Walking in the Shadows 30

Faith was warmly welcomed by the Scoobies. In fact, she was so warmly welcomed it was several hours before she managed to recover enough to ask any questions.

"So you guys were basically the last survivors, hiding over the Hellmouth, when Xander made some wishes and boom, here you are?" Faith asked to make sure she had it right once they explained.

"Yes, how about you?" Willow asked, the naked redhead snuggled firmly into Faith's side. All the Scoobies turned to listen to the answer.

Faith was feeling pretty mellow, and normally she'd put on her bad girl persona and push everyone away, but then she thought about how she'd gotten here. "I'm Faith... the vampire slayer," she told them. "Where you are and why you're here is even more unbelievable." Faith proceeded to lay out everything from how she'd ended up here, to where here was. It took hours to cover and the Scoobies listened with many of them apologizing for their alternate's actions and promising to make them up to her.

"We're free!" Amy and Harmony cheered, swinging each other around.

"No more monsters," Buffy said happily.

"We're in a demi-plane created by a godlike alternate of Xander in the back of his car," Giles said. "We'll have to see what properties are nearby and take stock of our resources."

"Can I get pregnant?" Harmony asked, causing everyone to pause and turn towards Giles.

"That will have to wait until we have a guaranteed food supply and medical supplies and training," Giles said. "Once we have those things taken care of, then we can look forward to more than just living day to day and plan for an actual future."

"You guys don't want to leave?" Faith asked, surprised.

"This is our home," Cordelia said.

"Except for the constant threat of death, I've been happier here than at any other point in my life," Jonathan said, giving Joyce a squeeze.

"We have gone from fighting for our lives to having our very own free love, hippie, commune," Buffy said. "Even if we could turn back time... I wouldn't. Not that I wanted the world to die, but... you know."

"I hear ya," Faith said. "It must be nice to have some place to belong and know you're surrounded by people who care."

"Wanna join our commune?" Willow asked hopefully.

"I - I have a duty," Faith said with a sigh. "And seeing you all like this makes me appreciate it all the more. I fight so other people can have a future, so they can have lives like this."

"I wi-" Buffy bit off what she'd been about to say. "You are a whole lot wiser than me," she said. "I didn't realize any of that 'til it was no longer possible for me to do it."

"Can you find your way back?" Joyce asked.

"I don't know," Faith admitted.

"The Xander doing the world hopping thing is lost," Xander pointed out, "so if you can't find him before he skips worlds..."

"Satellite scry?" Amy suggested.

"Good idea," Willow agreed.

"I'll provide grounding," Giles offered.

"What's satellite scry?" Faith asked as Willow got up to join Amy and Giles in the center of the room.

"It's like sending up a satellite and looking down on the surrounding area," Jonathan explained as the three joined hands and began chanting.

A bubble of light formed above the chanting trio, showing the room and everyone in it. After a few seconds the view pulled back to show the whole of the school, then a couple of miles of blackness surrounding them, and finally a full circle of a hundred miles in all directions from them.

"I'm seeing... three porno shops with connected business'," Harmony noted as she examined different bubbles in the darkness.

"I have a major store and a public library," Joyce said as she scanned them as well.

"Is that... Disneyland?!" Xander asked in shock.

"What are these little green guys?" Jonathan asked.

"House elves," Faith said as the spell broke, putting two and two together.

"Well, that certainly makes things easier," Giles said as they dropped the spell.

"Looks like you're stuck with us," Cordelia said cheerfully.

"Welcome home, Faith," Willow said with a smile, offering her a hug.

The library was dusty, Faith decided as she was the center of a group hug and her eyes started watering... from all the dust in the air.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Xander looked around what was essentially a blacksmith shop and rubbed his hands together.

"Built it all myself," Cyborg said proudly. "I wanted to go caveman and work from the ground up."

"It's like the evolution of metal," Xander said, looking around at the old fashioned forge and the small, high-temperature foundry next to it.

"Is this enough?" Raven asked intently.

"Should be fine," Xander assured her. "I don't suppose you have any bits of magic monster you killed personally?"

"Is that important?" Raven asked.

"By about a factor of sixteen," Xander told her. "If we use magical material that you gained through battle then I can use runes of power that normally require human sacrifice to empower."

"Without the sacrifice?" Raven asked, keeping calm through force of will.

"Exactly!" Xander agreed. "The warrior has to personally battle to collect the materials and charge them with magic and their own blood. Most mages seem to be lazy bastards who would rather just sacrifice people than do their own shopping."

"This is like a quest, isn't it?" Beast Boy asked. Raven rolled her eyes.

"It kinda is," Xander said after a moment's thought. "All the real work is being done by Raven. I'm just... rearranging matter while all the mystical things are done by her."

"Cool!" Beast Boy and Cyborg chorused.

"We need a list of magical creatures we can hunt and kill," Xander said. "Preferably nothing intelligent or good. Look for something the locals would celebrate the death of."

"Would aliens count? Alien creatures, I mean," Starfire corrected herself, eager to help.

"Beings of power," Xander said. "Alien could work, I've never tried it."

"I'll contact Zatanna," Robin offered. "That and searching League files should give us a good sized database to work with."

"We need to talk about your powers and nail down some variables," Xander told Raven. "The more precise we can be, the better."

"And us?" Beast Boy and Cyborg asked.

"Keep Sirius out of trouble while we work out the details," Xander suggested.

The trio turned to Sirius who was twirling his wand. "What?"

Gotham City

Batman tugged at the cables holding him in place while a razor sharp pendulum swung back and forth over him, getting closer with every swing. If something would just distract the Joker for a few seconds, he could slip his emergency escape packet number seven out of his right glove and get loose, allowing him to deactivate the timer on the remote that would flood Gotham Stadium with Joker Gas.

"Come on, Batman, live a little," the green haired killer said cheerfully. He gestured towards the joint monitor showing the stadium and the two teams playing. "Here I invite you to my abandoned warehouse to watch the big game with me and you aren't even paying attention to the score. I'm pretty sure it's going to go into sudden death overtime though. In fact, I made a rather large bet on it." The Joker burst out laughing, which his henchmen dutifully joined in.

"I didn't know you were in to fixing sports, Joker," Batman said, rotating his right wrist and twitching his ring finger to shift a trigger in his glove.

"A man's gotta make a living and all these props and henchmen are expensive," the Joker said seriously. "Did you know I have to pay dental for these guys now? Union rules. And people call me a criminal."

"Mistah J., sudden death overtime doesn't mean everyone dies during overtime," Harley told him, shaking her head.

"It doesn't?" the Joker asked, surprised.

*BEEP*BEEP*

A red, double-decker bus came out of the darkness and ran the clown over before vanishing into the night.

"Mistah J!" Harley screamed, rushing to the flattened felon, trying to make sure he was alright, her medical training coming in handy.

Batman laid a hand on her shoulder, having gotten loose and knocked out some two dozen henchmen and deactivated the remote while she was helping the Joker.

"Why'd you hit him with a bus?!" Harley demanded.

"I didn't," Batman said. "I was tied up, remember?"

"You don't have a remote 'Hit-them-with-a-bat-bus' device?" she asked suspiciously.

"That was a regular bus," Batman pointed out.

"Oh yeah," she said thoughtfully. "If you had done it, it'd have been black and have bat logos on it."

Batman decided not to argue the point. "An ambulance is on its way."

"Who won?" the Joker moaned, barely conscious.

"It was sudden death overtime. Metropolis won with a last second conversion," Batman replied, having tracked the game from the corner of his eye.

"You won, puddin'!" Harley assured the Joker.

"Good. See you at Christmas," the Joker told Batman before passing out.

"Joy," Batman deadpanned, mentally searching through his list of British villains to figure out who would go through the trouble of bringing an old fashioned double-decker bus all the way from England to run over the Joker with, or if it was a ruse to throw him off the track.

He was also wishing he hadn't made that bet with Clark and wondering what forfeit Clark would ask for. Hopefully he could distract him by offering to donate money to his favorite charity. He was not going to play Santa at the League Christmas party again!

Seeing Batman deep in thought, Harley simply walked out. Since she wasn't trying to be sneaky about it, Batman didn't even notice.

Typing by: Ordieth