Walking in Shadows
"This isn't Hogwarts," Sirius said as he looked out the window.
"Yeah, my mind wandered off while you were describing what a lady killer you were for the dozenth time," Xander admitted.
"So… where are we?" Sirius asked.
"No idea," Xander replied with a shrug. "Your story was so dull I'm surprised I didn't fall asleep and crash into a mountain."
"It wasn't that bad," Sirius defended himself thinking he may have overdone it just a tiny bit. "And you don't need to worry about running into anything; we've enchanted and charmed the car way beyond the sentience line even without taking that life gem into account."
"Like the carpets?"
"Pretty much," Sirius agreed. "Since we didn't take any precautions to avoid it, it's pretty much guaranteed. So don't worry, the car won't accidentally run into anything."
A red haired woman with brown feathered wings was plastered against the windshield. They stared in shock for a minute.
"Try the wipers," Sirius suggested.
Xander groaned and quickly brought the car in for a landing. Getting out he quickly checked to make sure she was ok. "Please tell me you're alight," he begged, recognizing where they were as Wonder Woman landed nearby.
"What happened?" she demanded angrily.
"We were just flying an invisible car and she came out of nowhere!" Sirius exclaimed.
Wonder Woman winced, her anger fading quickly. "I used to have an invisible jet, so I know how these things happen."
"Let me make sure she's okay," Sirius said pulling out his wand and casting a couple of diagnostic charms. "Wow, she's tough! Nothing broken or even sprained!"
"I did say I used to have an invisible jet," Wonder Woman hinted.
"What?" Sirius asked confused.
"Hide the car!" Xander said anxiously.
The car's engine revved and it quickly reversed, dumping Hawkgirl into Wonder Woman's arms before it took to the air and vanished.
The three stood there in silence.
"Diana, you just scared off my car," Xander said in shock.
"Told you it had passed the sentience level," Sirius said proudly.
"What happened?" Hawkgirl asked, regaining consciousness.
"You fell," Sirius replied innocently as possible.
"What?" she asked, rubbing her head as Wonder Woman put her down.
"You landed on the windshield of a car," Sirius said.
"Where's the car?" Hawkgirl asked as she noticed the four of them were standing by the side of the road outside Metropolis.
"No idea," Sirius replied truthfully.
"Who are you two?" Hawkgirl asked wondering what exactly was going on. "You didn't replace your invisible jet did you?" she suddenly asked Wonder Woman.
"I was flying with you when you… fell," she reminded the angry red head.
"Sirius Black," the nervous wizard introduced himself.
"What are you?" Hawkgirl asked suspiciously.
"Wizard," he replied cautiously, since Xander seemed to know them.
"Relax Sirius, they don't burn magic users at the stake here," Xander assured him.
"Burning at the stake is fine, it's the torture and execution I object to," Sirius replied.
"How is burning at the stake fine?" Xander asked confused.
"I know the flame freezing charm," Sirius explained. "Flames tickle but that's all."
"Well magic users aren't persecuted unless they commit crimes here," Xander assured him.
"And you?" Hawkgirl asked Xander intently.
"Xander Harris…" Xander trailed off unsure what to say.
"Gigolo to Aphrodite," Sirius added cheerfully, happy to deflect attention from himself.
At the women's looks Xander backed up and help up his hands. "Not a gigolo, I don't charge. I'm a cleric of Aphrodite, alright?"
"I was unaware Aphrodite had any clerics outside Amazon lands, especially one so young," Wonder Woman said in surprise.
"I haven't been one long and I'm on a vacation at the moment," Xander explained.
"And which of you two bozos is the reason I fell out of the sky?" Hawkgirl asked thumping her mace against her hand.
"Probably my fault, but not on purpose," Xander said with a wince.
"Head or gut?" the winged woman asked cheerfully.
"Shayera!" Wonder Woman protested.
"Dealer's choice, but I get a hug first," Xander said firmly.
"I'd think after would me more appropriate," Hawkgirl replied. "I'm assuming it's a human thing to show there's no hard feelings."
"It's a Xander thing, and I'd rather be conscious when I hugged you, so before would be best."
"I wasn't going to hit you that hard," she told him.
"Hug first," Xander insisted opening his arms.
"Strange human customs," she muttered stepping forward and hugging him.
After a minute had passed and the two just stood there holding one another, anger forgotten, Sirius turned to see Wonder Woman's reaction and found her cleaning her nails. "You aren't going to ask?"
Wonder woman shook her head. "I've seen clerics of Aphrodite at work before."
It was another fifteen minutes before they stopped hugging.
"Better?" Xander asked.
"Much better," the winged woman said with a smile. "Now, head or gut?"
"What?!" Sirius exclaimed, though Wonder Woman seemed completely unsurprised.
"Either, neither or both," Xander replied lacing his fingers behind his head and closing his eyes.
"Both it is," she agreed. Her fist nailed him in the gut hard enough to about lift him off the ground and he was half bent over as she grabbed his ears and slammed her lips into his. Letting him loose a minute later she nodded in satisfaction. "You can live," she said before spreading her wings and flying off once more.
"Are you in pain?" Sirius asked.
Xander's brain slowly rebooted. "Pain? Why would I be in pain?"
"Because she hit you in the gut hard enough that I felt it?" Sirius asked.
"She hit me?" Xander asked.
"Cleric of Aphrodite," Wonder Woman reminded him. "Though I thought Eros was the one that did sexual healing."
"Him too," Xander replied shaking off the hormonal surge.
"Normally deities are far too jealous to share a worshiper, much less a cleric," Wonder Woman said.
"A healthy love of life leads to a healthy love life, and vice versa," Xander said.
"Well it was nice meeting you Xander and you Sirius, but I have to get back to work."
Xander waved as she flew off.
"Where are we?" Sirius asked, now that they were alone.
"A world of super heroes," Xander replied.
"That's some mug-mun-non magical thing?" he asked.
"Yeah," Xander agreed before looking around. "Dude, where's my car?"
Cissy circled the blue police box that had appeared in her dining room and then looked at the bottle in her hand. "This was a good year!"
"It got scared and split," Sirius said.
"I know that, I mean is there any easy way to find it?" Xander asked hopefully.
"Not with the defensive wards we've put on it," Sirius replied. "Our best bet is to just hang around somewhere and wait for it to either show up in the news or get lonely and return."
"Well, damn," Xander said. "Good thing I like this world. Guess we should find some place to hang out."
"Is there something wrong with that city?" Sirius asked, pointing to the enormous city that was clearly visible in the distance.
"That's Metropolis," Xander replied. "It's the home of Superman, which means it attracts major battles and alien overlords, not something I want to deal with while on vacation."
"We need a map," Sirius decided.
"Make us a carpet," Xander suggested. "We can find a gas station outside of Metropolis and get a map there."
"One with a ward to prevent flying people from crashing into it," Sirius agreed pulling out the last business card he'd taken from the pawn shop and adding some additional spells to his regular list for flying carpets.
Stepping on the carpet, Xander immediately noticed the difference as the slight breeze vanished as did the background buzzing of insects. Settling into a recliner around the blue flame campfire, he put his feet up. "I love these carpets."
Sirius grabbed a recliner next to his. "They are pretty cool," he agreed. "Follow the road," he ordered the carpet, which raised itself up to just above the power lines and glided beside them at a decent pace if slower than traffic.
"I need to make myself some sort of armor," Xander decided.
"Where did this come from?" Sirius asked, pulling a bag of marshmallows out of his pocket and conjuring some sticks.
Xander accepted a stick and started toasting a marshmallow. "While fun, this is a dangerous world," he explained. "Most of the places we go are dangerous in one way or another, but this one has people throwing energy blasts around like popcorn. A little proactive defense could save us a lot of pain."
"Dragon skin is probably a bit hard to find around here I'm guessing," Sirius said. "Come to think of it, most of our gear is in the car."
"Yeah, we'd have to improvise a lot," Xander agreed. "Fortunately this world is filled with new and exotic things to play with, like unique alloys, plants and animals from other planets."
"You know of something better than dragon hide?" Sirius asked.
"No idea," Xander admitted. "I suppose we could skin Solomon Grundy. He's a zombie strong enough to go toe to toe with Superman."
"Ick," Sirius said making a face. "I vote we don't skin people.
"And I second that," Superman announced appearing out of nowhere as only someone with super speed could.
Xander had expected something like this to happen so he didn't even flinch while Sirius yelped, changed into Padfoot and hid under his chair. "Solomon Grundy is a former person," Xander pointed out. "I'm also not positive he was once human."
"How do you mean?" Superman asked.
"A human corpse, even one filled with necromantic energy shouldn't have survived even a fraction of what his went through. It's more like he's… a creation of some other dimensional being who doesn't understand humans. He's an art piece of C'thulu, a still life with humanity."
"That makes a disturbing amount of sense," Superman admitted while Sirius crept out from under Xander's chair.
"Anyway, we are discussing possible armors better than dragon skin," Xander explained.
"So you aren't planning on skinning anyone?" Superman asked doubtfully, "And by that I mean anyone I would consider people."
"You've been hanging around Batman too long," Xander said. "Does Lobo count as a person?"
Superman paused in thought for a moment before replying, "Unfortunately."
"Think quadruped," Sirius encouraged. "Preferably scaled, though I hear Nemian lion was pretty good."
"Let's back up a bit," Superman said. "I'm here to find out who you are and what you're doing."
"It's because I'm black isn't it?" Sirius asked.
Xander groaned. "Sirius Black, Kal-El aka Superman. Your Black jokes are even less funny than your Sirius ones."
"Pleased to meet you," Sirius said, ignoring Xander and shaking Superman's hand.
"We are looking for a gas station so we can get a map to figure out where to go while we wait for my car to turn up," Xander explained.
"What does your car look like?" Superman asked.
"It's a blue 1973 Chevy Nova convertible with an expanded back seat," Xander replied. "It's self-aware, has the ability to fly and turn invisible as well as turn into a double-decker bus and a couple of legendary sailing ships while surrounded by an aura of cold and despair. Wonder Woman scared it, so it ran off."
Silence fell as Superman just stood there quietly for a minute. "I'll go find you a map," he finally said before vanishing.
"So who's he?" Sirius asked.
"Kal-El was sent to Earth by his father just before his planet exploded. Thanks to Earth's yellow sun he gained enough strength to kick Hercules' ass and a huge variety of other powers as well."
"Only one of his kind?" Sirius said sadly.
"A female Kryptonian was also sent by her father, but it turns out her mother was his mother's twin."
"So the only female of his kind is genetically his half-sister?" Sirius asked with a wince.
"Yep, though the government cloned her, doing an imperfect job so there's a female Kryptonian genetically different enough for him to have kids with," Xander explained.
"But she'd be just a kid," Sirius said.
"Partial brain scan of the other female and artificial aged to adult level; she's of age and mentally mature as well."
"But not genetically compatible," Superman said as he appeared once more, this time with a map. "The government didn't want to risk increasing the number of Kryptonians so they deliberately introduced a flaw in her DNA to prevent our having a child. We had a simulation run to see if it was possible."
"So the reason is definitely scientific and not magical?" Sirius asked.
Sirius waved a hand and Superman glowed blue for a moment. "Because now you can knock up anything female on the planet not protected against pregnancy by magic."
Superman stood speechless.
"And by anything female I mean anything! Just between you and me, centaurs, Naga, etc… get the picture?" Sirius said.
"And there is a really warped clone of him named Bizarro, but he's… more a version of him from a very different dimension than an actual clone. And last but not least, Lex Luthor managed to mix their DNA together to make a kid who goes by Superboy."
"What?" Superman asked in shock.
"So he has two fathers?" Sirius asked.
"Yeah, but he doesn't know about it yet. Lex is waiting to drop that bombshell on him until he can cause the most havoc with it. I say he should sue Lex for child support and abandonment."
"I've got to go," Superman said handing Xander the map and vanishing.
"You know, he didn't look like a poofter," Sirius said. "Though wearing his underwear on the outside is probably a local signal I don't know about."
Xander shook his head. "Lex got a sample of DNA and made the kid in a lab, neither one is gay, Lex is just an egomaniac."
"I didn't know muggles could do that," Sirius said in wonder.
"This is a comic book world, reality is a little more flexible, little is actually impossible. Now back to the map!"
"Gotham?" Sirius suggested after a minute studying the map.
"Dark and dreary, but has a startling amount of blimps for some reason," Xander said. "Plus a lot of insane mass murderers."
They spread the map on a table and Sirius pulled a tea set out of his pocket. Sirius winced at the amount of cream and sugar Xander put in his tea.
"How about there?" Sirius asked.
"Flash's hometown. Dozen supervillian attacks a day."
"Green Lantern's territory."
"Jump City?" Xander thought about it. "The Teen Titans are there, but the criminals are mostly low key. No mass murderers or take over the world schemes, for the most part anyway. I hear they also have the world's largest cheese wheel."
"Looks like we have a winner," the mage said cheerfully.
"We'll need some local currency," Xander said, figuring out various ways to make money. "That reparo charm is a gold mine, so that's not a huge problem."
"Jump City here we come!"
"Are you ok friend Raven?" Starfire asked.
"Just a chill," the black cloaked mystic replied rubbing her arms.
Typing by: The Last Primarch!