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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 8:25 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hi Azirahael, hi Zampsa.

Yes a good time was had by all... Until it wasn't. "Buffy" had a good time at any rate.

I'll post the last third of this entry in a day or two. It'll show just what Harley and Ivy do with hit squads that wander into their home. Fortunately Ivy's plant creatures have enough sense to take prisoners, so there won't exactly be a pile of bodies. Though not everyone who snuck into their lair is going to be walking out.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:59 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Well, Citanul, I am finally caught up with this wonderful 'fic' you are treating us all to. You were absolutely right, there is SO much humor in here, and SO many good one (and even two) liners I could never pick my favorite.
Looking forward very much to the next post, keep up the great work!
Blessings,

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[font=][font=]Strength in our arms, truth on our tongue, clarity in our heart[/font][/font]


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:15 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hi MotherD. Oh crap, you're already caught up? I need to get my act together.

In lieu of that the here's the last third or so of Sirens: Buffy.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:22 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind? Seriously though all feedback is welcome.

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show. And Angel too. Also Agents of Shield a little bit. You know what, if a name you don’t recognize pops up most of the time you can find dozens of pages of character bio if you type that name and the word comics into Wikipedia. It’s almost scary how much page space comic book fans have taken up on that site.

Rating: NC-17 = Smutty smut smut smut. Seriously though they make love quite often.

Pairings: W/T, B/F, G/J, D/J, F/G, A/?, X/A. Also D/C (Though not till they’re older and even then maybe not so much with the graphic detail.)

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives?

Author’s Note: And we're back to Sirens again for the tail end of that last entry. Seriously, The notes I had for that thing were like 4 pages tops and the finished thing was a long rambling 73 pages of 12 point, times new roman, 1.5 spaced beast of a chapter. looking back on it I see it's 26,000 over the character count and that doesn't include intro synopsis stuff like this part here. Anyway I hope you guys all enjoy the little show of force Harley and Ivy put on for their would be assassins.

*****

Primer: Sirens

Willow = Dr. Harleen Quinzel = Harley Quinn = the blonde/blue eyes

Tara = Dr. Pamela Isley = Poison Ivy = the redhead/green eyes

Xander = Bruce Wayne = Batman

Anya = Selina Kyle = Catwoman

Buffy = Death of the Endless = From Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and a few of her own trade paperback story arcs.

Dawn = Kyle Rayner = Green Lantern

Rupert Giles = Shade

Joyce = Joyce Rayner

*****

Sirens: Buffy’s Wake

“Sweetie,” Ivy said once more as she and her Love appeared in a haze of pink light. The couple materialized in the middle of the rooftop garden of their warehouse lair. “We should talk about this.”

“What’s there to talk about Baby?” Harley asked as tears continued to fall. “It’s not like we just watched our best friend die right in front of us. She wasn’t even really dying. Her time just ran out.”

“Don’t do this Harley!” Ivy snapped. The outburst gained her Love’s undivided attention. “Don’t brush this off. Don’t pretend like what you’re feeling isn’t real and valid.”

“Baby?” Harley tired to interrupt only to falter as Ivy continued.

“And don’t ever try to hide your feelings from me!” Ivy’s tone robbed Harley of the will to keep up her pointless charade. “Don’t for one s-second think you can w-work through this on your own. We’re in this together.”

Harley let out a brief sniffle as she found herself swept into her Love’s embrace. “Like always?”

Ivy smiled as Harley’s hysteria was replaced with genuine grief and a need for reassurance. Reassurance that Ivy was more than eager to supply. “Like always.”

The two women spent several uninterrupted minutes wrapped up in each other’s arms. They swayed where they stood, amid the plants filling their rooftop garden. The desperation slowly seeped out of their embrace. Replaced with affection, devotion, and an earnest need to comfort one another. Minutes passed one after another, and the sun began to set. Only after each woman had drawn every last bit of comfort from her Love, and freely given just as much in return, did Harley raise her head from Ivy’s shoulder.

“Baby, you think I’m overreacting?” Harley was circumspect as she went over the day in her head.

“No Sweetie.” The assurance was firm and immediate. “Never. Buffy had one day to live a full life. We spent time with her, and we w-watched her d-die. That was real. It’s supposed to hurt. Death always does.”

Harley nodded in agreement with her Love. “It doesn't matter if she popped right back up as an immortal quasi-god... thingy. She’s our friend and now she’s gone.” Another long moment passed before Harley could find the silver lining. “But we have each other.”

Ivy nodded in agreement. “Always.”

Harley went in for a tender kiss only to stop as a stray sound intruded on her affections. “What was that?”

“Huh?” Ivy’s reply was as confused as it was disappointed. She had really been looking forward to that kiss.

“There it is again.” Harley searched the garden frantically before her eyes locked on the sliding doors that led to their bedroom. With her Love’s hand clenched firmly in her own, the psychiatrist led the way to the large clear doors. The thing they found lying in wait for them was as unsettling as it was vexing.

A figure convulsed as it floated a few feet above the floor of their bedchamber. Wisps of shadow tendrils clawed at the air surrounding the unnatural thing. Braided dreadlocks flung wildly as its head thrashed. Skin caked in soot and grime covered flailing arms and legs. The tattered leather and beaded clothing stretched as the creature hung, helpless. Eyes that glowed with bright orange embers of hate and suffering tracked back and forth across the room, unseeing, oblivious.

The figure froze for an instant as it blinked out and back into existence. It reappeared standing on the floor of their bedroom. “No, it can’t be...” It whispered before convulsing in horror. It floated upwards, flailing and writhing in agony all the while.

Harley laughed with genuine mirth for the first time in what felt like days. “Well, what the frilly heck do we have here?”

“Whatever it is I want it gone,” Ivy seethed as she glared at the creature cloaked in grime and shadows. “It’s worse than that Circe creature. Plus it’s dripping evil sludge all over our bedroom.”

Before the botanist could take a menacing step towards the unwanted thing Harley placed a hand on Ivy’s arm. “Before we burn it out of whatever poor girl it’s infesting we should check if it brought any friends. Maybe change into more intimidating clothes too.”

Ivy flinched at the thought of more abominations like the one before them hiding in their home. The very notion was unacceptable. “I knew there was a reason I kept you around Sweetie. You’re always thinking.”

Harley smirked at the playful jibe.“I always thought you kept me around for my rugged good looks and the way I can put my ankles behind my head.”

“Don’t forget about that thing you do with your mouth,” Ivy let the comment hang between them until she couldn’t hold back her smile any longer. “Not the cute babble thing I Love. That’s nice too, but it’s the wriggly thing you do with your tongue that I can’t get enough of.”

“Ah ha!” Harley exclaimed proudly as she raised a clenched fist in the air. “I knew my superior pussy eating skills would one day further my diabolical schemes! Take that high school guidance counselor lady whose name I’m blanking on right this second!”

The couple shared a laugh as they began to walk towards the door that led to the catwalks overlooking the interior of their lair. Behind them remained the transfixed creature, writhing in the same continuously repeating motions. It returned to the floor once more. Whispering, “No, it can’t be...” before convulsing in horror and going through the same wild flailing motions it had for most of the day.

*****

“Gates, Forrest. First Lieutenant, United States Army! Serial number nine, zero, six,...”

“Oy! Mate, shut the fuck up over there!” The gruff Australian with profuse mutton chops and a poorly kempt handlebar mustache shouted at the ebony soldier bound and kneeling a few yards away form him. “‘Is bad enough we’re all trussed up in here like a pack of Roos waitin’ to be skinned and grilled for the Queen’s Birthday! I don’t need your life story shouted at me every time ya’ mate over there asks about da plan to get out o’ here!”

“The Aussie hick has a point soldier boy.” Said one of the women tied up with the group of ninjas clad in black leather. She spoke in a more refined yet haughty tone. “Do us all a favor and keep your ramblings to yourself.”

Forrest remained stoic as the man at his side fidgeted. “Seriously though Captain,” Graham asked Riley. “What’s the plan?”

“Not now Second Lieutenant.” Riley muttered as the Aussie and a few of the men tied up near him started to laugh.

“Oh, you guys have a Captain?” Asked the more muscular of the two ebony skinned men kneeling beside the Australian. “We’ve got a Captain too. Hey Captain, why don’t you introduce yourself?” His amusement was far too prominent for the others to ignore.

“My pleasure mate!” The disheveled Aussie was all too eager to boast about his “rank.” “Oy! You lot consider ya’selves lucky ta stand in the presence of greatness! Captain Boomerang at your service!”

The four soldiers across the room blinked at the outlandish statement and the equally outlandish man who had shouted it. One of the women bound and kneeling in the middle of the group of ninjas looked the “Captain” over once more and began to laugh. “Nyssa! This is hardly the time.” The other woman dressed like a ninja snapped.

“Oh do lighten up sister,” Nyssa told her overbearing sister. “You want to make a good impression with the,” She failed to stifle another giggle. “The Captain over there.” At Nyssa’s continued laughter a few of the other ninjas began to chuckle. Her sister only seethed.

“That’s a right pretty name for a fine sheila.” The Aussie captain said as she leaned over to get a better look at the ninjas’ leaders. “Say, Nyssa, care to see my boomerang?”

The ninjas and the muscular ebony man at Captain Boomerang’s side stopped laughing. The man who had egged on Captain Boomerang was the first to speak. “Seriously Captain, do not piss off those women. You don’t want to be their father’s next target.”

“You would do well to heed the traitor’s advice peasant.” Nyssa’s sister told the “Captain.” “None can survive the wrath of the League of Shadows.”

“League of Shadows?” Captain Boomerang asked. “What’s that? Some off-Broadway theater group?”

“It’s an assassins guild Boomerang,” Said the dour man kneeling more rigidly among the group with the Aussie “Captain” in it. “Led by the immortal Ra’s al Ghul. Bronze Tiger used to be a member. Don’t pick fights with his girls. Waller won’t stick her neck out for you against them.”

“Is it pronounced “Rozz” or “Ray-shh” al Ghul?” The lean ebony man asked his comrades as he knelt on the other side of Captain Boomerang from the more muscular Bronze Tiger.

“Honestly, I’ve heard it both ways.” Bronze Tiger told his team before turning back to face the woman who called him a traitor. “And it’s a stretch for me to be a traitor to a group that abandoned me and left me for dead, Talia.”

“You should have accepted death with honor Tiger.” Talia snapped back only to be chastised by her sister.

“Talia! Do not take your anger over this failure out on the Tiger. He was once father’s most trusted disciple.” Nyssa then turned back to face Bronze Tiger with a more forgiving smile. “So Ben, how have you been since leaving Nanda Parbat?”

“Can’t complain Nyssa.” Bronze Tiger admitted before looking over the rest of his allies. “The prison cell could be nicer though.”

“Yeah Rick, tell our new friends about our living conditions.” The lean ebony man with a shaved head and small but bushy beard grinned as he nudged the dour leader with his elbow.

“We’ve been over this, Deadshot.” Rick was resigned as he spoke to the sniper he had grown to trust. “Perks are evaluated after successful missions. You keep using yours for...” He froze. The dour military man looked over the other two groups they had been restrained beside. The assassins could not be trusted. Though the four other soldiers hadn’t spoken much Rick knew who they worked for. He knew his ally wouldn’t want certain personal details leaked to either of the two groups. “You know.” He finished with as whisper.

Deadshot’s eyes widened before glancing across the floor of the plant filled warehouse, to the other groups bound by the wrists and ankles. He turned back to Rick, nodding his appreciation. The two men had known each other long enough to understand what was truly important to each other.

Before the banter between the three groups could continue the figure sleeping beside Rick began to stir. The large mass of muscle covered in dark green scales took several breaths before sitting up with a furious scowl. His appearance drew terrified gasps from the four soldiers sitting across from Rick’s group. For their part, the assassins did a slightly better job of hiding their reactions.

“What the devil is that thing?” Talia al Ghul shrieked as two of the men kneeling beside her fainted.

“Talia!” Nyssa snapped in outrage at her sister’s cruel tone. “That is no way to talk to people. Rick, was it?” She asked as the large scale covered man looked around the room. “Who is your charming friend?” At the mention of charm, the scaled man drew back his lips, exposing rows of razor sharp teeth in a terrifying smile.

“Glad you could join us Croc.” Rick ignored the ninjas as he looked over the last member of his squad. “Think you’re strong enough to break out of these vines?”

“We shouldn’t have come here, Rick.” Croc muttered as he surveyed their surroundings. Though there was only one small light hanging directly over the three bound groups, Croc’s reptilian eyes more than compensated as he peered into the darkness. He could easily see the large wooden figures that loomed in the shadows just out of view of the ordinary humans around him. He knew they would be on him the second he tried something. What’s more, he had no desire for this mission to succeed. “I told you guys this was a bad idea.”

“What’s all this then?” Captain Boomerang asked in disbelief as he smirked at the much larger man. “The great Killer Croc afraid of a pair of witches?”

“He’d be smarter than you fools give him credit for if that was the case.”

The new voice drew everyone’s attention. All eyes landed on a silhouette in the shadows just beyond the edge of the circle of light where the three groups were held. The figure stepped into the light, revealing green skin, lightly toned curves, long red hair, and patches of green leaves that made an immodest attempt at covering the emerald skin, and lacy crimson underwear just below the hem of the dark crimson button up blouse the woman wore. Poison Ivy strode into the center of the three bound groups, her power, and authority on full display.

“Crikey, what I wouldn’t give to have a go with...” Captain Boomerang’s lurid train of thought was suddenly derailed as thick black twine erupted from the skin around his mouth, sewing his lips shut.

“Sorry.” Another new voice said. A slender blonde walked up to stand between Ivy and the “Captain.” She wore a costume of patchwork red and black leather with small triple diamond patterns scattered across the pants. The tight corset she wore was held together by a surprising number of superfluous straps and buckles. “Did anyone want to hear him go on? In case it wasn’t obvious I’m the crazy jealous type.” All around the couple heads shook in answer to the obviously rhetorical question. Another glance around the room from the blonde led to an even more peculiar turn of events.

Harley began to walk towards Rick and his group. She stopped right in front of the dour soldier before speaking. “It’s been a long time.” She turned at the end of her statement and knelt down beside the man with the most striking reptilian features. “Hello, Waylon. How have you been since our last session?”

“Hello, Doctor Quinzel.” Killer Croc spoke in a resigned monotone as the much smaller woman crouched before him to look him in the eye. “Sorry for breaking into your home. The people I’ve been working for wouldn’t listen.”

“Croc!” Rick was beside himself as he saw the most violent and dangerous of his squad members cower in shame before the former psychiatrist. “The hell is going on right now?”

“Well shit.” Bronze Tiger muttered.

“Didn’t see that coming, eh Rick?” Deadshot asked, nudging the squad leader in amusement.

“I know you probably didn’t have a choice in coming here, Waylon,” Harley spoke with more tenderness and compassion than was expected by anyone present. Save for Ivy of course. The botanist knew how big her Love’s heart was. “On the bright side, I get to introduce you to the most important person in my life.”

“Heard you got a girl Dr. Quinzel.” Croc said as he looked over to the imposing green woman. “She treat you right?”

“Only every single day for the entirety of our lives,” Ivy said as she walked up to her Love’s side.

“And then some,” Harley added with a playful smirk. As she spoke she placed a gentle hand on Croc’s shoulder. “Baby this is a former patient of mine, Waylon Jones. Waylon, this is my girlfriend Ivy. You guys have had run-ins with the same vigilante.”

“A pleasure.” Ivy placed a soft hand on Croc’s other shoulder across from Harley’s as she greeted the well-muscled reptilian. “So sorry for the rough treatment. My babies don’t take fondly to unannounced intruders.”

“So, Waylon,” Harley began in an unsure tone. “We have to ask all these other people a few questions. There’s no reason why you’d need to stay tied up while that happens. If you promise to behave and play nice with the kids you can make yourself comfortable until we let you and your friends go.”

“Okay, I promise.” The vines binding Croc’s wrists and legs loosened and slithered away as he spoke. He stayed kneeling for several moments before meeting Poison Ivy’s gaze.

The botanist favored the reptilian with a genuine smile as it became clear he would not try anything. “Our babies had a luau the other night. There should still be half a slow roasted pig in the kitchen fridge.” With a wave of Ivy’s hand, the larger overhead lights came on all around the warehouse. The still bound intruders almost panicked as they saw the small army of massive plant creatures looming in the bushes, forming a wide circle around them. A few of the plant creatures stepped aside to reveal the walkway that led down to the lowest level of the warehouse floor.

Croc saw where they wanted him to go. Before getting to his feet he looked Harley in the eye one more time. “Please don’t hurt Rick and the other squad members. They’ve been good to me. Well, most of them.”

Harley nodded before assuring the large scaled man. “We promise, no permanent harm will come to your friends.”

Croc smiled back before getting to his feet and making his way towards the kitchen. The rest of the bound intruders watched as Croc vanished. They heard what had to be a refrigerator door open and close. The plant creatures closed ranks, blocking the view of the stairs Croc had descended. At the sound of cutlery scraping bone and a microwave starting a light chuckle rose from the man still kneeling beside Rick. “Damn, middle of the week luaus? Where do I sign up with you ladies?”

“We’ll get back to that,” Harley assured him before leaping to her feet and walking back to the middle of the broken ring of bound invaders. “First we need to ask you some questions, and just to be clear the answer to this first question will determine how many of you will be able to walk out of here unassisted.”

“You said no harm.” Graham chimed in.

“She said no permanent harm and only mentioned the snake man’s friends.” Forrest corrected his friend.

“Crocodile man,” Deadshot corrected the soldiers. “You can tell by the fringes along his back scales.”

“First question!” Harley ignored the men as she and Ivy held hands. The air beside the two women began to waver. It fluttered as if an invisible curtain was being buffeted by a light breeze. “Who here brought this thing into our home?” As Harley spoke the air peeled back to reveal the dark creature writhing a few feet off the ground.

Rick lunged forward only to be snapped back by the bindings at his hands and feet. “Don’t hurt her!” He shouted before realizing their glares now rested solely on him. “Please. Do whatever you want to me, just please don’t hurt her.”

The Enchantress moaned as it slipped down to the floor. “No, it can’t be...” It convulsed again, going through the same repeated motions, caught in a never-ending loop of misery.

“Oh, we’re going to hurt it,” Harley assured as she and Ivy took up positions on either side of the writhing dark creature. “This filth has been dripping black pus all over our bedroom floor all day. Do you idiots know how long the cleansing ritual to wipe out her evil is going to take?”

Ivy looked back and forth between the dark creature and the man who desperately sought to defend it. “Maybe not as long as we thought. This man is in Love with the woman trapped inside that horror.”

“Really?” Harley looked Rick over again before looking back to the Enchantress. “Buddy you’ve got the weirdest taste in chicks. I didn’t even know banging a Cthulhu type elder horror was a fetish.”

Ivy cleared her throat while keeping her eyes focused on the creature floating before her. “Harl, Sweetie, let’s take care of this before getting distracted by the rest of these people’s problems.”

“Right!” Harley agreed as she spun to face her Love and the thing that had been caught in their improvised demigod trap.

The couple clasped their hands and began to focus. Radiant light filled the warehouse as they chanted in a language none of their prisoners could understand. The light flared out, consuming the dark creature. When the glare finally cleared Rick saw a pale, slender woman gasping for breath on the hard cement floor of the warehouse lair.

“June!” Rick shouted. His binds came loose and in an instant he held the shivering gasping woman in his arms. “June, please be okay. Please, Baby, look at me.”

Her reply was a weak, almost inaudible, whisper. “Rick?”

“I’m here June,” Rick promised as he clutched the woman to his chest. His terrified eyes stared off into the distance as uncontrollable sobbing began to rack June’s body. Only after several long moments of holding the crying woman did Rick Flag realize his eyes had locked on Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. He had no clue what they had done, but deep down on an instinctive level, he knew he owed them.

*****

Amanda Waller sat at her desk going over requisition forms and paperwork. An odd, abrasive smell drew her attention. She looked around her office for any sign of the stench and its source. The first thing that stuck out to the heavyset ebony woman was the thin wisps of smoke coming from the sealed steel briefcase sitting beside her desk.

“Oh no!” She cried out as she grabbed the case and pulled it up to her desk. She entered the code and pressed her thumb to the scanner to unlock the case. When the lid was finally flung open bright multicolored flames leapt towards the ceiling. The oscillated through every color of the rainbow before guttering out. When Amanda Waller could finally look upon the contents of her briefcase the sight awaiting her was almost too horrible to comprehend.

The inside of the case was charred almost beyond recognition. Even still Waller knew the contents of the case like the back of her hand. In the middle of the case was a place where an ancient mummified heart had once rested. Now that spot only contained a small pile of smoldering ashes.

“Well shit.” Amanda Waller whispered in disbelief as she realized what her squad had most likely just lost.

*****

“What...” Rick was nearly speechless as he clutched the frail woman to his chest. “What did you do to her?”

“Relax lover boy.” Harley dismissed his concerns with a wave of her hand. “We’ll get back to your little gang in a sec. First I have someone I need to introduce my girl to.” Harley proceeded to skip over to the group of four soldiers. She stopped in front of the one kneeling beside Riley. The female soldier averted her eyes as the former psychiatrist drew closer. Harley leaned in to get a better look before looking over her shoulder to her Love.

“Baby, come say hello to Riley’s wife Sam!” Sam and Riley both flinched at the outlandish statement.

“Really?” Ivy asked as she strolled up to her Love’s side. “This is the “Sam,” you told me about?”

“Uh huh.” Harley was grinning ear to ear as she nodded to Ivy. “She came to our town for one week in our first life but it was during that time when we were on a break because I’m a junkie.”

“Were a junkie Sweetie.” Ivy corrected. “You’ve grown so much since that nightmare. Don’t think I didn’t notice how you refused to write yourself any extra prescriptions while you still had your medical license.”

Harley just rolled her eyes at her Love’s steadfast support. “Okay, okay, but seriously. You didn’t get a chance to meet her that first life and this is the first time I’ve run into her since then where I have the both of you in the same room.”

“That’s funny.” Ivy mused as she looked down at the confused woman. “We’ve run into just about everyone else we ever met in our first life way back in life number three. Aren’t we on a hundred and something?”

Harley beamed as she recited the number of their current reincarnation. “One forty-two. That’s weird, right? You’d think she would have popped up sooner.”

“I don’t think we can be the judge of what’s weird or not Sweetie,” Ivy whispered before Riley finally found his voice.

“She’s not my wife!” The soldier protested.

“Not yet,” Harley muttered before looking over Sam once more. “Maybe not ever if that doesn’t get looked at.”

“What?” Riley and Sam both asked only to cringe as Harley’s ring began to glow.

“Oh, this is bad. Lucky for you, we’ve seen worse.” Harley looked over to one of the large plant creatures. The plant scurried off as she nodded her head. “I’m going to give you a prescription for that condition. If you don’t believe me now go check in with your regular doctor. Have them run a full MRI. They’ll find it.”

As Harley spoke the plant creature lumbered up to her side holding a small bottle of pills. “If you still don’t trust us after your doctor explains what’s in this bottle you can get a similar drug from Wayne Medical. We gave them the plants they use to extract the active ingredient in their latest treatments.”

“What?” Sam asked as her hands came loose and the bottle of pills was shoved into her palms.

“If you still have questions, this is the number to call.” Harley took out a pen and scribbled something on a slip of paper before pressing it into Sam’s hands. “It’s the number of one of the Wayne Medical office reps in the DC area. He owes us a favor.” She paused before going on. “Well, his boss’s boss’s boss owes us a favor. Anyway, you should call your doctor to schedule an appointment first thing tomorrow.”

“You’re just letting me go?” Sam asked.

“We’re letting all four of you go.” Ivy chimed in while absentmindedly looking over her own fingernails. “It’s not like the four of you pose a threat to us. Not even the organization that sent you here is a threat to us.”

“We don’t serve any organization.” Forrest snapped before taking up a more rigid posture. The effect lost some of its impact due to his still being bound in a kneeling position. “We were acting on our own as concerned citizens.”

“Oh, you really want to play it like that Forrest?” Harley asked the indignant soldier. “Fine, tell me how close I get. You four soldiers work for a top secret black bag organization run by a shadowy cabal that operates out of backrooms in the U.S. government. Your main secret base is underground, probably under a small university somewhere, where the majority of your fellow soldiers pose as senior college students while maintaining cover as a frat house or something else just as idiotic.”

Graham was thoroughly impressed by Harley’s guesswork. “How do you know so much about Cadmus?”

“Graham!” The other three soldiers shouted as Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Rick Flag, and several of the League Assassins began to laugh.

“So it’s called Cadmus in this dimension.” Harley mused as she looked to Ivy.

The botanist smiled. “That’s reassuring at least. They usually go by something less clever, like the Agency or the Order.”

“I hated calling your top secret dealie the Initiative.” Harley let out an annoyed moan as she stood up. “Seriously, Scooby meetings that year were a total drag.”

“And not just because you had a girlfriend you were keeping all to yourself,” Ivy muttered in amusement.

Forrest was not amused in the slightest by Harley and Ivy’s banter. “Riley, care to chime in on this security breech?”

“I’m still stuck on the fact they think I’m married to Sam,” Riley admitted.

“Honestly she looks like she could do better,” Nyssa said from across the room. Deadshot and Bronze Tiger laughed as Talia glowered at her sister for fraternizing with potential enemies. Sam could barely resist looking over to the dark-haired assassin who was now fairly suggestively batting her eye lashes in the female soldier’s direction.

“The mad scientist in charge of Cadmus isn’t named Maggie Walsh in this dimension is she?” Harley asked Riley.

“Dimension?” Riley asked in confusion.

Harley sighed. “No that would be too easy.” The blonde went on to mutter to herself as she began to walk back and forth in a line between Ivy and the four still kneeling soldiers. “She probably goes by a more comic booky name here. Odds are she’s related to one of the big names or key players. Maybe some super villain’s mother.”

“Oh, did you see the way the nervous white boy flinched at that?” Deadshot asked his remaining squad members.

Bronze Tiger nodded in agreement. “Based on the way the brother over there just clenched up I’d say Croc’s old doc is on to something.”

“Let’s see.” Harley went on as she looked Riley in the eyes. “The mother of someone important. Someone we pissed off directly. She’d also have a background in one of the scientific fields. A doctor or an engineer. Something that could help her build an army of killer cyborgs from scratch and spare parts.”

“Cyborgs?” Forrest asked as he and his teammates watched the pacing woman.

“Well the demon population of this dimension isn’t high enough for her to recreate the whole mess she made with Adam.” Harley rattled off basic facts her audience had no context for. “So no Frankenstein style abominations in this world, but I’d say it’s a safe be that half the guys who go to her lab for a medical checkup don’t come back out. She’s probably turning them into half robot monsters since she can’t attach body parts harvested from captured demons.”

Ivy spoke up for the first time in several moments. “Or it’s possible she could be using alien body parts if she’s one of Superman’s or the Martian’s rogues.”

“Ohh! That’s a good idea Baby!” Harley said as she wrapped her arms around her always. “You’re a genius. Don’t I always say that? My genius girlfriend.”

“Plus the Captain over there just flinched when your redhead said Superman’s name,” Bronze Tiger added.

“Oh hell,” Harley grumbled as she watched the soldiers fidget. “You idiots are taking orders from Lex Luthor’s mother aren’t you?”

“No!” Forrest and Riley shouted a little too eagerly.

“That sounds like a yes.” Deadshot quipped as he, Bronze Tiger, and even Rick Flag chuckled along.

Harley sighed as the truth became apparent. “Well with that mystery out of the way it’s time you four left.” She waved her hands and the bindings holding the remaining Cadmus soldiers fell away. The three men shot to their feet only to take pause as a dozen of the larger plant creatures stepped forward in unison.

“Best not to piss off the redhead’s babies,” Deadshot warned the men who were about to throw away their freedom and possibly their lives.

“You boys have failed this mission,” Rick Flag said as he looked Riley in the eye. “If they’re right about your boss being Lilian Luthor now might be your best chance to disappear. Take if from me Captain Finn. Waller isn’t as bad but if I had the chance to get out from under her thumb I’d take it. Dishonorable discharge or no.”

“Understood Colonel Flag.” Riley nodded to the higher ranking officer who had been forced into a similar position to his own. He reached out a hand to help Sam to her feet then turned towards the door on the far side of the warehouse.

Forrest was quick to offer his objection. “Riley, what the hell are you thinking?”

Riley just shook his head at his old friend. “I’m thinking if we don’t walk out that door in the next thirty seconds we won’t be walking anywhere. Plus I don’t want Sam to go under Luthor’s knife. You haven’t seen what she does to bodies in her private chopshop.”

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Graham said as he marched past Riley and Sam and out the door. Riley and Sam were soon to follow, leaving Forrest to glare at their exit before turning to see two mildly annoyed Star Sapphires.

“If it’s any consolation this was both strike one and two for Cadmus.” Harley grinned as she casually threatened the soldier. “Tell mommy dearest that if she ever wants to see her son alive again she’ll leave us alone.”

“Lex Luthor is alive?” Rick Flag asked as he still clung to a nearly comatose June.

“We didn’t kill him,” Ivy admitted as she met Forrest’s glare with her own. “We put him somewhere safe where he could think about what he’s done.”

For his part Forrest knew when he was outclassed. There was no possible outcome where he could salvage the mission. With a resigned slouch and newly smoldering fury he turned and fled the warehouse.

Harley clapped her hands as she spun and faced the black leather and silk clad assassins. “Well now that the trash is taken care of let’s move on to League affairs.”

Talia stiffened as Harley came to stand before her and her sister. “The Demon’s Head shall have his vengeance.”

“No, he won’t,” Ivy said with a casual yet certain tone.

“He’s one of the people we killed that day. He was a mass murdering sociopath who sided with the wrong immortal. His eventual death ensures the survival of this world and its people. Plus the fool grasped for immortality while never taking a moment for life’s simple pleasures.” Harley spoke of Ra’s al Ghul in a cold, unforgiving voice as she loomed over the man’s daughters.

Talia glared, seething hatred and murderous rage bubbled in her eyes. “The League has always been and will always be. You have made yourselves powerful enemies. If your deaths are not brought about in my father’s time then they will certainly be achieved by the heirs to his legacy.”

“Oh not this again,” Nyssa muttered in disbelief.

“The old goat has heirs does he?” Harley asked with renewed interest. “I didn’t know that. I figured he’d be more involved in maintaining his own power rather than raising rivals who will only grow up to challenge his leadership.”

“I and my sister will sire the heirs to the Demon!” Talia shouted as Nyssa just shook her head. “Father has already deemed our betrothals law in the eyes of the League. Once she claims the Arrow and I claim the Bat as our husbands our progeny will be raised to one day lead the League of Shadows in a glorious crusade against you and all you hold dear.”

Harley’s former amusement and feigned disinterest evaporated as Talia’s ranting went on. When she spoke there was no trace of the carefree attitude she had put on from the start of the interrogations. “What did you just say?”

Talia drew courage from Harley’s questioning tone. If only she recognized the cold menace behind the psychiatrist’s words. “I said your death and the death of your unclean harlot are imminent!”

“No, you murderous skank! Before that!” Harley shouted down at the assassin. Talia soon found herself hoisted into the air by the vines binding her limbs. “What did you say about the Bat?”

“My future husband?” Talia’s assured tone was driven from her as Harley’s open palm came from out of nowhere. The sound of the slap rang throughout the warehouse, drawing stunned gasps from those watching the assassin and the former psychiatrist.

“Heh, this week on Dallas,” Deadshot chuckled as Talia glared down from where the vines held her aloft.

“You will never have him.” Harley seethed. “If I have to flay you, your father, and every member of your murderous little death cult I will do it, but you will never have Batman! You stupid little bitch. Do you honestly think the Joker, your father, and the caveman were the first men I’ve killed? Not even close. If I have to burn out each and every mountain compound your father ever built I will. No price is too high to keep trash like you out of the lives of my friends!”

“Sweetie,” Ivy spoke in a calm tone that brought Harley back to her senses. “This isn’t the way to get through to her.”

“You’re right.” Harley whispered as the vines lifting Talia loosened. “Of course you’re right Baby.” Harley took several steps back, as if the distance could help her find a solution. The one that came to mind was even less sane than the notion of slaughtering the entire League of Shadows. “A duel!”

“Do what now?” Nyssa asked as she looked from her sister to the crazed blonde pacing back and forth a short distance away.

Harley was on a roll as she belittled the assassin who desired one of her dearest friends. “Your little death cult has rules doesn’t it? Official challenges and duels? I challenge you, Talia al Ghul, heir to the Demon, for any and all claim over the vigilante known as Batman and any other double life he may be leading in pursuit of his career as a vigilante detective.”

“Sister wait!” Nyssa shouted just as Talia cried out “I accept!” The vines binding Talia released her and the assassin tensed for combat.

“Well, this is turning into a hell of a show,” Deadshot said as one of the large plant creatures dragged Rick and June back over to where he, Captain Boomerang, and Bronze Tiger were still kneeling. “What do you guys think of the doc’s chances?”

“I don’t know but Talia is no easy mark.” Bronze Tiger admitted before looking to see if Captain Boomerang was still gagged beside him. The gleeful expression on the Aussie's face drew his attention downwards. “Jesus Christ Boomerang keep it in your pants.”

“The rules state you shall both have three days to prepare,” Nyssa said only to be ignored.

“Screw that!” Harley snapped as she stood a dozen paces away from a slowly rising Talia. “We’re doing this right here, right now. You and me bitch! One weapon each. Pick something that will look good in your hand. I want to make an example of you.”

“You have signed your own death warrant, degenerate.” Talia climbed to her full height. She drew a short, wickedly curved blade from a sheath at the small of her back. “I shall enjoy eviscerating you in front of your green whore.”

Deadshot, Rick Flag, and Bronze Tiger cringed at the harsh insult. The sniper was the only one to offer a critique. “Oh, she probably shouldn’t have said that.”

Harley just smirked as she raised her clenched fists. “I’m waiting.”

Talia charged. Dagger held out at her side. She drew to within striking distance of the blonde. Harley Quinn didn’t even try to block the attack. Half way through Talia’s swing the Lantern’s ring hand shot forward. There was a flash of pink light. Then a dull blur. Then all eyes were drawn to what was left of Talia al Ghul. The assassin’s entire body was encased in one giant shard of pink crystal.

“Well shit,” Nyssa muttered as she took in the sight of her thoroughly beaten sister. “Is she still alive in there?”

“As alive as Lex Luthor is,” Ivy smirked at the remaining assassins.

Harley brushed off her hands before turning to the other assassins. “Bitch shouldn’t have brought a John Hughes script to a power ring fight.”

“It looked like a knife from where I was sitting.” Bronze Tiger whispered to Deadshot.

Deadshot just shook his head. “No, it’s a good reference. Assassin girl’s motivation was way too high school. I didn’t expect the doc’s “Bitch I’ll snatch the weave off yo’ head!” banter to throw Miss Thang off her game so much. I thought you said these League assassins were top shelf?”

The more muscular ebony man nodded as he saw his squad mate’s point. “They were back when I was a member.”

“I’m tired of looking at the rest of you assassins.” As Harley spoke the vines binding the all the remaining black-clad assassins loosened and slithered away.

“You know our father will not take this insult lying down,” Nyssa said as it became obvious she was in charge of the failed mission now. “He will never stop. It isn’t in his character. Not when he thinks you just imprisoned his favorite child in a rock for all eternity.”

“Tell the old murderer that his little girl isn’t trapped forever.” Harley said as the plant creatures opened up a path for the assassins to head for a previously unseen pair of double doors that shimmered into existence in the nearest wall. “That cocoon will only hold her until she faces her true feelings. The second she owns up to the fact that she isn’t in love with Batman, just infatuated, she’ll be free.”

“What if they were truly meant to be?” Nyssa asked.

“They aren’t.” Said Ivy. “He’s already engaged to the woman he’s meant for. We don’t have many plans but those two maintaining a stable relationship is always a priority. Will we have any problems with you horning in on things between the Arrow and his girl?”

Nyssa just looked at the green woman, blinking several times before her lips cracked open in a wide grin. “Oh, oh that’s good.” The lead assassin laughed as she looked between the two Star Sapphires. “I have no interest in any betrothal proposed by my father. Especially not to that arrogant fuckboy. The only thing the Arrow and I have in common is our taste in blonde women.”

“Ha, good to know.” Harley laughed as she waved off the assassins. “Now take the pet rock with you. Oh, and if you try anything on the way out, know that the more of you guys we crystallize the harder it will be for those left to carry you all back to Nanda Parbat.”

At the blatant threat, the remaining assassins under Nyssa’s command all took up positions around Talia’s crystal prison. They made short work of lifting the giant pink rock and heading towards the exit. For her part Nyssa hung back, her eyes never leaving the two women she had been ordered to kill. As her men carried her sister out of the double doors she nodded to the pair of Star Sapphires. Harley nodded once in return and then Nyssa spun to march out of their lair.

Several moments passed before Harley spoke again. When she did her prior amusement and good cheer seemed to have returned. “And then there was one group of assassins left tied up on our living room floor.”

“We aren’t assassins.” Rick Flag’s protest was met with derisive snorts from both of the men beside him who still had full use of their mouths. “Well, I’m not an assassin!”

“No,” Harley agreed as she walked over to one of the large plant creatures and pulled a translucent slate of pink crystal from its paws. “You’re just the guy holding their leash. Waylon, would you mind rejoining us for this part?” Her question came in a slightly raised voice.

“Sure thing Doc,” Croc called back as the plants parted and allowed the oversized reptilian to walk back to the group. In one scaly hand, he held a large bread roll he had stuffed with shredded meat. “This is some good pork. Your plants really cooked that whole pig on their own?”

“Thank you Waylon,” Ivy smiled at the compliment the intimidating man paid to her plants. “Our babies have picked up a few skills. Always learning. Harley and I are so proud.”

Croc smiled a sharp, toothy smile at the kind redhead. He could see why his former doctor loved the woman so completely. They were both so kind. They may have been the only humans on the planet who didn’t take one look at him and assume he was a subhuman monster. Even the other members of his squad had taken months to see him as more than an animal.

When Harley looked up from her crystal tablet and addressed her former patient she had a more reserved tone in her voice. The reptilian couldn’t tell why at first. “Waylon, would you please explain why there are nanite clusters in your neck and the necks of those three men over there?”

“Oh, yeah.” Croc muttered as he avoided looking at Rick Flag. “Yeah, those are in case we act up. Go on a killin’ spree. The boss lady don’t want it coming back on her if a bunch of dangerous criminals get loose on her watch.”

“Step out of line, neck goes boom. Take a swing at a guard, neck goes boom.” Deadshot rattled off possible offenses with lethal consequences.

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Harley muttered as she looked over the information displayed on her tablet. When she spoke again she waved a hand at the woman still clutched in Rick’s arms. “And this boss lady didn’t have a neck bomb for that thing that was inside her?”

As Harley expected Rick was the one to answer. “Waller kept the Enchantress’ mummified heart in a briefcase that never left her side. She could have killed her and June at any moment.”

“And now she won’t need to,” Ivy assured the soldier.

“You’re welcome,” Harley added with a playful smirk. “Now what can we do about, ah. Here it is.” her fingers tapped out a sequence on the tablet and then a small pink disc the size of a dime popped out of the top of the pink crystal slab. “Here Waylon. This neutralizer will keep you safe. Just press it into the skin around where the nanites were injected.”

“Okay,” Croc said as he took the tiny disc. Upon contact with the scales around his neck, the disc vanished into his skin. “Feels tingly.”

“Oh, hey, can I get one of those?” Deadshot asked.

“No!” Rick snapped as he looked to the men on his squad. “Waller will have a fit if she finds out the kill switches are gone.”

“Who’s gonna tell her?” Harley asked the men tied up before her. “I’m not. Are you going to tell this Waller lady anything Baby?”

Ivy made a show of giving the matter some consideration before answering. “Hmm… Nope.”

“Looks like the secret is safe for now,” Harley went on, looking first to Deadshot then to her tablet. “Okay, Mr. Lawton it says here you have a daughter who lives in Gotham with your ex-wife.”

“Whoa! Hey! Leave my baby girl out of this!” Deadshot shouted as he watched Harley continue to type.

Harley just shook her head. “No can do big guy. We need some sort of leverage to get you to fall in line.”

As Harley spoke in terms her audience found far too unsettling Ivy pulled out her phone. “Hello, is Mr. Fox there?” A beat passed before Ivy spoke with more cheer and warmth than any of the intruders had heard before. “Hi, Lucius! Harley says hi too.” She pulled the phone away from her ear to speak to her Love. “Lucius says hi.” Then the phone was back in place and Ivy was speaking to the COO once more. “We have a small favor to ask Lucius. There’s a Zoe Lawton who lives in Gotham. We need her to receive one of those scholarships to Gotham Academy that the Wayne Foundations are always giving out. Yes, Harley and I both know who her father is. We’re talking to him right now. Yes, he should be in a maximum security prison. If what I’m hearing is true it sounds like some shady people have him out on a work release program. No, we’ll pay for her scholarship. Just don’t let anyone know it was us. Take double the cost of her tuition out of our next royalties check. That should be a good start. Later we can figure out a trust for her college fund or something.”

Deadshot was speechless as he watched the green woman speak. He almost didn’t notice when the blonde began to explain the fine print to him. “Here’s how it’s going to work Mr. Lawton. You now work for us in an unofficial capacity. You’ll have a list. If you are ever asked to kill anyone on that list you will take the job and then contact us right away. Your job will be to help us ensure that no one on our list gets hurt and that the parties trying to kill our friends get what’s coming to them.”

Deadshot blinked as he realized he was going to have to play a much more dangerous game with Waller and any future clients who may reach out to him. “And for all that you’ll send my little girl to the best school in the city? Just keep doing what I’m doing but make sure I don’t kill a handful of people you have your hooks in?”

“Actually the list is closer to a few hundred,” Harley admitted with a grin. “But some of those names are aliases and false flags to make sure you don’t figure out certain secrets.”

Deadshot nodded at the simple terms. “Good enough. Where’s the list?”

“Here,” Harley’s voice grew more resonant as she reached out a hand and touched Deadshot’s left temple. The sniper’s head flew backwards. The vines binding him prevented his skull from slamming into the cement floor as he convulsed.

A moment later Deadshot blinked away the blur consuming his vision and looked back up to see Harley smirking at him. “Lady, anyone ever tell you you’re crazy? Warn a brother next time you do whatever that was.”

“Oh relax.” Harley dismissed his complaints with ease. “The list is in your head now. When you need to know a name on it, you will. If this works out and you are ever released from this weird indentured servitude thing we’ll see about getting a child custody lawyer to look at your case.”

“Oh it’s gonna work out doll face,” Deadshot said as he was freed to stand up for the first time in hours. He staggered slightly as he stood.

Harley saw the misstep and turned to Croc. “Waylon, be a dear and help your friend over to the kitchen. He’ll need to drink something after that spell and he’s probably hungry.”

“Take June and Rick too,” Ivy added. “It shouldn't take too long to figure out if we need something from Bronze Tiger.”

Harley nodded along. “Probably info on his former League of Shadows buddies.”

Rick Flag gave them a skeptical look as he lifted June up in his arms. “And Captain Boomerang?”

“Maybe he shouldn’t have mouthed off about other people’s girlfriends.” Harley’s tone left no room for interpretation as to the depths of her displeasure with the disheveled Aussie.

As the Soldier and his love were led away with the reptile and the sniper the two Star Sapphires shared a knowing look. Though many forces had moved against them they had come out unscathed. For now. It was not the end of their troubles.

Harley Quinn frowned as she realized their lair may no longer be secure. “Think it’s time for a little vacation Baby?”

Poison Ivy smiled as she pondered their next move. “I know just the place, Sweetie. We really should see how the pregnancy is going.”

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:16 pm 
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Dibs-y Goodness! :applause :banana :bounce

Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I'm glad that the unwanted houseguest situation was resolved more or less peacefully... I'm guessing Maggie, Amanda Waller & Ra's are getting a surprise visit from out dynamic duo in the future to sort out the differences...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:54 pm 
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Wait Who's pregnant?

Is it Mogo? Because... Damn!

And if it was one of the girls, well, i'd have assumed that would be a wee bit more central.

Anyhoo, great ep!

Can't wait for more! :bounce

And welcome back! :banana

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:13 pm 
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Yes, Citanul, I am all caught up. I must admit that I am SO enjoying every 'segment' of this story, OR these timelines. Of course, like many, my favorite is the Witch King and Lady Willow! I'm enjoying the "regular" (if that can be said!) Willow & Tara, as well, but there is something about kick-a** medieval dames that gets me.
That being said,....I have been re-reading a few postings to see if I could figure out what Medieval/Deadpool meant. I know he's basically bats**t crazy,...but out of the mouths of lunatics and all that.
Something about the progression of Willow & Tara's lives??? I'll keep mulling it over.
Again, keep up the excellent writing and I WILL keep reading!!! Can't wait for the newest update!!
Blessings,

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:22 pm 
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Can't wait for more! :bounce
I feel as though I have to apologize for possibly breaking you????? Hopefully you are working diligently on much more extra goodness!!
Anyway, LOVE this fic,...please come back!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:32 am 
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Hi Zampsa, Azirahael and MotherD.

Sorry for the delays. The next chapter is coming soonish, but there have been delays.

Maggie, Waller, and Ra's won't all be dealt with in the same way. Some of them might be smart enough to leave well enough alone. Mogo isn't preggers. That would be interesting, but not in the cards at the moment. The person expecting has made a very recent appearance in the Sirens entries. She and her husband and probably the baby will show up next time we check in with Harley and Ivy.

As for the "mystery" Deadpool, Cassie, and I think a few other minor characters have alluded to, the girls are jumping from each parallel dimension to different alternate universes. It's pretty much just like in the series "Sliders" staring Gimli from Lord of the Rings and Rebecca Romijn's husband. Willow and Tara have one specific perspective on the order of events they are witnessing and they've admitted as such to their closest friends and a few enemies when they've said what number life they are on at the moment. I don't think they've yet mentioned the number the main Buffyverse dimension is, but it's a big one.

In contrast, Deadpool, Medievalpool, Deathstroke, Cassie and maybe a few characters running around off screen are aware of events across all the dimensions, but they are experiencing everything with a much different time line than the one Willow and Tara and their doppelgangers are seeing. Sometime in Act 3 Deadpool will probably do some fourth wall breaking and inadvertently provide more answers. I need to check my notes and see when I had that planned.

Again, sorry for the delays. The next chapter will be up soon. Needless to say the events of the Buffy episode "Enemies" will take a drastic departure.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:48 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind? Seriously though all feedback is welcome.

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show. And Angel too. Also Agents of Shield a little bit. You know what, if a name you don’t recognize pops up most of the time you can find dozens of pages of character bio if you type that name and the word comics into Wikipedia. It’s almost scary how much page space comic book fans have taken up on that site.

Rating: NC-17 = Smutty smut smut smut. Seriously though they make love quite often.

Pairings: W/T, B/F, G/J, D/J, F/G, A/?, X/A. Also D/C (Though not till they’re older and even then maybe not so much with the graphic detail.)

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives?

Author’s Note: And I finally fought off the demons of procrastination and "Ooh look! A shiny!" Where were we again? Oh! "Enemies." Yeah none of that episode made the cut... Well, most of that episode didn't make the cut... Okay the start of the episode made the cut but not the way it went down in the... Anyway the girls are having an impromptu date night and things get steamy. The first two scenes contain pretty graphic love scenes, so there's that to look forward to before insane plot lines gets up an running. I swear I'll try to get the next one out faster...

*****

Chapter 38: Love, Devotion, or Something Sinister

“Le Banquet D’ Amelia,” Buffy read the words out loud as she stared up at the glowing neon Sun Cinema marquee. A moment passed before the Slayer’s mind leapt to the simplest conclusion. “Oh! It’s about food… Right?”

“Yeah, B,” Faith failed to hide her smirk as she bought their tickets and took her girl by the hand. “It’s got food in it.” The sultry brunette led the petite blonde through the lobby only pausing for a moment as her girl eyed the concession stand. Knowing Buffy’s sweet tooth, Faith bought one of the larger boxes of chocolate before hurrying the Slayer towards the main theater.

Buffy’s expression turned curious, then confused as Faith guided her to the very back row of seats in the large screening room. “Back here? Really? I get not wanting to strain your neck looking up the whole time, but all the way in the back?”

“Trust me, B,” Faith gave her girl a seductive smile as she removed the light fuchsia coat from Buffy’s shoulders. “When the lights go down these will be the best seats in the house.”

Buffy just shrugged and took the seat Faith maneuvered her towards. They were a few seats away from the side wall of the theater, though still towards the middle of the row. Buffy didn’t pay too much attention as Faith folded and set Buffy’s coat and her own leather jacket together one seat away from Buffy’s.

“Don’t want anyone creepin’ as I put my arm around my girl’s shoulders,” Faith and Buffy shared a smile and a heartwarming look. Faith then sat in the seat between Buffy and the coats and proceeded to put her arm around the petite blonde.

“Aww, Honey, you are just adorable.” Buffy let out a laugh as Faith failed to look nonchalant.

“Yeah, B,” Faith finally managed to hide her smirk as the lights began to dim. The Slayers let their heads rest against one another as the screen flickered to life. “Adorable.”

Buffy happily munched on chocolate as she watched the opening credits. None of the names seemed even slightly familiar. She hadn’t heard anything specific about this film. All she knew going in was the reaction Willow had when she told her friend about the date Faith had planned. The almost maniacal grin that took over the redhead’s face raised more than a few red flags, though those warnings went unheeded in the wake of Willow’s adamant assurances.

“No, Buffy, you have to go see that movie with Faith!” The witch had all but shouted as Buffy’s hesitation became apparent. “It’s amazing, romantic even, and it’s just so… Artistic!”

All Buffy could do at the time was along with Willow’s resounding excitement. As the credits faded a slender woman wearing a skimpy black kimono walked into frame. Buffy began to doubt her earlier assessment of the title as the camera dragged itself languidly up and down the woman’s body. The woman, Buffy presumed this was the fabled Amelia, walked up to the side of a long ornate dining table. The kind of table one might expect to find in the banquet hall of a cold-hearted king or feudal lord. A table meant for the aristocracy, but not the scantily clad woman on screen.

Buffy’s mouth went dry as she watched Amelia bend over at the waist, revealing far more than the petite blonde anticipated as the kimono was hiked up delicately curved hips and thighs. Buffy let out a high pitched squeak that managed to straddle a fine line between mortified and aroused. The box of chocolates found its way to the cup holder in Buffy’s armrest. The Slayer watched, unable to turn away as Amelia spread a crimson table cloth across the polished wood surface of the banquet table. Hazel eyes never leaving the tuft of dark curls peeking out at the Slayer from just under the hem of the black satin kimono.

Buffy’s pulse quickened as her eyes locked on stiff twin peaks boldly trying to erupt from the thin, dark, lace of the kimono. She gasped as heat built between her legs until an all consuming blaze threatened to claim the rest of her body. The only distraction was the arm wrapped around her shoulders, strong fingers flexing as they gripped her aroused frame.

“See something you like, B?” Faith whispered in Buffy’s ear, knowingly, seductively. “For a low budget indie flick, they lucked out casting her.” Faith’s husky whispers coiled and fanned the arousal running rampant in Buffy’s mind and her now aching center, but it was the hand creeping up Buffy’s thigh, hiking up her black floral print skirt, that truly captivated Buffy. Faith’s long, dexterous fingers worked wonders. Dragging trimmed nails along the inside of Buffy’s muscular legs. Pressing into the supple flesh of Buffy’s taut inner thighs. Dancing under Buffy’s lacy underwear, up and down swollen lips for a heart-shattering moment.

“Damn, B!” Faith whispered a laugh into Buffy’s earlobe as she nibbled upon the delicate flesh. “So wet for me already.” The brunette took a moment to gather up Buffy’s heated essence with her fingers. The Slayer let out a desperate gasp as Faith’s hand came up to first take one tender swipe across Buffy’s panting lips. An instant later the digits were taken from the petite blonde’s mouth and slipped into the brunette’s. Faith moaned her rapture as she tasted Buffy on her fingers.

“Faith?” Buffy’s moaned whimper was as wanton as it was quiet. Neither Slayer paid attention as food platters were paraded across the screen at the head of the room. Neither Slayer cared as two men easily twice Amelia’s size walked up to the slender woman and began to kiss and suck at opposite sides of her neck. “Please...”

“Don’t worry, B,” Faith assured her girl as her hand trailed back down Buffy’s body. The Slayer quivered as Faith’s hand cupped her pussy. “I’ll steer you around the curves,” Faith promised as she plunged two strong fingers into Buffy’s depths. Buffy’s loud moan was just barely captured by Faith as the brunette claimed the petite blonde’s lips with her own. Slayer and Slayer melted into one another at the very back of the darkened movie theater. None of the half dozen or so other people in the room noticed. None looked back as Buffy gripped her armrests and rocked her hips into Faith’s hand, driving possessive yet needy digits all the deeper into quivering molten folds.

Faith could no longer hold back the proud smirk as she fucked her girl senseless. She silently thanked the Goddess that whoever had organized the theater’s recent run of indie art house films had neglected to filter out entries that were obviously soft core porn films.

The brunette thrilled with each and every aroused moan and whimper that slipped Buffy’s lips. Faith swallowed them all as she drove Buffy further and further towards the precipice. She almost cheered as she felt Buffy’s walls begin to quake. The rippling turned to desperate clenching as Faith carried her girl over the edge of ecstasy.

When Buffy regained her senses she noticed Faith was still kissing her. Still stirring within her. Still claiming her. That had to change.

“Mmm, Faith,” Buffy’s whisper was far more coherent than her last pleading utterance.

“You enjoying the movie, B?” Faith asked with casual ease as she gave her girl’s pussy one more playful stir. She delighted at the way Buffy’s entire body seized up before hazel eyes fixed her with a mild glare.

“Oh yeah,” Buffy growled as she ignored what the men on screen were doing to Amelia’s completely naked body. Just as Amelia was picked up and laid bare in the middle of the banquet table Buffy leapt into Faith’s lap. The Slayer turned her back on the dozens of food platters surrounding the naked woman on screen. Preferring to focus on making the proud brunette she straddled just as desperate and wanton as Amelia.

“Mine!” Buffy whispered and groaned into Faith’s mouth as her hands all but ripped open the fly of Faith’s tight leather pants, determined to capture the wetness Buffy knew awaited her within the confining leather. In an instant, Buffy’s fingers delved through Faith’s arousal.

“Yours,” Faith agreed as quietly as she could while Buffy began to fuck her. “Always yours, B.”

The Slayer reveled in her girl’s submission. The brunette’s pleading tone driving her wild, Buffy quickly worked Faith into a frenzied haze of lust and love. The Slayers repeatedly took each other to new heights in the back row of the theater, none of their fellow moviegoers the wiser.

*****

“Ooh, Baby, this is my favorite part.” Willow squirmed in her front row seat as she watched the four men on screen use chopsticks to remove pieces of sushi from Amelia’s exposed skin. The naked woman lay face up on the massive banquet table. She shivered in delight as every second or third time the men went for a piece of food their reach missed and turned into a lingering caress. Hands holding chopsticks all too often came to rest open palms across thighs, breasts, and the taut expanse of stomach on full display. Soon enough Amelia’s knees began to tremble and spread. Willow watched transfixed as the woman’s glistening curls came into focus once more.

“Really, Sweetie?” Tara whispered in an amused and curious tone. “This is your favorite part? What happened to my breast gal?”

“What?” Willow almost yelped as she felt Tara’s hand trace up and down the inside of her thigh. It took the redhead a moment for her love’s question to register. “Oh, okay not this part, but the one coming up is the best.”

“I agree,” Tara whispered before she leaned back and closed her eyes. The honey blonde rasped out the words to a familiar spell. An instant later the couple was shrouded behind a veil none would even come close to piercing.

“Somebody else’s problem? Really?” Willow asked as she glanced over her shoulder at the handful of other moviegoers spread out over the dozens of rows behind theirs. “In a porno theater?” Willow’s scandalized whisper did far too many interesting things to Tara’s imagination as it ran wild.

“Soft core porn maybe.” Tara amended as she took Willow’s hand. “It does provide quite the distraction for the field to work off of. Everyone here is too focused on the screen up there to see what I’m gonna do to you right down here.” As Tara spoke one hand slowly dragged her long skirt up her legs while the other brought Willow’s trembling palm against her inner thigh. Tara almost moaned as she felt her love’s hand squeeze and knead the supple flesh so close to her aching center.

“Baby,” Willow moaned as she tried to lean in to kiss her always.

“Not yet, Sweetie,” Tara held her everything off for a moment. Though that was the last thing she wanted, Tara needed another moment before going forward. The denial was nearly too painful. “Watch our favorite scene. The Baroness is about to take her turn with Amelia.”

Willow whimpered as she restrained her desires. The temptation to throw herself to the floor before Tara and bury her face in the honey blonde’s quivering folds was nearly too great. Ever obedient, Willow clutched the arm rests of her seat and watched as a new figure appeared on the screen.

The tall statuesque Baroness stood off to the side of the banquet table. Thick tresses of raven black hair cascaded down shoulders only loosely covered by the frill and lace straps of a dark purple gown. The garment bore several striking similarities to an ancient Greek or Roman toga. Graceful, yet sharp features made up the woman’s face as her steely blue eyes never left the hands wandering up and down Amelia’s soft curves and supple flesh.

Willow gulped as she watched the Baroness walk up to the table. The men smearing food across Amelia’s exposed frame stepped aside as she made her presence known. She loomed over the still writhing Amelia, eyes taking in the messy splotches and patterns of smeared food left by the burly men’s explorations. A moment passed before Amelia’s eyes opened. The prone woman saw the sheer wanton lust in the steely eyes that bore into her. Amelia quivered in fear and desperate expectation as the Baroness leaned ever closer.

“What so ever shall I do with you, Pet?” The Baroness spoke in imperious tones as she took Amelia’s chin in her hand.

Unbeknownst to Willow, Tara’s preparations were nearing completion. The honey blonde hiked up her long skirt, revealing ample curvy thighs and a slightly curved, silicon, phallus. Tara smirked as she readied the strap-on. The toy was translucent with countless flecks of glitter sparkling in its nearly see through purple depths. The head on the end of the shaft was smooth and round, flaring out where it met the shaft. That smoothness continued along the underside of the curved length of the shaft. The texture along the top of the toy’s shaft, however, was a different matter. Behind the top of the ridge at the back of the strap-on’s “head” was another smoothly curved ridge. Behind that lay another ridge, and another, and so on, down the length of the toy until the shaft met the base that lay shrouded in the holster of the belted harness wrapped around Tara’s thighs and waist.

Tara smirked as she brought two of her fingers up to her lips. She moistened her fingers quickly before bringing them back to Willow’s heated folds. The honey blonde wasn’t surprised that her redhead had neglected to wear panties for this particular screening. Willow gasped as she felt Tara delve inside for only an instant, gathering moisture before retreating.

“Please!” Willow whimpered just as Amelia moaned an identical plea on screen. She turned to beg Tara to continue only to gasp in renewed shock as the glistening strap-on caught her eye.

Tara smiled coyly as the Baroness gripped Amelia’s hair. “Climb into my lap, Sweetie,” Tara ordered in a seductive whisper as the Baroness captured Amelia’s lips with her own. “Keep facing the screen.”

Willow could only nod and follow the orders of her always. Without hesitation, Willow hiked up her own skirt and hopped over the armrest that separated her from Tara. She let out a giddy little moan as she lowered herself onto Tara’s cock. Shivers ran up and down the redhead’s spine as every groove and bump along Tara’s thick shaft gripped and tugged at her inner walls. Just as Willow thought she could take no more, her quivering pussy lips came to rest against the smooth leather of Tara’s harness.

“Nice and slow, Sweetie,” Tara said as her hands cupped Willow’s ass cheeks. “In,” The honey blonde whispered as she gripped Willow by the hips and ass. “And out.” She lifted the lithe redhead upwards several torturous inches. A shudder ran through Willow’s body. Just as Willow began to fear the toy would slip out of her sopping wet pussy, Tara turned the tables on her once again. “And in,” Tara growled as she gripped Willow’s hips and ass even tighter. In one rough flourish, Willow was impaled by her always. Shaking hips slammed down onto the ribbed shaft. Aching pussy lips pressed once more against the smooth leather of the harness.

“Fuck!” Willow screamed as she felt Tara’s ridged girth forced inside her quaking depths. Emerald eyes slammed shut and Willow forgot to track the goings on of the men and women on the giant screen before her. “Oh fuck!” She went on in a slightly quieter voice. “Baby, you’re so big.”

“You like that, Sweetie?” Tara asked as she hoisted Willow up once again only to immediately bring her crashing down onto sweet agony.

“Fuck, yes! Tara, please, please, Baby.” Willow began to beg as Tara repeated the violent up and down motion with slender hips still firmly in her grasp.

“Please what, Sweetie?” Tara asked as she smirked. While waiting for an answer Tara halted her movements and held Willow in place. The redhead began to panic as she felt the tip of the strap-on just barely teasing her entrance. She needed more.

“Don’t stop...” Willow begged as she tried to wriggle her hips downwards, completely oblivious to the world outside of Tara and the glorious shaft that connected them. “Don’t stop fucking me! Fuck me harder. Make me scream for it!”

“My pleasure.” Tara and the Baroness whispered in unison. As steady female hands began to roam over Amelia’s body once more, even steadier hands tightened on the freckled skin of Willow’s hips. Willow found herself forced back down the entire length of Tara’s shaft in one quick thrust. She thrashed at the sudden fullness. Her head crashed backward onto Tara’s waiting shoulder.

Tara began to suck and nip along the weakest spots of Willow’s neck, all the while forcing the redhead’s hips up and down. Loud moans of agonized rapture filled the room, only to be ignored by literally all moviegoers sitting beyond the confines of Tara’s front row seat.

After several more rapid thrusts, Tara brought Willow’s hips to a halt with the toy still buried to the hilt in the redhead’s pussy. “Beg for me, Willow,” Tara whispered into the haze of lust and exquisite delight that fogged Willow’s mind.

Willow wasted no time as she began to rock her hips back and forth into Tara’s lap. She cried out as the base of the strap-on ground into her swollen lips and clit. “Fuck! Tara! So good. You’re so good, Baby. No one fucks this pussy like you do, Tara!”

“Whose pussy is it?” Tara asked, knowing full well the answer.

“Your pussy!” Willow cried out as she felt herself slipping closer and closer to the edge of the abyss Tara had dangled her over. “It’s your pussy, Tara. Always!”

Tara took the empty soda cup from her armrest and popped the lid off with one hand. She moved the cup in front of Willow’s pussy, bringing her free hand around to torment the redhead’s throbbing clit. “Come for me, Willow.”

With that command, Willow’s world melted away. The redhead cried her ecstasy to the heavens as torrents of her essence shot forth into the waiting mouth of the nearly empty plastic cup. Willow’s entire body vibrated in the devastating wake of the climax Tara had brought her. So powerful were the quakes that Tara could feel each and every ripple of Willow’s inner walls through the shaft still affixed to her pelvis. It was several minutes of uninterrupted whimpers and moans before either young woman could speak.

“Goddess, you are amazing.” Willow let out a rasped whisper as she tried to find her voice.

Tara couldn’t help but smirk as she held up the nearly full large cup she had bought from the concession stand. “So are you, Sweetie.” She nearly laughed as Willow’s eyes widened in shock.

“Oh Goddess, did I refill that whole thing?” Willow cringed in mortification. Had Tara’s hold on the girl not been so steadfast, the redhead might have slipped out of Tara’s lap and onto the floor. Tara held firm though. Her arm around Willow’s waist and her faux cock still buried several inches deep inside Willow’s pussy, ensuring that her everything would not be going anywhere.

“I love you, Willow,” Tara assured her always. “I love everything about you.” Another sly smirk spread across Tara’s face before she continued. “Plus, you know what they say, don’t you?”

“What do they say?” Willow couldn’t begin to guess where Tara was going with any of this. She would have cringed if she remembered the first time they had heard the dirty joke that was currently running through Tara’s mind.

Tara’s expression held near angelic innocence as she recited the joke. Though crude, it had made her laugh uncontrollably while Willow cringed in embarrassment the first time they had heard it in a comedy club. “Remember fellas. If you find a squirter in college, you marry her!”

Willow balked at the crude utterance as Tara just laughed and held the redhead from behind. Eventually, Willow joined her always in laughter. The lid was soon put back on the now full drink cup, and Willow basked in Tara’s embrace. They watched the conclusion of Amelia’s adventures on the banquet table. Not once did Willow even think of extracting the dildo from her depths. Not until the credits rolled at least.

*****

The Slayers walked out of the Sun Cinema, the petite blonde practically wrapped around the arm of her brunette love. A dreamy expression was plastered across her face as they stepped into the cool early evening air.

With a playful grin, Faith turned to her smiling girl and asked the question she already knew the answer to. “So, B. Good movie?”

“Oh yes.” Buffy nodded as she looked up to Faith’s expressive brown eyes. “I loved every minute of it. It was very… “artistic.”

“Mmm, so artistic.” A voice from behind the Slayers caused Buffy to practically leap into the air. Faith and Buffy both spun to confront the interloper, only to halt at the laughing redhead and the smirking honey blonde. “Hey, guys!” Willow waved her free hand while the other remained interlaced with Tara’s. “So, Buffy, how was your first time seeing such an “artistic” film?”

The Slayer gaped in shock at the sight of both witches, and their amused expressions. “Willow! Tara! What are you guys… I mean… It was good! Very “artistic.”

“Yes, very “artistic.” Tara deadpanned with a smirk and a nod.

Faith chuckled as she listened to her girl squirm before her housemates. “Plus that naked chick they spread out on that big ass table had great tits.”

“Faith!” Buffy’s protest was practically drowned out by laughter from the three other Scoobies around her. “That’s it! If you’re gonna get this worked up over some… actress… I’m just gonna have to get a kimono and show you how it’s done!”

Faith’s laughter died in the back of her throat as she stared at her girl’s adorable indignation. “Promise?” She whispered low enough that the witches right beside them could barely hear.

“Well...” Buffy played up her indecision for a long moment. She coyly brought her index finger up to her chin, as if pondering all the ramifications of prancing around in front of her girlfriend wearing nothing but the shortest, skimpiest, sexiest kimono she could find. Buffy gave the seemingly desperate brunette an appraising look before a wide smile broke out across her face. “Sure. Why not?”

“Hot damn, B!” Faith shouted in joy as she picked up her girl and spun are around in the air. The Slayers laughed as they twirled for several long moments until Faith finally set Buffy down and pulled the petite blonde flush against her body. Their kiss lasted for several more heart achingly tender moments before an irreverent hooting shattered their intimacy. The offending gawker walking in the nearby crowd was immediately silenced by four murderous glares. Once the slightly inebriated man fled in terror the Slayers turned their attention back to one another. “You’d seriously wear that sexy little number for me, Buffy?”

Buffy smiled as she heard the slightly timid tremor running through Faith’s last question. “Of course, Faith. You’re not the only one who got all worked up in there. I figure it’ll be fun to rub your nose in it a little...” She trailed off as the most perplexed expression sapped her flirty smile. “Suddenly wondering where that expression comes from.”

Faith couldn’t help but pull her girl all the closer as she husked lustful little scenarios in Buffy’s ear. “Prance around in a see through kimono for me and we’ll both come from me rubbing my nose all up in your hot little bod.”

Knowing her words might fail her as Faith tightened their embrace, Buffy resorted to the best way she knew to convey her affections for her girl. The kiss lasted far longer than the previous one. Only interrupted by Willow and Tara once the four Scoobies were the only ones left standing on the street in front of the theater.

“So… patrol?” Willow asked as the Slayers’ kiss finally ground to a close. “We had this demon we needed to meet, but after that Tara and I were thinking hot cocoa.”

“How bad is the demon?” Buffy groaned as she let her head fall to Faith’s shoulder.

“Not bad but not really good.” Willow was quick to temper the Slayers’ blood lust. “He’s got a rare set of books and is willing to sell.”

Tara nodded along as Willow explained the trade they had set up.“The kind of books we don’t want on the open m-market.”

“So we’re buying merch off evil demons now?” Faith asked.

“He’s not strictly evil, just, morally dubious, and kind of skeezy,” Willow trailed off as she led her girlfriend and the Slayers towards the nearest cemetery. On their way Buffy noticed Tara toss what sounded like a mostly full, large, concession stand drink from the theater into a nearby trashcan.

Tara realized Buffy was watching her and gave the petite blonde a sly smile. “The soda machine must have run out of syrup. The refill came out a little salty.” Buffy nodded along at the simple explanation as Willow choked back a fit of laughter.

Soon enough the four young women were strolling through one of Sunnydale’s nicer cemeteries. The Slayers were on high alert as the witches just rolled their eyes while scanning the darkness near one of the larger crypts. “Skyler!” Willow called out as they came to a halt several paces from the front of the crypt. “Are we doing this trade or not? Come on out!”

A nasally, high pitched voice coming from a nearby patch of shadows drew the attention of both Slayers. “I said to come alone.”

“Relax guys, he’s just nervous,” Willow waved off the concerned Slayers before addressing the demon once more. “This is a hellmouth, Skyler. It’s dangerous at night and what you’re selling is even more dangerous in the wrong hands. Hands which would kill all of us if given half the chance. Now, are you going to come out here and show us the books? Or am I taking my friends and my money and hitting up the Espresso Pump for some hot cocoa?”

“Ooh, actually cocoa sounds good right about now,” The demon put on a forced grin as he stepped out of the shadows. The Slayers took in his slender, diminutive appearance. He was only about as tall as Buffy and wore ordinary human clothing. Dull brown shoes, a pair of dark slacks, a dark brown jacket over a dull beige button up shirt, and a fedora that almost matched the jacket. The Slayers also noticed his blotchy, ashen skin, thick blond mutton chops, pointed ears, beady yellow eyes, jagged teeth, and the two pale, bony horns jutting from his forehead just below the hat. “I don’t suppose I could get some too?”

Willow just rolled her eyes as the Slayers looked the weaselly demon over. “Hand over the books and we’ll get an extra cup that Faith and Buffy can run back to you.”

“You got my five grand?” He asked the seemingly bored redhead.

“I’ve got two grand and some spare walking around money.” Willow was not interested in any real haggling, but agreeing to his initial asking price without killing him would set a bad precedent for any future demons they dealt with who were actually evil. “Now for the last time, do you have the Books of Ascension or not?”

“Okay, okay, I got ‘em,” Skyler admitted as he saw Faith’s bored look turn into a more menacing glare. “They’re in one of the bushes near that crypt over there. I’ll tell you which one after I get my three grand.”

“Two.” Willow rolled her eyes as she refused to budge.

Skyler fumed before recalling that there were two notoriously short tempered Slayers watching him. “Two and a half and you’re paying for my cocoa.”

“Deal!” Willow pulled out two stacks of bills wrapped with simple yellow and white currency straps that read “$1,000” across the sides, and a large rolled up wad of loose hundred dollar bills. She peeled off five and handed them and the two stacks to the grinning demon.

“Pleasure doing business with you ladies,” Skyler kept up his forced grin as he led Buffy and Faith over to the nearby bushes. “Here they are, the Books of Ascension. One of a kind, original editions. All in good condition, save for some wear on one spine and some foxing.”

“What does a demon want all that money for?” Buffy asked.

Skyler flinched before looking at the petite blonde with a truly befuddled expression. “Is she serious?” He asked Faith, only to receive another cold glare. He decided to answer as politely as possible. “Plane tickets. I’m getting out of this berg while I still can.”

Buffy’s curiosity was piqued. “What’s got you running scared?”

“Aside from two mated Slayers killing almost everything in sight?” His question shocked Buffy but had little impact on Faith. “Let’s just say I don’t want to get caught in the middle of your witches over there and whatever evil, world ending, thing decides to pick a fight with them next. First the old mayor and his Ascension, then Wolfram&Hart, the Beast! For fuck’s sake, they killed “The” Beast! No one in the know believes it was that pompous knight jackass. Half the ones who knew what Glorificus was are convinced they powered you up and pointed you at her, and the other half think the redhead offed the Beast herself. Between two all powerful witches and two infamous Slayers who slaughtered the Master, the whole Sisterhood of Jhe, and who knows how many minor league nobodies the Hellmouth just isn’t safe anymore. Whatever takes you girls on next is gonna be all the way over on the crazy side and I’m not gonna be anywhere near that fight.” Buffy contemplated the demon’s panicked words as she and Faith each carried half of the books back to Willow and Tara.

In a few short moments, the four Scoobies and the nervous demon were walking back towards the entrance of the cemetery closest to the Espresso Pump. The girls left the demon to lurk in the shadows while they headed to retrieve their hot cocoa. The demon thought about running as soon as they left him but something in Buffy’s stunned silence after his little speech stayed his movements. A few minutes later both Faith and Buffy came walking back towards him holding a cardboard drink tray of large cups full of steaming beverages. The Slayers handed Skyler his drink and he nodded in silent acceptance. He took a few sips while the Slayers nodded and waved their goodbyes. Once he was alone again the demon sighed his relief. He clutched his hot cocoa and the pocket filled with his money and began the short walk back to his rundown apartment. He had packing to do.

*****

A few hours past noon, Angel slunk into his new lair through the sewer grate in the basement apartment. He had spent the better part of the day underground, chasing dead ends and baseless rumors. Finally, he stumbled upon a lead. Though no one knew where Darla and Drusilla went after he slaughtered their minion auditions and set them ablaze, one shifty demon knew Darla’s next target. With that lead, the cursed vampire regained his motivation. He now knew the prize Darla sought. He knew there would be no end to the trouble she would cause with that artifact in her possession. More importantly, he knew who currently held the prize.

Angel shucked off the clothes he had worn while slogging through the sewers. He made his way into the small bathroom tucked behind a curtain in the corner of his dreary bedroom. Before he could continue the hunt a shower was needed. When night fell he would be ready. He would find the sorcerer that raised Darla. He would take the Cup of Perpetual Torment from the man who had caused so many problems. He would stop Darla.

*****

“You lot certainly didn’t have to go to this much trouble,” Giles said as Dawn stuck a tiny conical party hat on his head. He held back a flinch as the thin rubber strap struck the underside of his chin. Dawn’s reply further undid his restraint.

“Sure we did, Papa Giles!” The young teen’s cheer did nothing to dissuade the Englishman from cringing. “That’s what family is all about.”

“Dawn stop picking on Giles,” Buffy ordered as she strode into the dining room with a serving platter full of appetizers. “Why don’t you go see if Mom, Jen, Cassie, and Tara need any help in the kitchen?”

“Fine.” Dawn let out an annoyed huff as she stood to leave. She threw her arms around Giles once more and kissed his cheek before turning and running into the kitchen. For her part, Buffy simply rolled her eyes as she placed the platter full of what looked like tiny quiches on the table.

“So how are you handling Hurricane Dawn?” Buffy asked as she took a seat beside her watcher.

“There are times I envy her youthful enthusiasm,” Giles admitted with a sigh. “I can’t, however, fault her for having her heart in the right place. The two of you have made me feel truly welcomed in your home. Thank you, Buffy.”

“Giles, you...” Buffy’s voice trailed off as tears built in the corners of her eyes. “You’re gonna get me all weepy before party pictures!” She laughed and cried in false annoyance as she tried to wipe away tears. A moment passed before she was able to go on in a serious tone. “You make Mom so incredibly happy. Plus you let me and Faith get away with stuff it sounds like no other watcher would ever let slide. Hell, you encourage me to find love in a place that most men would disown their daughters for going. The least I can do is yell at Dawn when she’s being a brat about a stupid nickname you hate.”

“Buffy...” Giles trailed off as the Slayer’s words sunk in. For a moment it looked like her heartfelt sentiment angered the man. After a small pause, the librarian took his Slayer’s hand and continued his assurances. “It vexes me to no end that your father would scorn you for finding true happiness in a world so very literally hell-bent on denying you said happiness. Not only is the love you girls share healthy and natural, it is truly one of the most supportive relationships I have ever witnessed. Never waste a moment’s thought on the small minded opinions of those who would scorn you and Faith, or Willow and Tara, or even your friend Larry and that nervous young fellow Willow put in the mayor’s seat. Those people and their bigotry hold no merit. Their opinions certainly hold no weight with me.”

The heartfelt sincerity in his eyes was all it took for Buffy to act. The Slayer wrapped her arms around her watcher and nearly lifted him from his seat at the table. Giles returned the hug, even trying not to gasp in pain as Buffy’s superior physical strength came out of hiding. The Slayer caught his wheeze and loosened her grip ever so slightly.

With tears in her eyes, Buffy whispered one of the most important truths in her life. Though she almost never admitted it, the man in her arms held a place in her heart that her biological father never could. “I love you, Giles.”

Giles heard the sentiment and soon Buffy’s stray tears were joined by his own. “I assure you, dear girl, the feeling is mutual.”

Several heartwarming moments passed before Buffy registered something Giles had said. The petite blonde leapt to her feet, eyes wide as she connected certain dots in her head. “Wait! Did you just say that Larry and Mayor Finch are dating?”

“Of course they’re dating,” Giles scoffed before he noticed the Slayer’s confusion. “Come now, Buffy. Surely you’ve seen the way they both look at each other. For heaven’s sake, the man has been to each and every school football game Larry has played in the last year. Even the away games. There may be a slight age gap, but they’re both consenting adults.”

“I had no idea,” Buffy admitted as she stared off into the distance.

Giles smiled as his charge fought off daunting recriminations of her own obliviousness. “In your defense, you have been rather busy wiping out the vampire population of an active hellmouth. One can hardly blame you for not involving yourself in the personal affairs of each and every acquaintance.”

Before Buffy could spend any more time moping over her own self-involvement Joyce called out her name from the kitchen. Buffy smiled at Giles before racing away to grab the last few trays of food. The time for recriminations was over. The party was about to begin.

*****

“Okay pivot it to the left just a little, no wait! Too far!” Xander yelped as the oversized object nearly crashed into one of the back walls of the Summers home.

“Damn it, Xander, chill out!” Faith snapped back as she set down her end of the massive burden. “Okay, this is gonna take some doin’ to get through the kitchen and into the living room. Red, wanna go get B and distract the G Man for us?”

“Oh, good idea, Faith,” Willow agreed. The redhead ran up the steps of the back porch and into the kitchen door.

The Slayer turned back to the dejected young man standing at the other end of the long, poorly wrapped object. With a sigh, she shook her head and spoke in a more gentle tone than she had only moments ago. “Hey, sorry for yellin’ at ya.”

“It’s okay.” Xander was quick to make amends with the brunette. “I’m just worried about wrecking the place trying to get this thing inside.”

“Me too,” Faith admitted as she looked up to the back door of her girlfriend’s home. “So you really slapped this huge thing together while B and I were out on patrol every night?”

“Kinda needed something to do since I moved in with you guys,” Xander said. “Didn’t want to just be this burden hanging around Jen’s house all day long. Needed to keep busy.”

“Hey, none of that bullshit!” Faith snapped once more as the young man’s sullen tone registered. “You are no one’s burden ya big dumbass. You ain’t some charity case Red and Blondie took in just to lord it over later. You’re family.”

Xander smiled at the overtly forceful praise. “Thanks, Faith. I needed that. If anyone was gonna get it I knew you would.”

“We got all the worst shit in common, X man.” Faith sighed as she leaned against the back wall of the Summers house. “The “dads” we got stuck with were genuine pieces of shit and our moms were too busy enjoying the drinking and the passing out parts of life. Don’t mean we gotta stand for that kind of shit. That’s the one thing B and Jen are always tellin’ me. I deserve better,” The Slayer eyed her male friend for a long moment before driving the point home. “An’ so do you.”

“I’m starting to get that,” Xander admitted as Faith came over and put an arm around his shoulder. An amused smirk formed on his face before he dove into a joke that might have won him a black eye a year ago. “You’re the best “little brother” a guy could ask for.”

“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up asshole.” Faith muttered as the back door of the Summers home opened.

“Hey, guys. Will said there was a job back here that called for another Slayer.” Buffy was as bright and cheery as ever, not once questioning the closeness between her girl and their almost adopted brother.

“Oh thank the Goddess,” Faith cried out as her girl came within hugging distance. “B, help me haul this big dumb birthday present the Xand man made for Giles. We gotta slip it in through the back ‘cuz someone didn’t wanna risk the birthday boy catchin’ a glimpse by dragging it through the front door.”

“Sure thing, Honey.” Buffy agreed with ease and the two Slayers lifted the massive present into the air as if it weighed nothing at all. Xander watched as they worked in perfect synchronicity, carrying the oversized burden inside without so much as brushing against the door frame. He hoped his handmade gift would be well received.

*****

Darla sped through the desert in her stolen car. The last glimmers of sunlight fading away in the distance. Nothing could stop her now. Before the sun rose over the desert she would clutch the Cup of Perpetual Torment in her cold undead hands. With it, she would ruin the destiny Angelus prized above all else. She would change fate. She would ruin that ungrateful boy, and no English sorcerer or magic dabbling Gypsy would stand in her way.

*****

The top was up as Angel drove his black, second hand, convertible across the barren desert landscape. There was no time to pull over and put the top down as the sun slipped behind the desert’s distant horizon. He would beat Darla to the abandoned underground water reservoirs. He would find the warlock. He would find Darla. He would stop whatever they planned to do with the Cup of Perpetual Torment. No matter their schemes he would stop them. He would finish things once and for all, and no obscure magic goblet would stop him.

*****

“Our pets are on their way.” Ethan Rayne practically vibrated with giddy delight as he went about the final planning stages for the evening’s entertainment. “I can’t wait to spring the trap. So exciting!”

Jenny could only roll her eyes at the gleeful English sorcerer. “Sure. Can’t wait.”

Ethan sobered as he noticed the almost sullen expression on the gypsy’s face. “Come now, my dear. This is the culmination of all our hard work. After this night, the vampire’s misery will be assured. This is your people’s vengeance taken to a higher level. This is what it takes to make that dear boy hit rock bottom.”

“And the watchers really had to die to make that happen?” Jenny’s question was given with a hard glare cast Ethan’s way. For a long moment, the sorcerer just stared at the gypsy. The silence between them carried on until it was clear they could not move on without addressing the morbid topic.

Ethan sighed as he shook his head. He brought a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. A moment later he tore the hand away as he recalled seeing one of his oldest friends perform the same gesture countless times. When he was finally ready to speak Ethan looked into Jenny’s steady glare. “They were already dead.”

The gypsy’s eyes widened in horror at the implication. “What?”

“The watchers council wet work teams.” Ethan went on in a tired tone. “They’re all dead. It’s just going to take them a while to see the truth.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Jenny was resolute as she questioned the man she had spent so many hours plotting beside. The man who claimed steadfast dedication to enacting her people’s vengeance.

Ethan took a deep breath before going on with the long awaited explanation. Not once had he questioned the need for full disclosure with the woman. He knew he would need Jenny on his side going forward. “According to my benefactor, every petty thug, bully, and killer on the council payroll are living on borrowed time. The whole lot are destined to die. In a few short years, they will be gone along with the current leadership of the council. The victims of the opening salvo in the coming war.”

“War? What war?” Jenny leapt to her feet at the thought of those she still cared about in Sunnydale being dragged into any potential war. “We need to warn Rupert and his Slayer!”

Ethan held up a hand just as Jenny began to pace in a nervous panic. “I assure you, my dear, I care for Ripper just as much as you.” Jenny’s incredulous glare proved how far he still had to go to prove himself. When he spoke again it was with a hard edge the gypsy could not ignore. “Do not question my feelings for Rupert Giles. You flirted and toyed with him for a few scant months in between the both of you masquerading as public school teachers. I have known that man since we were both reckless, self-indulgent, children. He may pretend those days are long gone now that he’s playing house with Slayers and witches, but for me, they will never end. The Rupert you flirt and fawn over is a poor mask worn by my Ripper. So forgive me, my dear, but do not for one second, question how much I care for that man!”

Words could not describe the shock and confusion waging a pitched battle within the gypsy. She nearly gasped at the unheard of display of emotion from the normally smarmy sorcerer. She had never seen the man show genuine emotion before. The fact that those emotions revolved around the man she once had a crush on only exacerbated her bewilderment.

“Okay,” Jenny whispered as she tried to calm the agitated sorcerer. “Okay. I believe you. We both care about Rupert. So obviously we need to warn him and the kids about this war.”

Ethan let out a sigh before leveling another unamused look at the woman. “They already know.”

“What?” Jenny’s shout almost brought the smirk back to Ethan’s face.

“My dear, they already know what they need to know at the moment. My benefactor has already disclosed all that it is safe to reveal at present, and will continue to do so as the situation changes.” The sorcerer paused before going on with what he hoped would be the last assurance Jenny needed. “When the war comes to Sunnydale the chosen one will face it and win. There will be losses. There will be pain, and suffering, and death. We won’t all make it, but I swear before the Goddess herself, the work we are doing will aid Ripper and each of his children.”

It was a long moment before Jenny asked the obvious question. “Who is this benefactor of yours?”

“I’ll tell you just as soon as I get permission.” The sorcerer deadpanned before turning away. There was still much work to be done before the vampires stormed the underground water reservoir he and the gypsy had enchanted. “Until then, please have a little faith. If you and I play our parts just right, all the good people we care for will make it through to the other side.”

*****

“You got Giles a scarf?” The Slayer’s confusion nearly filled the living room as the watcher unwrapped the present given by the youngest Summers.

“Not just any scarf,” Dawn said as the Englishman let a small amused smirk play across his face. “It’s a Harry Potter Scarf!”

“Because he’s British?” Willow asked.

“Yup,” Dawn agreed.

Buffy’s perplexed expression remained firmly in place. “But we live in southern California.”

Giles smiled at the beaming girl as he loosely wrapped her crimson and gold striped present around his neck. “It’s lovely Dawn. I shall wear it whenever we experience another bout of magical snow blotting out the sun.”

“Knowing this town that could be any day of the week,” Xander added as Dawn continued to grin with pride.

“Okay, who’s next?” Joyce asked as she stood up from her perch on the armrest of Giles’ chair. “Willow? Tara?”

“Oh, we kinda got one gift,” Willow said as she nervously looked to the amused librarian.

“But it’s a set,” Tara added as she and the redhead went to retrieve their offering. “So it’s kind of a gift-set.”

“I’m sure whatever it is it’ll be lovely,” Giles assured the witches.

“Here they are!” Tara put on an overly cheerful tone as she and Willow set a large bright red box wrapped with one giant white ribbon on the watcher’s lap.

Giles glanced towards Willow with a curious expression before he carefully untied the bow the ribbon formed atop the box. A moment later he removed the lid and carefully lifted the first of the half dozen worn and ancient tomes resting inside.

“Books?” Xander asked before a playful smirk grew on his face. “Well, they say “Know your audience.”

“I must say these look rather important,” Giles muttered as he absently appraised the first of the battered manuscripts.

“The Books of Ascension,” Willow elaborated in a knowing voice. “Original editions and everything… Well, only editions more like.”

Tara nodded along with her always. “This is probably the last full s-set in the world.”

“Ascension.” Giles paused as he tore his focus from the volume in his hands. “You’ve mentioned that before. In regards to the old mayor.”

Willow gave an almost infectious grin as she elaborated for her assembled family. “Yes-sir-ee! He would have gotten someone to steal these books for him just so we wouldn’t learn the full details behind the ascension ritual before the eclipse on graduation day. We trashed his own research pretty good when we took care of him so these might be the only surviving instructions on how somebody can destroy everything that makes them human and become a pure demon.”

“An Old One, you said.” Giles grew quiet as he stared at the tome in his hands. He couldn’t begin to imagine just how dangerous these books were in the wrong hands.

“Shit, that scruffy little demon was just gonna sell these to whoever came along?” Faith’s tone straddled the line between incredulous and disappointed.

“We tracked him down and made it clear we would be the only interested party,” Willow said as she led Tara back around the coffee table and sat her girlfriend down on the couch. In moments the redhead had taken her rightful seat, perched in the honey blonde’s lap. “Not that hard with our reputation.”

“Laying it on a little thick Sweetie?” Jennifer asked. She watched the redhead flinch and fidget in her daughter’s lap as matching smirks grew on both her and Tara’s faces. It was several amusing seconds before Willow noticed the barely stifled giggling fit building in her everything. Her frown was all but instantly swept away as Tara kissed her temple.

“Okay!” Faith leapt from the couch, clapped her hands, then pulled her girl up beside her. “B, you wanna show off our gifts next?”

“You betcha!” The Slayer cheered. All befuddlement concerning her sister’s gift forgotten. “We Put a lot of thought into these.”

Faith smirked as she and Buffy left the room. “And a few wooden stakes.”

More than a few confused glances were shared before Giles sighed at his students’ odd pride. “I believe the girls are going to present some sort of battle trophy from their patrols.” Realization was soon replaced with dread at the gruesome prospect. Only one Scooby dared vocalize the group’s fear.

“Sweet, merciful, Zeus. Please let it be anything but a necklace made of severed demon parts.” Xander’s comment was met with stunned gasps and a weary eye roll from the Englishman awaiting unknown gifts.

Dawn actually perked up at the grim prospect. “What if it’s like a severed hand, but the hand is also a necklace on a gold chain, and wearing a few magic rings!”

“Dawn!” Joyce, Jennifer, and Cassie chastised the girl as Willow and Tara went pale. Fittingly enough it was Giles who diffused the situation.

“That would be a sight, but doubtful. Mystic jewelry is a rare enough oddity. I doubt the girls would have kept it a secret if they faced any threats armed with such things.” Giles paused as he considered the room. “Though I suppose Faith’s housemates might have been persuaded to round out a full set from their own secret trophy collection.”

“Oh no!” Willow shook her head vigorously. “No, no, no. We don’t keep magic rings. Too much trouble. There’s even a few we don’t go looking for until we hear someone else has already started looking. The best way to deal with them is to leave them buried for as long as you can.”

“A part of me doesn't even want to know,” Xander said as he saw the Slayers come around the corner. “Another part of me is just grateful that the golf bag they’re holding is too big for hiding something small like a dozen demon ears on a string.”

“Xander!” Buffy snapped as Faith burst out laughing. “We don’t keep trophies like that!”

“Strictly shinies X man.” Faith added as she set the golf bag down in front of Giles’ recliner. “I ain’t nearly messed up enough to hoard fingers and ears. Plus Mrs. M and B vetoed my skull collection.” She finished the morbid explanation with a suggestive wink. Xander couldn’t help but pale at the brunette’s horrifying joke.

Buffy let out a disgusted huff before shaking her head and looking to Giles. “Quick Giles, check out your gifts before someone drives us all into the off topic ravine again.”

“Conveniently located near “unexpected distraction canyon” and “Wait! What were we doing again? gulch.” Dawn quipped while high fiving Xander.

Before another round of quips could start Giles reached into the golf bag. His hand grazed an object he found all too familiar. With a surprised grin, the librarian drew a long sword with an emerald encrusted golden hilt and pommel. He smiled and raised the sheathed weapon for all to see. “Remarkable.”

“That one’s from me.” Buffy grinned. “There’s a matching dagger in there.”

“And something else,” Giles said as he drew a sheathed rapier with an ornate guard and hilt made of interwoven silver strands twining around countless tiny rubies. “Spectacular.”

“And that’s mine G man,” Faith chimed in as Giles appraised both swords. “Had to run a blood sucker down for those blades.”

Giles had set the swords aside and delved back into the golf bag. In no time he had both parrying daggers out for all to see. Each bore the same jewels and ornate designs as their matching sword. “Girls, these are lovely. I presume you claimed these from the dueling cult?”

Buffy nodded with pride. “Yup. The Illuminutty didn’t stand a chance.”

“El Eliminati,” Willow corrected the confused Slayer.

“Pretty sure the Illuminutty are the ones with all the conspiracies about peanut butter,” Xander added.

Buffy could only stare at her two friends in complete confusion. “Huh?”

Giles cleared his throat before the Slayer could be further distracted. “As scandalous as that all may be, I believe there is one more large present left to unwrap.” His gaze shifted to the large, blanket wrapped, monolith standing to one side of the living room. He had no idea what the object could be or who had decided to gift him such a behemoth.

“Ooh, my turn!” Xander cheered as he leapt from his seat at one end of the living room couch. “I think you’re gonna love this G-man. It’s right up your alley.”

“I’m sure it will impress.” Giles rolled his eyes and watched as the teen moved over to the oddly oversized gift. He placed the swords back down on the coffee table before giving Xander his full attention.

“Ladies, Englishmen, and Slayers,” Xander began, only to be cut short by an offended cry from Buffy.

“Hey!” The Slayer’s complaint went unheeded by the young man. “Slayers are ladies too.”

“Sexy ladies,” Faith whispered into her girl’s ear with a sly grin.

“A drum roll if you please.” Xander went on and to his delight, Joyce, Jennifer, Dawn, and Cassie all rapidly clapped their open palms on the nearest armrest or table. The young man smiled wide as he grasped the blanket adorning his gift. With one swift tug, it was pulled free, revealing Xander’s craftsmanship to all.

“My word.” Giles and several of the women in the room let out stunned gasps at the massive piece of woodwork standing before them. “Xander? Did you build this yourself?”

“Yeah, well, sure,” Xander shuffled in place as Giles approached his handiwork. The Englishman’s eyes trailed over sturdy mahogany shelves covered in a dark stain. Intricately carved arcane runes and sigils wove trails up and down the front facing trim. The vaguely pyramid shaped headboard at the top of the bookcase was heavily engraved. Countless interwoven strands formed a Celtic knot that wormed and slithered under the spokes of a raised pentacle. “I mean Will, and Tara helped.”

“We did?” Willow asked as she skeptically eyed her oldest friend.

Tara let out a gasp as she examined the engravings covering Giles’ new bookshelf. “The protection runes you asked us to draw?”

“Yeah!” Xander agreed before turning to Giles. “I figured you and Joyce can never have too many bookshelves. Plus the mystical stuff would be neat to look at. Oh, and check this out.”

Giles watched as Xander reached into one of the shelves and pressed the back panel. To the librarian’s surprise, the entire wood slat that made up the back wall of the shelf swung forward on a hinge. Behind the panel was a red velvet lined compartment that could easily house multiple large tomes if they were placed parallel to the back wall of the bookcase.

“Each of the shelves has one of those hidden compartments for those dark juju books that might need to be hidden.” Xander went on before moving off to one side of his gift. “Plus these.” The young man pressed against the outside panel along one side before moving behind the shelf and pressing on the opposite side. Both side panels swung free, revealing more velvet lined compartments with sets of rounded pegs at various points. “For swords and stakes and stuff. Knowing the Buffster and her alternative lifestyle choices, you can never have too many hidden weapons around the house.”

Buffy’s outrage began in earnest but soon petered out. “It’s not a lifestyle choice! I love… Oh… you mean the slaying.”

“I mean the slaying,” Xander nodded as he and Faith shared a smirk. “So, Giles, what do ya think?”

“I think,” the librarian looked over the bookshelf once more before turning to Xander with a warm smile. “It’s magnificent. All my gifts are. I’m surprised you each coordinated all your gifts to fit together so seamlessly.”

“Oh, um, we didn’t actually do that.” Willow was hesitant as she corrected the watcher. “Coordinating I mean.”

Joyce looked back and forth between the bookshelf and the teens spread around the room. “But your books and Buffy and Faith’s swords fit perfectly in the secret compartments of Xander’s bookcase.”

“Lucky guess?” Xander said as he gave the Slayer’s mother a shrug. “I mean it wasn’t too much of a stretch to think Giles might need a place to hang up his books and swords. Aside from tea and making out with you what other hobbies does he have Joyce?”

“Xander!” Buffy and Dawn both shouted as the rest of the room burst into laughter.

“Ah, yes. You all know me so well.” Giles smirked as he shared a discreet smile with the woman he adored. A moment later he turned to face his students and charges. The smile never wavered. “I must admit, this is the first time in years I’ve bothered to celebrate the occasion of my birth. I had actually begun dread the prospect when Joyce first brought it up. Though now that I’m standing here with my family, receiving all your warmth and affection, I shall admit you have all given me more than enough reason to celebrate.”

“Giles.” Buffy’s barely restrained tears were overlooked as the Slayer flung her arms around her watcher. Giles returned the strong embrace, never so glad to have long since discarded the council’s archaic rules about professional detachment. Once Buffy finally released the Englishman he was all but immediately set upon by Dawn. Then both Willow and Tara after the youngest Summers had her fill. Even Xander gave the older man a brief embrace.

Lastly, Giles looked up to see his other charge nervously inching her way in his direction. He and Faith shared a knowing look and an eye roll before the librarian nodded to her and opened his arms. Arms which were once more filled with a Slayer, desperate for the love and approval of a kind father figure.

Though the man had long neglected the celebration of his birth, he was glad the others had talked him into throwing a small party for their odd little family. There was no denying that the Scoobies could benefit from any excuse to inject cheer and kindness into their dangerous lives. Who was he to deny his new family a well earned celebratory respite?

*****

“This isn’t like it was last time,” Darla muttered as she descended the stairs into the old, underground, water reservoir. The last time she was here Angel had dragged her weak mortal body down the stairs and thrown her slender frame to the middle of an open stretch of cement that was only interrupted by massive support pillars and the festering corpse of a dead demon that had grown out of the cracks in the concrete like a fungus.

This time things were different. Massive walls had been thrown up around the area where the metal service stairs ended. She could only see one opening in the smooth black walls. It was far off to the left side of the bottom step. With a sigh, Darla went down the only path available to her.

*****

“He changed it,” Angel growled out as he descended the stairs into the old, underground, water reservoir. He expected a wide open area dotted with support pillars. He expected the warlock to have set a trap for them near the entrance. At the very least he expected to see the dead cult leader demon the Hyperion Crew had slain.

Instead, all the cursed vampire saw were sections of unblemished black walls blocking his view in all directions. The only opening in the walls was a narrow passageway to the far right side of the base of the stairs. Without hesitation, Angel went down the path he expected Darla would have been forced to take. He had evil to snuff out.

*****

“The party went well, don’t you think?” Willow asked her always as they walked down the nearly empty alleyways of Sunnydale’s industrial district.

“Yes, Sweetie.” Tara agreed as she did her best to block out the sense of corruption and degradation that emanated from the area. Both witches knew they were on the right track. Their foe and his shoddy lair were close. They could taste the despair of his willing victims.

“Giles liked all his gifts.” Willow went on as they turned a corner and stepped through a mystic veil. “Can you believe Xander made that huge, beautiful bookcase without anyone noticing until he asked Faith to help him carry it next door?”

Tara nodded as she looked around the shoddy, run down, waiting room. She had expected more addicts lining the grimy chairs along the drab walls. “He is a swell carpenter.”

Willow let out a giggle as they moved towards the door at the back of the room. “I thought he was a swell bowler?”

“Hey...” The one junkie sitting in the waiting room complained, weakly raising an arm as the witches passed him by. “Ya gotta wait your turn.”

Tara didn’t even flinch at the addict’s interruption. She simply raised one hand towards him and called up the will and power of the Goddess. Golden light burst into the room, enveloping the junkie. In a moment his eyes cleared and the haze of dark magic clouding his mind began to fade. He looked up to the pair in wonder, only to receive a glare from the annoyed redhead.

“This is your second chance buddy.” Willow snapped at him before turning back to the door at the rear of the waiting room. “Get going.”

The junkie watched as the witches stepped through the door. A moment after he was left alone he got up and fled into the night. He would never again return to Rack’s lair.

On the other side of the waiting room door, Willow and Tara stared down the warlock. As the door closed behind them a head of scraggly gray hair perked up. The gaunt man stood from where he crouched over the small stone circle built into the center of his lair. He slowly turned to face the witches, a lurid smile twisting his cracked lips and scarred face. Rack swayed slightly as he took in the two young women standing before him.

“Well, well,” The warlock chuckled to himself as his eyes roved up and down their bodies. “Not every day I get two fresh strawberries in here. You girls looking for a good time?”

“No.” Tara all but growled as she felt Willow seethe beside her. “We came here to stop you.”

The warlock blinked. He looked between the two witches yet again before another smirk contorted his leering face. The laugh he let slip was anything but kind. “Now that would be a trick.” As he spoke he slowly began to step towards Willow and Tara. One languid finger moved through the air as if it traced the warlock’s very thoughts. “Let me guess, one of my customers was a friend of yours before I showed them a whole new world.”

Willow’s reply was matched with a grin that gave the redhead a far more menacing appearance than her red blouse and tan skirt conveyed. “Something like that.”

“Well I hate to break this to you, Strawberry,” Rack sighed as he lazily rocked back on his heels. “But it’ll take more than the two of you to get me to pack up shop and leave town.”

Any pretense of amusement drained from Willow’s face. “I’d like to test that theory?”

Rack flinched as he felt the mystical power flowing through his sanctum shift and quake. Magick he had accumulated over the last decade of his life unraveled, sending shudders through the walls of his lair. Before he could raise a proper defense he felt the tide turn. Torrents of untold magics came crashing down on his emaciated frame. He stumbled back, unable to bear neither the raw might of the assault or the sheer malice emanating from the two young girls he had so foolishly dismissed.

Willow and Tara clasped hands and spoke in unison. Matching deep voices intoned the words of their spellwork and the will of the Goddess for all to hear. “In the name of the Goddess, we bind you! No longer shall your corruption spread! No longer shall you reap harvests sown from misery and suffering! No longer shall you pervert HER blessings! Goddess let your will work through us! Cleanse this place and its master! Take back that which has been squandered!”

Golden radiance filled the warlock’s small lair. Rack could barely cover his eyes before the searing light engulfed his form. He convulsed as the will of the Goddess scourged his being. Body and soul. Every spell, every contingency, every ounce of power he had ever built up left him in that instant. Never again would he feel the all consuming rush of mystical energy filling his body.

Willow looked down on her former dealer as he writhed in agony on the cold pavement of the now empty alleyway. The lair and waiting room were gone as if they never existed. All that remained was one crippled former warlock, whimpering as divine fire burned away all he once held within his scarred and pallid flesh.

“Please…” Rack begged as he looked up to see hatred and disgust filling emerald eyes. “Kill me...”

“Do you really think you deserve that kind of mercy?” Willow whispered in a voice that gradually lost the all consuming, vindictive, rage it held only moments before. “No, not after what you’ve done.”

“Come on, Sweetie,” Tara said as she took the hand of her always. “The Goddess’ will is done. Leave that thing where it is. Let’s go home.”

“Of course, Baby.” Willow smiled as she turned away from her former dealer and never looked back. “Thank you for helping me through this.”

“You’re mine, Willow. No matter what you face I’ll stand by you and face it too.” Tara’s voice took on the softer, loving tones that were all too familiar to the besotted redhead. “Always.”

“I love you, Baby.”

As the couple left the alleyway the husk in their wake shuddered in agony. What little remained of the former warlock was overwhelmed by pain and misery. Even the weakest magical practitioners would suffer greatly if all their magic was stripped away by force. What had been gouged out of Rack by the Goddess was far greater than any minor practitioner possessed.

Rack was no more. His mental, spiritual, and mystical being had been rent asunder. All that remained was a shivering husk, capable of feeling only the suffering he had wrought upon his customers and his victims.

*****

Angel rounded another corner as he stumbled aimlessly through the maze. He felt like he had been walking for hours. To make matters worse he had yet to see any sign of Darla’s presence. He knew both his sire and the sorcerer who revived her had to be close. If only he could find his way.

The vampire’s luck changed immediately as if the maze itself was reacting to his desperate thoughts. Angel turned another corner and came into a massive stone chamber. The floor was laid out in a broken, discolored checkerboard pattern. Large swaths of black were dotted with lines and clusters of gray squares. Along the wall to both the left and right were stacks of stone tiles with oversized letters engraved on each. Across the room, Angel saw similar tiles on either side of a doorway, not unlike the one he had just stepped through. Unfortunately, the petite blonde figure staring back at him was all the cursed vampire could care to notice.

Both vampires rushed each other ready to fight to the death yet again. As they came to the center of the room their eagerness proved fruitless. Both Darla and Angel slammed into the transparent barrier that bisected the stone room. Dazed and confused, the former lovers tried to look at each other before struggling back to their feet. An amused voice soon stole their attention.

“Oh my, that was rather impressive.” The familiar Englishman dressed in a butler’s waistcoat said as he stood beside the barrier to one side of Darla. “At least until the very end there. To think you both held such devotion the last time we spoke. How things change.”

“You!” Darla shouted. Angel leapt to his feet and growled at the ghost who oversaw the trials he faced. The trials that failed to save Darla.

“Yes, ‘tis I.” The ghost butler gave a small perfunctory bow before studying the vampires. “Hello again, I’ll be assisting you both in this evening’s trial.”

“More trails?” Angel spat his outrage at the incorporeal man. “What happened to the other trials?”

“Ah, good question, Dear Boy.” The ghostly valet said as he casually stepped through the impenetrable barrier separating Angel from Darla. “Life is simply full of trials. I see to the administration and completion requirements of many of the more mystically inclined trials. I don’t just hang around a crypt waiting for lovesick vampires to beg for renewed life. That would get dreadfully boring after a while.”

“So you’re going to test us? Why?” Darla was all too eager to rip the throat out of the incorporeal being. If only the effort could have any lasting effects.

The ghost looked back and forth between the two vampires for a moment before answering. “You both seek the Cup of Perpetual Torment, do you not? Do tell me I haven’t been sent to assist the wrong pair of angsty vampires.”

“I know who has the Cup!” Darla snapped. “And when I kill him I’ll have the Cup, and I’ll finally be able to undo Angel’s stupid destiny and get my Angelus back.”

“That’s what this is about?” Angel’s shout echoed as it filled the stone chamber. “I won’t let you, Darla! I’ll kill that sorcerer myself if I have to!”

“Oh like you even care about your big stupid destiny!” Darla shouted back. “If you really cared you’d still be shacked up with the Slayer and her minions instead of chasing me around every night.”

“Ahem,” The ghost valet cleared his throat just loudly enough to get both vampires looking his way. “Be that as it may, killing the current owner of the Cup of Perpetual Torment doesn’t actually transfer ownership. To claim the Cup of Perpetual Torment you have to beat the trail for the Cup of Perpetual Torment. Which brings us to the items in this very room.”

As the ghost spoke writing began to fill up sections of the walls all along the stone chamber. Each line began with a number and either the word “Down” or “Across.” The tiles by the entryways and the ratio of black to gray squares on the floor suddenly made sense.

“How are the two of you at solving the crossword in the morning paper?”

*****

“I still say you’re overthinking some of this Sweetie,” Tara said as she held Willow in her arms. The couple stood in the middle of their hidden panic room vault, staring at the words scribbled in multiple colors on the whiteboard. “Our “Big Board of Big Bads” is getting smaller all the time.”

Willow fought back the urge to sink further into Tara’s soothing voice and warm embrace. “I know this is insane, but there’s no telling if anything we did differently this time has altered what needs to happen to clear off the rest of these names.”

The couple studied the sections of the board. The first section was written in bright red and decorated with little crimson skulls. The first name, Bastard, remained undisturbed.

“I said “quirky,” Tara sighed as she felt Willow shiver. “We’ll get him, Sweetie. He won’t come between us, ever again.”

“I know,” Was all Willow could say before moving down the red list to two names crossed off in green. Petting Zoo Pals and Snake Bitch had been close calls but ultimately successful. “The Wolf, Ram & Hart and Saga Vasuki were good tests of our latest version of the dimension sealing spell.” The redhead’s eyes skimmed down the list to Sparkles the Body Snatcher, Rock Face, and Maggot Face. “But we still need a catalyst. Like an open portal, a ritual focus from the other dimension, or two people linked by prophecy or demonic contract to the rulers of the other realm.”

“Those three names are long term problems. We have the best people for the job working on them.” Tara said as she looked back up the list to Skankzilla. “I’m just relieved Ben and his crazy sister didn’t put up a real fight.”

“Kinda hard when you swoop in with a dozen Dagon Spheres like a badass mega witch.” Willow reminded her always with a playful smirk. Her attention soon skimmed down the list to Mr. Here’s My Card. “What about D’Hoffryn? I know we haven’t seen Anya yet, but we already saw the doppelganger she called up when she couldn't get a new necklace. We can’t be sure he’s handled yet.”

“Not until we talk to Anya,” Tara added before picking up the gold marker and handing it to Willow.

“Thanks, Baby,” Willow said as she leaned forward and struck out one name written in red. “No more Scraggles, the Junkie Collector! Bye, bye Rack. If only we could call upon the Goddess to bind all our problems.”

“Careful, Sweetie,” Tara warned her everything before the young woman could tempt fate further.

“Right, no sense in wearing out the nuclear option.” Willow then turned her gaze to the second section with names written in black. Multiple colors had been used to cross out half the list. “We killed the Mayor.” She nodded as she read a name already crossed off in red, Tricky Dick, the Snake Wrangler. “Ken and his slave dimension were another test of the sealing spell.” Kool-Aid Man sported a thick green line. “Dennis took care of his mother for us.” Casper’s Nagging Mother was both written in and crossed off with black marker. “We haven’t found the amulet that summons Mr. So You Wanna Be A Star.”

“We haven’t bought the Magic Box yet,” Tara stated as if the two events were one and the same. Both their glances fell to Patches the Real Boy and the mysterious blue question mark by his name.

“Next year is gonna suck,” Willow sighed as she recalled all the problems and troublemakers that derailed the Scoobies’ freshman year of college.

“It wasn’t all bad,” Tara whispered into Willow’s ear with a coy little smile.

“Aside from you, the whole thing was a wash.” Willow murmured as she relaxed into the honey blonde’s arms. “You made the whole thing worth it.” Several tender moments later Willow’s eyes opened and her gaze moved to the last section on the whiteboard. The list of blue names had proven most daunting. “I always get grumpy when I look at the list of kills we have to let Buffy handle. I swear I probably just put The Master up there as Mr. Fruit Punch Mouth just so I could cross off a name right away with Buffy’s blue marker.”

“She’ll get there, Sweetie,” Tara said as she too examined the list. “With a little Faith…”

Willow’s smile was almost too bright to bear. “Oh, I’m so telling our Slayers that you said that.” Attention returned to the list, Willow continued to think out loud. “Mr. Box of Dirt always takes his sweet time to make his move on Buffy. Numero Uno is literally the last light switch we hit before leaving the Hellmouth. The Nutty Professor is the other half of why next year sucks.”

“She’ll find a way,” Tara assured as she gently dragged Willow towards the vault door. “She always does when she has you to stand by her side.” Willow could only smile as Tara’s words gave her the courage to overcome all the trials they had faced and all that which they would undoubtedly face again. For Willow, life with Tara on the Hellmouth was dangerous but ever so rewarding

*****

“What’s the clue for eight across again?” Angel asked as he studied the tiles on his side and the remaining blank spaces on the floor. “It’s ten letters starting with a “D.”

“That sinking feeling from wallowing in low places.” Darla scoffed as she read the clue out loud. “Haven’t you noticed a theme yet with you clues? The answer is Depression.”

“Oh, like your theme is any better?” Angel asked as he moved stone tiles into place.

“Shut up and tell me what four down says, Angelus.” The petite blonde was on her last nerve. They had been forced to work together as a team in order to complete the trial. Neither vampire could see the clues written on the walls on the other’s side of the clear barrier. It had been an hour before they realized the clues they saw only pertained to lines they could not reach without the aid of the other. Little did they know their task was nearing completion. “It’s five letters and it starts with a “B” and ends with a “Y.”

“Nickname for a woman bestowed upon a giftless earth by the grace of god,” Angel smirked as he realized whose name they were referring to. “Let’s see, you’ve already had, Slayer, wood, stake, garlic, watcher, and no less than three pop culture references to Van Helsing knock offs.”

“Buffy.” Darla spat the name like a curse. “Why does every fucking thing always have to come back around to that little schoolgirl and her gang of idiots?”

Angel only scoffed at his sire’s depressed tone. “Yeah, her being the chosen one is so unfair to you.”

The hollow mockery only served to rile up the petite blonde even further. “And Fuck you for choosing her over me Angelus! What did she do for you that I couldn’t?”

The cursed vampire blinked in confusion as he tried to wrap his head around Darla’s flawed, yet outraged, logic. “I chose her? You abandoned me! You cast me out! I tried to do things your way after I got my soul back Darla! You’re the one who forced me to choose! You couldn’t just let me go on eating criminals and degenerates! No! You just had to order me to eat a helpless baby! You just had to watch me drain innocent blood! Well, news flash, honey! Most vampires don’t get off by eating babies! Hell, even Spike would have had second thoughts if Dru handed him a basket full of some random baby. He would have put on his worst cockney accent and asked, “Oy, Luv, where’d the lil’ ol’ nipper come from?”

“Don’t drag Spike and Dru into this!” Darla shouted back as the last of the lettered tiles for the final piece of the puzzle went ignored. “Even those two idiots found a way to make it work. They stuck together. You gave up on us!”

“You could have had me at your side all along,” Angel admitted as he felt all the emotion he held for the woman drain away. “I would have done almost anything for you, but that wasn’t good enough.”

In the midst of their squabbles, the ghost butler reappeared with an all too amused expression in his face. “Delightful as this all may be, you still have those last three letters to place. While this particular trial lacks any sort of time limit, the evening has progressed at a fair pace and you both did enter these testing grounds through a shed in the middle of a barren desert.”

“Stay out of this!” Both vampires shouted without taking their eyes off each other.

“I didn’t need a weakling moping around refusing to eat most of the humans we hunt. As if there’s any real difference between one human and another.” Darla ranted at the absurdity of Angel’s dietary needs. “One bleeds just as well as all the others when you bite into them.”

Angel knew the lie when it was laid bare before him. “Like you didn’t get off to slaughtering whole convents more than any random guy we picked up off the street.”

“That’s different!” Darla snapped before turning away from Angel and the transparent barrier that isolated them. “Enough of this. There’s no point in arguing with you and your soul.” Without looking back at Angel the petite blonde returned to the final line of the giant crossword puzzle. She placed the last letters and stepped back.

“Excellent!” The ghost cheered them on with a clap of his hands. “Now that that’s out of the way we can commence with the tallying of points.”

“Points?” Angel asked as he finally tore his gaze away from Darla.

“Oh my yes,” The butler smiled as he looked over the lettered tiles of the giant stone puzzle. “Your performance was monitored and graded based on certain criteria. Specifically the number of correct answers, the timeliness of solving each clue, which one of you supplied the answer independently of who actually set the tiles, and most importantly of all teamwork.”

“Teamwork?” Both vampires asked with matching panicked tones.

“Oh yes,” The ghost gave them another unconvincing smile before looking to the far wall next to one end of the barrier. A door shimmered into existence on Angel’s side of the divide. “Again, well played. You both performed magnificently, but there can be only one victor. Congratulations are in order once again sir.”

“What?” Darla shouted as she lunged at the barrier. “Damn you, Angel!”

“Yes, quite,” The butler nodded before waving his hand in the blonde’s direction. Darla vanished before Angel’s very eyes.

“What did you do to her?” Angel demanded.

The butler smiled again as he turned to face Angel. “Oh don’t worry, Dear Boy. She’s quite alright. Simply relocated to a more convenient location. Now about your reward.”

Angel stared the incorporeal man down for a moment before taking several long strides towards the newly revealed doorway. Through the archway, he found another stone room with a single pedestal awaiting in its center. Atop the stone pillar rested a golden goblet encrusted with jewels. So ostentatious was the artifact that the cursed vampire had to look around to see if he could find any sign of deception.

“Congratulations are in order, Dear Boy.” The butler’s voice caused the vampire to flinch once more. “You have certainly earned this reward. I can’t imagine how eager you must be to... what was the phrase again? Ah! Shanshu.”

That gave Angel pause. “What do you mean?”

“Why your destiny of course.” The valet could only smile as if he were explaining simple concepts to children. “The Cup of Perpetual Torment allows he who drinks from it to hasten their destiny. Though yours may be a pivotal one it may prove useful to, cut to the chase, as they say. I’m told it will be quite the battle.”

“What about Buffy and Alonna, and the others?” Angel could barely restrain himself as his humanity was dangled before him.

“Oh, they’ll be just fine.” The butler assured. “The goblet can only accelerate your destiny. The others will have to earn their rewards in due time. No shortcuts for your Slayer friends.”

“Alright then,” Angel said as he set his fears aside. The cursed vampire strode forth, claiming the goblet in his cold dead hand. He brought the Cup of Perpetual Torment to his lips. He sipped the lukewarm liquid within, only to immediately spit it out. “Why does it taste like Mountain Dew?”

The valet laughed as the vampire looked to him for some explanation. “Oh, Dear boy. How adorable!” His laughter grew until it echoed off the walls and ceiling of the stone room. Angel watched in confusion that soon turned to fury as the figure shifted and changed.

“Oh my, Angel.” The English sorcerer chuckled as he looked over the vampire he continued to torment. “You really didn’t think it would be that easy, did you, Dear Boy? A magic goblet that looks like every third movie version of the Holy Grail since Monty Python? What’s next? A sword in a stone that can be reached by sticking your hand into a tiny portal conveniently located in LA? A magic ring worn by a summoned demon that will let you ride an elevator down to the hell dimension where the old Senior Partners lived?” The sorcerer’s laughter continued to grow as the vampire seethed. “It should be obvious at this point, Dear Boy. There is never a simple answer. No shortcut that takes you into the final climactic battle. No easy road to happily ever after. Only struggle and anxiety as you realize evil exists in the hearts of all mankind. Oh, there’s good in there too, but never enough.”

Angel glared at the sorcerer whose name he still didn’t know. The cursed vampire could feel nothing, save for the impotent rage directed solely at the Englishman who mocked him so. Laughter filled the room as the sorcerer’s image began to fade from sight. Angel gripped the goblet as the sorcerer vanished. Moments later the stone rooms and walls of the maze also faded from existence. Angel stood in the empty underground water reservoir. There was no sign of Darla. No sign of the sorcerer who raised her. No chance of victory in sight.

With a heavy heart, Angel walked up the metal stairs that led to the desert outside. With each step, despair stripped away a piece of the soul he had so carelessly neglected. As he drove back to his new office and lair, still clutching the gaudy faux artifact, his faith in the world dwindled to its lowest point in centuries.

*****

Angel slouched as he came down the stairs into his basement lair. There was no life behind his motions as he moved through the room. Once standing in the doorway of his bedroom he finally felt the presence that lurked in the shadows behind him.

“What do you want Darla?” He asked as the blonde crept out of his kitchen. He held up the fake goblet they had both fought over. “You want this?” He let the Cup of Perpetual Torment fall to the floor. In an instant, Darla was across the room at his side. Angel lunged just as Darla wrapped her hands around the cup. “Or maybe, what you really want, is this!”

Angel grabbed Darla by the hair and tossed her across the room. All pretense of his care for the woman was gone as he stalked towards her, devoid of emotion. He gripped her by the shoulders and slammed her body against the nearest brick pillar. He leaned in, Darla gasping in confusion as Angel fell back on habits he hadn’t used with her since the gypsy curse ruined him for her. “Maybe, what you really want is this.” The kiss was unexpected, yet Darla soon melted into the clash of lips and tongues.

As soon as it began Darla realized something was off. She managed to shove him away, moving to put herself between Angel and the nearest exit. “Don’t play games with me.”

“I’m not playing,” Angel whispered as he lunged forward. Once back in her personal space, the cursed vampire grabbed his sire and threw her through the coffee table in the middle of his living room. “I just want to feel something besides the cold.”

He was on her again. Taking her in his rough hands. Pushing her around the confines of his underground lair. The third or fourth time he tossed her against a hard surface she began to laugh at the absurdity. “Why are you laughing?” Angel demanded as he tossed his sire onto the bed. “Don’t you feel the cold?”

“What are you doing?” Darla asked as Angel climbed on top of her.

“It doesn’t matter.” He muttered to himself as he ripped the clothing from both their bodies. “None of it matters.” Any fear or concern soon left Darla’s mind as all her dreams came true. Her boy had finally returned to her.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:11 am 
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8. Vixen
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I really liked how the prezzies all fit together... Yay for dealing with Rack... I'm kinda worried about how Angel/Angelus is going to affect the Scooby plans...

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:58 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Interesting.

Nice seeing our girls (all of them) having some fun and being a bit naughty :)

And yeah, Rack vs high level characters = *SPLAT!*

Really wondering what the plan with Angel is though.
Does his suffering make him stronger? Safer? A better person?
I look forward to finding out! :bounce

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:41 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Yay, yay and a great big Huzzah!!!! Yes, that's right, Huzzah I say!!
Thanks for this latest installment "O" great and powerful weaver of tales!
I will second, third AND fourth the happiness I feel in our witchy duo getting rid of Rack. They are moving well on the list of major baddies to rid the city of. I must admit, though, that I had to go over my BTVS DVD's to check the order the baddies make appearances, so I can follow your story line better.

Is it too early to start bugging you for the next update?? Huh?? Huh?? Is it,....huh??
{Just kidding, I know genius shouldn't be rushed,........but keep 'em coming none the less}!!

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Hello Zampsa, Azirahael, and MotherD. I'm glad you all enjoyed the chapter.

Yup, cuddles in mild to moderately dangerous public places can be fun. Giles getting strong armed into his own birthday party by all the strong willed women in his life was a fun backdrop to juxtapose Darla and Angel trying to drown each other in "The Drama!" At first I had no idea what I wanted the Sunnydale cast to do with this chapter aside from expanding on the awkward movie theater exit scene from the show and maybe dealing with Rack. Then I remembered Both Buffy and Faith had shiny sets of dueling blades to give Giles and Xander needed something to give him that wasn't the weapons chest he's gonna make for Buffy in a while... so bookshelf?

As for Angel's impact on the girls' plans and the idea that suffering might make Angel less of a threat or even a better person I have to say that is way better than anything I had written in my notes. Mostly, I just like watching Ethan Rayne be a dick. Seriously though there is a place Angel's who meandering mess of a story is going. It will swing back around with Alonna and the rest of the Hyperion Crew's story, and eventually they'll all reunite with the Scooby Gang way down the road. But until then watching Giles' ex boyfriend and almost girlfriend dick around with two emotionally unstable vampires is just funny.

We jumped a whole bunch of sharks when the girls murdered 80% of the Angel spin off show's antagonists way back in chapter five or whatever it was. To fill the gaps in the key plot points with new adversaries I thought it would be fun to give Ethan around twenty something more spotlight episodes than the three or four he had on Buffy.

Rack was a check box that needed crossing off. The only real question was whether or not Willow and Tara brought the whole gang to watch or just stand in the waiting room while they offed him. Sort of a "You guys wait out her while we go commit premeditated homicide." scene.

MotherD the list they've been working on crossing off has some main antagonists from the show, but a lot are just characters that were specific problems for Willow, or things that Willow and Tara's dimension focused magic could easily handle. A few are enemies and less than helpful ancillary characters from the comics like Saga Vasuki. Not that any of the season 8 and onward comics are required reading. I think I got to one synopsis trying to explain how Willow started dating a 50 foot snake with boobs and I gave up.

Working on the next Chapter. It's been a while but we're back around to the Dark Age Chronicles. I'll try to get it up soon. There were some delays in the last chapter because I helped my younger sister move out of her apartment. Unfortunately the last week of this month I'll be flying down to Florida to help my other younger sister move out of her West Palm Beach slum apartment and into a room she'll be renting from some people who live over in Orlando so... And right after that I'm going to Seattle for the last day of PAX West and possibly some whale watching. I'll try to have the next chapter up before Aug 25th, but if I miss that deadline and it isn't up until Sep 10th don't panic. The next Buffyverse chapter shouldn't take too long after that. I've got a lot of really strong jokes about Angel being just the worst guy to wake up to the morning after. Also about half the characters in the Hyperion Crew are gonna explain to Angel, Wesley, Doyle, Anne, and maybe Fred the very important differences between "love making" and "hate fucking." There's a reason I've kept Chain and Rondell around even when they were next to pointless scene filler in Gunn's few spotlight episodes.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:12 pm 
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It's alright,...real life DOES tend to get in the way. I forgive easily,....as long as I'm not left hanging TOO long. Maybe if you snag a good pic of one or more whales you could post it for all to share?? I envy you the traipsing around,...but then all you probably want to do is hang at home. That's life, as the song says.
We love this many faceted story and await every update with great anticipation.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:52 am 
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8. Vixen
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Citanul wrote:
... so bookshelf?

Heh. My neightbour just made a bookshelf with 3 secret panels. Because... eh. why not?

Citanul wrote:
But until then watching Giles' ex boyfriend and almost girlfriend dick around with two emotionally unstable vampires is just funny.

We jumped a whole bunch of sharks when the girls murdered 80% of the Angel spin off show's antagonists way back in chapter five or whatever it was. To fill the gaps in the key plot points with new adversaries I thought it would be fun to give Ethan around twenty something more spotlight episodes than the three or four he had on Buffy.

Rack was a check box that needed crossing off. The only real question was whether or not Willow and Tara brought the whole gang to watch or just stand in the waiting room while they offed him. Sort of a "You guys wait out her while we go commit premeditated homicide." scene.

MotherD the list they've been working on crossing off has some main antagonists from the show, but a lot are just characters that were specific problems for Willow, or things that Willow and Tara's dimension focused magic could easily handle. A few are enemies and less than helpful ancillary characters from the comics like Saga Vasuki. Not that any of the season 8 and onward comics are required reading. I think I got to one synopsis trying to explain how Willow started dating a 50 foot snake with boobs and I gave up.

Working on the next Chapter. It's been a while but we're back around to the Dark Age Chronicles. I'll try to get it up soon. There were some delays in the last chapter because I helped my younger sister move out of her apartment. Unfortunately the last week of this month I'll be flying down to Florida to help my other younger sister move out of her West Palm Beach slum apartment and into a room she'll be renting from some people who live over in Orlando so... And right after that I'm going to Seattle for the last day of PAX West and possibly some whale watching. I'll try to have the next chapter up before Aug 25th, but if I miss that deadline and it isn't up until Sep 10th don't panic. The next Buffyverse chapter shouldn't take too long after that. I've got a lot of really strong jokes about Angel being just the worst guy to wake up to the morning after. Also about half the characters in the Hyperion Crew are gonna explain to Angel, Wesley, Doyle, Anne, and maybe Fred the very important differences between "love making" and "hate fucking." There's a reason I've kept Chain and Rondell around even when they were next to pointless scene filler in Gunn's few spotlight episodes.


Yeah, seriously, fuck the comics.
Not only do they suck, really, but the middle finger Joss gave to all the Kittens and Tara fans was well beyond the last straw. No issues with actors being available, no budget constraints on those actors.

So the only reason not to bring Tara back was basically 'screw you.'
and then there was a plotline where Andrew tried and someone stopped him.
Which means he was conscious of the idea. That was the middle finger.

Anyway, watching Ethan and Jenny talk about Giles was good.
More of that please!
[I think them talking about him over drinks, and Ethan doing something naughty would be fun :P]

Looking forward to the next bit, whenever that happens :)

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