By Rhysdux and HonorH
Two weary PPC agents stumbled out of a temporal-spatial portal into one of Sunnydale's seventeen cemeteries. Both of them looked considerably the worse for wear, like supermodels who had been on Survivor for the past thirteen weeks. One--a sultry brunette--collapsed to the ground near a Japanese maple tree, which was sheltering the moldering headstone of the Carver family--Ralph, Ellie and Kirsten. If the agent had been paying attention, she would have noticed that the tombstone read: "They lived and died in quiet desperation."
It was just as well that she didn't notice. She might have taken that as an ill omen.
A stunning blonde leaned against the tree. "Where are we now, Rhysdux?"
Rhysdux closed her eyes. "Sunnydale, California. Where do you think?"
"Let me rephrase," said the blonde woman in tones so sweet that they would have put a diabetic into a coma instantly. "When are we?"
Rhysdux blearily opened her eyes and peered at the Words. "It's a year later--circa fourth to sixth season. Dawn is back, even though she vanished post-exorcism during the last fic. Everyone I just exorcised has been repo'd by Suvian demons. This being a cemetery in Sunnydale and the Narrative Laws of Comedy being what they are, at least one of the Slayers--Faith or Wesley--is probably going to come along any minute. God, sometimes I hate this job."
"I'm not going anywhere with you looking like that," sniffed the blonde woman in regal disgust. She snapped her fingers and transmuted into a tall, curvaceous goddess with long, wavy chestnut hair, dark smoldering eyes and the kind of mouth that sonnets are written about. She was clad in a simple, black, cost-the-earth Dior ensemble.
Rhysdux glared at her partner. "Honorificus, I know you're a demoness of the First Circle and that you can do things like that with ease--but could you possibly look any more Sue-ish? We're supposed to kill Mary Sues, not BE them."
Honorificus snorted. "You choose your disguises, and I'll choose mine."
"Fine." Rhysdux fumbled in her backpack for her Disguise Generator, choosing the form of a slim, grey-eyed redhead in jeans and a T-shirt that read "Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Spork." She tried not to look at Honorificus as she did so; somehow the demoness always ended up being so gorgeous as to make Rhysdux feel both hopelessly gauche and twelve years old.
Just as she finished switching disguises, the Omniscient Author's voice boomed at them from the sky:
Disclaimer: Everything still belongs to Joss and Ren Pics
"Ren Pics?" inquired Rhysdux.
"Renaissance Pictures," said Honorificus. "They produced Xena: Warrior Princess, along with Studio USA."
Title: The Ultimate Slayer 2: The Being of Light
Rating: PG to R.
Pairings: C/S, X/S, A/W, G/E, Wes/F
"I wish authors would just spell out the names," grumbled Rhys. "Too many characters have names that start with the same initials."
Summary: The Mayor runs into the Ultimate Slayer. He doesn't live to regret it
Author's notes: Complete and total AU here. I think the male Slayers from the first story are a dead giveaway on that. Buffy is a nut; now living in England and getting some seriously psychological help while Wesley and Faith patrol the hell mouth with Giles and the scoobies. Dawn is already here, Joyce stayed with her younger daughter on the hell mouth and there is no clause to Angel's curse.
Honorificus glowered. "There should be a comma after 'nut,' not a semicolon. 'Scoobies' should be capitalized--it's a proper name for a group. There should be a period after 'Dawn is already here.' 'Hellmouth' is all one word and should be capitalized, and there should be a comma after it as well. It's a good thing my Super-Stupid Alter-Ego isn't here. The grammar and punctuation mistakes would be driving her insane."
"I see the author has stipulated to certain conditions for her alternate universe," Rhysdux said, grinning. "Well--we can't accept the validity of the male Slayers; that challenges the whole premise of the show that one girl in the world is the Chosen One. We'll accept that Buffy is in England getting psychological help, that Dawn is here, that Joyce has remained on the Hellmouth with Dawn and that there is no happiness clause to Angel's curse. But only those four things."
Honorificus nodded cheerfully.
The Omniscient Author, tired of being ignored, spoke up once more:
Chapter 1: Life On The Hell Mouth
The wind whistled through the Sunnydale Rest Cemetery as Wesley and Faith patrolled. Tonight they were on their own as everyone else was back Joyce Summers' house on Revello Drive getting Ethan settled. He'd gotten back to Sunnydale that afternoon and for a moment Wesley had thought Giles was going to deck him for being there. Something about Ethan leaving London before he had healed. Ethan had said only that he wanted to come home.
"Back AT Joyce Summers' house," said Rhys between clenched teeth. "Not 'back Joyce Summers house.'"
"Who did Wesley think that Giles was going to deck?" Honorificus asked curiously. "Ethan, or himself?"
"I'd also like to know how Ethan can 'come home' to a place where he has never lived for an extended period of time…"
Wesley shrugged and he and Faith had gathered their slaying equipment and headed out here. Patrol had been quiet tonight, no attacks or dead bodies with marks on their throats. That worried Wesley. A quiet time usually meant something big bad and evil was coming.
"Had shrugged," said Honorificus, as she rolled her eyes skyward. "And no, Wesley, nothing big, bad and evil is about to arrive. We're already here."
"Hey, lover-man," Faith called. Wesley followed her to an open grave and sighed. Nothing was missing from it, which confused Wesley until he saw a sigil engraved into the wood. He'd seen it before somewhere.
Rhysdux blinked. "He's looking in an open grave, sees a coffin and can tell without opening it that the coffin is still occupied? That's miraculous."
"And a sigil isn't a symbol," said Honorificus patiently. "It's a seal or a device."
"Well…sort of." Rhysdux looked embarrassed. "Sigils are also glyphs used as foci for magic. Like it or not, I think we have to give the author that one."
"Whose Grave is this Faith?" he asked as he looked to where the headstone was. It had been desecrated and the head stone was lying in shattered fragments.
"It's headstone. Not 'head stone.' And you don't desecrate headstones," Honorificus said, sneering. "You desecrate graves, which, by the by, are not proper nouns. Really, for a rogue demon hunter, Wesley seems woefully uninformed."
Faith shrugged and picked up the pieces. They put them in her backpack to see if they could reassemble the stone at home and figure out from that why the grave had been dug up and the stone destroyed.
"I never figured Faith for being Jigsaw Puzzle Girl," Rhysdux mused.
"And of course, there is always the risk of reassembling the headstone with the sigil on it. There is no telling what might be summoned when the sigil is reformed."
"Actually, the fact that Faith is picking up all the pieces of the headstone and putting them in her backpack bothers me more. A granite headstone would probably weigh around 130 pounds, and a marble one would weigh about 230. That's a lot of weight even for a Slayer."
"Well, the author did say that the sigil was carved into wood, not stone," said Honorificus.
"Which makes no sense. Wooden tombstones warp and rot, and that fairly quickly." Rhysdux sighed loudly in exasperation.
Wesley jerked as he felt the mark over his heart flash, as it was apt to him when danger was near. Faith had one too. They had gotten them after they merged into the form of The Slayer. The group was still researching that as well.
" 'As it was apt to him'?" Honorificus clenched her fists. "Oh, if I could just get my hands on the author for five minutes…"
A message from the Council when they found out about the merged form said they were sending everything they had on The Ultimate Slayer and that included stuff that predated Christianity because maybe there was a clue in there that had been lost or missed when the texts were Christianized. Certainly the marks weren't Christian or Catholic in nature. Wesley thought he'd seen the mark before and the mark was much older that the cross.
"Very awkward sentence structure," said Rhysdux disapprovingly. " ' A message from the Council when they found out about the merged form said they were sending'--honestly. Wouldn't it have been simpler to say, 'When the Council found out that Wesley and Faith had merged, it sent all available information about The Ultimate Slayer'?"
"I, personally, applaud the vivid description of this story," drawled Honorificus. " 'Stuff that predated Christianity.' That gives me such a flawless image of the nature of the information."
"And why would the texts have been Christianized?" Rhysdux demanded. "Watchers are sticklers for accuracy. Why would they toss references to Christianity into a text written in ancient Greece or ancient Rome? That's falsifying records! No Watcher would even think of doing that!"
"Also, it's rather silly to distinguish between Christian and Catholic when talking about the beginnings of Christianity, as there WAS no Protestantism until the sixteenth century Anno Domini--and the author has already established that these texts are supposed to be thousands of years old. I ought to know," Honorificus added with a haughty sniff.
"'Much older that the cross'? " said Rhysdux incredulously. "Much older THAN the cross, I think Wesley meant."
"Ready?" Faith asked as she put the last pieces of marble into her bag.
Rhysdux stared in shock at Faith. "Wait a second! That headstone was made of wood a minute ago! What happened?"
"Your guess is as good as mine."
Wesley nodded and they walked back to Giles' place. The mark still stung but not as much as when he'd been standing over the grave. Something about that grave was very bad if what the marks told them was true. And so far, the marks had not once been wrong.
"So the marks are talking now?" inquired Honorificus. "Funny--I could have sworn that the marks just ached."
"Quiet night?" Giles asked as they came into the house. The PPC agents followed Wesley and Faith in, slipping indoors just before the door slammed shut.
Wesley nodded and then Faith set the bag down. "We did find a mystery though. There was a grave dug up, not opened, just dug up, and the headstone was shattered. There was a symbol on the coffin and there was something about it that made the mark over my heart burn in a not nice way. How is Ethan?"
"The sigil is on the coffin, not the headstone? Then why are they hauling the headstone around?" Honorificus glared at Wesley, as if demanding that he provide an answer.
"I like how the symbol made the mark over Wesley's heart burn in a 'not nice way.' Which implies that the symbol can make the mark burn in a good way." Rhysdux massaged her temples as she considered the Words again. "How can a grave be dug up but not open? If the grave isn't filled with dirt, isn't it open?"
"Rhys. How many times have I told you? You cannot be logical with Sues!"
"Ethan is getting better," the man himself said from the doorway where he leaned and then stared at Faith's bag. "And it would probably be a very good idea to get wards around that thing. It reeks Evil."
Honorificus groaned in pain. "This--is--too--much. That first sentence should be two! "Ethan is getting better," Ethan said, leaning against the door frame. Then he stared at Faith's bag.' It's simpler, clearer and makes more sense."
"Faith's bag reeking Evil." Rhysdux closed her eyes, looking thoughtful. "You know, that makes me think of makes me think of perfumes named Opium and Poison."
“There is a perfume called Evil,” Honorificus informed her. “It’s only for poseurs, though.”
"Shit!" Giles cursed as he threw wards quickly around Faith's bag and everything that was in it. "Can you tell what kind?" Giles asked the tired looking Englishman.
The agents blinked as Giles began pitching spells into and around the bag.
"It's rather like that old get-the-ball-in-the-milk-bucket game at fairs, isn't it?" Rhysdux smiled nostalgically. "Only no one ever pitches so perfectly."
"Since when does Giles cast spells before knowing that he is casting spells on?" Honorificus demanded.
Rhysdux snorted loudly. "Never mind that. Since when does Giles swear?"
“Except in British? Never.”
Ethan looked at it and his vision suddenly went double and blurry. "Big, bad and evil. What did the mark look like?" Ethan asked Faith and Wesley.
"It was an upside-down version of ours," Faith said.
Ethan paled. "Not him. Please not him," Ethan whispered.
"Big, bad and evil," said Honorificus dryly. "As opposed to little, nice and good, I suppose. Where does she come from that she does not know that when something is evil, it’s usually somewhere past mere badness?"
"And an upside-down version of Faith and Wesley's mark? That doesn't tell the readers anything. For all we know, the mark over both their hearts is a circle."
Honorificus frowned at Ethan Rayne. "The author said earlier, 'They had gotten the marks after they merged into the form of The Slayer. The group was still researching that as well.' Obviously they weren't researching TOO hard or they would have bothered to ask Ethan if he knew what the marks meant."
As the two debated, Ethan "stumbled over to a bookcase" and then "pulled down a book that gave Giles the chills just looking at it."
"Was it this?" Ethan asked opening the book to a certain page.
Wesley nodded and Ethan looked positively sick. "His name is never to be spoken," Ethan whispered. Someone in this world is still stupid enough to invoke him? What kind of moron would worship this…thing?"
"Ethan!" Giles yelled.
Ethan snapped out of his rant, threw wards on a piece of paper and wrote the name down so he wouldn't summon him with the writing of his name: DAHOK.
Giles looked at it and went pale. He too, knew what that name meant.
"Yes, it means the author is a Hercules and Xena fan!" Honorificus sneered at the name. "As if there weren't enough demons in the Jossverse--this author has to import one! One I used to babysit for!"
"I'll bet that he really loved eating the babies, too," murmured Rhysdux "I've read about him before. He's supposed to be one of Ahriman's helpers in Zoroastrianism. His real name is Azi Dahaka, which means 'fiendish snake.' He's part demon and part human, and looks like a man with two snakes sprouting from his shoulders. The snakes are supposed to have grown there when Ahriman kissed him. He's supposed to be eternally struggling for Hvareno, or Kingly Glory, against the spirit of Fire. Until the world is remade and he's chained on a mountain. Mount Demavand, I think."
"That's NOT the Hercules and Xena version," said Honorificus firmly. "In that universe, he's immortal evil and the god of darkness. He hates the Olympian gods, wanting to either imprison them or strip them of all power. Xena's Gabrielle had his baby, Hope--believe me, love had NOTHING to do with that--and Hope and Callisto eventually killed Xena's son, Solon. Dahok also caused Xena and Gabrielle to attempt to murder each other. Oh, and he killed Iolaus and took over his body, but Hercules and the late Iolaus defeated him later that season anyway."
Rhysdux reached into her backpack, retrieved a bottle of Bleeprin, opened it and removed eight pills. "Does the author ever explain any of this?" she asked, swallowing. Intercepting an incredulous glance from Honorificus, she raised her hands in a gesture of surrender. "Ah, Sue-logic. She doesn't have to; everyone reading the story knows all about the episodes of Hercules and Xena."
Meanwhile, Giles was staring at the name of the Zoroastrian demon with a mixture of shock and revulsion. "Oh, dear lord in Heaven…"
"I'd think calling on another god would do more to help us Ripper," Ethan said. "The God who sacrificed his own son to grandstand cannot help us in this fight. His angels feared this thing.
Rhysdux raised a Spockian eyebrow. "This is news. I'd think that Ahura Mazda would be Dahok's enemy, since Ahura Mazda was the Zoroastrian god of goodness and Ahriman's chief opponent. And I think most of the priests and nuns of my acquaintance would be surprised to learn that the Crucifixion was 'divine grandstanding.' "
"It takes real talent, though, to offend all branches of Christianity and Zoroastrianism at the same time," said Honorificus. "That kind of careless disregard for facts and feelings is the sort of thing we demons strive for."
"I'll get the books out, look for any way to stop this thing," Giles said. He watched as Wesley and Faith began to reassemble the headstone to see if they could find the name of the person Ethan called an idiot for invoking this Thing of Evil. Ethan was pale as a ghost as he looked. This frightened even the Lord of Chaos.
The agents watched bemused as Ethan briefly transformed into an inhuman and superlatively powerful native from Roger Zelanzy's Courts of Chaos.
That unnerved Giles but he had determined they would work through this. Somehow, they would work through this.
Honorificus glanced at the Words. "Oh, blessed celestials!" she swore. "Rhys--temporal-spatial distortion coming up--now!"
It wasn't much of a distortion. The agents remained in the same place--Wesley's and Faith's house, although now they were in the training room/cellar and not the library. Time was the only thing that significantly altered; it was now afternoon on the following day.
The Omniscient Author spoke up:
Chapter 2: Enemies
Faith grinned as she watched Wesley the next afternoon. Giles had become Watcher to both of them at their request so Wesley could focus on Slaying.
"Which means, I suppose, that Faith ISN'T supposed to focus on Slaying?" Rhysdux sighed. "Sexism rears its ugly head in Sunnydale. Women are expected to do everything."
Also, they were trying to teach Ethan to heal without chants. It seemed to take a great deal of love for him to heal people although he was getting better at it. Although it did clear up why he came to Sunnydale. He loved Giles.
Honorificus gaped. "He's been here for a year, and no one has ever figured out before now that Ethan is in love with Giles? Not even Giles himself?"
Apparently he loved the rest of them too because he'd been healing all of them. Now they were returning the favor. Joyce was making sure Ethan ate properly; they stopped teasing him about certain things he didn't know and his fascination with Candy Land and Shoots And Ladders.
"That's Chutes and Ladders," said Rhysdux. "Chutes, like playground slides. And Ethan wouldn't have known it as Chutes and Ladders, anyway; in Britain, the game is called Snakes and Ladders."
Giles had explained that being Ethan's deprived childhood, he'd never gotten to play those games.
"Giles IS Ethan's deprived childhood?" asked Honorificus. "I know they are supposed to be very close in this story, but this is ludicrous."
He played Cootie and Clue too and that amused Giles but he played with him. No longer their enemy, Ethan was family.
Rhysdux mimed playing a violin. "Yes, and we will just forget about Ethan's past, shall we? The Halloween costume shop that robbed people of their identities as part of a sacrifice to Janus, god of chaos? And then there was 'The Dark Age,' where he released Eyghon and tattooed Buffy with the Mark of Eyghon so that she would die instead of him. In 'Band Candy,' he was working with Trick to distribute the enchanted candy that made adults act like teenagers--all so that the demon Lurconis could nosh on some newborns as part of a tribute that comes due every thirty years. And in 'A New Man,' he turned Giles into a Fyarl demon! But none of this matters because now Ethan is family."
"He does sound like a member of my family," Honorificus admitted. “Not sure any human would want to adopt one of my primary mother’s spawn, though.”
Besides, the only person in any real danger on Halloween had been Buffy. Ethan had been watching over everyone else.
"The entire town?" Rhysdux looked skeptical. "I think we're definitely moving into demigod territory here."
Now, Faith looked up to see Angel and Spike coming in. Something was wrong, it was really, really wrong if the looks on their faces were anything to go by.
"Call everyone down," Angel said quietly.
Faith ran and got everyone together and they all sat in the basement. Joyce was going to have to have some renovations put on the house with everyone coming and going. Not that she would mind, she loved her surrogate family.
Honorificus sneered at the thought. "And paying tens of thousands of dollars for renovations is something no human objects to. By the way, why would Joyce have to pay for renovations when the house belongs to Wesley and Faith?"
"We got a problem. Besides the thing from beyond you and Wes discovered Watcher girl."
"Watcher girl? Faith?" Rhysdux shook her head. "See, this is why people need beta-readers."
"Really?" Faith asked Spike.
The bleached blond nodded. "Me and Angelus were out patrolling' near City hall when we came across that one vamp you and Wes mentioned Trick? Anyway, he's workin' with the Mayor who wants to ascend or something. Says he's been workin' towards this for more than 200 years and he's not gonna be stopped by nobody. Although he thinks we're goin' t' try," Spike informed them.
"Damn right we are," Angel said. "But we'll be doing it our way."
"When did Faith and Wesley mention Trick?" Honorificus inquired.
It was a rhetorical question, but Rhysdux sighed heavily and answered it anyway. "They didn't."
"He also doesn't think the merge was real," Spike said. "Even though every demon in Sunny Hell felt it, the Mayor don't believe it happened.
"Quite possibly because the Mayor isn't a demon yet," said Honorificus. "That's one reason that something every demon felt wouldn't be felt by the Mayor. He's no ordinary mortal, but still--he's not a demon. Not until Graduation Day."
Trick tried t' tell him it ain't the first time you two had done something unexpected and powerful but he thinks the legend of the Ultimate Slayer is just a bloody myth."
"If what we did wasn't imagined I'd say he's in for quite the shock," Wesley said as he and Faith went back to their mats.
Rhysdux stared at Wesley in shock. "You have marks over your hearts to commemorate the occasion on which you merged and created the Ultimate Slayer, and you're not sure it actually happened?"
"Canon," said Honorificus. "It's canon, struggling to reassert itself." She cupped her hands and called aloud. "Fight, little canon! Fight bravely!"
Wesley and Faith glanced carefully around the room before beginning to spar with each other. The room quieted down, leaving Giles alone with his thoughts.
When they had asked him to be Watcher to both of them it had honored him. Although, his father had said he was ideal for the two of them. He was used to weirdness, he cared honestly, and he would guide them to do what was right, not what was moral.
"Arrgh! Awkward sentence structure!" squawked Honorificus. " 'When they had asked him to be their Watcher, he had felt honored.' Also, that 'although' is completely unnecessary. Honestly, people!"
"How about guiding them to do what's right, and not what's moral?" said Rhysdux sardonically. "The last time I checked, moral meant 'concerned with goodness or badness of human character or behavior, or with the difference between right and wrong.' And right, in this context, means 'pertaining to just, morally or socially correct conduct or behavior.' You can't separate the two!"
Giles was slightly worried though. He'd known there was another Watcher who wanted Wesley. Not Faith, just Wesley. But you had to have both so Giles didn't understand. Travers had explained that Gabrielle had wanted to watch a Male Slayer all her life not realizing Male and Female Slayers, if the pairing was right, worked together under one Watcher. And Wes and Faith had chosen Giles to be their Watcher.
"A minute ago, Wesley's and Faith's decision sounded as if it were an unusual one for a pair of Slayers," said Honorificus, groaning. "Now it sounds almost traditional."
"Also, the author has really gone overboard with capitalization," added Rhysdux. "Capitalizing 'Watcher' and 'Slayer' is fine. But there is no reason to capitalize 'male' and 'female.' "
Giles had asked Travers and his father if he should be worried about her and they'd hesitated on answering him so he took that as a yes. Right now though, he had to figure out the Mayor. He couldn't send them in blind.
" 'Hesitated BEFORE answering him' or 'hesitated TO answer him,' snapped Honorificus. "And that sentence should be broken in two. 'Giles had asked his father and Quentin Travers if he should be worried about Gabrielle. They had hesitated before answering him, so he took that as a yes.' There is no need to jam everything into one sentence!"
"We'll make it Giles," Wesley said as he came to stand by him. "We can merge now and we get stronger it seems the more we work together. We'll make it."
"Commas! Commas! Commas!" wailed Honorificus " 'We'll make it--comma--Giles.' And that second line…"
"I know. It's a swag-bellied sentence," said Rhysdux sympathetically. "What he should have said was: ' We can merge now. Furthermore, it seems that the more we work together, the stronger we become.' "
"Mr. Giles?" A female voice called. Giles turned to it and found he was looking at someone he could guess was Gabrielle.
"That's an awe-inspiring description," remarked Honorificus. "'Someone.' That gives me a flawless picture of this pivotal character."
"Yes Miss Smith?" he asked.
She seemed surprised he knew her. "I'm here for my Slayer, Wesley," she said.
"Hi," mimicked Rhysdux. "I'm Gabrielle Smith, and I'm here to pick up a bottle of Wesley. I have a prescription…"
"I'm sorry Miss Smith, but Wesley and Faith chose me to be their Watcher."
"One Slayer per Watcher," she began, Giles cut her off first. "In most cases yes, but not in the case of the Merged form of The Slayer. Those two Slayers go under one Watcher. Faith and Wesley chose me."
"Oh, consecration. Paragraphs, people!" growled Honorificus. "When one character stops speaking, the author starts a new paragraph! And there is no need to capitalize 'merged' or 'the,' either."
"They Merged," she said in a whispered voice.
Giles nodded. "Yes indeed. It was most impressive. I can't wait to see what happens next time."
"He doesn't know what's going to happen next time!" snapped Rhysdux.
"No--but don't forget, Giles rather likes living on the edge, making new discoveries about demons and monsters. I hate this fic too--but Giles' behavior, in this instance, is canonical."
"No," the woman screamed in anger. "No, no, no, no! They were never supposed to merge! They weren't supposed to meet! Not this one and that one or Ethan and Sandra!"
"Sandra died you know so no, Ethan didn't meet her, but I must ask how you know about it as it was before your time. Please explain."
Honorificus looked at the almost totally comma-deprived sentence spoken by Giles and began to keen and wail.
"It's my job, you see," she said in a reasonable voice. I have to prevent the Merge. It's dangerous."
"Not according to the Council it isn't," Giles said. They led me to believe it was something they had been hoping for. Please leave now Miss Smith, Travers and my father both said Wes and Faith were mine."
"And now we're losing quotation marks, too," sighed Rhysdux.
"I don't understand why the Council would be hoping for a merge when it was established in the last story that no one on the Council knew what the Ultimate Slayer was or how perilous it might be to those around it."
Rhysdux chuckled. "I think you're catching logic from me, Honorificus."
"To mess up like you did Buffy Summers?" Gabrielle asked coldly.
"That was not his fault you bitch!" Willow screamed. "If it was any one's fault it was Merrick's. Giles did everything he could. Don't you dare come in and claim to know anything because you don't! Get out!"
"Where did Willow come from?" Rhysdux asked no one in particular. "And why is she blaming poor Merrick, who gave his life to save Buffy's when she was at Hemery High, when Xander said in the last story that Buffy changed after she was drowned by the Master?"
She rubbed her forehead, glanced at the bottle of Bleeprin in her hand, opened it and swallowed half the bottle. After a moment, Honorificus grabbed a bottle from her own backpack, opened it and swallowed the lot.
"You heard 'em, Gabby," a voice said from behind her. Everyone looked to see a man dressed in black leather looking like it was being held together by safety pins. "If I was you Blondie, I'd leave. Mr. Giles is The Watcher for the Ultimate Slayer. You ain't got no business here."
"Strife!" Gabrielle hissed.
Rhysdux turned to Honorificus, an exasperated expression on her face. "All right," she said wearily, tugging nervously at her waist-long auburn braid. "Who is Strife? If he’s supposed to be Discord or Eris, the author’s even further off than usual. Eris was the daughter of Nyx, who--"
"Please, no more mythology lessons. On Hercules or Xena, Strife is Ares' nephew and a god-wannabe. Villain, killed Hercules’ wife Serena. Also, he really shouldn't be here--Callisto killed him."
Rhysdux squinched her eyes shut and shuddered.
Walking over to Gabrielle, Strife "bowed mockingly. "You really think we'd let you stop it? I made a mistake with Ethan, but I made it better with Wesley.”
“Huh? He made a better mistake with Wesley?” asked Honorificus.
“You wont touch either of them again." So saying the man knocked her out and snapped his fingers. She vanished.
Rhysdux muttered something about how one missing apostrophe could completely change the meaning of a word from "will not" to "habit or custom," but otherwise said nothing.
Then he looked at the people in the room. "Strife, God of Mischief, at your service."
The Omniscient Author interrupted:
Chapter 3: Mischief, the Messenger
However, it is doubtful if anyone was listening. Slayers and Scoobies alike were focused on Strife; Honorificus was brooding over the fact that some supernatural beings were lucky enough to have entire pages in Hesiod's Theogony and Homer's epics dedicated to them; and Rhysdux was trying to figure out how to defeat a god without getting killed.
As soon as Gabrielle was gone, Giles looked at the being called Strife. "Can you explain this to us? What is the Ultimate Slayer?" he asked.
"The Ultimate Slayer," Strife said with a giggle, "Is a being with a lot of power. The world ain't seen a being like him in millennia. Not since the Twilight."
"The Gotterdammerung, or twilight of the gods, is a Norse concept, not a Greek one," said Rhysdux between gritted teeth. "Furthermore, it's not supposed to occur until the end of the world. Get that through your ignorant, ungrammatical head."
"But Xena's daughter by the goddess Callisto, Eve, helped to bring about the Twilight of the Greek Gods," said Honorificus. "It did happen on the show."
Rhysdux stared incredulously at Honorificus. "Xena had a daughter by another woman? Arrgh! This is as bad as mpreg!"
“I can tell you were never into Xena fandom the way my Super-Wimpy Alter-Ego was.”
Giles looked at him. "The Ultimate Slayer is a man?" he asked. Strife grinned. "He's more than Just a man. Every Slayer who has ever been since they came about is one of his children by blood. He's the absolute Best at removing Evil. It's up to you all to call him. Ya know that's what you're heading for with every merge and fight you get into. Ya get closer and closer to summonin' him and freein' the others."
"There is no need to capitalize 'just,' 'best' or 'evil," Honorificus said with considerable annoyance.
"Your family, correct," Giles asked. He was almost sure of the identity of The Ultimate Slayer but he would not say it quite yet.
"Why did Miss Smith want us not to summon him? With an Ascension coming I would think we could use all the help we can get," Wesley said softly.
Strife sighed and sat down. "Gonna have to tell you a story," he said. "A very long time ago, the Gods walked the Earth, and they had power. Power they used to keep a balance, Power they controlled so the world wouldn't self-destruct.
"Funny," said Rhysdux icily. "I seem to recall the Greek gods destroying the world with a flood and giving a box full of destructive evils to mankind and telling them not to open the box. Not to mention all the mortals who got turned into trees and animals for being impudent to gods, or breaking the laws of gods, or seeing the gods, or even being loved by the gods. Kind and benevolent, they were NOT."
Strife continued his story. "Anyway, this group callin' themselves The Way wanted to destroy the Gods. Claimed they had too much Power and wanted it all to go to their one god. They went on preaching how Evil the Gods were an' all. Took their followers where their strength to control the mess humans made f the world and caused The Twilight.
Honorificus stared blankly at the Words. "I have no idea what that last sentence meant."
"Didn't you just say that Xena's daughter helped bring about the Twilight?"
"Not to mention Xena herself. She killed a fair number of gods on the show--Poseidon, Hades, Athena…"
"So what's this group The Way?"
"Actually, it was a controversial episode that involved Xena going on a spiritual journey to India and finding peace with the Hindu god Krishna." Honorificus smirked. "Quite a lot of Hindus got angry about that episode."
"So this episode had nothing to do with monotheism?"
"Well, a bit. There was a prophet named Eli who preached The Way and a single god, but it was never specified who that god was."
Gabrielle, who was once one of Uncle Pol's bards, became a hard-core, close-minded, bigot for the Way. Thing was, for a Way of Peace and Love, if you wouldn't follow 'em, they killed ya.
"Not true," said Honorificus stiffly. "I don't recall Gabrielle ever worshipping Apollo, though she was a bard at one point. She did adopt the 'way of love' after the trip to India, but it didn't last long. When Xena was due to be crucified by the Romans, Gabrielle fought back and killed seven Romans in Xena's defense. It didn't do much good. Both of them ended up being crucified…and after Gabrielle and Xena were resurrected, Gabrielle wasn't as interested in the 'way of love' or in non-violence."
Rhysdux nodded. "I can see why. Crucifixion must be a great convincer in that respect."
Strife was still continuing with his tale. "Uncle Ares was the guardian of Mankind. God of War, Avenger, Protector, Defender and…"
"Slayer," Faith said putting 2 and 2 together.
"Hold it!" Rhysdux demanded, at the last minute forcing herself not to shout. "Ares wasn't an Avenger! Vengeance was the job of the Erinyes, the Furies…or, if you prefer, the Eumenides--the Kindly Ones. They went after those who had shed the blood of their kin, or who hadn't shed the blood of their kin's murderers."
Honorificus nodded. "Yes, and that's the role they played in the series, too. Ares was mostly a villain who liked to start wars and kill people. I found him incredibly sexy."
Rhysdux rolled her eyes. “You and your lust objects, H. How many plot holes in the Xenaverse by now, by the way?”
“At least five. I’ll have to go over them with BK the Irregular later. Did you know he just took over the Department of Implausible Crossovers?”
“He did? They finally got someone to do that job?” Rhysdux was practically in tears. “Bless the man! He’ll make things so much easier on us.”
Strife nodded and took a breath. "When the twilight came, Unc, sensing the danger Man-Kind would be in from some of the evil in the world, laid his seed in people all over the world. Giving birth to The Slayers. Aunt Athena, being who she was,
made a group of Wise men to protect and train the Slayers, and to Guide and help them. This group, she called The Watchers.
"Of course, that's been completely Jossed by Season Seven," said Rhysdux. "And there is no reason to capitalize 'guide,' either."
Once that was done, Uncle Dio/Bach planted seeds in certain vampires that would make them question being evil as he knew his children would be corrupted by The Light. Spike here is one of them.
"Excuse me?" harrumphed Honorificus. "The god Bacchus was a vampire on Xena. He captured virgins and forced them to drink his blood so that they would become feral girls called Bacchae. Not to mention that Xena killed him by jabbing a Dryad bone in his chest in 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' The last thing he would have done would be to cause vampires to question their very nature. How twisted is the theology on this thing, anyway?"
The Light twisted Angelus long before Liam O'Rourke was changed. It weren't his fault he is the way he is Mr. Giles.
Rhysdux glared at Strife. "So help me, I'm going to invoke the goddess Grammatica on that boy."
"And where did Liam O'Rourke come from?" Honorificus wondered aloud.
Rhysdux shrugged. "Maybe the author thought it sounded more original than O'Connor."
Anyway, what we didn't foresee happening was Gabrielle killin the Male Slayer's off as babies.
"Kill-ING! Not 'killin'!" growled Honorificus. "And plurals do not take an apostrophe! 'Male Slayers,' not 'male Slayer's.' "
"I can't imagine why they didn't foresee the deaths of the male Slayers," said Rhysdux in an honestly perplexed voice. "Between Apollo, Dionysus--all right, Bacchus, if you like that better--and Demeter, there were plenty of Olympians who dealt in prophecy."
Honorificus glanced pleadingly at her mortal partner. "Rhys. Please. Let's just kill all the Sues, exorcise the possessed ones and get out of here."
"I wish we could," sighed Rhysdux. "Unfortunately, we have to wait till the climatic battle to nab most of them."
Strife, meanwhile, continued to discuss Gabrielle.
She knew the Male Slayers, if they ever found their match in Female Slayers, could achieve the merged form. That would give Unc strength and possibly free Olympus if the Ultimate Slayer were called. So, she stole a golden Apple and became immortal. Ever since she's been killing' every male Slayer she came across.
"And yet more random capitalization," Honorificus groaned. "WHY does she have 'male', 'female' and 'apple' capitalized?"
Rhysdux scratched her head. "I still don't understand why the Greek gods got stuck on Olympus in the first place. I mean…they're gods." She squinted at the cellar ceiling. "Did Gabrielle ever become immortal?"
"Well, she died a few times, but she never ate one of the golden apples of the Hesperides, if that is what you're asking. In 'You Are There,' Xena and Gabrielle did go on an expedition to the Hesperides and they did get two golden apples, but they gave the apples to Ares and Aphrodite, so that the Olympians, who had lost their divinity, would be gods again…" Honorificus stopped at the look of anguish on Rhysdux's face. “Short answer: no.”
When I figured it out, I hid the first one. I hid him too well. The Watcher's couldn't find him. I am truly sorry about that Giles, Ethan. I thought better hidden and alive than in sight and dead.
"But now I've changed my mind," said Honorificus, mimicking Strife's 'surfer dude' tone. "Death is way better, man."
I also hid you form her Giles. But I nudged you to the Council. It's a rare person that can father a male Slayer that isn't an uncalled one himself. You were special. I think Aunt Athena wanted it like that. You would father a male Slayer who could use magic. An extra advantage in a fight.
"So apparently Giles is really Wesley's biological father?" Rhysdux held her head in her hands for a few minutes and moaned. Then she dug deeply into her backpack, tossed the empty Bleeprin bottle in, retrieved a full one, opened it, and swallowed a third of the pills in one gulp.
Anyhoo, we were waitin' for this for a long time. Now that it's happened, we want to be sure it keeps on track."
"Excuse me," Giles said. "How are you here if Olympus was blocked off?"
Strife snickered. "I wasn't on Olympus when the light put the block up. I been here ever since, playin' with kids…Right Ethan?"
Giles heard Ethan laugh. "Yes, Strife. Playing with children. Especially those in abusive homes. You were my best friend then and in some ways you still are. You never abandoned me…"
"Ugh," said Rhysdux, shuddering. "Strife being here ever since, playing with kids…it just smacks of pedophilia."
"Especially when Ethan adds the part about Strife having a particular fondness for those in abusive homes," Honorificus agreed with distaste. "It really does sound as if he's preying sexually on the weakest and the most vulnerable."
"Yeah, well, I got a visit from Michael the other day. He actually apologized. No babies were supposed to be killed. It kind of upset Yahweh as well as Unc and me. I hear he's looking for the one who told gabby where the babies were so they can be punished. I asked whoever t was being sent to Uncle Hades. He's the one who gets thus souls. So, now ya know why and what for with gabby, tell me about the Ascension shit so I can tell Unc."
Rhysdux closed her eyes. "Michael?"
"An unfortunately honorable archangel. He had real potential when he was on Hercules, but then he unfortunately heeded advice not to destroy the Earth with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After that, it was all downhill--defending Xena and Gabrielle from the forces of Hell, helping redeem Callisto, who was THE villainess of the series…it was just a tragic waste. I had high hopes for him, considering his taste for leather, but noooooo…"
Rhysdux buried her head in her hands and moaned.
Giles nodded and told Strife everything they knew so far about the Ascension and watched, as Strife seemed to focus elsewhere. He could only hope Ares, God of War, could somehow help them.
"Ares? Helpful?" Honorificus sneered. "Not for 90% of the series, he wasn't." She tapped Rhysdux on the arm. "Rhys? Does Gabrielle show up again in the story?"
Rhysdux slowly raised her head and blearily scanned the Words. "No. She appeared, she threatened, she fell into a plothole."
"Pause the fic. Let's go find her. One thing we do NOT need is to have an outraged Xena on our case, demanding to know where her best friend is."
Rhysdux hit the pause button. "I hope that the pause lasts long enough," she fretted. "I really have to have Warren Meers do some maintenance work on my equipment."
"It shouldn't take too long," retorted Honorificus. "We're looking for a big, person-sized hole in the cellar floor. How hard can that be?"
In fact, it wasn't. Both of them swiftly found a large, black, circular hole perhaps a foot from Strife only seconds later.
"She must still be in there," said Rhysdux. "She doesn't emerge anywhere else in the story."
Rhysdux took a deep breath and nodded.
They stepped into the plothole.
The plothole was cold, bleak and damp, like a prison cell. It was also as black as the dark side of the moon, and as barren of warmth and light as a tax collector's heart. Somewhere nearby, water was dripping with a maddeningly rhythmic plop…plop…plop. Indefinable things rustled, squealed and slithered in the endless darkness.
Honorificus thought it was exquisite.
"Ooooh! I love the ambiance!" she said cheerily. "This décor is perfect. You know, so few people get dungeons or torture chambers right these days."
"Honorificus." Rhysdux's voice was a dry whisper. "My flashlight isn't working. I think Strife has forbidden any man-made light or fire. You're going to have to illuminate this place."
Honorificus pouted. "But I like it as it is!"
"Do you like it enough to want us to be stuck here when the fic ends?"
"You're always so logical!" Honorificus made it sound like an incurable disease. "Oh, all right."
Instantly, the plothole was flooded with light, as if someone had flipped on a switch.
Rhysdux shaded her eyes and glanced around the plothole until she spotted a lone blonde woman in a grey business suit leaning against the wall. "There she is," she whispered. "Now, to exorcise her…I don't suppose you'd want to do this? You know the holy names."
"I'm a DEMON! We don't exorcise each other. However…I will tell you the names." She whispered them to Rhysdux, who nodded, grabbed the Buffy TV logo from her backpack, and then stepped forward.
Gabrielle glanced up at Rhysdux's approach. "Whoever you are, you have to help me," she said in an utterly reasonable tone. "You have no idea how dangerous it would be to unleash the Ultimate Slayer on the world. The destruction will be…horrific. Unimaginably horrific. If the two who have merged don't die, that is."
"You know, you're really NOT convincing my partner that you should be exorcised. But never mind." Rhysdux brandished the logo and began to chant. "In the name of Robert G. Tapert, Renaissance Pictures and Studio USA, and in the name of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Enterprises, I cast you out, spirit of angst, melodrama and character distortion! Out, phantasm of the author's woman-hating imagination! Out, and into the void where you belong!"
A dark shadow (which bore a faint resemblance to a twenty-first-century woman) detached itself from Gabrielle, wailing, "It's not FAIR! I improved both shows by getting rid of Xena and that bitch Buffy! You're MEAN!" With a last sobbing scream, it faded.
Gabrielle stood up slowly. "What was that?" she said in a bewildered tone.
"Oh, just a demon," said Honorificus airily. "Nothing important."
Incredulous, Gabrielle turned toward Honorificus.
The two agents donned their sunglasses. There was a flash of blinding light.
"Gabrielle, this has all been a horrible nightmare," said Honorificus briskly. "You won't remember any of it clearly, and you won't want to. Rhys?"
Rhysdux opened a portal to ancient Greece. "Go through there," she said, pushing Gabrielle very gently in the portal's direction. "Xena's waiting for you."
Gabrielle, still looking as if she were sleepwalking, stumbled through the portal.
As the portal closed, the plothole, which no longer had any reason to exist now that Gabrielle was gone, began to convulse, then shrink.
Rhysdux clicked the PLAY FIC button, scanned the Words and winced. "I hope that the Portal Generator has enough power for this," she muttered as she programmed in the coordinates.
Rhysdux pressed ENTER. A wavering doorway appeared in the air.
Just before the plothole collapsed on itself for good, the agents leaped.
The Omniscient Author greeted them as they scrambled out of the portal:
Chapter 4: Olympus
Rhysdux bit her lip. "Oh, I wish I'd brought my camera. How many mortals get to see Olympus?"
"It's nothing special," Honorificus said, looking unimpressed. "That whole Classical look is absolutely dreary. And togas? So three millennia ago."
One of the Olympians seemed to echo Honorificus' thoughts.
"It's quiet and boring up here now," Ares thought as he walked through Olympus with Joxer.
"JOXER?" shouted Honorificus in outrage. "Oh, that's insane!"
"And Joxer is--?"
Honorificus stared at her partner. "Please! You have to know that!"
"I don't," said Rhysdux patiently. "So tell me."
"Joxer is a skinny mortal who wants to be a great warrior and a fantastic ladies' man, just like his dear old dad. Unfortunately for him, he's hopelessly inept at both, so he's usually the butt of jokes. But loyal. Very loyal. And good-hearted."
Rhysdux considered for a moment. "So what you're saying is, he's Xena's Xander. You're right; I can't picture Xander on Olympus."
Ares' thoughts interrupted at this point.
Everyone was subdued at the meetings, knowing they were needed but being unable to go to them. He sighed as he walked in with Strife's news.
"We didn't imagine it," he said as he took his seat. "The merged form was achieved."
The agents watched with bemusement as a meeting room--filled with gods who were unable to go to the meetings--formed on Olympus.
"Strange that Ares didn't know until now whether the merged form had been achieved or not," observed Honorificus. "Especially since he IS the merged form."
"It was?" Cupid asked.
Ares nodded. "Strife is with them now. He explained what happened and where the Slayers came from. Pol, one of the two males is a healer like those two at the end of the dark ages. He never got to meet his match."
"Gabrielle?" Apollo asked.
Apollo swore. He was going to kill the little bitch for this.
"Hey!" yelled Rhysdux. "Don't blame Gabrielle for what the author made her do!"
"Which isn't going to have happened anyway, once we get done," added Honorificus with a shrug. "Honestly, gods. One small misstep, and they're ready to kill you or send you to hell. I mean, we demons do the same thing, but at least we're honest about it."
"How is he, did Strife say?"
"He is healing himself from saving the rest of the people in Sunnydale from an unbalanced Slayer. She should never have been called. I think his name is Ethan Rayne. He's the one Strife goofed with. Ethan doesn't hold a grudge though."
Honorificus whimpered. “’Doesn’t hold a grudge . . .’ Ethan, my Ethan, what has this creature done to you?”
"It wasn't Strife's fault. I still had enough power to interfere if I'd paying half attention."
" 'If I'd been paying attention' or 'if I had paid attention,' " Rhysdux snapped. "Get the grammar right!"
"You'll be with him soon Cupid," Ares said suddenly jerking straight. "Sooner than even I thought if that was what I thought it was."
Ares faded from the table as if he was being pulled somewhere else and Zeus summoned a scrying pool. The gods of Olympus found themselves watching a fight of epic proportions on the screen.
"Why does this remind me of a bar where the patrons are all watching a championship boxing match?" Honorificus asked no one in particular.
"What the Tartarus is that?" Aphrodite asked. The demon was huge and mostly teeth. It appeared to be about to munch on babies.
Rhysdux shot Aphrodite an incredulous look. "Uh, right. Dahok's the arch-nemesis of all Olympians, you've been fighting him for half-past forever, and you don't know what he looks like?"
"Oh, Cronos," Hera said as she saw the band fighting the demon. Mostly children, three adults, and then the two Slayers who were the warrior type. Faith and Wesley, Ares had said.
"Children!" Rhysdux protested indignantly. "If this is a year after the last story, Xander and Willow should be in college! Dawn would be a minor, but the others, no."
"I wonder if Hera is counting Angel and Spike as children?" mused Honorificus. "Joyce, Giles and Ethan would be the adults, I suppose."
And now, overlying them and joining them into one form was Ares himself.
"Time to go," said Rhysdux, as she punched the coordinates for the sewers of Sunnydale.
An oblong doorway opened in the air, and the agents leaped through.
It came as no surprise to Rhysdux or to Honorificus to hear the Omniscient Author speaking as they exited the portal.
Chapter 5: The Essence Answers The Call
When the babies had vanished from the hospital, everyone panicked. When it was learned the Mayor had done a photo shoot with the Future of Sunnydale, Wesley and Faith had begun to patrol, looking for them. Giles had gone looking for things that ate babies. He'd found it in a filth dwelling demon.
Honorificus shuddered in horror as Dahok briefly transformed from a demon into sentient filth that lived inside a demon. "One hyphen can make such a huge difference!" she sobbed.
The battle had been joined immediately as they found out where it dwelled and hit the sewers. It was a whole ceremony set up for this demon to come feast on the innocents.
"The battle was a ceremony that enabled the demon to feast on innocents?" Rhysdux asked. "Because 'it was a whole ceremony' seems to refer back to the battle mentioned in the previous sentence."
Not if Giles could help it. Not if Wes and Faith and any of the others could help it.
They had started as separate beings but then the demon had come out. Wes and Faith had immediately known the demon was two big for them to take separately so they'd done their best to merge. Knowing it wouldn't happen until it was needed they fought until they were slammed into each other and the wall behind them.
"TOO big," growled Honorificus. "Not two big. Egad."
The power had come then. They could feel it; they had called the Essence again. And with it this time, came the consciousness of the being they were summoning. 'Be at ease, my children,' he said into their minds as he touched them to begin the merge.
'I am here to aid you.' The one being, now three in one stood and faced the demon as the merge completed itself. Faith and Wesley's hair and coloring, green eyes, the hair length longer than Wes' but shorter than Faith's tall like Wesley, slender like them both, faith's bone structure.
"Don't Wesley and Faith have brown hair and brown eyes?" Rhysdux asked Honorificus. "Where did the green eyes come from? And how can the hair be longer than Wesley's, shorter than Faith's, but tall like Wesley?"
“Wesley has blue eyes. Well, blue-gray, going bluer when he gets all angry and dark . . .” Honorificus sighed happily. Rhysdux almost envied her partner the ability to lose herself in sexual fantasies even in the midst of the darkest of Sue-fics. Almost.
“Will you get back to business?” Rhysdux snapped.
“Fine, whatever. Can I please stage a discreet intervention now?”
“I think the time’s right.”
It faced the demon and now everyone could hear a third voice over laying Faith and Wes' voices. "I warned you," the third voice said to the demon. "Three times I warned you in Ancient Times. Did you think I'd allow this to continue?"
"Funny," said a tall, sensuous, chestnut-haired woman as she stepped out of the shadows. "That's just what I was about to say." Ignoring Wesley, Faith, Ares the Ultimate Slayer and the Scoobies, she turned to the immense and toothy demon, folded her arms across her chest and scowled.
"Dahok. What do you think you're doing, posing as Lurconis? You know how annoyed he gets when people pretend to be him; it's not as if he has followers beating down the Gates of Hell to perform his rituals. And here YOU are, stealing his sacrifices. How rude. And could you possibly have come up with a worse disguise? You think that big and toothy equals giant demon snake? Puh-LEESE. Honestly, if I were still your babysitter, I'd bless you with prayers of unknown saints!"
The toothy demon began to shriek and wail.
"Excuse me," said Giles hesitantly, "but who are you?"
"Oh, she's a demon," said a short slim redhead as she, too stepped out of the shadows. "And she's very good at it." She glanced indifferently at the wailing demon. "Dahok? Hi. Mortal. Not impressed. Time for you to go." She lifted her right hand and brandished an Genuine Fake Replica Xena Chakram and a BtVS logo in the direction of Dahok. "In the name of Robert G. Tapert, Renaissance Pictures and Studio USA, and in the name of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Enterprises, I cast you out! Back, demon of darkness! Back, demon of destruction! Back to the Hercules-and-Xenaverse, from whence you came!"
Dahok screamed as he dissolved, and Strife disappeared along with him. Rhysdux turned toward the Scoobies. “In the name of Joss and Mutant Enemy, I command thee, foul Suvians, to leave these canon characters and to return to the depraved and diseased imagination from whence you came! Out, foul fiends, OUT, and RETURN NO MORE!”
An ugly shadow burst from Ethan, crying, "NOOOOOOOOO! I like Ethan! I want him to be GOOD!" before it faded to oblivion. The other Scoobies writhed briefly before wispy Suvians fled from their forms as well.
There was, understandably, a long silence after that.
"Where did they go?" Willow asked, frowning in puzzlement.
"Back to their own dimension," Rhysdux replied. "They won't do any more harm here."
Ares, now solid and separate from Wesley and Faith, lunged toward Rhysdux. "Wait till I get my hands on you. Tartarus would be pleasant compared to your fate. You'll beg the Furies to drive you to madness--"
"Rhys! Look who I found!" interrupted Honorificus. She pulled two filthy, sodden figures to their feet--Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and Faith, both looking considerably the worse for wear.
The Scoobies stared at the soaked and soiled man and woman, and then at the two they knew as the male and female Slayers.
"Okay," said Xander slowly. "I'm going to say, this being the Hellmouth, and neither Wes nor Faith having twins, that this isn't a good sign."
"Don't worry," said Wesley the male Slayer as he proudly displayed a finely cantilevered crossbow. "We can destroy these fakes. We have the power."
"We're the real thing," snapped the grubbier of the two Faiths. "You guys are the Xerox copies."
Honorificus cleared her throat. "You know, I don't like it down here. It's dirty and it smells and sewage is just a nightmare to get out of raw silk. So we'll be relocating…now."
In an instant, all of them--Giles, Joyce, Angel, Spike, Ethan, Dawn, Xander, Willow, Ares, the two Wesleys, the two Faiths and the PPC agents--found themselves back in the cellar training room.
"Why do I even bother to use a Portal Generator when you're around?" Rhysdux asked. "Oh, never mind. Doppelganger Stu, posing as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, and Doppelganger Sue, posing as Faith, you are charged with the following: Causing personality alterations and character ruptures in Gabrielle, Ethan Rayne and Rupert Giles. Causing improbable romantic and sexual liaisons between canon characters, i.e., Ethan/Giles, without any explanation of Ethan went from doing evil and chaotic things to loving Giles and Giles loving him. Causing Ethan to act like a fool in his second childhood--honestly, Candy Land and Cootie?” Ethan was, at this point, looking like he desperately wanted to exact some revenge for the indignities inflicted upon him. Rhysdux hurried on before he could get any bright ideas. “Causing villainous male characters Strife, Apollo and Ares to be somehow both Designated Misogynistic Bastards and Sweet, Fluffy Good Guys. Creating Slayers who are the descendants of the Greek god of war. Creating gratuitous uncanonical parentage and confusing family trees--Giles is NOT Wesley's father. Causing events to eventuate so that you three could take center stage…"
Honorificus stepped into the breach as her partner paused for breath. "Changing the social structures and conventions of a canonical society by inventing male Slayers. I said it before and I'll say it again--there are no male Slayers! Slayers are girls! And women, if they live long enough. One GIRL who is the Chosen One in all the world! Changing timelines without explanation. Intermingling the histories of two wildly disparate universes without even attempting to convey the background of both realms. Altering history and/or the known back story of characters Gabrielle, Ethan, Giles, Buffy and Wesley. Giving Ethan the powers of a demigod so that he could protect the town. Use of bad plot devices. Employing deus ex machina in the form of the Ultimate Slayer. Punctuation errors, particularly apostrophe apathy, haphazard hyphenation and cruelty to the common comma. Spelling errors." She glanced at Rhysdux. "Anything else you want to charge them with?"
"Displaying extreme stupidity, causing canon characters to act with extreme stupidity, causing others to employ melodramatics, reducing all female characters to nullities or to villainesses while deifying all male characters, denying your Suehood and being atrocious examples of Marty Stus and Mary Sues of the Doppelganger variety--"
"--and for annoying the deepest Hell out of PPC agents, you are condemned to die." Honorificus sighed ecstatically. "I just love saying that."
Rhysdux then turned to Ares. "Ares, god of war, also known as the Ultimate Slayer, Deus Dubiosus and Marty Stu, you are charged with the same. However, since you are a canon character, we can't kill you, much as we would like to."
"Really," drawled Ares. "Good thing for you, sweetie. Killing a god brings down a terrible curse."
"Oh, I know," said Rhysdux, smiling unpleasantly. "That's the other reason we're not going to kill you. However…there's nothing in the rules that says we can't make you WISH you were dead. While you're here, in the form of a Stu, you're really not invulnerable, so . . ."
She reached into her backpack, retrieved her double-headed axe and caressed its hilt gently for a moment before continuing. "Either you can go back where you belong--to your world and your dimension--or Honorificus and I can play with you…forever and ever and ever. Your choice--sweetie."
Ares gazed at her with utter horror for a minute, and then vanished.
“Hmph!” grunted Honorificus. “I believe I’m insulted.”
A babble of frantic, nervous, angry voices broke out. The agents exchanged glances, then donned their sunglasses.
Once more, there was a flash of light. Honorificus swiftly imparted to the stunned Scoobies that everything that had occurred so far was a ghastly nightmare unworthy of remembrance.
"Look!" shouted the Doppelganger Sue. "This has gone on long en--"
"Bored now," said Honorificus. She morphed into demonic form, using her four arms to knock out both Sue and Stu simultaneously. "Rhys? Any idea what we can do with these two?"
Rhysdux grinned. "Oh, yeah."
Five minutes later, the two agents were in Season Two's Sunnydale High, observing four fish monsters (former members of the Sunnydale swim team), happily chowing down on a midnight snack of doppelganger du jour.
"Poor starved monsters," said Honorificus with a frown. "I don't think Coach Marin feeds them often enough."
Within minutes, the last morsel of doppelganger had been swallowed. The whole world seemed to sigh with relief as canon snapped back into place.
"Finally!" said Honorificus. "Let's go home. I hear BK keeps a stash of Romulan Ale on hand. Wanna hit him up for some?"
"Definitely." Rhysdux began to set the coordinates for OBAFU.
Then they heard it--the sinister voice of the Omniscient Author.
TBC IN The Ultimate Slayer 3: The Coming of the Ultimate.
Honorificus screamed. "Not ANOTHER sequel! Is there no end to her cruelty?"
Rhysdux jabbed desperately at the ENTER button. "Work, damn it, work…! Ah, good," she added, as a flickering doorway opened in the air. "Let's get the hell out of here. Now."
And with that, they leaped.
The Ultimate Slayer 2: The Being of Light by Kate
R. was PPC'd without permission. The original may be found at
Information about the Zoroastrian daeva Azi Dahaka may
be found at
Information about the Herc/Xena Dahok may be found at
Information about the characters on Xena may be found
Information about Gabrielle may be found at
Background on Bacchus can be found here:
You Are There synopsis can be found at:
Information on Eris, Discord and Ares can be found at
Secondly, this was a tricky story to do, because the author assumed that her readers automatically knew all information about both the Buffyverse and the Xenaverse. As you can see, the Xenaverse doesn't usually match established folklore, so PPCing this story required some research to make sure that the plot wasn't violating canon in the Xenaverse as well as the Buffyverse.
Once again, this author succeeded in reducing female characters to mere names (Joyce, Willow and Dawn); erasing them altogether (Buffy and Cordelia); transforming heroines into villainesses (Gabrielle); or making them subordinate to the male characters (Faith, who is definitely presented as being the lesser partner to Wesley--he, the "one in a million" male Slayer is the important one).
I really wanted to kill Ares, since Ares is presented as being a protector and defender of mankind, something that would have surprised the developers of Hercules and Xena (for Ares was a foe of Hercules and was almost always an opponent of Xena). It also would have surprised the ancient Greeks. Ares was considered important, but not kind or nurturing. Unfortunately, he was and is a canon character. Too bad.]