OK, now it's time to confess the multiple counts of plagiarism I committed in this piece.
First up, a huge thanks to LPK9, whose wonderful (and totally crack) "Luke And Leia's Excellent Adventure" inspired me. As I was reading that story, I found myself wondering "how would this work in Buffy's universe?" Since Buffy didn't have the decades of history Star Wars had, I had a far more limited scope to explore – and needed to find a character who was enough of an outsider that they could show up unexpectedly at various points in time. I'd never really written Faith before, and thought she was an OK character, but never really grabbed me.
Hoo boy, did she kick my ass over that one. I quickly discovered that Faith's default style of interacting with others is to put them off balance, and good lord is that fun to write. Plus her complicated history with the characters made things even more interesting.
This story lent itself more to drama than crack, but I still had my share of fun. And I am extremely grateful that LPK9 for granting permission for me to lift their basic concept.
The other element I plagiarized was the concept of prophecies as having a form of sentience. That I lifted from the late, legendary fantasy author David Eddings, especially in his Belgariad and Mallorean series. When I first read those books there were so many thing he put in there that left me smacking my head (occasionally literally) and saying "why the hell hasn't anyone thought of that before?" Beyond his notions of how prophecies work, his notions on magic and his careful attention to such mundane elements as commerce, politics, and logistics made his worlds almost as real as our own. I simply cannot recommend his works enough.
Anyway, that was tremendously satisfying to write. It had some of the most fun (Faith vs. Andrew and Jonathan) and most dark (Faith and Kakistos) pieces I've ever written. Thanks for reading, and huge thanks for the reviews.