Note: This story can be skipped! It is heavy in angst! Even for one of mine. Willow trying to correct the mistakes of the past leads to a lot of alternate universes and I'll cover the important parts in the next story. So if you don't want to see what happened during the wishes, don't read this one!
Demon Criminal Investigative Services: Demonic Deals Gone Bad.
Willow looked at the wish demon in front of her. She had summoned this one to help her. They were hiding in hers and Kennedy's room at the moment because she didn't want anyone to know. "I need to fix something. Doing so will protect thousands of people. Possibly everyone. It'll lead to more happiness and an easier time for the slayers."
The wish demon shrugged. "I don't know why you called me, Rosenburg. That's not my area of expertise."
"I had something of yours." The demon growled. She smirked. "Will you help me of your own free will to make your job and mine easier?"
"Pity." She cast the next step of her spell. It compelled the demon to do her bidding in any way she wanted. She reached over to lock the door in case Kennedy came back from patrol too early. "Xander is the lynchpin. Not having him there will make him happier and make it easier on us."
"No it won't," the demon told her. "Not in any way." She was already starting to see the bad in this situation.
"It will," she snarled. "I wish he had never come back after the First Evil battle. That he had let Wesley handle it." The demon struggled but had to do her bidding. The world shifted.
Xander looked up, then around. Something was wrong. What was it? He groaned, heading to check on his patrol unit. Since the invasion, there were limited pockets of humanity. They weren't winning. The people in a few government programs had evacuated some of the humans but some of them wanted to stay and resist. He had walked away once and it had caused massive loss of life. So he'd lose his here protecting the rest of humanity in honor of his friends. To the best of his abilities, earth would not fall. He heard his patrol people talking and groaned. The demons were nearby. They could be heard. He whistled quietly, making them look back. "Are we totally alone in this city?" he asked.
One sneered. "If we give up, we'll be rewarded." He turned his gun on Xander.
Xander ducked and came up to fire the weapon he had gotten from the military. It was sweet but he had no idea where it had come from. They both went down and the demons tried to come in. Xander shouted and dove in to attack. They had been cut off from the other resistance groups for the last week by military order. Someone new in charge who had *ideas*. All bad so far. The ones wherever were coming back to help, he knew that. He simply had to deal with this issue. He cut the last demon's head and fell to his knees panting. He looked back at his two warriors, all that had shown up. "Tell me they're on patrol?" he panted.
One shrugged. "No one's in the bunk room, Xander." He helped him up. "You need stitches."
"We need help and we need to move."
"They're going to be watching for that," the other complained. "I can't get the others on the comm."
Xander took the radio, using their special band. "People, we had a breach. Need you back here unless you're in a fight." He listened. Nothing. He looked up and said a silent prayer that it was the military taking them to safety or coming back to help. He heard a helicopter and went to look, frowning at it. "That's military but it's being driven by a demon, guys." They groaned. They waited until it landed. The demons poured out with the general. "Figured you were a traitor, Finn," he said calmly.
"Xander?" He stared at him. "Why aren't you there?"
"Someone had to hold here. Not like there's slayers anymore." Riley winced. "What the fuck, man?"
"I don't know. These ones are helpful and they're helping me."
"To do what?" he demanded.
"To start us over in a new area, Harris."
Xander shook his head. "This is our planet, Riley. If we fail, others will be coming."
"They're not coming. There's a battle where they are."
Xander sighed then looked at the guys. "This is formerly Captain Riley Finn. Former Initiative." He looked at him. "Prove it." Riley's eyes lit up and Xander shot him then the demons. "No. Not allowed." He looked at one of his lieutenants who was limping back. "You couldn't call?" he demanded.
"Sorry, Xander, but the radio's broken," he moaned. He flopped down beside him, looking around. "We had a breach?"
"The two guys on patrol said if we fell they'd get a reward. So I gave it to them." He checked him over, getting swatted at. "We'll stitch each other in a few, Sam. One of you get the copter and get us more people or something?" They went to do that while he and Sam covered them so they could do mutual stitching. "Damn it," he muttered.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Poison slime, Sam."
Sam looked then snorted. "Had worse. I'll be fine."
"We don't have any more anti-toxin serum in the kit."
"I do in my pack," Sam said calmly. Xander smiled at that. "You told me to pack it two days ago." Xander nodded at that. "You okay?"
"Just really tired."
"It'll be soon, Xander. They can't last forever."
Xander looked at him. "We have to shut that portal down, Sam, and I don't know how since the explosives didn't work."
Sam nodded. "We can do that." He pointed at the helicopter. "Aren't those weapons?"
Xander kissed him. "I love you. Know how to fly?"
"No, but I know someone who does."
"Finn wasn't demoned. He had glowing eyes but he wasn't possessed."
"There's a snake coming out of his back," someone shouted.
"Kill it!" they yelled. They did that and gathered what they could, taking the chopper with them. Xander had flown a simulated one in a video game once.
"Guys, watch out. Seeing if it's like the army simulation game." They got out of the way and he started her, then slowly lifted off. He set her back down but it was rough. He checked the weapons with Sam then they nodded. "We're doing the portal. Let's fall back to a better spot. Chris, find us more people." They nodded and they took off again. Xander readied the weapons as they got closer. A few of the demons flew but they were shot at by Sam and Chris. He fired one of the weapons, wincing when it didn't go. He unlocked them then tried it again. "Safety lock," he said, banking away from the portal. It exploded and they flew off into the night.
"Xander, found someone in Nevada, found some in Colorado."
"Colorado is where they're evacuating people," Sam said. "Where do they want us?"
"Colorado. They're in a pitched battle on both sides of the gate."
"Done," Xander said. "Someone tell me where I'm going."
"North then east. There's a beacon." He turned it on and Xander followed the beeping spot to where they should be. They'd get there in the early morning but it was a good day when they could greet the sun then go blast demons. Sam took the radio when they got closer, trying a few bands until he found one.
"This is Sam Winchester. LA's portal is down," he reported. He smiled at the grumpy voice that came back.
"How did you finally manage that when explosives didn't, Sammich?"
"The helicopter we're borrowing had higher weapons. The gateway in Colorado's under attack. We're headed there. There's four of us." He let go of the button.
"Give us three days."
"Done deal. See you then, Dean." He hung up and smiled at Xander. "My brother."
"That's cool. Family is good." Xander followed the beacon, yawning half the way. He found the base and touched down, waving at the guys with the guns. "Chill, dude. We're the rest of LA's protection patrol and resistance movement. The portal's down. We were told to come here to be reassigned by an O'Neill?"
"Base is on lock down, sir. There's an invasion."
Sam loaded his gun. "We can help with that one too. Two at once isn't fair odds."
"I agree," Xander said. They headed down. Any of the guys up there that tried to stop them they inconvenienced but they'd never take out the defenses for the base. They made it down to the right level, hearing the gunshots up the hall. Xander headed with Sam behind him. Xander fired at one with glowing eyes, bringing it down. "The portal is down," he reported to the one he knew. "One of them made it to us in LA so we kindly borrowed the weapons on his chopper. Need some relief?"
"How many of you are left?" Daniel Jackson asked.
"Out of?" he asked with a wince.
"Eighteen," Chris said. He shot another one coming up the hall. "Injure or kill these?"
"Injure. They can take over others. Kill any loose snakes you find." They nodded and Daniel let them back him up on his next push back toward the gateroom. They were all tired but it had to be done. Xander took out a few that snuck up behind them but that was good for him. They finally managed the right floor and found the top gou'ald there trying to make people beg.
"Oh, fucking well bite me, you bitch," Sam yelled, lobbing a concussion grenade. It went off and knocked the people down but it had went off against the gou'ald's chest. It was in pieces. They fired on the guards and it was good.
"How did you know their warriors wore dog armor?" Daniel asked.
Sam shrugged. "No clue."
Xander got shot in the arm and winced, holding it. "Damn it, just barely got that healed." Sam shot that one. Xander looked at his arm. It was really bad. He could see where the shot had taken out half the bones and through to the muscles on the other side. "Sam?" Sam came over to help him. "If I fall, the scythe is yours. When slayers are born again, find one, tell her." Sam nodded. "Teach her right." He handed it over before he passed out.
"Fuck, this is not good," Sam growled. He opened fire on the beings and they all fell. He sneered at the last one, letting medics come get the injured and Xander. "He has to survive."
"Why?" Daniel said. "Slayers?"
He looked at him. "The battle in Sunnydale led to all the slayers being called to keep the First Evil off the planet." He winced. "Then there was a power play by the people who used to watch over them. They blew them up. Killed the younger ones Xander had gotten to safety. They're supposed to be the ones handling the demon issues." Daniel nodded at that. "But their own people killed all but three and they died trying to stop the invasion."
"Shit," Daniel said. "The scythe?"
"Is a slayer's weapon. Meant for a slayer. It's what caused calling all of them at once. There'll be more born. The scythe can lead us to them and then they can be trained to help us once they're old enough to be called."
Daniel nodded. "Do we have any idea when that is?"
"There's some books on a base in Illinois."
"I know of that base. I'll see if we can get it if we can get this one clear."
Sam stopped him from moving. "My brother's coming in a couple of days. His name is Dean. He'll probably be in the black Impala. If they show up, I can test them."
"Few days. They're in the midwest somewhere."
"Good. Get patched up. You guys look rough. Let us finish cleaning up here." They nodded and went to do that while Daniel went to report to Jack. "The LA portal is down."
"Thank god," he said, looking up from being bandaged. "We clear?"
"Upper levels aren't reporting yet," Daniel said, going to make them report. He came back. "Three got off base. We know one went to LA to get the people there. They got him and stole his helicopter. That's how the portal went down."
"Good!" He stood up. "And?"
"They're in the infirmary. Did you know about slayers? I've heard myths of them here and there."
"Yeah. I got a report about what happened in Sunnydale. Why?"
"Their leader had a scythe he passed on to his second so they could find the next slayer born and called."
"Ah." He nodded. "That makes more sense. They are...."
"Harris, Winchester. The other two I don't know."
"Harris walked off."
Sam strolled in. "Xander walked off because the girls drove him off. Not because he wanted to. They wanted him gone and made him go. He gave his life for them. They were selfish bitches. Do not get in Xander's face about that."
"I won't." He looked at him. "This weapon?" Sam held it up. "We should hold it."
"No. My family have been demon hunters for two decades. We'll find the girls and train them. If I fall, my brother gets it," he told Daniel. "That way the girl called is protected and backed up by someone who has a fucking clue how to do demons. Because if she wasn't killed after Sunnydale, she's an infant."
Daniel nodded. "If they survive," he agreed.
"If not, you guys can find some other hunter I'm sure." He grimaced, looking at the gateway. "Let us get patched up and we'll head when we rendevous with Dean."
"Reports from around the US said we're down to under three hundred resistance fighters," O'Neill said.
"The guy who took charge made a lot of bad decisions," Sam said. "It's possible we're under that. He ordered us on comm silence, even in an emergency or an overrun."
Jack winced. "Yeah, he's an idiot. My last report was six thousand demons left plus whatever made it past your group."
Sam nodded, swallowing. "We were down to under fifty in town when the portal got slammed shut. We went to sabotage tonight and almost no one came back thanks to his orders, sir."
"Then we'll handle it. Your brother hunts demons?" Sam nodded. "I'm assuming he's on a resistance team then."
"I know of him."
"John. Former Marine."
"He's somewhere, I see his name now and then."
Sam nodded. "Then we'll handle it. When Dean gets here we'll make a new battle plan for the remaining ones."
"Works for me," Jack decided. "Clean this mess up. Get everyone who can be unsnaked," he shouted. The others ran. He looked at Sam. "I will not misuse it."
Sam shrugged. "How would you work the magic to find a slayer?"
"Good point." He smiled. "Infirmary?"
"Full to bursting. I can apply my own bandages. I left my team with Xander. Let me know?"
"Of course." They watched him head back there. "He's stronger than I am. LA must've been hell to be in for the last year."
Daniel nodded. "Not anymore." They went to check on their friends and coworkers then help the clean up effort. If nothing else, they could put pressure and bandaids on places.
Willow sobbed, canceling that world. "No!" She made the demon cancel it. She noticed she wasn't there. She had died. She blinked at her. "How could you!"
"That's what happens if Xander walked away at that point in time," she defended. "If he's a lynchpin, things change when he's not there! You need him there to protect the girls."
"No, we don't." She gathered herself for the compulsion spell and made her cast the new wish. "I wish Xander had left when the First Evil's minions got his eye, that we couldn't save it. The injury will keep him out of the hunt." The demon tried and struggled but she had to do it.
Xander looked around the street he was on then examined his arm and chest once he was out of the middle of the sidewalk. "Huh?" He looked around. "This isn't a base. There's no aliens...." He checked. He had an eyepatch. He groaned, but checked. He had his service weapon. His ID wasn't in his wallet. His firearms license was thankfully. He went to find a library. Best to start with the research. That's when he noticed everything was quiet. Very quiet. He looked around the town, slinking back into the shadows. Something was wrong. He found a bar and looked but it was closed. He kept going, finding the library.
He found the police station across from it but there were no signs of life there either. He slid in through the back window of the library, looking around at the dust. "What?" He went to the newspaper archives. It was well marked. There was a paper in the box on the table. He checked, nothing later than a date three months earlier. He read it, wincing at the information on it. The First Evil had won? How in the hell had that happened! He went back a few days to the date of the battle. The 'earthquake' was reported the next day. The day after that, everything looked normal. And then suddenly the news stopped the day after.
He went to browse, finding one later paper in the hanging rods up by the front desk. That one was reporting massive loss of life from some sort of plague. He knew what it was. He knew very well what it was. He found a map of the town and the local hospital. He could see it out the window but it was dark and it was getting very dark outside. He checked the other windows. No lights anywhere. This was creepy.
Something made him turn around.
Xander sighed, checking himself. He had the scythe for some reason. He used it to gut the Bringer then kill it. Then he went to get the hell out of there. He managed to get out of the library right before it exploded. "Damn," he muttered, heading for the hospital. If there were survivors, they'd be there. If not, he could pick up some supplies for some traveling to find some other people. Shea had been in Iowa. Gloria in Cleveland. He found the hospital empty and a sign on the wall saying that any survivors who might be looking for others had been moved to the basement for safety reasons. He went and found the burned bodies. He sighed, saying a blessing over them so they wouldn't be stuck on this plane.
He decided to pick up a few bags for necessary supplies, raiding the supply cabinets in the ER, and then the pharmacy. He'd need them sometime he was sure. He did take something for his arm since it was aching like he had lost it. He found a car. He checked it for explosives and took off to find another human being. Hopefully a slayer. Maybe a witch but hopefully a slayer. Thankfully, there were no other cars on the road since he had no depth perception and his head was throbbing. He took a painkiller he had raided from the cabinet and it was better. Even if he could feel he had picked up a few ghosts in the hospital. He nearly headed for New Jersey but a teaching hospital would've been overloaded with patients and the 'disease' that was a demon plague would've spread by air.
"No!" Willow snarled. "Everyone was dead!"
"Yes, because Xander wasn't there to help the younger girls escape. You took a lot of younger ones into the battle. They lost. You lost trying to guard them."
"No, it can't be!" She huffed and looked. Then she looked up. "I wish the First Evil hadn't been called! That Xander had left when Buffy died!"
She struggled but a tiny 'wish granted' came out.
Xander looked around. This was getting old now. His arm was still attached. He still had his service piece. He still had the bag he had been digging in for something to drink and another painkiller. He put the strap around his chest and put the scythe into it. Then his service piece since he was in a mall. He checked, his ID was still missing. Of course, he had figured out what this was. Someone was making a wish universe and he was stuck in the loop. Still sucked. He went to check his account balance. His ATM card declined. His old one, from Sunnydale, declined. He grimaced and went to find a public library.
He found one and settled in to read the last few emails he had. One from Willow made him pause. Sunnydale had fallen? He read further and sighed. Angel had Dawn. He searched to find him. He wasn't in LA but he could manage to find a way there. Even if he had to hitchhike. Then again, he had a contact near where he was. He looked at the town and smirked. Someone was helping him. He was in Lawrence, Kansas. In the last loop he had only made it to Nevada. He found the house he needed a few hours later and walked up the front stairs, knocking. The black woman who answered gave him a very odd look. "Missouri Mosely?" She nodded. "Xander Harris."
"I know that. How do you know me?"
"This isn't my natural universe. In mine, I'm at DCIS with Sam, Dean, and John working with the slayers."
She let him inside. "Slayers?"
"Girls called and chosen to fight demons?"
"Oh, them." She sat him down, staring at him. "What can I do to help you?"
"I need to know who's doing this."
"I'm not that sort of psychic, young man."
Xander stared at her. "I've talked to Dean about you plenty of times." She blushed. "Not about that."
She looked him over then nodded. "There's slayers here. You have an artifact of theirs."
"This is the third world I've been in within a week's time," he told her.
"You look rough."
"The first one, the girls weren't there to stop the demon invasion in LA. We were fighting as a resistance. I lost my arm while we were defending the pathway to freedom."
She shivered. "Someone's playing with forces they shouldn't be."
"Can you read me, see if you can find a sympathetic link? I'm a medium." She smiled. "And I've locked my magic away."
"Hmm. Let's see what I can do then." It was too strange to not be true. She sat down across from him and took his hand, feeling the strength in that body. "The evil one isn't evil. She's desperate. Changing things to save others." Xander nodded at that. "You've got a while yet."
"I figured that much. Can you tell if I'm connected to her in some way? I figured I have to be with knowing what happened in the other lives."
She nodded, looking into his eyes. "You are. Very deeply. There's a heart connection."
He slumped. "Willow." She nodded. He sighed, looking at her. "How do I stop this? I'm a hunter, grunt support, sometimes planning and weapons."
She grimaced. "I don't know. She's doing it so she has to stop it or you have to stop the way she's making the wish universes."
Xander sat up straighter. "Wishes?" She nodded. "Damn it."
"Exactly." She stroked his cheek. "When you get home, time will not be what it is here."
"That's probably a good thing." He kissed her palm. "Thank you."
"Go take a shower. You can rest here tonight before you go on, boy. You need to shower, shave, and eat before you move on."
"Thank you." He kissed her on the forehead. "Did the First Evil show up here?"
"Your friend was never raised here. There was worse and it killed them. All. The world will be going to hell this spring anyway."
"The other slayers?"
"The dark is confined. The light in the next one overshadowed."
Xander smirked. "Brenda's the next one?" She nodded. "Then we'll see what we can do. Thank you." He knew where Brenda had been. He took her up on her hospitality then headed out in the morning. He found her watcher yelling at her in public and coughed. "Shut up. Buffy would not like that attitude and neither would Rupert." He slugged the man and looked at the girl he knew. "Brenda. Xander Harris, from Buffy's former crew."
She blinked. "She had a crew?"
"Yeah. Let's go talk." He led her off, stepping over her watcher. He told her everything he knew, including that this was a wish universe. He gave her the choice. She looked at the watcher then smiled. "You don't have to keep him."
"She's mine," he sneered, pulling a knife.
"Don't make me shoot you. You won't like it." He sneered back. "I've actually fought on a hellmouth. You?" The man went pale. Xander moved closer. "I fought and helped Buffy. I'm one of the few ones who can do what she did and knows what Brenda needs to go save everyone this spring during the next apocalypse. Do you?" He shuddered, backing away. "Tell Travers Harris said hi and I'm making sure there's still two." He tossed her the scythe and she glowed for a minute then carefully handed it back. He looked then handed her a bit of scrap metal on the ground. She bent it with a smile. "For now, I need you to find someone to actually train you. He's decent but you can be better. They'll also let you learn things, talk to people, all that."
She sighed in pleasure. "I'd like that." He wrote and address on her hand. "Who's this?"
"This is Missouri Mosely. She'll call John or Dean and Sam. Whichever one she can get. Tell her you've been called. You need help and it'll take a good set of hunters to go calm down the hellmouth. It's back in waiting on food mode. The humans are all dead." She nodded. He smiled at her. "Shoo." She ran off to pack and head. He looked at the Watcher. "You do know that you nearly killed that girl a few times? You're damn lucky this is your world instead of mine. In mine the First Evil prophecies happened," he said quietly. "Unfortunately Willow's pulling a Cordelia in mine." He stepped closer. "After that, we had to gather the girls together because they were all active. Some of us know exactly every single shitty thing you ever did to that girl up until she was fifteen." He walked off, heading to his car. He beeped and she ran over to get in. He drove them off, finding a familiar car. "Oh, please let that be Dean." He saw a familiar body and parked the car, getting out. "Sam." Sam looked over then frowned. He moved closer.
"Do we know him, Sammy?" Dean called.
"Somehow I do," Sam admitted quietly. "Her too."
"Brenda." Xander looked at Dean, locking eyes with him. Dean sighed, shaking his head. "We're pulling a Cordelia in my world, guys."
"A wish verse?" Sam demanded. "How do I know that?"
"Because in mine we're kinda linked after you helped a young witch go after the Powers. Now and then I even get some of your flashes." Sam grimaced. "This is Brenda. The scythe just called her." He tossed it back to her. She caught it. "Sunnydale is back into attraction mode. All the people are gone. There's an apocalypse this spring. She's decently trained but not greatly trained."
"How would you know?" Dean asked, strolling over.
"I hunted with Buffy."
"Shit," Dean muttered.
"Exactly. You've got a town that's quietly overrun and waiting. You have a slayer now. You have an apocalypse this spring that I think has to do with the invasion. It's later in this world. That'll be opening a portal in LA in late May. They'll pull a demon realm onto the earth. Simply opening a gate and letting them through." They nodded at that. "I have to try to get back to my world. She needed the help. Her former watcher is a shithead who hated school."
"In your world, she's close to us," Sam said.
"In my world, she's like an adopted Winchester," Xander agreed. "John's protege and she'll be teaching hunters and slayers some year."
They nodded. "We can get with Dad," Dean decided.
"I went to Missouri to see what the fuck was going on. She knows."
"Agreed," Dean said. "That scythe...."
"The slayer's weapon. The one from here will be in the dangerous artifact vault under the Watchers Council. It can defeat the First Evil and it will call all the girls if the invasion happens."
"You need it?" Sam asked.
"As far as I know. No. I'll grasp it before I go, that way it might split. This is my third reality so far." They all grimaced. "Yeah, not liking this. Especially since if we lose during the invasion, we'll end up fighting a resistance movement against the demons. Like V, only worse."
"Understood," Sam agreed calmly.
"Thank you." He snapped his fingers and pulled his gun. "This can help you guys." He showed Dean the bullets he was carrying. "It's holy water tipped." Dean smirked at that. "We have one that's wood but it's teflon and rubber jacketed. We went through a guy named Henry Amandale in New Jersey for that formula. If it helps, I'm all for it."
"Good. Can I have one?"
Xander checked. He still had his spare clip so he gave him that one. "I'm all for it if it helps. Also, your family's demon? Beaten it yet?" They shook their heads. "He's gathering people in Cold Oak to get a chosen one, Sam if he can, to open a devil's gate in South Dakota," he said quietly. He stared Dean down. "If Sam had been there, he would've died and you'd be making a very dark deal to save him. A year isn't enough."
Dean nodded at that knowledge. "How?"
"There's a relic if you can't use the colt. The colt is the key to the gateway." They shuddered. "There's a relic at St. Andrew's Basilica. There's a priest there named Thomas who knows about demons. It's a minor relic. Silver. Do that, then rip him to shreds magically. Have the bullets blessed after they're forged as well. It's to St. Barbara."
Dean nodded. "Over artillery. Blessed be."
"Definitely. I don't know what the spell was to rip him apart after he was shot. I know Dawn found it online. I know she found it on a chaos sorcerer's journal. I know it would eat him and send him back to hell when he's banished. That's how we ended up doing it. Shoot, magic, banish."
Dean nodded. "We can handle that." He smiled. "You're not bad for being so strange."
Xander smirked. "I'm a wildcard the Powers hate. That's why they're letting a witch play what if with wishings. I'm so going to paddle her when I get back." He took another painkiller. "The first one my arm got shot off. Still hurts like a bitch." He saw a cop car pull in and smiled. "Officer."
"Sir, this girl was reported as a runaway."
"The person who had her was keeping her as a slave, ignoring her need to go to school, physically and mentally abusing her, and there's hints he might've been trying for sexual but she hadn't been beaten down that far yet. I'm handing her back to her family."
The officer looked at the boys then at her. "Is that right, miss?"
She nodded. "He bought me off a distant member of my family. These guys are my cousins. They'll protect me. I am sixteen."
"Can I see some ID, guys?" They flashed theirs. Xander pulled his. The cop glared at him. "You are...."
"Xander Harris, of Sunnydale. Why?"
"You know about things that hurt others."
Xander nodded. "I apparently walked off after things went to hell out there. Then again I'm having a bit of pain and I'm on some painkillers. Is there one?"
"Where?" Dean asked.
"Downtown. Why?" He looked at him. "You know about that stuff, sir?"
"I do," Brenda said. "That's why he bought me. So I could be trained." The cop shuddered. "We'll fix it then head." He nodded. "Give me the address and details please?" He wrote them down, letting Sam take notes. Xander pointed at something then at the bullets. He handed her a stake too then he took the scythe and flipped the switch in his mind that he used for possessions. Nothing so he unblocked the magic in him. He flashed back to the plane then out again.
"Fuck! That one was nice," Willow complained.
"Except for the fact that everyone in Sunnydale, including you guys, were dead and LA was still going to be invaded soon. Which means that world was going to turn into the first one." Willow glared so she gave her a smug look. "It will." She went back to trying to contact D'Hoffryn. He was stronger than this one. She wasn't.
"I wish Xander had left before the battle with Glory, taken Dawn and run." She screamed in pain as the flash hit her. She panted through it, glaring at the demon. "What was that?"
"Glory trying to come through to this world. Idiot. Without the battle there, she was never stopped. She's still there."
"Yay me," she quipped back, waving a hand. "Can I go now? I have legitimate people who need me and I need a drink."
"No." She glared. "I wish Xander had left after the First Slayer battle with the Initiative."
"Not again," she moaned but oh well. She had to. The compulsion was too strong.
Xander landed in the middle of a mess. "This is gross," he decided, looking around. He checked. He had the scythe in his hand. He hoped Brenda had it. If not, she knew where her world's was. He saw a demon coming at him and frowned. "Clem?" The demon stopped. "What the fuck, dude!"
"We heard there was a psycho demon hunter."
Xander looked at his feet then at him. "No idea, Clem. I just showed up here from the last reality Willow sent me to. Is she here by any chance?"
"No. She's off sulking with her new witch."
"Ah." Xander nodded. "Buffy?"
"No. Giles is at the Magic Box."
"Good. Let's go see him." They walked that way. He knew something had went wrong with this wish. He walked into the Magic Box, seeing the mess. "Did I do this too?"
Giles came out of the office. "No, Buffy did. You went after her to stop her. Did you? Or were you perhaps hit on the head? Why do you have a scythe?"
Xander put it on the counter, leaning on it, staring at him. "Do I look like your Xander?"
Giles swallowed. "Temporal?"
"Willow's casting what if wishes in my world. This is my fourth, Giles." The other man groaned. "Now, let's go over some future things." He took some paper and wrote it down, then handed it over. "As it happened in my world."
"Oh, dear lord," Giles moaned.
"Exactly." They shared a look. "How do I stop her?"
"I know she's using wishes of some sort, probably a wish demon. She's powerful enough that she used the scythe to call all the slayers born and called that're old enough to fight. One as young as six. She went magic addiction."
Giles went to find the books on wish demons. "This may help." Xander took it and the scythe back then disappeared. "Clem, was she stopped?"
"No, Rupert. I found him. I didn't see her at all." They looked toward the hellmouth as a rumble started. "What did she do?" A bright flash went across the town, destroying it. They were wrong, cockroaches wouldn't survive a nuclear holocaust.
Willow shrieked and pulled at her hair. "She's not like that!"
"The First Slayer drove her nuts." She shrugged. Xander had the book to stop this. That's the important thing. And the scythe.
"I wish Xander hadn't come back from his road trip!"
The wish demon fought and she felt her master trying to help but he couldn't overpower her compulsion or break into the room yet.
Xander looked up from his spot aching on the pillows. He found his bag and took a pill. Then he went back to looking harmless and nice. A new slave was pushed in with a laugh and they locked them in. "Hey, Sam. C'mere. I've got some bandages." Sam stumbled over. He looked rough. "It's all right."
"Do I know you?"
"In my world, yeah." He smoothed a hand over an injury then got into the bag. The demon found it amusing so he kept putting in new drugs, bandages, and other things. It meant he could play harder with him. Xander got him fixed up and with a painkiller then settled in to watch over him. The demon hadn't found the gun, the book, or the scythe. Thankfully. Sam gave him a long stare. "If we were linked here, I'd help. It's been six years here." Sam shuddered. "Exactly." He soothed him. "Why were you taken?"
"The visions. The demon giving them to me thought it would break me. Dean's somewhere."
Xander concentrated on the magic he'd been teaching himself to use ever since he'd gotten stuck here. "He's up the hall." He looked at the wall then smirked. "C'mon, there's portals." Sam stumbled to his feet. Xander grabbed his things and a few other things since he wasn't wearing clothes. A loincloth isn't clothes. His were long gone. His ID case too. He led him to the pathway to the other hallway, then snuck that way. Sam could pick locks so they found Dean's room after a few tries. The other slaves were let free and they snuck out together. It led to the main hall. Xander pulled his gun and shot their captor. "Fuck you." He went to raid a few things then came out in real clothes. He tossed Dean and Sam some. "We need to move."
"They took the Impala," Dean said.
Xander pointed. "It's there, Dean." He went to find it with Sam behind him. "Be safe. Watch out for an invasion in LA." He looked around and went to find something. He found one of the demons in custody. "So, Mearl? Bothering the higher ups?"
"He captured me," she sneered. "Who're you?"
"Harris. From Sunnydale. In my reality I dated Anya." She stared at him. "Willow has one of you hostage and she's creating what if universes. I need to stop her."
"Mearl, I've been through five now. You're over broken wishes and dreams. In two, everyone was dead." She shuddered. "In this one I'm sure others have." She nodded. "I need to stop her."
"No one can stop Rosenburg but the Powers."
Xander nodded at that. "I realize that. But I need to stop the immediate threat then we can talk to the Powers or the Elders. I know a white lighter."
She stared at him. "That's impossible."
"In my world, Buffy's little sister is being taught by the Charmed Ones."
"Oh, shit," she mouthed. Xander smirked but nodded. "But I can't."
"You can so." He pulled her up. "A wish for the destroyed souls that I've had to witness here and there." She shivered, her powers activating. "I wish to be in front of my Willow with the way to stop her. Right now."
She stared. "You have the way. You have to end the spell."
"How do I end a compulsion? I'm sure she's not doing it of her free will."
"Break the spell, break the bond by breaking one of them." She cast the wish. "Wish granted." She found herself going too. They landed as Willow was casting another one. Further back, that Xander had left before graduation. She saw that reality form and shuddered in horror at all the dead that had been killed by the Mayor. She cast to counter it, making her coworker give her a grateful look. "Xander, you have to break the bond by taking her down. Now!" she ordered.
Xander pulled his gun. "I'm sorry."
"Please?" she begged, changing forms. To Anya.
"Not helping me."
She changed to a demon and tried to rush.
He fired, breaking the spells. Willow shrieked and he turned, hitting her a few times. "For all the people you killed. Leo! Help!" he yelled. "Please?" He rubbed his forehead, leaning against a wall. Someone pounded. "No! Get me Dawn's teachers or Leo! Now! Willow went spastic! She's been casting Wishes!"
"I like that it's capitalized," she said. D'Hoffryn came down. "Lord," she said, falling to her knees.
"I had to," Xander said, looking at him. "I know she was an innocent, D'Hoffryn, but I had to before we all died."
"You did the right thing, boy. She's young, that's how she was captured." He gathered her then sent her onto her next plane of existence. "You did what you had to." He looked then broke the charm holding the room sealed shut. "Call him now. Only the Elders can help her."
Xander nodded. "Thank you."
"It's not much but you have my forgiveness too," Mearl told him. She and D'Hoffryn faded out to watch.
Leo appeared. "What happened?" Xander pointed. Then he passed out. "Hell."
to part 22