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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 PairingsGreywizardFR18515,01823515,01823 Dec 114 Feb 13No

Chapter Four

Kyra's lair
An undisclosed location in the Underworld

A few moments after her departure from the Halliwell residence

{ Obviously, the ritual did something other than just sending Andy back in time the way we thought it would, since *I'm* here and now. The question is, though, exactly how far back did I go? And did I come back alone, or did Andy and Xander come back, too? } the gorgeous brunette demoness wondered after she shimmered back into the bedroom she'd so desperately fled only a scant few minutes earlier, a frown momentarily wrinkling her exquisite complexion.

{ Because it won't do us – assuming that I didn't end up here alone, that is – any good, if we didn't travel far enough back to allow us to alter events sufficiently to prevent everything which happened that allowed Illyria to be resurrected, } Kyra reminded herself, as she stood quietly, trying to consider all of the potential ramifications of her consciousness now being present at this point in the timeline.

Kyra walked over to her cauldron full of mystical silver liquid. "Tempus," she murmured, and 'October 10, 1997, 6:37 A.M.' instantly appeared before her in glowing silver digits.

"Excellent!" Kyra exclaimed with a wide smile as she realized the current date should allow her – and hopefully her friends, too, assuming that they had also been transported into the past – ample amounts of time to modify most, if not all, of the situations which had previously occurred in the now hopefully defunct timeline she'd fled. Those same situations which had allowed events to develop that had permitted Illyria to manifest itself, again, in the mortal world.

{ Okay, then, } Kyra reflected as she considered how best to proceed, { the first thing I need to do is ascertain whether I came back alone, or if the guys were sent back, too.

{ Once I know that, I'll have a better idea of what I need to do, next, } she thought to herself.

Turning away from the cauldron, Kyra walked over to her enormous walk-in closet and quickly pulled out some jeans and a tee-shirt, as well as a pair of low-top socks and a pair of Reebok trainers. These were not clothes she had ever worn before, as all she had ever worn up until now was her purple harem girl outfit, but it never hurt to be prepared.

{ All right, then, } Kyra decided as she took a moment to focus her thoughts. { First, I need to take a shower to wash all traces of that evil old bastard off of me.

{ And once I've done that, then it's Sunnydale, here I come – ready or not. }


Inside Xander Harris' mindscape

A fraction of an instant following the previous scene

"Oh, for fuck's sake! Will you *please* stop trying to kill me, and just listen to me for one freakin' minute? Stop acting like the hormone-driven buffoon you heard Giles refer to you as that one time in the library, and lemme explain what I think has happened!!" the Xander Harris who had so unexpectedly returned from the future growled at the younger version of himself he was currently scuffling with.

Realizing that his opponent seemed to be just as strong as he was and that, while the doppelganger appeared to be a good bit more skilled at fighting than he was, the fake Xander was nonetheless making no greater effort other than simply preventing him from getting in an effective attack, the present-day incarnation of Xander Harris ceased his (so far completely futile) attacks

"Okay, fine. I'll agree to a truce – for now," the younger Xander hesitantly nodded as he released his maybe-opponent and moved back a step, clearly alert and on guard for any indication of an attack.

"So, who exactly are you, and what's the what concerning this so-called explanation?" Younger Xander then asked, an intent and suspicious expression on his face as he evaluated the newcomer.

"Like I just told you a moment ago, I'm you – but, I'm guessing, from about ten years or so in the future," the older Xander answered as he, too, took a step back from his companion, his open hands held up in front of him in an apparent conciliatory gesture.

"And I figure my consciousness ended up here in my past self's body as a result of a botched ritual that my friends and I did, to try to avert an apocalypse that we couldn't stop then," Harris added, a grim look crossing his face as he saw the narrow-eyed frown which appeared on his younger self's face at that news.

"And before you say anything about that being impossible, or some other garbage like that, I'm gonna prove that I am who I say I am by telling you things that no one else could possibly know, okay? Not even you," the elder version of the First Scooby told his younger self, with what an impartial observer would describe as a rather sardonic smirk.

"Yeah? Like what?" the current-day Xander asked, a frown on his face as he considered his alleged future doppelganger's comment.

"Well, for starters, if you go up into the attic, you'll discover something up there about my – our – heritage that Tony and Jessica haven't gotten around to mentioning to you yet, on any of the very few occasions they might have been sober enough to actually remember what's up there, or that we even have an attic," Older Xander offered.

"Okay," Younger Xander grudgingly nodded his agreement with his pseudo-twin's suggestion. "I can do that."

Ten minutes later, the male teen was crouched in the rear of the attic, staring down at a polished wooden case, a bit over three feet long and about two wide that appeared to be fashioned from some dark wood he didn't recognize.

Younger Xander closed his eyes, and quickly returned to the mindscape he'd been sharing with his visitor, just outside the command deck of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701. There, he found Older Xander trying to have a conversation, through the force field, with a clone of himself who was dressed like Mr. Spock, all the way down to the pointy ears, despite the fact that the pseudo-Vulcan was pointedly ignoring Older Xander's questions about Nurse Chapel and Lt. Uhura. "I'm back."

"Cool! You know, trying to talk to this guy, I'd forgotten just how sexually frustrated I was back when I was you," Older Xander gestured with his head towards the Spock 'Xander'. "Not that I ever had a sex life worth bragging about, of course, but still being a virgin at your age? No wonder I was stuck in the 'friend' zone for all that time, after Buffy showed up in Sunnydale..."

Younger Xander couldn't help it; his face grew flushed and red at that exceedingly blunt comment. "Whatever – I found the box. So, what exactly is in this thing?" he asked his uninvited visitor.

"An inheritance," was the answer the younger Harris received in response to his question. "From some ancestors we never knew we had, is my best guess.

"Go ahead, open it," his unexpected and unwelcome visitor from the future urged, as Older Xander stared at the mental representation of the box on the ground in front of him.

"Oh, sweet holy Moses," Younger Xander then heard his mental 'roommate' sigh in exasperation as he hesitated before following the doppelganger's suggestion. "It's not gonna blow up or anything! And sure, usually there's nothing wrong with a little paranoia, but you're going a bit too far over worrying if this is some sort of trick or not.

"Don't you think that, if I were powerful enough to hide that thing in the attic so that it would kill you, then I'd also be powerful enough to just take over control of my body from you, and save myself a heckuva lot of time play-acting?" Older Xander then asked, with just the faintest hint of annoyance in his voice.

Younger Xander reluctantly nodded his acknowledgement of the reasonableness of the question. "Yeah, I guess that's a kind of good point there," he agreed, mentally steeling himself as the youth flipped open the strangely unrusted and uncorroded clasp holding the thing closed, then lifted up the lid. In the real world outside the mindscape, Younger Xander's physical body mirrored his actions perfectly.

"Holy shit!" The exclamation unconsciously slipped from Younger Xander's lips as he gazed down in wonder at the items now revealed to his eyes.

A straight-bladed longsword, the metal protected by a black leather scabbard, lay along the top of the box, fitted securely inside a recess clearly designed to hold the weapon in its current position. Beneath the sword, also securely held in place in their own individual recesses, were a thick, ancient-looking, leather-bound tome and two small, hinged and clasped, wooden boxes. One was approximately the size of a standard jewelry store's ring box, while the other was of a size more appropriate for a necklace or similarly sized object.

"Whose stuff is this?" the dark-haired youth asked, staring at the treasures before him. "And where'd it come from?"

"The answers are, in order, 'Yours-slash-Ours,' and 'I don't have the slightest fucking idea'," Older Xander replied.

"All I know for certain about these things," the future Xander elaborated as he saw his younger self look up at him in surprised confusion, "is that Tony told me the case appeared in the middle of the living room the day after he and his wife finally received the formal adoption papers for me. And that, when he tried to open the case, he got an electric shock strong enough to knock him flat on his ass.

"And, what's even better – and even more interesting – is that, when he tried to get rid of the case by tossing it into a dumpster or some trash container, it always showed up again in the living room even before Tony got home from wherever he'd dumped it, and he got an even bigger shock the next time he touched it!" the time-displaced doppelganger added with a wide, satisfied grin.

"So that useless alcoholic put it up in the attic and more or less forgot about it, until the day I found it – not long before Graduation," Older Xander continued, and Younger Xander noticed how Future Boy's attitude abruptly seemed to change as he then asked, "Okay, so is this sufficient evidence to make you believe that I'm not some would-be Big Bad trying to possess you, and put one over the Scooby Gang?"

"Yeah, I guess so," Xander nodded, a trace of uncertainty still evident in his mental voice.

"Good, because now I have to check on something before I answer any more questions," the older-looking doppelganger noted, "and to do that, I'll have to take control of our body. Are you okay with that?"

"Uh…maybe. All right, yeah, I guess so," Xander answered, his lack of enthusiasm clearly obvious in his voice.

Basically ignoring his younger double's halfhearted nod of acquiescence, the temporal refugee then said, "All right, then, Captain Harris – I'm guessin' in order for me to do that, you need to shut off the force field guarding the command deck, and let me enter the bridge," the future Xander indicated the simulation of the iconic command deck of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, which was located behind the two of them with a wave of his hand.

"Well, if I have to," Younger Xander grumbled, as he turned to focus his attention on the reproduction in question.

An instant later, the barely noticeable shimmer which had earlier walled the area off vanished entirely, and both versions of Xander Harris stepped onto the bridge and walked over to the captain's chair, which formed the nucleus of the area in question.

Carefully placing his hand on the arm of the black and grey chair which was an exact duplicate of the one James T. Kirk had sat in while overseeing matters of galactic importance, the future Xander cautiously lowered himself into the chair, and a small smile of satisfaction creased his face as he felt himself quickly synchronizing with the body he and his younger self both currently inhabited.

The Xander clone which resembled Mr. Spock came over to Younger and Older Xander, even as the rest of the Xander clones in Starfleet uniforms continued to man their posts. The Spock 'Xander' raised one eyebrow and said to Younger Xander, "Captain, your current course of action is, if I may so, thoroughly illogical."

"Yes, I know," Younger Xander sighed, looking around at the bridge before spying Older Xander looking at him with great interest. "Unfortunately, I don't see many other options at this point. Suggestions?"

"Perhaps the Corbomite Maneuver?" the Spock 'Xander' suggested.

"Wouldn't help," Younger Xander said, shaking his head. "If he's telling the truth, it'd be a waste of time, and if he's not – well, I'd say it's obvious he already has access to all my memories, and I couldn't bluff him even if I tried. You'd best return to your station, and resume your duties."

The Spock 'Xander' nodded silently, and Older Xander stared at his teenage counterpart after watching the pseudo-Vulcan depart. "Oh, man, Maggie Walsh would have had a stroke if she had just witnessed all this – no doubt about it!"

"Who?" Younger Xander demanded.

"Someone you haven't met yet, and hopefully won't have to in the future, if things work out properly. Now, don't freak out about what you're gonna see happen, okay?" Older Xander cautioned his younger counterpart. "I'm gonna show you everything I can do – and teach you how to do it, too – just as soon as we have some a little bit of free time.

"But right now, I need to determine just how far back in time I came back, so I can start figuring out exactly what it is I need to do, first," the future Xander semi-explained, before turning his attention to the self-assigned task before him.

Making a small gesture with his right hand as he focused his energy and quietly saying, "Tempus," caused the words 'October 10, 1997, 6:34 A.M.' appear in front of his real, physical body in black script for a moment, before then fading away.

"GOD DAMN IT!" the now-time-displaced, only surviving Scooby immediately screamed, an enraged, dejected and heartbroken expression of loss appearing on Older Xander's face as he realized that his involuntary sojourn into the past hadn't sent him sufficiently far back enough to prevent his best friend's murder. Harris only absently noticed that his younger self had taken a reflexive step backwards upon seeing his reaction, as he cursed whichever fates had sent him to this particular moment in time.

"One goddamn week!" the future Xander snarled vehemently as the futility of the hoped-for rescue of his best friend abruptly hit him. "I end up getting sent back ten years into the past, and I show up just *one* fucking week too late to save Willow from that life-sucking bitch?!

"See, this is exactly why everyone thinks that Fate really is a nasty, vicious *thing* who's constantly looking to screw you over, any chance she gets," Older Xander concluded his rant as he turned back towards the present-day version of himself. The memory of Willow dying at Ampata's hands was something that both Xander Harrises preferred not thinking about, even if Older Xander had had more than a decade to move on from the pain and Younger Xander *hadn't*.

"You could have saved Willow from the Inca Mummy Girl?" Younger Xander demanded suspiciously.

"No. Don't you get it? I voluntarily sacrificed myself, along with a couple of my friends, to try to save the whole friggin' world – and when I end up traveling back a whole fucking decade instead of dying like I thought I would, I *still* can't arrive early enough to save one of the people I care most about!" Older Xander shouted, causing the younger Xander to frown as he listened to his future self's words.

"Just like I couldn't help Buffy save Mrs. Summers?" Younger Xander asked, reminding his future self of how Joyce had been murdered by Spike at the high school during Parent-Teacher Night, a while back.

"Yeah. Although there's still plenty of time to overcome most of the apocalyptic problems I had to live through over the next ten years – which I guess is something, at least," Older Xander declared as he ceased his curses and protests, trying to point out some of the positive facets of the situation and trying to prevent himself from lapsing into a state of black depression. He'd dwelt there for far too long following the deaths of his few remaining friends after the disaster that had been his high school graduation, and the time traveler had no desire to subject himself to anything like that again.

"In fact, we probably have enough time to take care of *all* of the problems facing us," Older Xander reflected aloud, as other equally unpleasant memories of his high school years rose up in his mind.

"Hopefully I can prevent all of those traitorous bastards who managed to away scot free before the FBI could nab them, from escaping justice this time around," the future Xander added with a spine-chilling smile, as he considered the various methods, legal or otherwise, that were now available to him which would prevent those problems from ever reoccurring

"Exactly what are you talking about?" Younger Xander asked, staring at his older self with a concerned frown. "'Cause I heard you mention something about an apocalypse, just now. So just what sort of apocalypse are you talking about, and how long do we have to avert it?"

Older Xander stared at his younger counterpart – suddenly realizing just how *innocent* he really was. At this point in time, all that Younger Xander had lived through was the attempted apocalypse that Angel's grandsire, the Master, had tried to bring about five months ago. This younger version of himself had no knowledge of the Mayor, Mr. Trick, or Illyria, or any of the other things that had been destined to happen over the next ten years. And hopefully, now, would not happen in any way, shape or form.

"It's – complicated," Older Xander confessed. "I mean, ten years is a long time...and a lot of bad stuff happened, one thing after another. And you may think that Buffy will be able to solve all our problems just like that – hey, don't bother to deny it, I know that's what you're thinking because, when I was your age? That's exactly what I thought, too. But take it from someone who's actually lived it – she won't. She can't. She didn't."

"What? Seriously, I'd really appreciate your explaining to me just exactly what it is you're talking about, Future-Self-Guy," Younger Xander inquired, an expression of worry now taking up residence on his face over the thought his Slayer hero could ever possibly *fail* at something.

"I will. Just – gimme a moment," Older Xander sighed, leaning back in the captain's chair. "I'm gonna need a few seconds here to gather my thoughts about all that, okay? It's – kinda upsetting."

"Alright, let's talk about something else. Like, exactly who else did this time-traveling mojo with you, and did they come back like you did, too?" Younger Xander asked, curiosity and concern coloring his voice.

"If you're asking me whether the future version of Buffy was one of the ritual's participants, then the answer's no," was the answer Younger Xander received. "And while you might recognize Andy, you've never met Kyra; 'cause I'm pretty sure she's not even on this plane of existence at the moment."

"Not on this plane of existence? What the hell's *that* supposed to mean? Where's this Kyra living now? Another planet or dimension or something?" the teenage Xander demanded, obviously confused by the answer he'd gotten. "And why wasn't Buffy one of the participants? Did something happen to her?"

"Well, from what I can remember, Kyra's probably in the Underworld right now," Older Xander mused pensively, even though that explanation meant absolutely nothing to his younger counterpart.

"And sorry to have to tell you this, but Buffy died over eight years ago in the life I've lived. It was during Graduation, when we were trying to stop Mayor Wilkins from Ascending and becoming a pure demon – and we were betrayed by that two-faced bitch, Cordelia Chase," Older Xander explained painfully, the capital letters of the term describing Wilkins' goal obvious from the way the older man spoke.

"Cordelia betrayed us to the Mayor when he was trying to become some sort of demon?" Younger Xander paraphrased his doppelganger's explanation, shock and incredulity evident in his voice as he tried to assimilate the information he'd just received.

"Why the hell would Cordy do something like that?" he then asked, baffled over the idea of his classmate helping the newly-revealed Big Bad that way. It was so high on the 'does not compute' scale that it couldn't even register. While Harris didn't like her, the brunette cheerleader had been through quite a lot with the Scooby Gang since the start of junior year – and even though the male teen would never admit to anyone, Miss Chase did have a face and body that sent just about every man's hormones into overdrive, including his own.

"It's real simple, compadre," Older Xander answered his younger counterpart's question, as a look of pure loathing and hatred suddenly appeared on his face.

"Because she's the Mayor's personal spy.

"As well as his illegitimate daughter."
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