'I knew she couldn't do it, if I told her Willow was going to try again,' Xander thought to himself, as he picked up the bloody sword and approached the howling rift, while Buffy cried and held her newly restored and nearly catatonic boyfriend.
Buffy knew what she had to do and blindly reached for the sword she'd dropped, but her questing had found nothing. A second later the rift fell silent and she blinked the tears from her eyes as she turned and saw that the danger had passed. She wasn't sure why the rift had closed on its own, but she cried tears of joy that it had and that she didn't have to sacrifice her love.
Xander stumbled forward like he'd just stepped off an escalator, blood covered sword in his right hand, blinking spots from his eyes.
He'd expected fire and brimstone, eternal pain and torment not... His vision finally cleared up enough for him to see clearly. He was in a town that looked like some of the pictures he'd seen of European cities that had resisted modernization beyond a few obvious improvements. Cobblestone streets and stone buildings straight out of the middle ages, but there were streetlights on each corner and the occasional manhole cover, showing they'd upgraded the sewer system.
And the people… it reminded him a bit of Halloween actually, as he saw pumpkin headed scarecrows and catgirls walking around beside strangely dressed humans and… a lot of bat winged penguins. "My reality check has bounced," Xander decided aloud.
"How'd you get here, dood?" one of the penguins stopped to ask, while most… people just stepped around him in a rush.
"Portal," Xander replied. "This doesn't look like hell though." Up close he could see that it was actually a badly sewn penguin costume with peg legs and a fanny pack.
"I'll play local guide and loyal minion for ten percent, dood."
"Ten percent of what?" Xander asked.
"Of the money you make when you know what's what, dood."
"You think I'm going to make money?" the teen asked, confused.
"Yes, do we have a deal, dood?" the hopeful minion asked, offering a flipper to shake.
"Sure," Xander said, carefully shaking with his free hand, so he didn't jar his injured arm too much.
"Follow me, dood," the minion said. "We don't need to do this in the street."
Xander followed and was soon seated at a Starbucks sipping a mocha.
"Ok dood, first let me say, welcome to the Netherworld, it's not quite hell, but then heaven kinda sucks too…"
The Gatekeeper watched Xander vanish into the portal, but before she could close it he was flung back through it so hard he bounced. Smoke rose from his crumpled form when he came to a rest against a wall.
"I told you, you needed to be stronger, dood," the prinny said. "Guess you still need a minion after all."
Xander groaned and sat up. "Fine, but you're upgrading to a general then. Now help me to a healer."
"Fine, but you have to get me to at least level twenty dood, cause being low level sucks," the prinny said, helping Xander stagger off.
"Of course I will," Xander replied. "We'll grab a kitten and a healer and train ourselves up by leveling an item…"
A slender young woman with red eyes, blonde hair, and pointed ears raised an eyebrow when she saw Xander being drug into her clinic. "I thought it would be at least a week until I saw you again, and what happened to your gear?" she asked, taking in Xander's t-shirt and Levis.
"I tried to head home, but something with red eyes blasted me back through the portal," Xander explained.
"If you'd worn your gear like I'd suggested, dood, you'd be in better condition," the prinny said with a sigh. "Well I'm off the reincarnate and grab some minions."
"Give me two hours," she said. "I'll have him healed and on his feet by then."
Jerry the prinny found himself outside, the door slamming shut behind him. "All she has to do is cast a spell, I don't know why it takes so long every time someone heals him, human or not."
Ignoring the muttering minion, Celia hurried back to 'heal' the injured human.
"Tantric magic?" Xander asked.
"Of course," she replied with a big smile, unbuttoning her blouse.
The gatekeeper looked up at Xander's approach and put away the book she was reading, Harry Potter and the Freak Parade. It had started off as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but Xander had leveled it up for her. Humans were rare in the Netherworld, but they had their uses, she thought with a smile.
"Ready for my next attempt?" Xander asked.
"I'll need your help to charge my crystals," Alice said, "But it shouldn't take more than an hour or two."
The fact that Alice bore a slight resemblance to Cordelia had nothing to do with his willingness to help her, honest!
Jerry, now a bigger and olive toned prinny, pushed his officer's cap up a bit and scratched his head. "Why is it I never saw anyone even reference tantric magic until Boss showed up, dood?"
The catgirl, named Sphinx by Xander, remained silent behind her smirk. The bishop Sara however grinned and answered, "Tantric magic requires a certain something that male demons lack."
"A soul?" Jerry guessed.
"Kinda," she replied thoughtfully. "It requires a level of connection and care that is rare in the netherworld."
"Having a leveled up horse wiener doesn't hurt either," Sphinx offered.
"Got that right," Sara agreed.Two Hours Later
Xander charged through the portal in a full set of matte black plate mail, carved from volcanic rock.
After a few seconds had passed, Jerry blinked in surprise. "He made it?"*Boom*
Xander shot out of the portal like he was shot from a cannon, his armor striking sparks off the floor as he skipped down the hall until a formation of white storm trooper suited prinnies intersected his path. Xander plowed through the triangular formation leaving only two prinnies standing before the entrance to the hall.
Sphinx held out a hand and Sara dropped a small bag of coins into it.
"Sven, TenTen split," Jerry said. "Good guess, dood."
"Whoever doesn't want him to return home just smacked his ass with a ball of compressed space-time," Alice said closing the portal.
"Know anything that's good armor against that?" Jerry asked, as the prinnies untangled themselves and helped Xander up.
"Have him level up some rare, if not legendary, armor," Alice said. "Have him pick timelessness in the property room, that may appear around level 30. That'll take the sting out of being smacked with pieces of space-time. Also makes it easy to keep clean and prevents rust and corrosion."
"I'll let him know," Jerry said.
The world reformed around him and Xander found himself standing on level thirty of the only set of rare armor he'd been lucky enough to snag and like a mirage in the distance he spotted… a glowing green door. Snapping his fingers he summoned Jerry from Base.
Jerry saw the green door and the forty or so enemies between them and their goal, ignoring the chaotic sky and floating land that signified being in the item world. Jerry was a pale gold in hue now and his general's cap had been replaced with the crown of a king. "Dood, we are here," his voice was a deep baritone that echoed loudly in the silence.
"Can we handle it?" Xander asked, his chainmail reinforced black trench coat, jangling softly as he looked around the floating island, estimating the strength of the opposition.
"We're a bit low on mana and health," Jerry admitted. "But if we Door out the properties room may not be here when we return, so I say push it. We've come too far to falter now!"
Xander took in the large numbers of high level enemies, which outnumbered him and all of his minions by a fair amount and began to grin. "Call up the troops, we're going to have a loud one."
Xander ignored the floating bodies behind him and concentrated on the green door in front of him, as Jerry rotated the minions in to take advantage of a rare regeneration node to get some free healing for the troops.
It had taken a month and over three dozen escape doors to get this far. The armor wasn't all that impressive to start with, despite being rare, but each hard won level had enhanced it until it stood above even his level 18 obsidian plate mail, with the unrestricted movement and speed enhancements.
The dark haired teen chuckled as he thought of all the random things they'd leveled up to muster the strength for this, even going so far as to reincarnate himself several times to increase his own potential. He'd lost a bit of himself with each reincarnation, but had come through mainly intact.
"We're good to go, dood," Jerry said. "Everyone living has been healed. Hit it!"
At Xander's touch the glowing green door opened and the world dissolved into static for a moment before reforming, leaving Xander standing in a mostly empty casino.
The problem with being able to access the deeper reality of an object was dealing with the symbology involved, Xander decided. Leveling up an item only required a straightforward battle to destroy it's imperfections, but every ten levels was a room of one type or another that, if you were smart enough to figure out, allowed for a variety of effects.
The blue room on level ten had been a guessing game which involved cutting a wire on a bomb that had raised the armor's level by five in an instant. Needless to say level sixteen had lodged its foot squarely in their colon, and Xander had chosen to reincarnate and build himself back up before they tried it a second time.
The room on level twenty had failed to appear, as they sometimes did and he didn't know if that was a good thing or not. They'd pushed on using escape doors liberally and only taking on one level at a time, having to train themselves up to face each new level, but he was finally here.
Jerry sighed as the healer's house reformed around them. "So, did it work?"
Xander looked at the level 30 tuxedo in front of him. "Like a charm. The puzzle was a casino with several gaming tables open."
"So what'd you do, dood?"
"Seduced a cocktail waitress," Xander replied, thinking that Sean Connery would always be the definitive James Bond.
Alice opened a gate and admired Xander in his tux. "Ready for try number seven?"
Xander nodded and ran forward vanishing through the portal.
Several minutes passed before the gatekeeper closed the portal.
Silence reigned for a moment before Jerry said, "He finally made it."
"Dead Scream!" a voice announced in Japanese, sending a sphere of condensed space-time to slam into Xander… to no effect.
"I don't think so," Xander said in English.
"Quick force him back through his portal!" a woman with long green hair and red eyes ordered, pointing a large metal key at him.
Xander froze as he took in the outfit she was wearing, eyes glued to what had to be the longest shapeliest legs he'd ever seen.
"Space Sword Blaster!" yelled out a voice in Japanese from the left, causing him to jump as a ball of energy tore up the ground below him.
"I don't suppose anyone speaks English?" Xander asked hopefully, only to find himself on the receiving end of half a dozen elemental attacks. Fortunately for him the attacks were slow and easy to dodge. If not for the fact that the girls were half dressed and the view kept distracting him they would have missed by more than they did.
"Mercury Bubble Blast," a blue haired girl called out, freezing mist cascading from her hands. The mist was meant to obscure the girls' movements from the enemy as it didn't affect their view at all, but that made it useless against an enemy who wasn't pinned in and was just trying to escape.
Xander made tracks, a Netherworld artifact called an accelerator allowing him to break the in-city speed limit while on foot. Why a tooth of all things allowed that, no one could say, no one knew what it came from either.
"He's outside scanning range," Mercury said, before the rest of the sailor scouts could run after him.
"Did he teleport?" Sailor Pluto asked, frustrated that he'd adapted to her attacks.
"No, it was pure speed," Mercury said with a frown, as she went over the readings.
"That's bad," Venus said. "How powerful is he?"
"Hard to say," Mercury replied examining the data. "He's carrying a number of supplemental sources and a lot of potent items."
"This is why I should bring my motorcycle," Uranus said. "Not that I expected a Dark General to run off like that, but if I had my motorcycle I could have caught him."
"I'm not so sure he's a dark general," Mercury said.
"That was just a dark soldier?!" Moon exclaimed in horror.
"No, I mean I got no readings off him at all that collate to the Negaverse, Dark Kingdom, or anything else of that nature," she explained.
"Pluto, you said that he was a new enemy," Moon said accusingly.
Pluto shook her head. "I said he was a threat and the possible head of an invasion. My future self didn't tell me more than that."
"Before or after we attacked him?" Jupiter asked sarcastically.
"It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Mercury said with a sigh, "attack someone and they become your enemy."
"And now you have to send a message back in time to tell yourself to attack him to prevent a paradox," Jupiter said.
"My head hurts," Moon groaned.
"You're not the only one," Venus agreed.
"So what do we do about him?" Moon asked.
"Wait and see," Pluto admitted. "Just because he doesn't read like a Negaverse general doesn't mean he's good."
"Doesn't mean he's evil either," Mercury said with a sigh, "but you have a point."
"I prefer being on offense rather than defense," Uranus said. "We can't protect everywhere."
"And I prefer not to kill innocent people," Mercury said bluntly.
"And I'd prefer innocent people didn't get killed by a threat we could have stopped," Neptune replied. "But it's all conjecture so arguing is futile."
He probably would have had better luck wearing his normal clothes, but he was hesitant to remove his tuxedo, even if it was out of place, because it was the toughest piece of armor he owned, still he eventually found someone who spoke English and could direct him to a phone. "-the number you have requested is not in service," the phone said mockingly into his ear as Xander hung up frustrated. He'd tried every number he knew and gotten nothing. Between the lack of working phone numbers and scantily clad magic users, it was becoming apparent he wasn't in his home reality.
Xander's danger sense sent him dodging as the ground where he was standing was punctured by… a rose? Turning he saw a man in a tuxedo, complete with cape and cane, wearing a domino mask. The man said something in Japanese that Xander didn't catch before drawing a rapier.
Xander sighed and a rapier formed in his own hand. It was a level six blade that allowed two extra counters per turn. He could have leveled it up more, but he'd gotten ahold of an Excalibur and used it instead. The magic of the sword allowed Xander time to talk in between exchanges as he blocked and dodged rather than attack. "Why is it I always run into people who want to fight? All I'm trying to do is find my way home!"
The Scouts had gathered at the Hino shrine to discuss the new possible threat when Rei turned on TV to local news where they showed Tuxedo Kamen fighting the newcomer, who was holding his own but not launching any attacks.
The Mercury computer began translating the English into Japanese as Ami had found and activated it's translator function.
"Seriously, why are you attacking me?" Xander asked, the magic of the sword allowing him to match Tuxedo Kamen move for move.
"Stand still and die Youma!" Tuxedo Kamen roared.
"You have no idea what I'm saying, do you?" Xander asked, swatting Tuxedo Kamen on the top of his head with the flat of his blade. "You're just attacking me because I look better in a tux than you do."
"He does not look better than my Mamoru!" Usagi said loyally.
"They both look pretty good," Jupiter said.
Getting a feel for Tuxedo Kamen's power and skill, Xander relaxed and stopped taking the fight seriously, which just angered his opponent even more. Xander leaned against a wall, obviously deep in thought as the sword in his right hand deflected all attacks aimed his way.
"I will defeat you!" Tuxedo Kamen called, out redoubling his efforts.
Xander found he actually had to pay attention once more, as an attack flickered past his guard and took off part of one of his bangs. "You are one angry guy," Xander said. "I have no idea why, but let me do at least one thing to brighten up your day."
Tuxedo Kamen's eyes got big and he collapsed into the prone position, dropping his sword.
"Mamoru!" Usagi screamed at the screen.
Xander winced. "Sorry man, but that's your own fault for wearing pants that have no ball room."
"What?" came the response from a group of confused Sailor Scouts.
"If your pants weren't so tight me upgrading you to hung like a horse wouldn't have caused you any pain." Xander picked up Tuxedo Kamen's sword. "How about I upgrade your sword a couple of levels to make up for it? I'll meet you… well I'm sure I'll run into you again."
"Did he just say what I think he said?" Rei asked in shock.
Xander vanished down a dark alley while Tuxedo Kamen struggled to climb to his feet, the bulge in his pants an impressive size.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's not hostile, just lost," Minako said.
Tuxedo Kamen leaped off screen while the news anchor cursed the fact that he never ran into any Youma like that one, just before Rei flipped off the TV.
Xander let his instincts guide him. He'd been through a lot of tantric rituals and employed a couple of succubae, so finding a girl looking for sex was easy. Prowling through the back alleys he eventually came to the edge of what felt like the red light district and saw a girl about his age hanging out on a street corner.
She was a little scratched up, obviously she'd gotten into an argument with another girl and felt… like a virgin. Now why a virgin would be trying her hand at prostitution, he didn't know, but it would add quite a bit of power to the ritual.
"Do you speak English?" he asked the young lady in the banner dress with the pageboy haircut, who nodded nervously. "And are you…selling?"
"I am," the girl said in halting English.
Xander reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bag filled with Hel, the small silver coins used for currency in the Netherworld. Wordlessly he handed it to the girl.
Her eyes shot open widely as she saw the bag's contents and examined one of the coins. "All?" she asked in shock.
Taking his hand she led him to a nearby hotel where she paid for a room and received a key. The room was very clean, if a bit small by American standards and the take charge girl who'd led him there became a nervous and shy teen once more as she locked the door. "How you?" she asked nervously.
"How I?" Xander asked.
"Small English, wish better," she said with a sigh.
"Ok," Xander said, having planned for this. Calling a couple of cans of mana rejuvenating soda from his warehouse, an ability he'd learned in the Netherworld, he drank one and made sure she drank the other, before pulling her into a deep kiss and bringing his magic forward.
"Wow," she said when he released her. "This is a lot better than I thought it'd be so far."
"And now you know English," Xander said.
"How?" she asked wide eyed, unable to deny how easy it was to speak and understand the English language now.
"Magic," Xander explained. "I need help casting some spells as almost all the spells I know are tantric."
"You needed a virgin sacrifice?" the girl asked nervously.
"Not remotely," he assured her. "We're talking sex magic not death magic. Sacrifice your virginity sure, but not sacrifice the virgin, get me?"
She relaxed a little. "So no blood?" she asked hopefully.
"Only from your hymen and maybe my back, if you're one of the girls who digs her nails in, or bites when having an orgasm."
"Why all the silver coins?" she asked curiously.
"Long story, so I'll give you the highlights," Xander said. "To prevent the world from being sucked into hell, I had to sacrifice myself by jumping into a portal."
"Thank you," she interrupted, grabbing one of his hands and holding it to her chest. "I may not have many people I care about, but thank you for saving them and me."
He smiled at her. "I saved a different Earth, as far as I can tell. See, my soul was too light to be allowed entry into hell, so I was sent to a much more neutral afterlife, called the Netherworld. Souls work for redemption serving beings that are more selfish than truly evil, though they claim they're demons. As I was still alive I found work and learned what I could eventually finding a way home, maybe."
"Maybe?" she asked curiously.
"This is similar to home, but definitely not my Earth," Xander explained. "So I need to figure out a way to contact the gatekeeper, to return to the Netherworld and try again, but first I need to make peace with the local magic users, so I'm upgrading a sword for one of them as proof of my intentions."
"And I can help with the magic by having sex because I'm a virgin," she said in understanding.
"Being a virgin helps give it a boost, but all I really require is a willing female to help," he explained.
"You do know that being a virgin means I am… untutored in the sexual arts, right?" she asked nervously.
"I was one when I got sucked through the portal too," he told her. "All my training was hands on, involving tantric rituals and when I got it wrong they made me do it over." Xander had a wistful grin on his face.
"So how is he?" Minako asked, as Usagi got off the phone with Mamoru.
"Worried about what the other guy is going to do with his sword and complaining about needing to go clothes shopping," Usagi reported.
"Clothes shopping?" Rei asked.
"He needs bigger pants," Usagi admitted, with a lecherous grin.
"Any idea what he'll do with Mamoru's sword?" Haruka asked, trying to derail the impeding fight between Usagi and Rei.
"Every item he had was an item of power," Ami reported. "From his words and his actions I'm guessing he's going to enhance it and return it."
"Really?" Haruka asked curiously.
Before Ami could answer Setsuna appeared in a flash of light. She could have appeared silently from the shadows, but where's the fun in that? "The future has changed."
"So he was a threat!" Haruka exclaimed.
Questions and arguments broke out among the scouts until Usagi stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly bringing everything to a halt. "What has changed?" she asked.
"Hard to say as the future is in flux," Setsuna admitted. "The only thing I can say for certain is that the royal family of the Moon and Mars is quite a bit bigger."
"And Crystal Tokyo?" Usagi asked.
"Exists in various forms, though there is a growing number of timelines where we prevent the Great Freeze," Setsuna reported.
"We can prevent the Great Freeze?" Usagi asked hopefully.
"I don't know how or why, but the possibility is becoming more likely," Setsuna admitted.
"Will there be a Crystal Tokyo without the Great Freeze?" Haruka asked.
"Most if not all of the futures where Crystal Tokyo rules the solar system requires the Great Freeze, yes," Setsuna admitted.
"Our main goal is the safety of the human race, not becoming its rulers," Usagi said. "Personally, I'd rather not build my kingdom on the corpses of 2.3 trillion people."
The Inners' eyes flickered over to Harkua and Michiru, who'd always been the most willing to get their hands dirty to ensure the creation of Crystal Tokyo, but they just watched Usagi with proud smiles on their faces, clearly approving of her decision.
"We need more information," Usagi decided.
"I'll see what I can scry," Michiru promised.
"Same here," Rei said.Typing by: The Last Primarch!
AN: I wanted to do a Disgaea crossover, and a Ranma crossover, and a Sailor Moon crossover, so I tossed them in the blender and hit frappe!
Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon, Disgaea, BtVS, or Ranma ½.