The Officers of the Enterprise were notably startled by the flash of fire that formed in a circle. From that circle out stepped a creature that had the classic demonic features of hooves and horns, but was dressed in non-descript robes of brown cloth. They were startled by the fact that this fearsome looking creature was carrying a book and wearing glasses.
The demon looked up from the passage he’d been reading and then focussed on the one that summoned him. His eyes narrowed, but there was no denying that he had some kind of connection with the human before him, even if his beautiful and deadly Anyanka had perished.
“Alexander,” the demon said raising an eyebrow. He frowned as he sensed that this was not a place or even Universe that he’d normally have been called to.
“Outside of this ship,” Xander said.
The demon eyes widened as he took in the uniforms of the majority of the humans in the cargo bay. He quickly looked around, focussing on the two babies and then he closed his eyes. The magic was unmistakably vengeance in origin, but he did a quick count of all his known children. Then he did as his summoner asked and that’s when his eyes opened up looking startled at the revelation.
“Oh my,” he said. He looked at Xander and at the vampire at his side. He then reflected on his abilities and shook his head. “I cannot return you...”
“Yeah,” Xander said. “We kind of figured that something like that would happen.”
“I could take you to another dimension, but not to your home, it’s too far away,” the demon said.
Xander looked at Spike and the vampire nodded, holding up his fingers in a V
to indicate that he would accept the second option that they had discussed. The human grinned, took hold of the vampire, hugged him hard and kissed him on the mouth with a happy expression.
“Thank you Spike,” he said and then turned to the demon who was watching this with an amused expression. “Would be willing to act as a courier for us?”
D’Hoffryn quirked up an eyebrow and then looking outside the ship again with his mind he nodded. “I’ll do what I can.”
“Great,” Xander said holding out the PADD that he and Spike had filled with a video of their resignation, including a copy in document form. “Could you please bring this to Rupert Giles of the Watcher’s Council in our originating Universe and bring back what they give you for us?”
The demon took the device and for once he wasn’t going to do anything other than what was requested of him because outside of the ship was indeed one of his children. It was one of his ‘lost
’ children and it was so rare for one to be found in such a strange way.
“I will do as you ask, but I do hope that the two are aware that you’ve been in the books of the upper echelons as Champions,” D’Hoffryn said. “How do you think they will react to this?”
“They’ll need to let us go because we’ve definitely earned the right to the rest of our future,” Xander said. “There are two additional documents in there addressed to you. We’ve added them in case we were going to be stuck in this Universe, which is like the best thing ever, but they were in case...” He shrugged and then continued. “They’re for the Powers-That-Be, if they ever feel the need to be grateful for the help we’ve done or just bribe us to stay away, those are a few suggestions for them.”
D’Hoffryn snorted, but just bowed and said, “Give me seven days. Don’t worry, I’ve stopped the forward motion of the ship.” He disappeared in a flash of flames that didn’t activate the fire suppression system in the cargo area.
Giles was sitting at his desk contemplating what to do about Willow. That young Witch was bound and determined to get ‘Her Xander
’ back no matter the consequences. He sighed looking over the personnel file he had on the young man. ‘Since when do I keep files on any of them,
’ he thought. ‘This is getting ridiculous.
It was when he was reading over the last report about the tribal cleansing that he became aware that he had a visitor. D’Hoffryn had chosen to show up in human form with a briefcase and an official appointment. However his true nature could never be hidden by one of Rupert Giles’ magical calibre.
“I’m here to deliver a device to you on behalf of your lost sheep,” the demon said with much pre-amble. “I’ll be back in four days to collect whatever you’ve been able to gather for him.”
“Is he safe,” Giles asked. “Injured?”
“Yes and no,” D’Hoffryn said putting the device on the man’s desk. “I’m doing this because I owe him a big one.”
Giles sighed in relief. He looked at the data device and was disconcerted to note that he’d need Andrew’s help with it. He never liked any computer type item. “Do you know the contents?”
“I’ve pulled a couple of files,” D’Hoffryn said. “They were addressed to some others, but the main files and the video are real. Please do not suspect that their origins are false. I do not have the knowledge for manipulating such devices.”
“It’s odd to hear one like you confess to such a weakness,” Giles observed.
The demon shrugged and said, “You do know that it’s always one or the other for the magically inclined. Those that mix both must be monitored for instability and eventually they must choose their strength or else fall into some form of hubris.”
This was said with a meaningful look as the demon rose to leave. “I’ll be back in four days to collect the boys’ requests,” D’Hoffryn said. “They must be ready by then.”
Giles nodded and immediately picked up the phone to call in Andrew, who’ll undoubtedly be able to extract the data and set up the video. The aging Watcher thought, ‘I dislike video conferences, but the girls in Africa need to know what happened to their beloved Watcher.
Two days later, after the video conference had taken place, Willow was drugged and confined to a white room, secured and padded as she continued to rant about Xander being gone just like Jesse. Xander not being there and never coming back was her final breaking point.
Giles had Dawn look up the instances of technology versus witchcraft or magics and most that dabbled in both did indeed choose one over the other over time. This needed to be done before they had their meeting to view Xander and Spike’s video.
A bit of research showed the consequences of continued meddling in both fields of knowledge. In the end there was only one option for the Coven in Devon, a few of the more experienced and powerful spell casters and for the Council to take in regards on one Willow Rosenberg.
She was stripped of all her magical links and bound by the wills of the spell that they had chosen. Perhaps one day she’ll recover and lead a normal life, but they had to severely alter her memory to get her to forget the abilities that she once had in relation to magic.
They even took all memories related to the Watcher’s Council, Slayers and everyone she knew when she had been living in Sunnydale. Her only clear memories were the fact that she’d lost her two best friends while she’d been living in Sunnydale. The doctors of the Asylum that she was placed in had their orders. They were used to this kind of confinement and Willow would be well treated there for the remainder of her life.
The meeting that was taking place was pretty similar to what had taken place when the group had discovered that one of their Watchers had been taken while in the middle of a battle. This time they were about to find out what happened and when their Watcher would be coming home, if he would be coming home.
Andrew had extracted the documents and sent copies to everyone that needed to gather the necessary items from Xander’s request for ‘his stuff
’. He took it upon himself to contact Wesley Wyndym-Pryce at Wolfram & Hart in order to get the stuff that Spike was asking for because some of it wasn’t available to the essentially ‘good
’ side of things. Wesley was deemed neutral enough to be able to obtain these particular things.
“All right,” Andrew said, splitting the screen in such a way that the Slayers in Africa were visible in a corner of the monitor and that Xander’s video message would occupy the rest. The girls were seeing the boardroom with the others in the same fashion. “Let’s do this.”
There on the screen was Xander. He was dressed pretty much the same way had been dressed on the day of the battle. There were still stains of demon blood on his clothing, but he didn’t look unhappy or as if he was being coerced into making this video for the Council.
“Hi guys,” he said with his bright brown eye crinkling. Giles noted the age lines on the young man and felt his own age after seeing the signs that time was taking them all. “First I need you all to know that I’m doing quite well. I didn’t take any damage from the battle and that the reason I’m where I am now is because of the Double-U word. Ah,” he held up his hand to stall any protestations. It was like they were getting a live video feed, but he slashed their hopes. “Don’t bother to interrupt or protest because this is just a video recording... of course you can always pause this, but time is a factor.”
The girls and the Watchers in the room, which included the ex-Watcher Wesley Wyndym-Pryce, who’d just hopped onto one of the corporate jets to deliver the items that Spike had requested. He didn’t mention this trip to anyone, not even Gunn who was one of his closest friends.
“Let me just say that it has been my honour and privilege to work on the side ‘of the good
’, with each and every one of you,” he said, looking around an imaginary room. They knew he was picturing everyone as being there.
Buffy wasn’t because she couldn’t be pulled away from the current love of her life. She had officially moved on and was living her dream life of being a ‘Buyer
’ (...i...) of things. Her current lover supported her completely and she was no longer called on to do the Slaying thing. The Council had her on record as being ‘Retired
’ and every member of the separated Scooby gang of Sunnydale already knew it. There would be no message for Buffy on this machine.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get back to Earth ever again. I’m just too far away. So, this video and the documents included on the device you’re using contain my immediate Retirement request from the Watcher’s Council. I know there’s no choice here, but I’ve always wanted to say that I’m retired because it’s my turn to Retire.” It was obvious that his thoughts had turned to the feisty Slayer that opened up the world for him. “There are letters for all of you among my belongings and a few have been added to this device for distribution.”
“I’m in need of a few things for where I am because I’d really like to be able to change into something comfortable, so my little Circe, please send a large bundle of you-know-whats to the Council HQ using the hoodoo that you do so well. Take care of the spell-work for them, learn your protection circles and don’t forget that potions may taste bad, but they do work.”
The girls grinned when he said that and made his funny ‘Yuck
’ face. He was one of the worst fighters for potion taking that there ever was, but they couldn’t deny that he took them despite his loud protests or that they did work.
“Sundra, my tall gorgeous one, take care of the others and remember what I told you. Fight for your friends and family and you’ll get to live a longer life and for Pete’s sake stay away from !Okan,” the name was said with a click of the tongue before the rest of the word. “He’s not good enough for you my girl. However that being said, I have never made that kind of relationship decision for any of my girls and the choice will always be yours. However you be sure that he treats you right, if he is your choice or I will find a way to get his ass kicked.”
The tall African Slayer wiped tears from her eyes. She knew that the man in question was no good, but to know that her Watcher knew her feelings and that she might still choose the man for life it was a relief. It should that he cared.
“My little ones, look to your elders and never be afraid to learn new things,” he said to the two youngest and newest Slayers in Africa. They had only known him for a month before he was taken from them. “Study the books and lore, and listen to the stories that the tale-tellers bring to the villages. That’s how you’ll discover which stupid stunt will and will not work and for all that’s ‘Good
’ pick a primary weapon and learn everything about it.”
They all had tears in their eyes and listened on as he told Giles how he loved him as a father. He talked to Dawn and Andrew, telling them to do the learning stuff to help out Giles and to never forget the love of the Scoobies.
He spoke at length to Willow, thanking her for her eternal friendship and for letting him go. It was at this point that she broke-down completely and cracked the monitor with the book she had been carrying. It took three slayers to quickly hold her down and it took Giles an hour to contain the emanating magic from the girl.
Hours later, they made their plans and chose to drain her magic, confine her to an Asylum and alter her memories because she couldn’t handle the fact that Xander was never coming back.
However, before those plans were fully carried out they listened to the rest of Xander’s message and to the brief one from Spike, who’d they’d all been surprised to see.
Dawn had squealed and said, “I knew they’d end up together.” Giles raised one eyebrow at her. “Oh come on,” she explained. “They were constantly orbiting around each other and if no one had ever interfered with Xander, he’d have been with Spike or even someone else by now. He’s not made to be alone and neither is Spike.”
The others had agreed eventually, after many facts had been presented. They discussed his requests at length and eventually agreed to send him, his own version of a ‘Tickle Trunk
’ (...ii...). It was one of the massive trunks that he had created in wood, over time. Every Slayer that had ever been found or worked with him had some form of one, including the witches.
The one they were sending him would contain magic to store more than it would seem to carry. They had discussed the kind of the trunks that were found in the Harry Potter books, but it was deemed impractical for the tools and weapons that they were planning to send him.
In the end they prepared a one level trunk that contained a list of contents located in a secret compartment in the lid. They added a copy of the list on the device that Xander had sent to them. Spike’s items were added to the trunk for ease of transport and to hopefully ensure that both displaced Scoobies would get them.
D’Hoffryn appeared in the alcove belonging to one section of those known as ‘the Powers-That-Be
’. The unborn twins watched with blank eyes as the Leader of the Vengeance Demons approached. He was dressed in his demonic regalia, not to show his strength, but to show respect to these creepy beings that watched and chose Champions from the vast collection of souls that lived in various planes, universes and dimensions.
“He comes prepared brother,” the female said.
“Hm,” the other said. “What does this one want from us?”
“Two of yours have found one of mine,” D’Hoffryn said. He smirked when he noticed their eyebrows rise up in an expression of surprise. It was rare that they ever felt any type of emotion and even rarer for them to be completely surprised that it would show on their normally placid, non-judging faces. “I’m their intermediary and they had requests to the Powers-That-Be.”
“Interesting,” the female said looking into the pool that provided them with a view of the ones they kept their eyes on. The view flashed to the inside of a Starship that contained a one-eyed human and a vampire taking care of two little babies.
“We cannot see outside the ship,” the male confessed. “We can only focus on the Champions.” They looked at one another and then looked at the Demon Lord. “What are their requests?”
“I have not read them,” D’Hoffryn said. “They are here,” he pulled out two envelopes and handed one to each of the Powers. “One of the other Champions pulled the information from a device and sealed them without looking at either message.”
“Interesting,” the female said. She’d never received something that could be deemed correspondence or a written letter. Her brother was in the same predicament. She handed hers to the Demon Lord and said, “Read it.”
“Of course,” D’Hoffryn said. He opened it up and read the note.
----- Powers-That-Be, I, Alexander Lavelle Harris, have served the side of good for many years. I have sacrificed my eye to the cause and will always fight on the side of right. Yet I’m alone and lonely. I have no need of toys, trinkets, baubles or anything. What I want is Spike. I want him to remain with me by his choice. I do not want him tortured, used or called upon by you ever again, not that you’d call on him anyway, but he’s earned his peace from the involuntary Champion business that he suddenly found himself dragged into by a Military microchip. I make this one small request, call it a favour, call it a bribe to keep him away from your other Champions or just call it a payment for my eye that you took. I want immunity for him. I want Spike, the Master Vampire also known as William the Bloody and one of the infamous Scourge of Europe vampires to be immune to Sunlight, immune to Holy Relics of any kind that will damage him or the demon in him and immunity to include the prevention of being turned to dust by stakage, just like he had with the Gem of Amara, only without the condition of a temporary trinket and unreliable trinket. Let us go, please. Respectfully, Xander, born as Alexander Lavelle Harris, named the Slayer’s Heart, called the White Knight by Angelus one of the Scourge of Europe, titled as ‘One Who Sees’ by Caleb evil preacher-man of the First Evil.
D’Hoffryn snorted, but nodded his head. The boy was right. He was called all of those things and more. “He forgot a few, but he’d right,” the demon said with the brother and sister looking at him. “Those are the main names he’s known by in some circles of Hell.”
“We know,” the brother said. “Read the other note.”
The Demon Lord nodded and began.
(That had both the brother and sister Powers slightly amused because they fully knew how this vampire felt about them. It was strange to receive any kind of nick-name even if it was derogatory, but they had always enjoyed the way he expressed himself.) I, William Ravenhill, known as William the Bloody, known as Spike the Slayer of Slayers and Master Vampire, know that I never once sought redemption in the conventional sense. I’m having too much bloody fun to care what you or others think. However, I earned my soul and earned my peace by dying to close that bastardized Hellmouth that never should have been. I know that because the knowledge came back with me, when I found myself all ghost-like in the presence of that broody piece of bogtrottin’ shite that you’ve chosen to be a ‘Champion’. You owe me and I’m collecting. ‘M tired of being alone and lonely and I want my ‘Nummy Treat’. I want him on a level that you unborn fruits could never know. I want him to have an extended life without being turned into a vampire. He’d not be the man he is if he was turned into something like me. Find a way or tell me how to go about it because this will be it for the two of us, once I figure out a way to convince him. Let us go, please. Disrespectfully yours, William Ravenhill (...iii...), known as William the Bloody Awful Poet, known as William the Bloody one of the four vampires known as the Scourge of Europe, self-named Spike, once chosen Champion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
D’Hoffryn looked up from his narration to find the two Powers-That-Be, talking lowly to each other. Even with his demonic hearing he didn’t catch a single word that was passing between the two of them. Periodically they would glance at the viewing pool and the go back to discussing things.
The Demon Lord through the pool and noted the care that the two took with the babies. Those babies were not really babies and he knew that he’d have to reverse a few of the wishes that had taken place on the ship before it could be pulled out of the maw of his child. He’d taken the time to figure out the time frame for this child and knew that if it could remain where it was, it could have another eighty years of growth without disturbance before it was ready to join the clan in another dimension.
He wondered how that would factor into the decision that these creatures before him would take. A Demon Lord could never overrule or change a decision made by a creature known as a Power.
Their discussion suddenly stopped and they looked at him. “You are going back,” the female said. “You have a way.”
“I’m connection to the one-eyed man known as Xander,” the demon admitted. “One of my daughters was to have married him, but when that didn’t happen, she still chose another path and has passed on. Her feelings are marked in my psyche and from time to time I see him.”
“That is your way,” the brother said. He looked to his sister who nodded. He took to arm bands and placed them on the viewing basin. There was a swirl of blinding magical energy that disappeared as suddenly as it had flared. “Take one these to the one called Spike. Tell him that he may bond the vampire way with the near-human, known as Xander.”
“Tell him that the band is a response to his request and must be exchanged with Xander’s band at the time of bonding,” the female said. “Give the other to the near-human and tell him that the band will honour his request, but only when an exchange is made and a bond is formed.”
D’Hoffryn took the bands and tucked them into a silken sack. He bowed, left the empty room and returned to his home plane before he breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t take any action against him.
On the seventh day, Xander and Spike were in the same cargo bay that they had used to call forth D’Hoffryn. The other Officers on the ship were busy working in their departments and the babies were with Doctor McCoy. They didn’t know when the Demon Lord would show up, but they knew that he would.
A flash of fire didn’t startle or impress them. They were too jaded for that. The thunking sound of something large dropping from a low height did what the fire didn’t and caused them to jump.
D’Hoffryn watched from the circle and noticed that the others weren’t there for this. He sighed, but knew that this was the only time that they could talk freely about whatever other issues they may need to discuss.
“Hello boys,” he said stepping out of his circle.
“Hey D,” Xander said, shortening the man’s name to one letter and causing him to scowl. The vampire snickered when the human corrected himself and said, “D’Hoffryn.”
“Better,” the demon said. “That trunk is your reply from your friends and this,” he took out the silk bag holding the items from the Powers-That-Be. He was going to be glad to get rid of them because the power emanating from it made his skin crawl. “Their answers to your letters were similar,” he said. “The bands in their will honour your requests, but only when a bond is formed between the two of you. They said that the bond can be a vampire one in answer to your request Spike.”
“Thanks,” Spike said taking the bag and tucking it away in one of the duster’s deep pockets. The two of them had had seven days to talk, discuss and plan among other things. They didn’t feel the need to rush, but there was a kind of impatience building up between the two of them that could only be dealt with by being bonded to one another.
“Here is the device,” the demon said. “I will pull the ship far enough away that it will be out of the gravitational pull of the maw. However he needs another eighty years of peace to grow into his next stage, will the crew allow that?”
“They are prepared to set up space buoys that will automatically stay out of the gravitational pull,” Xander said. “With their records and their curiosity, they might plan to come in a few years time, maybe a decade or two in order to measure the growth, but...”
“I think I’d like that,” D’Hoffryn said. “It’ll let me know when to come and get him, however you should tell your curiosity seekers that the birthing of this thing, in about eighty years, leaves behind something they call a ‘Black Hole
’. I don’t recommend that they be in the vicinity when that happens.”
“What about the wishes he granted,” Xander said. “Are there limits or conditions before things get back to normal?”
“Most have already gone away or been destroyed,” D’Hoffryn said with closed eyes and looking at the magic that was used. “The Captain and his First Officer will grow up to their age once they are far enough away from the immature form out there. However the ship will have to do that under its own power after the crew has deployed the buoys.”
“Understandable,” Xander said. “Thank you.”
“Nonsense,” D’Hoffryn said. “I’m only doing this for two reasons.” The human and vampire waited to hear what the reasons were. “My Anyanka loved you and you found my son. Understand that you two have chosen this and that that box is the last connection either of you have with your old life.”
Spike picked up the box with both hands and lugged it onto one shoulder. He said, as he left the cargo bay to store it in their combined quarters, “Cheers mate.”
“What he said,” Xander told the Vengeance Demon Lord. “I loved Anya, but I knew and so did she that we were...”
“I’ve gotten over that years ago,” D’Hoffryn said. “Will you accept something from me?”
“Of course,” Xander said without thought to what it could possibly be.
The Demon Lord of Vengeance gained an internal grin of evil. He was all about vengeance, only this one was just a little thing, really... He held out a box wrapped in plain brown paper and flashed out of the cargo bay. He did as he said he would and pulled the ship away from the gravitational pull of the anomaly outside their view screens.
Xander used the turbo-lift to the bridge to make the announcement. “Hey guys,” he said. “Check it out we’re away from the pull. We need to place the buoys now and make sure that in about eighty years time that there is nobody in proximity to that thing.”
“What about the Keptin and Meister Spock,” the young Lt. Chekov asked.
“They’ll age the further away we get from that,” Xander said pointing his wrapped box at the cloudy mass in front of them. “Lt. Sulu it’s in your hands again.”
“Where will you be,” the man asked. “I’m going to see the gifts I got from my family and friends. Spike and I will be staying with you guys for a while, just letting you know.” He told the bridge crew as the lift doors closed.
“It vill be interesting,” Chekov said.
“Lt. Scott,” Sulu called down to the transporter room. “Are the buoys ready for placement?”
“Yes Lieutenant,” Scotty said.
“On your mark Lt. Scott,” Sulu said.
“Yes sir,” Scotty said. He pushed a few buttons and slid the touch pad lever up in order to activate the transporter beam. “Activating the transporter now,” he said, notifying the bridge. The devices had been sitting in another cargo bay were launched and as soon as they were free of the ships confines, Lt. Chekov activated them.
The bridge crew watch as the buoys scattered to broadcast a caution signal in several of the Federation languages and a few that had yet to be added to the charter. The science station of the bridge confirmed that the signals were strong and that additional data was being gathered regarding the current size of the mass. It was all that they could do about that for now.
“Helm, plot the coordinates for the nearest Starbase,” Lt. Sulu said. “I believe we are overdue for a face-to-face briefing with the Admiralty. Hopefully we’ll be far enough away for the senior officers to grow up for this meeting.”
Chekov snickered and the others on the bridge grinned. They could only imagine the Captain and First Officer Spock showing up for a meeting looking like teenaged cadets, younger than the youngest of the USS Enterprise’s member.
----- THE END
(...i...) “You know a Buyer...Buying... To Buy,” Buffy says to Merrick when they were discussing their future and drinking some tea. - comes from the movie of “Buffy the Vampire”.
(...ii...) Tickle Trunk - comes from the children’s T.V. show called Mr. Dress-Up, whose trunk seemed as bottomless and the infamous ‘Carpet Bag
’ that Mary Poppins carried.
(...iii...) Ravenhill - I like that as Spike's last name better than Pratt, so that's what it is for this story.