At Xander's gesture the burnt-out shell of a mobile home reconstructed itself before he drew up more Mana and cast Overgrowth, causing a forest to spring up around them. "You're going to have to drive so I can concentrate on collecting Mana," Xander told Cameron, summoning a dirt bike.
The female terminator nodded before mounting the bike and kicking it to life. "Affirmative. Destination?"
"Out of the forest and into the desert," Xander replied as he climbed on behind her and put his hands on her waist, having to tighten his grip as she immediately kicked the bike into motion.
The T-800 seemed to drive with a casual disregard for physics, if you didn't know she was a cyborg with strength and reflexes better than an Olympic champion. Despite that Xander was pretty sure some of the jumps they made were completely unnecessary and were just done for fun, even if he was sure the T-800's would insist that fun wasn't part of her programming.
Cameron slowed the bike to a stop as they hit the edge of the forest after around ten minutes of riding.
Xander climbed off the bike. "Fun ride," he said with a grin. He walked over to one of the nearby trees and laid a hand on it, a short but busty red head with dusky skin stepping out of the tree, the bark rippling around her as if it were water.
She smiled and waited for instructions but Xander just smiled and cast another Overgrowth causing a massive forest to spring up in the desert in front of them.
"We should randomize direction," Cameron suggested, "to prevent tracking by forest growth."
"That'll slow down collecting Mana, but that's not our main purpose right now anyway," Xander said with a shrug as he poured Mana into another tree to create another dryad, this one a thin green haired man. "You pick the route."
"Acknowledged," Cameron replied.
Xander gestured and two dozen squirrels appeared. "Go," he ordered them, causing them to scatter up trunks and into the underbrush. He climbed onto the back of the bike and they were off once more.
He laughed as Cameron ramped off the side of a tree to leap over a small stream they could have easily ridden through.
Xander was a little disappointed when they finally came to the edge of the woods to some scrubland. "I think I'll leave that the way it is," he decided, taking a few seconds to acquire it and discovering there was a couple of homes built into a hillside where some retirees were waiting for the next war.
"A gap in forestation will help hide our trail," Cameron noted with approval.
"I really should put a lake somewhere to help feed the water table," Xander said, "it'll help support the forests around here."
Cameron didn't say anything, simply revving the bike up and opened the throttle to see how fast they could cross to the next section of land her commander could use to produce Mana.
"That's probably enough for now," Xander decided, noting the time. "Sixty some odd square miles of forest and two lakes should raise a few eyebrows."
"Affirmative," Cameron agreed before gunning the throttle and spinning the bike around to send them hurtling back into the forest as fast as it could go.
Xander whooped while Cameron continued to drive like she was trained by Jackie Chan, while somehow making it a smooth ride.
It took nearly half an hour to return to the bunker where he found Ellie and John making like squirrels through the bushes and up trees in a game of tag. Uncle Bob was standing guard with another pair of Terminators, while the four nin were expanding Joel and Sarah's hand to hand skills.
As the bike came to a stop, John slid down the tree he'd leapt on from another with Ellie in hot pursuit.
"Dude," John called out, "Forestwalk is amazing!"
"Who the what now?" Xander asked.
"Forestwalk," Ellie said, "it lets us move through the forest like nobody's business."
"I know the forest around me like the back of my hand and how to move through it like it's a jungle gym," John said. "It's almost like flying."
"That's how you knew how to ride like that!" Xander exclaimed, turning to Cameron as she shut down the dirt bike.
"Affirmative," the T-800 agreed.
"I could probably do that on any land I claimed," Xander said thoughtfully, realizing he wasn't using the knowledge he gained from tapping lands as well as he could, but then he was still trying to adjust to the overwhelming amount of knowledge it fed him so he'd kinda shied away from it.
"Dude, we gotta get you a skateboard and see if you can do that in a city, it'd be awesome," John said. "But I'm getting distracted, which happens a lot, but I have something important to tell you so hold up for a second," he rattled off.
"I'm listening," Xander said.
"How many people did you cast Forestwalk on this morning?" the teen asked intently.
"Everybody," Xander replied.
"And how many is that?" John asked with a grin.
"That's…" Xander's voice trailed off and his eyes widened. "I thought I was limited to three copies of a summons and four of the same enchantment… but that's just the rules for the card game."
"Yeah," John said smugly, "the card game has rules to try and keep the game balanced, but reality doesn't."
"I seriously owe you one for figuring that out," Xander told him. "You want something, I'll do it, no questions asked."
"When you get all powerful and learn flight and everything, hook us up, otherwise… I'm pretty cool with how things are right now," John said, exchanging a smile with Ellie.
"I'll leave you a ton of gold before I go traveling," Xander decided, "and when I get all that I'll come back and enhance you guys. Man… this is a game changer. I've been seriously limiting myself."
"Can you summon us up some dinner? All the base has is MRE's and junk like that," John said.
"It is getting towards dinner," Xander said, creating a granite table and benches before filling it with fast food, pizza, some of the dishes he'd had in Konoha and a couple bottles of sake.
"Soup's on!" Ellie called out, before grabbing a Big Mac and fries.
Xander ate absently as the Terminators exchanged information before disappearing into the bushes and the adults joined them at the table. His mind was going a mile a minute as he went over how he'd used his Planeswalker abilities and if he could have done anything different. "I can't think of anything I could have done differently, since I already modify things a lot to what makes sense to me, but being able to spam things is really going to come in handy."
"What's changed?" Sarah asked.
"Life isn't a game and my powers aren't limited to the rules of a card game designed for game balance," Xander replied. "Really it seems so obvious in retrospect, but then most things are."
"So, you are even more ridiculously powerful than you thought you were," Sarah said dryly.
"Pretty much," Xander agreed cheerfully, "which is helpful since I'm not going to have to make a deck of cards to keep track of what spells I know and how many times I can cast them each day as I was planning, since I suck at keeping track apparently."
"You should do that anyway," John said with a smirk.
"Why?" Joel asked.
"Because then people will assume he needs the cards and is limited by them, so to defeat him they'll try to steal or destroy his deck," John explained. "Also, the look on their face when they realize the cards don't matter and they are completely fucked will be hilarious!"
Xander grinned evilly. "I can work with that."
"You should summon your free Tanuki for today, unless you've already done it," Ellie reminded him.
"Good point," Xander said, tapping the small gambling town and creating yet another trickster spirit. "I name thee Janna, go forth and convince people working on AI that they need to put in more failsafes."
"Who and where?" Janna asked, the smiling blonde reaching over to grab a slice of pizza.
"Whoever, wherever," Xander said with a shrug. "Try Russia, we don't have anyone keeping an eye on them and they need better computer security anyway, since Skynet steamrolled them in most of the timelines."
"I can do that, I just need to do a little research," Janna decided. "What kinda time frame are we looking at?"
"I'll let you decide on that," Xander said, "just try and keep your hand in once in a while to make sure they aren't backsliding when you feel they have things under control."
"Will do," she promised, before shrinking down into a cute little raccoon dog and vanishing into the bushes.
"That's a bit open ended," Sarah said with a frown.
"She's a trickster spirit and you can bet whatever she comes up with is something Skynet would never think of," Xander replied.
"No plan survives first contact with the enemy, but since we have no real plans it's hard to interfere with them," Ellie said.
"That's the idea," Xander agreed. "Plus, the more changes to this timeline the better. I believe we've made enough changes that no matter what happens the future Uncle Bob came from is no longer remotely the future of this world, but a little extra effort to make sure a similar future doesn't come into being isn't a bad thing. Personally, after we deal with the T-1000 I plan on creating Dryads, Ninjas, and tricksters all across the US just to make doubly sure."
"We'll need to set up a network to handle communication, preferably using seals," Ryu suggested.
Xander nodded. "Between a T-800 and a trickster or two they can easily fit into society, but I'll make sure they know to report to you so you can coordinate when needed."
A series of shots rang out, kicking up dirt a dozen feet away from the table where an identical table had suddenly appeared, complete with doppelgangers of themselves.
"Hold position," Ryu ordered. "The T-1000 is seeing his target going down. The T-800s are going to stay hidden until he approaches to verify the termination of his target and catch him in the crossfire."
"It would have helped to have known that in advance," Sarah growled out.
"I've made over thirty contingency plans in case we were attacked, this was merely one of them," Ryu said calmly.
"Oh," Sarah said, calming down and checking the Desert Eagle she was carrying to ensure it was ready to fire.
The group waited quietly and were rewarded with the sight of a police officer cautiously approaching their 'corpses', eyes scanning for threats.
A half dozen enhanced T-800s stepped out of cover and opened fire with AK-47s literally shredding the T-1000 who came apart in a spray of silver metal as the illusion of their dead bodies vanished.
"I didn't think illusions would work on a machine," Bill said curiously.
"It wouldn't," Ryu replied, "I used a henge instead."
"It would have been easier to use clones," Jane pointed out.
"It'd take too long," Ryu replied, "it was much more efficient to hide our presence and copy our current appearance using a henge."
"Just an order of magnitude more complicated," Alice said dryly as the T-800s circled the T-1000 as it slowly pulled itself back together while they changed magazines.
"It does take some practice," Ryu admitted modestly.
The T-800s opened fire once more, cutting the T-1000 to pieces before is slowly pulled itself together yet again.
"This would be a good time to use Shatter," John pointed out.
"Oh yeah," Xander said. He called up two White Mana and cast Shatter on the T-1000, the liquid metal it was composed of rapidly decaying into dust while being hammered by automatic weapons' fire.
The T-800s stopped firing but kept their weapons trained on where the T-1000 had been. After a few seconds Uncle Bob turned to them and said, "The Target has been terminated, return to patrol."
"It's over?" Sarah asked, unsure how to feel, unsure if it was really over.
"Looks like it," John said with a grin.
"Best not to take any chances," Ryu said. "Judgment Day was scheduled roughly five years from now. It should be relatively easy to spend that time training you up to be able to handle it should it still occur while ensuring Skynet doesn't get created."
"And if it still doesn't happen when I turn 18?" John asked.
"Then we can consider it a tentative win while still safeguarding the world against anything similar coming into being," Ryu said.
"So… what do I do?" John asked.
"Train for the next five years and if your destiny is no longer to save humanity… whatever you want," Xander replied.
"Can I sweep the Olympics?" John asked with a grin.
"Only if you beat me," Ellie told him with a smirk.
Joel put an arm around Sarah and she leaned into his side. "It sounds like a good plan."
"So… party?" John suggested.
"Never a bad time for a party," Xander agreed.
"How do I look?" Naruto asked Sasuke. He hadn't worn a kimono before and was worried.
"It looks good on you," Sasuke assured his new brother.
"Are you sure?" Naruto asked with a frown as he tugged on it.
"Stop that," Sasuke ordered as he quickly straightened the light blue kimono with the picture of a nice orange setting sun on it, the only one he could convince Naruto to wear, and a fitting match to his own darker blue with rising moon pattern.
"I've never gone to one of these dinners before," Naruto said with a sigh.
"I haven't been to one as far as I can remember either," Sasuke admitted, "but all we have to do is smile and be polite to everyone."
"What if they're dicks?" Naruto asked.
Sasuke sighed, recalling having a similar conversation with his… Itachi about attending school. "Even then," Sasuke told him. "You can prank them later, when they least expect it."
Naruto beamed. "Thanks, that helps a lot," he said.
Sasuke examined his brother carefully. "Because not letting them know the prank is coming is important?" he guessed.
"Of course," Naruto replied.
Sasuke considered that for a moment. "If they are particularly dickish, make a note of it so we can compare lists later."
"You'll help me prank them?" Naruto asked in disbelief.
"If they make both our lists," he agreed.
"You are the best brother ever!"
"Yes, yes I am," Sasuke agreed with a smile.
"My, you two look so handsome," Mikoto said as she entered the living room.
"Whoa," Naruto said, getting a look at his parents dressed up.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, it's been a while since I've worn these robes," Minato joked, doing a little twirl in his Hokage robes.
"Doubt you gained weight while you were dead," Naruto replied with a shrug, "the 'whoa' was more for Mom. Better keep a close eye on her the Hyuga can see through clothes and their fighting style is about being grabby."
Sasuke bit his lip to keep from laughing.
"I don't believe I've ever heard it described quite like that before," Minato said thoughtfully with a slowly growing grin.
"No," Mikoto said firmly.
"No what?" Minato asked, confused.
"Whatever you are thinking, no," she said firmly.
"But you don't even know what I'm thinking," Minato complained.
"Yes, however I've been well trained in how to handle you," she replied, "and I was told anything that makes you thoughtful followed by an evil grin is to be avoided."
"She's good," Naruto said, impressed.
"It applies to you too," Sasuke pointed out.
Naruto shrugged, unconcerned. "I've gotten punished for tons of stuff I didn't do, what does it matter if some of it was for stuff I did? If you're going to be punished anyway might as well make it worth it."
The adults winced while Sasuke frowned.
"If anyone tries to punish you for something you didn't do let me know, I can help make sure it's worth it," Sasuke told him.
"Will do," Naruto said cheerfully. "Now, let's go visit with the peepers."
"Hyuga," Mikoto corrected him gently.
"Yeah, them," Naruto agreed with a smile before walking out the door with Sasuke.
"Do you think I'm rushing things?" Minato asked his new wife. "Naruto might not be ready for this and could offend a lot of people."
"It's their fault he's been socialized so poorly," Mikoto pointed out, "and if they get offended in the process of getting Naruto properly socialized… Well, they only have themselves to blame and I will happily stab anyone who says otherwise."
Minato smiled. "It's times like this that make me realize why I married you."
Mikoto frowned trying to puzzle out what he meant. "Because Kushina had supernatural planning ability and the means to enforce it from beyond the grave?"
"Because at heart you two are a lot alike," Minato said, "otherwise I'd find a way to break the contract, Kushina's last wish or not."
"You say the sweetest things," Mikoto said, blushing slightly. "Now, come on we have to catch up with the children before they burn the Hyugas entire compound down."
"I'm sure it won't be that bad," the Fourth Hokage said hopefully.
Two Hours Later
"Ahhh!" Everyone cried out as they were blinded by a tremendous flash of light.
"Ha!" Naruto yelled. "She's back to life so there's no more reason to hold this stuffy party and I didn't pass out this time!"
"I grabbed the rice balls, let's go," Sasuke told Naruto and the two preteens fled in the confusion.
"Hinamori?" Hiashi asked in shock as he stared at the woman now laying atop his wife's grave, a very familiar woman.
"He's really got to stop resurrecting people for spite," Minato said with a sigh as the Hyuga clan stared while their clan head was reunited with his wife, crying tears of joy that their two daughters quickly joined in.
"Another half an hour and I would have tried it myself," Mikoto replied with a shrug. "Plus, it's nice to see the boys getting along so well."
"This… This can't be real," one of the clan elders said in shock. "You can't just resurrect the dead."
Minato and Mikoto gave him a friendly wave and he calmed down.
"Oh… right," he said, "that completely slipped my mind."
Typing By: Abyssal Angel