Authors Notes: I am ignoring Day of Vengeance #2, and any specific issues that might contradict the appearance of certain beings. Trying to follow the general world of JLA, not adhere to every issue. Madame Xandu is the younger version listed in Pre-Crisis comics, or you can assume she can look like what ever she wants. Also I am going off of the comic book versions for the most part, NOT the cartoon series and the movie for one character. I don’t own anything, not a bit.
Xander slowly woke up, and found that he was sitting at the table in the conference room, while Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna, were all in a corner of the room talking animatedly. Batman shot him a look as Xander lifted his head, but did not say anything, simply going on with the conversation.
Xander swallowed hard, it was a bit much to take in. These were people that he had always regarded as simple creations of fantasy were real, live breathing beings. And he knew a hell of a lot about them. ~okay think. I am in a different dimension, obviously one where the comic books I read are about real people… or the real people inspired comic books.. not sure which. So.. I am in a world where Batman is real… wonder if I can meet Batgirl.. hell wonder if she is Oracle yet.. if not.. can I stop that? Hmm… lots of questions. How the hell did my life get to this point, that this, even dealing with Joker, is preferable to what I left?~ Xander thought back to what had happened to the group in the six month since Sunnydale fell into the sink hole.
~musings on the past~
It hadn’t started off so bad, everyone working to make things better, find a place to live, and give everyone time to heal. Robin had been pretty badly wounded so Faith was less a part of what slowly happened, as she was focused on helping Robin heal. Maybe that was part of why she disappeared when she did. He had gotten a construction job that was paying decent money and that was the main income for everyone. Then there had been an accident on the site; he had been hurt pretty badly. It was funny in retrospect; he got hurt worse in a normal accident than he ever had fighting the bad guys. Maybe that was when it changed. He was in the hospital for a week, nothing broken but internal bleeding that took a while to heal. When he got home everyone was rather solicitous of him, always there to help, and make sure he was not alone. It was nice at first but rapidly got smothering as he slowly exercised to get back into shape. Finally he got to the point where he was getting up at 3 am, when most everyone was crashed from a night of patrolling to go to the gym he had helped set up in the basement, to work out, alone.
A few of the slayers had developed crushes on him, as he was the only visible male around in the right age range. He gently pushed them off, but Buffy occasionally teased him about having a harem of slayers around to choose from. At first it was funny. But then it changed. He had met a nice girl at a coffee shop and had asked her out, and to his amazement she accepted. It was proof of his bad taste in women. While she was not a demon she was a lure for a gang who liked to rob and beat people. He made it out with only a few bruises but when Buffy and Willow saw him it really hit the fan. He understood they were worried about him, but they went a bit overboard. And it did not help when one of the younger slayers from a farming background mentioned she would be more than willing to ‘service him’ in a second. At first that was a just a joke, but so many new people coming in heard it that it started being treated as if it was really there, if he wanted it. Xander never asked, mainly because he did not want to know, but he began to suspect the older slayers were telling the younger they should sleep with him if he wanted it. It was the only thing that could explain some of the really weird looks he got from the new ones. Like all things, if it exists long enough, you start to believe it, and soon most of the slayers along with Buffy and Willow all believed he could be serviced, if he asked. Xander was slowly dying inside and just became quieter and quieter, barely talking to the newer slayers, scared of what they might say. Buffy and Willow had gotten to the point where they felt like they controlled everyone. None of the Slayers said boo to them, and Giles and Robin were often in England dealing with ‘Council’ matters. So there was no one there to guide them in a different direction. Xander tried, but when he did he got the “oh.. you just don’t understand Xander, you have to trust we know what is best, after all we are the chosen ones with powers.” So when Zatanna arrived it seemed like an answer to a prayer, and one he leapt at.
“OKAY!” that should brought Xander out of his mental fugue and he looked up at the quartet across the room. Batman stalked towards him, ending up looming over him with a gleam of frustration in his eyes. “We have decided to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are going to have to answer a lot of questions, under the lasso, and then we will decide what to do with you.”
Xander swallowed “you know the movies made you seem much nicer, I think Frank Miller had your attitude down… you can be rather scary.”
Batman blinked “Movies… they made movies about us?” He was thrown for a loop, usually people being favored with his ‘I will make your life hell’ attitude, pleaded for mercy.
“Well about you and Superman there… they were talking about a Wonder Woman movie… but haven’t gotten that far. Um.. sure I can answer your questions… one question first.. is Barbara still Batgirl, or is she Oracle?”
Batman froze shock rippling through his system, overwhelming desire to strangle the young man in front of him, Oracles’ identity was probably a more closely guarded secret than most, but he answered Xander, his voice having the warmth of liquid nitrogen. “Oracle”
Xander sagged a little. “Damn.. would have been nice if I could have prevented that. Okay… where is the lasso… ask away.”
Batman blinked and unfroze, ~he wanted to stop it… maybe.. maybe he is what we wanted, but I still want to know what he knows~ “Diana all yours.” Stepping back a little, watching Xander with all his renowned detective skills. ~out of shape (by Batman’s standards decent for us lazy Americans), one eye, young but old, has a caring nature, even of people he once thought were fictional characters, Zatanna likes him and she is not taken in easily, why him, why this young man to help with the plague of Slayers?~ Batman’s mind turning over the facts he had, watching and waiting to see what else the questioning would reveal.
Diana approached with a soft smile “It’s okay, it won’t hurt, just make you answer the truth.”
Xander grinned at her “You really are beautiful. I know… it just requires truth from people, not worried about it, had not planned to lie.”
Diana smiled at him as she placed the lasso around him. “What is your name?"
“Xander.” Was his reply, watching everyone just as closely as they were watching him. Superman was the most interesting in his quietness far in the back corner, but Xander had no illusions that he was hearing every beat of every heart.
A slight frown of confusion flashed over Diana’s face and Batman saw it but said nothing. “What is your full name?” Diane asked.
Xander made a funny face but answered “Alexander LaVelle Harris.”
“How do you know details about us?”
Xander paused for a moment trying to figure out how to explain, then he started to talk. “Comic books, I have always loved them, and DC was my favorite publisher. So I read most of them, and all of you were in the ones I read, the Justice League, Superman, Batman the Dark Knight. It was a way to hide from reality, so I read. Even in high school and after I still kept up with what was going on, or at least tried to.”
There had been no hesitation at all as he talked and everyone in the room paled a little at the ramifications.
Diana just nodded, trying to keep the questions pertinent to the situation. “Did you know we were real when you agreed to come here.”
A snort of laughter. “No, hell I just thought Zatanna’s parents had a twisted sense of humor. Why would I ever think that comic book characters were real? Well.. outside that Halloween experience.”
Batman’s caught that detail, but filed it away to be addressed later. Diana kept asking the questions they had agreed upon. “Why did you agree to come here?”
A pause and a sigh, and for the first time Xander looked away from them. “I had lost everything, my friends, family, self respect. The people I was with had become so twisted that I no longer knew them. I don’t know how to not help in that fight, so I stayed, but it was becoming harder and harder, so when Zatanna offered me a chance somewhere else I jumped, figuring I had nothing to lose. And I have always wanted to help, I know I am not a warrior, but Slayers need friends, a support team.. and I thought maybe I could help them not become like Buffy.” Not once during his spiel had he paused or looked forced and at the end he looked up with a wry self-defeated smile. “So I am here to see what a washed up one-eyed carpenter can do… though never occurred to me it would be in a world that has real super heroes.”
“Do you mean harm to any of us?”
“Hell no… look the Slayers are young girls, who have powers most girls can only dream of, all I can hope to do is maybe teach them how to use these powers in a way to help people and not hurt…. I just thought maybe here I could …” He paused for the first time as if fighting something eternally. “Maybe I could be someone who could make a difference here, teach them might does not always make right…not something to be babysat here. It was an opportunity to leave and start over. I took it.” He shook his head.
Diana liked this man, she was not really sure why, but there was something about him that just rang solid and true. “Have you ever killed?”
A snort of laughter “Yes… lots of vampires, a few demons, cyborgs… stuff like that.”
Everyone in the room focused on him. Diana spoke “Have you ever killed a human.”
Xander was quiet for a long moment; Diana frowned looking at the lasso and about to say something when he spoke. “Not knowingly or on purpose.”
That was not good enough for Batman and he suspected Xander was hiding something. He jerked his head sharply at Diana. “So you have killed humans before?”
A soft sigh issued from Xander. “A summoning I did went wrong, and some people were killed as a result of it, with out my knowledge or even ability to prevent. Any other humans that have died did so without my conscious knowledge of it.”
A soft silence filled the room. Diana hesitated “Would you kill an innocent?”
A bitter smile crossed Xanders’ face. “You won’t like the answer, but it is yes, given grave enough consequences, ones like I have seen… I would. I would carry the grief always but I would.”
Batman’s control almost broke. “See he is not to be trusted, he should not be here!” Biting out each word, seeing the agreement on Superman’s face, but frustrated when he looked at Diana.
She shrugged at Batman and Superman, “That is the answer of a warrior, no matter how much you might regret it, some times the cost of winning is the death of an innocent, and sometimes the price of not letting that death happen would be too high.” She looked back at Xander. “The innocent you are thinking of you, you did not cause the death?”
Xander shook his head “No, Giles did.”
“What would have been the cost if he had not killed the innocent.”
Xander shrugged “Anything from the death of my group of friends to the destruction of the entire planet. I don’t think we could have prevented anything, it was a last resort and we had nothing left. One of us was dead, two gravely injured, and the rest of us down to our last bit of energy.”
Batman paled as he realized the lasso was still on him, and that made every word true.
“Would you kill an innocent if there was any other way?”
“No… not if ANYTHING else was possible.”
“What about the one attacking you?”
“Human… no not if there is anything I can do to prevent it… I don’t kill humans… I deal with vamps and demons.” Xanders’ statement was flat.
Turning she glanced at the others. “Anything else you want to ask him?”
Batman clenched his fists tightly, but responded in a cool tone. “Not at the moment.”
Diana looked at Xander closely then asked a question of her own “Why do you want to work with these slayers?”
A sort of sad smile crossed Xanders’ face. “When I met Buffy, I felt like I had met a true superhero. And I wanted to help… oh I also wanted her to want me, but mostly I wanted to help her. Then slowly I realized I had to fight the darkness I now knew about… so these new Slayers have no idea of their history or the burden they now carry. That burden killed some Slayers because it was too heavy to carry alone. I want to let these new ones know, they don’t have to carry it alone, and to help them find a path they can walk with joy, not dread and grim acceptance of Death.”
Wonder Woman looked at him for a long time then slowly smiled, that smile took Xanders’ breath away. “Good.. you would be a good guide for them. I only wish all men were like you, maybe the Amazons would never have separated from the world.” She pulled the lasso off of him. “I say yes, he is what we asked for, just not in the form we expected, but maybe the form these young women need.”
Batman snarled and stalked out of the room, his silence taken as acquiescence. Superman walked up close to Xander for the first time, a slightly hungry look on his face. “Xander may I ask you some questions?”
“Sure.. what would you like to know?” Xander responded with a smile, expecting more of the same type of questions to find out who and what he was.
“You said you knew all about where I came from and Krypton, could you please tell me?” Soft voice, asking for news of a family he had really never known.
Xander blinked then understood, and smiled sadly sure. “Sure… I would love to tell you what I know…” He started talking about Jor-el, Krypton, what he remembered from Superman history issues, telling Clark everything he could, and answering any questions that he knew the answers to. Xander spent two hours talking to Clark, Zatanna and Diana had drifted away to give them space, and Xander slowly came to get a feel of Superman as a person, and realized that he liked the man.
After Xander had finally left with Zatanna; Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman met to talk. Superman and Diana were very much in favor and really liked the young man. Batman was a different story. All three agreed that Xanders’ knowledge of them and everyone else should not be made known. None of them wanted to contemplate someone getting their hands on Xander and the knowledge he had, though Batman was strangely certain Xander would not break easily.
As their meeting was breaking up, with a general, if reluctant, consensus to go ahead with their basic plans of the school and Xander, J’onn wandered in with a strange look on his face. “That young man that was here, walking out with Zatanna? He looked at me and said, “I sorrow for the loss of your family and world.” With a sad smile then continued out. Startled I tried to scan him, but it was as if no one was home. Not android nothing….” J’onn paused to figure out how to phrase it. “More like someone who is brain dead, you sense life, but nothing more. Most animals register more than that.” He stood for a moment watching the various emotions flit over the faces of the three, surprise, worry, understanding, and curiosity. “I see. I shall not speak of this.” He turned and left, willing to wait patiently until he could talk to this interesting young man.
Batman sighed, “At least that eliminates the worry of anyone reading his mind. If J’onn can’t I doubt anyone else will be able to, but it adds to the mystery of who and what he is.”
Superman was looking towards the door where J’onn had left with a thoughtful expression. “Why him I wonder?”
Batman and Diana looked at him, not understanding. “What do you mean? He was who we were suppose to find.”
Kal-el shook his head. “No I mean out of all the different realities and dimensions, why that particular Alexander Harris, why not any other?”
Batman’s gaze sharpened. “That is a very good question, and one I think I want the answer to.”
On that note the meeting broke up and they all went their separate ways. Batman headed to his cave to make some calls. Superman to his parents to discuss all he had learned today. Diana headed home, wanting to review legends in the Library.
Xander was still in a state of shock… ~Superman, SUPERman, superMAN, he was real and kind and misses his family, and I met him… and Wonder Woman, the Amazon Princess… I can’t decide if this is heaven or hell~ Shaking his head he wandered into Zatanna’s kitchen. Zatanna had a spare room and offered to put him up for a few weeks while Wayne Enterprises finished up the details on the School for Slayers. Xander snickered again ~with everything we went through, I never thought I would be the one fulfilling Giles dream… how odd.. me… in charge of things… damn they really have no idea who or what I am do they?~ He pulled a coke out of the fridge. ~well at least the have Coke™ here, otherwise I would have major problems… ACK twinkies, do they have Twinkies?~ Almost in a panic he went to find Zatanna. She was in the living room going over notes for a new routine.
“Hey um… Zatanna?” Xander asked carefully, really not wanting to startle or interrupt such a powerful magic user, he had learned that a long time ago with Willow. That and he was a bit in awe of her, she was like a hero, real honest to god hero. The only person who had him more tongue tied was Wonder Woman. So far the only time he had been able to talk to her without sounding like an idiot was with the lasso around him.
Zatanna looked up at Xander and grinned. She liked this young man, he had spirit and a caring heart that made her smile. The lack of an eye was startling sometimes, but it seemed to fit him. “What’s up Xander?”
“Um.. I was wondering… do they have Twinkies here?” He asked, a bit uncomfortable. He hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, but he had been feeling a bit funny since their trip from his dimension to this one. But mostly he discounted it as a version of homesickness. Now he just wanted to get this going, start finding the slayers, and the books they would need for research. He had a feeling this world did not know what they were in for with demons and vampires. But it would be nice if he was wrong.
Zatanna blinked confused then grinned “Yes we have twinkies, golden cake with cream filling?”
Xander sighed hugely in relief. “Thank goodness, that might have been a deal breaker.” Flashing a grin at her. “So are the super powered tight wearing ones ready for me to start finding the Slayers yet?”
The smile faded a little bit from Zatanna but she replied. “Not yet, Wayne Enterprises is finishing up the details on the new school. But I do know they are still discussing the ramifications of what you know, but we shall see. You are who we need for this, so I am sure everything will work out. You just unsettled them, more than I have ever seen.” Her grin crept back. “Actually that part was rather fun.”
“Maybe for you, you weren’t looking at Bats wondering if his control was going to slip and you were going to end up as a new trophy in his bat cave.” Remarked Xander.
“Well.. he is not known for his charming personality, though Bruce Wayne is rather nice. But don’t worry about it, personally I would be worrying about who he finds to help you and the training regime he sets up for you. He will probably make you get close to his standards of fitness before he lets you out on your own.”
Xander paled. He remembered quite well how the comics portrayed Batman’s training philosophies; high among them was ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ He looked down at his coke. “Guess I should switch to diet huh?”
A muffled laugh “yeah.. might be an idea.. that and start running, might prevent him from killing you outright.” Grinning up at Xander.
“Figures… oh well… lets see what the Bats can do to me. You got a weight room?” He asked half heartedly, creating a workout routine in his head.
When Zatanna finally returned his call Batman’s first question was if Xander was anywhere around her.
“No, he took off for a run and to explore a bit. Why?” Zatanna asked, already half expecting the answer, Batman was not noted for his calm acceptance of anything.
“I want you to research other Xanders’ in other dimensions, and see if you can figure out why we were so specifically guided to find this one.”
“Damn.. you don’t ask for anything easy do you? Okay, but this will take me a while it is not like pulling a rabbit out of the hat.”
There was a soft snarl of frustration on the other end of the phone. “Fine, but as quickly as you can.” With than he hung up.
Zatanna shook her head, “Typical, no hello, no good bye, no thank you.” With that she went into her room and began crafting what this project would need.
Bruce fumed in his office, normally he kept his two worlds separate, but this man, this Xander had gotten under his skin, and he was not really sure why. True the man knew his identity and knew things about him that only Alfred knew, and that was a big part of it. But it was more, it was who he was, someone who was… a lot like him. This bugged Bruce in more ways than he could admit. He sensed in Xander a steel core that did not know how to bend about certain things, but he was much more willing to cross the line that Bruce was, and that both worried and impressed Bruce. He had a bad feeling that Xander would kill more than just demons if he had to, and probably lose little to no sleep over it. Bruce stood there for a long time in his office at Wayne Enterprises, looking out the window at the city he loved. Finally he nodded his head sharply, decision made. Bruce was not the boy scout Superman was, but killing was a line he had not knowingly crossed, and Xander was a wild card that he did not trust. Xander needed some guidance and training and while Wayne Enterprises had already started a place with dorms, classrooms, and a living space for the slayers’ ‘teacher’, he now decided Xander needed an older hand to help with all this, and someone to keep him in line. But who would be a good choice? Running through the various people he had met and knew of from the JLA and other encounters, names were brought up and just as quickly discarded, until Bruce was only left with two that he thought would work, and one that he was tempted with just for the amusement value. While the idea of John Greystoke around a bunch of young Slayers had a few humorous aspects, what Jane would do to Bruce was not so amusing, so that name he discarded. So he was left with Lamont Cranston and Patricia Savage.
Lamont was an old contact he had made years ago when he was much younger and haunting the Tibetan mountains, he might be able to talk old style hero into a job as a sensei, if nothing else the idea of getting to watch lots of young women should lure Lamont Cranston from his seclusion. Lamont may have killed but it was long ago, and he had pursued justice for many years. It was doubtful Bruce Wayne could tempt him to leave, but maybe Batman could craft a missive that would arouse enough curiosity to drag him from his mountains.
Patricia was the sister of Doc Savage. He had disappeared a many years ago, but if the rumors were correct she was still quite formidable and experienced in self-defense, and hopefully handling lots of young women, if he could convince her; but that was something Bruce could probably do.
Bruce picked up the phone and started making calls, and calling in a few favors. Finding Patricia might not be too hard, but getting a hold of Lamont was going to be a bit more difficult. That and he needed some emergency construction done to create a few more living spaces that were private.
Lamont looked speculatively at the note the monk had handed him. Written on a high quality white rag envelope, in a firm hand was his name. ~odd after all these years I am not sure who Lamont Cranston is, or if I am still that person.~
For the last fifteen years he had hidden here, allowing his fortune to be managed by a very good and reputable company, and he had ignored the world around him. Training with these monks to focus and harness his mind even more, and to give his soul time to heal. After Margo died he had come back here, to avoid her memory. Lamont had been born in the late 1800’s and fought in WWI, becoming a crime fighter in the 1930’s-1940’s, but given that age instead of the old man you expected he appeared to be a very healthy man in his late 40’s. The mystic ways he had learned had slowed his aging down. Lost in memories and thoughts it was thirty minutes before he glanced at the note in his hand again.
~Now who would know I am here, much less send me a letter? It would not be impossible to find me I suppose, but I can think of few who would even know me as more than a signature on paper.~ Finally his curiosity peaked and he opened the envelope, noting immediately the lack of anything identifying. ~Hmm.. how mysterious~ Idly musing as he read the letter.
I know in the 1940’s you were The Shadow. I realize you quit fighting crime a long time ago, but I have need of your expertise. There is a group of young women and a young man who could benefit from your skills and experience. I realize money holds little attraction to you, so I am hoping the opportunity to mold and guide a group of girls, to become more than reckless teenagers with power they can not adequately control, will appeal to you. These girls are apparently called ‘Slayers’. They fight the dark in forms I had not thought were active in our world.
Housing and all your needs will be provided if you choose to accept this offer. If so please arrange to come to Gotham City, 1324 Bethany Drive. I will know when you arrive.
Rather than a signature there was a sketched form of a bat at the bottom of the page. Lamont raised an eyebrow. Thoughtfully Lamont folded the letter back up, and slowly stood, uncrossing his legs from the lotus position he had been floating in, and walking quietly out of his room went to find the tulku.
~I wonder if the tulku has heard of these slayers~ Lamont paused for a moment then smiled. ~I apparently I am going, as this is the first thing I have been curious about since I lost Margo. I guess it is time to move on~
Walking so silently, not even his clothing rustled, he walked to the audience chamber where the tulku was. A young man lifted up sightless eyes to him as he walked through the door. “I see it is time for you to leave us.” It was a statement and not a question a gentle smile on the young face.
Lamont bowed to the tulku “Indeed it is. However I seek your wisdom and knowledge before I leave.”
“Please, you know knowledge is best shared.” Replied the young man still smiling.
“Have you heard of female girls, called Slayers?”
The smile faded and a slight frown appeared “Slayers? Young women?”
Lamont shrugged. “I believe so.”
“There are tales, OLD stories, before we could write of girls to fight the evil citipati who came to drink life from those who lived. They fought and banished most of the citipati in a Nekyia from which they could never return. Then these Slayers were never heard of again. “ The young man shrugged, “That is all I know, the stories are only told occasionally and passed down as tidbits of trivia, they are so old there are no memories of those times.”
Lamont nodded puzzled and even more curious. It looked like he was going to Gotham City.
A good looking woman, appearing to be in her late 40’s, sat on the balcony sipping coffee and looking at the beautiful view. Sighing she put down the coffee cup, crossing her arms across her chest. “Bored! I am BORED!” She said out loud, glaring at the view.
“Talking to yourself again Pat?” Came a voice as a man wandered out to the balcony, tea in his hand.
“Yes I am! Who else am I to talk to? You are too involved in your latest case, my shop runs itself, and...” She sighed. “I miss Doc, the adventures, the sense of making a difference.”
Ham laughed softly. “I miss him too, and I still think he will just reappear someday with that blasted smile on his face. But until then I plan on getting as much done as I can.”
Pat laughed. “Most likely. And it isn’t like the rewards of some of the adventures were small.” Arching an eyebrow at him. Apparently during one of the adventures with Doc something had happened to all of them, cutting their aging down to half, and keeping them healthy. A nice side benefit, but Pat often wondered if Doc had done it too them himself, not that she was complaining.
“Very true. But in regards to your boredom, I might have a solution for you. This came for you, by special courier this morning.” Ham said handing her an envelope.
Pat took it with great interest opening the outer envelope, then frowning a bit as what was inside. “What do you know about Wayne Enterprises?” She asked pulling out a legal size envelope with the Wayne Enterprises logo on it, addressed to her.
“Owned and technically ran by Bruce Wayne, though most of the actual day to day business is managed by highly paid Vice Presidents. He is known to be a bit of a playboy who seems to have no desire to settle down. A good strong company has its hands in a bit of everything, headquartered in Gotham City. Very diverse lots of different branches. Over all a good company.” Answered Ham watching her, just as curious as she was.
Pat opened the letter, reading what it said out loud.
I am writing to you in the hopes you might consider filling a position I have available. I am creating a home for young girls who will need training and guidance, similar to that which you utilized during your time with Clark Savage Jr. I already have on person who understands the needs of these special young women, but I believe a woman’s touch would not be amiss. Especially not a woman with your skills. Your own private living quarters and all expenses will be provided, as salary is not an object.
I hope you will consider this offer. If you accept; the address is 1324 Bethany Drive, Gotham City. There will be someone there to meet you. I look forward to actually meeting you.
Pat looked at Ham with a small smile. “Is this one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ things? The phrase “similar to that which you utilized during your time with Clark Savage” implies a lot, and very little of it boring. I see no reason not to go, but I do wonder if this Bruce Wayne person can handle a 40 year old with 80 years of experience.
Ham laughed. “If nothing else this should take care of your boredom Pat. I doubt you are in any danger though you might get to see the famed Batman while you are in Gotham.”
“One can but hope.” Replied Pat with a grin as she walked in the apartment to pack.
Zatanna sighed, finally finished with this project. It had taken her two weeks, and frankly she was exhausted and grumpy and more than a bit worried. After checking that Xander was busy with his routine and learning about this world, she headed up to the Watchtower, and once there called Batman to come join her. While she waited she drew a diagram on the board.
_______________W & B _______________
| ___D__ |
| | | |
No longer human - [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][J][ ][ ][C][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][X][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ] – no longer human
| |______BW_______| |
(authors note: when I edit this the lines are where they should be, but in the published version, they are all left justified, please moved the lines over so it makes more sense... sorry)
Batman came in a few minutes later while she was still looking at the board with a worried look. “You have the information I asked for.” He was brusque and to the point as always.
“Yes, but I don’t think you are going to like it, because it worries me.” Zatanna replied gesturing at a chair. “Sit, this is going to take a bit. If you look at that diagram, each set of boxes is a dimension, with multiple realities in it, if you go too far to either side the creatures living there are no longer human. The one with a C in it seems to be the core dimension the one the others reflect or are based off of to some degree. The one with a J is our dimension, and the one with the X is where Xander came from. Now I took a look at you, Barbara, Diana, Xander, Buffy and Willow” She paused thinking how to phrase this, then shrugged “– his friends from his world. Just for fun I even did Superman. If you look up there the lines with BW are all the dimensions some variant of you exists in, in some of them you died with your parents, others you parents never died, some you became the villain and others you just focused on business.” She gave him a sharp look, showing she was not talking about his identity lightly.
A deep breath she pointed back to the board. “Diana exists only in a few, and all of those had active interference from the gods, so we know why hers is so narrow. And I refuse to think about that anymore deeply, I might get their attention and frankly I am not interested in their attention.” Cutting off any questions Batman might have asked. “Barbara’s is very wide and she has a wide variety of lives. Same with Xanders’ friends, in some they are married, some they died, only in his dimension was one of them the Slayer, but in the rest of the dimensions they are almost every variation of life, good and bad. Oddly only in a few did Willow and Buffy meet.”
Pointing to the board again “Meta humans seem to be clustered in the two or three dimensions next to ours on each side, though in other dimensions and realities they are called mutants. But even they tend to have versions in other realities that are variations of themselves.”
Zatanna took another breath. “However, Xander only exists in that one dimension, and only in that reality. In all other realities in that dimension, he was killed, turned into a vampire, eaten by demons, or never existed. Almost all of us have other versions, including Kal’el, in some places Krypton never blew up, in others he died on the ship, in still others he got to earth and was no different than anyone else. As far as I can tell Xander is the only Xander that exists and still lives. All the rest are dead, killed or turned. I already said that didn’t I?” Zatanna sat a little shaky looking at the picture on the board.
“So what are the ramifications?” Batman asked looking at the board with narrowed eyes.
“Frankly I have no idea. But I will tell you this, I can’t find ANYONE else who is a unique, and I mean I looked, I can’t find anyone who does not exists living in some other dimension or reality.” Zatanna replied not looking at Batman.
Batman’s face was an impenetrable mask, relaying no information. “I see. That was not what I expected though it does create some interesting possibilities. Anything else?”
Zatanna thought for a moment then softly “When I traveled through the dimensions and realities I felt like I was hitting lots of cold sticky cobwebs, but nothing painful. When I brought Xander back here he was hit with a bolt of energy that knocked him out for a while. I don’t know what it was, or if it means anything.” She shrugged looking up at him. “I can say this, I ran a spell or two on him, he is the most caring, honest, loyal, and … unbreakable person I have seen since Superman. In some ways I think his soul might be stronger than our resident Kryptonians, he is like a knight… you are called the Dark Knight by some, I think he might be a White Knight.”
She stood up and glanced at the board, not giving him a chance to reply. “Want me to leave it or erase it?”
“Leave it.” Was the bitten out response. She nodded and walked out of the room more than ready to go home, and feeling guilty enough that she decided to actually bake some brownies for dessert for Xander.
Batman stood looking at the diagram for a long time, memorizing it, and them sent a message to Superman and Wonder Woman that he wanted to talk to them. He was silent looking at the board until they got there.
~two weeks later~
Lamont stood in the shadows of nearby buildings, watching the address he had been given. He had been there about an hour watching people carrying in furniture and supplies. It was a large, two floor renovated warehouse, and he could see at least three exits out of there as he watched.
“So do you like what you see?” Came a voice from the shadows above him. Lamont simply looked up, he had been expecting him.
“Yes, it looks like it is being well furnished, and it is in a location where you would not expect to find these Slayers, yet they will be safe.” Calmly watching Batman.
Batman lowered himself to stand beside Lamont, his air causal. “I think these slayers will need little protection, but not attracting attention is always good. I take it this means you are accepting the job?”
“It aroused my curiosity, nothing has done that for a long time, so why not, spend a few years here until I get bored again.” A dark smile crossed Lamonts' face.
“Good… go over and introduce yourself, I suspect the person you meet will take it from there.” With that Batman slide back up and into the shadows. Lamont laughed lowly then headed over to the door. The last of the deliverymen were leaving, but the door was still open.
Lamont knocked on the frame, of the door, and a young man with shaggy dark hair turned and looked at him, one eye was missing, but it did not seem to affect him. “Yes may I help you?”
“A friend asked if I would like a job here, helping to train some young women?”
A wry smile crossed the mans' face. “Well he was never known for his social niceties. Hi, I’m Xander, welcome to Casa de Slayer.” A friendly smile on his face, sticking out his hand to shake.
“Lamont Cranston.” Lamont replied shaking the hand. He was a bit surprised when the man froze his jaw dropping.
“Lamont Crantson?… the Lamont Cranston, aka…” He paused looking around, they were alone, but his voice dropped anyhow. “The Shadow?” Swallowing hard.
Lamont blinked, he could understand Batman knowing who he was, but why would this kid know. “I was a long time ago, I assume our mutual friend told you?”
A snort as the young man regained his composure. “Hell no, and ruin the fun of startling both of us, not likely. Lets just say I know you, use to listen to stories about you… eh… Wonder who he is going to drop on me next, Helena?” Shaking his head. “I don’t know what you were told, but if you are going to stay around, you should know I am not from here, and because of that my… um.. Knowledge of stuff is a bit different shall we say.” Wry grin.
Curious and now confused, Lamont tried his powers on Xander. Trying to cloud his mind, but Xander just looked at him, Margo at least was aware he was trying something, but Xander was completely immune. How odd.
Xander tilted his head. “From the odd look on your face I would say you just tried something on it and it fell flat. Don’t feel bad, most things don’t seem to work the way they should when it comes to me.” He turned gesturing around. “Well take a look, you want to stay? I warn you these girls will most likely be a handful if they are anything like the ones I knew.”
Lamont glanced at him sharply, “You knew Slayers, but I was to understand this was a relatively new situation.”
Another wry smile, “Remember that whole comment I made about not being from here, well where I am from there have always been Slayers and I have known quite a few. So, lets say headstrong, gorgeous, and opinionated is pretty much a given.”
A slow smile crossed Lamont’s face. “I must say this is going to be even more interesting that I had originally hoped, maybe enough to make it more than a few years before I decide to move on.”
Xander grinned, “Cool… be good for the Slayers to have someone who can mess with their heads a little, hell maybe be able to set up some nice training stuff, depending how much you can affect them. Come on, I will show you around.” Starting to walk Lamont through, when there was a voice at the door.
“Hello, is anyone there?” This time it was a woman with a slight accent, but it still sounded familiar.
Both Lamont and Xander turned to see a woman in her 40’s standing there smiling at them. She was not breathtakingly beautiful, but you could easily watch her all day long, she had a warm rich beauty that you instinctively knew would never fade, simply mature.
Swallowing Xander walked towards. “Yes? May I help you?”
She smiled at him. “I accepted a job offer to help with a school for girls? My name is Pat Savage.”
Lamont, blinked, then looked at the woman and smiled. “Patricia.. it is you. I can’t believe it after all these years.”
Pat looked at the man, really looked and her jaw dropped. “Lamont? Damn…” She moved forward pulling him into a tight hug. “It is good to see you again, and I would make a comment about how you look, but you looked like you have aged even better than I have. Ooh…” Her eyes lit up. “You know what this means, right?”
“And what is that my dear?” Replied a still smiling Lamont.
“I have someone else who actually appreciates music and movies.” The both started to grin and together said “James Cagney and Danny Kaye.” Then started to laugh.
Xander just stood there looking at her, a frown on his face. “Pat .. Patricia Savage, why does that sound so familiar?” Completely unaware of how rude he was being.
Pat looked at him confused, the young man was only in his twenties, and Doc has disappeared over 20 years ago, so there was no reason he should really know him, but then she caught the look on Lamonts face as he spoke.
“Well you might not know Pat, but what about her cousin, Doc?” Mischief rampant, he was having more fun than he had had in years, and it felt so good to laugh.
Xander’s jaw dropped. “Doc.. Doc Savage is your cousin?” Watching numbly as a confused Pat nodded her head. “He isn’t coming is he?”
Patricia blinked “No.. .he disappeared a long time ago, no one knows where he is.”
“Oh… “ Xander frowned then shrugged. “Well… I have to say you were NOT who I was expecting, was honestly thinking he would rope in Helena or maybe Zatanna into doing this, but have to say your… experience will probably help a lot.”
He looked at saw the confusion on both faces, and shook his head. “Typical of the man, tells no one nothing, yeesh no wonder Dick was pissed at him so often. Come on, I will explain and you two can decide.”
He lead them to a door in one wall and pushed it open. Inside was a nice living room with a couple chairs and a couch, TV, a small galley kitchen to one side, and then a door leading, most likely to a bedroom. “I just finished getting my decorated, but other than some basic appliances the other two apartments look just like this but blank, I was given a debit card for each apartment so you could decorate it the way you liked.” Xander remarked waving them to take a seat.
“Well I suspect you were given little information, so let me start by explaining who and what the Slayers are.” Xander gave them the watchers speech, modified a little by what Diana had told him about the victory that had occurred in this reality, then he got into Willow’s’ spell, the awakening and the consequences in demons and vampires.
Xanders’ explanation took a while and there was much discussion about the slayer, what to do with them and how to deal with the vampires and demons that seemed to follow. While they knew Xander was not from their world as he had explained about Willows spell, he had not covered how he got to this world, nor did the JLA or Batman come up in conversation at all. However his knowing them did. Nearing the end of the discussion, after hours of talking and one delivery of Chinese food; Xander had prudentially already gotten the menus of all the local restaurants, Lamont raised the question.
“So Xander. Exactly how did you know who and what I was and who Pat is?”
“Yes please explain, I have been wondering that myself.” Inserted Pat, having greatly enjoyed the evening so far.
Xander sighed leaning back. “Lets just say that where I come from you two as well as others are well known, and I tended to pay attention to things about you.” Trying hard to not lie but not explain everything either.
Lamont grinned “Your mean in your world I was a celebrity?”
Xander smile “You could say that, they even made a movie about you.”
Lamont laughed in surprise. “ME? How very odd.”
Before they could delve into more questions, Xander yawned hugely. Partially faked but mostly not.
Lamont glanced at his watch. ‘My, we have been here a while, haven’t we?” It was 4 am and suddenly everyone realized how tired they were.
Xander stood, “Pat, Lamont, your rooms are unfurnished at the moment, but I do have beds set up in a few of the rooms upstairs, if you would like to crash here?”
Both agreed as the though of finding a taxi and a hotel at this time in the morning was not pleasant. With a promise to show them the rest of the facility when they woke, Xander quickly tucked them in and headed to his room. Before he crashed he left a message for Zatanna that he really needed to talk to Batman before too long or Superman for that matter. Xander’s head hit the pillow and he was asleep.
The next thing he knew he was awake peering into the darkness, his eye picking out the darker than dark form in the room. “You know there is such a thing as a phone or doing something called knocking?” Xander remarked dryly.
Batman’s eyes narrowed, he had barely entered the room, even Superman rarely reacted this fast, most of his protégées usually took 30 seconds or so. “Overrated.” Was his only comment.
Xander flipped on a lamp on the nightstand and looked at him. “I see. So did you enter through the door or one of the multiple exits I know you had installed around here?”
Batman blinked “One of the exits.”
Xander signed. “You gonna leave me a blueprint or make me find them?” Silence was the response. “Why am I not surprised? Fine I’ll find them. Look I danced around how I knew who Pat and Lamont were, and yes I knew both of them, which I am sure you anticipated. Though Pat was much younger than I expected. I want to know how much to tell them. I know I have to much information in my head that is dangerous, especially after I saw J’onn.”
Batman looked at the kid, he wasn’t as… shortsighted as he thought. Batman leaned against the wall looking at Xander. “J’onn can’t read you, you barely register.”
Xander blinked in shock. “How odd.”
Batman leapt on that “You have met telepaths before?”
Xander shrugged “Buffy could read minds for a while, side effect of some demon blood. Read my thoughts loud and clear. But Lamont couldn’t blur my mind at all either.” Watching Batman closely.
Batman relaxed slightly. If Lamont and J’onn couldn’t read or touch his mind at all maybe the risk was not as great as he had feared. “What did you tell Lamont and Ms. Savage? And why do you say younger?”
Xander still watched him closely as he answered. “That I was from another reality and that in my reality they were celebrities of a sort. That Lamont had a movie made of him, Doc did too but didn’t tell them that. I left it there and didn’t mention anyone else, but neither of them are stupid and lying would cause problems down the road. As to age, from what I remember she was born around 1916 or so, so if its 2005 here, she should be 80 something not 40. But that is assuming that the time lines are the same here.”
Batman choked a bit. “40? No that matches the information I had. I knew she had aged well and figured a few years one way or the other might be off, I had thought she appeared about 60.”
Xander snorted. “No, we are talking Bruce Wayne dating level of looks here. Hmm… so she isn’t aging any more normally than Lamont. Oh how sad for them.” Xander remarked dryly.
Batman had to fight to keep his lips from twitching in response. “Interesting information. Tell them only what you have to, leave as much out as you can. I will trust your judgment.. for now.” Batman stood up straight and headed for the door.
“Oh just and FYI, don’t trust Maxwell Lord or Lucius Fox – or at least not lightly.”
Batman froze then whirled around a deadly glare on his face for Xander.
Xander shrugged. “Look last couple years have been busy, I’m just saying some of what I saw in issues I read implied things, but I don’t know anything for sure, just… be careful.” With that Xander flipped off the light and laying back down and rolled over. Leaving a perplexed and now worried Batman standing in the dark. Before he could leave Xander did say one more thing. “Check out OMAC. That’s ‘bout all I remember.” With that Xander was back asleep.
Batman headed back to the Batcave at great speed, fear now rampant.
Note: Any glaring errors let me know, the rest give me some leeway for artistic license... ~grins~