Disclaimer: This is a derivative work. All BtVS characters
belong to or were created by Joss Whedon, and Mutant Enemy. Warner
Bros. now owns all things Scooby. Not sure who owns Stargate at this
Spoilers: Buffy seasons 1 thru The Wishverse. Stargate - concepts. Scooby - the movies.
Summary: In a very AU Wishverse, Buffy encounters a Chappa'ai and a friend of Scooby Doo.
Pairing: None to start with.
Author's Notes: This is very AU for the three fandoms involved. How AU will be revealed as the story progresses. I'm not really sure how this will turn out. Or when.
Special Thanks: To shanejayell for permission to use/reference Arisugawa's Locket in this story.
Word count: 2,333 (1 of 10)
Glaring at the back of the Watcher's head, Buffy counted backwards from one hundred in Russian. Twice. It didn't help. Much. She could still feel her anger simmering just below the surface. Clenching her hands tightly, she started breathing slowly and deeply while trying to think of something else. Like her plans to finally visit that club the next time she saw it.
She'd seen it several times while traveling on Council business, but she'd never been brave enough to do more than nod at whomever was guarding the door that night. There was something special about it, not just the original name, Arisugawa's Locket. She wasn't sure how they managed it but she suspected it was the same club, even though she'd been in a different city each time, but nothing demonic registered with her slayer senses so she'd never mentioned it to anyone at the Council. It was a mystery of her own that she planned to solve some day.
Buffy shook her head. It was bad enough that she was out in the middle of nowhere wearing a dress supplied by the busybodies in Quentin Travers' office. In some putrid shade of purple no less. With a purse to match the high heeled boots that only her over developed sense of balance enabled her to walk in. She suspected someone in his office had been watching too many Avenger episodes. Emma Peel she was not.
No, it wasn't just the location or outfit that was having her give serious thought to the idea of throwing something heavy at the Watcher. On an apparent whim, he'd shown up at her hotel and had proceeded to rearrange her evening, in the process making her future much more difficult.
She normally avoided State dinners and other Council diplomatic functions but Quentin Travers had insisted that she represent Her Majesty's DMN Groupe Seven at the opening reception for the annual DMN sponsored strategy meetings between the NSA, MI6, the DGSE, and SVR at the British Embassy in Washington. Not being in the middle of an apocalypse she'd been unable to refuse. He certainly wouldn't be happy if she wasn't there for him to show off.
Most of the people at the reception might not know that Groupe Seven was actually just a front for the Council of Watchers, but they would recognize her as one of Groupe Seven's top agents. As much as it galled Travers, her presence added a much needed air of legitimacy to the proceedings whenever she attended.
When she was younger she would have suspected making her attend the reception to be some form of punishment but she'd learned over the years that Travers wasn't that subtle. If Quentin asked her to attend some social function, he usually had a good reason. Although he was constantly testing her compliance to Council orders, his idea of punishment was to send her off on an almost guaranteed suicide mission. He seemed to find some perverse pleasure in her reactions to almost impossible tasks. She'd managed to survive so far, the first slayer in centuries to last so long, but eventually he would send her on a mission she wouldn't return from.
And now the Watcher had decided that some prophecy he'd dug up out of some musty old book was more important than the plans of the Head of the Council. And the most likely result would be an annoyed Travers assigning him as her Watcher as punishment. For him, not her. While being the Watcher to the current slayer had once been considered an honor, Buffy was well aware of the affect her reputation as the Black Widow Slayer had on possible Watcher candidates.
Buffy remembered them all but some stuck with her more than others. Her first Watcher, Merrick, had been the first to die while under her protection. He was also the one she regretted the most. He'd been brusk and overbearing but he'd cared, unlike the one in Cleveland who'd sent her off to the Sunnydale Hellmouth unprepared for the scope of the infestation she'd found there. That a bad dose of karma had caught up with him while she was in Sunnydale had been only marginally satisfying.
She'd averaged a Watcher a year in her first decade as the Slayer. Very few of them had died but that had been more luck on their part than anything they'd intentionally done. None of them had escaped intact. Those who didn't die spent months in hospital recovering. On her more paranoid days she suspected it was a curse, but there wasn't any way to prove it.
When it started looking like someone in the Council had noticed and was assigning Watchers to her as a way of purging some of the more incompetent or difficult Watchers from their ranks, she'd put a stop to it by refusing to accept anyone else in that capacity. She just wished she'd become aware of it a lot sooner. Ethan Rayne hadn't been a particularly ethical Watcher but he certainly hadn't deserved to die like that.
She hadn't been any more suicidal than normal when she'd gone up against the Master, but she hadn't really expected to survive. Some days she was even grateful to the Watcher. If he hadn't cast that illusion spell, when she'd confronted the Master her death would have been real. As it was, she'd spent over a month in a Council hospital ward after his White Hats dragged her out of the Master's lair. But she didn't want him becoming the next victim of her curse. Even if in the years since Sunnydale he'd managed to drag her into more than one situation they'd both been barely lucky to survive.
Attending events such as the reception she was close to missing, and becoming a more visible presence in the Council, were part of the price she paid for the autonomy to refuse being assigned a Watcher. Sure, as she moved from place to place on Council orders, she'd had to learn a lot of the things on her own that a watcher was supposed to teach her or do for her. But it was worth it even if there were some things beyond her ability to understand. Like this thing.
"What is it?" she asked, looking up at the large grey metallic ring, the rough growl of her voice a permanent reminder of her encounter with the Master. The Council doctors continued to claim her voice would eventually recover, but she'd given up hope that it would be any time before her death. As smart as the Council doctors were supposed to be, most slayers rarely survived long enough to give them any idea how slayer healing truly worked. She was lucky to be able to speak at all after the damage the Master had done to her throat when he'd failed to snap her neck.
"I believe it's a 'Chappa'ai'," he told her. "There are references to it in copies of several early Council manuscripts. It's reputed to be a portal to a demon dimension."
"What's it doing here?" She gestured towards the door of the large crate filled warehouse where a trio of military guards watched them suspiciously. "Shouldn't it be in a Council vault somewhere?"
"Spoils of war," he said, stepping closer and gazing intently at it. "It was discovered on the Giza plateau in 1928 by a DMN funded researcher. Rommel took it back with him to Berlin. The Americans claimed it and brought it here after the war."
"Why are we here now?" she asked impatiently, looking at her watch, hoping the blatant hint would speed him up so she could get to the reception before it ended.
"We have been asking the Americans to return it for over sixty years. They recognize our claim but seem to prefer that it remain here. Travers wants to know if it has any real value or should be in a museum," he told her, running his fingers along one of the inscriptions on its inner edge.
"So it's a bargaining chips in one of his petty power games," Buffy muttered.
"Quite," he said.
"And you told him you'd check it out? I thought you avoided getting involved in his little power trips?" Buffy asked, remembering more than one occasion where he'd managed to disappear seconds before Travers arrived.
"There's a prophecy," he said, taking off his glasses and cleaning them.
"A good one?" She sighed at the look he gave her. "It doesn't hurt to be positive," she told him. "What's it say?"
"I haven't finished translating it yet," he told her. "It's in an odd combination of several old human languages."
"But it mentions this thing," she said reaching out a hand. The ring seemed to vibrate under her fingers.
"Yes." He pulled out a small magnifying glass and started examining the symbols etched into its surface.
"What else do we know about it?" There had to be more to it than that to justify dragging her out here, she thought.
"There's an old story," he said absently as he examined it. "A slayer discovers her gods are really snake demons and chases them through a large stone ring. She called the ring a 'Chappa'ai'. The Council's official position is that it's just another myth."
"And you think this is that ring?" Buffy asked. "What's the rush?"
"There are rumors that the Russians discovered a similar ring in Siberia last year. The American military has been studying this off and on for the last two decades but they've finally decided to take it seriously. A truck is picking it up tomorrow and taking it to a more secure facility."
"Why do you need me for this?" she asked. "I don't know anything about centuries old circular objects that you can't kill people with."
He shrugged noncommittally. "Just a feeling. And it's much older than that. It's at least as old as the pyramids."
Sighing, Buffy grabbed a chair and placed it off to the side. She'd learned years ago, during the first post-Sunnydale trip he'd dragged her along on, that his feelings shouldn't be dismissed. Slipping off her boots, and sitting as carefully as she could to avoid rumpling her dress, Buffy watched as he methodically took impressions of all of the symbols he could reach.
"Wouldn't a picture work just as well?" she asked, hoping to speed him up.
"No," he bluntly told her.
She felt it first. The air around the ring started to glow and the ground began to vibrate. "What'd you do?" she asked, quickly pulling on her boots and getting out of her chair. A low background hum joined it as part of the ring started to move.
"Do? Nothing," he mumbled, turning to look at her.
Looking over his should at the ring, Buffy frowned. The air was starting to sparkle. She reacted without thinking. It took her three steps and two seconds to reach him. Still moving, she wrapped an arm around his waist and launched them off to the side, away from the ring. As they flew through the air, in a leap worth of an Olympic athlete, Buffy twisted so that she took most of the force of the landing herself.
She lay there for a minute, the Watcher's breathing loud in her ears, the distinctive smell of tweed overpowering. Releasing her grip, she rolled away from him and sat up. She was going to have a wonderful collection of bruises in the morning, she thought. Hearing rapid footsteps, she looked up and saw the guards cautiously approach.
"A little warning would have been helpful," the Watcher said, groaning as he stood up. Offering her a hand, he pulled her to her feet.
"No time," Buffy told him, staring at the ring. It stared back at them like a huge eye, the blue center rippling like a pond in a light breeze. The crisp smell of ozone was overpowering. "Did you see what happened?"
"I was too busy being tackled," he grumbled. "Did any of you see anything?" he asked, looking at the guards staring warily at the ring.
"There was a flash of light," the closest one volunteered in a low voice. "And steam shot out right were you were standing."
Buffy watched the ring, only peripherally aware of the others. A dead mythical portal to a demon dimension was one thing. An obviously active portal was another. She suspected anything coming through the portal was her responsibility. It was bound to be in her job description somewhere.
She wasn't defenseless. A slayer never travelled unarmed. But the thin stake stuck in her hair like a pin, and the small knives hidden in her boots wouldn't do much good if a large demon came through the portal. Even the pistols the guards carried wouldn't stop anything bigger than a rabid hamster. She just hoped one of them had called for help before rushing over. And wished that she'd paid more attention to her instincts earlier and brought something large and pointy.
And then something orange stepped through the portal. A short, gaunt faced woman dressed like something out of a kiddie cartoon in a short, dark orange skirt, ragged orange knee socks, and an orange sweater. If this was a demon, it had gotten lost on the way to Sesame Street, was her first thought.
Large brown eyes behind large square glasses looked wildly around for a few seconds before locking on her own. They seemed to stare straight into her soul.
"Daphne? You came for me?" the woman asked, before her eyes slowly scanned her surroundings. "This isn't my lab," she said, almost too low to hear.
Before Buffy could respond, the woman's eyes rolled back and she fainted. Just barely managing to grab her before her head hit the cement floor, but too late to save her glasses, Buffy looked over at the Watcher and asked "Who the hell is Daphne?"