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There Can Be Far More Than One

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Summary: People have changed. People have died. Other people have died and come back to life. No one is the same. And they’re all going to meet each other.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > GeneralGreywizardFR18516,25102314,54516 Dec 1216 Oct 13No

Chapter Three

Dimension Iliad Two Mark Five Gimel

Bardsey Island
Gwynedd, Wales

October 31, 2109


"Oh, come on! Give me a break, will you?" Willow Rosenberg muttered to herself. The mixture of surprise, exasperation and just plain anger in her voice was evident to anyone listening, as she gazed with disbelief at the scene spread out on the fields in front of her. "Seriously, isn't this a little bit of overkill?"

"Don't you remember the rule you and Harry taught all of us poor, ignorant, defenseless students back in those wonderful DA training classes you two ran during fifth year, Red Tree?" the voice of the grizzled and malevolently smirking redheaded twin hovering fifty feet above the ground to her far right replied, in answer to what had actually been a purely rhetorical question by the gorgeous redheaded witch. "I can remember it quite clearly, even now: 'There is no overkill; there is only 'Open fire' and 'I need to reload.'"

"Yeah, Ruby Fungus, and we decided that this is just exactly the right amount of kill we needed for you," a second yet identical-sounding voice chimed in from Willow’s left.

The speaker was another greying redhead, who would have been identical to the first one who'd just spoken, if not for the somewhat ragged scar stitched across the left cheek and the missing left ear (though that appendage's absence was currently concealed by the lank, strawberry-greying tresses hanging down), and who was also hovering some fifty feet above the ground to Willow's far left side, obviously in an effort to divide her focus.

She had to admit: both witches more closely resembled the apple-wielding Old Crone from Disney's holographic rendering of the classic 'Sleeping Beauty' animated movie, than 'Glinda the Good Witch' from Paramount's latest remake of the 'Wizard of Oz' movie, Ms. Rosenberg decided as she verified the broom riders' identities.

{ Well, even though they're certainly older and undoubtedly even more vicious than I remember, those malicious Weasley smirks are definitely still the same, } Willow decided as she again eyed the numerous groups of inferi (the Wizarding World did get ridiculously huffy if you called them zombies) randomly scattered across the austerely beautiful landscape of the island. { And they're unquestionably still just as smart as I recall them being, since this is the first time in fifty-seven years that I've been able to trace them to a particular location and arrive before they've been able to run off to another safe house. }

The next thought went through Willow’s mind coldly, almost emotionlessly, as she stared up at the twin objectives of her quest. { Gods willing, this time around, I'll finally be able to completely erase the stain of their existence. }

"I remember a lot of things, girls," the ICW hit witch's voice was light and agreeable, though, as Willow responded to the two witches watching her oh-so-intently, as she stood on the gravel pathway leading away from the handful of buildings before her to the small cave the inferi were obviously guarding.

"Including exactly how you got that scar, Freddie," the Wizarding World’s equivalent of The Punisher added, returning an equally vicious smile to the witch she'd marked nearly a century previously. "I'm guessing you probably remember it, too, right?"

The furious scowls on both faces which her response had elicited made Willow’s smile grow the least bit wider, and she thought to herself with satisfaction, { Okay, now that I've managed to piss them off even more than they were, let's see if I can get them to spill exactly what it is they're trying to accomplish here. }

"Y'know, Freddie, you’ll never comprehend just how sorry I am that Lucius' body hit my arm just as I was casting that 'diffindo' at you," Willow went on, her arctic smile not altering in the least as she continued speaking.

"Because you don’t have the brainpower to realize that, if I had gotten it off properly, I would have blown away the whole left side of your head, instead of just part of your cheek and your ear," she assured her opponent.

As she spoke, Willow was also reviewing everything the HUD sensor display being projected onto the interior of her wrap-around sunglasses was telling her.

In addition to the two witches currently facing her astride their broomsticks, her customized scrying spells had alerted the Scarlet Witch to the presence of one hundred and fifty-seven inferi scattered throughout the area (including a half-dozen hidden inside the cave in the side of the hill), as well as a dozen large acromantulas and something whose readings were analogous to, yet distinctly different from, a standard chimaera.

{ Okay, } the twenty-something-looking witch thought to herself, { the inferi explain the lack of any people in town. And the acromantulas and whatever the semi-chimaera might be help explain what happened to the rest of the populace. }

{ Now all I have to do is ascertain exactly what it is these bastards are trying to accomplish, here, and how best to stop whatever it is they've got planned, } she decided. { All while trying to not get killed by two of the most vicious, merciless and bloodthirsty sociopaths I've ever had the misfortune to meet. }

{ Oh yeah, this should be a walk in the park. }

"I realize I'm probably wasting my breath saying this," Willow informed her two nemeses, "but just for the record – if you two surrender, right now, and help me dispose of all of the traps you've set up around here, I'll highlight your cooperation in my report and recommend the court consider leniency, once I drop you off in Takron-Galtos."

{ Please – *please*, don't do the smart thing for once, } the hit-witch mentally implored her one-time classmates, as she waited for the twins' response. { Just keep on acting the same arrogant and sociopathic way you always have in the past. }

Willow didn't bother concealing the pleased smile which filled her face when Georgina, the twin on her right, instantly answered, "Now where would be the fun in that, Scarlet Bushy?"

Not bothering to waste her breath in a response, Rosenberg simply nodded her agreement as she watched the unscarred twin's Nimbus 8000 series broom begin to drift upwards and further away from her.

{ Yeah, you're completely right about that much, you murderous. misbegotten *thing*, } Willow mentally snarled at her former classmate as she silently activated the intricate rune arrays inscribed on her outfit, which had been fashioned from the highest-quality copper-colored Peruvian Vipertooth dragonhide. { In this world, a girl needs to get her kicks whatever way she can. }

{ Which is why I'm going to make sure I enjoy every second of this, } the hit-witch reminded herself, quickly burying the mass of haunting memories of slaughtered friends attempting to surge forward into her mind.

As a faintly glimmering protective aura flickered into the visual spectrum around her, Willow quickly snapped her right arm up and gestured at the notorious terrorist (who was wanted throughout the world for a virtually endless list of atrocities) and an overcharged 'reducto' erupted from the foci in her enchanted gauntlet.

Despite her undeniably incredible reflexes, 'Gorgeous Georgie' (a.k.a. 'Glorious Georgie', a.k.a. 'Crazy Georgie') Weasley couldn't react quickly enough to twist her broom out of the way of the blazing white globule of energy which sped towards her.

In an instant, Georgie’s racing broom exploded into dozens of fragments upon impact with the pulsating bolt.

"YOU SODDING BITCH!" Fredericka (a.k.a. 'Friendly Freddie', a.k.a. 'Fiendish Freddie', a.k.a. 'Freddie the Freak') Weasley screamed at Willow with a mixture of fury and surprise. The aging terrorist barely managed to dodge the subsequent coruscating sphere of energy which rocketed out from Willow's left hand gauntlet and, thus, Freddie was unable to prevent her twin sister falling toward the hard-packed ground below.

"REDUCTO! EXPULSO!! AVADA KEDAVRA!!!" Freddie screamed in her rage, her fury only increasing as she watched spell after spell shatter the variety of objects which the hit-witch quickly conjured to block each of the lethal magicks directed at her.

'KILL HER!!! RIP HER APART, LIMB FROM LIMB!" Weasley then angrily commanded the inferi milling aimlessly below her as she gestured to where her enemy was standing.

A wide smile appearing on her face as she listened to the still-conscious Weasley twin screaming her orders, the chestnut-haired ICW agent next gestured towards the unconscious witch lying on the hillside above her and intoned loudly, "Accio psycho slut number one!"

"NOO!!!" Freddie screamed in horror as she saw her sibling begin flying pell-mell through the air towards the woman who'd destroyed her twin sister's broom only a few moments earlier.

Tilting her Nimbus downward, Freddie started zooming towards Georgie at her broom's maximum speed, looking to intercept her sister before Rosenberg could capture her.

Consequently, while she had anticipated the redhead's gesturing towards her as she rocketed towards her sister and had safeguarded herself with a variety of protective charms, the sociopathic terrorist hadn't expected to hear Rosenberg shout, "Depulso broom!" Thus, her abrupt absence of any sort of flight capability took Freddie completely by surprise as her Nimbus was banished from beneath her.

Simply unable to react quickly enough in the fraction of an instant she’d had available to her, Freddie slammed into the ground at the same velocity she'd been traveling at, while on her broom.

The sound of multiple bones breaking was clearly audible over the scuffing shuffle of the inferi feet approaching her, and Willow Rosenberg (a.k.a. 'Artemis', a.k.a. 'Huntress', a.k.a. 'That Unshakeable Bitch') smiled with sheer satisfaction, as she watched Freddie Weasley's body slam into the ground close by her sister's now-similarly unconscious form.

Taking a moment to cast a body bind and a silencing spell on both of the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned terrorists, the one hundred and thirty-four-year-old witch subsequently activated the gold-colored Thunderbelt enclosing her slim waist. Willow then smiled again as she felt its magic enhancing and augmenting her body's molecular structure, so that it become the equivalent of the strongest alloy steel.

Pulling a golden rune-inscribed rod from the bottomless pouch on her right hip, Willow thumbed a particular button on its handle and the item reformed itself into the shape of a falchion

"Why is it I'm the one who always gets stuck cleaning up the bad guys' messes?" the hit-witch murmured idly to herself as she headed towards the advancing horde of ambulatory corpses, the sword in her hand igniting and sheathing the blade with a brilliant bluish-white flame.

Each stroke of Willow’s blade cut through the oncoming throng of zombies like a thresher through a field of grain, the mystically-empowered bodies instantly catching fire and transforming into handfuls of ash.

{ Back in Sunnydale, you could at least banter with the walking corpses trying to kill you, } the century-plus old hit-witch semi-grumbled to herself as she effortlessly scythed through the packs of inferi ceaselessly following their creator's command. { With this bunch, all they do is either moan or sob.}

{ Hellmouth! When I first took this job, I never would have believed that, one day, I'd be complaining that this sort of thing had gotten boring! } Willow reflected with a wry grimace.

{ Of course, I also never thought that I'd end up being Immortal, or that all of the other Immortals I've ever met would go out of their way to avoid me, simply because I'm also a witch and they think I'd use my magic to harvest their Quickenings, } she reminded herself sourly, as she finished dispatching the last of the animated undead lurking in the cave on the far side of the island.

As she deactivated the flaming blade and returned it to her belt pouch, Willow's thoughts momentarily returned to the end of her fifth year at Hogwarts. Back to when she'd essentially fled the still-squabbling ruins of the European Wizarding World, after her best friend, Harry Potter, had died, while still somehow managing to drag the self-styled Dark Lord into oblivion along with him.

That Tom Riddle's final death would also trigger the demise of all of his marked followers, since the Dark Mark had bound their life forces to his, was a fact that apparently none of the Death Eaters had been aware of, to their ultimate misfortune.

Nonetheless, following so closely on the deaths of Harry, Luna, Daphne, Riddle, Albus Dumbledore, Cornelius Fudge and so many other Ministry officials, the public acknowledgment that Hogwarts had erupted into a civil war between the pureblooded families and their relatively few allies and the far more numerous students from the mundane world had taken the general public by surprise.

The fact that nearly sixty percent of the student body had either died or been seriously injured, and that over seventy percent of the casualties had been sustained by the slowly-dwindling pureblooded faction, was something else which had generated a great deal of surprise, horror and concern among the other magical European nations.

And that revelation had not only led to the 'temporary' closure of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding by the International Confederation of Wizardry, as well as the virtual shutdown of the British Ministry of Magic – but it had also motivated the Rosenbergs, along with a significant portion of the mundane-born magical population, to leave Britain for more hospitable environments elsewhere in the world.

Over a century ago, Willow's family had chosen to return to what had been their original home in the U.S., prior to her parents' invitation to join the faculty at Oxford. For better or worse, they'd ended up resuming residence in a quiet little suburb of Los Angeles, California, named Sunnydale. And given the various events she'd survived during the previous five years, Willow had firmly believed that she would be quite satisfied to encounter nothing more challenging, for the remainder of her life, than deciding what dress to wear for her high school Prom.

Unfortunately, it had soon became quite evident that Destiny had other plans in mind for her, as well as for the new friends she'd gained soon after arriving in town.

After stumbling across the existence of the Vampire Slayer, who had taken up arms against the demonic *things* which were almost nothing like the vampires in magical Britain, Willow had realized that she would never be content to simply sit back and watch while others fought against the forces of Darkness. So, she had quickly found herself on the front lines of another war, fighting shoulder to shoulder alongside the Slayer and her other supporters.

With Faith Lehane’s death preventing the Ascension of Mayor Allen Finch – with the Slayer’s victory leaving their semi-mentor, Jenny Calendar, crippled and stuck in a wheelchair – with her newly-reacquainted childhood best friend, Xander Harris, comatose and unresponsive in a hospital bed – with her one-time social enemy Cordelia Chase raped and murdered by Angelus – Willow had reluctantly admitted to herself that she was simply unable to sit on the sidelines and allow others to fight and die in battle without helping them, regardless of the consequences she knew would eventually come about.

With that realization finally acknowledged, the petite auburn-haired witch had moved to Los Angeles and applied herself to a rigorous course of study that would qualify her as a field agent and troubleshooter for the International Confederation of Wizards – the magical equivalent of the mundane United Nations.

Once she'd been accepted as a trainee agent, she'd bid a quiet farewell to all her surviving friends and family in Sunnydale before embarking on the next stage of what she'd decided would become her life's mission – ensuring that no more arrogant, sociopathic assholes would ever again be able to endanger the people she cared about.

With her reminiscences complete and the threat the Wicked Weasley Twins' inferi had posed now eliminated, Willow focused and returned to the here and now, to where her prisoners were lying. Now, she was finally free to determine exactly what malicious purpose the twins had intended to accomplish, when they'd chosen this mostly insignificant piece of rock as their base of operations.

Her bottomless pouch produced a vial of her own personally-developed version of Veritaserum, and Willow quickly dosed the pair with the requisite three drops before beginning her interrogation, intent on finding out what these two sociopaths had believed they'd be able to accomplish.

"Oh, that's simple, Red Tree," Georgie cheerfully informed her, when asked about their purpose here. "We wanted to destroy the world."

"What’s that supposed to mean?" Rosenberg demanded, a frown furrowing her forehead as she listened and tried to evaluate exactly what her former schoolmate turned international terrorist's answer meant.

"Exactly what Georgie said, Scarlet Fungus," Freddie chimed in, giving her captor another of her lunatic smiles.

"You see, we finally realized several decades back, that you'd somehow managed to recreate Flamel's Philosopher's Stone," Georgie informed her captor. "We all know that despite the glamour spells you use to try and hide it, since it's obvious you haven't aged a day since your early twenties, and you’re still going strong.

"And, as you can clearly see when you look at us, despite our best efforts, Freddie and I haven't been able to duplicate either yours or Flamel's work," the redhead noted, apparently parenthetically. "We also haven't been able to kill you – patently obvious, I know – again, despite our best efforts."

"What's any of that got to do with destroying the world, you daft twit?" Willow demanded, annoyed and not understanding any of her prisoner's so-called explanation.

"Actually, it's completely obvious to anyone who's not a narrow-minded, bookworm-brained tight ass," Freddie declared in what sounded like an exasperated tone of voice.

"Georgie and I are both dying, you see. We found out a while back how we've both got brainpox; and we've only got a few days left, now – a week, at most," Freddie informed her, giving Willow another of her ghoulish smiles as the ICW hit-witch instinctively pulled away slightly upon hearing that diagnosis.

Dying of brainpox was an extremely painful and horrible way to die, Willow knew from persona experience – having been exposed to the disease and subsequently dying, several decades previously. And it really wasn't the type of death she'd wish to see anyone experience, if she could help it; not even these two sociopaths.

"And a couple of weeks wasn't nearly enough time to set things up properly so that we could be sure you'd die, too," Georgie declared, "so we gave the problem a lot of consideration. Eventually, we decided that if we could manage to kill the whole planet, then you'd unquestionably die along with everyone else, and that would let us die happy.

"So, that's what we decided to do," the redhead informed her horrified captor with a wide smile. "And, since everyone knows that Bardsey Island holds a portal to Avalon, and Avalon is practically right next door to the Soul-Shearing Shoals, dimensionally speaking, we figured that if we opened the portal to Avalon on All-Hallows Eve, but we used Nyarlathotep's Ritual of Invitation instead of the Merlin Protocol, then the portal would open to the Soul-Shearing Shoals, and the Mi-Go and the Shoggoth and the Lloigor would be able to pour through the portal we opened and would destroy everything.

"And the best part of it all is, Red, you helped us complete the ritual by destroying all of our inferi with that little toy you made for yourself. Because, and here’s the funny part, we needed a source of white fire to ignite the sacrifices," the clearly demented terrorist witch finished up her explanation of the twins' presence here with a wide smile

Staring at Georgie with horrified disbelief, Willow began analyzing everything she knew about summoning rituals in the light of what she'd just heard, and realized that the twins' plan actually had a better than average chance of success.

Tapping into her sensor array again, Willow scanned the area for any indications of incipient dimensional breaches and located a quickly growing gateway only a short distance away from the cave, which had purportedly housed Merlin over a millennium before.

Even as she activated the flight function on her uniform, Willow summoned the twins' bound bodies to accompany her, and the bizarre trio all swiftly flew to the scene of the rapidly developing dimensional postern.

The analysis Willow's HUD was providing indicated that the breach was nearly complete, and the barely perceptible images she could make out through the translucent, but rapidly solidifying fissure were both making her nauseous and giving her vivid nightmares while still awake.

Realizing that the twins' plans had been irreversibly activated, the ICW hit-witch cast about frantically for a possible solution to the problem of imminent world destruction now facing her.

{ I could try that tachyon condensate conjuration spell I've been working on for the past few decades, } the one-time Scooby Gang member thought to herself as she frantically ran through all the possible resolutions available to her. { The energy generated by the unstable fields should overload whatever mechanism is responsible for maintaining the breach, and the subsequent energy surge should cause the portal to collapse inwards permanently. }

Realizing that she had no time to waste, since she could now see a multitude of tentacles already beginning to extrude through the thinnest part of portal's perimeter, Willow began incanting the still-incomplete arithmantic formula she'd been intermittently developing over the past seventy years.

As she did so, she also used the banishing runes incorporated into her gauntlets to slam both Weasley twins into the mass of horrific appendages which were groping through the partially-formed gate, ignoring the pair's horrified screams of protest. Using all her magical strength, Willow then began pushing the now-intertwined mass back into whatever twisted realm which existed on the other side of the portal.

As she finished the last syllable of the incantation and its final accompanying gesture, Willow simultaneously triggered the portkey rune inscribed on her belt and felt the familiar tug of displacement just beginning to pull on her, when the anticipated explosion erupted back through the rapidly-dispersing gateway, and everything around her went black.

***

Bardsey Island
Gwynedd, Wales

November 1, 2109

Nine hours later


The authorities, both magical and mundane, who arrived in response to the blast in order to determine what was the source of an apparent explosion that registered an incredible 8.8 on the Richter scale – found only a large crater, approximately a kilometer in diameter, gouged into the island.

Despite exhaustive examinations with every type of apparatus available, no traces of either conventional explosives or any sort of detectable radiation or magic were ever found.

With a complete lack of evidence to explain either what had happened on the island or the fate of its missing inhabitants, the matter was ultimately put into the various investigating agencies' 'Weird Shit' files and eventually forgotten about, completely.

Even Fox Mulder, ever-curious Immortal that he was, eventually decided to let this one go.
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