DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, Underworld and all characters used belong to Lakeshore Entertainment. The Magi, Mage: The Ascension, and all traditions I use belong to White Wolf publishing and the World of Darkness, Charmed and all characters mentioned and used belong to Aaron Spelling. Any other characters or universes that get dragged into this mess belong to their respective owners... nothing is mine, only the extremely twisted idea.
Avatar Alpha looked at the newest member of his group proudly, smiling as Cole Turner stood up, strong and confident in the penthouse suite where he had just been reborn. "You are one of us now. Come."
"Uh uh uh... Not so fast." Cole frowned over. "First I get my wife back once and for all." He said sternly.
"That's what you wanted?" Alpha asked incredulously with a laugh. "Even your new powers can't affect love."
"Maybe not." Cole nodded in acceptance, walking past Alpha and moving to look at the single photo he had of himself and Phoebe, back when times were good, back when she still loved him. "But I'm hoping it'll change the one event that lead to our downfall. The day that Phoebe met her new sister," Cole paused, turning back to look at Alpha. "The day the Charmed Ones were reconstituted."
"Go back in time?" Alpha asked, knowing that such a thing was possible but it was not something the Avatar's did lightly.
"No, better." Cole smiled wryly. "Undo what was to change what is. We were at our best, Phoebe and I, before Paige." He frowned, thinking about the times he spent with Phoebe back then, before the Source, before Paige, when everything had been perfect. "If they hadn't have found each other, we'd be married."
"You have no idea what you're getting into." Alpha said sternly, walking over to stand directly in front of Cole. "Changing the past to create an alternate reality has unforeseen consequences, even for you." He frowned, meddling with time was not something any Avatar liked to do, the unintentional consequences of a small act could become life changing over the course of years. "The ripple effect of even one small change could..."
"I don't care!" Cole shouted, interrupting Alpha's warning. "I am not spending another hundred birthdays without her."
Alpha just watched, knowing Cole couldn't be dissuaded from the action but knowing that he couldn't allow himself to be a part of such a drastic change in reality. Shaking his head slowly to show his disappointment he left Cole one last disapproving glance before fading out of existence in a black cloud of energy.
Cole took his time, organising his thoughts as he checked he was perfectly attired for the occasion, his fitted grey suit buttoned tightly as he turned back to the photo of himself and Phoebe, something to concentrate his mind on, before stretching his arms upwards and beginning to chant. "Magna Tempus, acriba acculus..." He focused every inch of his considerable power into the world around him as reality itself started to blur with energy.
Ethan Rayne knelt down reverently in front of the bust of Janus, his God, his lord, letting a smile cross his features as he smeared the sacrificial blood down his face and began to chant. "Janus, evoco vestram animam." He let a self-satisfied smirk grace his lips as he thought of the chaos tonight's changes would bring to the world. This ritual had been perfect, it had taken him years to find the correct ingredients, researching the correct wording and finding the perfect place where the dimensional walls were weak enough to call the original beings focused by his enchanted costumes through the dimensional void and lock them in place.
"Exaudi meam causam. Carpe noctem pro consilio vestro. Veni, appare et nobis monstra quod est infinita potestas." He grinned as the eyes on the bust started to glow with a sickly green light, the energy of the spell already taking on a life of its own and cracking through the room with pure power. "Persona se corpum et sanguium commutandum est. Vestra sancta praesentia concrescet viscera." He shouted the last; reaching his arms to the sky and feeling the damp blood on his face begin to drip down his neck as he screamed into the night. "Janus! Sume noctem!"
As the final words left his mouth he collapsed to the floor, the very act of pulling so many creatures and personalities through the dimensional rift known as the Hellmouth was draining, even for a practitioner of Chaos of his level of skill. His last sight was that of pure magic, pure power, being expelled from the bust of Janus in a wave, flooding out through the room and passing beyond its four walls out into the rest of Sunnydale.
As unconsciousness took him he could only smile at the thought of how much chaos would be unleashed, one night blessed to his God Janus, one night where his will was paramount.
Alpha had to reach out to grasp onto the grey circular table that was in the centre of the Avatar Sanctum, the feeling of loss had just ripped across him, he'd known when Cole had said he was going to alter the past there would be changes in the present, but all his quick calculations had shown that Cole would still be there, he would fail and would then be re-inducted into the Avatar circle.
This was different though, this wasn't what was supposed to have happened. The Avatar Sanctum existed outside of normal space and time, effects on the mortal realm should have had no repercussions here, letting go of the table he faded away from view, teleporting quickly back to Cole's penthouse suite to investigate what had actually happened.
"I told you that..." Alpha trailed off, the sight before him actually leaving him at a loss for words. The world was the same, the mortal realm had been unaffected by Cole's spell, which shouldn't have happened, Cole had
more than enough power now to make the simple change in the past he was focused on. Moving over to where he could see Cole's body lying on the floor he crouched down, holding his hand over the body and scanning it with a beam of white energy that emanated from his hand.
"What have you done?" Alpha demanded rhetorically, not really expecting an answer from the penthouse or from the mortal realm in general. The powers were gone, not just the Avatar powers that had been granted to him, but the multitude of powers Cole already possessed that had drawn them to him in the first place.
He moved his head slightly to the left as he checked with the other Avatars, none of the others had experienced a power loss due to Cole's spell, none of the others were reporting anything strange or different in the world, it was as if Cole had never been an Avatar at all.
"I warned you away from this," Alpha said as he stood up, his magical scan showing that not only had the powers been stripped from Cole's body, but his consciousness and soul as well. "We shall have to move on to our second choice." Alpha said as he teleported out again, fading back to the Avatar Sanctum to begin preparations for contacting the Whitelighter known as Leo.
"Interesting," Cole slowly drawled out as he looked around the scene that he'd found himself in, this was hardly what he'd been expecting when chanting the spell, the idea was to change reality so that he was with Phoebe, not change reality around him and still end up without her.
Strangely he had a fleeting memory of sitting down and eating ice cream with someone, a small girl, a mortal possibly. He shook the memory away for the moment as he looked around and tried to gauge his surroundings, there were small demons running around the streets quite unlike any species he'd ever encountered before, along with a few characters from TV shows like the ones Phoebe used to watch.
"Well, isn't this a turn up for a books." He smiled to himself as the overwhelming power of the Hellmouth came to his attention, flooding his body with warmth and a feeling of satisfaction. "Something has definitely
changed," He mused to himself as he tried to locate the source of the feeling, drawing on his instinct to find the source of the evil that was saturating this place.
Frowning for a second he brought his hand up, bringing his fingers open with a flourish as he created a small fireball to hold. "Very interesting." He mused as he banished the fireball quickly, closing his hand around it before returning the hand to his right pocket. His old powers were back, he was back as he had been before the Avatar's changed him, he wasn't quite sure what he was, but he was himself, not an Avatar.
He couldn't shake the feeling that something had changed though, not just about the world around him, but something profound as well. He was obviously still as he was before, the fireball had proven that, he wasn't an Avatar or back to being Belthazor, he was simply the same, but different somehow.
Walking forward down the street he concentrated on the source of the evil, moving with purpose as he started to shimmer towards its location.
He paused as he felt a presence behind him, turning quickly as he reformed himself back to where he had been, not wanting to shimmer out if there was a potential witness or threat to watch him. As he turned he readied himself for attack from whoever was behind him, half wondering if whoever it was actually had the power to vanquish him here in this new world.
"It's me, Willow!"
"Excuse me?" Cole asked simply, raising his eyebrow at the young redhead stood in front of him, she was wearing some sort of red top that exposed a small cleavage and her stomach along with a pleather skirt and a fabric choker around her neck. "Can I help you?" He asked wryly after looking her over.
"Xander, quit messing around." Willow frowned at him, not really amused by the look he'd caught Xander giving her.
"I'm not," Cole frowned. "Now if you'll excuse me little lady, I have some rather important things to do." He shrugged before turning around and getting ready to shimmer away again.
"No, wait!" Willow shouted, running around to in front of Xander.
To his credit, Cole wasn't actually sure which one of them was more surprised when his body simply passed through the young redhead's body, a strange tingling sensation washed through him as he passed through the girl's body as if she wasn't even there. "Interesting." Cole mused as he turned around again. "Astral projection? Ghost?"
"Oh!" Willow frowned as she looked around, checking she could actually touch herself before looking at Xander again.
"Something crazy is happening," Willow explained quickly. "I swear, I was dressed as a ghost for Halloween... and... now I am a ghost."
"A ghost of what?" Cole asked, raising his eyebrow at the revealing red top and skirt.
"Never mind," Willow said quickly as he tried to cover herself up from the look Xander was giving her body. "And... you... ohmygod, you were dressed as Cole."
"You know me?" Cole asked in surprise, preening a bit at the idea.
"Xander does!" Willow nodded quickly. "You're him, ohmygod, you're him, Cole, from Charmed. The demon!" Willow squeaked out the last as she started walking backwards quickly.
"Ex demon if you please." Cole corrected her. "Well, aren't you a fount of information." Cole smiled slyly as he walked towards her. "You mean to tell me that everyone in this town has become possessed by their costumes?" He asked carefully.
"I... I guess." Willow nodded nervously, remembering all too well how lethal Cole actually was in the TV series, depending on when in the show's timeline he'd actually come from, he could be anywhere from an upper level demon to the Source of all Evil, or simply crazy with enough power to wipe Sunnydale off the map if he felt like it.
"And this world, there are witches here?" Cole asked curiously, looking around at the miniature demons that were running around the street.
"Y... yes." Willow stammered out as she tried to hold her ground, the fact that she was now a ghost might have been comforting against something like a vampire that couldn't actually harm her, but she couldn't actually remember if Cole had been powerful enough in the show to attack ghosts on a whim or not.
"Relax," Cole waved his hand at her. "I'm not going to hurt you, a simple astral phenomena like yourself isn't really a threat to me."
"N... no," Willow shook her head quickly, trying to actually think if there was anything she could think of that would be a threat to him.
"You know, it's interesting," Cole mused as he looked around the streets. "The magic here, so dark, twisted, corrupt, quite different from the sickly molasses feeling in the Manor." He frowned as his thoughts once again fell back on Phoebe. "You said someone dressed as me?" He asked in amusement, feeling his body with his hands and confirming that it was noticeably different from his usual form. "A friend?" He asked simply as he ran his hands over his face.
"Xander," Willow said in a soft voice.
"Unusual name," Cole nodded as he tried to picture what his face looked like now. "He's a fan of mine?" He asked in amusement, thinking about the possibilities of a world here where the Charmed Ones were simply a television show. He'd had dealings with alternate dimensions before, though strictly speaking this was an alternate reality not another dimension. When he was Belthazor running from The Source or The Triad he'd shimmered across hundreds of dimensions, hell dimensions and neutral planes in an effort to stay hidden,
but even then he'd never considered trying to breach the actual walls of reality to punch through to another world.
"He... he likes your story," Willow said softly. "He said you were more interesting than Leo or the other men in the show."
"He watched the show for me?" Cole asked with a dry laugh, the conversation drawing his thoughts away from dimensions and realities.
"More for the three sisters," Willow said with a small blush, remembering how Xander had always fancied Piper from the show.
"I'll admit a weakness for one of them myself," Cole laughed with a wink. "Interesting, yes, a soul." He paused, tapping on his chest above his heart. "A soul in love as well, unrequited love I'd guess from the poignancy."
"He loves Buffy," Willow said softly. "Buffy! Ohmygod Buffy!"
"Buffy?" Cole asked, raising his eyebrow at the name as the small redhead ran past him towards another small brunette wearing some sort of ruby coloured medieval gown.
"Buffy, are you ok?" Willow asked, looking at the petite brunette who was looking around the streets in confusion.
"This is the girl he's in love with?" Cole asked as he slowly walked over to investigate.
"Buffy, what do we do?" Willow asked quickly as she noticed two monsters walking down the street towards them, both of them growling and sniffing the air sharply. "Buffy!" She practically shrieked out as Buffy let out a gasp and collapsed to the floor unconscious.
"Demons," Cole mused as he noticed the two demons as well; hiding his laughter at the way the brunette had fainted. "Walking the street openly," He smiled before turning back to the two girls. "I think I'm going to like
it here." He said with a wry grin before moving to walk off away from the two teenage girls.
"Wait!" Willow shouted, grabbing Cole's attention back for a moment. "You can't just leave us."
"You have your friend," Cole said, nodding to the petite brunette that was now slumped on the floor.
"But... Demons!" Willow said quickly, pointing at the two.
"Fine," Cole sighed, rolling his eyes as he conjured a small energy ball in each hand and launched them at the two demons, incinerating them easily and leaving two scorch marks on the ground where they had once been.
"Those were children!" Willow shouted as she looked at the scorch marks on the ground, a faint smell of ozone rippled through the air as Cole turned back to them.
"They were demons," Cole said with disinterest. "You can blame Phoebe for my sudden attack of conscience there." He said with a shrug before moving to walk off again.
"Wait, you can't just leave." Willow frowned as she knelt down to check on her friend, torn between the unconscious Buffy and the obviously disinterested demon in Xander's body. "You can't just kill all the demons here either; they're children that were transformed just like Xander was."
"This isn't my world," Cole said simply. "As you said, I'm just here on temporary leave in this body." He frowned as he stood up straight and tried to gauge his height. "I thought things looked larger for some reason." He shrugged as he looked around.
"But you're in Xander's body," Willow pressed on. "What if you get him hurt or something?"
"I'll take good care of it," Cole said with a nod, he obviously still had his powers here, or rather this body had access to his powers, if things were the same as they had been back in his universe, then this Xander was obviously safer being him than the two girls were. "I'd suggest you two find some where to stay safe, it doesn't look like this is a very safe place for mortals at the moment."
"H... how?" Willow said softly, guesting to the fact that her hands simply passed through Buffy when she tried to move her or pick her up.
"Not my problem," Cole shrugged as he turned away again. "Actually, wait," He mused as he turned back to the two girls. "You seem to know an awful lot about this place." He frowned as he walked over and crouched down by the redheaded ghost. "You need protection, or rather she does, which you have no hope of providing. I can." He smiled wryly at her. "But on one condition."
"What?" Willow asked in a small voice, wondering what the demon would want in return for helping them.
"I have no desire to stay here," Cole said as he crouched by the two girls. "This isn't my home and I have no intention of staying here in this teenage body. I've been a teenager, over a hundred years ago actually, and I don't relish the idea of going through that again. I can feel the power in the place, evil, untapped, raw power. You seem to know the most about this place, so here's the deal. You tell me where this power is coming from, and I'll help you and your little friend get to somewhere safe."
"You mean the Hellmouth?" Willow asked in a soft voice. "You want to know where it is?"
"Hellmouth, quaint name," Cole mused with a smile. "That's the deal, take it or leave it."
Willow paused, looking at the demon that was in her best friend's body, even now she could tell it wasn't Xander in there, it didn't even look like him anymore. The form was still basically Xander's, or Xander-shaped as he called it once, but the way he held himself, the confidence, the expressions, the way he spoke, it wasn't Xander anymore than the unconscious girl on the floor was Buffy.
Weighing her options up she thought about it hard, telling Cole where the Hellmouth was seemed to be her only option here, if not he'd leave, and without Buffy as the Slayer, she had no hope of surviving the demons and creatures that was running through the streets here. But then if Cole got access to the Hellmouth, there was no telling what he would do when he got there, she was doing her best to actually think about what she knew about Cole as a character, she'd only watched a few episodes with Xander but it was enough to remember that Cole was at the very grey spectrum of demons, he'd fallen in love with one of the Charmed ones at least, so he could love and be on the good guys side sometimes.
"What do you want with the Hellmouth?" Willow asked softly. "You're not going to open it right?" She asked, hoping that Cole would come back with the right answer.
"I just want to get home," Cole said with a nod. "There should be enough power there to send me back where I belong, and leave your quaint little town in once piece." He explained simply, adding that fact that he could feel enough power to get him home and regain Phoebe's love, quietly in his head.
"But you'll leave Xander here right?" Willow asked in a small voice, hoping she wasn't offending the demon with all her questions. She had to keep reminding herself that while Cole looked human on the show, he was a very high level demon in fact, one that eventually became the Source of all Evil.
"I don't want to stay trapped in this body any more than you want me here," Cole said with a nod. "If I'm here in this body, then my own must be back in my own universe. You show me where this Hellmouth is, I leave this
body and go back where I belong, you have my word." Cole nodded as he said the last, his word being something very important to him.
"And you won't destroy the world or anything?" Willow asked hopefully.
"Why would I do that?" Cole asked in amusement. "Seriously, why would anyone want to destroy the world, rule it maybe, but destroy it?" He chuckled as he nodded at the redhead. "You have some very funny ideas about what demons are supposed to be like."
"So you just want to go home, and the Hellmouth can help you do that?" Willow asked, grabbing on to what Cole had been saying.
"Simply put, yes." Cole nodded.
"And you'll help us if I tell you where it is?" Willow asked again.
"That's the deal." Cole nodded again.
"Ok," Willow nodded quickly. "I'd say shake on it but..." She frowned as her hand passed through Buffy's body again.
"Agreed then," Cole nodded as he reached under the unconscious brunette's body and lifted her up with ease, positioning her over his left shoulder so he could carry and hold her comfortably but still have a hand free to attack and defend himself with. "Is there somewhere you would be safe or should I just pick one of these houses?"
"The school," Willow said, standing up and watching Xander's body holding Buffy up with surprising ease. "Giles is there, he'll help us."
"And the school is?" Cole asked, looking around for any indication of direction.
"This way," Willow said as she started walking down the street, pausing after a few steps to make sure Cole was actually following her.
They walked in relative silence for a while, Willow actively looking around the streets and keeping an eye out for any threats that could approach them, while Cole was more amused by the chaos than anything else. There were creatures roaming the streets that were literally straight from books or televisions shows, pirates, ninjas, even a few Jedi and astronauts in the mix along with demons or creatures of every description and colour he could think of.
"It is always like this here?" Cole asked randomly as what looked to be some sort of giant walking fur rug walked across the road in front of them, ignoring their little group completely before heading off towards some houses.
"Not normally," Willow admitted. "Halloween is supposed to be a quiet time for vampires and demons."
"This is definitely a strange place," Cole shook his head in amusement. "All Hallows Eve, the one time in the year when the dimensional walls are at their weakest, where demons can come back to life to re-enact vengeance. Back home even Phoebe took Halloween seriously, or she did after a little trip to the
"Giles says it's always quiet here," Willow explained softly. "Buffy thought it might be because the vampires didn't like how commercial it had become."
"Sounds like your vampires here don't really measure up to the ones back home," Cole said wryly as they came to a crossroads. "Which way?" He asked as Willow paused next to him.
"We need to hide," Willow said in a soft whisper.
"Why?" Cole asked, whispering back with a mocking smile.
"Vampires," Willow whispered again, nodding ahead where four adult vampires were coming down the main road towards them.
"They're vampires?" Cole asked, raising his eyebrows in amusement at the four walking creatures. "Not people dressed like... well, bikers or anything, but those are your equivalent of vampires?"
"See, I told you," The lead vampire smirked as they reached the crossroads and paused, with the centre of the crossroads now between them and Cole's group. "The Slayer, all helpless, unconscious even, almost pitiful really."
"British vampires?" Cole asked with a smirk. "Your world really loves the cliché's doesn't it?" Cole said wryly as he slowly lowered Buffy's unconscious body to the ground and laid her on the asphalt gently. "Don't tell me those pathetic Anne Rice walking cry babies are the vampires here?" He sighed, Phoebe for some reason had always loved those books, despite him telling her over and over what real vampires were like.
"That's Spike," Willow whispered, ignoring Cole's rant about vampires. "He's really dangerous."
"Really?" Cole asked in amusement as he stood back up and turned to the four vampires. "So gentlemen," Cole smiled as he began to walk across the crossroads, rubbing his hands together as he moved. "What can we do for you?" He asked as all four of the vampires started walking towards him.
"Harris?" The lead vampire grinned over. "Surprised the Slayer over there let you even carry her in that dress, what, you have to wait until she's unconscious to cop a feel?"
"She fainted, so she didn't really have much say in the matter," Cole said simply as he came to a stop in front of the four vampires, ignoring the jibe about fondling an unconscious schoolgirl, he was nearly a hundred and twenty, only the sickest and most perverse demons would even consider trying to seduce a school girl when they were his age, even other demons would have actually turned on any demon sick enough to try and seduce a schoolgirl at that age for carnal pleasures. "Now, is there something you wanted, or are you going to let us move on in peace?"
"Listen to this guy," Spike laughed mockingly. "What, the suit came with a set of brass ones and a spine then?" Spike grinned. "Get out of my way Harris; I want the Slayer's blood first. Here, Tosh, you have a snack
first." Spike said, moving to grab Xander's arm to throw him into the vampires behind him.
"I don't think so," Cole said simply as he twisted around, moving out of range of the blonde's vampires reach before kicking the cockney vampire in the chest strong enough to send him back into the other three. "If you're smart, you'll leave now, I have no quarrel with any of you."
"Bugger that," Spike grunted, morphing into his game face as he lunged towards Xander.
"Fine," Cole shrugged, simply waving at Spike's body as he stepped out of the way, watching as the vampire caught on fire and simply incinerated itself mid stride, its ashes blowing away in the breeze as Cole stepped back to face the remaining three, waving his hand in the air to clear the dust from entering his nose or throat. "Interesting, dust, the vampires back home normally don't even leave a trace after they've been vanquished."
"Was there a second opinion?" Cole asked curiously, looking at the three who had all morphed into their game faces now to attack the sorcerer who had just killed Spike with such apparent ease. "We can do this one at a time or..." Cole frowned for a second and simply waved his hand over the three, causing them all to burst into flames. "But I do have a pressing engagement, so another time perhaps." He said simply, turning around and walking away from the three vampires as the flames burst up from their bodies and turned them all to ash in
"You... you..." Willow gasped out, watching on from where she had been stood over Buffy's unconscious form. "You killed them all!"
"And?" Cole asked as he crouched down and picked Buffy back up. "I said I would protect you, well her I guess," Cole amended, getting Buffy's unconscious body into a more comfortable position on his shoulder. "Did you think I was lying?"
"But you're a demon!" Willow said, defending what she thought her point of view was.
"I was half demon," Cole said by way of explanation. "Not really sure what I am now, not that it really matters of course."
"I... I didn't know that," Willow said softly.
"You do now," Cole shrugged. "Which way?" He asked as he started walking into the crossroads again.
"Left," Willow said with a nod. "The school's only about a hundred yards down the road."
"Let's get going then." Cole said as he turned in the direction Willow had indicated and started walking, smiling slightly as Willow ran up to walk alongside him, slightly amused by the fact that as she ran he couldn't even hear her feet on the ground.
"You really think the Hellmouth can get you home?" Willow asked in a small voice as she led Cole through the corridors of the High School towards the library.
"What you call a Hellmouth, I can feel as a dimensional rift towards a hell dimension, not a particularly nice place I'll grant you, Hell itself is actually a lot more sociable than many of these so called hell dimensions."
Cole explained as he adjusted the unconscious form on his shoulder once more to carry her easier. "But as I was saying," He frowned, getting back to the original topic. "The breach in the dimensions should be weak enough for me to punch through, use the energy of this Hellmouth to breach the walls of reality before I get to the hell dimension and return to my own reality."
"So the Charmed sisters or whatever, you and them really exist somewhere out there?" Willow asked in shock at what she was hearing.
"Of course," Cole rolled his eyes. "However I was brought here, whatever happened to cause this, obviously doesn't have the power to actually create a soul or consciousness straight out of a television show."
"Why... why not?" Willow asked softly.
"Magic can't create a soul," Cole said simply, reasonably sure that the same rules for magic applied here as they would do in his home reality. "Even magic has rules it must abide by, whatever did this simply pulled myself, and whatever other beings are out there, away from their home dimensions and deposited them in the costumed bodies here."
"So you have a soul?" Willow asked curiously.
"Of course," Cole said as if it was the stupidest question he'd ever been asked.
"What about Xander's soul?" Willow asked, staring at the way Cole was walking, carrying Buffy as if she weighed nothing at all.
"Repressed, much like his consciousness," Cole answered with a shrug. "I used to repress my human side all the time, I know the feeling." Cole paused as he looked at two doors on the left of the corridor where Willow had paused. "In here?" He asked.
"Giles will know what to do," Willow said with a nod as she simply walked through the doors of the library without causing them to move in response to her ghostly form.
"She's worse than Piper with all her questions," Cole mused to himself, shaking his head in amusement as he kicked the doors open before simply walking through them into the library.
To be fair, Giles recovered from seen Willow walk through the doors as a ghost reasonably quickly, the scattered library cards that were now on the floor around him showed that the shock had at least been momentary as Cole walked in a few seconds after Willow had done.
"Good lord!" Giles exclaimed, regaining his composure quickly as he noted the way Xander carried Buffy into the library.
"Giles, you've got to help us!" Willow exclaimed as she walked into the main area of the library, gesturing for Cole to follow her.
"Buffy! What happened here?" Giles almost demanded as he moved quickly over to where Willow and Xander were walking to. "Put her on the table here." He instructed, clearing some books aside on the main table to make room for Buffy's unconscious form.
"Giles, something really freaky is happening here." Willow explained as Cole did as he'd been asked and laid Buffy gently on the table in the middle of the room.
"I can see that," Giles frowned as he nodded to the fact that Willow was in fact stood inside one of the library chairs.
"She's a ghost," Cole explained helpfully. "Now, if you don't mind, I'll make my own way from here." Cole said, turning to Willow expectantly.
"Everyone's been turned into their costumes Giles." Willow explained in a babble as she moved out of the chair and into some empty space in the library. "I was dressed as a ghost and... well..." She sighed with a slump as she waved her hand through the chair again.
"Good lord," Giles exclaimed as he looked at Willow while checking Buffy's pulse and costume himself. "I can assume Buffy didn't dye her hair specifically for this night?"
"It was a wig," Willow explained.
"Which is now real," Giles mused before turning to Xander and Willow. "Can I assume there is a reason you were not affected?" He asked, looking at Xander in particular.
"Cole Turner," Cole said with a smile towards Giles.
"I... I see," Giles said, reaching out his hand for Cole to shake. "Well, this... this..."
"Cole is a demon," Willow interrupted quickly. "From the TV show Charmed."
"Oh, oh yes, Jenny, Ms Calendar that is, is quite an avid fan of the show herself." Giles exclaimed, moving subtly back from Xander's form.
"Giles, he says that his universe really exists out there somewhere," Willow said, looking at the way Giles was studying the way Xander was stood.
"Hmm?" Giles mused, turning his attention away from Xander and back to Willow. "Oh, yes, sorry, well it's a reasonably accepted fact that there are other dimensions, hell dimensions for example are known to exist, so I see no reason why what we consider to be fictional characters would actually exist in a universe of their own somewhere." Giles explained thoughtfully. "You are aware of the existence of other dimensions I take it Mr Turner?"
"Explicitly so," Cole nodded simply.
"Ohh, oh, he killed Spike!" Willow exclaimed quickly. "He incinerated him just by waving his hand or something?"
"Truly?" Giles asked in shock, turning back to Xander's form.
"The peroxide blonde vampire?" Cole asked, turning to Willow for clarification. "Or poor imitation of a vampire I should say."
"Well, you have done us a great favour," Giles smiled back. "Though one slightly marred by the chaos brought tonight obviously."
"It's the costumes," Willow explained quickly. "Xander was turned into Cole because he wore Cole's outfit."
"Quite a nice suit actually," Cole mused thoughtfully as he dusted some of the left over vampire dust off of the plain black suit and red shirt underneath. "I prefer grey myself actually; this feels like too much of a reminder of my old Belthazor days."
"Quite," Giles nodded, not really understanding what he was saying but getting the general gist that he was agreeing with what Willow was saying. "And I assume these clothes are specific to the ghost you dressed as?" Giles asked, turning back to Willow.
"I was wearing these under my costume," Willow defended herself quickly. "I got the ghost costume the same place Xander got the suit and Buffy got her costume."
"I see," Giles mused thoughtfully, figuring the pattern out quickly.
"We're not alone here," Cole said simply, frowning as he looked around the stacks before shimmering out of view quickly.
"My lord!" Giles exclaimed, looking at the area of space where Xander's body had been standing not a few seconds ago, before then jumping back quickly, the same response Willow had, as Xander's form suddenly reappeared in a shimmer, only this time holding another body firmly by the neck.
"He was watching from the shadows back there." Cole said with a frown as he held on to the other being's neck with a firm grip, ignoring the way the other man was trying to free himself.
"Angel!" Willow shouted quickly as she recognised the man Cole was holding. "He's a good guy, really Cole, he's a vampire but he has a soul!"
"Oh," Cole said simply, releasing the other man's throat and shrugging, it wasn't as if he actually had to apologise for anything here really.
"I can assume to came here to inform us of tonight's events then?" Giles mused, turning to Angel who was massaging his throat softly. "As you can see, Buffy, Willow and Xander have also been affected."
"I thought you said vampires were the enemies?" Cole asked, ignoring the man Willow had identified as Angel for the moment. "Wouldn't it be quicker to..." He trailed off, summoning a high level energy ball in his hand and getting ready to throw it at the vampire in their presence. "Vampires can't be trusted, not in any reality."
"No!" Willow shouted quickly, moving between Cole and Angel. "Don't! He's a good vampire!"
"A good vampire?" Cole asked, rolling his eyes. "You said they were dangerous."
"They are, well mostly anyway," Giles explained to him. "Though Angel can be trusted however, he has helped us several times in the past." He continued, his eyes never leaving the energy ball in Cole's hand and trying to gauge the obvious power this character possessed.
"You trust a vampire?" Cole asked in amusement, closing his hand and banishing the energy ball. "And you think I'm the crazy one here." He chuckled to himself as he looked at the way the vampire was glaring at him.
"Angel, don't." Willow practically begged as she turned back to Angel.
"What's going on here?" Angel asked, looking at Buffy's unconscious form on the table. "What happened to her?"
"She fainted," Cole answered with a shrug. "Two miniature demons attacked, she fainted, I vanquished them."
"Y... yes, well," Giles muttered, taking off his glasses quickly and trying to get his mind back on track. "You say you all got your costumes from the same place?" He asked, looking at Willow for confirmation.
"This new place on fifth, Ethan's." Willow explained simply. "They were having an opening sale."
"Ethan," Giles frowned, thinking of his old friend and how this stunt certainly was his old style. "Stay here, I'll deal with this." Giles said firmly before turning to Angel and Cole. "Guard them while I'm gone." He said before striding out of the library and pushing the doors open purposefully.
"Well, that's my part over," Cole said, clapping his hands together with a smile. "I can leave you with the vampire, as insane as that sounds, and make my own way home."
"He said to stay here." Angel said briskly, stepping forward to glare at Xander's body, still slightly unsure who it was that was actually in there.
"As I was saying," Cole rolled his eyes, walking past Angel and looking at Willow. "I held up my part of the deal, now it's time for you to do the same."
"He wants to know where the Hellmouth is." Willow explained quickly to Angel, backing away from Cole. "We... we should wait, Giles said he'd fix this."
"Call me old fashioned, but I'd rather not put my faith in a school librarian." Cole said in amusement. "You can tell me now, or later little ghost." Cole said as he turned to Buffy's unconscious form.
"You won't touch her." Angel growled, stepping forward and grabbing Cole by the suit lapels.
"Angel no!" Willow shouted at the same time as Cole pushed out with both his hands, sending Angel flying back through the library with enough force to shatter through the wooden bannister of the stairs and into the stacks where he came to an abrupt halt against one of the book shelves, causing it to toppled slightly then tip over and fall onto him once he'd fallen to the floor in front of it.
"Well?" Cole asked, turning to Willow again for her to hold up her part of the bargain.
"It's there," Willow said quickly, backing away from Cole and pointing to the corner of the library. "Under the library, there's a cave and an old church buried under the school." She babbled out as she backed through a chair in an attempt to move as far away from Cole as she could.
"Thank you," Cole nodded simply before shimmering out of view.
"Angel!" Willow shouted once she was sure Cole had gone, running over to where the wooden book shelves had fallen on him and buried him under the fallen books and wooden shelves.
"Interesting," Cole frowned as she shimmered into the location given to him by the redheaded ghost. He was in what appeared to be a large underground cavern that stretched out for miles out of view in either direction.
He looked around as he walked over, close to the edge where a large canyon drop fell out below, stretching out to a plateau several hundred meters down. Smiling he reached out with his hand, stepping right up to the edge of the canyon as he did, feeling the pressure build as the air before him rippled against his touch, sending small ripples out through the air and distorting his view of the canyon behind them.
"So the little ghost wasn't lying," Cole mused as he stepped back from the canyon edge, reaching out with both hands and focusing his power on the dimensional rift before him, literally gripping the rift with his power and forcing it apart.
"And you said the Ripper was long gone." Ethan spluttered out, coughing up some blood onto the floor as he held his chest on the floor with Giles standing over him, calmly wiping his hands on a small piece of cloth.
"Tell me how to stop the spell." Giles demanded calmly, replacing the cloth into his pocket as he glared down at his onetime friend.
"Say 'pretty please'." Ethan smirked up at Giles before bucking backwards as Giles kicked him hard in the stomach, sending him skidding several feet back on the floor where he coughed up some more blood and winced in pain.
"Now, tell me how to stop the spell." Giles demanded as he walked over; standing above Ethan again, ready to perform the same manoeuvre should Ethan give another quip.
"Janus." Ethan gasped out, wiping some of his own blood away from his lips. "Break its statue." He said as he coughed up some blood onto the floor again, watching as Giles turned his attention away from him and to the statue on its pedestal in the corner of the room.
"I'm coming Phoebe." Cole said with purpose, nodding in satisfaction at the fact that the dimensional rift before him was now constantly rippling with energy; pale bolts of magic that looked like lightning were now emanating from it and striking the cavern around him.
Standing before the open rift he paused, concentrating on Phoebe and his home reality, he buttoned the suit jacket he was wearing one last time before turning with purpose towards the rift he had ripped open and moved to shimmer through it before it snapped back against his powers.
Giles moved quickly towards the bust of Janus, noting the blood smeared on it as he grabbed it with both hands, lifting it easily above his head and throwing it to the floor where it shattered against the ground, sending a shockwave of power out past him and into the world.