Evil Is As Evil Does
TITLE: Evil Is As Evil Does
AUTHOR: Kirk Baldridge
FEEDBACK: Yes, please. The more the better.
DISTRIBUTION: You want it? Take it. Just let me know where it is.
SPOILERS: What? Buffy is over and Charmed is way past this, so lighten up, would you?
CONTENT: W/T Pi/L Ph/C
RATING: PG-3 to R
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters. If you don't know who does by now, you never will.
SUMMARY: The worlds of Buffy and Charmed collide when evil forces from both sides try to take advantage of one another.
NOTE: This story takes place around the end of Buffy season 6 and the beginning of Charmed season 3. Which means certain people are dead, but given the nature of these shows do you think they will necessarily stay that way?
The underworld was rocked by the return of the Source of All Evil, who materialized in his throne room with a clap of thunder and an explosion of flame which enveloped all the demons around him. Those who had not been vanquished in the initial conflagration were swallowed up in his rage as he took his throne with a roar.
"ORACLE!" Moments later a figure shimmered into view before him. It was not the pale-skinned brunette he had been expecting however, but a dark-skinned woman in a blood-red robe. "Seer? What are you doing here? Where is the Oracle?"
"Gone, my lord." Though she didn't kneel like most of the demons, the Seer did keep her head respectfully bowed. She had known this Source longer than most, and because of it was permitted a measure of leeway. "She was fearful of your wrath." She glanced around the room, smirking at the piles of still smoldering ash that had been the Source's bodyguards. "And with good reason, it seems."
"I was so close!" The Source pounded the arm of his throne, cracking the ancient stone. "I had the Matthews girl within my grasp! If it wasn't for the sisters I could have corrupted her and prevented the reconstitution of the Charmed Ones!" He howled in frustration. Demons throughout the underworld trembled. "Now things are back where they started!"
The Seer nodded. "Not quite my lord. Yes, as you have seen their familial bond is strong, even with those they've just met. But this...love they share is at once their greatest strength, and their greatest weakness."
"Is there a point to this Seer, or did you just come to bore me with your platitudes?"
"Paige is their sister, but they do not truly know her yet. This means they are not as powerful as I foresee them becoming. If you strike soon it is likely you will be able to overcome the power of three before it has solidified."
"Perhaps. I need time to think, Seer. Leave me."
"Yes, my lord." She bowed her head, then spun around and shimmered out of the room.
The Source gestured. The ashes of his fallen demons swirled together into a stone likeness of Paige. "So, killing one sister wasn't enough?" A ball of flame from his hand then reduced it to ashes once more. "I'll just have to try again."
That's when he felt it; an eruption of dark magical power. He rose from his throne. It was stronger than any of his demons could produce, and possibly even rivaled his own. What made it all the more remarkable was that he was sensing it from a distance; across the dimensional barriers to be exact. This wasn't the first time either. Glorificus, a godling in another dimension had tried it not too long ago, with minimal success. As his senses honed in on the growing power he realized it was centered on a single being. His counterpart, perhaps? He hadn't found too many allies in other planes of existence, because they usually had agendas of their own. But with the Charmed Ones again a factor he would probably need all the help he could get. At the very least, this would be a distraction from his troubles.
The Source walked to the center of his throne room. It was the heart of the underworld, and where he was the strongest. It would require all of his concentration to pierce the dimensional barriers--without shattering them or causing too much bleedthrough--in order to bring forth the dark power he could sense was growing ever stronger. Magic surged all around him. Still he waited, for the opportune moment when the dimensional rippling was at its most intense and then, utilizing all the considerable power at his disposal, he pushed through the dimensional barriers at their weakest point and latched onto the dark force rising in the other reality. Too late it felt like it realized what was happening and tried to resist, but in the end his power and an element of surprise left him exhausted, yet victorious.
A young woman was standing there, inside a smoldering circle. A mortal with pale, veiny skin and jet-black hair. The emerald energy crackling around her hands dispersed as she turned to glare at him with pure black eyes. "What is this?!"
"My apologies." The Source chuckled. "Interesting. A witch. Tell me. Did I interrupt something important?"
"Damn it! I was so close!" She screamed, he felt her power surging, and then his throne exploded. At that point her wildly varying aura turned dark, with only streaks of red and orange in it. "On the other hand, you did save me from one of Xander Harris's inane, friendship speeches, so I suppose I should thank you for that."
The Source cocked his head. Her personality had changed suddenly. She seemed calmer and more rational. "I must admit I'm curious. How did a witch acquire such power? It's not native to you, I can tell."
"Most of this..." She gestured at her face and her hair. "...is a result of what I absorbed. From the Magic Box and that weakling, Rack. But I got an extra boost from Giles, and those English pansy friends of his. It's good." She shrugged her shoulders. "A little too good, actually. I think he was trying to dose me. My mind's starting to clear though. I know what he was trying to do. Too bad for him it didn't work." She sneered. "Who the hell are you, anyway? Why did you bring me here?"
"You can call me the Source. And what name do you go by?"
She crossed her arms. "Willow."
Cole Turner shimmered into the living room of the Halliwell manor--just seconds ahead of two demons who were in the midst of throwing balls of flame that missed him and instead set the curtains on fire. He spun around and threw an energy ball which disintegrated one, while the other ducked behind the couch. Another energy ball went through it and hit him anyway.
"Hey!" Suddenly everything in the room froze. Piper Halliwell unfroze Cole as she walked in. "I just had that thing reupholstered. Now what the hell is going on?" Right behind her came her husband, Leo. "Who were those guys?"
"I was trying to find out what the Source was up to," Cole replied. "Since he failed to grab Paige I knew he'd come up with something worse to try the next time." He yanked the curtains down and stomped on them, extinguishing the flames. "Unfortunately, a couple of his more observant guards recognized me. Turns out I'm not real popular in the underworld right now."
Piper crossed her arms. "You owe me new curtains, pal."
"Forget the damn curtains would you? This is serious. I hear the Source is angrier than he's been in a long time, at all of us."
"So what else is new?" Piper asked.
"Paige is lucky she doesn't live here, 'cause this is probably where he's going to strike." Cole looked around. "Where's Phoebe?"
"Up in the attic," Leo replied. "With the Book of Shadows."
Cole frowned. "Why?"
"She's making a list of demons the Source is most likely to send after Paige," said Piper. "If we can vanquish them we should be able to breathe a little easier while we sort this all out. It's a lot to take in all at once. Sisters, magic, demons?"
"That's a good idea. I'll lend her a hand." Cole headed upstairs.
Piper collapsed on the couch, and Leo sat down beside her. "How're you doing?"
"Oh, peachy. I just buried one sister and now I have to help another come into her powers. To top it off the Source of All Evil seems to have taken personal interest in our family." She sighed. "So how's your day been going?"
"You're right. It was a stupid question. Forget I asked." Leo kissed her. "Maybe you should try and get some sleep, honey."
Piper shook her head. "I'm too tired to sleep. I just wish the..." She saw Leo raise his head toward the ceiling and her eyes narrowed. "Are you kidding me? Now? They're calling you right now?"
"I'm sorry, Piper. It sounds important." Leo stood up. "I'll come back as soon as I can." Before she could protest he orbed away.
The now eldest Halliwell swore under her breath and that surge of anger, coupled with magic, of course, caused a nearby lamp to explode. She shook her head. It had been one of her favorites, but right now that was the least of her problems.
Meanwhile, up in the attic, Phoebe Halliwell looked up from the Book of Shadows and started to smile when she was it was Cole. "Hi, honey. I was just..." Then her face fell when she saw the condition he was. "Oh no. What happened? Are you okay?"
He shrugged. "Oh, a couple of demons tried to kill me. Nothing unusual, really. How've you been?"
"What? Who? Why?"
Cole crossed his arms. "Umm, which one did you want me to answer first?" He smiled as she swatted at him. "I was trying to find out what the Source was planning to try next. I hear you were too. Any luck?"
"Not good. Looks like any time the Source has really big problems to deal with there are usually two demons he calls on first. Now, we already took care of one of them. Shax. But the other, well..."
"Let me guess. Balthazar?"
Phoebe nodded. "You were one of his top agents honey. I'm not surprised he relied so heavily on you." She leaned against him. "God knows I do. I'm not sure how I'd get through this, losing Pru, without you."
Cole put his arm around her. "I'll always be here for you. But understand...we may not know when, or how exactly, but I guarantee you sooner or later the Source will retaliate. And when he finally does, Paige is going to need all the protection she can get."
"I just wish he'd make a move already." Phoebe snuggled into his arms and sighed. "Legions of hell I can deal with. This waiting around thing is driving me crazy."
Down in the underworld the Source sat on his throne, watching Willow turning in a slow circle while sparkling lights swirled around her. Then she stopped, each one of them popping like a balloon, and turned to face him.
"You were right. There is a lot of power here." Willow rested her hands on her hips. "So let me see if I've got this straight. You're the source of all evil in this entire reality, every demon that lives and breathes serves you, you have virtually unlimited power at your command, and yet three little witches keep getting in your way? They're that powerful?"
"Unfortunately. Each is strong in their own right, but together they are nearly impossible to overcome. I even managed to kill one of them, but they just went out and found another. That's why I brought you here."
"You want me to do your dirty work for you, is that it?"
"Something like that. As an outsider you wouldn't be in their Book of Shadows. They won't be able to vanquish you as easily as they do any of the demons I can send against them."
Willow nodded. "Yes, let's talk about that for a minute. This Book of Shadows. It holds all the knowledge of their family? Generations of magic and information on every evil there is in your world?"
"Only that which has been encountered or researched by the Halliwell line, but yes. Essentially."
"So it's powerful? Though not as much as...what did you call it? The Nexus?"
"Indeed. Many consider the Nexus to be the ultimate power. Aside from me, of course."
Willow frowned. "Damn it. Already?" She put a hand to her forehead. "I could use some of that access right about now. You wouldn't happen to have any expendable witches laying around, would you?"
The Source sensed weakness and realized at that moment that much of her power was external. She fed on magic and got stronger. That might make her useful indeed against the Charmed Ones. "Akon!"
Moments later a warlock blinked into the room, and immediately dropped to one knee, his head bowed. "My lord?"
"Couldn't you at least have brought me a pretty one?" Willow asked as she walked up behind him. "Oh well." She clutched the warlock's head and he screamed as magic was torn from his body in one tremendous burst. His entire body exploded, while she spread her arms and moaned. "I never get tired of doing that. By the way, are all your minions so...combustible?"
"I like them that way," the Source replied. "Now, what would it take to convince you to assist me?"
"At least you didn't say serve." Willow crossed her arms. "Tell you what." She smirked. "I'll take care of your little witch problem. In exchange I get first crack at the Book of Shadows and the Nexus. Whatever's left, is all yours. What do you say?"
The Source sat silent and still for several long moments, then he leaned slowly forward.
Willow rested her hands on her hips. "Now, about this Nexus...."