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 Post subject: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:06 am 
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A CHARMED/BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER/ANGEL CROSSOVER
"The Confrontation"
(This story is an AU story)
By J. B. Tilton
email: aramath@isot.com
Rating: G

Disclaimer: “Charmed” and all related characters and events are the property of the WB television network, except for those characters specifically created for this story. This is a work of fan fiction and no infringement of copyright is intended.
* * *

When three great evils threaten to destroy mankind, the Charmed Ones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and their friends must band together to save humanity from total destruction.
* * *
PREFACE

Cole Turner pushed himself up off the ground and looked around. He knew instantly where he was. He had been here before. The last time he had been vanquished. He was in the Wasteland. That place where vanquished demons went for their final judgment.

He had thought his plan had been perfect. With his new and improved powers it should have been simple. Return to the past before Phoebe had turned to hating him. Their lives would have been perfect.

But he had misjudged the situation. Even with nearly unlimited power he couldn’t force Phoebe to love him again. Her destiny as a Charmed One would always be a wedge between them. He was half demon. No matter how much he loved her, that love could never overcome her destiny.

The Avatars had warned him. They had told him that things might not be as he had expected them to be when he had reset time. But he hadn’t listened to them. He had told himself that he had to change things. He had been wrong.

Now, despite everything he had done, despite his great power, despite his virtual indestructibility, he was back where it had all started. Phoebe had vanquished him again and he was once again in the Wasteland. His human half had afforded him protection that most demons didn’t have: a soul. Because of it, he had retained his human form after being vanquished.

But that was of little comfort to him right now. Even in human form, he was still a being of magic. And that magic would attract one of the only two beings that lived in this place. It would attract the Beast.

The Beast would sense his presence. It would come to absorb his magic as it was created to do. Part of that magic it would use to subsist on. The rest it would pass on to its’ master, Cattarrin, the master of the Wasteland.

Movement to his left caught Cole’s eye. He quickly looked around for the nearest outcropping of rock. the only place where he would be safe from the beast. He turned and headed for the outcropping just as the Beast lashed out with one of its’ tentacles. It barely missed Cole as he climbed rapidly to the top of the outcropping.

It was only a delaying tactic, he knew that. The rock outcroppings were only temporary protection from the never-ending attacks of the Beast. Eventually he would misjudge an attack and the Beast would have him.

But he had been here before. The first time had been a harrowing experience. A fight just to survive. This time he knew how to defeat the Beast. He would have to absorb enough essence of vanquished demons to drain the Beast. That meant he would have to risk moving to the ground to get that essence.

Cole looked around. Several small “pools” of sparkling energy dotted the ground around him. The remains of demons vanquished by the forces of good or by the anger of their masters. The Beast would be drawn to them as a moth is drawn to a flame. If Cole were to survive, he would have to get to those “pools” first.

Cole bided his time. He gauged the direction and distance of each “pool” near him. The Beast was fast and its’ ten-foot tentacles afforded it a greater reach than Cole had. But if he timed it right, he could reach the “pools” as the Beast was distracted with one of the others.

Suddenly a tentacle shot out from the sandy ground to Cole’s right. The tentacle struck directly in the middle of one of the “pools” of magic and began to absorb it. Cole didn’t hesitate. He instantly sprang to his left, running for his life toward another “pool” several feet away. As he reached the “pool”, the magic began to fill him.

For a moment, Cole was stunned. The infusion of magic into his system was something of a shock. It would take a few seconds for his system to adjust to it. That was the dangerous part. It would give the Beast the opportunity to strike while Cole was temporarily incapacitated.

The shock quickly passed and Cole continued on toward the nearest outcropping of rock. He quickly gained the safety of the rock just as the Beast struck out with a tentacle. Instinctively, Cole reached out and tapped into the magic he had just absorbed. A tongue of flame shot out, striking the tentacle. The Beast retracted it in surprise and pain.

This, too, was only temporary. Direct attacks against the Beast were useless. It was a creature of pure magic, much like its’ master. The attacks would cause it some pain, but could not really harm it. The only way to destroy the Beast was to absorb its’ essence; drain from it its’ very life force.

For that, Cole would need more magic. Before, Cole had simply absorbed all the magic he could get to. That had turned out to be a mistake. He had absorbed too much magic. He had become invulnerable. Incapable of being vanquished even by himself.

This time it would be different. He would absorb just enough magic to defeat the beast. Just enough to free him from the Wasteland. Being indestructible had its’ advantages. But it also had its’ drawbacks. Cole had learned that the drawbacks greatly outweighed the advantages.

One by one Cole moved to and absorbed the magic from vanquished demons. After each absorption, he would test his newly gained powers against the Beast. Slowly, he began to accumulate the power he needed. Soon, the Beast recoiled from his attacks, not out of pain, but out of fear. Cole was now ready.

He dropped to the ground and waited. The Beast would attack almost instantly, he knew that. It could do nothing else. A sound behind him brought him around just as a tentacle struck out from the ground, wrapping itself around him.

Cole didn’t fight the draining affect he felt. He let the Beast begin to drain his magic. He began to feel weak and disoriented. Within a few moments, he would be too weak to resist and the Beast would drain him completely.

But that would not happen. Just as suddenly, Cole began to draw back the power the Beast had drained from him. Siphoning back the power he had absorbed only moments before. With that power, he drained off the life force of the Beast. Within moments the Beast could not resist the draining affect.

Cole drained the entire essence of the Beast. The tentacles fell to the ground, now lifeless and harmless. Cole once again felt the power of the demons he had absorbed coarse through his veins. He also felt the power provided him by the essence of the Beast. That essence was small compared to the rest of the power. But it was enough to destroy the Beast.

Cole stood where he was for several minutes. He knew the job was only half done. He had the power to leave the Wasteland forever. But if he did, Cattarrin would soon follow. In the upper world, Cattarrin would not be able to harm him with his new power. But neither would he be safe from the constant attacks Cattarrin would make to retrieve the essence of the Beast.

Suddenly a creature flamed in before him. The creature was a good nine feet tall. It had coal black skin and piercing emerald green eyes. Its’ flaming red hair hung well below its’ waist. It was dressed in short, knee-length pants and a vest. Vampire-like fangs sprang from its’ mouth, it had three inch claws on each finger, and massive, rippling muscles covered its’ body.

“Cattarrin,” said Cole.

“You,” said Cattarrin. “You were warned to never return here. Why have you destroyed my Beast a second time?”

“I had little choice,” said Cole. “It was either him or me.”

“Return to me the essence of the Beast,” said Cattarrin. “If you do, I will make your death quick and painless. Refuse, and you will suffer for an eternity.”

“I’ll make a deal with you,” said Cole. “You’ll find it difficult to destroy me outright. And I’ll just return to the upper world before you do. Once there, you won’t be able to defeat me no matter how powerful you are. We’ll spend a very long time fighting each other.”

“I have time,” said Cattarrin. “And this time you don’t have your witch to protect you.”

“I don’t need her,” said Cole. “I have the essence of the Beast. I’m willing to give it to you without hassle. All you have to do is let me leave here. I promise I won’t be back again.”

“That is what you said the last time,” said Cattarrin. “And yet here you stand. If I destroy you now, I will have no need to concern myself with you again in the future.”

“And you could loose the essence of the Beast as well,” said Cole. “Remember the last time? That essence is now a part of my power. Destroy me, and you could well destroy that essence. Then what will you do for your Beast?”

“I grow weary of you, demon,” said Cattarrin. “Twice you have invaded my domain and destroyed my Beast. There will be no third time.”

“Just let me leave and you’ll never see me again,” said Cole. “You have my word.”

“The word of a demon?” questioned Cattarrin. “Why should I trust the word of a demon?”

“I’d say you don’t have much of a choice,” said Cole. “That is, if you want the essence back.”

Cattarrin eyed Cole suspiciously. For untold millennia it had drained the last vestiges of vanquished demons. Now, this half demon had done what no one else had ever been able to do. It was that accursed human half that had given him the edge he needed in this land reserved only for vanquished demons.

“Return the essence and you will be free to leave,” said Cattarrin. “But return here again, and I will destroy you whether you possess the Beasts’ essence or not.”

“Do I have your word that I can leave once I return the essence?” asked Cole.

“I have said so,” said Cattarrin.

Cole held out his hand and an orb of energy formed that was reddish yellow in color. When it was completely formed, Cattarrin reached out and took the orb from Cole. Cole stood ready in case the Wasteland master should go back on his word.

“Leave here, now,” said Cattarrin. “But heed my words. Twice you have come here and twice you have managed to leave. If we meet again, it will be for the last time.”

Cole just smiled, and then shimmered out of the Wasteland.
* * *

Cole watched as Phoebe and Paige came out of the manor. They wouldn’t see him, standing in the shadows across the street. They believed him vanquished forever. For the moment, they seemed to be unhindered by the forces of evil that constantly assaulted them.

“She has moved on,” said a voice behind him.

Cole turned to see the Avatars standing behind him. He glanced at them, then turned back to watch Phoebe and Paige.

“I know,” he said finally.

“Do you plan to return to her?” asked one of the Avatars.

“No,” said Cole dejectedly. “I can see now that you were right. I can’t change things. I guess we just weren’t meant to be together.”

“It’s good that you finally see that,” said the other Avatar. “You cannot alter destiny.”

“I know,” said Cole. “It doesn’t mean I love her any less.”

“You are half human, after all,” said the first Avatar. “That will never change.”

“What now?” Cole asked. “I’m not all-powerful any more. I didn’t absorb as much magic as I did the last time.”

“It changes nothing,” said the second Avatar. “It is your potential that we seek. In time, the power will come. And we will teach you how to use it properly.”

“Let’s go, then,” said Cole. “I find myself growing tired of all this. I need to find my purpose again.”

“That,” said the first Avatar, “is why we are here.”

Cole looked longingly at Phoebe one last time. Then, without a sound, the three simply vanished.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:11 pm 
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ONE

Cole Turner walked impatiently through the swirling mists of the realm where he had spent what seemed like an eternity. After joining the Avatars, they had brought him to this place. Where, or even when, he was, he didn’t know. All he knew was that he was getting impatient.

The Avatars who had come for him had intimated that he would be serving a higher purpose here. Something beyond the petty differences between good and evil. Cole had been on both sides of that argument. He found he preferred good. That was something his current benefactors said he would never have to choose between again.

“Trembor,” Cole said, walking up to one of the “teachers” he was acquainted with. “Have you seen Malkus? I get the feeling he’s avoiding me.”

“Malkus is a very busy man,” responded Trembor. “I’m sure he isn’t avoiding you. As our leader, he has much that occupies his attention. Is there something I could do for you?”

Cole just looked at the man. He appeared human enough. He was a good six inches shorter than Cole and always seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face. His goatee was immaculately trimmed and he usually stood with his hands folded inside the folds of the sleeves of his robe.

“No,” Cole said, dejectedly. “I’m just bored. I’ve been here forever and I’m anxious to do something.”

“You’ve hardly been here forever,” Trembor replied. “While it is true that time here has a different from time on Earth, it is hardly an eternity.”

“When I was invited to join the Avatars,” Cole said, “I had no idea you were Dark Mages. Mostly witches and warlocks who feel that there will never truly be a winner in the good versus evil conflict. But I’ve accepted that. I’ve studied all the texts you’ve given me. And I know that soon I’ll begin my studies in the forbidden arts that you all practice. The arts that give you even greater power than you had on Earth.

“But sitting around on my hands wasn’t part of the deal. I need to be occupied. To be doing something. I’ve agreed to become a Dark Mage and help you in keeping the balance between good and evil, but if I don’t do something soon I’m going to go out of my mind.”

“Dark Mage is a term we prefer not to use,” said a man walking up to Cole.

He was as tall as Cole and wore the same grayish robe that Trembor wore. All full-fledged Avatars wore them in this domain. It distinguished them from the trainees, such as Cole. This man was totally bald, however. And he wore no facial hair as most of the Avatars did. Cole turned to the man.

“Malkus,” Cole said, “I didn’t mean any disrespect. And I know you don’t like the term ‘Dark Mage’. But that’s what you’re called on Earth. Old habits are hard to break.”

“You’ll break it soon enough,” Malkus said, smiling. “I understand your anxiousness. We all go through it when we first arrive here. And I know you’re ready to go out and do your part to help us. You are nearly ready. There is only one more task you must complete. Join me in a short while. We’ll discuss the matter fully then.”

“That’s more like it,” Cole said.

Malkus turned and walked into the swirling mists leaving Cole and his mentor alone.

“The final task,” Trembor said. “You’ve progressed rapidly. Few novitiates have progressed as rapidly as you have. But then, there have never been any half demons join our group.”

“Former half demon,” Cole corrected. “What is this final task?”

“A sort of test,” Trembor replied. “You needn’t worry about it. It is simply to see how well you have adjusted to becoming an Avatar. When the test is complete, Malkus will decide how best to utilize you. That is what the test is for.”

“Oh, okay,” Cole said. “Is it dangerous?”

“Not to you,” Trembor said. “You have the basic powers of an Avatar already. They will protect you in whatever this task will be. And before you ask, I can’t tell you what the task is. It is different for each of us. I wish you well. You have been a good student. Soon, we shall be equals.”

“Thanks, Trembor,” Cole said.

Cole turned and moved off into the mist to find Malkus. Trembor watched him go. They had spent a great deal of time and energy training Cole. He hoped Cole would do well in the test.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:34 am 
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TWO

“Cole,” Malkus said as Cole approached, “this is Nathaniel. He’s what you might call a field operative.”

“Hello,” Cole said, as he looked the man over.

Like everyone else in this place, he didn’t look all that impressive. On the streets of any city, you wouldn’t think he was anything but another human being going about his business. But Cole knew those looks were deceiving. Just an inch or so shorter than Cole, he was broader than the former demon. Like most of those up here, he wore a goatee.

“I’ve heard a lot about the great Belthazor,” Nathaniel said. “I’m glad to see you finally joined us.”

“Belthazor has been dead for a long time,” Cole replied. “I’m just Cole Turner now.”

“As you wish,” Nathaniel said.

“Nathaniel is here to help you complete the final task I mentioned,” said Malkus. “It’s a sort of test. To see how well you’ve learned what you’ve been taught. And to what capacity we can utilize your talents.”

“So Trembor said,” said Cole. “Well, I was half demon, the Source, undisputed ruler of the underworld, and virtually indestructible. I would imagine there are many ways you can utilize my talents.”

“That remains to be seen,” said Nathaniel. “In all of your incarnations on Earth, you were fighting for one side or the other. As you are aware, it is not that way with us. We strive to maintain a balance between good and evil. This mythical ‘final contest’ that most humans believe in is more to give them piece of mind than anything else.”

“I’m aware of all that,” Cole said. “Just what is this test you mentioned?”

“I’m sure you remember the teaching about the Amulets of Power,” Malkus said.

“Of course,” Cole replied. “Two very powerful magical items created at the dawn of time. One by the forces of good the other by the forces of evil. Either capable of totally destroying anyone or anything on the other side. I knew about them when I was a demon. They’ve been lost for millennia.”

“Not lost,” Nathaniel. “Let’s say, misplaced.”

“Misplaced?” Cole questioned. “What does that mean?”

“We have them,” Malkus said. “Or rather, we know where they rest. And how to get them. For one of us it is quite simple.”

“So, what is this test?” Cole asked. “Am I supposed to retrieve one of them or something?”

“Not exactly,” Nathaniel said. “We’ve already retrieved one. And we’ve placed it in the position where someone will use it. In fact, it is the only thing that will save them at this point.”

“I don’t understand,” Cole said. “Why give this amulet to a mortal? I thought we tried to keep a balance between good and evil? Won’t this upset that balance?”

“On the contrary,” Malkus said. “It’s being used to correct the balance. Let me show you.”

He walked over to a mirror that was suspended in midair. The sight was not unusual to Cole. He had seen many such mirrors here. They were windows into other dimensions, other times, other places.

Malkus passed his hand over the mirror and a scene formed in it. In the scene, a man lay on a bed sleeping. His stark white hair seemed to glow in the darkness around him. Lying next to him, with her head on his chest, a young woman lay sleeping. The scene seemed very peaceful. Cole studied the scene very carefully.

“I don’t understand,” Cole said. “He’s a vampire. You mean you’ve given the Amulet of Evil to a vampire?”

“No,” Malkus said. “True, he is a vampire. But he’s a rather unusual vampire. A while back he had his soul restored to him. So that he might win the heart of the young woman who now sleeps with him.”

“A vampire trying to win the heart of a human?” Cole questioned. “A vampire with a soul? And I thought being half demon was strange.”

“Yes,” Nathaniel said. “It is almost a unique situation. As I said, we’ve placed the amulet in a position that has taken it to this vampire. It is the Amulet of Good. In a few hours, he will use it.”

“I’m still confused,” Cole said. “The power of that amulet is well known. Even if he has a soul, using it will destroy him. He’s still a vampire. Are you saying that he’s such a threat that you have to use the amulet to destroy him?”

“No,” Malkus said. “He’s not the threat. In fact, he’s the savior. You see, it’s not him we’re after. It’s something quite different. Something much more powerful than simply a vampire. More powerful than even you were as the Source. The amulet is the only power that will defeat The First.”

“The First?” questioned Cole. “The First Evil? The evil that gave rise to all the evil in the world? I thought it was banished? That it was no longer a threat to mankind?”

“It has returned,” Malkus said. “The woman you see sleeping there is called Buffy Summers. She’s the Slayer. Until now, she has been able to keep The First at bay. Hold it where it is so that it cannot spread its evil any farther.”

“But that’s about to change, isn’t it?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Nathaniel. “In a few hours, Ms. Summers, the vampire, and those who have gathered to combat The First will attack it at the Hellmouth. That is where The First is staying at the moment. What they don’t know is that they are going to loose their battle. When they do, The First will destroy all of them.”

“So what has that to do with us?” Cole asked.

“If The First escapes the Hellmouth,” Malkus said, “it will spread its evil over all the Earth. All of the forces of good will be systematically destroyed. When that happens, the balance between good and evil will be destroyed as well. Evil will rule over the Earth forever.”

“They have the amulet,” Cole said. “That should destroy The First. Or at least send it back to banishment. I don’t see what the problem is.”

“The problem,” Nathaniel said, “is that they can’t use it. Only an Avatar can activate the amulet. Only we know how to activate its power. They think they can use it against The First. In reality, it is little more than a trinket in their hands. When they try to use it, they will fail. And they will all pay with their lives for that failure.”

“And when they fail,” Malkus interjected, “all of mankind will suffer. Millions will die. Those who don’t die will be forced to serve The First for all eternity. And not even we will have the power to stop it.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:03 am 
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THREE

“I don’t understand,” Cole said. “If only an Avatar can activate its power, just send one of us to use it. What’s the problem?”

“The problem is,” said Nathaniel, “that The First knows only one of us can activate its power. That’s why it is not concerned that this vampire has the amulet. It knows that neither the vampire nor the Slayer will be able to use the power of the amulet.”

“If one of us should suddenly appear,” Malkus continued, “The First would know what we’re up to. It would flee. We might not get another chance like this. The next time The First surfaces, it might be too powerful for us to stop.”

“I see,” Cole said. “And the balance would be destroyed forever.”

“Yes,” Malkus said. “You once told us that we needed you. That was why we approached you to join us. Now you know why we needed you. The First is aware of all Avatars. All save you. If one of us suddenly appears, The First will flee before the amulet can be used.”

“With you,” Nathaniel continued, “we stand a chance. The First will see you as only another of the ‘champions’ who have gathered to defeat it. It has little fear of humans. Or of the vampire that helps them. As long as it sees you as just another human, you stand the best chance defeating it.”

“The other shoe,” Cole said.

“I beg your pardon?” questioned Malkus.

“I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Cole said. “What haven’t you told me about this?”

‘You’re very intuitive,” Nathaniel said. “I can see you were the right choice to join us. The other shoe, as you put it, is the timing. You must get there early enough to use the amulets power but not so early that The First will realize what you are. The timing must be precise. Arrive too late and there won’t be enough time to activate the amulet. Arrive too early and The First will realize you are an Avatar and vanish.”

“I see,” Cole said. “What is our window of opportunity?”

“About twenty seconds, Earth time,” Malkus said. “Within thirty seconds of your arrival, The First will recognize the power in you. It will vanish immediately. So we must be very careful exactly when you appear there.”

“I see,” Cole said. “I find it strange that even a vampire with a soul would sacrifice himself for humanity. Vampires see humans as nothing but food. I don’t know many creatures who would sacrifice themselves for a ham sandwich.”

“He doesn’t know,” Nathaniel said.

“What?” Cole asked. “What do you mean he doesn’t know? You haven’t told him what will happen when he uses the amulet?”

‘No,” Malkus said. “If he was told what would happen, he would probably refuse. We can’t risk that. This is our best chance of defeating The First. Telling him is considered an unacceptable risk.”

“Unacceptable risk?” Cole questioned. “You can’t be serious. Even if he is a vampire, if he’s going to give his life to protect mankind he has a right to know the price.”

“As I said,” Malkus said, “it’s a risk we can’t afford. There’s no time to find anyone else. It has to be this way.”

“So what am I supposed to do?” Cole asked. “You want me to pop in and activate the amulet while he’s holding it? Knowing that the power the amulet he uses is going to consume him along with the evil it’s used against?”

“Exactly,” Nathaniel said.

“That’s murder,” Cole said. “Nothing short of cold-blooded murder. I don’t do that anymore.”

“You’ve killed plenty in the past,” Malkus said. “You never gave it a second thought then.”

“And it cost me everything I held dear,” Cole said, thinking of Phoebe. “I was vanquished twice by the woman I love. My friends, my family, my job, everything that meant anything to me. I’ve given that up. You can’t expect me to simply walk in and murder someone just for one of your goals.”

“It’s much more than that,” Nathaniel said. “It isn’t simply one of our goals. We’re talking about the fate of the entire human race. If you refuse to do this, every human on the Earth will suffer. The lucky ones will die immediately. The rest….”

Cole looked at Nathaniel. The ends were certainly honorable. Saving the entire human race. But the means were abominable. The deliberate, cold-blooded murder of one individual to reach those goals. An evil act no matter what the goals were. He was torn about what to do.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:04 am 
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THREE

“I don’t understand,” Cole said. “If only an Avatar can activate its power, just send one of us to use it. What’s the problem?”

“The problem is,” said Nathaniel, “that The First knows only one of us can activate its power. That’s why it is not concerned that this vampire has the amulet. It knows that neither the vampire nor the Slayer will be able to use the power of the amulet.”

“If one of us should suddenly appear,” Malkus continued, “The First would know what we’re up to. It would flee. We might not get another chance like this. The next time The First surfaces, it might be too powerful for us to stop.”

“I see,” Cole said. “And the balance would be destroyed forever.”

“Yes,” Malkus said. “You once told us that we needed you. That was why we approached you to join us. Now you know why we needed you. The First is aware of all Avatars. All save you. If one of us suddenly appears, The First will flee before the amulet can be used.”

“With you,” Nathaniel continued, “we stand a chance. The First will see you as only another of the ‘champions’ who have gathered to defeat it. It has little fear of humans. Or of the vampire that helps them. As long as it sees you as just another human, you stand the best chance defeating it.”

“The other shoe,” Cole said.

“I beg your pardon?” questioned Malkus.

“I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Cole said. “What haven’t you told me about this?”

‘You’re very intuitive,” Nathaniel said. “I can see you were the right choice to join us. The other shoe, as you put it, is the timing. You must get there early enough to use the amulets power but not so early that The First will realize what you are. The timing must be precise. Arrive too late and there won’t be enough time to activate the amulet. Arrive too early and The First will realize you are an Avatar and vanish.”

“I see,” Cole said. “What is our window of opportunity?”

“About twenty seconds, Earth time,” Malkus said. “Within thirty seconds of your arrival, The First will recognize the power in you. It will vanish immediately. So we must be very careful exactly when you appear there.”

“I see,” Cole said. “I find it strange that even a vampire with a soul would sacrifice himself for humanity. Vampires see humans as nothing but food. I don’t know many creatures who would sacrifice themselves for a ham sandwich.”

“He doesn’t know,” Nathaniel said.

“What?” Cole asked. “What do you mean he doesn’t know? You haven’t told him what will happen when he uses the amulet?”

‘No,” Malkus said. “If he was told what would happen, he would probably refuse. We can’t risk that. This is our best chance of defeating The First. Telling him is considered an unacceptable risk.”

“Unacceptable risk?” Cole questioned. “You can’t be serious. Even if he is a vampire, if he’s going to give his life to protect mankind he has a right to know the price.”

“As I said,” Malkus said, “it’s a risk we can’t afford. There’s no time to find anyone else. It has to be this way.”

“So what am I supposed to do?” Cole asked. “You want me to pop in and activate the amulet while he’s holding it? Knowing that the power the amulet he uses is going to consume him along with the evil it’s used against?”

“Exactly,” Nathaniel said.

“That’s murder,” Cole said. “Nothing short of cold-blooded murder. I don’t do that anymore.”

“You’ve killed plenty in the past,” Malkus said. “You never gave it a second thought then.”

“And it cost me everything I held dear,” Cole said, thinking of Phoebe. “I was vanquished twice by the woman I love. My friends, my family, my job, everything that meant anything to me. I’ve given that up. You can’t expect me to simply walk in and murder someone just for one of your goals.”

“It’s much more than that,” Nathaniel said. “It isn’t simply one of our goals. We’re talking about the fate of the entire human race. If you refuse to do this, every human on the Earth will suffer. The lucky ones will die immediately. The rest….”

Cole looked at Nathaniel. The ends were certainly honorable. Saving the entire human race. But the means were abominable. The deliberate, cold-blooded murder of one individual to reach those goals. An evil act no matter what the goals were. He was torn about what to do.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 2:28 am 
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FOUR

“You are troubled my friend,” Trembor said, walking into the area where Cole sat thinking.

“Have you heard what they want me to do?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Trembor said. “All Avatars know of the task. You are troubled about the death of the vampire.”

“Shouldn’t I be?” Cole asked. “I know that vampires are evil. But this one has a soul. He got his soul restored to win the love of a human. That means he’s good now. Despite what he may have done in the past, he has the right to know what he’s facing.”

“And risk destroying the entire human race?” Trembor asked. “I realize that you still possess many of the morality beliefs you held on Earth. But you must understand that we are above that now. Good versus evil does not concern us. We are here to maintain a balance between the two.”

“By committing horrendous acts of evil?” Cole asked. “Is that how we ‘maintain the balance’?”

“If necessary,” Trembor said. “There will times when we will do just the opposite. Perform some great act of good to balance the evil in the world. It all balances out in the end.”

“Balances out?” Cole questioned. “I’m sure that will be a great comfort to this Spike. To give his live to maintain the status quo.”

“He has risked his life many times,” Trembor said. “Since his soul was restored, he has risked his life fighting against the very evil he hopes to stop. He knows the risks. He has accepted them.”

“Yeah,” Cole said, “he knows he could die. What would he do if he knew there was a one hundred percent certainty that it would happen? This isn’t some game of Russian roulette where he has a chance of surviving. If I activate the power of that amulet, he will die.”

“Yes,” Trembor said. “It is a dilemma that many new recruits struggle with. But you have to ask yourself this. In the final analysis, it all comes down to one thing. Which is most desired? What the Earth will be like should this Spike fail? Or what will happen should he be successful? I believe you already know the answer to those questions.”

Cole looked at Trembor. He knew what the Earth would be like if Spike failed. The First would destroy all of those who had come against it. Spike, the Slayer, all those who had joined with them, everyone. They would be the lucky ones. The First would then spread its evil over the Earth devouring all in its’ path. He knew first hand what evil was capable of.

But to willingly take a life to prevent all that. On balance, one life wasn’t as important as all of creation. There were many instances throughout history where a single individual had willingly given their lives to protect many others. And they hadn’t hesitated to do it.

But this was different. It wouldn’t be Spike giving his life to protect mankind. It would be Cole taking his life to protect mankind. After all he had been through, Cole had finally come to terms with himself. He knew that he could never be the evil he had once been. And in order to change from that evil, he had to forsake the thoughts he was now having. That the ends justified the means.

“I don’t know,” Cole said finally. “What right do I have to take one life even to protect other lives?”

“If you put it that way,” Trembor said, “ask yourself this. What right do you have to take many lives to avoid taking a life?”

“I don’t understand,” Cole said.

“If you decide to do this,” Trembor said, “you will be required to take the life of this vampire with a soul. But have you considered what will happen if you refuse to do it? In that instance, you will be deciding that this Spike is more important than those he fights with. That his life is more important than theirs.”

Cole looked at Trembor. He hadn’t thought of that. Spike would die either way. If Cole activated the power of the amulet, its power would destroy him. If Cole refused to activate it, The First would certainly destroy Spike with the others. So, in one sense, he wasn’t deciding to destroy Spike. He was deciding to save those with him. And all of humanity in the process. But to do that, it would be necessary for him to destroy this vampire with a soul.

“You’ve given me a lot to think about,” Cole said finally.

“Part of my purpose here,” Trembor replied. “I know you will make the right decision. I’ll leave you to consider what we’ve talked about.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 3:20 am 
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FIVE

“Are you sure he’ll be able to do it?” Nathaniel asked Malkus. “He had some serious reservations about it before.”

“He says he can,” Malkus replied. “We have to give him the opportunity to prove he can do it.”

“And if he can’t?” Nathaniel asked.

“You’ll be there to step in,” Malkus said. “No matter what Cole does, the power of the amulet must be activated on time. The First must not be allowed to complete its plans.”

“I know that,” Nathaniel. “That’s not what I was referring to. What about him, if he can’t do it? Or if he hesitates?”

‘Then we will have misjudged him,” Malkus said. “He will have to be dealt with in an…. appropriate manner.”

“Have you decided what to do if he passes the test?” Nathaniel asked.

“Yes,” Malkus said. “But I want to wait and see if he’ll be joining us first. It would be premature if I were to discuss the plans now. If he fails the test, it won’t make any difference what our plans were for him. If he passes the test, we can discuss that later.”

“Very well,” Nathaniel said. “I should be going. The Slayer and her friends have already begun their assault on the Hellmouth. Time grows short.”

“I’ll await your return,” Malkus said.

Malkus sat thinking about the next few minutes. Cole still had reservations about taking the life of a vampire. Or rather, ending the existence of the vampire. In reality, the vampire was already dead. Despite the fact that his soul had been returned to him, his body was still dead.

It would be a shame if Cole couldn’t complete the assignment. He had more promise than any of their recent recruits. The promise the Avatars had waited for centuries for. If Cole failed, Malkus wasn’t sure what they would do next. He sat silently hoping that the newest addition to their ranks wouldn’t let them down.
* * *

Cole and Nathaniel stood in a great cavern watching the fray. Buffy fought like a woman possessed. Even considering the wound she had suffered, she continued to destroy one vampire after another. But the hoard of vampires still assailing them seemed endless. Sheer numbers would overwhelm them.

“It’s been a long time since I saw a true vampire,” Cole whispered to Nathaniel.

“No need to whisper,” Nathaniel replied. “They can neither see nor hear us. To them, we are as insubstantial as a shadow in the dark.”

“There are no shadows in the dark,” Cole said. “That’s a little melodramatic, isn’t it?”

“A failing of mine,” Nathaniel said.

“What of The First?” Cole asked. “Won’t it sense our presence here?”

“I can mask it for a time,” Nathaniel said. “And it’s busy with the battle. It believes it has already won. And it does not know that we are covertly involved in this struggle. It won’t be concerned with us until it is too late.”

“Okay,” Cole said.

He looked over and saw Buffy fighting the vampires. She was magnificent. Even with the injury that should have been a mortal wound, she fought with the strength of the Slayer. Cole could sense the power emanating from her. Filling the other young women that had joined her to defeat The First.

All the women fought with the fervor of seasoned veterans. Most, he knew, had little or no combat experience. But the magic passing to them from the Slayer infused them with all the strength, knowledge, and skill of the Slayer herself. They were steadily turning the tide of the vampires that swarmed out of the Hellmouth below. How this Slayer was able to pass her strength onto those fighting with her, Cole didn’t know. He and Nathaniel stood just behind Spike.

“Now,” said Nathaniel. “Activate the amulet now.”

“Not yet,” Cole said.

“Time is gone,” Nathaniel said. “In moments, The First will detect our presence. You must activate the power of the amulet before that happens.”

“Just a little longer,” Cole said as he turned to see Spike strike down one vampire after another.

The proximity of the two Avatars to the amulet had a physical affect on it. Their power was even now being drawn into the amulet. Not enough to activate it. But enough to show that this was not merely a piece of ornamental jewelry. Cole could feel the power of the amulet. It was nearly intoxicating.

“Cole, you can’t wait,” Nathaniel. “You must activate the amulet now before all is lost.”

“Just a little longer,” Cole said.

He looked over and saw The First as the creature backed away from the battle. He could see fear in its eyes. Fear that all of its plans and schemes might be ending here. Suddenly The First turned and looked directly at Cole. A look of recognition crossed its face. The shielding that Nathaniel had provided for them was torn away. The First saw the two Avatars and began to move away.

Cole reached out and used all of his power on the amulet. The power surged from him into the ancient relic. As it did, Spike was forced back against the wall near the stairs. As he stood rigidly in place, a powerful burst of magic erupted from him, destroying the roof directly above him. The magic continued on up through each level of the high school above, searing a massive hole in the roof.

Sunlight poured into the hole covering Spike. He called to Buffy and she turned to him. Before she could move, beams of pure sunlight erupted from the amulet piercing the darkness and shadows of the infamous Hellmouth. The beams cut through the vampires disintegrating them instantly.

Intensified a thousand fold, none of the undead creatures could resist its power. They died by the dozens as Spike just stood helpless. The women who had come with Buffy to face The First turned and began to make for the safety of the school above.

The First howled in pain. One beam of light had pinned it to a wall near the back of the cavern. Unable to be touched by anything physical, not even it could resist the awesome power of the magnified sunlight. It wouldn’t be destroyed, it knew that. But it felt its power being drawn away. The power that had held the Hellmouth together for centuries.

Portions of the great cavern began to collapse. Huge sections of the ceiling fell, burying dozens of the vampires who were still trying to scramble away from the sunlight. Cole watched as some unseen message passed between Buffy and Spike.

“I love you,” she said, tears in her eyes.

He paused for a moment, looking at her.

“No you don’t,” he said, smiling slightly. “But thanks for saying it.”

She had reached out and was holding his hand. Suddenly the hand burst into flames. Buffy hardly seemed to feel it. Cole could feel the power of the amulet building within Spike. Within moments that power would destroy the vampire. And yet he felt a sense of peace wash over the vampire.

“Now go,” Spike said suddenly.

With the entire cavern collapsing around her, Buffy knew she couldn’t remain. Spike was doomed and there was nothing they could do to prevent it. She turned and headed for the stairs, for the safety of the open world above.

“I want to see how it ends,” whispered Spike as Buffy scrambled up the stairs.

The power continued to pass through Spike as he suddenly began to laugh. Cole could feel the power of the amulet increase to full intensity. Suddenly Spikes vampire form could withstand the power no longer. His body disintegrated under the power as Spike just laughed.

Nathaniel grabbed Cole by the arm. The entire cavern began to collapse. As Spikes form dissolved completely, Cole was left holding the amulet in his hand. Just as the entire Hellmouth collapsed in upon itself, Nathaniel and Cole vanished from the cavern.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:30 am 
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SIX

“It’s done,” Nathaniel said to Malkus.

Cole handed the amulet to Malkus. He could still feel its incredible power even now. The legends he had heard about it were true. The Amulet of Good was such a potent magic that no creature of evil could resist its power.

“You have done well,” Malkus told Cole. “We will lock this away again. In case there is need of it in the future.”

“He hesitated,” Nathaniel said. “When the time came to activate the amulet, he hesitated.”

“No, I didn’t,” Cole said. “I was gauging our advantage. When you told me to activate the amulet, The First was hidden in an alcove. I wasn’t sure if the power would get to it before it could get away. I had to wait until it was out in the open. With no place to hide from it.”

“A wise precaution,” Malkus said. “All the deaths would have been in vain if The First had escaped.”

“Sunnydale is gone,” Trembor said, walking into the area. “The Hellmouth collapsed in upon itself. It will be sealed for a very long time.”

“All those people,” Cole gasped. “How many people died when the town collapsed?”

“Collateral damage,” Malkus said. “And there was nothing we could do about it. You, above all, should know this is a war we are in. There are always innocent deaths in war. It is the nature of war. You should be happy. You’ve passed your test. Now, it is time to discuss what you will be doing now.”

“Happy?” demanded Cole. “How can I be happy knowing that God knows how many innocent people died needlessly?”

‘Not needlessly,” Trembor said. “They died for a higher cause. Because of their sacrifice, the rest of the world is safe from a great evil. They did not die in vain. The balance between good and evil is restored.”

“But so many deaths,” Cole said.

“There weren’t that many,” Malkus said. “Most of the people had already left the town. True, some of the inhabitants were still there. But so were a great many demons, vampires, and other creatures. Not only The First was defeated but many evil creatures were destroyed in the process.”

“Really?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” said Nathaniel. “Call it an added bonus. And now we know that you can make the hard decisions we sometimes have to make. To make sure that neither good nor evil gain an upper hand.”

“What now?” Cole asked.

“We will discuss that soon,” Malkus said. “For now, rest. Use of the amulet can be quite draining. Regain your strength. Then we’ll discuss what’s next.”

Cole didn’t say a word. He simply turned and walked to his “area” contemplating what had happened. He had mixed feelings about it. He had saved the world. But to do that, he had to kill an individual. And caused the deaths of many others. He wasn’t sure how he was going to deal with it.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 4:43 pm 
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SEVEN

“I hope you’re feeling better,” Malkus said after Cole had rested for a while.

“Some,” Cole said. “I guess what you said is right. We are in a war. And I can’t expect there to be no casualties in a war. But I don’t have to like it.”

“You’ll soon see,” said Nathaniel, “that things like this are necessary. There are going to be casualties if we are going to maintain the necessary balance between good and evil.”

“What now?” asked Cole. “You said I had passed the test. Well, what do I do now?”

Malkus led them over to the large free hanging mirror again. He passed his hand over it as before and a scene appeared in the mirror. Cole recognized the scene. It was Buffy Summers. She seemed to be sleeping on a bus.

“The Slayer,” Malkus said. “Much like the Charmed Ones, she has fulfilled her destiny. No Slayer has ever lived beyond the age of twenty-five. She is very close to that age now. And after defeating The First, it is unlikely that she will face anything as powerful in the near future. “

“What does this have to do with me?” Cole asked.

“Well,” said Malkus hesitantly. “We’ve known for a long time that a special Slayer would come. We have watched each of the previous Slayers quite closely. Each time we thought they would be the one we have been searching for. And each time we have been disappointed when they died.”

“Okay, I’ll ask again,” Cole said impatiently. “What does this have to do with me?”

‘I’m coming to that,” Malkus said. “We know that the Slayer who lives beyond her twenty-fifth birthday will have a new destiny. A very different destiny from just being the Slayer. Buffy Summers is that Slayer. She has grown well beyond the need for a human Watcher. There is little they can teach her now.”

“But she is entering a new phase of her life, you might say,” Nathaniel said. “Soon, she will pass beyond the constraints of her human existence. She has died twice and been resurrected each time. Her power is growing. She needs someone to guide her through the intricacies of her new station in life.”

“And I’m that someone?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Malkus said. “Call yourself her supernatural Watcher, so to speak. She’s going to need guidance in the near future. You are the perfect choice for that position. You can help teach her about the power she will gain. How to use it wisely and to her best interest.”

“I see,” Cole said. “Sort of groom her to join us, is that it?”

“Not necessarily,” Nathaniel said. “Not everyone can join us. She may join us one day. But we do know she will have a new destiny. That is very rare. For someone, especially a mortal, to have a second destiny. Many people don’t even have a single destiny. You can help her in her journey to her new destiny.”

“What is her new destiny?” Cole asked.

“We can’t say at the moment,” Malkus said. “We do know it won’t be combating vampires and demons. She is meant for a higher purpose. Just what that purpose is has not been made clear to us yet.”

“Okay,” Cole said. “What do I have to do?”

“She will have many questions,” Malkus said. “Questions you will be in a position to answer for her. We want you to become her friend. Let her know that you’re there for her. That you can help her through the very difficult period that is ahead.”

“But you must not tell her who, or what, you are,” Nathaniel impressed. “It will be a while before she is ready to accept what is happening to her. She must be eased in to that gradually.”

“I understand,” Cole said. “When do I begin?”

“As soon as you want,” Malkus said. “Give her a few days to recoup from her recent ordeal. Considering everything she’s been through the last few weeks, she can use a rest.”

“Okay,” Cole said. “I can spend the time learning about her. If I’m going to help her I need to learn who she is. That’s going to take some research.”

“Excellent,” Malkus said. “Keep us apprised of your progress. And if you have any questions, Trembor will be available to you. He can be very useful as I’m sure you are already aware.”

“Yes, I am,” Cole said. “I think I’ll start right away. The sooner I know about her the sooner I can start to help her.”

“Fine,” Malkus said. “Let me know if you need anything.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 11:32 pm 
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EIGHT

“Do you think he believed us?” Nathaniel asked after Cole had walked away.

“I don’t know why not,” Malkus said. “In some ways, he’s very trusting. His recent treatment by his ex-wife and her sisters notwithstanding. Despite his demonic heritage, I believe he is basically a good person.”

“Good?” questioned Nathaniel. “After all this time you still ascribe ‘good’ and ‘evil’ to people.”

‘Most fall into one of the two categories,” Malkus said. “If they didn’t, there would be no purpose for us.”

“True,” Nathaniel said. “What if he should discover what we’re up to?”

“I don’t think that will be a problem,” Malkus said. “Even if he should discover our true intentions, there isn’t a lot he can to about it.”

“He could warn the Slayer,” Nathaniel said. “She is the most promising one yet. I think she is the one we’ve been looking for. I know I’ve said that before, but this time I’m truly convinced of it. She defeated The First. No one has ever come even that far before.”

“I know,” Malkus said. “Don’t worry about Cole. He’ll be much too busy with Ms. Summers to find out anything. And if he should begin to suspect anything, I’ll just steer him in another direction. I’m very good at that.”

“How well I know,” Nathaniel said. “Well, Malkus, I should be going. I have much to do.”

“Yes,” said Malkus. “I will see you later.”

Malkus thought about Cole after Nathaniel left. They had a lot riding on Cole. And on Buffy Summers. But he wasn’t concerned. It had taken them a very long time to get to this point. Soon their plans would be complete. Not right away, of course. But when compared to how far they had already come, the time left seemed almost inconsequential. Malkus smiled to himself.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 7:48 pm 
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NINE

A vortex opened in the deserted alley, whipping the debris around from the mystical energy it created. Small bolts of lightning shot out from the vortex, striking nearby buildings. After a few moments, a man stepped out of the vortex.

He stood about six feet tall and had medium brown hair that looked more like a mane than hair. Muscles bulged under his clothes as he looked around the alley, his blue eyes taking in everything around him. After a moment he raised his hand and the vortex behind him closed leaving no trace it had ever existed.

The man closed his eyes and concentrated for several moments. An evil smile crossed his lips. His power would prevent those accursed Elders from detecting him or his arrival here. It just wouldn’t do to have them interfere with him. Not when he had come all this way. Not when what he had to do was so important.

Suddenly the man changed. He no longer resembled his former self. He stood only about five feet, eight inches now. And his brown hair was now blonde, trimmed neatly over the ears. His features and clothes had even changed. To all outward appearances, he was a totally different person.

But only outwardly. His ability to alter his form was only an illusion. While he may not look the same the power that coursed through him had not changed. And that power would allow him to mask his true identity from anyone who might try to stop him.

He stepped to the end of the alley and looked up and down the street. People were busily hurrying about their business. No one noticed a lone man wearing a suit and tie standing in the middle of the street. His decision to appear in the alley instead of the manor had been a calculated decision. In this way, he could gain access to the manor and his victim unhindered.

Confidently, the man turned and began to walk up the street. A part of him was sorry for what he was about to do. But it could not be helped. He had planned for too long to let anyone stand in his way. No matter who that person was. In the end, what he was going to do was for the best. Even if few understood it as he did.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:40 am 
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TEN

“Paige,” said Piper, coming down the stairs with her son in her arms, “I need to run to the store for a minute. Can you look after Wyatt while I’m gone? I shouldn’t be very long.”

“Sure,” said Paige, coming into entryway. She took the baby from Piper. “I don’t have to work today so I’d be glad to play babysitter for a while. I don’t get to spend enough time with my nephew as it is, anyway.”

“Great,” said Piper. “Now, his bottle is in the ‘fridge if he gets hungry. And for heavens sake, keep an eye on him if you let him watch television. We don’t want a repeat of that little dragon incident.”

“Just go on,” said Paige, smiling, “we’ll be fine.”

“Anything I can get you while I’m out?” Piper asked.

“No, not right now,” said Paige. “I’m fine.”

“Okay,” said Piper. “I should be back in less than an hour. You two have fun.”

“We will,” said Paige, carrying young Wyatt into the living room to his playpen.

Piper hadn’t been gone long when there was a knock at the door. She opened the door to find a young man on the front porch. The man was dressed in a suit and tie and carried a clipboard in one hand. His short blonde hair was trimmed neatly over his ears. He smiled as Paige opened the door.

“Hello,” said the man, extending his hand, “my name is Randy Myers. I’m with the Young Republicans and we’re doing a survey about the upcoming elections. Would you be willing to answer just a few questions for me? It will only take a few minutes.”

“Well,” said Paige, glancing back to make sure Wyatt was okay, “sure, if you’re quick.”

“Only a moment or two,” said Myers, glancing in the house. “What an adorable little boy. Is he yours?”

“No, he’s my nephew,” said Paige. “I’m babysitting for him right now.”

“I see,” said Myers. “Home all alone then?”

“What about those questions?” Paige asked, her patience beginning to wear thin. “I don’t have a lot of time.”

“Neither do I,” said Myers.

He raised his hand and Paige simply froze in the doorway. Myers raised his hand again and she was pushed back into the entryway. Smiling, Myers walked into the manor and closed the door behind him. He walked into the living room and stood looking down into the playpen.

Wyatt looked up at this stranger and immediately activated his force field. It was becoming nearly a habit with the young baby. Strangers usually meant danger and his force field was really the only protection he could effectively control. Myers smiled and passed his hand over the playpen and the force field simply vanished.

“You don’t have need of that,” he said, looking down at Wyatt. “I am no threat to you. Something I can’t say about your White Lighter. I have no doubt he’d kill you if it came to that. Although I’m sure he’ll try everything he can think of before that. He always was a bit too concerned with others for his own good.”

Myers walked around the living room looking at everything. He picked up the wedding photo of Piper and Leo and looked at it.

“You had such high hopes the two of you,” he said to no one in particular. “What a shame things had to end as they did.”

As he was looking around her heard the front door open. Piper opened the door and walked into the entryway, a bag in her hands.

“It didn’t take me as long as I thought,” she was saying as she came in the manor. “I got everything I needed and …. “

She stopped in mid-sentence, seeing Paige standing in the entryway frozen.

“Paige?” Piper questioned.

Paige didn’t move.

“Paige?” Piper questioned again, shaking her sisters’ arm.

“What the?” began Paige. “What am I doing in here? And where is that pollster at?”

“What pollster?” Piper asked.

“Some guy with the Young Republicans,” said Paige. “He wanted to ask me some questions about….”

“Wyatt,” said both women in unison.

Piper dropped her bag of groceries on the floor and they both rushed into the living room. Wyatt sat undisturbed in his playpen paying with his favorite teddy bear. Nothing in the room seemed out of place.

“Okay, what’s going on?” Paige asked.

“When I came in,” said Piper, “you were frozen in the entryway. Almost like I had used my freezing power on you.”

“Well, that’s just not possible,” said Paige. “We both know your freezing power doesn’t work on other witches.”

“Not for me,” said Piper. “But maybe there’s a demon who has a similar power that does affect witches.”

“Okay,” said Paige, “so if this guy was a demon, how come I’m still alive? And why didn’t he bother Wyatt?”

“I don’t know,” Piper said. “Maybe Wyatt’s force field protected him.”

“That still doesn’t explain why he didn’t kill me,” said Paige. “If he was a demon, why freeze me and then do nothing?”

“We need some answers,” Piper said. “You orb out and get Phoebe. Then check the Book of Shadows and see if you can find this pollster in there. I’m going to try and contact Chris or Leo and see if they can tell us anything.”

Paige didn’t respond. Instead, she immediately orbed out to Hong Kong to get Phoebe. Piper picked Wyatt up out of the playpen, and then called for both Chris and Leo. Despite the supposed law against demons trying to get Wyatt, it appeared that someone was trying to do just that.
* * *

“You have no idea who this guy was?” Leo asked.

“None at all,” said Paige. “He said he was taking a poll. Asking some questions about the upcoming elections. One minute I’m standing in the doorway answering questions, the next thing I know I’m in the middle of the entryway with Piper in front of me.”

“It was like I had frozen her,” said Piper.

“That’s not possible,” said Leo.

“I know that,” said Piper. “My freezing power doesn’t work on witches. So what happened?”

“Maybe there’s a demon with a similar type of power,” offered Phoebe.

“Didn’t find anything like that in the Book of Shadows,” said Paige. “In fact, the only demon in there that had anything remotely to do with time was one called Tempus. Maybe it was this Tempus.”

“Not likely,” said Piper. “He was vanquished when Prue died. It couldn’t be him.”

“Maybe it’s the demon that’s after Wyatt,” said Chris.

“Then why didn’t he hurt Wyatt?” asked Piper. “Or at the very least take him? Wyatt doesn’t seem injured at all.”

“I don’t know,” said Chris. “Maybe you came home early and startled him.”

“That still doesn’t explain why Paige is still alive,” said Phoebe. “Even if this demon was after Wyatt, why pass up the chance to kill one of us? Besides, didn’t the Crone say they were passing a law to prohibit the demons from coming after Wyatt?”

“Not all demons follow the demonic laws,” said Chris. “There are some that live on the fringes that pretty much do as they please. Just as there are some humans who don’t care about the law.”

“Well, I don’t know of any demon capable of doing what Paige described,” said Leo. “And just about any demon would take advantage of the opportunity to kill one of he girls.”

“Maybe it was a warlock,” suggested Phoebe. “Only that doesn’t make much sense either. Why just freeze Paige? Why not kill her and steal her powers?”

“I’m going to check with the rest of the Elders,” said Leo. “There’s something we’re missing.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Chris. “I can check with some of the other White Lighters. They may know something they haven’t told the Elders.”

“No,” said Leo. “You need to stay here and protect your charges. That’s your first responsibility as a White Lighter. I shouldn’t be gone long. In the mean time, don’t let anyone into the manor. I don’t care who it is. Until we can figure out who or what this is and what they’re after you can’t trust anyone.”

“Don’t worry,” said Piper. “If someone is after my baby they’ll have to go through me first.”

“All three of us,” said Phoebe. “They’ll get to Wyatt only over our dead bodies.”

As Leo orbed out of the manor he caught the look on Chris’ face. A look that told him that the younger White Lighter wasn’t surprised at this turn of events. Even considering that they knew a demon was after Wyatt, this struck Leo as odd. It wouldn’t be the first time Chris hadn’t told them the entire truth. And even though Chris had proven that he was trying to protect Wyatt, Leo couldn’t help but wonder just what it was he hadn’t told them.

“So,” said Piper, turning to Chris, “what can you tell us about this demon that’s after Wyatt?”

“Not a whole lot,” said Chris. “We never did learn exactly which demon it was. We were able to narrow it down to some specific types of demons but that was about all. Even considering that, it’s no guarantee that was the demon originally after Wyatt. It could have been hired by another demon to get to him. Some of the ones we narrowed it down to were bounty hunter demons.”

“What about the Brotherhood of the Thorn?” Phoebe asked. “Could it be one of them trying to take revenge for us vanquishing Cole? He was a member of that group. Maybe this is their way of punishing us for what we did.”

“That’s unlikely,” said Chris. “All demons know the risk when they go up against the three of you. It’s not likely they’d want revenge if you won. One of the hazards of the trade, so to speak.”

“But it’s not totally out of the question,” said Paige.

“No, not totally,” said Chris. “Demons have been known to seek revenge for the vanquishing of a relative. But the Brotherhood of the Thorn doesn’t usually work that way. They’re mercenaries, plain and simple. Vanquishings are what you might call a hazard of their profession. They understand that.”

“Okay, so if it isn’t revenge this demon wants,” said Piper, “just why is a demon going after my son? Especially since there’s supposed to be a law against it.”

“Maybe it wasn’t Wyatt the demon was after,” said Chris. “Maybe it was something else. It couldn’t get to the Book of Shadows. Evil can’t even touch it. What about the Nexus? You said that demons have gone after it before.”

“Even Cole tried once,” said Phoebe. “But to get to the Nexus, they’d have to get rid of us. Which brings us right back to where we started. Paige still alive and Wyatt apparently unharmed. And no answer for why.”

“We’ll have to wait until Leo gets back,” said Piper. “In the mean time, I say we check the Book of Shadows again. There has to be something that will give us a clue to what’s going on. Like Leo said, we’re overlooking something. We’ll just have to keep rechecking everything until we figure out what it is.”

Chris looked around at the three sisters. He was debating if he should tell them what he knew. In the end, he decided he couldn’t. They had already learned more than he had wanted them to. And he was pretty sure they weren’t ready for the whole truth.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 1:34 am 
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ELEVEN

“Who are you?” demanded the Dark Lighter, pointing his crossbow menacingly at the man known as Randy Myers.

“Put that thing away,” said Myers. “I’m not here to hurt you. I want to hire you for a job.”

The Dark Lighter looked at this unimpressive human. But he knew those looks were deceiving. The power emanating from the human was beyond anything he had ever witnessed before. Slowly, the Dark Lighter lowered his crossbow.

“What kind of job?” the Dark Lighter asked.

“The kind you like,” said Myers. “I need you to take out a White Lighter for me. That shouldn’t be too difficult for someone like you. You’re the best of your kind. It should be an easy matter for you.”

“Flattery will get you nothing,” said the Dark Lighter. “If you want me to take out a White Lighter, that means there must be a witch nearby.”

“Three of them, actually,” said Myers. “And a second White Lighter to boot.”

“Three witches?” questioned the Dark Lighter. “You’re talking about the Charmed Ones. Do you think I’m a total idiot? Their White Lighter is no ordinary White Lighter. He’s an Elder. Not to mention the three of them. I wouldn’t stand a chance against them. No Dark Lighter would.”

“I don’t expect you to fight them,” said Myers. “I just need you to take care of the Elder. I’ll handle the rest of them.”

“Just how am I supposed to do that?” demanded the Dark Lighter. “The second I appear in their house they’ll know what I am. I’ll be vanquished before I can even raise this.” He indicated his crossbow.

“Not if their distracted,” said Myers. “The plan is very simple. I’ll distract them long enough for you to pop in and do your work. As soon as you shoot the Elder, you get out of there. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. You should be able to get in and back out before they even realize what’s going on.”

“What good will that do?” the Dark Lighter asked. “You said they had a second White Lighter. He’ll just heal the Elder once I’ve shot him.”

“That’s not your concern,” said Myers. “I’m hiring you to shoot the Elder, nothing else. Once you’ve done that, you go about your business.”

“So all I have to do is get in, shoot the Elder, and then get out?” asked the Dark Lighter. “That’s the whole assignment?”

“That’s it,” said Myers. “Like I said, I’ll keep them distracted long enough for you to do that. If you’re quick enough, they may not even know you’re there until after you’ve left.”

“How do I know you’ll be able to distract them long enough for me to do this?” asked the Dark Lighter.

“You know I can do what I say,” said Myers.

The Dark Lighter eyed the human. The power he sensed in this human was intense. More intense than even that of the former Source. It had taken the Charmed Ones months to finally vanquish the Source and it had cost them one of the sisters in the bargain. If this stranger said he could distract the witches long enough for the Dark Lighter to do his job, his power testified that he was strong enough to back up his claims.

“And just what do you get out of this?” asked the Dark Lighter.

“What do you care?” asked Myers. “As long as you get paid, it’s not your concern. All that concerns you is doing the job right.”

“I want payment up front,” said the Dark Lighter. “If these were ordinary witches, I wouldn’t be so concerned. But they aren’t ordinary witches. They’re the Charmed Ones. You may be able to do what you claim. But in just in case you can’t, I want my payment up front.”

“Fair enough,” said Myers.

He waved his hand and a small chest appeared next to the Dark Lighter.

“It’s all there,” said Myers. “You can check it once I’ve left. Now, we’re going to have to time this just right if it’s going to work. So here’s exactly what you’re going to do.”

The Dark Lighter listened intently as Myers explained the plan to him.
* * *

“What do you mean there’s nothing?” Piper demanded of Leo. “There has to be something. Rumors, innuendo, wild speculation, something.”

“Nothing,” said Leo. “In fact, none of the Elders even detected any magic use in the manor today.”

“Well I wasn’t frozen by that character from Batman,” insisted Paige. “It was magic. How could they not have detected it?”

“They don’t watch the manor all the time,” said Leo. “I’ve told you before, they can’t watch every one and every thing all the time.”

“Still,” said Chris, “they should have sensed something. I mean freezing a Charmed One is not an every day occurrence. That should have gotten someone’s attention.”

“I know,” said Leo. “It’s odd that no one noticed anything. It’s almost as if the place had been masked so they couldn’t detect it.”

“What about now?” Paige asked. “Is it masked now?”

“No,” said Leo. “While I was up there we checked. All of us could detect all of you down here so whatever masking was used apparently isn’t in use now.”

“Wouldn’t they have detected the masking itself?” Phoebe asked.

“I don’t know,” said Leo. “Normally, I’d say yes. But I think it’s quite clear we aren’t dealing with anything normal here. They’ve agreed to keep a constant eye on the manor for the immediate future. If they sense anything out of the ordinary they’ll notify either Chris or me.”

“Well, that’s something at least,” said Piper. “Normally I wouldn’t ask this. But this is my baby we’re talking about. What about some additional help? Maybe Michael could come by and lend us a hand.”

“Michael’s unavailable at the moment,” said Leo. “Besides, I don’t think it’s anything the three of you can’t handle. Once we identify what we’re dealing with. The rest of the Elders are checking their sources and will let me know the second they have any leads.”

“You think this demon is coming back?” asked Paige.

“I don’t think we can afford not to think that way,” said Leo. “It was after something. That’s why it came here in the first place. Since nothing in the manor seems to have been disturbed I think we have to assume that it didn’t get what it came for. Which means it will probably be back to get it. Whatever it is.”

“Other than the Nexus and the Book of Shadows,” said Phoebe, “what could it possibly want? Obviously it doesn’t want Paige. It had the chance to kill her when it was here before. And it couldn’t get to Wyatt because of his force field. There’s nothing else in the manor that would interest a demon. Just the normal types of things you’d find in any house. Most aren’t even magical.”

“I wish I could answer that,” said Leo. “If we knew what it wanted maybe we would be able to figure out who it was.”

“Well,” said Piper, “if that demon shows up again, I’m just going to blow it to bits. Then we won’t have to worry about it again.”

“That wouldn’t be very hospitable,” said a voice from the entryway. “The front door was open. I hope you don’t mind that I let myself in.”

The group turned and stared at stunned disbelief as they saw Randy Myers standing in the entryway, smiling at them.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 10:50 pm 
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TWELVE

“That’s the guy,” said Paige suddenly.

“Please, I’m not a demon,” said Myers, putting his hands up to show he was unarmed. “If you’ll just give me a minute to explain, I’m sure I can clear this whole mess up.”

“What do you want?” demanded Piper, suspicious of the intruder. “You were here earlier. You froze my sister. You better have some very good explanations.”

“I do, believe me,” said Myers. “I’m sorry about earlier. It couldn’t be helped. All I ask is that you give me a few moments to explain everything. It’s very simple, really.”

“This is dangerous,” said Chris. “We have no idea who or what this guy is.”

“And yet I didn’t harm Paige or the baby when I was here earlier,” said Myers. “That in itself should prove something. If I were a demon, wouldn’t I have killed Paige? Or harmed your baby?”

“Wyatt has a force field,” said Piper. “You wouldn’t have been able to hurt him.”

“Paige is still unharmed,” said Myers. “Would any self-respecting demon pass up the opportunity to finish off one of you?”

“I guess not,” said Piper. “I’ll give you two minutes. But if you try anything I promise you it will be the last thing you ever do.”

“Fair enough,” said Myers. “First, my name isn’t really Myers. It’s Lucan.”

“Lucan?” questioned Leo.

“You recognize the name?” Phoebe asked.

“Yes,” said Leo. “Lucan is one of the leaders of the Dark Mages. I told you about them. Witches and warlocks who don’t believe either side will ultimately win the battle of good versus evil. They spend their time trying to keep a balance between the two.”

“Exactly,” said the man now known as Lucan. “It’s why I’m here. It’s because of him.” He pointed at Chris.

“What about him?” Paige asked.

“He’s upsetting the balance,” said Lucan. “He’s giving you an unfair advantage over evil. One that could have disastrous affects. He’s all ready upset the balance more than you know. If he’s allowed to continue, he could destroy everything.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Chris. “I’m trying to save them. I’m from the future. Evil is widespread there. Because of what happened here, in the past. I’m trying to restore the balance and save them in the process.”

“But you’re doing too much,” said Lucan. “You’re swinging the pendulum too far the other way. Giving good too much of an advantage. If you keep it up, so much evil will be vanquished that it will never be able to recover.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Phoebe asked. “If you ask me, that’s exactly what we need. A few less bad guys running around.”

“You clearly don’t understand the significance of this,” said Lucan. “Even if good should win, it could have disastrous affects on the entire world. It’s why we try to keep a balance between the two.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Leo. “How could it be disastrous if good should ultimately triumph over evil? I know you Dark Mages are devoted to keeping a balance but that doesn’t give you the right to….”

His statement went unfinished as he suddenly stumbled forward a couple of steps. Everyone looked at him and noticed what looked like an arrow sticking out of his back. They turned to see a Dark Lighter smile, then suddenly vanish from where he had been standing next to the fireplace.

“Paige, Chris,” said Piper, putting Wyatt into his playpen as Phoebe grabbed Leo, “don’t touch him. That poison could affect you, too.”

Piper took hold of Leo and together she and Phoebe helped lay him on the sofa. His breath was coming in labored gasps as the poison from the Dark Lighters’ crossbow bolt began to fill his system.

“Chris, get up there and get a White Lighter down here to heal him,” Piper demanded.

“I can’t let him do that,” said Lucan.

Lucan raised his hand and Chris was thrown across the room. He struck the far wall and slid to the floor, slightly dazed from the impact. The three sisters turned to face the Dark Mage. Only it wasn’t the form they had been facing before. He had returned to his previous form. The one that had stepped from the vortex into the deserted alley.

“What’s going on?” demanded Piper. “Even if everything you said is true, Leo’s not the one doing it. It’s Chris. You have to let him bring a White Lighter down here to save Leo.”

“That’s not going to happen,” said Lucan or Myers or whoever he was. “I have no idea if what I told you is true. I only needed to distract you long enough to allow the Dark Lighter to do his job.”

“Why?” Piper demanded. “So you can kill an Elder?”

“No,” said the man, looking over at Chris. “So I can kill him.”

“Wyatt,” gasped Chris rising to his feet unsteadily.

“Hello, little brother,” said Wyatt. “It’s been a long time.”

“Wyatt?” questioned Piper. “Chris, who is this?”

“What’s the matter, mummy?” asked Wyatt. “Don’t recognize your darling baby boy?”

“It’s Wyatt,” said Chris, contempt in his voice.

“Wait a second,” said Paige, “hold on. I thought Wyatt was dead?”

“Is that what you told them?” laughed Wyatt. “That I was dead?”

“I haven’t told them anything,” Chris responded.

“But you’ve implied he was dead,” said Phoebe.

“I only said a demon was after him,” said Chris. “I never said for what.”

“Oh, yes,” said Wyatt. “Your fantasy about me being infected with the essence of some demon. Twisting my insides. Corrupting me to produce the terrifying ogre you see before you. Really, little brother, when are you going to give up on that delusion? I’ve told you time and again. It’s not about good or evil. It never has been. It’s about power.”

“Wyatt?” questioned Piper again, tears in her eyes. “Is it really you?”

“Yes, it’s me,” said Wyatt. “Your miracle child. The child you took every opportunity to hold back. The power I had and you would never let me use any of it.”

“Uh, guys,” said Paige, “this is all touching and everything, but Leo is still poisoned. Can we do this another time?”

“Wyatt,” said Piper, wiping tears from her eyes, “if that’s who you really are, that’s your father lying on the sofa. He’s dying. You have to let us save him.”

“No, I don’t,” said Wyatt. “He was as bad as you were. Worse even. A pacifist who never let me reach my true potential. Who held me back every chance he got.”

“We can talk about that later,” said Phoebe. “Right now we need a White Lighter to heal him.”

“No,” Wyatt shouted, raising his arms.

Suddenly the girls found they couldn’t move. They were frozen as Piper had often done to demons before. Their entire bodies frozen, all but their heads. All they could do was stand and look at Wyatt and Chris.

“A little variation on your freezing power, mother,” said Wyatt. “Every voluntary muscle in your body is frozen. I want you to witness this.”

He walked over to Chris.

“You’ve been a pain in my ass for as long as I can remember,” Wyatt said to Chris. “I’ve given you every opportunity. I’ve vanquished underlings for a lot less trouble than you’ve been. And still you betray me at every turn. Take every chance to stab me in the back. And now finally you come here. To the past. To try and correct what you think went wrong.”

“It did go wrong,” said Chris. “How did you get here, anyway? I took the time travel spell with me when I left the future the last time.”

“Do you think that was the only copy?” asked Wyatt. “You think I wouldn’t have an extra copy of it just in case something like what you did happened? That’s why you could never beat me, Chris. I’m always two steps ahead of you. I always have been.”

“But you can’t kill me,” said Chris. “You never could. Even after all the problems I’ve caused, you still can’t bring yourself to vanquish your own brother.”

“So true,” said Wyatt, looking at Leo. “But, now I don’t have to. In a few minutes he’ll be dead. Which means I won’t have to kill you. You just won’t ever have existed. You may be my brother, but you’re just too much trouble. Maybe I can’t kill you but this way I get to kill two birds with one stone, to coin a phrase. I get you out of my hair and I punish him,” he looked at Leo, “for what he did to me.”

Chris looked at Wyatt then at Leo. He could tell Leo was in a bad way. It would only be a few more minutes and Leo would be dead. And there was nothing Chris could do about it.

“I knew you were cruel,” said Chris, trying to buy them some time so he could think of something, “but I didn’t know just how cruel. This isn’t necessary. It’s me you’re after, not him. Why make him suffer? It doesn’t accomplish anything.”

“I like it,” Wyatt said deliberately. “Oh, I must admit, the first time was fun. But I was kind of busy then. I couldn’t savor the moment as I can now. And once he’s gone, there won’t be anyone who can challenge me. It will be interesting to see what changes this is going to make. Very interesting indeed.”

Chris knew he had run out of time. Even now Leo’s breath was coming in labored gasps. If he moved to help Leo, Wyatt would stop him. And without another White Lighter to heal Leo, he would die from the Dark Lighter’s poison. Chris glared at Wyatt with near hatred in his eyes.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 3:04 am 
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THIRTEEN

Suddenly a fireball struck Wyatt from behind, sending him crashing across the room. He struck the wall and fell to the floor but was on his feet again in an instant. He spun to see who had the temerity to attack him.

He stood facing a man that was about five feet eight inches tall. The man had black hair that was trimmed neatly over the ears. He was dressed casually but carried a sword in his right hand. Wyatt noticed that Paige was nowhere to be seen.

“Tannish,” Wyatt spat out.

“I see my reputation precedes me,” said the man. “If you know who I am, then you know what this is.” He indicated the sword he was holding. “Do you feel lucky today?”

“This isn’t over,” said Wyatt. “I’ll be back to finish this soon enough.”

Suddenly Wyatt orbed out of the manor. The man named Tannish moved over and laid the sword on the floor as he knelt over Leo. He looked up at Chris.

“Are you Chris?” Tannish asked.

“Yes,” said Chris. “Just who are you?”

“There’s no time,” said Piper and she and Phoebe moved over to see to Leo. “Get up there and get a White Lighter down here to save him. Hurry.”

Confused, Chris orbed out. The girls and Tannish were deeply concerned about Leo. His breathing was even harder than before and he seemed to be in a coma. Piper grabbed the bolt and pulled it out. As she did, Chris orbed back in with another man.

The man didn’t hesitate. He moved over and knelt next to Leo, then placed his hands over the wound and began to use his healing powers. Within seconds, the wound was completely gone. Leo looked up at the group around him.

“That was close,” he said. “Closer than I’ve ever come. Thanks, Arnold. I appreciate the help.”

“My pleasure,” said the White Lighter Chris had orbed in. “I’m just glad I was able to get here in time. We nearly lost you.”

“He called you Tannish,” Chris said to the man who had saved them. “That would make you Kiethran Tannish. The Druid.”

“That’s right,” said Tannish. They all notice Paige suddenly orb in. “She appeared at my home but couldn’t move. Luckily I was able to use my telepathy to find out what had happened. Lucky for you I did. Who was that guy? His power seemed incredible.”

“Apparently,” said Piper, looking at Chris, “that was my son. All grown up. You led us to believe he was dead. That a demon was after him to kill him.”

“I only said a demon was after him,” said Chris. “I never said he was dead. You just assumed that.”

“Because you let us believe that,” said Phoebe. “He called you little brother. You’re Wyatt’s brother?”

“Yes,” said Chris, after a moment’s hesitation. “He’s about two years older than I am. And as you can see, he’s a lot more powerful. Being his brother has protected me even when I displeased him. It seems I’m not as protected as I once was.”

“Your brother?” questioned Paige. “But you said you were part witch part White Lighter. Just before you went back to the future.”

“That’s right,” Chris said.

“Then that means,” began Piper.

“Let’s all have a seat,” said Leo. “I think it’s time Chris told us the whole truth about what he’s doing here. And this time you don’t leave anything out.”

“Seems to me,” said Chris, looking at Kiethran, “there are a number of explanations that need to be made here.”

“You’re going first,” said Phoebe. “Leo nearly died, he implied that you would cease to exist if he did, and we were frozen like popsicles. Not an experience I’d care to repeat any time soon.”

Chris was looking somewhat guilty as the group took seats in the living room to hear the explanations he had to give.

“Okay,” said Leo as the group sat in the living room, “we want the truth. The whole truth this time. Don’t leave anything out.”

“I’m not sure where to start,” said Chris.

“Start with how you and Wyatt happen to be brother,” said Piper.

“It’s true,” said Chris. “Wyatt is my older brother.”

“How is that possible?” Paige asked. “Piper and Leo broke up. Unless she hooked up with another White Lighter or he hooked up with another witch.”

“No,” said Chris, “that’s not what happened. You see, originally, Leo never became an Elder. The Titans destroyed the Elders just as they did this time. Only Leo was down here protecting you. He escaped the destruction as did a few of the other Elders.”

“How were the Titans stopped?” Phoebe asked.

“They destroyed each other,” said Chris. “They got into a fight and destroyed themselves. But that left witches everywhere without White Lighters. With no Elders to lead them, they were disorganized. Demons began to wreak havoc everywhere.”

“So we’re you’re parents?” Piper asked. “Leo and I?”

“Yes,” said Chris. “Even with the Elders gone the demons couldn’t stand against the Charmed Ones. You did pretty well for a few years. Then Wyatt started to help. Only his help was to vanquish anyone with powers, aside from his family. He wasn’t old enough to understand the differences between good and evil.”

“He kept saying something about how I held him back,” said Leo. “That I never let him reach his true potential.”

“Yes,” said Chris. “You forbade him from using his powers until he could understand the consequences of them. As he grew older he began to resent you for not allowing him to vanquish demons whenever he wanted to. He kept saying you were holding him back.”

“What was that about being infused with the essence of a demon?” Phoebe asked. “He said it was a delusion. That it was a figment of your imagination.”

“That’s what started everything,” Chris said. “What few Elders had survived the Titans were able to regather after a few years. They tried to reform the council but there were just far too few of them. And the witches and White Lighters were used to being on their own.

“But we did learn that Wyatt wasn’t really Wyatt. Somehow, some demon was able to infuse him with its essence. Not exactly a possession, just more of taking up residence in Wyatt’s body. We think this is what turned Wyatt evil. No, evil isn’t the right word. He’s not evil, exactly. But he’s convinced that only the powerful should rule. That the only one with the right to be leader is the one powerful enough to take that leadership.”

“That sounds like a demonic concept,” said Phoebe. “That’s how the underworld is controlled. The more powerful demons controlling the less powerful ones.”

“Exactly,” said Chris. “Only we don’t know which demon infused Wyatt or when it happened. As I said, we were able to narrow it down to certain types of demons. But the list is still pretty long. Wyatt’s so powerful even at this young age that it would take a very powerful demon to infuse its essence into him.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before,” said Leo.

“I have,” said Kiethran who had sat listening patiently the entire time. “It’s very rare. As Chris said, only the most powerful demons can do it. Of course, with Wyatt being a baby right now, that might make it easier. He doesn’t have complete control over his powers yet.”

“That’s right,” said Chris. “And unless we can prevent it, when it happens we won’t have any other choice. Wyatt – baby Wyatt – will have to be vanquished. Or he’ll destroy the entire world.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 12:22 am 
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FOURTEEN

“This is crazy,” said Piper on the verge of tears. “If you’re his brother – if you’re my son as you claim – how can you sit there and calmly talk about murdering your own brother? He’s just a baby.”

“Piper,” said Chris, “mom, you have to understand. Life with Wyatt in charge is no life at all. Hundreds of thousands have died simply because they displeased him. There’s no one powerful enough to oppose him. It’s why I came back to the past. To prevent everything he’s done.”

“You can’t change the past,” said Leo.

“Not directly,” said Chris. “But I can give it a nudge in the right direction. Little things can be changed. Like what shirt you wore on a particular day. Or where you ate lunch. I may not be able to change major events but if I can alter enough of the smaller events, it just might make the bigger ones have a different outcome.”

“I’m not sure that’s possible,” said Kiethran. “Leo’s right. The past can’t be changed. If this is your past, nothing you do can change it.”

“No, but it’s your future,” said Chris. “And that can be changed. Take you, for example. Wyatt didn’t learn about you for several years. But he learned about you tonight. That’s changed. It’s a very small change, granted, but it’s a change. Change enough of the small events and the bigger ones will have to change. It’s why I insisted that you three do the work instead of me doing it. I can’t change my past but you can change your future.”

“I still think the major events will happen no matter what you do,” said Leo.

“Do you hear yourselves?” Phoebe asked. “You’re sitting here calmly talking about what can be changed and what can’t be changed and Chris said we may have to vanquish Wyatt. Doesn’t that register with any of you?”

“Of course it does,” said Leo. “But we aren’t going to vanquish Wyatt. That would be a major change. Even Chris admits that can’t be done. If he wasn’t vanquished before, we can’t do it now.”

“There’s nothing to stop me,” said Chris, looking over at young Wyatt playing ignorantly in his playpen. “It would be quite easy to simply vanquish him right now.”

“Not without going through me first,” demanded Piper. “You can’t seriously be considering vanquishing your own brother. What kind of heartless monster are you? He’s just a baby? And I refuse to believe that that person who was here a few minutes ago is my baby all grown up.”

“That doesn’t change anything,” said Chris. “I’ve told you the truth. All of it. There’s more, of course. A lot more. Like how Wyatt vanquished all of the demonic leadership in the underworld. How he has the lesser powerful demons working for him now. How the few Elders and White Lighters that still exist are in fear of their lives because he might decide to vanquish them at any minute. And how he’s vanquished one witch after another who displeased him or stood in his way. Vanquished them without a second thought about what he was doing.”

“That’s hard to accept,” said Leo. “Wyatt is half White Lighter. Which means he’s partially a pacifist. There’s not even any guarantee he’ll develop any offensive powers. Look at Paige. She’s a lot older than he is and so far her powers aren’t offensive in nature.”

“She’s not infused with the essence of a demon either,” said Chris. “She’s also not the child of a Charmed One. That magnifies Wyatt’s power. And the demonic essence has intensified those powers even more. Why do you think I came back to stop him? You think I’d risk all this if there were any other way to do it? I’m taking a hell of a risk here. For all I know he might decide to….”

He suddenly stopped talking as if he had said too much. He looked at the others with the strangest look on his face.

“Decide to do what?” asked Piper. “Chris, what is it you haven’t told us. You said you’d tell us the whole truth. What could be so bad that you’d hesitate now?”

“It’s another reason I came back,” said Chris. “Why my name is Perry and not Halliwell or Wyatt. A couple named Perry raised me. They gave me their name. That’s why my name is Chris Perry.”

“Why would you be raised by someone else?” asked Leo. “If we’re your parents, why wouldn’t we be….”

This time Leo’s voice trailed off as he realized what the implications were.

“I was raised by foster parents because none of your were around,” said Chris hesitantly. “In order for Wyatt to bring his idea of the perfect order to the world, he couldn’t have anyone around powerful enough to challenge him. So the first thing he did was to vanquish the four of you.”

Leo and the girls stared at Chris in near total disbelief.

‘You’re crazy,” said Piper. “Wyatt would never do that.”

“He did,” said Chris. “First, he exposed you to the world. He showed the world that witches did exist. And that so did demons. When people found out about you, they became frightened. Your powers scared them. It gave Wyatt the excuse he needed to hunt down witches and vanquish them.”

“The Cleaners would have stopped that,” said Leo. “Remember what happened when Wyatt conjured the dragon? He exposed magic to the world. The Cleaners had to clean it up, remember.”

“Yes, and so did Wyatt,” said Chris. “When he exposed them to the world, the Cleaners showed up to correct things. He was ready for them. He vanquished them almost as soon as they materialized. It was such a sudden attack they weren’t prepared for it.”

“That’s impossible,” said Leo. “No one could vanquish the Cleaners.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” said Chris. “Wyatt is no ordinary witch. His power will be unbelievable. You said the same thing when he did it. That it wasn’t possible. That no one could vanquish them. But he did it. I watched him.”

“That doesn’t mean,” began Piper.

“That was just the beginning,” interrupted Chris. “No one believed me when I told them what had happened. No one could believe Wyatt could have done it. After that, Wyatt began to discredit you. He formed allegiances with some demons. Informed them of your plans. One thing after another fell apart for you. Pretty soon the entire world was convinced you were evil.”

“Why?” Phoebe asked. “Why would he do such a thing?”

“For power,” said Chris. “Wyatt became convinced that the fight between good and evil wasn’t important. Power was important. He became obsessed with gaining more power. He often talked about a new world order. An order free of chaos and anarchy. And those who fought in the good versus evil war were only perpetuating that chaos and anarchy. And you three, being the champions for good, were the leading causes for that chaos.

“After a while, he had grown powerful enough to challenge even you. But he knew with Leo around, there would always be the chance you might be saved from any harm he did you. So he lured Leo to a secluded spot and had him killed by a Dark Lighter. Oh, he was very careful to make it look like he hadn’t done it. He was busy fighting demons at the time. And he had witnesses who could attest that he had done everything he could to protect his father.

“But Leo was dead all the same. And with the Elder council all but powerless, there were no more White Lighters to replace him. So you were left without your White Lighter and vulnerable to any damage you might take from demonic attacks. Just like he planned.”

“I don’t believe this,” said Phoebe. “Wyatt would never kill his own father. Leo loves him. He’s risked his life for him any number of times. Why would he do that?”

“Because of the demonic infusion,” said Chris. “You still don’t understand. The Wyatt who attacked here just a little while ago isn’t the same Wyatt in that playpen over there. He’s twisted and subverted. He’s not your little boy any more.”

“I can’t accept that,” said Leo. “No matter what might have happened, Wyatt has to know I love him. That I would die before I let anything bad happen to him.”

“You said almost the same thing to me when I tried to warn you,” said Chris. “Just before he murdered you. That you couldn’t believe Wyatt would do something like that. No one would believe me. Why should they? After all, Wyatt was only ten years old at the time.”

“What?” Piper questioned.

“Everything I’ve told you so far,” Chris said, “is supposed to happen in the next few years. That’s why Wyatt was able to do what he did. No one believed he was capable of it. He was only ten at the time. And I was only about eight. So no one would believe me when I tried to warn them.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 5:53 pm 
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FIFTEEN

“No,” said Piper suddenly, standing to her feet. “You’re lying. I don’t believe you. I won’t believe you. Wyatt could never become that monster that just attacked us I don’t care what you say.”

“Piper, “ began Chris.

“Shut up,” Piper nearly screamed. “Just shut up. This is just another of you lies to throw us off. He nearly killed Leo and you just stood by and let him. You didn’t do a thing to try to stop him.”

“I couldn’t,” protested Chris. “He was always much more powerful than I was. Even if I had tried, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Do you think I would have come all the way back here if I could have faced him in the future? My only hope, the only hope for all humanity, was for me to come back and try to change things.”

“He was incredibly powerful,” interjected Kiethran. “I could sense it. I’ve rarely sensed anything that powerful.”

“And yet he ran from you,” insisted Piper. “And you at least tried to do something.”

“Only because I had this,” said Kiethran, holding up the sword he had brought with him. “Wyatt, or whoever that was, must have sensed it wouldn’t do any good to attack me while I had it.”

“A sword?” asked Piper sarcastically. “With his powers a sword wouldn’t have been any concern for him.”

“It’s not just any sword,” said Kiethran. “This weapon is probably….”

“I don’t care what it is,” interrupted Piper. “I’m tired of being lied to. Of being played the fool.” She turned to Chris. “I’m going to go put on some coffee. When I get back you’re going to tell me the real truth.”

Without another word she stormed out of the living room into the kitchen. Chris started to go after her but Leo stopped him.

“Let her go,” said Leo. “It’s a lot for her to take in right now. She’s lost her mother, her grandmother, and Prue. And now you tell her that her only son is going to become a powerful evil. She needs some time to sort this out.”

“I know, said Chris dejectedly. “I was afraid she wouldn’t believe me. That’s why I didn’t say anything before. And he’s not her only son. So am I.”

“So it would seem,” said Phoebe. “I guess that makes Paige and I aunts again.”

“Then you believe me?” Chris asked.

“I don’t know,” said Leo. “It’s hard to accept something like that. That my own son would try to kill me. I can’t believe he’d harbor a grudge because I wouldn’t let him use his powers.”

“It wasn’t him,” said Chris. “It’s the demonic essence inside him. It changed him. He’s not her son any longer.”

“Kiethran,” said Phoebe, “what’s so special about that sword? It looks like any other sword to me.”

“Looks can be deceiving,” said Leo, “if that’s what I think it is.”

“It is,” said Kiethran. “This is probably the most powerful weapon on Earth. As long as I hold it, no power can harm me.”

“I’ll bet there are more than a few demons who’d like to get their hands on that,” said Paige.

“In a manner of speaking,” said Kiethran. “Even the mere touch is enough to totally vanquish any demon. If that really was Wyatt, it wouldn’t have harmed him. But he must have sensed its power so he knew he couldn’t stand against me as long as I was holding it.

“Leo, I’d like to stay and help you sort things out here but I think I should be going. If what Chris says is true, Wyatt may become a concern for everyone, not just witches or the Elders. I need to let the Druid Council know what’s going on so they can make some preparations.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Chris. “Before Wyatt attacked without warning. Not even the Druids could stand up against him. At least this way they’ll be forewarned. That might help make a difference.”

“Go on, Kiethran,” said Leo. “I’m not sure what you can do here anyway. Until Piper calms down all we can do is wait.”

Kiethran just smiled, and then vanished from the manor, sword in hand.

“What do we do now?” Paige asked.

“I need to talk to Piper,” said Chris. “I need to make her understand that what I’ve told her is the truth.”

“Is it?” asked Piper from the living room doorway. “You’ve lied to us before. You’ve tried to coerce us into doing what you wanted us to do. How do we know this isn’t more of the same? That this isn’t part of one of your elaborate schemes?”

“Because it’s the truth,” said Chris. “Piper, I know how you feel. Remember, Wyatt is my brother. I’ve had to watch him change for over twenty years. What reason would I have for lying about something like this?”

“I don’t know,” said Piper. “But your account of trust is severely overdrawn right now.” She looked over at Wyatt playing in his playpen. “It’s hard to imagine that he’ll grow up to be the man that as here just a bit ago.”

“I know,” said Chris. “I didn’t even believe it myself at first. He started with just demons. I thought he was doing good. By the time I realized what he was really after it was too late. He was too powerful for me to oppose him.”

“And what was he after?” asked Leo.

“Power,” said Chris. “You heard him. It’s not about good or evil. It’s about power. Nothing else matters to him. Just the power. Good and evil are just unimportant trappings.”

“Is that why he killed us?” asked Phoebe. “To get our power?”

“No,” said Chris. “He killed you to stop you from opposing him. Just like he killed the others.”

“What others?” Paige asked.

“There were a few others that he considered direct threats to him,” said Chris. “Kiethran and the Druids were some. There was also a vampire that lives in Los Angeles. I don’t know why he thought a vampire would be a threat to him. But he did. So he vanquished the vampire to prevent it from opposing him.

“There was also the Slayer. Normally a Slayer would have been no threat to Wyatt. But this one was different. She had just vanquished one of the most powerful evils in history. Like you she was moving toward a new destiny. He considered her a threat as well. So he killed her.”

“The Slayer and a vampire?” Phoebe asked. “How could they be a threat to someone with his power?”

‘I don’t know,” said Chris. “I know it wasn’t an ordinary vampire. This one had a soul.”

“He’s talking about Angel,” Piper said.

“You know him?” Chris asked.

“In a manner of speaking,” said Piper. “I meant him once in an alternate universe. But from what I understand, he also exists here. He lives in Los Angeles and protects the innocents there.”

“Well,” said Chris, “there was something about an amulet this vampire apparently had. I think it was the amulet Wyatt was afraid of. Before I could figure out what was going on Wyatt had vanquished both the vampire and the Slayer.”

“So, where has this Wyatt gone now?” asked Piper. “He orbed out of here. He must have gone somewhere.”

“I don’t know,” said Chris. “He could be just about anywhere. From a very early age he had the ability to mask himself so no one could detect him.”

“But he’ll be back,” said Paige. “Wherever he’s gone he’ll come back. He wants to kill you and I don’t think he’ll give up easily.”

“Not right away,” said Chris. “He’ll gauge his options. He was planning to take me by surprise. There’s no chance of that happening now. So he’ll have to plan a different strategy. Especially since you know about him. With your power you’re a threat to him. He’ll need to plan carefully because of that.”

“Well, with that little freezing trick of his we’re vulnerable,” said Phoebe. “I never realized what an advantage that gives us over demons.”

“I can help with that,” said Chris. “There’s a potion I stumbled across a few years back. Or a few years from now. Or whatever. Anyway, It will take a while to prepare but it will make you immune to his freezing power for a few weeks.”

“Okay, we’ll get started on the potion in a bit,” said Piper. “First, “let’s go over this again. Everything from the beginning. And don’t leave anything out. Let’s see if you can convince us that this is my grownup son that I may have to vanquish.”

Chris just looked at Piper not knowing how he was going to convince her he was telling her the truth.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:34 am 
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SIXTEEN

Cole Turner adjusted his tie and checked his suit once more to make sure everything was in place. Going to the mortal realm required that he look the part. He wasn’t supposed to draw attention to himself and walking around in the gray robes most of them wore here would have made him stand out. He looked up to see three men walking toward him.

One was Trembor, one of his “teachers” among the Avatars. He was a good six inches shorter than Cole and always seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face. His goatee was immaculately trimmed and he usually stood with his hands folded inside the folds of the sleeves of his robe. Trembor had taught him a great deal since he had joined them. And he was unusually patient with Cole, something the former demon wasn’t exactly used to.

The second man was Mellock, another of the teachers, though Cole had never actually studied under him. Mellock was as tall as Cole, but much thinner. He wore a goatee, just as Trembor did. Just as most of the Avatars did. Mellock’s eyes were almost the exact same shade of green as Cole’s.

The third man Cole had only met once. Lucan stood just less than five feet six inches. He was bald except for a fringe of hair that ringed his head like a halo. His hair and goatee were totally white and Lucan appeared to be ancient. Still, he moved with the fluidity and grace of a man in his prime. Time held little meaning in this place. And Avatars, like demons, didn’t suffer the affects of time as humans did.

Together, these three men comprised the core of the Avatars. The leaders, if you will. Not so much leaders as guides and advisors. In truth, there really were no leaders in the traditional sense of the word. All Avatars knew their purpose. To keep a balance between good and evil so that neither became too powerful. But most of the Avatars looked to these three for guidance. If any Avatar had any questions they could approach any of these three at any time.

“I see you’re ready to go,” said Trembor, the perpetual smile still on is face.

“Yes,” said Cole. “How do I look?”

“Like any other human,” said Mellock.

“Good,” said Cole. “It’s been a while since I wore a suit and tie. When I was a lawyer it was important that I looked good. To instill confidence in my clients. I’m going to need that if I’m to accomplish this.”

“I have faith that you will,” said Lucan. “You’re familiar with what your objective is?”

“I think so,” said Cole. “Approach the Slayer and introduce myself so that she becomes accustomed to me. Let her begin to feel comfortable with me so that she’ll be more ready to accept my instructions and guidance.”

“Excellent,” said Lucan.

“One thing I’m still not clear on,” said Cole. “Why can’t I just tell her who I really am? It’s not like it’s going to come as a surprise or anything. She’s the Slayer. She’s already familiar with the supernatural. Wouldn’t it be easier if she knew I was an Avatar and that I was there to help her?”

“Maybe,” said Lucan, “but we’ve found it’s best to go slow. Let her get used to you and trust you some before you let her know too much. We don’t have the best reputation in some circles. If she’s been swayed by that reputation, she might just dismiss you out of hand. Trust me, Cole, this is the best way. Once she’s used to having you around and doesn’t see you as a threat you can tell her more.”

“I guess so,” said Cole. “She has had a pretty rough life. Hurt and betrayed by those closest to her. Loosing her mother and some of her closest friends against The First. Even having died twice. I guess it’s best if we just take it easy at first.”

“You both have much in common,” said Trembor. “It’s one of the reasons we chose you for this. You can identify with what’s she’s been through. That may help to establish the bond you’re going to need.”

“You still haven’t told me what that is,” said Cole.

“All in good time,” said Mellock. “Right now you have only one goal. Learn about your charge. When you’re ready, we’ll tell you more.”

“Okay,” said Cole somewhat disappointed. It wasn’t easy for him to just obey without knowing why. “I guess I’d better be going. She’s alone right now. It will make approaching her easier.”

“You’ll do well, I have no doubt,” said Lucan.

Cole vanished from the otherworldly realm leaving the three Avatar leaders alone.

“It’s begun,” said Mellock after Cole had left. “I hope we haven’t made a mistake with him.”

“We haven’t,” said Trembor. “I’ve spent a great deal of time with him. When it’s time he will do what is necessary.”

The three Avatars simply turned and walked back into the swirling mists of the realm they called home.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:35 pm 
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SEVENTEEN

Buffy Summers paid the cashier for her meal and then turned to find a seat in the cafeteria. It was nearly deserted this time of day. One of the reasons she had chosen this particular place. It had only been a few short months since she and the others had defeated The First Evil. She found she liked spending a lot of her time alone these days.

She found a seat and glanced around at the other people in the place. An elderly woman picking at her food as if searching for some hidden treasure. A young man just a bit older than she was who had ordered half a dozen hamburgers. And had insisted that they be cooked so rare they were practically raw.

There was also a woman with two young children. They were nearly finished and the young mother was having trouble getting her son to finish his broccoli. There was also the man who had been behind her in line. Late thirties, dark brown hair, piercing green eyes. He had smiled at her briefly when she had looked back at him.

Besides the three people who obviously worked here, these were the only people in the place. And it was the middle of the afternoon with the sun blazing brightly in a cloudless sky. No vampires around and no demons looking to kill her. She was enjoying the respite that defeating The First Evil had brought.

“Mind if I join you?” asked the man who had been behind her in line. “I hate to eat alone.”

“Sorry,” said Buffy, smiling weakly at him, “I’d just as soon not. I just came in to get something to eat. Nothing else.”

“I can understand that,” said the man, sitting down across from her. “It must be somewhat refreshing to be able to sleep at night. To not have to worry about who – or what – might be out there preying on the innocent.”

Buffy eyed the man suspiciously. His choice of words had seemed deliberate. As if he knew exactly who and what she was. But that was impossible. Since defeating The First Evil, demonic activity had been severely curtailed. Most nights she didn’t even need to patrol.

“Listen,” Buffy began.

“You’ll want to talk with me,” said the man. “Trust me, Buffy. Things are changing and you are definitely going to want to hear what I have to say.”

“How do you know my name?” Buffy asked.

“Oh, I know a great deal about you,” said the man. “Mother, Joyce, deceased. Estranged from your father. One sister, who’s not really your sister. Recently from Sunnydale that just happens not to exist any longer. The one girl in all the world born with the strength yada yada yada. You have a very impressive resume.”

“Who are you?” demanded Buffy. “If you know about me, then you also know I can kick your butt from here to next Tuesday. And what I’ve been through recently it wouldn’t be much of a challenge.”

“More than you might think,” said the man. “You can call me Restin. And I’m not a threat to you. Now that guy,” he indicated the man devouring the nearly uncooked hamburgers, “he might be. At least once the sun goes down.”

“What do you mean?” asked Buffy.

“Werewolf,” Restin whispered to her. “And tonight is the first night of the full moon. I’m thinking you’re going to be busy at least for part of the night. Once the moon rises.”

“Just who are you?” asked Buffy.

“As I said,” said Restin, “my name is Restin. And I’m what you might call your guardian angel. Well, actually, more of a guide. Someone who has the answers to some of your questions.”

“A guide?” questioned Buffy. “To where?”

“To where you’re going,” said Restin. “You’ve fulfilled your destiny. You’ve defeated a powerful evil. Now, you have new destiny. I’m going to help you discover that destiny and prepare for it.”

“Just how do you plan to do that?” asked Buffy. “I don’t even know you. How do I know you aren’t some powerful evil wanting to manipulate me into doing what you want?”

“We don’t work that way,” said Restin. “You will always have free will to choose what you want to do. I’ll just try to help steer you in the right direction, that’s all. Call me a supernatural Watcher of sorts.”

“Listen,” said Buffy, “I’ve had my fill of Watchers. Besides, they don’t exist any more. Haven’t you heard? They’ve disbanded.”

“Not those kinds of Watchers,” Restin said. “They’re job was to prepare you for your role as the Slayer. I’m going to prepare you for something much more important.”

“Just what might that be?” asked Buffy suspiciously.

“All in good time,” said Restin. “In the mean time, you might want to take a little stroll by that economy motel about a mile down the road after the sun sets. Our friend over there is staying there right now. Room twenty-seven. And he’s not like your friend, Oz. He enjoys what he is.”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” asked Buffy, glancing over at the man who was still devouring the uncooked hamburgers.

When she looked back at Restin, he was gone. There was no evidence he had ever been there. She looked around the cafeteria but nothing seemed out of place. Apparently no one had noticed this man simply vanish from the table. Buffy didn’t finish her meal. Instead, she left the cafeteria and hurried back to the motel where Giles and the others were staying.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 1:36 am 
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EIGHTEEN

“And he didn’t say who he was?” asked Giles after Buffy had explained what had happened.

“Not a word,” said Buffy. “Just that he’s some sort of supernatural Watcher and that he was going to guide me to a new destiny. Then, poof, he’s just not there any more.”

“Any of you guys go poof?” asked Xander, sitting near the window.

“Not that I’m aware of,” said Giles. “Watchers are mortal. To my knowledge there has never been a Watcher with supernatural powers. At least, not normally. The magic I used was borrowed from some friends and then only for a short time.”

“Maybe it has something to do with what I felt,” said Willow.

“You felt something?” asked Buffy.

“Yes,” said Giles. “We were discussing it while you were out. Willow has felt a powerful magic somewhere near San Francisco. Her connection to the Earth is really quite remarkable.”

“San Francisco?” questioned Buffy. “Does it have anything to do with Piper, Phoebe and Paige?”

“The Charmed Ones?” Willow asked. “I don’t know. But somehow I don’t think so. It just suddenly appeared like it came out of nowhere. I think whatever it was it was masking itself. That’s why I can’t get a fix on it.”

“Then how do you even know it’s there?” asked Dawn.

“I can feel it,” said Willow. “It’s moved now. I’m not sure where. Somewhere north I think. Toward Los Angeles.”

Buffy didn’t say anything. Los Angeles was the home of Angel. Their last couple of meetings hadn’t gone very well. And now that he was involved with Wolfram and Hart, things were getting more complicated.

“We need to decide on a course of action,” said Giles. “I know we agreed to take some time and evaluate our options. But if this being you met was telling the truth the power that Willow sensed might be part of it.”

“If he was telling the truth,” said Dawn.

“How do we find out?” asked Xander. “We can’t exactly look up supernatural Watchers in the yellow pages.”

“First, I check out the guy he told me about,” said Buffy. “It’s starting to get dark. If that guy is a werewolf, someone could get killed tonight. After that, we’ll see.”

“Just be careful,” said Giles. “As you’re aware, werewolves are different from most demons you’ve faced. They react purely on instinct. And that instinct is to kill anyone they come across.”

“Not to worry,” said Buffy, opening a drawer to one of the dressers. She pulled out a silver-colored stake. “I kept a few souvenirs from Sunnydale. I thought they might come in handy. If this guy is a werewolf, this should take care of him nicely.”

“You want me to go with you?” asked Willow.

“No,” said Buffy. “I need you to stay here. In case my new friend shows up while I’m gone. This may all be a ploy to get me away so he can get to one of you. I can handle one werewolf.”

“Be careful all the same,” said Giles. “You aren’t invincible.”

“I will,” said Buffy heading for the door. “While I’m gone, why don’t you see if you can figure out who this Restin is? If I knew what he is it might help me figure out if he’s a good guy or a bad guy.”

Buffy left the room and headed for the economy motel down the road. As she did, Giles pulled out his books and began to look through them. In truth, he really wasn’t sure exactly where to start.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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