Sighing the writer nodded. “I the texaswookie, still lay no claim of ownership to any of the universes being used in this story. If you are unsure who belongs to who check earlier chapters for various ownerships.”
Clark sighed, as he sat in the back of the truck. The three of them had been on the road for a long time. He hadn’t realized what a long trip this would be when his parents had suggested it. ‘That’s the problem with having super speed, waiting for others all the time,” he thought tiredly as he looked at the occult book in his lap. He believed they were somewhere in Colorado, judging from the mountains he could see. He looked up from the book he was reading. It talked about how magic was supposed to work; it seemed that it was actually as powerful in it’s own way as he was. If these things really worked, it was a wonder the people affected by the meteor rocks could even be scary. And was he doing the right thing charging into Sunnydale? Here was a secret society that he, that all of them, would be accepted into.
He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he almost didn’t notice the truck pulling into a restaurant. “C’mon, Clark,” His father said.
“Oh, right,” Clark replied. He began hopping out of the truck when a voice stopped him.
“How are you, Naman?” a familiar voice asked him.
Swallowing, Clark turned to regard the person in front of him. “Kyla.” He paled at the sight of the Indian girl in front of him. “But I saw you die.”
“And the power of the caves healed me, Naman,” the girl told him, smiling gratefully at the confused boy. “The caves have so many wondrous powers in them, Naman. Thank you for putting my body to rest so near them.”
Clark swallowed again. Had Jor-El resurrected this girl? If he had, why? What was the point? What did he hope to gain by it? Jor-El never did anything out of kindness.
“I bring a message from the Spirits, Naman. They urge you to be careful with your battle, and that you should think long and hard before committing yourself to this fight. Though they did say it might make a good test.”
Clark had to hide the sick thought of a pleased Jor-El as he focused on the girl. “Kyla, I still don’t think I’m this Naman person.”
“I also bring a message for your father: he is to remember his deal.”
Clark was instantly alert. “Did the Spirits say anything about what this deal was?” Kyla looked like she was about to answer, but she tensed and cocked her head. She must have heard or sensed something, because she shifted to her white wolf form and leaped to the ground and ran off. “Kyla! Wait!” Clark called after the wolf. He rushed off after it, but it soon disappeared. Cursing to himself, Clark jogged back to the restaurant, nearly bumping into a large, dark skinned man.
“Sorry about that,” Clark mumbled, embarrassed that he had nearly run the man over.
“It is all right. I am unharmed,” the man said, tilting his head slightly in almost a bow.
“Sorry,” Clark said again as the man left, followed by three other people. He went inside to find his parents. His father was just going to love this. Too bad his dad wouldn’t tell him about the deal he made.
His guess was right; his father had not been pleased. He had decided they should try and eat their meal in peace, though. “If Kyla wants to talk, she’ll find us, son,” his dad had assured him. “That girl has an uncanny sense of direction. Especially when it comes to you.”
On his way out, Clark nearly bumped into someone else. “Whoa, easy there, pal.” The guy he had nearly bumped over appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties, while they guy with him, though taller, appeared to be a bit younger.
“Sorry about that,” Clark tried to apologize, but the guy was busy checking something that was beeping in the jacket of the guy behind him.
“What have we got, Sam?” he asked the dark haired guy.
“An unknown,” Sam replied. “But the energy levels, whatever they are, are off the wall.”
“Excuse us, but we’re in a bit of a hurry,” Jonathan said, stepping between the boys and Clark.
“Huh? Oh yeah, sure.” The two boys parted, but were too intent on their device to notice as the Kent family quickly left.
Alex was riding the elevator down to the lower levels; Jean had given him a job to do. As the door opened, he saw the Russian kid. He wanted to go talk to him, but it looked like he was too busy talking with the animal. They were busy discussing something called a fastball special. He might have stayed to listen, but he had more important things to do. He listened with half an ear as he passed them. They were discussing whether a discus style throw or an overhead shot would be a better way to do it. As he listened, he supposed that he wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of such an attack, unless he had a moment or two to prepare himself. With the kid’s strength and the animal’s crazy methods, whoever, or whatever, they attacked like that, would be in for a heap of hurting.
He had his own plans right now, though. And they didn’t include listening to comrade farmer and the Canadian Woodsman, who had too much loco weed in his system. The plan right now was to deal with the navigational controls and the stealth cloaking on board the Blackbird. He had already done damage to other computer systems throughout the mansion, ensuring problems all over the place. At the moment, people were spending more time repairing equipment than getting ready for the mission at hand. So far, he hadn’t been blamed for any of the problems. But he was aware that could change any moment, if he got sloppy in what he was doing. At the rate things were going, he figured he had one, maybe two, more messes he could make before they caught onto what he was doing.
It was obvious that he needed to work some more on the Russian, if he was going to be that friendly with a confirmed psycho. He was going to have to deal with him, because he couldn’t allow the kid to stop him. If Jeanie said they needed to wait for the appropriate signal before they left, then that was what they should do. Jeanie was always right about those sorts of things. Even though he wasn’t the one to love her like Scottie had, he did know enough to trust her.
He entered the hangar and looked at the powerful jet. No one else was around, and all the security would be turning itself off in a moment. He smiled as he watched the cameras stop moving and turn off. Moving quickly, he climbed onto one of the servicing ramps he was right over one of the wings. “Hope the others will understand,” he mumbled to himself as he charged one of his hands and fired. He watched the energy beam flow from his hand to strike the tailfin. The beam dug deeply into the aircraft and nearly went all the way through. He smiled proudly at his handiwork. Small, trickle charges were harder for him to do. ‘I’m better at it than Scott, though,’ he thought to himself, walking down the hall. Hearing someone coming, he ducked into a side room and ran right into Scott.
‘Speak of the devil,’ he thought wryly as he saw his brother. The team leader was in a room they used as a strategy room, but also doubled as an office. The brown haired man was currently staring at a picture. “What’s up, Scottie?” the blonde mutant asked his older brother.
“Hmm? Oh, sorry. I was just looking and remembering,” Scott said, flipping the photo over. The picture showed four laughing kids, posing in front of a camera. “That was a fun time, wasn’t it?” he reminisced.
Alex could only nod as he stared at the photo. In the photo was Scott, himself, Dawn, and Buffy. The four of them were waving cheerfully at the camera. A more playful Scott was making bunny ears behind his brother and cousin’s heads. Buffy was holding onto Dawn protectively, already falling into the habits of an overprotective older sibling. ‘Is she as protective of Dawn, as Scott is with me?’ he wondered.
Buffy, a girl he hadn’t thought of in years. ‘How did she do it?’ Alex wondered. ‘How did a girl as fragile looking as her, manage to pull this kind of thing off?’ When he had last seen her, she hadn’t looked like she was going to be inheriting any of the Summers height. Yet now they had found out that she was just as much of a hero as either one of them was. Maybe even more of one. While they had a choice in whether they saved the world, she hadn’t been given that kind of luxury. Someone had just told her to fight, and fight she had, if even a quarter of the stories were true.
The two Summers men stared at the photo of happier times and remembered some of the things that had happened that day. That photo was the last time they had all been together, when they had all been a family, no matter how distant. He remembered it vaguely; it had been at their grandparent’s business in Alaska. A small little family get-together, he remembered. It had been the last time most of them had seen each other.
Then the problems had come. Their father had decided to fly them back in his restored military plane. The other Summers family had left a few days earlier. They had waited so Christopher Summers could spend a few extra days with his parents. The wait had cost the boys so much: their parents, getting split up, Scott being forced to hide his eyes. Then the icing on the cake had been when Alex had been adopted, while Scott was someone no one wanted. It had left him in an uncaring orphanage, until the Professor had found him.
Now it looked like it was time to bring the last members of their family together. He grimaced slightly. He wanted to help her, but he just had to be patient he told himself. ‘Soon,’ he promised the photo. ‘Soon we’ll be family again.’
“Did you need something?” Scott asked, breaking from the peaceful memories they were both feeling.
“Not really, just wondering when you plan on getting this show on the road?”
“Well, the Professor says we seem to be as ready as we’re going to be. Dr. Richards and his people have all been briefed, so if anything happens they’ll know what to do. Logan wants to take Johnny with us, but he’s going to stay here with the rest of his team so they can be on standby.”
“Hey, Alex, I need to ask you a question.”
“What’s your problem with Logan and the girls? You’ve made it obvious that you don’t like or trust them. You’re even against Nightcrawler, and I thought that after you got to know him, you’d give him a chance. I didn’t really think there was someone that actually could dislike him. Once they got past his appearance, that is. Of course, I didn’t think you would ever let a person’s mutation be a judgment stone either.”
“He’s a threat,” Alex said simply. “You think it was coincidence that he came up on Cerebro right when that mutant hater attacked? No, he’s still government. Maybe even a plant that’s fighting his programming.”
“One could say the same about you, Alex,” Scott countered. “Or did you forget the fact that you’re part of a military project?”
“Yeah, and we don’t have to worry about infiltrators like you do either.”
“And Wolverine and the girls?”
“The little guy is all animal. As for the girls, they trust him beyond belief. If it came down to it, whose orders would they follow? Yours or his?”
“He’s been more than willing to sacrifice everything for them, so it’s really not all that surprising that they care for him. Neither of them have a father figure they feel like they can trust anymore. Kitty loves her father dearly, but he practically sold her to the Yakuza. Logan was there to help her.”
“And now she’s become a killer, just like him, with those ninja abilities of hers,” Alex countered. “And why are you so sure that the brainwashing she was put under is over? Just because of some guy whose only experience with college is probably the girls that hang out at bars?”
“The Professor did scan her mind when she got back,” Scott said calmly.
“And Rogue? She absorbed Magneto, and the killer, into her head, and you’re not worried? And why are they so impressed with kids that are so powerful?”
You’re determined to be stubborn about this, aren’t you?”
“Someone has to be, and Jeanie said that…” Alex eyes bugged out as he quickly snapped his mouth shut.
Scott swallowed, his voice going hard, “Alex, Jean’s dead. There is no way that she… It couldn’t be her. Unless of course, you think you can explain why she’s not dead?”
“She is, but she’s not. Look, because she died using her mind like she did, she left an astral imprint, or echo, of herself. It can talk to people, if they’re willing to listen to the voice of a dead person.”
“The Professor would have sensed her.”
“Xavier couldn’t hear or sense her, because he has already accepted that she’s gone.”
“Alex, did you even bother to read those files we gave you?” Scott asked his younger brother in annoyance. “You’ve been listening to the First, you idiot.”
“She said that you’d say that,” Alex said, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Why can’t she have done something like what I’m saying? I mean if she can be a telepath and telekinetic, why can’t she have some sort of ability to do those sorts of things?”
“Listen, Alex, I hate it as much as you do, but Jean couldn’t do anything like that. She’s gone, whether I like it or not, so how about you get your head screwed on straight.” Scott’s visor was glowing with dangerous energy as he tried to stay in control of his temper. “Once you’ve done that, I want you to come down to the cemetery with me, and you can say goodbye to her properly.”
“But…” Alex started. He didn’t like it; he knew that he was right. Jeanie would never hurt them, which was why he knew he could trust the image. Yet here was Scott, telling him that he wasn’t supposed to trust Jeanie’s echo.
“No, Alex!” Scott said angrily. “The First is using Jean’s image to make you act like an idiot. Not that you need a whole lot of help in that department. I wish with all my might that what you were saying was true, but it’s not. And the more I pretend otherwise, the bigger the chance that I won’t be able to help someone else I care about. I can’t believe that you’re willing to risk the world on the word of a ghost. Next thing I know, you’re going to tell me that you’ve been told to stop us or something idiotic like that.”
“That’s why I can’t show myself to you, Scott,” Jean’s image said as she materialized in a chair to the side. “You are so like Logan, in the fact that you need to have physical evidence before you’ll believe.”
“She’s right you know,” Alex said, chuckling.
“What? Who’s right?”
“Jean is. She said you’re a lot like the crazy guy. Needing to see it for yourself, for you to believe in something.”
“That’s not Jean, Alex, just something that looks like her.”
“You know, that kind of stings,” the redhead said. Alex’s eyes narrowed, that was way too sarcastic and venomous for it to be Jean. “I mean, here I do my best to hold on after death and all he does is say I’m not real. Even says I’m the next threat that has to be fought. Well, that’s love for you.”
“All that damage…” Alex began.
“Yep, you’ve kept your friends stuck here. And you’ve stirred up enough distrust that I can practically discount you Muties,” the figure said as it shifted into a short blonde with green eyes.
“So who are you supposed to be?” Scott asked as the figure became visible to him.
“Who me? Well I’m your cousin Buffy. Guess you guys are a little late.” She smirked at the crestfallen looks they were wearing. “Oh, by the way, Alex. Thanks for keeping these people busy, and nice job on blowing the tail piece off.” She then disappeared, leaving the two men staring at the spot in shock.
“Damn it!” Scott yelled, slamming his fist into the wall. “This is all your fault!” He glared at his brother.
“You think I don’t know that!” Havoc yelled right back as the bright circle on his chest started glowing. The two brothers stood there, glaring angrily at each other. Each of them was huffing in anger over what had just happened. “Now, we can either yell at each other, or we can get the Blackbird fixed, and get some payback for all the crap that that thing just did.”
“Agreed,” Scott said, glancing once more at the photo. He then placed his red glasses in a pocket and put on his visor. “Who knows, maybe Dawn is still alive.” He paused at the doorway and looked at his brother. “We’re not finished with this,” Cyclops warned as he stormed out of the office. He was already mentally calling out to the Professor to meet them in the hangar.
Unknown Location in the U.S
Connor sipped his drink thoughtfully as he glanced around the bar. They were getting close to California, but even they had to stop and rest, or they would be no help to the people that were doing Hellmouth duty. They had all agreed to meet here in this small town, where no one was likely to be watching for them. None of them trusted planes not to blow up on them at the moment, so that left ground transport. Once they had gotten involved in this whole mess, they had been forced to be even more cautious than they normally were.
“You realize you make quite a target like that, right?” Methos commented, slipping into a nearby seat.
“Well, you know that I’m never one to do things smartly,” the Highlander said, shrugging his shoulders at the older Immortal.
“That’s an understatement,” Methos replied. “I’m beginning to think that you Highlanders are nothing more than walking targets.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing you’re around to keep us out of trouble,” Conner bit out, irritated. Normally he would have been more polite, but he had spent the last two days here waiting for the others to show up. “I take it you’ve been having as much fun getting here as I did?” he asked, since his own trip had been full of all sorts of adventures.
“Yes. If it wasn’t a sudden increase in challenges, it’s been a half a dozen Bringers trying to tire me out before the next challenger they throw at me. I’ve taken five heads this month.”
“Aye, since I’ve been on the road I’ve had to take three heads. For some reason the First wants us dead,” Connor said, a glimmer of a smile on his face. “Perhaps we’re more of a problem than it would like to admit.”
“That’s only if it was fighting with complete incompetents,” Adam replied.
“You’ll never know, though, will you, Methos?” the First queried as it appeared in their booth. This time it took the form of the first Immortal that Connor had ever had the displeasure of seeing, and killing, which still haunted his dreams. “Don’t worry. You’ll be nothing more than memories by the time you might have been able to be a problem. I go to them, and I could have half a dozen different government people on you. Then your precious little secret would be out there for the entire world to see. I’m sure historians would just love to talk to you. So would scientists, though.”
“Let me guess, you’re just going to keep sending troops after us until we drop from sheer exhaustion,” a voice asked dryly as the other MacLeod, Joe, and Richie fell into their own seats.
“Safety in numbers,” Duncan explained at the questioning stares of the older Immortals. “Not all of us feel as if we have to go it all alone.” The other two Immortals didn’t say anything at the comment obviously directed at them.
“Yes. Well, as fun as this is, I believe there’s enough of you here to go ahead and kill you,” the First said, waving it’s arm. “Or at the very least, distract you all for a while.” The door to the bar blew open.
Connor groaned as he recognized some of the policemen entering. They were New York detectives. Some of them really disliked him, and his habit of finding trouble.
“Have fun, Highlander,” the First said as it disappeared.
“We might want to leave now,” Methos suggested.
Nodding, the others eased out of their seats and headed for the back. Once they entered the alley, they saw the three demons standing there waiting for them. One had a bone claw as long as a sword, another was some kind of serpent, while the last member of the trio was red skinned and held a sword.
“You know, I’m already hating this,” Richie complained as he ducked the serpent’s strike.
Methos didn’t answer, he was too busy fighting with a demon that didn’t want to leave him with an arm. That left Duncan to face the creature with the bone claw.
“What are these things?” the older Highlander asked as he barely missed being skewered by the large bone that was protruding from the creature’s arm.
“Demons,” Methos grunted. “Don’t bother with that,” he said as Joe pulled out a gun. “It only makes them angry.”
The Watcher nodded as he observed the Immortals’ fight against the creatures. Duncan was scoring the occasional hit, while Richie was having a bit more trouble. Connor was fighting a bloody target. The Watcher just hoped for the best and began firing on the snake thing. The bullets hit it, but didn’t seem to phase it. “Should have brought my shotgun,” the old man mumbled as he stared at the wounds they had actually started healing. Those were hollow point shells, too. The demons were losing though, and it was obvious they knew as one by one they broke off their attacks and ran, or in the snake’s case slithered, off to safety.
“Well, that was fun.”
“I see you lot finally showed up,” Joe complained as the rest of the group slipped into the alley.
They shrugged. “Way too many challenges lately,” was all Amanda said.
“Well, I guess we should travel in one group then, since this is the way they’re doing things,” Methos said. The others nodded, knowing that had cost the oldest of them. “Especially since we’re not going to slip in without the First noticing what we’re up to.” The others agreed as they headed for their vehicles, promising to meet at a nearby gas station. Once they were there, they would plan their move.