This story is Tenhawk's, I own nothing. I found this as a separate unfinished two chapter story, it was called Once Upon A Time On The Hellmouth, but basically it's just a flash forward of the main storyline. I think it is a BTVS/HP/Addams family/Stargate/SW crossover. I will be posting both chapters here.

Authors Notes:

This is a Future story! Set about one and a half years ahead of the current mainline Shadow Council. It is NOT an AU for SC. This is what happens when I catch up to this time point. All the same, I'm crafting it so that it doesn't spoil much, but there will be some teasers and potential spoilers.


Shadow Council Future (SCF) Story. After a few months back in Sunnydale, Xander's acting like a poopy head and Willow decides to pull him out of the muck. Her solution? A night out on the town... escorting kids.

Yeah, Willow needs a reality check. Unfortunately the one she's getting was signed by Ethan Rayne, and it's about to Bounce.

Chapter 1.:

Willow smiled softly as she looked around the store with Buffy, trying to find a costume to satisfy Snyder's dictate. She lost her smile when she thought of the Fuhrer of Sunnydale and his 'tactful' approach to the concept of volunteering.

When he'd rounded on them at school she'd literally held her breath, hoping Xander wasn't going to flip out and turn him into a toad or something. She dearly loved her Xander shaped friend, but he had been on edge since he'd come back from Hogwarts partway through the last year. Some of it had to do with Jessie, but Willow thought there was more too it as well.

Wednesday hadn't been able to tell her much, or maybe hadn't been willing to. It was always hard to say when you were dealing with her, after all, so all Willow knew for certain was that Xander wasn't the same person he'd been just a single summer ago.

She snuck a glance at Buffy as they browsed through the costumes. The way he and Buffy got along, or rather didn't, was a perfect example of that. The old Xander would have been all over Buffy, not in the physical sense or anything she knew, but in almost every other way. Somehow, however, the two had instantly rubbed each other the wrong way.

There was a time she'd be happy that she wasn't competing with Buffy for Xander's attention, but honestly after everything that had happened in the last year, Willow was sad her two best friends couldn't seem to get along.

She was honestly about two arguments away from locking them together in a room and leaving them there until Xander was beat to a pulp, Buffy was turned into a furry little rodent, or they were making out. She wasn't really sure which would happen, but with cameras in the right places it would be entertaining any way it went down.

Now they were supposed to work together for the night, looking after a bunch of kids in Sunnydale at night. Halloween may be a quiet night on the demon front, but there was everywhere quiet and then there was Sunnydale quiet.

"Willow, what do you think of this?" Buffy asked, feeling the lacey fabric of an old style dress.

"It's nice," Willow said, turning her focus onto the dress, "It's definitely not you, perfect for come as you aren't night."

Buffy nodded, eyes wandering along the fabric, "I don't know though. It's beautiful, but do you think Angel would like it?"

Willow rolled her eyes, the whole 'Angel' thing made pretty much no sense to her. Vampires were NOT to be lusted after. Not after Jessie…

She shuddered, shaking her head. Just… not.

"Maybe something else then?" Willow suggested.

Buffy frowned, looking over at Willow, "What's wrong with you?"

"I'm just a little concerned about Xander…"

Buffy rolled her eyes, "I'd be more concerned with what Xander's going to do tonight."

Willow scowled back at her, but privately had to acknowledge the point.

Buffy shook her head and looked back at the dress, smirking suddenly. "This sort of looks like those old dresses in some of Xander's school pictures, right?"

Willow groaned, "Buffy…"

"What? I'm just saying…"

"No, you're planning on something to annoy Xander," Willow growled, "Do NOT annoy the Xander. The Xander can turn you into a frog."

Buffy snorted, "He doesn't have the guts."

Willow shook her head and mumbled, "The Buffy does not know the Xander as well as she thinks she does."

Buffy ignored her and pulled the dress off the wall and headed for the register. Willow sighed, seeing nothing but clouds in the future. Still, she had to get a costume of her own and then make sure that Xander wasn't planning on skipping out on them. He'd do it too, she was sure he was planning it.

Not on my watch, Mister. She thought, setting her face. Xander was way too gloomy since he'd come back from Scotland. You're gonna have fun tonight, mister. One way or the other.

She moved through the shop, but didn't see anything that caught her eye at first. Just before she was about to give it up, though, she spotted some stuff in the bargain bin that appealed to her nostalgia and she thought that Xander just might get a kick out of it too.

She grabbed an armful and chased after Buffy, who was already at the counter with her dress, a wig, and some other odds and ends.

Xander rubbed his eyes, then pushed his hair up and out of his face as he leaned over the workbench and carefully adjusted the wand blank a quarter inch to the left before leveling his wand and focused on transfiguring the carbon of the blank.

The wand he was using was actually a Boggart hair and blood core, completely useless for almost everything except transfigurations. Well, that and legilimancy, oddly enough, but Xander didn't need it for that. It was a masterfully precise wand for transfiguration, though, and so it was his tool of choice for his current experiment.

He was slowly working to align all the carbon molecules in the wand blank, creating what Willow had suggested could act as a more efficient conductor of magical energy. If it worked, he figured he'd get another twenty percent kick off any given spell, and that was worth the effort he was pouring into it. Unfortunately he was going cross eyed trying to get just one single blank aligned properly, which was ironic since he couldn't see the blood molecules to go cross eyed in the first place.

Mentally it was a chore, however, and he was rapidly getting truly tired of it.

That was the state he was in when Willow let herself into his shop with a large paper bag clutched against her chest.

"I've got something for your costume tonight," She told him in that annoyingly chipper way of hers.

Xander grunted, not looking up.

"I was planning on skivving out, actually." He said, carefully watching his wand motions through the enchanted monocle perched in front of his face.

"Oh no you don't, Mister!" Willow growled, dropping the bag down on a table and glaring at the back of his head.

Weird. I shouldn't be able to feel her glare like that. Xander thought to himself as Willow's eyes tried to bore a hole into the back of his skull.

Sighing, he pushed back from his prototype wand and turned around to see Willow glaring at him with her resolve face and hands on her hips.

"Wills, it's not like I give a damn what Snyder thinks or does." Xander countered tiredly. "I don't need him or this school."

"That's SO not the point, mister." Willow growled, shaking a finger in his direction. "You don't have fun anymore, Xander. Take the night off, just come on and run around and forget about all this for tonight."

"Fun?" Xander raised an eyebrow, "dragging brats around for candy?"

"There was a time you couldn't imagine anything better." She pouted.

"There was a time I'd steal your Barbie and hide it under your front porch," Xander told her wryly, "We grow up."

"Is THAT where you put it?" Willow blurted, eyes wide.

Xander frowned, "DIdn't I tell you?"

"No you did not!"

"Uh… oops?"

Willow scowled at him, "Oh this is not over, Mister. But for tonight, you're SO coming out."

Xander rolled his eyes, "I don't have a costume."

She snorted, "Right. Mister Wizard can't find a Halloween costume. Poor baby."

Xander sighed. Put like that it did sound pretty stupid, honestly.

"Luckily for you I got you something." She smirked, reaching into the bag.

Xander caught the object she tossed at him, blinking in surprise as he recognized it. "A lightsaber? Really?"

"Yes, really." She told him, looking affronted. "You can put on your school robes and go as Luke."

Xander shook his head, "I'm really not interested Wills."

"But if you don't come you'll miss MY costume," She pouted at him.

"Willow, you always go as a ghost." He smirked.

"Not tonight." She said with an air of 'so there' finality, picking up the bag with the rest of the stuff in it and turning away. "So be there, Mister."

"Fine, fine." Xander sighed, shaking his head. "I'll come see your 'Boo'."

Willow ignored the crack and made sure she was at the door before she responded, "Great! I'll see you at Buffy's place around five! See ya, bye!"

"Buffy's place!?" Xander snapped around, "Wait! Willow!"

She was, however gone, and the door had already slammed shut.

Xander groaned. The last thing he wanted to do was hang around Buffy anymore than he absolutely had to.

Glorified Valley girl, He growled mentally, standing up and shaking off the tension as best he could. Just cause she's a black belt Barbie she thinks she can give me orders. Almost makes me understand the whole Muggle baiting thing.

He pushed his hair back again and looked at the lightsaber toy Willow had given him, noting that it wasn't Luke's. He slowly smirked, amused despite himself.

Alright. You want me to have some fun? You got it, Wills. Just be careful what you wish for. Xander looked around the workshop, mentally cataloging what he had.

Now where did I put the notes for that prank costume anyway?

Sunnydale was caught in the fever of an unusually popular Halloween that night, the new shop had some really great costumes available for extremely low prices, and with the dealer willing to slash them even lower there were a great many happy customers flooding his place all week.

Jonathan Levinson and his friends had gotten in early, and picked up the coolest costumes for themselves. Well, in their opinion of course. Tons of students from the nearby schools had emptied the shelves of witch, wizard, monster, and various other spooky sorts in addition to the more mundane soldiers and movie oriented types.

For Ethan Rayne, proprietor and sole employee of the shop, the rising energy he could feel in the air was exhilarating. He could feel it add a bounce to his step with every passing second.

It was going to be a hot time on the hellmouth tonight, and he just couldn't wait.

"Coming!" Joyce Summers called out as she approached the door, bowl of candy in hand in case it was an early trick or treater. When the door opened, however, and the black clad form turned to look at her while drawing in a rasping intake of air.

"Good evening, Miss Summers." The deep voice trembled through her bones, "I am here to see Willow and Buffy."

"Oh my." Joyce blinked, stepping back to 'Lord Vader' could come in. "That's a very impressive costume."

"Thank you." The deep voice said, sounding formal. "You're looking exceedingly fine yourself, tonight."

Flustered, she took a step back, "Uh… thanks. Is… uh, not to be rude…"

"Of course," The figure reached up and pulled off the face mask, showing a smiling face she knew. "Xander Harris, Ma'am. We've met a few times."

"Yes, I remember." She smiled at him, "Sorry I didn't recognize you. It really is a VERY good costume."

"thanks, and don't worry about it. If you recognized me, I didn't do much of a job on it did I?" He smiled at her.

She was about to reply when Buffy appeared at the top of the stairs, "Who is it, Mom?"

Joyce looked up the stairs, then back at Xander who was sliding the face plate mask back into place. "It's uh… Lord Vader."

Buffy blinked in surprise, but walked down the stairs with simply grace and actually pulled off a respectable curtsy at the bottom. Xander and Joyce were both admiring the dress and noting her deep red curls as she smiled at Xander with a slightly impish gleam in her eyes, "Welcome, My Lord. I am Morgana."

Xander didn't quite have a response to that before Willow appeared at the top of the stairs and casually strode down.

"May I present my very good friend," Buffy extended a hand in Willow's direction.

Xander swallowed, noting the tight fit of Willow's costume, as well as the familiar cylinder hanging off her belt.

"This is…"

"Mara Jade." Xander said in the deep voice of Lord Vader, in between rasping breaths. "We've… met."

Willow stumbled slightly, her breath hitching when she saw Xander's costume. She hadn't expected him to dress as Vader, but in retrospect she supposed that she should have. It was come as you aren't night, after all, and while Xander was a lot gloomier lately, the last thing he was was a Dark Lord of the Sith.

She forced a saunter into her step as Buffy introduced her and the gleaming black mask turned to face her.

"Mara Jade. We've… met."

"So we have, Lord Vader," Willow smirked at him, "scare any more children lately?"

Xander's breath echoed through the room for a long moment before he replied.

"The night is young."

Willow giggled, completely out of character, but the calm answer just struck her as funny. Knowing Xander he would scare at least some of the kids.

"How do you get the voice like that anyway?" Joyce asked.

Xander turned to her, "Magic."

She rolled her eyes, "Right. Ok, you three look great. Buffy, you're looking after your little sister tonight."


"Don't 'Mom!' me," Joyce mocked, "Dawn wants to trick or treat and you're taking kids around so you can look after her until you're done. Bring her home, the rest of the night is yours."

Buffy sighed, rolling her eyes. "Fine. Where is the little butt pain anyway?"

"Don't call your sister that," Joyce admonished.

"It's nicer than what she calls me." Buffy grumped, crossing her arms on her chest.

Joyce rolled her eyes and looked up the stairs, "Dawn! Time to go!"

"I'm coming! I'm coming!"

They looked up to see Dawn appear at the top of the stairs, looking every bit Buffy's sister as she stomped down the stairs.

"You look adorable," Joyce gushed, producing a camera from nowhere as she started clicking away.

"I look stupid." Dawn muttered.

Xander smiled under his mask, noting the pink dress and elongated hat, classic fairy tale princess. It was insufferably cute on the girl, but was quite obviously NOT her idea.

"So, Princess," He said, towering over her as he spoke, "We meet at last."

Dawn's eyes widened as she looked up, "Uh… Hi?"

Dawn snuck a look over at her mother, who smiled back. "He's a friend of Buffy's."

"That fails to comfort me." Dawn scowled.

"He's so not my friend." Buffy muttered.

"He's mine." Willow said, smiling widely.

Joyce stepped in before another comment from one of her daughters could destroy the delicate balance of peace in the household. "I think it's almost time to head out?"

They nodded, and Buffy put a hand on Dawn's shoulder as she pushed her along behind Xander who pivoted on his foot and strode out.

"Wow, how do you get the cape to flow like that?" Dawn couldn't help but blurt.

Xander paused, glancing back, "I stole the trick from a man named Snape."

"That's a stupid name."

Ethan Rayne was practically as giddy as the proverbial schoolgirl as he finished up the last few details of the rite he was about to perform, drawing the final runework on the bust and generally just triple checked the details. The ritual invocation of a God wasn't to be taken lightly, and Janus was known to be especially capricious, often reacting completely contrary to how one would expect if one were foolish enough to think they could predict the acts of a God.

Still, Janus was also one of the very few that would consider loaning their power to something of this nature, Ethan knew. Few Gods still deigned to play in the mortal realms, so he would take what he could get.

At the high school the trio, plus one, met with Snyder and were handed over their charges. Snyder had the gall to glare at Xander for a few seconds longer than Xander liked, right up until he opened up a Legilimency connection and poured as much hate as he could muster down the link.

Snyder paled remarkably and backed away in obvious fear before turning and bolting for the school.

"And this man is entrusted with the lives of children." Xander shook his head before turning to his charges for the night.

Some of the Legilimens must have leaked, because he could see them cowering back a little. Xander killed it quickly and dropped to one knee, "Very well, little ones. Are you ready to move out?"

They nodded fearfully.

"Good." Xander rose back to his feet. "Tonight I will lead you personally. The rebel alliance has sequestered valuable resources in this town, we WILL retrieve them. Am I understood?"

The children nodded again, still wide eyed.

"Now, the Emperor has ordered no assault, so Should any of them be… reluctant to give up their supplies we have several force techniques you can employ," Xander told them, the kids still too petrified to do anything but give him their full attention.

"Xander stop scaring the kids!" Willow growled, hitting him on the back of the helmet.

He turned to look at her, "I am merely instructing them in the art of sleazing extra candy, Hand. See to your own troops."

She rolled her eyes, glaring at him for a moment before turning to the kids, "He's harmless. Don't listen to him if he tries to scare you, but he IS really good at tricking people out of their junk food."

She rolled her eyes at him, before turning back to her own kids, mumbling, "trust me, I know."

Xander ignored her, returning his attention to the kids in front of him. "Tears are a most powerful technique, little ones, but risky. Do not employ them lightly, I advise saving them for chocolate. Agreed?"

The nodded quickly, starting to move closer.

"Excellent. Be advised, there will be no pranking." He told him, drawing a couple disappointed looks and one 'aww'. Xander raised a hand to still the complaints. "You are too inexperienced to ensure success and escape. Have no fear, however…"

He closed his hand into a fist, "The right of retribution tonight… is mine."

Several of the kids laughed openly at that.

"very well then," Xander straightened up to his full height, "The time is come. Let us be off."

The time was slowly approaching, and Ethan was hard pressed not to fidget as he made his last preparations and drew some of his own blood to link him to the rite.

Finally, the planets aligned by his marks, and he let out a long slow breath.

It was time.

These gits are so lucky I'm only dressed as Vader, Xander thought to himself as he checked his bag of candy and sighed.

"Rebel scum." He muttered, looking at the kids. "Who else has a toothbrush to report?"

They all raised their hands, causing Xander to shake his helmeted head. "Very well. Turn the evidence in to me, I'll provide proof of receipt. "

The kids looked up to see Xander holding out his 'proof of receipt' which was a full sized chocolate bar for each of them. They cheered and quickly swapped toothbrushes for chocolate, leaving Xander to note the house number.

"I'll mark this location for an airstrike." He said simply, "The rebel sympathizers will pay."

The kids cheered as he herded them back to the road and prepared to move on to the next 'target'. As they made it to the street, however, Xander shivered and felt the hellmouth suddenly dim, as if its energies were pulling away from him.

He snapped his head around in the direction of the school and barked out a sharp question, "What?"

Then the energies slammed back, his occlumency shields surviving only a fraction of a second before being torn apart like glass in a hurricane, the actual reaction between his magic and the wave picking him off his feet and throwing him twenty feet back and through a fence as blinding pain and blackness washed over him.

A short distance away, Willow too had been hit by the wave, but her less developed defenses broke easier and she was merely thrown a few feet as the blackout took her senses, leaving her lying in a yard as her charges suddenly assaulted an old woman who was trying to give out candy.

Buffy simply crumpled in place, hitting the ground in a sprawl that left her pink clad little sister in a panic as she threw herself to her knees and tried to shake her awake.

"Buffy! Buffy! Please wake up! Buffy!"

All through the town similar scenes were playing out as costume clade denizens of Sunnydale's Halloween celebrations were struck down to varying degrees by the spell that swept the town. Most were up and moving quickly, some never even seeming to black out, but others had been hit harder and were slower to recover.

Recover they did, however, and slowly those struck hardest began to move again as they opened their eyes and looked around them with entirely new souls.

Lord Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, rose painfully from where he lay and took careful stock of the situation he found himself in.

He was on a planet, that was obvious, though it made no sense. His last memories were of his meditation chamber on the Executor. After regaining his feet he strode through a smashed section of fencing and examined his surroundings more carefully.

This place is steeped in the Dark Side.

It was a populated world, one of the rim worlds he suspected. No evidence of speeders or repulsor craft of any sort, and the area was obviously designed for ground vehicles.

He paused in his examination as a shiver passed through him, followed by another. He turned and immediately recognized two force sensitive as they opened their own senses to examine their locations. He carefully drew in his own presence to remain masked for the moment as he carefully focused his skills on suppressing the pain he felt though his entire body, and on healing it as much as he could.

He was momentarily distracted when, for the first time in years, he felt the comforting feedback that told him that he had no irreparable injuries.


Thoughts about his health were forced to wait, however, as one of the force sensitives he had detected was moving in his direction. She was in what appeared to be a formal gown, most likely Nobility he decided. Her hair was dark red, her features delicate, but she moved with purpose and showed no sense of fear or discomfort. Behind her a young girl dressed all in pink was a study in her opposite, following in the woman's wake, but clearly terrified out of her mind.

Scared of the woman, or of the situation?

"Hail," She said, raising a hand. "I mean no harm."


She smirked at him, clearly amused that he thought she needed permission, but said nothing as she came closer.

"Are you the Lord of these lands?"

He stared at her for a long moment. "I am Lord Vader, but these are not my lands. Not directly in any case, and as I find myself… ignorant of my location, I can not say more."

She hummed, face pensive. "I see. I too find myself in the same situation, Lord Vader. I am the Lady Morgana."

Vader inclined his helmet slightly, "My Lady."

"My Lord." She returned with a coquettish smile and a miniscule curtsy.

"This place is most unfamiliar. I have never seen roads so perfect." She said, scuffing the street with her foot.

"Primitive." Vader replied, looking around while keeping a sense on her directly. "For ground cars."

She raised an eyebrow, "Primitive, indeed? I feel you are not of this world, My Lord."

"I am not of any world, Lady Morgana."

Her eyes flitted over his armor briefly, "Are you Jaffa?"

He didn't bother to answer, the conversation had gone far enough and was doing him no good. Instead he drew out a communicator from his belt and keyed it open to the reserved channgel of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion.

"This is Lord Vader. Attend to my location."

There was a brief pause, and then a chorus of voices came back.

"Yes My Lord!"

Chapter 2.:

Morgana La Fey eyed the black knight with some trepidation. He did not seem to be Goa'uld or Jaffa, but there was a darkness about him that sat heavy on his soul. His magical core was powerful, however, and there was a hint of control, just barely restraining something terrifying.

She'd seen more power in her life, her Lover and sometimes Antagonist Merlin being one, but rarely had she seen power, control, and sheer wild ferocity melded into one man like this.

She felt… wrong herself, but couldn't quiet place the feeling. There was something missing in her, something… deep.

She was pushed from those thoughts by the terrified presence that had lingered behind her since she awoke. The young girl in the pink dress was still there, staring at her as if she knew her. Morgana turned away from the black knight to look at the child, but kept a tendril of her sense on the man.

"Yes Child, what is it?"

"B… Buffy?"

Morgana blinked, frowning. "Do you speak English, child?"

The girl nodded.

"Well then don't pester me with nonsense words." She said sternly.

"b… but that's your name!"

"My Name, is Morgana."

She girl shook her head, "Nuh uh."

"Child, I feel quite certain I know my name better than you do." Morgana told her shortly.

"You're my sister, Buffy."

"I do not have a sister, and my parents were more sensible than to name me… Buffy, of all things." Morgana snapped, "Now stop speaking foolishness before you raise my ire."

The girl took a half step back, "B… but you are Buffy. We were just trick or treating a few minutes ago, I swear!"

Contrary to appearances, Vader was carefully listening to each word spoken between the young woman and the child. Things about the situation simply did not add up, but it was increasingly clear that he was short a great many of the pieces of the puzzle.

The stomp of boots on ground drew his attention to the left as a single Squad of stormtroopers marched in, doubletime, and came to a stop in parade rest across from him. Morgana abandoned her conversation to examine them as Vader looked them up and down.

More pieces of the puzzle.

He examined one of them closely, frowning under his helm.

"You are too short to be a Stormtrooper." He said flatly. "Identification number."

"CC 4569, My Lord Vader."

Vader paused, "That is not possible. I have worked with CC 4569, and you are not him."

"My Lord, I remember that mission. We engaged the Jedi at Kessel, my unit was decimated, you provided cover while we regrouped from the ambush."

Vader held out a hand, "Your helmet."

The Trooper shrugged off the helmet without question, exposing a child's face with hair far too long for a Stormtrooper.

"You are not CC 4569. You're not even a Stormtrooper of any division I'm aware of," Vader said, turning to eye the others. "You are, however, telling the truth. You are CC 4569, and you did fight beside me at Kessel. Replace your helm."

"My Lord." He said, dropping the helmet back into place.

Vader looked them all over, and realized quickly that the others were the same. Both imposters and loyal Stormtroopers. He straightened, eyes sweeping the streets around them.

"Assume defensive positions. Squad Leader, I will have a word."

"Yes my Lord!" The Trooper with the leader badge on his shoulder stepped up as the rest arrayed around him in defensive posture.

"We are on an unknown world, in the midst of a riot." Vader said, "I will see order restored, do you understand?"

"Yes Sir…" The Stormtrooper hesitated, "My Lord?"


"It's our blasters Sir," He said, "CC 1518 noticed it first, they register full charge but the power cells are empty."

"We will have to acquire weapons then."

"No, My Lord, you don't understand. They work, but the power cells are literally empty." The Stormtrooper said, unslinging his blaster and yanking the power cell.

Vader accepted it and soon saw what the man meant. The cell was literally nothing more than an empty polymer casing. It was shoddy construction as well, certainly not Imperial made.

"You say the Blasters work?"

"Yes Sir."

Vader considered for a long moment, "Very well. My orders stand."


"Pacify this area immediately, bring any instigators to me." Vader said, "I want them alive. No disintegrations."



The Trooper turned and gestured casually to the others, who broke positions and followed.

"Blasters on stun, we want prisoners."

Vader watched them go, thoughts whirling in his mind as he tried to piece together the disparate pieces.

"You seem vexed, My Lord."

He didn't bother to turn to look at Morgana, he knew where she was to the inch.

"Things are not as they seem, Lady Morgana."

"Yes, I've come to the same conclusion."

Vader hesitated, then abruptly drew his lightsaber and casually twisted off the base cap, revealing that the interior was empty and hollow.

No power cell.

He closed it up again, then twisted the top and pulled out the casing slightly.

Not even the condensing crystal.

Vader closed it up again and casually thumbed the saber to life, both unsurprised and shocked when the familiar snap hiss sounded and he was bathed in a red glow as the saber hummed comfortingly.

"An impressive weapon."

"It is the weapon of a Jedi." Vader said thoughtfully, only part of his mind on the conversation.

"I am not familiar with your order, my lord."

"They no longer exist." Vader deactivated the weapon and returned it to his belt, "I hunted them down to the last man, and swept them from history."

Morgana had no response for that, and knew that deeper inquiry would not be welcome. While she had no fear of the Knight, she neither had cause nor desire to entangle herself with him. He was an unknown, and…


Morgana shook her head, confused. And there was something else, something she couldn't remember. Something…


Vader's voice shook her from her reverie, however, and the sliver of thought slipped away.

"I sense your presence, step into the light… Hand."

Mara was nursing a headache of mammoth proportions, enough that it was taxing the limited meditation techniques she'd picked up from Skywalker to their limits. How she'd wound up on this backwards dung hole of a planet she didn't know, but when she'd spotted the squad of stormtroopers doubletime it by she'd been instantly on her guard.

More so when she recognized the unit emblem.

The Five Oh One was the Elite of the Stormtrooper Legions, possibly the only true legion left since the Kamino uprising that maintained an unbroken connection to the original Republic Commandos.

Understandably curious, she stealthily followed them, only to nearly swallow her tongue when she saw who they were meeting.


Black as night, twice as large, he was standing there in full regalia. But he couldn't be. It didn't make sense.

How could even Vader have survived the destruction of the second Death Star.

Skywalker could have lied… A dark voice whispered to her, He was the only witness to Vader and the Emperor's deaths.

The problem with that idea was… Why? What could he possibly have to gain?

No, it didn't make sense. If he'd said they were dead and they turned up again, well his reputation and the reputation of the entire rebellion and New Republic would be tarnished.

She was still trying to figure things out when Vader turned to look right at the place she was hiding.

"I sense your presence, step into the light… Hand."

"Oh bantha turds." She muttered, swallowing.

Gripping her drawn blaster instinctively, Mara drew the lightsaber Skywalker had given to her and activated it as she stepped into the open.

The blue glow of another energy bladed weapon caught Morgana's eye as she followed Vader's gaze to a wooded area. A female figure stepped into the clear, a pistol in one hand and one of those fascinating energy blades in the other.

It was all rather exciting, really.

A soft gasp from beside her shifted her attention to the girl child who insisted she was her sister. The fear was mostly gone now, and her eyes were wide with awe.

"What is it child? Do you know her?"

The girl nodded, "Yes, that's Willow. She's your best friend… but…"

"But what?" Morgana ignored the best friend information for the moment.

"The Lightsabers!" The girl hissed, "They can't actually work… it's impossible."

"Indeed, and why would that be?"

"because they're from Star Wars!" The girl blurted, "Those are just movies! Darth Vader is a movie bad guy!"

Movie. The term seemed familiar, but she couldn't place it. Odd.

"A Bad guy?" She asked instead, "He has so far acted as a nobleman might, he even ordered his troops to grant quarter and spare their enemies."

The girl glared at her, "He grabbed Princess Leia, tortured her, blew up her planet, and she was his *daughter*!"

"That would qualify as 'bad', I suppose." Morgana mused. Not that she was entirely clear to judge on that, she admitted to herself. She had never blown up a planet, though, not that she could recall.

"You suppose!?"

Vader had heard the conversation, and his mind was reeling. Leia Organa is my daughter? Impossible… Unless… Kenobi, you old bastard.

He couldn't spare the time to think about it just then, however, he had too much to deal with right in front of him.

"I do not remember you wielding a Light saber the last time we met, Hand."

"I've learned a few tricks, but we've never met." Mara countered. "I don't know who you are, but Vader is dead."

"I've been dead before, but arose from the ignominy of such a fate."

"No one rises from a funeral pyre the size of a small moon. You died on the Deathstar."

"I was not on the Death Star when it was destroyed, Hand. I was in my fighter, holding off the rebel assault."

She snorted, "not at Yavin, at Endor."

Vader stiffened. No ONE, not even the Hand knew about the project at Endor. Only he and the Emperor himself both knew and were permitted to leave the system.

"Skywalker saw you die," She snarled, "After you threw the Emperor to his death. Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you for that."

Normally, Morgana mused, death threats were treated with slightly more respect than Vader deemed this 'Hand' to deserve.

His aura didn't even flicker in response, nor did he draw his weapon.

In fact all he seemed to do was draw in a deep rasping breath, then let it out, before speaking again.

"Consider your position carefully, Hand." Vader said simply. "You are on an unknown world, I presume that you too are out of contact with your… allies? When I was last on my ship, the Emperor was quite alive. You are his hand, can you hear him?"

Mara hesitated, then shook her head. "I've not heard his voice in years."

"Fascinating." Vader said thoughtfully.

"Which is why I want you dead only marginally more than I wanted your son rotting in the ground." She bit out.

"Irrelevant." Vader countered. "There is more here than you realize. Have you checked the power cells on your weapons? Do so."

"And disarm myself!?" She countered incredulously, "You must be out of your…"

She trailed off, clearly swallowing as his saber snapped to life and the hum filled the void between them,

"You forget yourself, Hand." He snapped out, "Whatever skills you may have developed since last we met, do you truly believe for one instant that you can even hope to stop me with but a blaster and a lightsaber?"

Morgana watched the battle fight out on the face of the young woman, and was surprised when she gave way. She wouldn't have placed the woman as either a coward, or someone easily cowed, which spoke volumes for the skill the Black Knight carried.

The blue blade vanished as Mara reluctantly conceded that if it was Vader, and by all means she had at her disposal, it truly was him, then she had no chance if he wanted her dead. She flipped her saber hilt over and pulled the power cell.

A moment later she was still staring at the hollow hilt in confusion.

"I… I don't understand."

"Nor do I." Vader admitted, his own blade vanishing. "Now, however, is not the time for a battle between us. How well versed are you in blade craft?"

"I've mastered Shii Cho, and Soresu," She admitted reluctantly after some deliberation.

"Impressive for one who started so late," He allowed her, "Who trained you?"

She swallowed, "Skywalker."

There was a long silence before Vader turned away from her, "I see."

The uncomfortable silence held against the background sound of blasters firing and beasts roaring, then Vader seemed to come to a decision.

"For you it is after the fall of the Empire," He said, "For me, it is at its height…"

He turned on Morgana, "And you, Lady Morgana. What era is it for you?"

She shook her head, "I have no knowledge of an Empire as you consider it, nor of its fall."

"You're from before it rose? The time of the Galactic Republic?" He countered.

"That is of no more meaning to me than this Empire you speak of." She replied, steepling her fingers in front of her face. "I do recall an intergalactic alliance, of the four great races… But I feel that time is long past."

She frowned, "My memory is not what it should be. Something is preventing me from remembering all that I should."

"Intergalactic?" Mara snorted, "Keep dreaming, Sister. No one's gone past the rim."

"That is not entirely true." Vader countered, "however there is no record of any intergalactic alliance in any of my databases, nor reference to 'four great races'. To what species are you referring?"

Morgana closed her eyes, "The Alterans, The Nox, The Furlings, and the Asguard."

"I've been from one side of the galaxy to the other, sister, and I've never heard so much as a whisper of any of those." Mara muttered, "so either you're off your rocker…"

"Or we are quite possibly taken out of far more than time." Vader finished.

"That's insane."

"Perhaps." Vader admitted, looking up at the stars. He was an accomplished navigator, but he saw nothing familiar there. Of course, not even the best navigator could know the sky from every planet in the galaxy, so that didn't mean as much as it may seem. "Tell me, Hand… what is the last thing you remember before waking here?"

Mara paused, considering, "I was in meditations at the Jedi Temple on Yavin."

"And I was in my chamber on the Executer." He said, "Deep in my nightly meditations."

Her eyes snapped up, "You think we're not here?"

"Indeed." He said, "You are on Yavin, I am on my flagship."

He hesitated, reaching for his mask. Then swallowed and disconnected the breathing apparatus and pulled the mask and helm apart. After a long moment he took a deep breath and let it slowly out. When he spoke, his voice was still deep, but it no longer had the rasp and echo of his mask.

"It would seem I'm not here after all," He said with a slow smile, "It is too clear for a vision of the future, too real for a Force induced fantasy. This is not my body, yet it is real."

He let the helm and mask clatter to the ground, his fingers brushing his unscarred face, then looked over at Mara. "You're not in your body either, though it is close enough that I suspected a simple disguise at first."

"I… I'm not?"

"No. You're far too young for one." He said calmly. "Particularly for one who claims to have seen the fall of the Empire and mastered two forms of light saber combat when I know you knew neither when you were significantly older than you now appear."

He turned to Morgana, "And you, My Lady?"

She paused, glancing back the pink princess. "I think… I think you were telling me the truth all along."

"Duh." The girl said, rolling her eyes.

"You know the people we are currently… possessing?" Vader demanded, stepping forward.

Dawn lost the attitude, swallowing hard and nodding. "Yeah, I mean, mostly…"

"Mostly?" Morgana frowned.

"You're Buffy, she's my Sister." Dawn said, then pointed at Willow. "That's Willow, she's Buffy's best friend…."

"And I?"

"I… well we've never really met," She stammered out, "but you're Xander Harris. Willow's best friend from way back."

Vader sighed, frustrated. "I grow tired of this puzzle, we must determine why the Force has brought us here."

"I do not know what this force is," Morgana said after a moment's thought, "However there is a taste of… Magic? Something familiar… someone I know."

She trailed off, shaking her head. "I can't focus on it. Something… no, someone is occluding my mind."

She snapped up, eyes blazing, "Someone is in my mind!"

A blaze of power erupted from her, causing both Vader and Mara to step back in surprise. Her hair began to wave as a a haze rose from her body and she snapped around, eyes blazing with an unholy light.



"An overblown fool who fancies himself a god." She snarled, "It's him I smell."

"Never killed a god before," Mara half smirked.

"And you won't today," Morgana countered, "He's not here, and even if he were he's beyond you, little girl."

"You say you smell him, but he's not here?"

"His power is here, but the cowardly ass likes to lend it out to mortals."

"Mortals, Gods," Mara snorted, glancing at the boy who was Vader, "You're not buying into this idiocy are you?

"The only way out of this, is through it." He countered, "I will follow any lead I must to secure my own fate. I will not be bound by the will of anyone else."

She rolled her eyes, "Says the Emperors lapdog."

"Says the man you claimed threw him to his final end." Vader countered calmly.

CC 4985, Known in his squad as 'Wolf' lowered his blaster as the target went down, then silently waved his backup forward while he shifted to cover.

"Target down, vitals read…" CC 1185 shrugged in his armor, "vital, I guess. He's alive, whatever he is."

"Is it an animal, or a sentient?" Wolf asked as he approached.

"Beats me." CC1185, otherwise known as Jazz, replied. "Never seen anything like it. Vitals are all mixed up too."

"This mission is insane."

"Welcome to the Five Oh One."

The two were securing the area when their comms went off, and CC 4569's voice came over, sounding a little pressed.

"Contact humanoid sentient," He said, "Stunner has no effect."

"Are you sure?"

"At twenty feet it put him on his ass, but he bounces up like a repulsorlift!"

Wolf keyed into 4569's system and checked the data personally just in time for the contact to get back to his feet again and start cursing.

"Oy! Stop zapping with me that thing before I rip your spine out and beat you to death with it!"

The stunners hummed again and the blond man went down, only to immediately start getting up again.

"Is he armed?"


"Put him down and secure him." Wolf ordered, "All squad, converge on 4569 and his partner, render all assistance."

Spike knew he should have stayed home and in bed. The chaos offered by the insanity going on outside had been an irresistible temptation, but he was paying for that now. Two of the blokes in the Stormtrooper getups were closing on him, alternatively shooting him with their bloody rayguns so he couldn't even get his feet under him.

He finally gave up, waiting for one of them to get too close for the other to use the raygun on him.

He got his chance as the closest leaned over him, manacles in hand, and grabbed one of his arms. Spike twisted quickly, grabbing the armored arm in turn and pulled himself up and close to the trooper.

"He's loose! Shoot him! Shoot him!"

"I can't get a clear shot!"

Spike was about the shuck the bastard out of the armor when the next response changed his mind.

"Shoot us both!"

Woops, time to move then.

Spike twisted in closer, got his shoulder under the trooper's arm and bent over, taking his feet off the ground. From there all it took was a spin and release…

"Look out!"

Spike smiled nastily as one trooper was thrown clear into the other, taking them both down. He got his feet planted solidly again and started to stalk toward them when he heard another call.

"There he his!"

"get him!"

"Bloody hell. There's more of them," Spike cursed, before spinning and bolting.

Blue bolts kicked up dust and debris around him as he sprinted for the corner and then was out of sight.

"I haven't seen someone run that fast since Kessel." CC 4569 groaned as he got back to his feet. "Luckily this one was running away, those crazy Jedi run AT blasters."

Wolf grabbed his arm and helped him to his feet, "What happened?"

"Immune to stunners, strong as a wookie, and runs like a Jedi on spice." The groggy trooper grunted, getting his breath back. "If he had weapons, we'd be dead."

"Alright, keep the threat in mind, we know there's one like that, there could be more."

"Right Sir." The others chorused.