Title: The Ultimate Scooby Gang, Part 1

Author: Nopporn Wongrassamee aka the Evil Author

EMail Address: EvilAuthor@aol.com

Archive: Anywhere and everywhere. Just tell me if you do.

Spoilers: Anything goes

Summary: From across the multiverse, the most powerful

incarnations of the Scooby Gang have been gathered to

battle the Ultimate Evil. But first, they have to get

along with each other.

Disclaimer: Characters and concepts belong to their

owners who I'm too lazy to list. So shoot me. Wait! I

didn't mean that lit... *BANG*

She remembered dying.

Okay, what she really remembered was dying many, many

times. There was the vampire who drained her on their

first date, the Knight of Byzantium who impaled her with

a lucky arrow, Ben slitting her throat in a fit of pique,

jumping from Glory's ramshackle tower. Those were the

deaths she could attribute to the bad guys.

Then there were the more embarrasing deaths. Her slipping

in the tub. Car accidents. There were inumerable times

of choking on her breakfast cereal!

And then there were the deaths inflicted by her sister.

The disturbing part was that several of her deaths had

been when she had not been turned into a vampire.

Now at least she knew what had been going on in Buffy's

mind. That was because for every memory she had of dying,

there were more of her surviving those deaths. Every

eternal instant that passed resulted in more memories

popping up, each chunk contributing just a little more

memory of living.

To the entity that had once been Dawn Summers, it was all

very confusing.

***

Stepping over the corpses that had once been the Scooby

Gang, the Mother of All Vampires effortlessly held the

Slayer by the throat with her right hand. Behind Buffy,

a temporal portal was open leading into the deep past.

With a flicker of her wrist, the Mother tossed Buffy into

the portal. Upon the passage of the Slayer, the portal

closed and disappeared as if it had never existed.

"No..." someone moaned. Apparently one of the Scoobies

wasn't quite dead. The Mother saw that it was the

Watcher. "You've... you've altered the past..." Giles

whispered, stammering more from the weakness of blood

loss that social ineptitude. "Why? I thought... you

wanted... to... go. A Slayer... back then... could

stop... the creation... of the... first... Vampire..."

"No, Giles, it won't," the Mother replied, speaking for

the first time with a horribly familiar voice as she

stepped in front of him. She knelt so that they were face

to face, or more appropriately, face to mask. "I haven't

altered time," she said lazily, removing her mask to

reveal the twisted but still recognizable face of Buffy

Summers. "I've made sure it'll all happen."

"Noooo..." Giles moaned in despair. Then he joined the

rest of the Scoobies in oblivion.

"Okay, now that was just mean," someone said behind the

vampire Buffy. That someone spoke with her own voice and

sounded like she disapproved.

Buffy turned to her etherial twin. "You're supposed to be

the First Evil," Buffy the vampire replied, somewhat

annoyed. "What do you care?"

Another Buffy apparition appeared beside vampire Buffy.

"That's not me," the First Evil told her. Had she been

paying attention, the Mother might have noticed that the

First was disturbed. "It's the ghost of your former

self."

"Ooh, a ghost," the Mother of Vampires mocked. "I am so

not impressed." She strode forward until she was face to

face with her double. "What are you going to do, Caspar,

say 'Boo'?"

In reply, Buffy the Ghost hit Buffy the Vampire with an

upper cut. With unexpected solidity, the former sent the

latter through the ceiling into the now late Robin Wood's

office.

"Boo," she added.

***

It took a while, but the entity that had once been Dawn

Summers finally figured out what was going on. As time

passed, things happened and choices were made. In one

universe Dawn made one choice and died. In another, she

had made a different decision and lived. Multiply by

infinity.

Once Dawn died, the part of her that was the Key was

released into the ether. But the Key was not the same

pure energy it had been before it had been made into the

Slayer's sister. There were contaminants in the energy

now, the fragments that had been Dawn's soul. Instead of

spreading into the void, the energy of the Key accreted

around these soul fragments like a pearl. Eventually, she

(there was a definite femaleness to the Key's self

identity now) woke up.

This left one inevitable question.

"Where the heck am I?" she asked no one in particular.

There appeared to be nothing but an infinite void here...

wherever "here" was.

So she was kind of surprised to get an answer.

***

Willow had botched the Slayer activation spell. It was

nothing she did. Like her ensouling Angel years before,

she had simply started too late. Willow finished the

spell just in time to see Kennedy torn to bloody shreds

when the swarm Turok-han found their hidey hole.

In an instant, Willow felt despair. For the Turok'han to

have found her hiding place, they had to get past Buffy

and the others. That meant Buffy, Xander, Giles, and

everyone else she knew was dead. True, ever potential

Slayer in the world was now activated... but none of them

were HERE.

As the neander-vamps pounced on Willow, the young witch

reached deep into her connection with the Earth and

pulled out all the stops.

In the following days, the destruction of Sunnydale would

be blamed on terrorists who had smuggled a nuclear weapon

onto American soil. Why a nearly empty backwater was

nuked instead of nearby Los Angeles was a mystery that

would be endlessly speculated over.

But it was not the only thing speculated over. There was

the Miracle. A survivor had been pulled out of what was

practically ground zero: a young woman with hair that had

been bleached white by the explosion.

***

"Hi, Dawn," the visitor said as she appeared from out of

literally nowhere. "Welcome to the Outside." The visitor

was one of the Powers that Be. Somehow, the Key was very

sure of that. What was surprising was that she new this

particular Power.

"Cordelia?" the Key exclaimed in surprise. "What are you

doing here? For that matter, where's here?"

"Well, let's answer your last question first," Cordelia

replied. She ticked off one of her fingers. "One, we're

quite literally between the walls of dimensions. It's

like those spaces in houses where Jerry the Mouse lives."

"There are mice here?" the Key asked, looking around. She

saw nothing else.

"Sure, and rats and bugs and all sorts of icky crawly

things," Cordelia told her with a shudder. "But they stay

away from things that can squash them like... well, bugs.

That would be us by the way."

"Cool," the Key said, relieved.

"Oh, and if it helps, it's okay for you to think of

yourself as 'Dawn' if it helps," Cordelia suggested.

"Okay," the Ke... Dawn replied.

"Now then," Cordelia began, then stopped. She looked down

at her own hands. "Uh, where was I?"

***

"I am Polethemus of Byzantium," the immortal proclaimed,

not drawing his weapon.

"Hi, nice to meetcha. I'm Xander Harris of Sunnydale,"

Xander replied, drawing his sword from the folds of his

long coat. "Maybe you've heard of it? Turned into the

world's biggest pothole yesterday. I shoulda been there

to help my friends."

Feeling the other immortal nearby, Xander had ducked into

a nearby warehouse, Odd how Oxnard seemed to have alot of

them.

"I would offer my condolences," Polethemus said with a

mocking smile, "...but I'd be lying."

"Yeah, yeah, you're all heart," Xander replied. "So are

we gonna trade insults all day or are you going to

challenge me? Cuz the way I'm feeling right now, taking

your head ought to relieve some tension."

"Oh, but the witty banter is such fun," Polethemus told

Xander jovially, "but if you insist," He drew an Uzi from

his own coat and emptied half the clip into Xander's

chest, "I challenge."

***

"What are you doing here?" Dawn prompted.

"Oh, right! Thanks," Cordelia said brightly. "Anyway,

what I'd like to say is that the other Powers thought it

might be a good idea that a familiar face helped you get

used to..." she waved vaguely at their surroundings,

"...this."

"But? I hear a 'but' in there somewhere."

"Yeah, there is," Cordelia admitted. "See, I'm kinda like

a Power that Be intern. 'Go get that, Cordy'. 'Take this

head-splitting vision to some poor sap, Cordy'. 'Ferry

this senior Power back to the mortal world so that you

can be a passenger in your own body, Cordy'. And here I

thought Ascending to a higher plane would be different."

"Not all it's cracked up to be, huh?" Dawn sympathized.

"You said it, kiddo," Cordelia agreed. "Would it be too

much to ask if I could get Daniel's deal. He got to look

in on his friends from time to time."

"Who's Daniel?"

"Some science geek. Used to wear glasses before he

Ascended while playing Spock," Cordelia replied absently

before going to back to her rant. "Y'know, the only

reason I can fit in here with you is that my body got

left behind on the lower worlds. That was so not fair."

***

"How are you doing this?" demanded the vampire Buffy.

"You're a spirit! A shadow! You shouldn't have that much

solidity let alone that much strength."

"Oh, I'm not just some garden variety ghost, sister," the

ghostly Buffy replied confidently as she stode toward

herself. A quick morph and suddenly she was Kendra. "I've

been building strength ever since I died." Another morph

and she was Nikki Wood. "I am the force that gives the

Slayers their power, jumping from one to another as each

dies, each one's strength added to my own." A shift and

she was a grinning Faith. "Wicked cool, huh?"

"You might not have noticed, but there are no more

Slayers or Slayer wannabes. You won't be able to hold

onto all that power without a physical vessel," vampBuffy

pointed out smugly. "And I can wait you out. By the way,

does the First know you stole that trick?"

"Hey, the First Evil can sue me," the spirit of Slayerdom

replied as she changed into the First Slayer. "But there

is a vessel that can hold me."

"Really?" vampire Buffy said skeptically. "Where?"

"Right here!" snarled the spirit as she slunged her a

hand deep into the vampire's torso and shifted back to

Buffy. "I want my body back, you bitch!"

***

"So you're here to keep me company?" Dawn asked.

"Not really," Cordelia sighed. "I'm just messenger girl.

Again. I really need a new line of work."

"So, you're here to give me a message?" Dawn guessed.

"Yup," Cordelia confirmed. "The Powers have something

that only you, as the Key, are capable of doing."

"Me? What can I do that they can't?" Dawn asked.

"Well, you could bring the whole multiverse crashing down

on itself like the Twin Towers," Cordelia replied. "But

that's not what they have in mind."

"Whoa, really?"

"Really," Cordelia confirmed. "Glory didn't know what she

was messing with."

"So what do they want me to do?" Dawn asked.

***

"Hi, Willow, can we come in?"

"Riley. Sam. Sure, come on in," Willow replied to her

visitors. She had been crying, obviously grieving for her

lost friends.

"We came to see how you were doing," Riley said as he

and his wife sat by Willow's hospital bed. He had the

decency to be embarrassed as he added, "And, um, to find

out what happened in Sunnydale."

"I'll be okay," Willow whispered. The louder, "It was the

same old thing, a Sunnydale Apocalypse." She decided to

change the topic to something else before she broke down

again. "Where were you guys? Buffy tried to contact you,

but you were out of contact."

"The Yucatan," Riley replied. "Someone was trying to

start an Apocalypse of the classic kind by raising the

dead all over the world as flesh eating zombies."

"Wow, an Apocalypse of your very own," Willow mused, a

tremor in her voice. This was not a subject she wanted to

dwell on. "There seems to be alot of that going around."

"You sure you're okay?" Sam asked, concerned.

"It's just..." Willow began., then burst into tears.

"It's all my fault!"

***

"Keep in mind that in your current state, you're an

eternal being that's been around since time began,"

Cordelia began. "That means you're subject to certain

rules."

"Oh, joy," Dawn scowled.

"Don't get snarky yet," Cordelia remonstrated. "You'll

get plenty of time and reason later. Just listen for

now. Where was I?"

"Rules."

"Right. Anyway," Cordelia continued, "While you CAN pull

deus ex machina shenanigans on the lower worlds, so can

the other side. So if 'Good'" here Cordelia raised her

fingers in the universal gestures of quote marks, "does

something directly, the baddies can do the same. This has

worked out into a tit for tat kind of deal."

"Tit for tat?" Dawn asked, not quite following.

"Sure, it's like this," Cordelia said, thinking about

examples to illustrate her point. "Okay, if the First

pulls a souled vampire out of a hell to use for his own

nefarious purposes, then the Powers that Be can pull a

snowstorm out of nowhere to save his sorry self when he

tries to commit suicide by sunrise. Or if a Slayer gets

resurrected by the good guys, the bad guys are free to

off all the Slayers in Waiting 'cuz the Slayer succession

is obviously worthless now."

"Okay, I get it," Dawn said quickly before Cordelia could

pull any more examples from her life. Or was it lives?

"And the Powers want ME to do something like this? What's

the other side going to do?"

"I dunno," Cordelia admitted. "Both sides like to save up

their deus ex machinas until they can be used to their

best advantage."

"Oh. that is sooo not comforting."

***

Hit by bullets at full auto, Xander reeled back into the

shadows that filled the warehouse. He fell behind a crate

and momentarily disappeared from view.

Full of arrogant confidence, Polethemus strolled around

the crate to behead the immortal and take his quickening.

He was shocked to discover there was no body lying where

there should be one. In fact, there wasn't even any

blood.

"What the..." he began.

"Y'know, Polly, it never ceases to amaze me," Xander's

voice said, coming from somewhere in the shadows. "Alot

of immortals consider guns to be cheating. Me? I was

raised in the modern world."

"How..." Polethemus began again.

"Kevlar vest with embedded steel plate reinforcement,"

Xander replied to Polethemus' partially formed question.

"Anyway, if an immortal wants to challenge me with a

sword, that's fine; I'll meet him with a sword. However,

if an immortal prefers guns..."

A click was all the warning Polethemus had before he was

riddled with automatic fire. Unlike Xander, he wasn't

wearing body armor.

"...I'm happy to oblige," Xander concluded as he stepped

out of the shadows. He secreted his own Mac10 under his

coat and pulled his sword back out. "Why is it that

immortals like you never expect other immortals to carry

guns?" He raised his sword. "Oh by the way, there can be

only one."

***

"Relax, Dawn," Cordelia reassured her. "This time it's

the bad guys who went first."

"Oh, okay," Dawn said, relaxing. "So what do you want me

to do?"

"Get the Scooby Gang back together."

"Okay, I, uh, huh?" Dawn looked at Cordelia in confusion.

"Which Scooby Gang? I kinda remember alot of different

versions of them and I'm sure there's more."

"Relax, we got it covered," Cordelia told her. "You see,

we get the most powerful version of each Scooby we can

find and deposit them in striking distance of the Big

Bad we want them to take on."

"Okay. Um, how do I do that?" Dawn asked, uncertain.

"Here, let me show you what to do. Start by..."

***

Alive. That wasn't what she quite expected. When she had

retaken her old body, millenia of accumalated power had

apparently reanimated her body while driving out the

demon. She could feel that most of that power still

remained. Buffy wondered what she ought to do with her

life now.

But first, she decided to pay her respects to her old

friends. It hurt to watch them die again, unable to

intervene until her other self had closed the temporal

loop. She laid their bodies out as best she could before

she buried them. Then picking up the Scythe, Buffy

struck several strategic blows, bringing the remains of

the school down on top of them.

As she departed, The First Evil appeared to Buffy, still

wearing her own appearance.

"You think you've won?" the First asked.

"Y'know, if this is the cliched speech about getting me

next time, save it," Buffy replied. "And get your own

look. That one's taken."

"Whatever," the First said, shrugging. "Still, no more

Slayers in this world. I call that a win."

"There's me," Buffy pointed out.

"You sure?" the First asked.

A glowing green mist crackling with arcing lightning

enveloped Buffy before she could reply. For long moments,

she couldn't see a thing. Then the mist cleared and she

was looking at herself again. Only, her other self had

Willow colored hair and was wearing a hideous shade of

purple.

"Wow, Daphne!" exclaimed the blond hottie next to Buffy's

almost mirror image. "She looks just like you!"

***

Willow felt it an instant before it arrived. Whatever it

was felt... familiar, friendly even. Perhaps that was why

she let it snatch her up. She was certain that had she

tried, she could have stopped that whatever-it-was. She

just didn't feel too motivated to try.

The next thing she knew, she was in Wonderland. And this

place fit Lewis Carroll's description to Wonderland to

a tee. There were still a few surprises.

Willow was being roughly manhandled by vampires dressed

as playing cards. All the other card soldiers were

vampires too. In quick succession, she identified Buffy

as Alice, Xander as the King of Hearts, Anya in a white

rabbit suit, and even Giles as the Cheshire cat. And then

there was the most disturbing one of all.

"How dare she look like me!" Willow's twin shouted

indignantly. Her tiara and gown was red, black, and white

decked out with hearts. Those weren't not Valentine-style

hearts, but the literal organs fresh from the body.

The feel of magic here was so alien. Willow wondered if

she would be able to defend herself.

***

When Xander opened his eyes after the Quickening ended,

he found himself no longer in the Oxnard warehouse. He

was... somewhere else.

The first thing he noticed were the guns. There were alot

of them of the military rifle variety. There were also a

pair of gun turrets sporting what appeared to be heavy

.50 caliber machine guns. All of these were pointed at

him.

Next thing his mind registered was that these guns were

all being handled by guys in military fatigues. There was

an observation window set in the concrete wall behind

them. Inside, he could make out more military beople,

although those guys were wearing dress uniforms.

He barely noticed the blue glow coming from behind him.

The guns in front seemed way more important.

Acutely aware that he was standing on a raised ramp with

both arms held high and a bloody sword in one hand,

Xander said the first thing that came to mind.

"I come in peace?" he said weakly. The soldiers were not

impressed.

Something went gloomp behind him, followed by more. A

soldier tumbled past him on his left. Another, this one

had a vaguely feminine figure on his right; her head was

bare of any hair, but there was some kind of mottled

pattern across the skin.

The third soldier coming behind Xander tackled him and

they went down in a heap. They came to a stop at the foot

of the ramp where the soldiers with the guns were.

Xander also got a good look at the guy who tackled him.

It was like looking at the spitting image of himself.

"Aw, not again!" they both said at the same time.

***

"Oops," was Dawn's only comment.