Title: A Halloween Universe
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: None of the chars involved belong to me, nor do I seek to make a profit from my usage of these characters.
FIC: A Halloween Universe (1/?)
The Higher Planes
Flames leapt and roared, whipped on by great winds, engulfing ruined cities as dirty rain bucketed down from ash-grey clouds, the polluted water doing nothing to slow the fires’ spread. The planet shook as chasms opened up, swallowing streets and city blocks whole before closing once again. Typhoons roared pushing great showers of boulders down hillsides and mountains, flattening once-mighty metropolises beneath them.
“NO! NO! NO!” Zeus let out an assembly chamber shaking roar, he and his fellow Sky-Fathers watching calamitous events unfold, the end finally coming to what was for so many of them their favourite planet. “We did not battle for so many millennia to see it end like that!”
“And yet,” Odin rasped, his voice like a dagger dragged across gravel, and his one eye impassive and as cold as an Artic iceberg. “You stood with us all when we signed the Observation Only Treaty one hundred million years ago.” Odin shrugged. “Since then-.”
“Since then alien races have entered this reality masquerading as us to interfere with our children’s evolution, alien race after alien race, not to mention those damn demons,” spat Ukko, the Finnish god’s eyes glowing with fury.
“And what do you suggest we do about it?” queried Dagda, the Celtic God looking around. “We are much diminished.”
Zeus pursed his lips as he looked through the hall. As much as he loathed to admit it, the Celtic Skyfather had a point. The hall they met in had once held close to three thousand, but now barely a tenth survived to attend these meetings. Terrible wars with The Elder Gods, The Chaos Cabal, The Dragonswarm, The Multi-Taloned Claw, and Pain’s Hordes had taken a terrible toll. Then after one final conflict, this against the Old Ones, they’d been forced to join the other Great Powers in agreeing to step aside, to just watch, they who had been caretakers of the universe since in its inception, now were forced to watch as the universe teetered on an abyss that would forever engulf it.
“If the other side thinks to play around with the Fates then perhaps we can do the same?”
Zeus turned to the speaker, a tall, gaunt-faced man with thinning hair and a cocksure expression. “Ah Loki,” he didn’t bother to hide his contempt. “And why do you care? You have never been a willing ally to us.”
“No,” Loki shook his head, the God’s grin widening as he savoured Zeus’ disdain, “I haven’t. But my goal is always chaos, change, anarchy. Never destruction. When the world ends I lose my favourite toy.”
Zeus stared at the trickster god, fuming inwardly at his inability to read him. He hated to engage him, in his mind to do so lent the Trickster a false legitimacy. Finally he nodded. “What do you suggest?”
Loki shimmered from his current form to a far more beguiling busty raven-tressed beauty who’d be the envy of any centrefold or Hollywood starlet. “We need a trigger event, an event we can use to alter and speed up human development.”
“We have to be subtle about such actions,” warned Horus.
“Subtlety is a talent of mine,” Loki replied as he shimmered from his current curvy form to that of a thin middle-aged woman with greying hair and crow’s feet around her imperious eyes.
“What event do you suggest?” Odin rumbled, the leader of the Norse Pantheon looking sick to his belly to even be talking to Loki.
“Why dear father, one of my favourites, the Sunnydale Halloween,” Loki replied.
Zeus raised an eyebrow even as he waved the muttering assemblage to silence. “Too few were affected too slightly for too short a time.”
“But what if we organise it so more are permanently affected?” Loki challenged.
“What do you mean?” Ukko grunted.
“Our interference would have to take two forms,” Loki replied. “First of all I would have to manipulate the group known as the Scoobies, make sure certain harmful members are eliminated, others are added, strengthening the group in numbers, resolve, and skillsets-.”
“How would you do that without being noticed?” Horus challenged. “If the other Higher Powers or even those observers, the thrice-cursed Powers That Be notice your interference it’ll destroy the Treaty, and make everything worse than it already is.”
“I am the master of manipulation, the hand that works in shadows, the master of misdirection,” Loki grinned as he shimmered into another form, that of a short, fat man with thinning hair and several chins.
“And if we do all this without being noticed, what would the second stage be?” Svarog demanded.
“When my blessed worshipper calls upon Janus, we pour our power into him, ensuring the enchantment has lasting effect on the chosen,” Loki replied. “Anybody watching at that moment, given the Hellmouth interfering energies will notice nothing. It will be considered but a freak occurrence.”
“And how far back in time will you want to be sent to begin your meddlings?” Odin snarled, hatred souring his features.
“To the time the senior Watcher was a trainee,” Loki replied.
“Why so early?” Horus asked.
“To influence his friendships at that time, perhaps give him a greater power base within the Council, more ‘adults’ as the humans call them to lead with,” Loki replied, an anticipatory glint entering his eyes. “Then I’ll work from there.”
“Remember, the Powers That Be can’t even suspect you’ve been interfering,”
Loki laughed at Horus’ warning, his form shimmery into a tall, willowy woman with silvery-blonde hair, fine, almost elfin features, and slanted emerald eyes. “I’ll never leave the shadows, they won’t even realise I was there.”
The library’s tables and chairs had been stacked in the inner office, giving them the space to hang skeleton-embroidered curtains from the rear with illuminated skull LED lights dangling from the top, concealing both the stacks of books and the set of speakers Oz and Devon had loaned him to supply the party’s doubtless raucously untuneful music. A pair of ceiling-hung witches flanked the doorway while a roll of barbed wire framed the entrance’s doorframe. Pumpkin orange balloons hung from the ceiling while the far wall was hung with a curtain of giant spiders and vampire bats, he’d thrown a tablecloth with glowing skulls on it over the counter and held it down with two foot corner rubber gravestones in each corner, while above the counter hung bunting cut in the shape of giant bats and spiders. Even the party food was being served in traditionally ghoulish ‘cauldrons’ and turned-over, hollowed-out plastic skulls.
Giles smiled ruefully as he examined the carnage he and his fellow Watchers had wrought on his precious library, perhaps they’d gone over the top. But his charges, his children, worked hard and risked themselves on a daily basis, they deserved a night off.
Of course so did he and his fellow Watchers. The kids simultaneously kept them on their toes and ran them bloody ragged. He’d hate to admit it but without the assistance of Diana Dormer, Gwen Post, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, and Robin Wood he’d be swamped under.
The first wrinkle was the Slayer in that there were two of them rather than the customary one, his original Slayer, Kendra had died for two minutes by electrocution calling Diana’s young firebrand, Faith. There was a healthy but friendly competition between the two, probably caused by their extremely differing personalities, Faith the mouthy, yet good-hearted rebel and Kendra, the shy, diffident bookworm.
And then there was the Potentials, the Council in their wisdom sending those they deemed most likely to be Called to the Hellmouth to ensure a continuing presence. There was Kennedy, an aggressive young lesbian with a ton of attitude, Dana, a shy, dreadfully damaged girl who’d been brought out of her shell by Faith’s gruff coaxing, Alonna Gunn, a ringlet-haired black girl, and Vi, a shy red-head who’d somehow bonded with Rona, a bombastic black girl.
Then there were the highly non-regulation hanger-ons and assistants they’d somehow accumulated. Foremost amongst them were two seniors, Alonna’s brother Charles, who stubbornly insisted he stay close to his sister, and his best friend and petrol-head, Oliver Pike. Together with a group of Sophomore lads – Owen Thurman, Jesse McNally, and Xander Harris, they provided much of the Slayers’ back-up muscle. The youths were ably trained by Robin Wood, the black Watcher was proficient in several of the Orient’s martial arts.
Giles supposed it was inevitable that the mouth of hell have the beginnings of a very promising coven with three witches, Willow Rosenberg, who might well turn out to be the most powerful witch in several generations, Amy Madison, and Tara MacClay, and a pretty decent warlock, Michael Czajak.
Then there was the ‘nerd-squad’ – Jonathan Levinson, Warren Mears, Lance Lincoln, Freddy Iverson, and Tucker Wells. Admittedly they weren’t much use in patrolling or even physical altercations within the school walls, but regular demons when it came to book research and translation.
Finally there was the rest of them, the timid possible abuse victim, Anne Steele. Larry Blaisdell and Scott Hope, the boys possibly ostracised by the mainstream of school society for no other reason than their sexuality, and Devon MacLeish and Daniel Osburne, by rights the two members of the local band far too popular to be hanging out with them, and yet here every night they weren’t either rehearsing or ‘gigging’.
Yes, it could be chaotic and yet Giles was sure their Slayers’ lives were enriched by having more friends than would normally be allowed them. And part of that enrichment was tonight’s party.
He just wondered what costume his fellow Watchers had picked up for him while he’d been busy decorating this place. Good lord, he prayed it wasn’t too embarrassing.