New Acquisitions and Mergers
People have been wondering what Joyce dressed as... Here's your answer. *smirk* And you can thank Jaylynn for helping to spawn this chapter, having asked what happened with the slayer essence.
New Acquisitions and Mergers
Joyce was having some trouble and her attempted multiple possession by her costume wasn't helping. The only thing that had given her any edge what-so-ever was the fact that she had decided that she would use an old waist pouch from when she was younger and go as a mixture of the characters and herself. She had borrowed the weapons harness from Xander from his Riddick costume and added it to her Jedi robes as well as the leather messenger bag she had found in a miscellaneous bin at the shop. The leather bag had apparently come from a ruined Indiana Jones costume that had been tossed. The weapons harness and accompanying blades on the other hand had belonged to a number of mercs before Riddick got his hands on it at Crematoria and none of them wanted to be left out of the fight for control of Joyce's body.
There were very few actions that all of the current occupants could agree on but one thing that none of the other personalities wanted to even remotely cross Joyce on was protecting her baby girl.The few mercs that tried were almost completely torn apart on the mindscape by Joyce's fury and instinctive control over the environment of the mindscape. So no one argued when Joyce told them that they would be going with Dawn and watching her back. They didn't dare. Dr. Jones and the female Jedi Council member were wise enough to not only not interfere but did their best to completely avoid being in the line of fire when some of the mercs were foolish enough to suggest that what happened to Dawn didn't matter.
The other mercs quickly fell into line where it concerned Dawn and after seeing her in action as Alice started to respect her in her own right. Most of the mercs that still had any kind of honor left to them rationalized watching Dawn's back as not just keeping their own hides intact but also serving at the side of a very
capable warrior. What bothered Joyce the most about her daughter wasn't so much the sudden personality shift(she had already figured out where that
had come from) but where the ID bracelet came from since it was the only thing that Dawn hadn't
been wearing when they had left the house, where all of the other props merely became real.
[This is gonna get us killed. Again!] grumbled a particularly viscous female merc with what seemed to be blond hair and halfway decent light body armor, having just drawn back Joyce's hand and the knife in it from striking out at a costume enhanced Scarecrow, knocking him out before he had the chance to use his fear gas.
[If you have a better idea then lets hear it Malvez!] snapped a merc who had clearly been ex-military, of average height and build but still sporting the military style buzz cut in his black hair, his hands still twitching, itching for a gun or some sort of weapon.
[She doesn't have the muscle memory from any
kind of combat training. We need to merge, not only with her but also with each other, if we're going to have a snowflakes chance in hell of getting through this Mac!] Malvez practically spat back at the ex-military Mac.
[If we are to do this then we need to choose what will remain and what will fade. I can guide the process as it is not unlike some of the very advanced Jedi training methods and meditations.] The Jedi council member calmly informed them as she spun Joyce's body around delivering a solid spin kick to a demon that had decided to try for a late night snack and brawl among the Halloween goers.
[Well, that shouldn't be to hard since we're on a backwater pit.] Another merc with a name patch declaring him to be 'Tech Head' shot off, earning himself a dump into a pool of water on the mindscape that hadn't been there a split second ago as Joyce continued to administer the flow of who needed to be in control when and what special skills, if any, were even allowed to be used much less actually used.
[I don't know about you guys but she needs my knowledge. Hell half the stuff I run into or chase has some sort of mystical property and there are some real demons mixed into this mess of people who are trying to kill us.] Indiana Jones put in. [On your left, duck down and drive the blade where you'd normally find the human kidney. Don't expect to keep it.] Joyce and the current merc controlling the combat movements complied just barely getting them free of the spray, which they saw starting to eat into the ground where it landed.
Joyce switched out the mercs and raised a wall of stone directly behind Doctor Jones so that he couldn't escape, as the newly freed merc advanced on him with his personal blade drawn on the mindscape. [You almost got uS KILLED! If its freak'n blood is acid, you have to tell us! Not just tell us not to bother keeping hold of the knife!]
[That was careless Dr. Jones.] The Jedi reproved, not bothering to try and help him dodge the angry merc trying to skewer him.
[We're on top of a hellmouth what do you expect?] He demanded, still dodging the merc. [You honestly thought that he was doing his best not to bleed for no reason? They don't care about humans. To them we're walking meals or pets.]
[That's enough Ju.] Mac called Ju off from attacking Dr. Jones. [Jones, just because you're used to dealing with such crap doesn't mean that the rest of us are. The old saying is still true about assuming something.]
[Alright, alright, I get it! The point is that she still needs my knowledge if for no other reason than to know about and how to deal with any demons that come after her.] Indiana Jones relented. [Hey, just out of curiosity. What's the upper limit to what you can integrate with our lovely host?]
[She will receive my memories and skills since it is clear she will need them. You have made your case for your skills and knowledge so that will be included. I will also include all combat experience that remains from those of us who she has not already destroyed with her manipulations of this mental plane.] The Jedi calmly informed them. [This response was a natural one since we are the invaders and a number of our group threatened her child but it is still one she will need to learn to master.]
Indiana triggered the duck and roll reflex to avoid a particularly nasty swing of some enchanted person's prop blade after realizing that neither Tech Head nor Joyce had seen it coming. [Well when do we do this?]
[I'll start us toward home.] Joyce told them. [Once we're inside there will at least be some sort of barrier before we have to fight again; Besides it looks like this group is off safely.]
[Then it is agreed?] The Jedi confirmed their course of action, and upon receiving it ensured that they reached ^Home^ with Dawn/Alice and started the merger of knowledge, skill, and life.
Alice first thought that this was another one of those strange waking dream communications with one of her clones. The first time she slammed her fist into something that was trying to kill her proved otherwise; then she realized that there was a touch to much strength involved in the fist to the face she gave what she had thought was a mutated zombie bear from the local zoo. Ever since originally becoming infected she could tell the difference, and not just in the fact that the virus apparently merged correctly with her body, enhancing it.
No, ever since waking up with almost no memory of who she was and dragged down into the Umbrella Corp. hive under the city it felt like there was something, some fluid or something else, that was flowing in the same veins as her blood but it was just a touch cooler than the surrounding liquid. That feeling was gone! Instead of coldness she now felt warmth, almost a heat where there was once the coldness, the virus. Not only that but she could tell which ones from the attacking crowd were supposed to still be human and which ones weren't human at all and saw no reason to hold back against those who were a viable threat; she just took it a little easier on the ones who still felt like they could be saved, like they were still human somehow.
She was however curious about the strange quiet woman who kept following and for some reason was watching her back in the fight. The woman was skilled but she could tell from the slight hesitation just before the strike that either she wasn't used to such fighting or was getting instruction from whatever or whoever had been added when she became not quite there. The not quite there energy was surrounding every human that her new senses thought could be saved, even if they no longer looked human any more, including herself.
"Lets go. I know somewhere safer." The strange woman said in a vaguely familiar voice as she started heading for a particular street and presumably a particular house. Then something in her head "click"ed and suddenly she was Alice, Dawn, the Primal slayer, and the Key. Missing only a single step as they headed toward what she/they could now recognize as the Summer's residence, only kept on their feet and moving due to the Slayer ability to take weirdness in stride and Alice's years fighting and running from the T-virus victims on her version of earth.
They mentally debated with themselves if they should separate back into separate entities or stay as one and decided that they were already merged so there wasn't much point; they merely had to agree on who they were now rather than trying to revert to what they had been. It was decided that they were still Dawn Marie Summers of this universe but also Alice, the Key, and the Slayer primal. The Key aspect took this decision and completed the merger, returning the Slayer primal to its normal slayer enhancing state and eliminating all remaining traces of chaos magic. She was now Dawn Marie Alice Summers, Key, sister of the slayer, and the latest slayer in a long line of Chosen ones. The difference was that during that debate Dawn had the single chance and choice to be the slayer and/or the key or not. She chose to not only be but stay both the newest slayer and the Key. With a mental groan she knew this was not going to be easy to explain to their mother and Buffy's slaying habits were going to have to come out of the closet. Buffy was going to ^Kill^ her!
When they arrived at the Summers residence Dawn was amused to find Buffy's costume choice had backfired on her. Ghost Willow explained how they had not only got there but that Xander was now Riddick and had said something about going on a hunt, making Willow think that Riddick had gone on a killing spree in Xander's body and was under threat of Riddick making her condition permanent verses spell caused if she didn't stay behind with not only her body but Lady Buffy.
"Willow! Snap out of it! He's not gone off on a rampage. Riddick isn't the type to literally kill without a reason. And before you ask I managed to merge with my passengers about 5 minutes ago, one of which is the Slayer Primal. So, even if mom trys to sink into the Sunnydale Denial Syndrome like everyone else we'll have to break the news to her later." Dawn interrupted the red-head's babble tournament. "Now, did you notice anything that might have caused this? Any sort of trigger or common element?"
"n..n..no..." Willow said hesitantly with a slight frown, hovering close to where her body was currently lying on the floor of the basement. "The only thing that I can think of is that everyone seems to have gotten something from that new costume shop, Ethan's."
"Then it looks like we get to stay here and let Xander and Riddick take care of it." Dawn told her bluntly. "I'll see if I can get ahold of Giles at the library but Ms. Calendar got him an old type of teachers uniform so I don't think that he'll be much help. If nothing else I might be able to talk him into staying inside." She muttered almost to herself with a frown as she headed for the phone upstairs in the kitchen.
"Dawn, we are going to try merging together. I need at least the next 5 minutes uninterrupted to focus on our merging. If we have longer it is more likely to be successful. Can you hold them?" Joyce asked. "There are to many of us in the mind of this/my body."
Dawn paused at the bottom of the steps and looked over at her mother, then used a combination of her Key abilities and her slayer abilities to see if it might work. "Don't include the bandanna guy with the scar on his right upper arm and shoulder. It will destabilize the mix and his mind is... what's the best word? twisted? broken? His mind and soul just isn't right. The others are okay and the Jedi lady shines kinda bright. She's giving me a headache to look at you this way." She told her mother with a wince. "I want you back intact, not broken. I'm gonna go check the house and make sure nothing else gets in. Stay down here and you'll get your 5." Dawn headed back up to the rest of the house and made sure to secure the basement door behind her. After all, just because there weren't T-virus zombies in this world yet didn't mean that there wouldn't be something nasty ready to try and eat them. Dawn picked up the phone and called Giles...
Riddick smirked as he stalked his prey. Ethan Rayne, the owner had barely bothered to put a lock on the shop door. What was there Riddick easily got around and followed his senses toward the back room of the shop.
"Well it took you...." Ethan started then shut up very quickly when he saw who had found him.
"Now, you know its rude to drag someone out of bed from over 50,000 light years away, right?" Riddick asked easily as he strode toward Ethan who was standing very still.
"I'm sorry." He said softly. "I can send you back now if you like? The spell was designed to last until morning if uninterrupted but there is a way to stop it now." Ethan offered, nervously.
Xander's eyebrows rose as Riddick's silver eyes stared out from his head. "Really? And what would that be? 'Cuz I got to tell you from the boy's memories you don't seem to be the caring sort."
"I admit that I over reacted to him when we spoke. It was one of the reasons why when another group consisting of, I believe, the Slayer's mother, sister, as well as one of the local school teachers spoke of getting him another costume I told them that since it was for the boy it was free and when questioned I admitted what had happened. I do however believe that my old mate Ripper is having his situation, shall we say re-evaluated? by whoever owned those academic robes before I added them to the costumes." Ethan explained. "When you came in I rather thought that it was him come to give me a thrashing until I told him how to break the spell."
"Why did you cast it in the first place, mage?" Riddick asked to satisfy both his curiosity as well as Xander's for when he finished being comforted by the Hyena.
"Well, actually, I had two reasons. I serve Janus, god of chaos, and causing chaos is not only fun it gives him power. Its not like I made the prank all that dangerous and Ripper wont say a word to me since those Bastard Watchers got their claws back into him." Ethan shrugged. "I figured if nothing else he'd have to talk to me to fix this. The time limit was more in case he was out of town or incapacitated and to keep from angering to many upper level entities. There are even safety charms on the children's costumes. I didn't see any reason for them to actually get hurt even if some of them need a right good scare."
Riddick circled the chaos mage who stood perfectly still but slumped as if he were a small child who was going to get a telling-off. Riddick leaned in close and breathed deeply of his scent, causing him to flinch just a bit before he firmed his resolve and went still once again. "It seems that I will have to collect you along with the boy and the watcher when I arrive." He told Ethan with some amusement then told him in a completely flat voice. "If you fight me on this you will die." Causing Ethan to shiver at the the promise of death that he could not escape.
Ethan nodded, head still bowed. "You will not leave the hellmouth. You will retrieve this boy and both live with the Watcher until I come for you. Nobody hurts what's mine." Riddick growled as he faded backward into the shadows so that only his glowing silver eyes could be seen. "End the spell." He ordered and Ethan immediately smashed the bust of Janus ending the spell.
Xander fell to the floor unconscious, his body rapidly changing to that of a Furyan using the residual chaos magic and due in large part to his proximity to the spell focus when it was smashed. Ethan looked down at the now unconscious boy. "Bugger. *sigh* Ripper wont be happy about this and he's still going to give me a thrashing." With a shrug Ethan lifted Xander into his arms and laid him on the small couch he had back there to sleep on, waiting for either Xander to wake up or for Ripper to come and find them.
As the spell broke people and things began to return to normal throughout Sunnydale. Giles had resisted the temptation to open the supposedly broken pocket watch until he and John had gone and dropped it. It popped right open and golden energy began to swirl around him just as the spell focus was shattered, returning John's mind to being that of the Doctor and giving him control over whether or not the changes begun with the opening of the watch would finish. The Doctor allowed the physical transformation to finish and also allowed information that any timelord would know to pass to Giles along with all of the rest of his knowledge barring only the most nightmarish of specifics of the timewar. His new knowledge did however include the fact that the Doctor had ended it and how, but there was no reason to put him through the nightmares that the war would spawn, especially since the Doctor didn't realize until the last possible moment that Giles was in a parallel universe and named him brother any way.
Jenny, on the other hand, came to in the school court yard with all of the memories, skills and most of the abilities of Wonder Woman as well as complete recollection of the events from earlier that night.
Joyce finished the merger just barely before the wave of chaos magic rippled out from the broken focus, canceling the spell. Buffy huffily tore the offending wig from her head, threw it across the basement with as much force as she could muster and proceeded to glare at it muttering softly, much to Joyce's amusement. Willow sat up from where her body had been placed looking pale and cautiously testing to see if she was still a specter.
Joyce focused her gaze on her eldest daughter and spoke softly. "Elizabeth Anne Summers. You have some explaining to do." Freezing both Buffy and Willow in mid motion, like deer caught in headlights.
From the top of the basement steps the door opened and Dawn called down. "Mom? I think the spell's been dealt with. I felt the energy wave come through a second ago."
"Yes, dear. It did." Joyce called out. "Why don't you start some popcorn or something? Willow will be staying the night and we can watch a movie for now." This caused both girls to breath a sigh of relief. "You aren't getting out of that talk either Missy! Just be glad that one of the people in the merger had some experience with demons and magic." By this point Dawn was half way down the steps so that they wouldn't have to shout at each other.
"Who?" Dawn asked curiously.
"Apparently the leather bag was from an Indiana Jones costume." Joyce blushed.
"What did you get from the Jedi?" Dawn asked excitedly.
Joyce looked at her daughter with great amusement. "Yes, I know how to build a lightsaber..."
"YES!!!" Dawn crowed in delight.
"....BUT none of you get the real thing until you've satisfied me with your training on the ones that the very young padawans practice with. Those can some times be used on patrol but they are little better than souped up expanding light up stun batons. I will ^not^
have one of you cutting off one of your own limbs or something from each other because you aren't used to them both in how they feel and handle as well as how careful you have to be in a combat situation with them." Joyce told the three girls sternly. "Xander is somewhere safe by now and none of you three are going out to look for him." Joyce stopped their protests with a glare. "More than one person I merged with knew exactly how dangerous Riddick was and still wound up dead. Xander will have kept anything useful, which includes most if not all of Riddick's skills and will be easily safe by now. So, upstairs the three of you and pick out a movie." The three girls didn't argue and realized that Joyce was probably right. Xander was probably already home in bed and they would see him tomorrow.A/n:
So, what next?