Standard Disclaimers Apply
History of a Future
With a Different Past um Sorta
1 Exactly like Nimrod!
"So, lemme get this straight. We combine you, Tara and Giles' mojo might, Anya's remaining link to the reality altering powers of vengeance demons and the dimension weakening powers of Dawn's Key-ness and then throw in a desire for something that can protect Dawn from Glory and see what we get?" Xander paced the Magic Box looking for support in the face of insanity.
Willow blushed. "The goal of the spell isn't just 'thrown in', this is a very old spell from a respectable source, the openness of the desired results allows the ritual to use our resources in the most powerful way possible, even if we wouldn't have known the outcome was an option before we started. It should bring us the best hope for Dawn."
"And I'm all in favor of protecting Dawn, we all know that. It's just an open ended desire for something that will solve our current problem... you do realize this is exactly how the X-Men ended up fighting Nimrod!" He coughed and blushed as the various blank looks informed him that no, no one else realized this nor had the slightest idea what a relevant point he had just made. "Anya! Lovely, formerly wish twisting girlfriend of mine, surely you can see the ways in which trawling the cosmos for something that can defeat a hellgod could go bad?"
The former demon nodded in a businesslike fashion. "Certainly unexpected side effects are a possibility when you make generalized wishes. While I would generally use a broad interpretation to make results as gruesome as possible, even I didn't expect the repercussions of Cordelia's wish when I granted it." She carefully restacked her money before turning to the credit card machine. "In this case the controlling force isn't malevolent, but it is highly chaotic, and we should probably expect some additional results besides what we want out of it."
"See? Open ended requests and chaos. Dangerous combo."
"As opposed to that safe and fluffy combination that is an insane and evil goddess?" Xander had almost forgotten Buffy, she had been so still, but now she was clearly ready to talk. "Look, I know you're trying to be voice of reason guy, and maybe this will leave us with some cleanup when the dust settles, but we are desperate! Too many people know about Dawn! You saw what Spike looked like when Glory was through with him, what if she had grabbed someone else?"
Giles looked as deeply offended as his British reserve would allow. "Are you implying that Spike is more dedicated to Dawn than the rest of us?"
"Of course she's not, G-Man!" Amazing Donut-Boy powers of smoothing things over, activate! "But dedication is only one factor in resistance to interrogation, and well, not that I like to think about it, but between a fledgehood under Angelus, PT-ing himself back from a shattered spine and dealing with the chip for over a year, the Bleached Un-Menace pretty much has his Post-Doc in surviving torture. And while one of us might have held out, can you honestly say you would have had the physical reserves to get as far in escaping as he did?" He hated to see the defeat in the older man's eyes, but Xander had accepted his relative strength within the group long ago and others could too.
"No, I suppose you're right, though the first part of that sounded suspiciously like something you picked up one Halloween..."
"Heh, it's gotten so mixed in with war films and Tom Clancy books I'm never quite sure what's residual and what's Hollywood anymore." But the tense moment had passed, and he figured he might as well complete the round of concessions. "Okay, Buffy, you're right. Glory is the biggest danger we've ever seen, and that's saying something, so whatever horrible unexpected consequence comes out of this, we'll just defeat it eventually too. I'll put in my final vote for more focus even at the cost of power and consider myself overruled."
Buffy smiled her thanks and went to corner Willow on how exactly her sister's 'Key-ness' would be harnessed while Dawn slid up beside Xander. "So, speaking of Spike, how is he doing? Buffy won't let me visit him yet, and I don't know if it's squick from the 'bot or if she doesn't want me scared by how badly he was hurt."
With a brief thought to how much better the him-crush had been, he gave the teen a hug. "He's improving fast, I dropped by with some blood before I came here and he's already on his feet. If we didn't need you to be part of the ritual, Buffy would probably have you staying with him during it."
"So you think she still trusts him?"
"Dawn, you can always trust Spike to be Spike. And while that includes a truly impressive level of self centeredness and a frighteningly low level of impulse control, there's also the crazy loyalty part of the package that a select few get to benefit from. And you won the vampire guard dog lottery."
She shook her head firmly. "Buffy won it, I just get it by association. And I guess mom did too."
Xander matched her firm head shake and raised her a wagging finger. "No, Spike had that weird 'will you be my quarter my age mommy' thing going on even when he was full out evil and wanted to kill Buffy. It was actually pretty confusing. I think having a complete lunatic for a sire affected his brain." He saw Willow walking over to them and grasped the teen's arm. "Look, Dawnie, I'm hoping this spell will give us a mystical sword or a magic ring or a first edition copy of Defeating Hellgods For Dummies, but if it brings us someone or something alive instead, I want you to hightail it to Spike's crypt and stay with him until we figure out what we're dealing with, okay?"
She nodded and stepped over to the circle that the other participants were forming. Buffy paced and looked like she was ready to slay and Xander backed into a corner in the hopes of avoiding any magical backlash. He was supposed to be concentrating on the goal of the spell, but he found his mind replaying the conversation with Dawn, and forced it back on track as Willow and Tara completed their chant and all five in the circle spoke the not-calling-it-a-wish they had hammered out earlier.
"See our plight, the Hellgod Glory, her harm to innocents, her threat to Dawn, her danger to the world. Seek the solution in all that is, in all that could be, in all that was or will be. Bring the solution to us, bring it now!" A mote of light in the center of the group grew into a whirling ball and then suddenly expanded to six feet across, knocking the participants backwards. Xander ran to Dawn, helping her to her feet just as the light stilled, seemed to almost solidify and then blinked out, leaving two figures standing in the middle of the Magic Box.
"Dawn, go, just like I told you." Xander was amazed his voice worked.
"But that, that is-"
"Just go," he pushed her to the door and out into the sunlight. "I'll be there soon." The whole time he couldn't take his eyes off the newcomers. It was Spike, a Spike with black hair instead of blond and a different long black coat over a tight body suit that looked like a cross between a wetsuit and a superhero costume. But that barely registered beside the other figure, a man dressed similarly though with a brown motorcycle jacket and knee high swashbuckler style boots that enhanced the superhero look. A man with long brown hair, brown eyes and a paler, slightly younger looking version of the face that Xander saw every morning in the mirror.
"Bloody hell, Red sent us back too far!"
Xander was looking around the odd room at the collection of people and at first agreeing, but then, "I don't think so, Spike."
He got the ire of his sire aimed at him instead of the absent Willow for his troubles. "What else is there to think, Harris? That's your old slayer pal not to mention you and Red with heartbeats, I call that too far back!"
Oooh, 'Harris'. Spike was in a mood, and not the fun 'I have to act mad and punish you for being reckless, but we both know I had a great time' mood he normally got into. Damage control, stat! "Yeah, but me with a heartbeat is older, we're not at the library and I don't recognize either of those girls." He waved in the direction of the two strange blonds as he peeked behind a counter looking for a calendar. "Ah, see!" He triumphantly waved a handful of receipts. "May of 2001! We're right when we're supposed to be!" His triumph eased. "Which actually makes the 'me and Wills alive' thing even weirder, doesn't it?"
Spike was about to answer when Older, Tired Looking Buffy apparently decided she'd had enough of being ignored. "Look, I don't know or care where you're from," she said pulling a stake out of her belt and advancing towards Spike, "but you're supposed to be able to help, so unless you want to get up close and personal with Mr PointEEE!"
Her threat delivery was thrown off a bit when Spike simply grabbed her wrist, twisted it until she dropped the stake with a scream and kept twisting her around until she was neatly pinned against a shelf with her arm behind her back at nearly the breaking point. "Need a judge's ruling, Xanpet..." Yeah, not Harris anymore! "If I go back in time and kill a Slayer I already killed once, do I get to add her to my tally or not?"
Xander gave the matter some thought before responding. "I'm going to say no to 'number of Slayers killed' but yes to the secondary 'number of times you defeated a Slayer' count. Though this looks more like a suicide by vamp, if you ask me, was she even trying?" He was distracted by his own voice babbling a little hysterically.
"No chip! You got us a chipless Spike! How the hell is a chipless Spike and vamped me supposed to help us defeat Glory?"
"Oh, good, so Glory is around?" He walked up to his human self, figuring they should get some intel before this got any wackier. "You guys brought us here to fight Glory? Sounds fun, but we actually just need to steal something of hers."
"Well, not you specifically," human Willow was glancing rapidly between him and Spike, who had grabbed Buffy's other arm and immobilized her. "We were, um doing a ritual to draw on our powers and bring us someone or something that could help in the fight."
"Seriously?" Xander shook his head. "You were all 'here's our power, please get us anything that will solve the immediate problem'? I mean, this is exactly how the X-Men ended up dealing with Nimrod!"
2 Future History
-Black Haired Spike-
Spike rolled his eyes. "You're a nimrod, pet. Do something useful and see if the connection with Red works." He turned his attention away from his childe and spoke quietly to the Slayer in front of him. "Now, as fond memories as this brings back, the girls did recommend not killing anyone while we were here if we could avoid it, so, how about we step back and talk a piece, yeah?"
"N-not killing sounds g-good." One of the mystery blonds spoke up. "Maybe we can, um, sit down and discuss what each of us was looking for and maybe we can help each other?"
The Slayer nodded shortly. "Fine, talking it is." He snickered slightly, she had a pair on her this one, acting like she was doing him a big favor by not being killed. But then, from what he remembered, she had always thought she was something more than another disposable girl in the line.
"Brilliant." Spike let go and stepped back with a slight bow towards the table covered with old books and notes. "So Xanpet, anything from Red?" He looked at the living witch and amended with a smirk, "Our Red, that is."
Xander was staring with some irritation at his palm display. "I dunno, I've got a signal but it's too weak to actually talk. I'm trying to send a plain text and it's taking forever..."
The living Xander moved nervously close enough to look over his vampire counterpart's shoulder and gaped. "You've got a holographic PDA cell phone? That connects across alternate universes? I would so not be complaining about signal strength!" Xanpet gave him a 'oh really?' look which caused a small, only slightly hysterical, giggle. "Well, okay, obviously I would, because you're me, or at least a demonic future version of me and you are, though the me me doesn't even have a cell phone so to some extent the point still stands."
If there was any justice in the world, Xanpet would have given his bumbling human counterpart an aloof sneer, demonstrating the inherent superiority of demons. Instead he giggled back. "Yeah but you said 'I would' which means what you would do in my situation, and in my situation you would have a palm display that you were totally used to and that Wills swore up down and sideways would work to keep us connected in the past and how do you figure alternate universes?"
"Well it must be, right?" The human Red said excitedly. "Like you said earlier, you're younger, well physically younger at least than our Xander, so you must have been turned earlier, but Xander isn't turned, which I'm really happy about, no offense to you because I'm sure your me likes you better as a soulless demon since from what you said she is one herself..."
"But you aren't, so breathe, Wills!" Human Xander put in. Spike lowered his head into his hand for a moment and thanked all the gods that might listen that their Red had stayed in the present to maintain the spell. If there were four of them...
"Yes well," an older human who had been quietly recovering from a head injury stepped in, "Clearly the ritual pulled these two from an alternate reality, most likely, considering Anya's participation from the, er, Wishverse where the Master took over Sunnydale."
Spike snorted loudly. "Don't think so, mate, Old Batface was dusted by Slutty the Vampire Layer here before I met any of this lot. Speaking of meeting, why don't we back up to the introduction stage, shall we? Obviously you all recognize me and my Childe, and I know who Red, Xan and Slutty are... you look familiar too."
"This is Giles, Spike!" The younger vampire grinned and clapped the Englishman on the back. "He was the Buffinator's watcher, remember? I wanted Dru to turn him as a research vamp but you said you couldn't deal with another childe with us still so young..."
"Oh right!" Spike nodded sharply, recognizing him now. "I had to tell you the whole story of me mum to stop you from trying to turn him yourself." They had been vaguely planning on coming back for the man, he recalled, but then they got caught up in their African adventure and the Watcher had died before they finished.
"I don't know those two, or the girl who ran out when we got here, though. Hi girls, I'm Xander! Um, but you knew that." Spike tried to resist banging his head on a handy shelf. His childe was never, in a dozen centuries, going to be suave.
One of the women stepped forward, and Spike got a feeling that even though she smelled fully human, there was something hidden inside her. "I'm Anya. This reality's Xander and I are dating. This is my second opportunity to see two Xanders at once and last time we didn't have time to all have sex. I'd be very interested in seeing how vampire stamina would effect his already impressive ability to give orgasms."
The human Xander pulled her out of the way before Spike could do more than growl and talked to her quietly about appropriate suggestions while gesturing to Xanpet in a way that was apparently meant to convey how very much this was never ever going to happen and that everyone should pretend they hadn't heard the suggestions. From the others' reactions, he figured this was a standard plan.
"I'm T-tara... I'm, that is Willow and I are, um..."
"She's my girlfriend, and a very powerful witch." Red put her arm around the shy blond's shoulders, and Spike couldn't help but smile a little. Xanpet responded more openly, giving a double thumbs up and a big grin.
"Way to go, Wills! Making with the witchy smoochies!" Then he turned and pointed at his sire. "And in your face, fang man!" What the hell? Spike glared, waiting for either an apology or an explanation. "You always said that if we hadn't been turned, me and Wills would have stayed repressed and straight forever, and I said 'no, Wills would have come out in college and I would have eventually had to work as a rent boy to survive' and here she is with a hot college girlfriend!"
"And here is me, very straight and not at all repressed!" Spike smirked at the human Xander's reaction, looked like he was right on one out of two at least. "And I have a good job in construction, I'll have you know! I'm an assistant foreman! No renting! Er, boying. Rent boying."
"Hey, really? That's great, man! Way better than prison guard, am I right?"
"Oh yeah, that's what they said at that stupid career day and wait, when were you turned?"
"Yes, that might be more helpful information," the Watcher said stuffily - but then how else could he be expected to say it? "It would be best to know where our two realities diverged if not with Buffy's arrival in Sunnydale, how far in the future these vampires are from, and what their purpose in coming here was."
"Right then, shorter than my boy here is likely to give it to you, I brought Xanpet and Red to Dru as presents after she broke up with me over that entire Acathla fiasco and fighting Angelus. She turned them both and we all lived happily ever after for the last, I dunno how long..."
"Seventy four years, Spike! You do know because our 75th anniversary of being a family is coming up and Wills and I both want to do something special and you keep pretending to not even know how long it's been!" And now his childe was pouting at him, and worse, it looked like a pout of actual hurt, as opposed to a pout of wanting to get shagged through the nearest surface. Not that the two always required different responses.
Knowing he looked like a complete ponce but figuring he could kill any of the humans who pointed it out, he slipped his arm around Xanpet's shoulders and stroked his hair. "Come now, luv, don't be like that... You know I love you, can't imagine a world without you and Red too. Just never been one for remembering anniversaries and round numbers of years gone by." The boy was relaxing a little and Spike kissed the turning mark Dru had left on his neck, remembering the times he had drank from it and fed Xander his own blood, acting as a second sire to both former white hats, just as Angelus had for him. "Besides, like to think we do something special just about every time the four of us are together..."
"Wills and I weren't planning an orgy." The grumpy tone was lost in an unnecessary but complimentary gasp as Spike started nibbling on his childe's ear and stroking his chest. He wasn't doing things exactly like Angelus, after all - neither Xander nor Red had reason to resent him. "Well, okay, we weren't only planning an orgy..."
"You know, Xander, it really isn't safe to leave our Spike in that crypt all the time and we have plenty of room..."
"I love you Anya, but I am not having a threesome with Spike either!"
Xanpet pulled away with a breathy laugh and aimed a smirk at his human counterpart. "Hey man, don't knock it till you've tried it. I mean, a couple of centuries of experience and not needing to breathe? Plus, when you get turned, even your tongue gets vampire strength." Spike preened happily as the boy turned a wide variety of interesting colors.
"Ahem!" Oops, got the Watcher hot and bothered too, and now he has to stop the fun before anyone notices he's something other than annoyed. "I believe we were waiting to find out exactly why the two of you were trying to travel into the past when our ritual somehow pulled you into our reality."
"Oh well, short version, because I kinda zoned out every time Wills explained the long version..." His child managed to dodge the slap aimed at his head without losing his place, "was that we were aiming for the point at the very end of Glory's incarceration on Earth when she was known to be in Sunnydale and we were supposed to be in Africa and wouldn't run into ourselves. So we need to find her energy key thing and mystically chop it in half so that we can both use it."
Several things happened very quickly at that point, and Spike saw the Slayer lunging for his child with a stake as he heard the twang of a crossbow from where the watcher had positioned himself behind a counter. Both of the unprovoked attacks missed the heart, but he'd had enough and lunged for the blond annoyance ready and willing to break her neck. He caught sight of the human Xander out of the corner of his eye grabbing an ax, but he was too far away to be a serious worry.
Well, that's what he thought before the young man sliced through the top of the heavy curtain over the shop's large picture window, flooding the room with sunlight.
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