BtVS by Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Marvel and DC by the respective parent companies and their many artists/writers.
Twisting the Hellmouth has a long set of Fic-For-All Prompts, in the format of "Buffverse Character & Crossover Character". Fill one, you get to post one for others to meet. I like challenging myself in odd ways, so this is me seeing how many Joyce-Centered ones I can fill, without using spoken dialogue.
The woman rolled over in her sleep as images filled her head.
...Doors closing behind her...
Arm and arm, she and her husband left the play, their young boy trailing behind them. They were the only points of light in the dark night...
A few fleeting words later they were in an alleyway, an attacker holding them at gunpoint...
She barely saw the face of the man... The first of the metal slugs entered her chest...
She and her husband fell to the ground... They landed with a sickening crunch...
Her black-haired son, her only child, cradled her head in his lap as she died.
When she breathed her last breath her soul...
Her soul flew, a fine mist of nothingness, across the world... Into a hospital, into a sterile room, past caring doctors and...
She opened fresh eyes upon a new world, loosing the first cry of a newborn babe.
Joyce Summers came awake with such a start, it woke the man next to her from his peaceful sleep. She met his kind eyes with a gaze full of horror. Yes she knew that the man had been several years older than her, despite his athletic frame, but...
Yes her daughter had died once and came back to life, but despite all the magic and demons that plagued her that had been through simple CPR...
Reincarnation was out of the question... Right?
But she stared into the man's eyes...
She had met that gaze with such passion the night before, but now saw clearly and saw now only the young boy that had watched his mother and father die...
Joyce lept from the hotel room bed she was sharing with the sole heir to the Wayne fortune... She gathered her clothes without a word.
Despite his shocked protests and her unwillingness to explain, she fled the room.
Bruce heard the hallway door open and shut... He was halfway out of the room when he froze, dimly recalling exactly how restless she had been in her sleep.
He lifted the pillow on her side of the bed and, sure enough, there laid a small doll with long brown hair.
Grabbing the knife left over from room service the night before he sat down at the table... Within a few seconds, he had exposed the microchip within the doll's chest.
Overcome with rage, he crushed the doll's cheaply made head... He was going to get to the bottom of this.
He swung from skyscraper to skyscraper waiting for himself to recognize the streets around him.
No, he was waiting for the streets to turn back into the familiar twists and turns of Manhattan just as easily as they had twisted into this new configuration.
He was afraid, but he was also concentrating on ignoring the differences.
They had gone away in the past, but if he actually stopped and made note of them, he'd be in trouble.
Sometimes, if you weren't paying attention, like he had been, you'd find yourself walking through a segment of another reality...
This was 'Kingpin meets Ra's Al Ghoul' all over again.
Beneath him probably lay the dark urban sprawl of Gotham, or the streets of some other universe.
If he landed and tried something dumb like calling home, then the universe, if it had a mind, would know he knew something was up and entangle him in some kind of foreign plot.
As Gaiman had more or less said: 'Stories are the building blocks of the universe.'
If he did nothing interesting, maybe the universe would get bored and let him go home... and he'd look down and see the streets of Manhattan or up and see the friendly grimacing face of his gargoyle statue or into a dark alley and see...
Great, just great.
Nothing to do now, but help.
There was thunder in the distance.
Joyce Summers left the hotel, the keys to her rental swinging back and forth in her hand. She was heading towards the parking complex when she took one last look back... Towards the man she had left so unfairly, without a word.
That was when she saw the first of the things... The shadows.
It was man-height and translucent. It bent the light through itself, giving an impression of water.
It had a featureless bump for a head, no legs, two grasping arms...
That was enough for Joyce to look away from it, take a calm breath and only slightly quicken her pace.
If she concentrated, she could hear it. A faint wisping sound, a good distance behind her.
If she didn't let it know it'd been spotted, she might have a chance to get to a crowded area...
Then she heard the sound amplified a hundred times, coming from in front of her, around her...
Despite herself, she looked up and saw them, standing on the parking ramp, approaching from across the side-street, a wave of them.
This was not good.
She had left the hotel by the back. The structure was in front of her. The hotel was behind her and to the left was the small driveway between the two...
If she could make it to the other end and to the front of the hotel she'd be safe among people.
She couldn't hear them in that direction and...
It was a literal wave approaching.
She would have fought to the death here in the open, she had learned from her daughter, she would have fought to the death to avoid being backed into a corner... But the alley was open and a busy street was at the other end...
She had learned from her daughter. How strange was the amount of things she could answer with that phrase when so many other mothers used that phrased light-heartedly... It was enough to wrench a grim chuckle from her throat as she broke from her steady walk to run with all her strength towards the lighted street.
She was halfway across, the whispering sounds slowly approaching behind her, when she noticed the grand light welcoming guests into the hotel was more muted than it should have been.
How faded in spots and... wavering...
She skidded to a halt as half-seen shapes extended to their full height, dim streaks of eyes across their faces opening as they looked at her.
She had found out, too late, that the shadows only made the wisping sounds as they moved.
Rain poured down suddenly.
It outlined the creatures clearly.
They approached her sedately, their too-slick skin shining in the warm light that was close, yet so far away.
She screamed, only to have the wind knocked out of her as a strong arm descended, as if from the heavens, grabbing her about the waist and whisking her away.
They didn't stop moving until they were on the roof of a building a few blocks away.
She paused a second to gather her breath and sort through her confused impressions.
She turned to face her rescuer. A man clothed in red and blue with a black spider stenciled across his chest.
His mask was red, inked to resemble a spider's web. The white patches over his eyes were opaque, but he seemed friendly enough.
He had, after all, saved her.
She opened her mouth to speak, to thank him, to-
But the rain chose that moment to pour down, the thunder to increase.
Out here, in the open, conversation was useless.
They ran towards the small door that surely housed the entrance from the roof to the inside of the building.
He forced the lock, webbed a $20 to the inside face of the now broken doorknob and turned to face her once they were inside, out of the rain.
Batman stood there, watching them, the man in blue and the brown-haired woman dressed in green.
They were talking, he could tell, but he hadn't come prepared to cut out the distortion of the rain.
She was facing away from him and Spiderman's mask hampered lip-reading.
They looked to be safe in their makeshift shelter and she...
Would probably accept the help of the Batman sooner than that of Bruce Wayne, but it was probably best that he stay away from her completely until he had tracked down the leads at hand.
He stood there, his cloak flapping in the unforgiving wind, bat-goggles pressed against his eyes... An impressive and imposing figure against the rain-shrouded moon.
He patted his belt and the lead-lined pouch that housed the microchip and the damaged doll...
He didn't know why Spiderman had decided Joyce Summers was in need of rescue, his own attention had been momentarily diverted by the necessity of cape and cowl...
However, she was safe now, with the masked young man... If she could stand his near incessant humor.
Her safety was what mattered so...
He patted his belt again, then swung from his rooftop to the streets below. Both Bruce and the Bat and with a purpose...
He doubted that the Mad Hatter, the crazed inventor of the first dream dolls, was up to his old tricks again...
... Or, if he was, that he was doing it alone...
Peter Parker, still in costume, and the strange woman who he now knew as Joyce Summers walked out the front doors of the building, attracting stares as they went.
She had laughed at his witty remark at the first of these stares, but since had remained silent.
Her story was confused, something about how her job had taken her to New York, how she had been jumped by those things she referred to as spirits or demons... About how it probably related to her daughter's duty back in California...
When he had tried to dig deeper into that and whatever she was hiding about the previous events of that evening, he could tell that there was something there, she had clammed up.
Peter was so lost in thought that it took him a couple seconds to realize that the building they had walked out of was not the building whose roof they'd landed on.
It was similar, but not quite the same.
What's more, he recognized the street.
He wasn't sure if he was home or not, but they definitely had left Gotham's dark and brooding sprawl far behind.
He spotted a phone booth and walked them towards it.
Demons sounded more like Stephen Strange's realm, but if the good doctor wasn't at home, or if Joyce would be stuck here awhile...
He felt a need to make her somewhat comfortable and she couldn't be hanging out for an unspecified time with a man who wouldn't even tell her his own name.
He was worried about putting his own family in danger... Then again, those shadows had been left a world away...
He walked into the phone booth and did the one thing that he'd sworn he'd never do if his current reality was in question...
He placed a call.