, killed by Warren. She saw an ugly looking green mask and a young blonde girl plunging off the top of the George Washington Bridge.
She saw herself flaying her girlfriend’s killer, spiraling into madness to the point of almost destroying the world. She saw herself nearly killing the one responsible of murdering the young girl, only to stop herself at the last minute and step back from the precipice of grief stricken murder.
She saw many things, too many, she wanted to escape. But being that this was all in her mind she could not, not until she finally latched on to the only thing that might prevent her going mad. The telepathic communication spell which was still in effect, this allowed her to reach out and touch the mind of the thing which had taken over control of her.
Slowly standing up on the side of a building the body of Willow Rosenberg recognized this place as one commonly visited by her former host’s body, the stone gargoyle nearby was a dead giveaway.
Shimmering into existence beside her the astral form of the woman known as Willow Rosenberg stared at herself taking a moment to reorient her thoughts after the jumbled mess in her mind, she felt disconnected, it was strange yet also comforting at the same time.
“We were rejected! We were betrayed!” Willow’s body spoke through a large tooth filled mouth.
Willow’s astral form moved around in front of herself to stare at the creature. Placing her hands on her hips she pouted at the thing. “Well it serves you right! You were trying to possess him to the point of driving him mad, and now look what you’ve done to me.”
Willow’s body shook its head. “No! We only wanted to live, to help, to be free! We did not mean, we have been trapped for untold centuries, he rescued us, we wanted to share what we possessed. Our abilities, his abilities, we would have become one.”
Willow sighed. “Yeah well, humans kind of have this thing about individuality and free will. They kind of get hostile when crazed alien symbiotes try to take over their bodies.”
Willow’s body snarled and a long prehensile tongue emerged from her mouth.
“Don’t stick that tongue out at me, mister!” Willow mimicked her physical self by sticking out her normal looking tongue out at it.
“We are Symbiote, we must survive, we must have a host!” Willow’s body started crawling up the side of the building in hopes of escaping her astral self.
Willow’s astral form floated up alongside her. “This isn’t the way to go about doing that, you enhance the natural abilities of your host right? What happens if your host knows magic?”
The symbiote possessed body shrugged. “We do not know, we have never taken over such a host before.”
Willow’s astral form smiled. “This could have potential, something that could help better than he ever could. Plus I kind of like that look on me, oh darn am I channeling vamp me or what?”
Willow’s body tilted her head to one side in confusion. “We do not think so.”
Willow sighed. “I really shouldn’t, but something is telling me we should stick together. Spider-Man was an idiot for rejecting you, but he didn’t have the will to assert dominance over your hive-mind and violent tendencies.”
Willow appeared remorseful. “We did not mean to be violent, we are still young, compared to most other members of our species. The adrenaline, the excitement, it intoxicated us. We thrive on such emotions, but never before have we bonded with a host capable of such powers. Such thrills. We… got drunk.”
Willow’s astral form started laughing. “Oh that’s priceless; an alien symbiotic life form got drunk off the power of a human enhanced by radioactive spider blood. Well I suppose that one ups Cave Girl Buffy.”
Willow’s body smiled revealing plenty of sharp teeth. “Then you will accept us as we are? You will allow us to live.”
Willow shook her spectral head with a slight frown. “I didn’t say that, there are a few ground rules we have to go over first. For one thing I’m not so sure I like all this ‘we’ stuff, ‘we’ aren’t royalty.”
Willow’s body smirked. “No, ‘we’ are a Goddess.”
Willow wasn’t sure how, but her astral form blushed. “Are not! Honestly, you perform one simple empowerment spell and the world thinks you’re on the level of Thor or Hercules, just because I can brandish magic with more power in my little pinky than the average sorceress doesn’t mean I’m a Goddess. I think I’d know if I could live forever, travel to the planes where the Gods walk or – I don’t know – survive being struck by the hammer of Thor!”
Willow’s body had the decency to look cowed. “Our apologies, we did not mean to imply that type of Goddess, but you do have power. And with the added abilities of the spider you could do much more than simply launching spells at your opponents. No longer would we, you, need to rely on the weakness of verbal incantation and the element of surprise.”
Willow feigned interest, but she was already calculating how much trouble she could get into for this. “Look, I know exactly what I’m capable of, I also know what it means to go off the deep end on a power crazed ego trip, so let’s can all this talk about Goddesses and power and focus on the rules of sharing our body… I mean my body, Goddess now you’ve got me doing it.”
“We will listen and accept your rules, but may we first teach the spider a lesson in humility for his rejection of us?” Willow’s body eyed her astral form hopefully, the large white eyes looking decidedly inhuman to her other half.
“No revenge, revenge never works out. I have first hand experience on that front, or didn’t you get that part of my life when we merged minds?” Willow glared at her other half.
“But! He must be shown the ‘error’ of his ways, such an insult to us should not go unpunished!”
Willow laughed at the piteous expression on her face, it looked so adorable. “I never said anything about not punishing him, but I get the feeling he’s already receiving a rather ‘cold’ welcome from my friends while they try to figure out what happened to me.”
“IT ISN’T ENOUGH!” Willow screamed once again causing the large tongue to lash out in a hissing shriek of rage.
Willow sighed, but then she smiled mysteriously. “Well, I have an idea that you might approve of.”
“What sort of idea?”
Willow’s astral form merged back together with her physical form once again merging her mind fully with that of the symbiote. ‘Willow’ started to laugh and she licked her lips in mirthful delight. “We approve.”
Sunnydale, Date Unknown:She had been shot, struck down by a cowardly craven of a man pretending at being a super villain. It galled her to no end to think that her life had once again been robbed from her by something beyond her control, and what infuriated her even more was that Willow got to him first.Buffy stormed down into the basement where the robotic duplicate had lain forgotten since her return, Willow had tried tinkering with her, but she hadn’t managed to do much more than reattach a few limbs. Glaring at her android double while the others were out for the day she started to scream.“WEAK! You are nothing, Buffy Summers! You are just a pathetic little slip of a girl pretending at greatness! You couldn’t save yourself from a stupid gun shot, you couldn’t even move fast enough. You let Tara die because you couldn’t stop Warren!”Hurling a fist at the robot she smashed it through her stomach and watched as wires and circuits sparked. Shrieking in rage she hurled her ‘double’ across the room and watched as it started to smolder near the basement steps. Then she started pounding the hard cement floor with both fists, the strange thing was she wasn’t even getting hurt, her skin had become more durable since the incident in The Master’s lair.“Don’t give in to the satisfaction.”Buffy jerked slightly and whirled to face the android, it was actually talking to her, but that wasn’t possible. “Did you speak?”“Of course, Buffy, I am you after all. I know exactly what you’re going through, look at me in pieces on the floor and I’m still better than you. At least I don’t let my emotions rule me, I embrace what I am. I was created to pleasure Spike, that’s exactly what I do.”Buffy shook her head. “This isn’t real!” She clutched at her head and shrieked in rage.The android smirked and slowly got to her feet. Reaching for something unseen nearby she turned and help up ‘the mask’. “You know what you must do.”Buffy snarled and hurled the thing away as though stung. “I am so not wearing that tacky thing, I’m not like him! I’m me, I’m Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”Buffybot snorted. “You haven’t been the Vampire Slayer since Kendra was called, you just pretend. Play at things that are safe and familiar to you. Why won’t you embrace your true destiny, your real calling? The Powers, they don’t own you anymore. Get a life Buffy Summers, before you foolishly throw it away again.”Buffy let out a primal scream of pure rage and charged her android double only to find it still smoldering on the floor, the mask still hidden where she’d put it all those months ago when he came. ”What’s happening to me?”“I’d say about the same thing that happened to good ol’ Gobby, but you already knew that,” the android once again started talking. She laughed the sound of a bubbly carefree giggle. “Silly, Buffy, come on. You know you want to, just for once be like Faith, Want…”Buffy slowly reached out for the mask.“Take…”Buffy smiled as she stared into the soulless eyes of the monstrous like face in front of her.“Have.” The Buffy android’s last words were spoken in a whisper right next to Buffy’s ear. Slowly she pulled the mask over her face.“Jonathan and Andrew got away, they might not be much, but they still need to learn a very valuable lesson when it comes to how to be a Super Villain.”The insane laughter emanating from the Summers’ basement would have terrified any sane person; unfortunately no sane people living or otherwise were on the property at the moment.
Adam paused trying to see how his opening gambit could have failed so soon into the ‘game’. He was uncertain as to what precisely was happening. The transitioning between past and present didn’t help matters either.
The Grand Master smirked as he placed his third piece on the board. “We are closing on the climax of this first venture, are you certain you can win the main event once all of the pieces are in play?”
Adam slowly nodded. “I am not one to lose.”
“Funny, you thought yourself unbeatable when you faced the Slayer, and yet she managed to destroy you effortlessly.” The Grand Master briefly picked at a loose thread on his cape with an air of idle boredom.
“She cheated. You are not one to do such a thing, in a fair contest I am confident I shall win.” Adam reached out and moved his next piece, the stocky looking pawn with the perpetual scowl.
“You might be able to succeed, but I have my doubts. After all, I have yet to introduce my fourth pawn in this game.”
Adam shook his head. “That is irrelevant, with the Slayer hampered by madness, the witch transformed into a dangerous unstable hybrid and the heart soon to be forced into choosing his own fate I fail to see how anything or anyone could tip the scales to your favor.”
The Grand Master grinned mischievously and resumed observing the board. “Well, that of course depends on who I have selected out of the available parties to be the fourth member of my new ‘Squadron’. Or perhaps that should be, Frightful Four?”
“There is already a team with that name,” Adam reminded.
“Of course, how stupid of me.”
Xander stood arms crossed in the central monitoring facility of Slayer Central, built up with finances earned from wise investments and Anya’s generous stipend after her death, the group had created a veritable ‘Watchtower’ all for the sake of keeping their charges safe.
“Did we have to leave him naked?” Dawn asked as she stepped into his field of vision. “I mean, not that I’m complaining here cause hey, Yummylicious naked man chained to a chair and all that. But still I don’t think he’s going to be very forthcoming with the info.”
“He should know better than to just pass out after something like that, whatever it was, besides when am I ever going to get a chance like this again?” Xander smiled ferally as he turned from the two-way mirror looking out into the adjacent interrogation room.
“Xander, impressionable young ladies are present,” Kennedy reminded in a semi-scolding tone.
“Most of them are either on patrol or in bed, so no they aren’t, do we have an ID on him yet, Andrew?” Xander was getting impatient as he turned to face the computer geek.
Turning in his wheelchair Andrew shook his head. “Nope, he’s not in any known databases and for some reason I keep getting stonewalled by outside channels. I really wish Willow were here right now.”
Annoyed Xander whirled on his fellow male member of the Watcher’s Council Support Staff. “Well what can you tell us about him?”
Andrew turned back to the monitors. “Ummm, he’s stable, I think. All of his vitals appear to be normal, or whatever passes for normal for him. We’re detecting some faint traces of radioactivity in his bloodstream. And get this, he’s got venom in there too, specifically from the family arachnida”
Kennedy took a step over from where she’d been standing and glanced at the readings. “No way!”
“Then the guy in there with the totally scrumptious bod,” Dawn said.
Xander quirked a brow. “Is Spider-Man.”
The group remained silent for several minutes.
“Off, now!” Xander barked.
Andrew tapped furiously at the keys. “Done, all recordings, security monitored footage and information is also erased.”
“Even the backups?” Kennedy demanded.
“Am I crazy?” Andrew laughed nervously.
Xander shot him a withering glare. “I don’t know, are you? You’re still claiming that Buffy attacked you and Jono wearing a Halloween mask. Hence why you’re stuck as a paraplegic these days.”
Andrew trembled slightly, but muttered under his breath. “She did.” Shaking off the remaining fear he nodded. “I know what it would mean if any of those nut jobs in the spandex found out we had, past-tense, video proof of Spider-Man’s secret identity. What the hell do you think I am? I wouldn’t put our girls in danger of that.”
Xander nodded. “This still doesn’t help us understand what the hell that stuff was or what it did to Willow.”
“Can I talk to him first?” Dawn blurted.
Kennedy smirked. “Down girl.”
Andrew frowned slightly. “I’m getting a spike, he’s starting to wake up.”
Xander once again adopted a feral grin. “Good, then it’s time he and I had a little, chat.”
Dawn pouted. “So not fair.”
Xander turned and headed out of the room.
“He’s hot.” Andrew felt both sets of eyes on the back of his head and his face flushed. “I mean, like he’s recovering from a flu or something, not that he isn’t… I’m just going to shut up now.”
“Stop channeling Buffy, Dawn, you can’t pull it off.” Kennedy smirked.
“Shut up.” Dawn complained.
Peter Parker had seen better days, hell he’d seen worse days, but at the moment he wasn’t too sure on just what had been the most embarrassing of days. He’d managed to escape from that symbiote thing posing as his costume, but apparently after getting it off of him he’d somehow passed out.
Now he was sitting naked in a chair in the middle of a room shackled with his hands behind his back and his feet chained to the floor, nothing a bit of spider strength couldn’t get him out of, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out just why it was he was in this situation to begin with.
Even if someone had been in the area they wouldn’t have known who he was without the costume on, and if the cops had arrested him for public indecency… well that he couldn’t have faulted them for.
“So, how did I get in this mess then?” He wondered to himself as he studied the room. It was kind of dark actually, but he could still make out the video cameras in the two corners above his head.
“I’d say falling asleep after whatever it is you were doing in that church would be the how, as to the why, that would be because we’ve got a few questions for you, mister.” The door to his prison swung open revealing a young dark haired man in a long leather jacket and steel-toed boots, dark blue jeans and an eye patch.
“You’re kidding me? What is this Fury light?” Peter blurted.
The young man blinked. “Huh?”
“Never mind, you just reminded me of some guy I know.”
The man shrugged. “Well then you’re in luck, because you don’t remind me of any guy I know. Most of them wouldn’t be caught dead in your situation anyway, now are you going to tell me what the hell you were doing in that church bell tower? Or am I going to have to get rough with you?” He literally pulled a collapsible shovel from inside his inner jacket pocket.
Peter stared at him. “Just who are you supposed to be anyway? The Gravedigger?”
Xander smiled, it wasn’t a nice smile. “This is for demonstrative purposes only, you see, that black goo stuff you were messing around with took off with my friend. Covered her from head to toe and turned her into something out of a Tales from the Crypt Nightmare. I’m not sure if she minded the hot and sexy skin-tight look, but I can bet she didn’t like the teeth. Now, mister I can do whatever a certain species of non-insect can, make with the explaining or I’m going to kill you with this shovel.”
Peter stared open mouthed at the threat, but not because of the threat itself, more because of what had been said before it. “Wait, it found someone else! I never would have tried to force the separation if I knew there was anybody else in that church.”
Xander blinked. “Forced the separation?” he repeated dumbly.
Peter sighed. “Listen, I’m sorry it got your friend, but you really aren’t equipped to deal with this. So if you’d just let me out of these, and give me something to wear, I’ll try and track her down.”
Xander snapped out of his confusion and shook his head. “We’re not just some helpless nobodies. Just, talk!”
Peter fidgeted slightly. “I’m guessing by the hinting you’ve figured out my identity, so that’s one over on me you’ve got as I have no idea who you are.”
“Likewise,” Xander clarified. “We wouldn’t know who you were without the mask and even if we did we wouldn’t brag about it to anybody.”
“Right, well, a while back there I was involved with some serious stuff. Of the… capes and cowls variety.”
“Spider-Man reads Batman Comics?”
Peter shrugged. “I’m curious, almost met the guy once, but that’s getting off track. Anyway, my costume got really trashed during the fight and we were on some alien made planetoid thing at the time. Found this machine, stepped in, got a new costume.”
“I kind of wondered why you switched from red to black, some of the others started a pool, the popular theory was that you did it to match with that new Spider-Woman chick.”
“She wishes,” Peter said. “So turns out that it wasn’t just some spiffy alien clothes repairing gizmo, but apparently the containment cell for this weird symbiotic life form. Richards told me after I got it analyzed a few days ago that it was trying to bond permanently with me. Turn me into… Well I’m not sure what, but I didn’t want to find out. Not when it started making me get these urges and stuff I could really do without, it’d ruin my perfectly maintained image as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.”
Xander snorted. “Can I have one of those cards?”
Peter smiled. “Maybe, depends on if you’re going to let me out of this or not. And make with the clothes, this draft is really doing a number on my manliness.”
Xander shook his head. “I hardly think those things can actually hold you, as for the clothes. I’m afraid most of my stuff wouldn’t fit you and the rest of the residents are of the XX chromosome variety if you get my meaning.”
“Oh. Any boyfriend left behinds potential?” Peter wondered.
Xander opened his mouth to speak when suddenly the building started to vibrate. “What the hell?”
Peter leapt to his feet snapping the chains in seconds.
Xander stumbled about trying to maintain his balance. “How do you do that?”
Peter smirked. “Great sense of balance.”
Xander turned to the doorway. “Come on, something big is up and I want to know what.”
Before he could move the roof began to rise up surrounded in a strange black aura.
Andrew closed his eyes tight as the alarms blared all around him. “Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.”
Dawn smacked the back of his head. “Cut that out, what the hell is this?”
Kennedy stared at the levitating ceiling with a hint of foreboding in her expression. “That’s Willow,” she whispered barely loud enough to be heard over the shrieking alarms.
“I’m sorry oh great Goblin Queen! Please, I don’t want to die!” Andrew screamed in terror and tried to flee, his wheelchair tumbled over sideways and he slammed his head into the ground, knocking himself out cold.
“He’s been reading way too many of those Fantastic Four comics,” Dawn grumbled.
Hovering outside under her own power Willow smiled as at last the roof rose up enough for her to see her quarry. She grinned sadistically as she lowered herself into the interrogation room.
Xander eyed her in utter shock.
Peter however was studying her closely, trying to figure out what she’d do next.
Willow shuddered with a sense of pure power, she could feel the red hair whipping about her bleeding black and she reveled in it, the rush was exhilarating, but she must maintain her center. After all she had a job to do. “Behold! Your retribution! We are Contagion and we are not pleased with you, mister,” she said planting her hands squarely on her hips and shooting her, her best resolve face glare.
Peter Parker stared up at the crazy woman possessed by the symbiote and could only think of one thing to say about what she’d just said. “Oh f…”
Sunnydale, Date Unknown:The arm scrabbled its way clear of the grave site as once again someone dug themselves up out of their grave. This someone however was not a Slayer turned Goblin, nor were they a demon inhabited soulless corpse, they were something entirely different and much more dangerous.Her body shining with an ethereal power she slowly turned to face a shadowy form standing nearby, indistinct, barely visible.Grinning broadly he strode out into the moonlight revealing himself to the woman. “Have a pleasant nap?”“How long?” Her voice was hoarse after so much time of disuse, glancing down at the tattered remains of her burial shroud she didn’t really care about the lack of decent clothing.“Approximately three years, give or take a month.”Sighing she brushed away a stray root still clinging to her shoulder. “I suppose this means you were right about this all along.”He didn’t smile, but he did appear to be quite pleased. “What can I say, sis, hell just isn’t the same without you.”“I think someone tried to resurrect me,” she noted thoughtfully. “And why exactly is that so-called First Evil traipsing around trying to use my form to upset my daughters?”Waving his hand dismissively the demonic entity known as Blackheart curled his lip in disgust. “Oh pay her no mind, she’s just being her usual stupid self. Thinks there’s some imbalance or other so she can unleash her armies upon the world. As if our father would ever allow something as mundane as that to happen, not enough theatrics for his tastes in bringing hell to Earth. Not to mention far too bloody.”Sighing slightly the woman who had been known as Joyce Summers in life triggered a burst of hellfire to burn off the last remnants of her tattered clothing, all hint of modesty forgotten. “A brain tumor, this shell died because of a simple little thing known as a brain tumor. I suppose that was father’s doing as well, bad enough he disapproved of my marrying that filthy mortal pervert, but then he has to go and be petty about it.”Blackheart chuckled. “Actually, that was the result of those idiot monks trying to force a bond between a child of Mephisto with Clavis, but then again how could they possibly have known that the woman who sired the ‘Slayer’ was in actuality a demon in mortal guise? And one of his bloodline too, a bit incompatible I’m afraid between the two entities.”Joyce shook out her hair and removed the final traces of dirt. “Oh well, at least my daughters are safe now.”Blackheart’s expression darkened. “Not entirely.“What happened? Brother, tell me everything!” Joyce commanded her eyes shining with flames.Blackheart took a nervous step back. “I don’t suppose you’ve heard of the Elders of the Universe, what with being disowned and all.”Joyce’s gaze hardened.“Right, right… Well it seems your pride and joy has gone and gotten herself into a bit of a bind with one of them, though she hadn’t exactly meant to. You see there was a certain being called Adam, and well…”
Adam stared at the fourth pawn now standing on the board. He was once again confused, but also curious. Glancing up at the Grand Master he offered a neutral expression as he studied him for any trace of weakness. “You divulged the existence of the contest to one of your players?”
The Grand Master nodded. “It wouldn’t be fair not to at least have one of them aware of what they’ve gone and gotten themselves involved with.”
“I didn’t think you would so readily master someone outside the circle of the spell.”
“Mastering them is simple, provided you know how.”
“Perhaps I should have gone with my first instinct and simply given you the final component in the circle of the spell.”
“Oh I never touch anything that is a hand-me-down pawn, besides Ripper indirectly caused the death of a certain demonic nuisance I’ve had the great misfortune to deal with on occasion. And can you imagine the chaos her return will cause? Ah this is going to be quite fun actually, I do love a good challenge. And winning with these four on my team is definitely going to be… Challenging.”
Adam nodded. “Shall we resume then?”
The Grand Master shook his head. “Not just yet, I’m afraid that I have other things to see to. Why don’t you stay here and get to know your pawns a little bit better. You’ll have to know them quite well if you hope to use them to best me.” Climbing from his side of the table the Grand Master moved to leave.
Adam turned back to the board and glanced over the four pawns on his side of the table. Remaining in silence he prepared himself for his next move.To Be Continued?
My original idea for this story some of you know, Willow get's the Venom Symbiote instead, this story takes elements from that and expands it into the territory of another Marvel Idea I've had in my head for quite some time. Mainly what you've read in this one, the Scoobies are used as Pawns by the Grand Master in a 'Contest of Champions' style event.
I just wasn't sure who his opponent should be or what the stakes were until I hit upon the brilliant idea of using Adam, I could have gone the cliched route and used the First, The Master or hell even Glory, but not enough people really use Adam. I mean sure he was a weak Big Bad considering his origins, but well Considering his Origins, how could he not have problems after being put down.
I hope the flashbacks don't confuse anyone too much, they were mostly to establish the machinations of the Grand Master in his bid to create a team of four capable of rivaling Adam's own pawns. (And we all know who they are.)
Willow Rosenberg: Contagion, Vast Mystical Abilities now enhanced with Spider Based Powers.
Xander Harris: Not powered up yet, or is he? Unless you're a familiar Spider-Fan then you won't know much about the significance of his little find back in the past.
Buffy Summers: Goblin Queen? (I haven't settled on her name just yet.) Superhuman Strength, Stamina, Durability, Regeneration Abilities. Currently Hopelessly Insane.
Joyce Summers: Daughter of Mephisto, Sister to Blackheart, Possessing Enhanced Strength and Durability, not to mention Mastery of Hellfire.
Peter Parker: Spider-Man, um, do I really need to go into it?
Felicia Hardy: Black Cat, she's... Eye Candy with feline powers.
Logan (James Howlett): Wolverine, not part of the Spider-Family as it were, but he's Wolverine, if Marvel can have him as a part of the X-Men, X-Factor, Cable's Mercinaries, The New Avengers, The Mighty Avengers, the Wolverine and his Amazing Friends Club, then I can use him in this story.
Fourth Pawn of Adam: Still under Debate, I was thinking of goind with Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman, but I'm not sure. Any ideas of someone who you'd like to see will be considered, barring Thor, Captain America, Iron Man or the Hulk, those four are characters I don't want to play with in this as I don't think Adam would choose anyone so obvious for his team.
And yes, I realize I've turned the Scoobies into Super-Villains, but that's the fun of it.