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It Could Be A Wonderful Life…

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Summary: The 1999 Sunnydale High School Graduation ceremony was a quite literal disaster, and appeared to have lead to the end of the world. A great number of people are determined to prevent that from happening again.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Multiple PairingsGreywizardFR18515,01823414,77223 Dec 114 Feb 13No

Chapter Two

Wells residence
Basement research lab
Sunnydale, CA

October 16, 2007


"So, do you really think this is gonna work, Xand?" Andrew Wells asked five days later as he reviewed their group's calculations yet again, checking to see if he could find any flaws in the hypotheses on which they were basing all of their hopes for humanity's ultimate survival.

"All I know is that it's the best shot we're ever gonna have to get humanity out from under the Old Ones' thumbs, Andy," Harris answered from his position in front of Wells' computer and across the room from the younger man.

"It's the only chance *any* of us are ever gonna have to save ourselves from them, you mean," the dark-haired beauty who was seated on the couch and re-examining other aspects of the group's research declared as she paused in her review to take a sip from the cup of cold coffee by her elbow.

"Because if this doesn't work? Then humanity, along with virtually every minor demon species in this sector of the Mandala, is going to end up extinct. Just like those dinosaurs whose bones your paleontologists have been discovering for the last few centuries," she went on after she put her drink back down on the end table. "There's literally nothing else you could try that has even the smallest chance of success."

"Gee, I can tell you’re really trying to raise everyone's spirits around here, aren't you, Kyra?" Xander gave the gorgeous brunette a rather sharp-edged grin, as he looked away from the monitor's screen to glance over at her.

{ It's hard to believe how she can look so much like Cordelia, and yet, even with her technically being a demon, still be so much nicer and more compassionate – more *human* – than that bitch ever was, } Harris reflected silently to himself as still-painful memories from his earlier life flashed through his mind. ‘Evil bitch’ was in fact the nicest term he could use concerning his female nemesis, given the vile hate/hate relationship that had existed between them.

"I'm only speaking the truth, Xander, which is something you well know," Kyra responded as she looked back at him, her violet eyes sparkling slightly in the semi-darkness of her corner of the room.

"Yeah, I do," Harris sighed as he nodded acknowledgement of her comment.

"I'm just...tired of all of this shit, Kyra," he admitted as he unconsciously reached up and curled his maimed right hand around the Celtic cross hanging from the heavy chain encircling his neck. "I've been fighting against the Big Bads for ten years now, pretty much non-stop, and it's only gotten worse with every passing year.

"Part of me is hoping that all this actually works," Xander went on as he waved his left hand to indicate the papers and minor artifacts surrounding them, "and that you'll be able to go back and prevent this shit-storm from ever happening, Andy." He took a deep breath before continuing, "But another part of me is afraid that nothing you and our younger selves are gonna be able to do will be able to prevent all of this shit from happening, even if we do manage to pull off the Marty McFly part of it."

"I understand why you're worrying about this, Xand. It is a lot of responsibility to lay on anyone's shoulders – especially our younger selves' shoulders," Wells agreed as he locked eyes with the scarred and mutilated man in the wheelchair, "but is there really anyone else you'd consider trusting to do it?"

"Hell, no!" Harris immediately replied, shaking his head vigorously in response to Wells' question. "Like I just said, even though you know what I told you to say to my younger self to get him on board , all three of us know what the odds are on whether you'll be able to pull this off."

"It's the only chance we have, Xander; so, no matter how small it might be, you know we have to go for it," Kyra pointed out.

"And since we've finished triple-checking our earlier calculations, the only thing we have left to do, now, is make sure that our calculations on using the naquadah to focus and channel the ritual's energy are correct," the Seer reminded her teammates.

"Then, once we've finished double-checking that part of it, all we can do is wait for Major Chavez's team to do their part."

~/~/~

One of the sub-basements below Lowell House
UC Sunnydale campus
Sunnydale, CA

October 17, 2007


"Dr. Who, this is Quartermass. Do you read me, Dr. Who?" Major Ding Chavez's voice transmitted clearly over the triple encrypted transmitter, sounding as if he were standing right next the small group finishing up the ritual circle inscribed into the floor of the chamber.

"Quartermass, this is Dr. Who. We read you five by five," Andrew answered as he tapped the speaker button on the phone set, rolling his eyes in semi-exasperation at the code names Xander had chosen for them to use, and trying to ignore the smirk he could see lurking on his friend's face. "You're now on speaker, Quartermass; so if you have any specific questions, just ask them."

"Roger that, Dr. Who," Chavez replied. "No questions for you at this time. Just wanted to let you know that everything's gone according to plan so far, and ETA inside the target premises is within the next ten minutes.

"Once inside, we will deploy forces and initiate operations as planned; and you will receive the prearranged signal to initiate your part of the operation," he added. "Once we sign off, there will be no further communications until we rendezvous at the pickup point."

"Roger that, Quartermass. Deploying as planned and initiating operations as scheduled. No further comm traffic after sign off, until rendezvous at pickup point," Wells repeated and confirmed Chavez's message.

"Dr. Who will initiate our operation at T minus five, as scheduled, based on your signal," the head of ‘Project Yesteryear’ then affirmed their own timetable.

"May Murphy smile on you, Quartermass, and shit all over our enemies," Andy added with a faintest indication of a grin. "This is Dr. Who, signing off."

"Quartermass out, Dr. Who. See you in hell."

"We're already there, Major," Andy heard Xander murmur under his breath.

The blond mage nonetheless ignored his coworker's comment and merely turned and headed towards the ritual circle they would being using only a very few minutes from now.

~/~/~

Vahla ha’nesh, a.k.a. the temple of Illyria
(formerly the Wolfram & Hart law building)
Los Angeles, CA

A few minutes later


"Major, primary target has just arrived for the ceremony. It's heading towards the main altar area," Ding heard Nicolson, who was functioning as both a warning scout and a member of the diversionary attack team, report in over the team's local comm band.

"Roger that, Sergeant. Prepare to initiate the diversion on the temple entrance on my command," Chavez responded, knowing that everyone already knew the roles they were to play in the upcoming attack.

"Affirmative, Major. Will initiate diversionary attack on your command," Nicolson answered.

{ I hope Wells was right when he said that the maximum effective distance of the Mutari generator was one hundred yards, or else this is all gonna be completely useless, } Chavez reflected as he shifted his position slightly in the balcony, and then pressed the button on his comm unit which would alert the rest of Project Yesteryear that the final stage of the operation was now underway.

{ Okay then, if closer is better, then I'm just gonna have to make sure that I'm close enough to shove this thing right up that monster's ass, } Ding decided as he watched the entrance from his vantage point, looking down from the third floor balcony at the crowds of turncoats and defectors filling the main temple assembly area.

Watching with the patience of an veteran predator for the so-called god-king to arrive, the veteran black ops team leader ignored the dead bodies of the half-dozen temple acolytes and human priests propped like firewood against the door behind him. Like most military personnel, he thought that traitors should get exactly what they deserved, and Ding had made quite certain that these collaborators had each received their just reward.

{ You and your fellow monsters think that humanity is only good enough to keep as pets, huh, asshole? } Chavez thought to himself as the first pair of Illyria's personal guard, deformed, scorpion-like, bile-green monstrosities skittered through the front entrance, with a second pair of guards waddling through the doorway a moment later. { Okay, then. It's time to show you that *these* pets can bite! }

"You are 'Go' for diversion, Sergeant," Ding gave the order as a ten-foot tall, multi-tentacled monster, its head and upper torso obscured by intricately wrought armor lumbered into the main assembly area – and two seconds later, the 'boom!' of a half-dozen AT-4 anti-tank missiles impacting against the front of the temple echoed through the halls.

As everyone and everything below reacted to the attack outside and turned to look at the main entrance behind them, Ding triggered the anti-personnel mines his team had attached to the bottoms of every second pew in the main worship area, and then he immediately followed up that attack by triggering the claymores attached to the cornices of the columns lining the walls.

While the explosions probably wouldn't do much more than scratch any of the demons below, and probably wouldn't do even that to Illyria itself, they *did* serve as a very nice distraction, and Ding flipped the switch to activate the Mutari generator.

Despite the fact that the device had made no audible noise or any other discernible action, Ding realized that Illyria had recognized immediately where the attack had come from since, even as it crumpled to the floor with an ear-piercing screech of pain, the Old One had flung one of the massive harpoon-like spears it carried with it in his direction.

Aside from whatever else the generator had done, the device must have seriously interfered with the demon's coordination and accuracy, as the enormous spike hit the wall eight feet above the Major's location, penetrating the thick marble as easily as a thumbtack pushed through a sheet of paper. The debris and rubble raining down on him from the fractured wall still offered an equal amount of collateral danger, though, as Chavez leaned over the balcony railing to aim the generator with one hand and his RPG-29 plus its thermobaric round with his other, at the monster currently writhing uncontrollably on the temple floor below him.

Ding saw Illyria's personal guards belatedly aiming their weapons at his position as he triggered the grenade launcher in his hands, and his last thoughts as the balcony exploded beneath and around him were that he would, at long last, be reunited with Patricia and John again now that this 'all or nothing' mission was over.

{ I held out for as long as I could, guys, } Ding thought as images of his long-dead wife and child formed in his mind’s eye. { I made them pay the best I could for what they did to you and the others for as long as I could. }

{ But now, I can finally join you. }

~/~/~

One of the sub-basements below Lowell House
UC Sunnydale campus
Sunnydale, CA

Five minutes later


"If – *when* you arrive in the past, make sure you tell my younger self that he needs to let the girls know just how much he cares about them, okay, Andy?" Xander requested as the legless one-time Scooby slid out of his wheelchair and let himself drop to the floor onto his segment of the ritual circle. "I kept putting it off for the longest time, until finally, it was too late to tell them anything, anymore. I don't want that to happen this time around, okay?"

"No problem, Xand," Andy promised with a nod as he moved to take his own position for the ceremony.

"And I'll make sure you actually do it, too," Wells further assured his old friend with what he hoped looked like a reassuring smile. "I swear."

"I didn't have anyone I cared about enough for you to bother with, at least not back then," Kyra said with a simple shrug, when she saw Andy glance in her direction. { And that goes double for that *asshole* Zankou. What the hell was I thinking there? }

"Okay then, guys, let's do this," Andy stated as he knelt down in the center of the ritual circle the three of them had so painstakingly inscribed into the floor of the room over the course of the past two weeks. The blonde mage was currently wearing only a simple white linen shenti, and his chest was covered with intricate symbols which had been drawn using a mixture of blood and ink.

"Spirits of Time, we beseech you, hear our plea!" the blond man intoned, beginning the cobbled together ritual.

Lifting the silver-alloyed knife in his right hand, Wells then slashed open his left palm and held his hand above the series of glyphs in front of him, allowing his blood to fill and color the carefully carved runes in the center of the circle. A few seconds after his blood first began flowing, a small series of blue lightning-like flashes sparked along the edges of the wound and Andy's Quickening rapidly healed the injury, leaving clean, unmarked skin in its place.

"Chronos, Lord of Eternity, grant us this boon we seek, that we might rectify the wrongs of the evil we seek to destroy!" Xander declared from his position to Wells' right, as he sliced his left palm with the silver-alloyed Roman gladius he held in his right hand and allowed the blood to drip into the symbols incised into the floor around him. Like Wells, Harris wore only a white linen shenti – revealing that his upper body bore a series of arcane symbols which matched those on his fellow mage's body, while the grisly, scarred stubs of both legs barely protruded beyond the hem of the Egyptian skirt.

"Lachesis, you who apportion the length of our life’s thread, we beg you for the opportunity to reweave the threads we have been allotted!" Kyra declared forcefully, as she continued the next section of the ritual.

The striking brunette seer was dressed exactly like her two fellow participants, and her upper body was adorned with a set of symbols identical to those of her companions; not that Xander and Andrew had time now for a free look at those magnificent, naked, bouncing breasts. And, like her cohorts, as she spoke, Kyra sliced open her left palm with a silver-alloyed knife and held it above the symbols carved into the floor, so that the blood filled the runes in front of her.

"Antevorte, mistress of the future, we implore you to allow us to reclaim our destiny, so that the pain and suffering of all your children who have been so horribly slaughtered might be averted!" the three of them chanted in unison.

"Ashima, look with favor upon us and our boon that we might reshape that which has already occurred for your greater glory!" the trio then intoned together.

"As we entreat you, smile down on us, oh mighty ones, and grant us this petition for which we all offer the ultimate sacrifice," Andy, Xander and Kyra finally declared in a single voice.

As they completed the last chant, Andy closed his eyes and leaned forward towards Xander, who lifted his sword and then brought it down with perfect accuracy. Muscles strengthened by the constant daily labor of manually propelling his wheelchair around allowing Harris to swing the keen edge of the blade, in order to completely sever his friend's head from his neck.

As she saw the first spark of blue-white energy flicker from Wells' now-headless neck, Kyra jammed her thumb down on the switch in her hand, and the modified naquadah generator powering the equipment in the chamber quickly began overload. Without thinking, the Seer then reached out to grab Xander’s hand, even though he was too far away...

Three seconds later, the equivalent of a thirty kiloton bomb detonated inside the ritual chamber, reducing everything within its borders into their most basic components. As planned, the runes carefully inscribed into the walls, ceiling and floor contained the explosion and forced it to remain within the ritual circle which had held the three voluntary sacrifices, mixing with and amplifying by several orders of magnitude the Quickening and Illyria’s demonic energy siphoned off by the Mutari generator.

Multiple dimensions including both time and space twisted, stretched and distended along unseen and unknown axes from the nearly uncontrollable force of the explosion until, finally, several over-stressed dimensional boundaries at last gave way under the almost-inconceivable loads inflicted on them.

With a virtually inaudible pop, everything within the ritual circle simply blinked out of existence.
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