The Misplaced Key
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, the Harry Potter
, Doctor Who
, The West Wing
, and any other recognizable elements in this story, are being used here for entertainment purposes only, and remain the property of their respective trademark and copyright holders, which are resoundingly not
Timeframe: An alternate-universe version of Buffy
A/N: This is designed as the prologue to my next chapter-fic, but (partially because of the categorization and partially because of chapter numbering) I decided to post it as a one-shot. Other authors are welcome to use the same (or similar) jumping-off point.
The monks of the Order of Dagon had been preparing for this moment for a very long time. The protections they had long placed and enforced around the powerful coherent energy matrix commonly known as the Key to All Dimensions had begun to break down, with the recent heavy casualties amongst their order. The hell goddess usually known as Glorificus was set on obtaining the Key for her own nefarious purposes, and considering her insanity, the Key had to be
kept away from her at all costs. The prophecies were clear; should the Enemy successfully get her hands on that powerful magical artifact, the consequences would be quite literally apocalyptic.
In any number of alternate universes, the Key was destined to be sent into hiding in human form; this one was no exception. In some, its fate was to be disguised as a love interest, or loyal sidekick, to some superhero or other. In a not altogether surprising multitude, it was to be sent to Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer, in the form of a younger sister, whom she would naturally protect with her life. In others, it was prophesied to be the second child of Lily and James Potter, found only days old at the victory party following their heroic defense of Godric's Hollow. In a few, it was to become the younger cousin of Peter Parker... in still others, yet another Weasley... in still others, the not
adopted sister of Clark Kent... in still others, the youngest child of Josiah Bartlet... in still others, a Saxon war refugee informally adopted by one Maria Margaretha Richter... in still others, the travelling companion of the enigmatic alien known only as 'The Doctor'... in still others, the orphaned nephew of Bruce Wayne... in still others, the love child of Tom Riddle and Bellatrix Lestrange... in still others...
The senior monk of the Order of Dagon, in this
universe, proclaimed all
those possibilities as folly; in his opinion, they were quite simply too obvious
. No, he decreed, the Key to All should be sent into hiding, not
in a place where it would be obviously protected, but to a place where it would never
be found. A place that the Enemy would never think to look for it, because the Monks of Dagon would never
enough to misplace
So in the end, the blood and the life-force of five of the Order's last surviving magic-users was poured into a great spell. The spell was designed to be almost sentient in itself, to seek out the last possible place the Enemy would ever think to look for the misplaced Key. The monks would never know where it had gone themselves
, nor even the intricate working of the spell itself, so that the handful of survivors of the Order of Dagon could not betray it.
The near-sentient spell sought out a place where everything
about the Key, even the color
of the leaf-green energy that the Key seemed to made of when it was partially manifested, even that
would seem alien. A perfectly normal place with perfectly normal people where no hell goddess, insane or not, would expect to find what was arguably the single most powerful, and most useful, magical artifact in existence. Finding that, it then sought a place within a place; the monks had laid a suggestion that the spell shape the Key into human form, and humans were social creatures who naturally formed themselves into communities. Even there, the Enemy would probably expect a glamorous situation, a perfectly tanned, athletic and coordinated person with a perfect life and a perfect family, and bank accounts with more digits than you could shake a stick at. It looked for the opposite, in the name of camouflage, and found that as well.
And so the blood-fueled spell did its work, just as the monks hoped, and then with the last of its force, convinced everyone concerned that this
place was precisely
where the Key belonged