Title: Mirror, Mirror
1. Story is fairly season-agnostic for Buffy. Just a little one-shot. The cross-over time period could be any of the episodes after the crossover element first appeared.
2. You know those stories with plots that actually go somewhere? This is not one of those. It's just a bit of fun.
Disclaimer: The characters of BTVS are property of Mutant Enemy, and the cross-over is property of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. I claim no ownership on anything contained within.
The mirror was a rather odd piece, and would be considered extreme for his tastes, but Giles was quite enamoured with it. Despite it's rather mundane origins, described at painstaking length by the art dealer, its sharp angles and rough hewn appearance lent it an otherworldly aura which just screamed 'indecipherable mystery' to him. So Giles had purchased it, purely for its eclectic aesthetics.
Now he was trying to find a suitable spot for it. Where does one place such a dramatic piece of art amidst traditional furnishings?
He grunted as he hefted the mirror into a position flanking a book case, then stepped back to survey the scene.
Unfortunately, his musings were interrupted as three rambunctious youths stormed into his home.
"You shoulda heard it Buff, he was hittin those notes like a helium-high Tinker Bell, who is very hot just so you..."
Xander's no doubt amusing tale trailed off as they all stopped and stared at the mirror. Willow broke the stunned silence.
Giles smiled eagerly, "So? What do you all think? Buffy?"
"Well that hardly tells me much now does it?"
"Ok, it's very, umm, abstract."
Willow edged around it carefully.
"Yeah, very, angly."
"Do please try to be less enthusiastic," Giles sighed. "I'm having some trouble placing it. What do you think, next to the bookcase?"
Buffy turned back to Giles with a stern look, "Seriously Giles, do you think it's a good idea to keep it out here? It's so... visible. I mean, I get the whole 'hiding in plain sight' thing, but... no wait, I *don't* get it. How can you possibly hope to hide that thing in plain sight?"
Giles frowned, "I'm not sure I follow."
"We just don't want it falling into the wrong hands. It could cause trouble," Willow said. "And it does stick out like a ... like a..."
Willow looked to Xander who grinned, "Cordette at a Star Trek convention?"
"Oooo, good one."
Giles shook off his confusion, "Trouble? My mirror? How so?"
"Hey, mirrors can cause trouble," Xander replied. "Take an ordinary mirror, mix in a pinch of mystical influence, add in a dash of what I like to call 'The Hellmouth Special Sauce', simmer on low for twenty, and presto! Instant recipe for disaster."
"What on earth are you talking about?"
Xander tapped his nose conspiratorially, "Come on Giles, don't play coy. Can't put one past the Scoob's. Mirrors like that, cannot be of the good. What's the deal, what's it do?"
Giles looked at him strangely, "Reflect light I imagine."
There was a momentary pause as everyone turned to look at the mirror, then back to Giles.
Giles sighed, "A strange appearance is not sufficient reason to label something 'occult'. Don't judge a book by its cover as they say. Or if you prefer, all that glitters is not gold. And let us not neglect the parable of the wolf disguised in sheep's clothing."
"Let's not," Buffy said sadly. "Poor wolf. Sheep is *so* not his look."
The peaceful moment following that statement was filled with the melodious songs of happy birds enjoying the warm, sunny day.
Giles shook off his confusion and continued,"As I was saying, these and countless other parables describe the dangers inherent in making assumptions based on appearance. As we ourselves have learned, appearances can be quite deceiving."
Buffy scrunched up her face, "So, no magic light?"
"No magic light. No celestial light of Diasune, no infernal light of Hades, nor nether light of the Sil'ynaam."
Xander grinned, "Was anybody else thinking *just* that?"
Willow nodded, "Yeah, is that scary?"
"In conclusion," Giles continued turning to Xander, "I have it on good authority that this mirror, while aesthetically unusual, is in fact no more special than... Than your silly Snoopy watch."
Xander's indignant protest at the slight of his classic Snoopy timepiece was interrupted as the mirror surface suddenly flickered and resolved into an image of four military clad figures.
This was clearly unexpected as seven and a half sets of eyebrows shot up in surprise. The large, armoured black man holding the bulky staff didn't look suitably impressed to raise both brows.
Xander shattered the stunned silence when he suddenly laughed and clapped Giles on the back, "The Snoopy watch is vindicated!"
Unfortunately, Giles was a little preoccupied at the moment.
Three soldiers, positively bristling with modern weapons, and an intimidating armored menace faced the Scoobs from the other side of the mirror. Each side watched the other warily, ready for any hostile movements. When it became apparent that neither side was inclined to attack, everyone wound back down to Defcon 3.
Buffy leaned towards the mirror and cupped her hands around her mouth, "HEELLLLOOOOO IN THEEEEERE!!"
All she got were confused stares from the other side. "Well, I guess they can't hear us."
Giles sighed in exasperation, "Well, this is most irregular."
Buffy looked incredulous, "This happens like, twice a week. At least."
"Not with my benign, and very expensive purchases they don't!"
Xander snorted, "If this is benign, I'd hate to see their 'dangerous' selection."
While they argued, Willow's curiosity got the best of her and she started creeping towards the mirror and examining it from different angles.
She gingerly reached out to touch the surface.
Buffy suddenly noticed the two white guys on the other side start gesturing frantically in what looked like a warning. Reacting on instinct, Buffy reached out and grabbed Willow's hand before she could touch the mirror. "I don't think you should do that."
Willow looked a sheepish, "Sorry, that was stupid. It's just so, neat. It's like nothing we've seen or even read about."
"Indeed. This is, quite remarkable."
All eyes were locked on the mirror, and they all watched as the figures broke out into smiles and chuckles. Except big, black and baldy.
Giles frowned, "What do you suppose they're laughing about?"
"Probably wondering how a tweed-clad librarian and a bunch of kids got a hold of a magic mirror," Xander said.
"One could similarly question how the military came to possess such an artifact. They're hardly renowned for their esoteric knowledge."
"Hey, at least *they* knew they had a magic mirror. Unlike certain supposed 'occult experts'." Xander then pointed to a device the blonde woman was fiddling with, "Look, they even have a handy remote thingy for it and everything."
The ranking officer of the military group gestured to the blonde with the remote.
"Aaaaand, it looks like the channel is about to change. Darn, just when our ratings are up, we get cancelled. Typical."
As she was fiddling with the device Xander smirked and flipped off a sloppy salute. His counterpart grinned wryly and returned his own flippant salute like he'd been born to it. The mirror surface then returned to its previous reflective state.
After a period of contemplative silence, Xander said, "You know Giles, I'm thinking that magical mirrors to other dimensions look best in high-security, concrete-encased, underground vaults. Or maybe opposite the window over here. Up to you really."
"Indeed." After a moment of consideration, Giles picked up the mirror, careful to touch only the edges, and moved it next to the window. Stepping back he absorbed the new layout and smiled. "Ah, much better. Thank you Xander."
Buffy smiled, surprised despite herself, "Hey, that does look pretty good."
Willow nodded and gestured in the mirror's direction, "The way the light catches it, gives a whole, other-dimensionally feel to this space."
After a few more moments of silent appreciation, with the warm afternoon sun streaming through the windows and melodic bird song wafting over them, Xander nodded in satisfaction and walked to the door. "Alright, I'll get the donuts."
Willow skipped off with, "I'll get my laptop."
After a few more moments of silence, Buffy nudged Giles expectantly. He sighed in resignation, "I'll get the books." He trudged off dejectedly.
Buffy turned back to the mirror and looked at her own reflection. After fixing her hair for a minute, she sat in a chair and huffed. "Guard duty sucks." Suddenly, she grinned and started searching around the base of the mirror.
"Giles! Where's that remote?" Suddenly, her eyes lit up and she smiled. "Never mind!"
Postscript: for the lost among you, it was the quantum mirror from Stargate SG-1, and the merry band of military misfits on the other side are, naturally, SG-1.
For the curious, here's a decent pic of the quantum mirror:
Quite a statement in Giles' flat huh? :-)