Jean was someplace - if this could even be called a place - new. But that was good, she'd craved new experiences after being fettered so long under the Professor's mental blocks. That was why she'd let that mutant with the curious mind burrow through hers - she'd been curious. Nothing more.
And this place was certainly interesting. The titanic minds, constantly tugging away on the edges of her consciousness, could tell her so much. If only they'd open up.
But never mind, now that she knew the way here (who'd have thought that whole new dimensions could exist that were accessible only mentally?) she could come back at any time. Indeed, perhaps there were other dimensions she could reach in the same way.
Nevertheless, she should get back. These minds were offering nothing to her - and her powers, much to her frustration, utterly failed to reach into them and reveal their secrets - and she was growing bored. So she sent her mind back to her body.
Or tried to, at the very least. There didn't seem to be a way back. Or if there was, she couldn't find it. Then she realized. These beings in this realm, if they were possessed of such power, would surely never stay here in this intangible realm in which the physical simply didn't exist - not if they could leave. She was trapped.
One of the minds reached out to touch hers - she recognized it as the mutant's, only vastly augmented. What she'd felt before, back home, had only been a fraction of its true power. Here, the power of that being was so phenomenal that its touch, had it done so when she still had a body, would've driven her insane.
The being pulsed a single word at her, a wealth of dry humour behind it. "Welcome."
In a different universe, the monks of the order of Dagon tried to reform the ethereal substance of the Key into a human, in order to protect it from the Abomination. They'd tried many times before, once news had reached them of the creatures existence in their dimension. But each time, the power was insufficient to both change the Key and to implant memories into everyone whose life was interwoven with the Key's human body, no matter how many monks poured their magic into the spell.
So they were immensely surprised, once they began the spell, the feel a colossal surge of telepathic power surging through the Key. For once, they had the power, and with it, they rewrote history. Just a little bit.
So, in Sunnydale, a Slayer gained a sister. And, by an unplanned side effect of the spell, a young woman who had disappeared nigh on a year ago, and who her friends had mourned for, was written out of their memories.
Some miles away from and some hours after what was being called "The Battle of Alcatraz", a man who had been in a coma for years, with barely enough brain activity to be considered alive, woke up.
However, the mind that woke it didn't belong to that body. No, it belonged to one Charles Xavier, whose own body had recently perished. But not his mind. In a last ditch attempt to save his life - in one form or another - he had desperately hurled his mind towards this mans body, the only receptacle that he knew of.
But, despite his great power, it hadn't been enough to make the full journey. He'd been held in some kind of limbo - not unlike the strange dimension from which the being known as Antaeus hailed from - until something had released enough telepathic energy to fuel the rest of his journey.
That much, he could explain. What he couldn't explain was why the unfamiliar body was rapidly becoming more familiar - but not the wheelchair-ridden older man his body had been. He looked around for a mirror, before glancing at the reflective surface of the metal table at his bedside.
The face that looked back at him was a face he hadn't seen for almost fifty years.
Yet more miles away from Alcatraz, and some days after the battle that had taken place there, the mysterious redhead who the X-Men had found unconscious after the battle, and taken back to the school to care for, woke up.
Unsurprisingly, Willow was disorientated. After all, she hadn't seen the light of day for centuries. However, that wasn't all that she found disorienting.
No, what she found far more surprising was that, as soon as her eyes had fluttered open, a passionate kiss landed on her mouth. It took her a moment for her to focus, but when she saw it was Charles, she was kissing back every bit as passionately.
The couple heard applause from the doorway - not immediately, of course, they were too involved in each other. After all, they hasn't seen each other for years. - but when they noticed, they turned to see a group of people smiling, cheering and clapping.
These people found it strange that the young man without a wheelchair was the Professor that they had known, but they were happy that he was alive. Wolverine, for one, suspected that he'd no longer be getting any lectures from the man anymore.
Of course, now that the woman he loved was lying in a coma in the next bed over, there wasn't any reason for him to stay. But he knew he would. There was a family here - dysfunctional, odd - but he loved it just the same.
So when Charles went back to kissing Willow he cheered just as loudly as everyone else.
And none of the noticed the earth shake gently beneath their feet.
Several countries away, and as soon as Jean left this dimension, Emma awoke. She'd slept uneasily, dreams troubled - not that she could remember them. Well, none of them save one, and she wasn't prepared to dwell on that. It filled her with to much hope.
But when a voice, softer than a shadow's breath, brushed gently past her mind, saying "Hello there, love.
" Emma's dream came true.What can I say? I'm a sucker for happy endings.
But of course, as with all things, there are some explanations I'd like to give.
Firstly, the telepathic discharge. When Jean got trapped in Antaeus' dimension, she forced an equal amount of physic energy from what she'd just displaced to go back to the X-Men 'verse, much like displaced air when someone teleports. This, as I mentioned, powered all sorts of things. Naturally enough, a part of Antaeus' mind was part of that energy, and that's what Emma heard.
Secondly, Charles sudden youth. As some of you may know, there is a process known as homeostasis, in which the brain regulates all essential functions. There's a theory (expounded in more detail in Roger Zelazny's "Lord of Light", which I heartily recommend) that if a mind were placed in another body, the new body, given enough time, would resemble the new one. I just sped up the process a little.
For now, I'm not planning a sequel. Not that I don't want to write one, I just don't have any ideas for it right now. But that may change.
Oh, and because everyone seems to put it somewhere: I own neither Buffy nor X-Men (well, I own the X-Men films and the Buffy series, but that doesn't count) so don't go suing me.
Any and all typing errors are the fault of dyslexia.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my tale, and that at least some of you will read my other stories (although they're not X-Men crossovers.)