I do not own any of the rights to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ or ‘The Dresden Files’ and am making no money from this story.There are references to 'Herbie', 'Star Trek', and 'Harry Potter' I don't own any of those either.Dimensional Shift
“So, where exactly are we going?” Xander asked trying his best not to let his teeth chatter from the cold. The snow that had been collecting on his shirt was melting from his body heat and already soaking into his t-shirt.
“There’s only a few spots in the Nevernever that I know exactly where they link up to. We’re going to the space that links to Chicago,” Dresden said as if it should make complete sense to Xander.
“Okay, pretend I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Xander said before changing his mind, “Except you don’t really have to pretend. I have no idea what you talking about. Where are we?”
“Faerie. We’re in Faerie,” Harry said not slowing down from the fast pace he had set. Though it probably didn’t seem fast to the man; he practically had stilts for legs.
“Faerie,” Xander said before he was cut off by a body racking shudder from the freezing cold wind. Despite the warmth his body was creating due to the fast pace that Dresden had set the cold was starting to overpower the huge rush of adrenaline that has flooded his system earlier, “They were fairy spiders?” His voice was starting to sound tight as the cold reached his chest but that didn’t stop him from trying to force out the joke. You could tell a lot about a man from his sense of humor.
“Yeah, I guess they were,” Dresden said with a grin, you could tell a lot about a man from their sense of humor. “We’re almost there,” He added
Maybe the guy wasn’t so bad thought Xander. He actually sounded concerned about the fact that Xander was walking through a snow storm in only a t-shirt.
“W-will we g-et th-there before my fingers st-start falling off?” Xander managed to say through the shivering.
“I think you’re fingers will be safe,” Dresden said, “We’re here.”
‘Here’ was a spot that looked exactly like all of the other spots that they had trudged through; Xander was too cold to come up with a witty comment about this fact. His jaw was starting to feel like it was seizing up from how hard he was clenching his mouth shut. He simply watched as the wizard used his staff to open up the same type of portal that he had fallen through earlier, just a rip hanging in thin air. He couldn’t make out what was on the other side. It just looked like a black hole. For all he knew this thing was going to drop him off in another fairy spider infested dimension. Xander looked over to Dresden who seemed to sense his skepticism despite all of the shivering.
“I’ll go first, just walk in after me. There’s a slight step down,” the wizard said glancing at Xander, before stepping through the portal. Xander watched as Dresden disappeared through the portal. For a moment Xander just stood looking at the portal not sure if he really wanted to follow after, then another body-racking shiver hit him and he was decided. A black hole was better than freezing to death and then getting eaten by giant spiders. He kept his eye open as he stepped through, but he didn’t see any strange lights or noises. It was as if he were just walking through a normal door. Xander found that the reason the portal had looked like a black hole was because it led into a dark alley that didn’t have any lights to fight of the night that had fallen, again. Maybe he was back where he had started; it had been night in Cleveland. As Xander was taking all this in, he failed to notice the small step down… as he stumbled down and almost fell forward.
“I told you there was a slight step down,” Harry said sounding amused. He was holding up some kind of pendant that that was giving off a bright bluish white light that illuminated a good portion of the alley. It was dingy and the two buildings on either side looked like they were some sort of warehousing. The most noticeable difference however was the fact that there was no longer any snow falling on him. The change in temperature didn’t affect him immediately; the freezing cold water that had soaked into his shirt stopped whatever warmth there was before it could help with his shivering.
“S-so, now where are we?” Xander said rolling his shoulders and shaking out his arms in an attempt to warm himself up, careful not to swing the ax in anyway that could appear threatening, though he doubted that he could look threatening right now; in soaked clothes, shivering like a wet kitten. “And can I maybe get a change of clothes? Preferably dry clothes.”
“We’re in Chicago,” Dresden said. He had a serious look on his face. “What were you doing in the Nevernever?” He asked sternly.
“Never Never? I thought it was Faerie?”
“It has two names, they’re the same thing. What were you doing there?”
“It was an accident, like I told the spiders. I tripped through a portal some bad-guy-of-the-week opened up. You said Chicago, as in Illinois of the United States?”
“It’s the only one I know of,” the man replied though Xander got the impression that he had wanted to say something else.
“There’s actually a Chicago in Guatemala,” Xander said helpfully, it was one of the few facts that Willow had brought back from South America, or rather Mesoamerica as Willow had so helpfully crushed into his brain, that he had actually remembered.
“Really?” Harry asked. He actually sounded interested.
“Yup. So, are there shrimp here?” Xander asked before that wizard could say anything else. He was still freezing cold but his jaw seemed to have come unstuck.
“Right here? No, I don’t see any. Are you seeing shrimp right now?” Dresden said making a show of looking around him.
“No, not right here,” Xander said rolling his eyes, “I mean in general. There are shrimp right?”
“Yes,” Harry said slowly with a slightly puzzled look on his face, “Why are you so interested in shrimp?”
“Someone once told me that there was a dimension without shrimp, I’m just trying to see if I’m back in my dimension or not. Though that doesn’t really make sense since there are like a ton of different dimensions what are chances that I land in the one the doesn’t have shrimp?”
“Faerie isn’t another dimension,” Harry said. The man’s tone that suggested that he had had explained this more than once in the past.
“It sure seemed like another dimension, what with the giant, talking, man eating, fairy spiders and all,” Xander said sarcastically.
“It seems like that, but it’s not. It’s just…” He paused, his face scrunched up in thought, “Okay, the world is made up of a bunch of layers that are different... versions of the same world all stacked up on top of each other.”
“So, the earth is like an onion,” Xander said, “and there are different versions of the same place all stacked up. How is that not different dimensions? Does that mean that there’s more than one of you?”
“NO.” Dresden rubbed a hand over his face, “They aren’t different dimensions! There’s here and then there’s the Nevernever and they’re both different layers of the same place. Wizards are able to travel between the two.”
“You said there were a bunch of different versions, now there are only two?”
“Here, the mortal realm, and Faerie are like the two big pieces but there are a bunch of little layers between them. The small places in between are mostly empty, but there’s space there to create your own pocket if you have enough power, but that doesn’t really matter right now. For the most part, yes, there are really only two layers, but we’re off topic. How did you end up in Faerie without knowing what it is and why do you have an ax?”
“I already told you I tripped through the portal, right as it was closing. That kid Sorcerer opened the portal thing and was summoning minions through it like some kind of cornucopia of minions. They weren’t exactly friendly, hence the ax.”
“You were fighting a wizard?” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow and a small smirk, "With an ax?”
“Not, the wizard, the minions. They weren’t really even that bad as far as minions go. One good hit and they just kind of dissolved into goo. The stuff even evaporated afterwards.”
“Yeah, sounds like some kid was summoning spirit beings from the Nevernever and binding them to his will. If you damage their forms enough the spirits get forced back into the Nevernever and the forms collapse into ectoplasm. Why were you fighting them?”
“Did you miss the part that they weren’t friendly? We had to stop them before they started hurting people. It’s what we do.”
“And who’s this ‘we’ that you keep mentioning?” Dresden asked Xander knew that the man didn’t trust him and that was why there weren’t moving yet, but the truth was Xander didn’t really trust the wizard either, even if the man did save his life.
“I work with the Slayers Council,” Xander was expecting a reaction, the newly formed Slayers Council had already made a big name for themselves, but a confused expression was all he got. There was no way that a wizard that seemed to know as much as Dresden did, didn’t know about the Slayers.
“Slayers Council. Can’t say I’ve heard of it,” Dresden said shrugging a shoulder, and asking wryly,“What, did a bunch of your friends just get together and decide to fight monsters one day?”
“You really haven’t heard of the Slayer?” Xander asked, with a raised eyebrow, “You know, the one girl born to fight evil? Been around thousands of years? Hellmouths, Sunnydale, the town that collapsed into a giant crater?”
Dresden was frowning. His head was cocked to the side, wearing an expression that seemed to be saying ‘what the hell are you talking about’.
“Really!?” Xander asked in disbelief.
“What exactly do you fight?” Dresden asked; his brow was furrowed.
“Vampires, demons, the occasional evil witch. Pretty much anything evil, equal opportunity and everything,” He responded.
“What kind of vampires?”
“The evil kind, what else is there?” Xander said, “Can we please get out here, maybe someplace with dry clothes?”
“Were they Red Court? Black Court? White Court?” Dresden continued. Xander was starting to get aggravated by all of the questions.
“Sorry, but I don’t really keep up with vampire politics. Are you going to help me out or should I just try my luck and walk off on my own?”
“What do the vampires look like? Bats? Rotting corpses? Inhumanly beautiful?”
“Have you never seen a vampire before? They look just like people, except their game face, with the fangs and the stupid looking foreheads. Are we done with the lesson? I think I’m starting to go into the early stages of hypothermia”
“And how do you kill them?”
“Beheading or a stake through the heart and poof! Nothing but dust. How do you not know this?”
Dresden seemed to be deep in thought as he stared at Xander with an intensity that was making him uncomfortable
“There’s only one type of vampire?”
“Yeah, but there’s like thousands of other demons, vamps aren’t even the worst, other than the fact that they multiply like freaking tribbles.”
“You see a lot of demons?” Dresden asked slowly, like a shrink trying to talk to some one who was mentally unhinged and was making sure they were not violent, “What do they look like?”
“They all look different, but you can always expect horns and slime, and extra legs. You’re a wizard that can travel into another world and you’re telling me that you’ve never run into one? It’s not like they’re hard to…” Xander trailed off, his eye widening with a sudden awareness, “Crap, I’m in another dimension.”
“Well, it’s still the huge possibility that you’re just crazy.” Dresden said helpfully, “I think that that’s actually most likely, seeing as traveling between dimensions is impossible.”
“You really think that calling the man with the ax crazy is a good idea?” Xander shot back sarcastically while crossing his arms over his chest to show that he wasn’t actually planning on attacking the man. He’d seen what the wizard had done to the spiders and Xander didn’t think that he’d be able to take Dresden down without help, not that that was actually necessary.
“Well, you’ve only got the one eye. I figure if something goes down I’ve got the advantage of depth perception,” Dresden shot right back surprising a laugh out of Xander . Harry had also adopted a non-threatening stance, leaning on his staff like one would do with a walking stick (if you had a six foot walking stick) position that would make it easy to unbalance him in a fight. Xander had no doubt that the man knew what he was doing. It told Xander the man knew how to fight, but was willing to show some trust, the question was how much.
“Yeah, depth perception and a magic wand. Bringing magic to a ax fight, not cool, Potter.” Xander said grinning.
“Wow! I haven’t heard that one before.” Dresden rolled his eyes.
“So, now that we’ve got the fact that I’m probably in another dimension-“
“Can we please get somewhere warm, as I said earlier. Hypothermia setting in here.”
Dresden just looked at him for a second before giving him a nod.
“I’m parked just around the corner.” Harry said and Xander found himself following after him once again. Xander had not been sure what type of car to expect as they came out of the alley, but the old battered, multi-colored 60’s era VW beetle was definitely not it. Even in the dim light of the street lamp Xander could see a mix or red, green, white, blue. One doors had been replaced with a red one at some point and already had another dent in it and it looked like the hood had been never made it past the grey primer paint, someone had spray painted the number 53 on it. That made Xander smile; the car did bare a striking resemblance to Herbie. The colors were odd enough but Xander couldn’t help but wondering out loud.
“How do you fit?” He asked looking at the man who was better than six and a half feet tall and then back at the small car.
“Practice,” Dresden said dryly as he wedged the tall staff into the car, one end was pressed into the back seat with the other poking up between the two front seats. The wizard slid in behind the steering wheel and reached over to unlock the passenger side door to allow Xander to get in. Xander got into the beat-up car.
‘Here’s hoping I didn’t just survive giant spiders only to get done in by a VW bug,’ Xander thought as Dresden turned the key in the ignition and the engine started with a sputtering cough. He was really hoping he was wrong about this being another dimension, but with his luck… Well, it was as if Murphy had written his law with Xander in mind.
AN: I hope I managed to describe Nevernever well enough for everyone who hasn't read the series.