Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Is your email address still valid?

There Can Be Far More Than One

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

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 > GeneralGreywizardFR18516,25102314,75616 Dec 1216 Oct 13No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: They all belong to either Joss and ME; Tollins/Robbins Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Comics and Wildstorm Productions; Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, MGM Television; the Walt Disney Company and Marvel Comics; Davis-Panzer Productions; Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, Christina Z and Michael Turner; Constance M. Burge; John Ringo; H. P. Lovecraft; or possibly someone else, entirely, if I missed anyone who's worth taking note of. In any event, none of the characters you'll see here belong to me. Don't worry, though – I've learned to deal with it.

Time Frame: Many, many years after 'Chosen' for Buffy, and the timeframes for anyone else you might encounter is significantly different from their canon incarnations.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: Nope, none at all. Maybe next time. Send in your requests and I'll see what I can do.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author's Note 2: As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts. // word \\ indicates a foreign language.

Author’s Note 3: This is story #16 in my own personal Christmas Fic-A-Day Challenge.


~/~/~

Dimension Iliad Four Mark Nine Daleth

A recently discovered altar in a subterranean level of the Akapana pyramid
Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

June 7, 2093


Ducking beneath the massive blade thrusting towards her head, Buffy Summers swung the red-enameled lochaber axe in her hand up, taking advantage of her hulking opponent's over-extension on their attack to slash the razor-edged blade of her weapon across the creature's stomach and open up their lower torso as if she'd yanked open a zipper.

Deftly avoiding her opponent's falling entrails with a quick step to her left, the Eldest Slayer followed up her attack with a circular overhand attack which succeeded in splitting open the monster's head like an expertly cut cantaloupe, exposing the day-glo orange brain matter inside to anyone who might care to look.

Another step to the left allowed the Matriarch of Slayers to position herself just off to the side of the altar as her opponent toppled forward, ending up only a foot away from the spot where the towering, eleven-foot tall, four-armed monster collapsed, its unquestionably dead body crushing several of its acolytes beneath its massive weight.

Unfortunately for the Slayer's purposes, however, the monstrous high priest had evidently completed the minimum amount of ritual necessary for its purposes prior to its death, since Buffy could see a small, luminescent orb slowly beginning to rise into the air above the altar where her now deceased foe had been conducting its unholy ceremony.

"Shit! Exactly what the Hellmouth did I do to deserve this bloody mess?!" Buffy muttered to herself in frustration, before she redirected her attention back to the situation confronting her.

"Petra! Annabel! Have your teams finish checking and clearing the area of any remaining cultists!" the currently chestnut-haired Slayer ordered as she began to evaluate the situation confronting her.

"Abigail! Mariko! Make sure all of the people these bastards were going to offer as sacrifices have been found, and get them out of here and up to the emergency services teams on the surface!" Buffy directed two of her other team leaders.

"Aamilah! I want you and Stephanie to set your heavy weapons teams up in defensive positions around the altar, here, so that if anything does come out of that portal, it won't live long enough to cause any trouble!" she ordered.

"Okay, then! Everyone knows what they should be doing, so let's get it done!"

Having finished surveying the layout and positioning her remaining forces in the most advantageous positions available, Buffy allowed a small sigh to escape her lips as she settled back to wait for whatever it was that was going to try to enter their world from the nascent, slowly growing portal which seemed to hover in the air above the once-sanctified (and now desecrated) altar. As she took advantage of the momentary respite and relaxed, the golden-scaled armor currently covering her head and body began to retract and flow back into the bracelet adorning her right wrist.

The one hundred and twelve year old Slayer surveyed the faintly shimmering portal with a jaundiced eye and wondered exactly what sort of oogly-boogly would be popping through in the latest demonic effort to end the world as she knew it, and how long it was going to take before whatever it was would show up.

{ I hope, whatever this newest Big Bad is, it isn't going to take several hours setting things up on its own side before it shows up, } the Eldest Slayer mused to herself as she settled into a comfortable crouching position only a few meters away from the altar, ignoring the quickly decomposing bodies of the demons who'd evidently planned to invite their entire pantheon of deities to immigrate to a more wholesome, food-filled environment.

{ 'Cause I did promise Ally that I'd try to have the next set of Scooby paintings ready for the exhibition by the end of next week, } the sole surviving member of the Scooby Gang reminded herself, a small, fond smile slipping across her lips as thoughts of her long-deceased family momentarily filled her mind.

Thoughts of how Giles had been the first of only two members of their rather eclectic group to have died of natural causes made that smile dim somewhat, though, even though that particular incident had occurred nearly seventy years earlier.

{ I know he'd rather have died burying his rapier in some demon's heart or throat, instead of lingering for a week after that stroke took him down, } the auburn-haired Matriarch of Slayers reminisced, the least bit sadly, even as she kept a vigilant eye on the constantly growing dimensional threshold floating a few score feet away.

{ Of course, Giles' death was a lot easier than Xander's was, } Buffy reminded herself, even as she blinked away the reflexive tears that always appeared when she remembered how any of her friends had died.

The founder of the Scooby Gang had been the first of the small group which had survived the Sunnydale implosion to fall, with that unfortunate occurrence happening only three short years after they had Awakened all of the Potentials.

The dark-haired youth had been one of the first victims of a weaponized version of anthrax, which had been developed by a group of Wolfram & Hart employees and which had been released prematurely. At least as far as the firm's upper management's plans had been concerned.

One of the evil law firm's allegedly 'renegade' scientists had recognized the Council's Head of Security as he'd been seen entering the same office building housing their research facilities, and clearly had panicked, thinking that Harris had been the advance scout reconnoitering for an attack on their headquarters.

The fact that the Wolfram & Hart Board of Directors had instantly disavowed any knowledge of the group's intentions upon learning of the debacle had done little to assuage the rage engendered throughout the Council when Harris, along with three dozen other innocent civilians, had died several pain-filled days later.

And the ensuing carnage that had followed had resulted in the permanent closure of the North African branch of 'Evil, Incorporated' (due to the extreme lack of any still-corporeal employees to run it), as well as generating a veritable legion of cautionary tales which demonic patriarchs and matriarchs would cite for uncounted generations to come, whenever they desired to terrify their spawn into proper behavior.

Willow's sacrificing herself in a battle against an army of demonic sorcerers three years after Xander's death, in a obviously successful effort to offset yet another Armageddon, had winnowed their ranks yet again and taken another good friend from her.

The redhead's death, however, when added to that of all of the other Council members who had perished over the course of the past decade, had finally induced the still semi-despondent Slayer into actually discussing the numerous and varied angst-inducing tragedies of her life with a supernaturally-experienced and certified mental health professional. That decision turned out to have been a major turning point in her life, although she didn't realize that fact until several years later.

Faith's and Andrew's deaths five years after Willow's, along with a half-dozen Slayers and an equal number of Watchers and witches, while taking down another would-be aspirant to a demonic Ascension, had finally made the Matriarch of Slayers (as the newly Awakened Slayers now referred to Buffy) realize just how fragile all of their lives were, and had encouraged her to begin reaching out and embracing the abundance of opportunities she'd finally acknowledged were available to her, and she'd enthusiastically embraced her resumption of her college studies.

It also soon became obvious that the successful completion of her long-delayed Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology had awoken her long-dormant academic aspect, which clearly had been forcibly suppressed back in high school, in favor of cheerleading and contests of adolescent social one-upmanship. The Matriarch of Slayers had subsequently gone on to acquire a Doctorate in Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology (and hadn't that come in handy when dealing with overstressed slayers, watchers and magic-users of all types over the past sixty years!), as well as additional graduate degrees in such diverse fields as Sociology, Mythology, Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Finance and Accounting, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Architecture, Art and Military History.

"It took you long enough to realize that 'dumb blonde' was just an arbitrary description someone threw out, and that it wasn't actually a job requirement you had to follow," had been Dawn's grinning reaction to her sibling's return to university and her subsequent educational achievements, and the Eldest Chosen took a moment to reflect on the successes her younger sister had achieved in the course of her life – all of them based on her own efforts, and not simply bestowed because she was the Slayer Matriarch's baby sister.

'Head of the Slayers and Watchers Council Research Department,' 'Head of the Slayers and Watchers Council Linguistics Group,' 'First Council Ambassador to the Supernatural Conclave' (the demonic equivalent to the United Nations) and 'Lady Companion of the Garter' were all titles Dawn Corwin-Summers had acquired over the course of her (fortunately) long life, but they had been of minor import when compared to the names 'Mom,' Grandmomma,' and 'Great-Gram,' which she'd gained later in life, and which had instantly become the ones she'd taken her greatest pride in.

The fact that Dawn had somehow managed to survive the risks and perils inherent in Council membership, and that she had finally died in bed at the ripe old age of ninety-one was something that Buffy had considered, after the triumphs of successfully raising three generations of their family, to be her sister's next greatest achievement.

Refocusing her attention on the now measurably brighter gateway forming above her, Buffy reverted to what was now a lifetime of habit, and checked that the Slayer Scythe smoothly slid from the harness affixed to her back without any impediment whatsoever, before then testing the sharpness of the Scythe's blade against her thumb, in what had also become an ingrained habit.

Watching the small bluish-white lightning-like sparks which ran along the edges of the self-inflicted scratch, Buffy marveled once again at the speed with which her Slayer metabolism now healed all of her injuries.

She'd first noticed the enhancement a few months after Xander's death, following a rather nasty fight with a group of Fyoral demons who'd been holed up near the Iguazu Falls, when she'd been thrown off the path where the Fyarls had ambushed them, and tumbled down into one of the smaller canyons.

Fortunately, she hadn't suffered anything more than the ignominy of being knocked unconscious by the fall, only waking up after being found, slumped in an insensible heap at the bottom of the slope, by a rather anxious group of mini-Slayers searching for her after the fight had been concluded.

Staring at the now-unmarked skin on her finger covering the site where the scratch had been, Buffy's attention was inexorably drawn down along that same limb to the golden, gem-encrusted bracelet adorning her right wrist.

The Witchblade.

A legendary relic, replete with innumerable tales detailing the nigh-unbelievable achievements of its various wielders through the ages, the supernatural, semi-sentient artifact had apparently decided that she was the most suitable candidate to wield it in whatever upcoming apocalyptic events were headed her way.

At least, that was the message the legendary item's previous bearer had declared when she'd shown up at the equally-renowned Queen of Slayers' front door two years previously, in the dead of night, and without setting off any of the various mystical alarms which swathed the compound.

"I've worn this damned thing for nearly twelve years now," the hollow-eyed brunette had informed Buffy as they'd shared a glass of zinfandel in her den a short while later.

"And now, it's telling me that it's time for you to take over," her visitor had then told her. "And from the thankfully few glimpses of what I've seen is apparently heading this way, I'm just as glad that I'm not the one who's gonna have to deal with the shit storm that's coming.

"Good-bye, and good luck," the young woman, who'd never bothered to offer her name – but who had later been identified by the mystical artifact as Max Guevara – had then told her, before walking out the front door and out of the realm of recorded history, never to be seen again by Buffy or any other member of the Slayers and Watchers Council.

Pulling back from her brief excursion through her memories, Buffy noticed the flickering dimensional gateway had now apparently stabilized in both size and power.

{ All right, then, } the sole surviving Chosen One (as opposed to the Slayers Awakened by Willow's Activation spell) told herself as she loosened the Scythe in its sheath and activated the Witchblade to cover herself with its equivalent of chainmail armor.

{ Let's see just what sort of Big Bad thinks that they can come waltzing in and try to stake a claim in *my* territory. }

~/~/~
Next Chapter
StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking