Life and Legacy Fanfic Ch. 4
phoenixphreek
       Cyclops watched his optic blast fly through the air and off into the distance before dissipating. The Scarlet Witch was nowhere to be seen. He looked around for her with no success. He turned around and a hard fist to his cheek interrupted his search. He jerked his head back to see Alex standing in front of him. They stood frozen, looking at each other sympathetically. Scott returned the favor with a punch of his own. Havok didn’t hesitate to punch him back in the stomach which Cylops retaliated with a hard knee to his brother’s own stomach.
        Emma had just got back to her feet when she saw Captain America’s signature shield flying towards her face. Her body instantly transformed to diamond and the metal shield bounced off her face painlessly. The Captain was at once standing in front of her, punching her hard diamond face repeatedly until she came to and retaliated with a kick right to the bottom of the Super Soldier’s chin.
        Rogue was leaping left and right all over the place, dodging energy blasts from Magik. She was blasting relentlessly and Rogue’s waning energy was leaving her with some close calls. She was just stalling though. Seconds later Wasp was hovering right next to Illyana in her miniature state. She blasted the mutant with her bio-electric shock right on the face. She grabbed her face in pain and screamed. She began swatting all around her head in an attempt to slap Wasp away. She was spinning around in place, swinging her hands incessantly. She turned and then found Rogue standing right in front of her. She had no time to react before she was punched hard on the jaw.
        Magneto had stood up after an explosion of lightning erupted from the ground just mere feet in front of him. Thor was there again and threw Mjolnir right towards him. Magneto remembered how this dance went years ago and braced himself. He threw a magnetic force field around the hammer coming towards him. He at once tried to nudge the direction the hammer was flying to protect himself. Thor was standing yards away, also remembering their previous encounter. He focused on Mjolnir’s ability and the mystic hammer absorbed the magnetic energy the mutant had surrounded it with. Magneto felt it happen but saw that he had done enough. The hammer’s trajectory had changed slightly and he leapt further in that opposite direction. Mjolnir slightly missed his body. He looked up at the thunder God with a smug look. The look was cut short when the hammer hit him square in the back. His body was lunged forward and back on to the ground. He was picked up before he could stand this time. Thor had him by his shirt and punched him in the face repeatedly. Magneto struggled against him but the God’s strength dwarfed his own. Off in the distance he felt Wolverine’s adamantium form. He concentrated and brought the body flying towards them. Thor was still punching when Logan’s body came crashing in to his from the side. He stood, only to again be knocked by Wolverine’s flying body at the hand of Magneto.

        Wanda had no idea how to react. Even after all the months of researching and thinking she wasn’t prepared. Am I dead? Is that really her? Has she heard me the whole time? Her mind raced but she couldn’t find words. No. Yes. And yes, I have. Jean’s voice spoke inside of her head. It startled her.
“I’m afraid we don’t have time for all of your questions right now though,” this time Jean spoke out loud.
Wanda nodded slowly. “Why not? Because of that cosmic God?”
“Yes,” Jean nodded. “Her name is Brio. Brio of life.”
“You know her?”
“I know of her. She and the Phoenix were companions billions of years ago.”
“Why is she looking for it now?” Wait, is the Phoenix dead?
“She intends to use its power to revive the rest of her Gods and increase their power to destroy Galactus and the other cosmic entities of our universe and take their place.” No, you and Hope weakened it drastically but it’s recovering. That’s why I’ve brought you here.
“They were companions? Why does Brio wish to use it against its will?”
“She planned to betray the Phoenix years ago, before her defeat at the hand of Galactus. They traveled to Earth together and that was when the Phoenix first discovered humans. Brio thought we were worthless but the Phoenix was interested. She bonded with a human and left it the first mutant. Brio was appalled and wanted to punish it.”
“So, the Phoenix… It did care about the mutants?”
Jean smiled. “Always. After what you did, M-Day, we have been watching and maneuvering from here. It was the Phoenix’s power that birthed Hope’s X-gene. I obviously tried too hard and put too much of myself into her. So I dialed it back when we created the next five. Things were moving too slowly though. That’s when I sent the Phoenix to Earth.”
“And everything went down hill…”
Jean nodded slowly. “That’s why I didn’t do it to begin with. I can control the Phoenix completely in here. Out there, my control fades. The plan was just to get the Phoenix to Hope. My mistake in her making her turned out to be our solution. So much of myself was in Hope that she could control the Phoenix. I knew that with the Phoenix’ power of life and your power over reality, our people would return. Then everything went wrong. Tony Stark’s machine scrambled any sort of control I had over the Phoenix. Then it ended up in my friends… and Emma.”
“You orchestrated everything?”
“I tried to. As best I could from here.”
“Why do you stay in here?”
Jean paused and sighed. “For many reasons we can discuss later. Now, we have work to do.”

        Cyclops bent over and spat up blood. He looked down at his currently grounded younger brother. Havok slowly crept up to his feet. He lunged toward Scott again.
“Stop!”
He listened to his older brother.
“Wanda’s gone.”
Alex knuckled some blood from his lips and looked around. He saw all of his teammates fighting all of the X-Men. Wanda was gone.
“How?” He looked back over at Scott.
“I don’t know. She was there one second, and the next she was gone. I didn’t know she could do that.”
“She can’t.” They looked at each other confused.
They both simultaneously turned to their teams and yelled, “Stop!”
They did. Everyone looked over at them questioningly.
“Wanda’s disappeared somehow,” Havok told them. They all looked around for her.
“Someone must have taken her,” Magneto said.
“That cosmic baddie? Could she do something like that?” Wolverine said.
“Maybe,” Havok shrugged.
“There’s nothing left for us to do here. Magik, let’s go,” Cyclops said.
“No! Summers, you are—” Captain America stopped speaking as the X-Men disappeared in a flash of blue light.
...
“You said you brought me here because the Phoenix is weakened?”
Jean nodded. “The Phoenix is endless energy. You and Hope damaged it greatly but it will always regenerate. With Brio’s threat on the Earth though we can’t wait any longer.”
“You can’t be planning on giving Brio the Phoenix though. We can’t let her use it.”
“No. I will need the Phoenix if we want to stop her,” Jean said.
“She could do it? Destroy the Earth?”
“She could.”
“Our friends… the heroes. They couldn’t stop her?”
Jean shook her head. “I don’t know. They have a habit of surprising though.”
Wanda smiled.
“But we can’t just rely on them. We need to restore the Phoenix to its full power.”
Wanda nodded in agreement. “Alright. What do we do?”
“Do your remember when you restored Rictor’s power?” Wanda nodded. “You didn’t cast a spell, you simply found your spell in him and removed it.” She stepped so she was standing directly in front of Wanda. She raised her hands, palm up, and a small fiery Phoenix appeared above them. “Do the same thing again.”
        Wanda nodded again. She held her hands out on either side of the Phoenix in Jean’s hands. I got to touch Rictor when I did it the first time. You can do it anyway. Just concentrate. She did. She stared at the fire in the bird shape. It moved and danced in place above Jean’s hand. No more Phoenix. No more Phoenix. She repeated her spell in her mind as she looked for it in the bird’s fiery depths. Found it… She fixated her power on destroying her own spell. Got it. No later than she thought those words the Phoenix grew larger and brighter. It moved and danced in place until it flew out of Jean’s hands and up above them. It flew back and forth quickly in the white space above them. Nicely done.

        Havok was sitting in the car as they headed back to the mansion. He had a small circular device in his hand. It was illuminating a hologram of Gladiator Kallark, Emperor of the Shi’ar.
“This is an inopportune time Havok,” Gladiator said.
“I’m afraid it’s an emergency.” He paused until Gladiator nodded. “A friend of ours went missing. The last thing she was planning to do was go to the Shi’ar to see the M’Kraan Crystal. So I was just wondering…” he trailed off as Gladiator face changed into a shocked one. “What? What is it?”
“The M’Kraan Crystal was stolen from us earlier today,” he said.
Havok’s shocked look matched the Emperor’s. “Who could possibly take the Crystal from you?”

         The room then began to shake violently like an earthquake had erupted. Jean and Wanda both look around confused while trying to stay on their feet. The White then began to fade to black. The Phoenix flight pattern was stopped. It began to fly backwards opposite of the direction it was facing. It began to fade in the same direction.
“What’s happening?” Wanda nearly yelled.
“We’re under attack. The M’Kraan Crystal’s energy must be being tampered with.”
        The next instant Jean and Wanda were both standing on a large asteroid in the middle of space. Above them was Brio in her large state. She was gripping tightly on the M’Kraan Crystal with one hand. Purple light was erupting from the crystal between her fingers. Just in front of her was the large and restored Phoenix Force.
“Thank you,” Brio said down to the little mutants.

Life and Legacy Fanfic Ch. 3
phoenixphreek
Fandom: Marvel
Rating: K+
Characters: Scarlet Witch
Summary: Wanda Maximoff faces many problems. She doesn't know how to function being the hero with tremendous power that has done horrible things. She looks to the past for a solution. She looks to the woman who did it before: Jean Grey.


What Steve doesn't know won't hurt him.
Wanda left the mansion late in the afternoon, checking behind herself many times to ensure she wasn't followed. He had a point, I shouldn't torture myself every night... but maybe some nights. She turned in to an alley and then took to the sky.

Maybe—Wanda was stopped mid-thought as she was hit right on her back. Her body flew downward and landed hard on a building top. Her body writhed in pain as she laid face down on the flat metal roof. Through the building she felt a body landing behind her. She ignored her pain and at once turned and stood to face her attacker. Before her was a creature, only slightly larger than her, that had golden metallic skin. She had no face except for her red eyes. She had some sort of wings coming from her back, arching upward and some kind of long red hair. Wanda had never heard of Brio of Life. The Scarlet Witch stood poised and ready to attack with a little bit of chaos energy hovering at her fingertips. Brio watched her intently, tilted her head as they made eye contact. Without a hint of her actions she flew towards Wanda with incredible speed. Wanda raised both hands at the form coming at her and blasted a hex bolt. Brio swerved her body, allowing the blast to just narrowly miss her, and continued her flight forward. She was so fast that she was standing before Wanda holding her up by her throat, before the mutant could even react.
“You worthless creature!” She yelled in a cold voice. She had no mouth and what she had of a face didn’t move at all. It was as if her voice appeared from nowhere. “She blessed your insignificant existence with her power and you repudiate her!” With every word she spoke her grip on the Scarlet Witch’s neck tightened. Wanda began to choke. Her hands moved to the golden hand suffocating her and failed to remove it. “You will mend your atrocity!” Wanda began to muster a hex blast and when she moved her hand in place to shoot it in Brio’s face her body was thrown by Brio’s one hand hard on to the rooftop yet again.
She breathed hard, regaining lost oxygen. She rolled her body to look back at Brio, looking down on her menacingly. “What are you talking about?”
“The Phoenix. My travels led me to discovering you tampered with its presence.”
Wanda’s hands massaged the sore skin of her throat. “I—I’m not sure what I have done.”
“Your uncertainty does not matter to me. You will repair your wrongdoings.”
Wanda slowly rose to her feet. “Who are you?”
“I’m a God!” she yelled, aggressively stepping closer to Wanda. “I am Brio of Life! I have been for the extent of this universe! I birth and destroy stars as I see fit! I have ruled and been worshipped by numerous races across the cosmos. I battle cosmic entities. I command more power than you can conceive.”
“What do you want?” Wanda spoke slowly.
“The Phoenix. You have tampered with it, you shall undo it. If you don’t, I will destroy your planet and it will be nothing to me.”
“I—”
“I have heard enough of your voice, you lowly being,” Brio interrupted her. She spread her arms wide and clasped them together in front of her creating a huge gust of wind immediately knocking Wanda down.
       
          She watched from her grounded position as Brio flew into the sky. The further she got the larger her body morphed. The last point she was in sight Wanda estimated she was the size of Galactus. Do you know her? Was she serious or all talk? She began to fly back to the mansion as quickly as she could. I hope any fellow Avengers didn’t see her. I’d rather keep them out of this one: it’s my problem. She arrived to the mansion and when she walked in the Avengers sitting around their meeting table greeted her.

“We were just about to page you,” Captain America said.
“A large creature giving off extremely powerful readings was spotted flying over Manhattan today,” Ironman said.
Wanda sighed. Oh well. “I know. I saw it. First hand. How powerful?”
“High end cosmic levels,” Ironman answered. Guess it’s time to go with the drastic plan.
“What do you mean Wanda?” Steve asked.
“She attacked me. Cap, we need to call in the Unity Squad on this one.”
“Why is that?”
“This is about the Phoenix, which means this is about mutants. And we need to make a trip to Shi’ar space. With Xavier gone, Havok is most knowledgeable in that department.” Where it all started.
“Wait, why are we going there?”
“We need the M’Kraan Crystal.”

“I don’t understand what you’re trying to do,” Havok said. The newly formed group of X-Men and Avengers were standing outside at a jet launch site: Havok, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Thor and Wasp. The sun had just set, leaving them in relative darkness.
“That’s because I’m not entirely certain either,” Wanda said. “What we do know is that the M’Kraan Crystal and the Phoenix Force are somehow connected and that my powers have done something to the Phoenix. So I’m hoping that if I can get my hands on the Crystal, using my powers, I can do something… Figure something out.”
“The Shi’ar aren’t too keen on just letting people waltz up to it,” Havok told her.
“I know. This was my last resort and with Brio now threatening our planet I think we have to use it.”
“Shouldn’t we be stayin ‘ere then?” Rogue asked. “Preparin to fight that thing?”
“The Avengers are readying themselves in case it comes to that but we should try to avoid confrontation with a being of that power,” Cap said.
“I’m still not sure how cooperative the Shi’ar will be,” Havok said.
“We have to try,” Scarlet Witch insisted.
Havok nodded. “Alright.”
“This should be fun,” Wolverine said.
          All of them turned to board the ship when a flash of lights appeared before them. When the lights settled Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost, and Magik stood before them. The Uncanny Avengers were at once poised for a fight.
“What are you doing here Scott?” Havok asked his brother.
“Stopping her,” he said, pointing at Wanda. “What do you think you’re about to do?”
“I’m not sure what you think is happening here—” she started.
“You’re flying off to the M’Kraan Crystal to do some tampering,” Emma said.
“That will inevitably have some effect on the Phoenix,” Cyclops said.
“Wanda,” Magneto said, stepping up, “We’re afraid that anything you do might effect the new surge of mutants.”
“Father, you know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt our race.”
“Not intentionally,” he responded.
“But we’ve all seen what kind of damage you can do with or without intent,” Cyclops said.
“There’s more at stake here than you know Slim,” Wolverine all but growled.
“Nothing else matters when it’s our people at stake,” Cyclops said sternly.
“You won’t stop us from boarding this ship!” Thor said.
“I’ll have to disagree with you on that Asgardian,” Magneto said calmly. He raised an open hand and with the closing of his fist the jet just yards away from them crumpled inwardly and fell to the ground with a crashing noise as a pile of metal scraps.
“You fool!” Thor yelled, and flew hammer first towards Magneto.
          He was feet away from the Master of Magnetism when a huge red optic blast hit him from the side and knocked him out of the air. That was all it took for the fight to ensue. Havok at once blasted Emma Frost just as her hand was moving to her head. His cosmic blast sent her body flying, stopping her before she could assault them telepathically. Wolverine of course lunged at Cyclops, who was all too expecting. He ducked and rolled the mutant’s tackling body and sent him hurdling forward. Rogue and Magneto made sympathetic eye contact before she ran forward with a swinging fist. He threw up a force field that took the blow. Captain America saw Magik taking aim at Wanda and quickly threw his shield, connecting right on her stomach. Scarlet Witch watched in horror. This isn’t what I wanted. She looked around, trying to see something, trying to find a solution. I don’t want to fight any of them. Cyclops had just blasted the persistent Wolverine a long distance away and then turned to see Wanda standing there. His hand went to his visor as he took aim. The optic energy flew from his eyes in a straight line towards her. She turned just in time to see it. She threw her hands up and before she closed her eyes all she could see was red.
          She didn’t feel like she had just taken on optic blast. As crazy as she knew it was, she felt like she was still standing. I think your ex-husband just gave me so much brain damage that I can’t even feel pain anymore. She was afraid what she would she opened her eyes. As she stood there she began to feel different. She didn’t feel the cold, harsh New York wind against her skin. There was light behind her closed eyelids that didn’t match the nighttime sky she was standing under moments ago. Or maybe he killed me. She slowly, warily, opened her eyes. She saw nothing but white. Just white. No sky, no buildings, no mutants, no Avengers, no walls; just white. Wait, is this…
“Yes.”
The soft voice came from behind her and to her amazement it didn’t startle her. She turned around to see the source.
“This is the White Hot Room.” Jean Grey was standing before her.

Life and Legacy Fanfic Ch. 2
phoenixphreek

Fandom: Marvel
Rating: K+
Characters: Scarlet Witch
Summary: Wanda Maximoff faces many problems. She doesn't know how to function being the hero with tremendous power that has done horrible things. She looks to the past for a solution. She looks to the woman who did it before: Jean Grey.


It's ironic really: we never knew each other that well and now we have so much in common. The majority of the time we did know each other, it was as enemies. Years ago I blindly followed my father as a member of his Brotherhood and we fought each other numerous times. We were the only women in our respective teams. Hard as I try I can't remember how many hex bolts I threw at you or how many times your telekinesis threw me around.

We knew each other as heroes as well. We were both fighting in the thick of it against Thanos and Onslaught in those apocalyptic battles. We didn't really say much to each other though. Honestly, I was always embarrassed in those moments in front of you and the X-Men. The Avengers made Pietro and I feel welcomed and accepted after we worked for our father, but they weren't the ones we had wronged. You and your friends were. I never knew if I had your forgiveness. Now I know exactly where I stand with the X-Men. We had better relations when I was in the Brotherhood.

When I heard what happened to you, the Phoenix taking over your body and killing all of those people, I couldn't believe it. I always looked up to you from afar. While I had been confused as what to do as a mutant, you always seemed to be morally admirable. I followed Magneto, you followed Charles Xavier. I thought someone must've been confused or misheard because for some time it wasn't conceivable to me that Jean Grey could have done those things. Then when I… When I lost control of my powers, killed my friends, decimated the mutant race, I could understand.

Now I stand here as an Avenger who has done these horrible things. When your returned from the dead the X-Men welcomed you back, much like the Avengers did for me. You continued to fight for mutants; you continued to be a super hero. I don't know how. I don't know how you went on with all of this blood on your hands. I need to know. I need to know because there are a lot of people out there who hate and fear me and I can't give them a reason why they shouldn't. Super heroes are supposed to be the pinnacle of human—or mutant—morality… and I'm a murderer. How did you come back from that?

I can't even trust myself, not fully. I could lose control again. There's so much I don't understand about my power. I don't think any person should have this much power inside of them. Could you trust yourself after everything you had done? Did you still fear what you could do? Did you fear you could lose control at any minute?

My poor son Billy… He was gifted with powers similar to mine. The Avengers do worry about what he is capable of. And so I have isolated myself from him. I did it to protect him, but I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing. I assumed the less connection he had with me, the less they would fear or hate him. I can't claim to understand the lineage of the Grey-Summer family but from what I've learned while I've studied your life, you weren't particularly close with any of your descendants. Did you fear for them like I fear for Billy?

Far as anyone around here knows you weren't gifted with precognition. Maybe you were just intuitive. We did have one significant encounter once. It was soon after the destruction of Genosha, and we believed my father was dead. Pietro insisted that I come. You were there with Xavier. We were standing among the wreckage and everyone else had wondered off, leaving us alone together. I was nervous. I had no clue what to say to you or if I should say anything at all. Then you said to me, "It feels like every day you and I have more in common." I assumed you were talking as mutants: as mutants we had more in common because as a people we had to go through the same things and as our race dwindled by default you have more in common with the minority left standing. I assumed you meant you were forced to have more in common with me. But now our race is as decimated as it's ever been and the longer I've lived the more I've grown into common ground with you.

I've studied you as much as I can. The people that knew you best unfortunately are the ones that hate me the most. The X-Men: Scott Summers, Ororo Munroe, Logan, Hank McCoy, Kitty Pryde, Warren Worthington, Piotr Rasputin, Bobby Drake. I think I've found any publication that ever printed your name, or any of your aliases. There just guess work, speculation and reporting though. I don't know much about you as a person. If you go by what Xavier had to say you were the second coming; if you listen to what Emma Frost had to say you had a horrible temper.

Different people say different things about your fate. Most people say you died. That the Phoenix brought you back for the umpteenth time and to stop it from causing its usual reign of destruction you killed yourself yet again. If that's true… If you did kill yourself as your final solution to the problem of having too much power, of fearing what you're possible of... Then I have my answer on how you dealt with it… And what you think I should do. Others believe that you moved on to a higher plane or realm to control the Phoenix or do whatever work the Phoenix does when it's not destroying everything. If that's true, then you are still out there somewhere. That's what I'm hoping. I need answers from you.

I also have fear if that belief is true. If it is true, then I don't know what Hope and I did to you when we said, "No More Phoenix." I fear I may have killed you. That would be another dreadful irony: the one woman who could have helped me with my enormous amount of power, I might have killed with my enormous amount of power. I wasn't entirely sure where to stand when the Phoenix came. I think I sided with the Avengers more so out of default, because the X-Men didn't want me. But I hoped Scott was right. It didn't matter though in the end. When the Phoenix took over Hope… I was too scared for her to do anything other than get rid of the Phoenix. She's so young. I didn't want to see her travel down the same road the both of us did. And then banishing the Phoenix rebirthed the mutants… And it might have killed you… It was all kind of beautifully orchestrated in a way though.

I don't know if you're out there or not, or if you can even hear me, but I need you Jean Grey.


Life and Legacy
phoenixphreek
Fandom: Marvel
Rating: K+
Characters: Scarlet Witch
Summary: Wanda Maximoff faces many problems. She doesn't know how to function being the hero with tremendous power that has done horrible things. She looks to the past for a solution. She looks to the woman who did it before.

          The Scarlet Witch shot one last hex blast from her hand that connected right on the chest of the last conscious thug. His body hit the ground, surrounded by the other bodies of the other men she had already defeated. She walked over to the crouched person she had just saved. He was in a fetal position up against a building wall.
“It’s okay,” she said calmly as she crouched down next to him. “Those men are gone. You’re safe now.”
“Safe?!” He yelled angrily, turning to face her finally. His eyes, nose, ears and mouth were all double the size of a regular human’s while his head was the regular size. He was a mutant. His outburst was so sudden that it jolted Wanda and she fell back and onto the pavement. “How many times do you think I’ve been jumped?! There’s not a super hero handy to step in and save me every time.”
“I—I’m sorry. I know being a mutant can be difficult,” Wanda said softly. “But we’re trying to fix things. It will get better.”
“It didn’t have to get worse!” He continued to yell as he got to his feet. “I was normal before! Before you and that Messiah girl did whatever it is that you did! You made me like this! You made me a freak that everyone hates!” He turned and ran away. Wanda watched speechless as he disappeared into the busy New York streets.
           You would think I’d have a comeback for that by now. He’s only the thirteenth new mutant to tell me the similar tale; that I ruined their life by reviving the mutant race. It was later in the day now; the sky was beginning to turn dark. Wanda was flying over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was crowded with a bunch of cars heading both ways. It was normal. Time was, they hated me for doing the exact opposite. And those people still hate me for muttering those three damned words, even if I have undone the problem that they created. So what have I done other than double the amount of people that hate me? I feel like I can’t win... but you know all about that feeling.
           Wanda peeked out from behind the tree she was standing behind. It was fairly dark out now and the shadow cast by the leaves above her hid her from sight. She stared in through a window of the large building a couple yards in front of her. There were two kids in the large room she was looking at. One boy had stretchable arms that were wrapped around the other boy with four arms that he was using to pry off the other’s arms. They were fighting; playfully: rough housing. Wanda watched for minutes before turning to walk away. As she walked through the entry way of the gated yard she glanced at the stone sign in the ground. “Jean Grey School for Higher Learning,” it read. I guess things aren’t all bad though.
           It was fully dark out now. The streetlights and lights peaking through the windows of the surrounding buildings were all that lit the way as Wanda walked on the sidewalk of a New York street. It wasn’t busy now. Wanda had already hexed her outfit into regular street clothes, as if that would make her unrecognizable. You know that kid that found me the other day? The one that lost her powers on that awful day and was further enraged with me that she didn’t get them back when new mutants started erupting? She stopped at a crosswalk. She looked to the right and saw a couple of people grouped at the bottom of a stoup talking; and to the left she saw no one. She turned to the left and continued walking. I pulled some strings with people I know at SHEILD and found out she used to have the ability to feel the exact feelings of any person she came into contact with. After screaming at me for one hundred and eighty six seconds straight and storming off, she bumped into my arm. She stomped down the street just as angry as she was before. The door of a house she was walking next to burst open and two people immediately came into sight. There was a woman, standing in the doorframe. In front of her, on the porch effectively, was a man about 7 feet tall, wider than normal and his skin was a dark green all over. She had pushed him out of the door.
“You’re not the man I married! You’re a—a—a freak!” She screamed.
“Honey—” The door slammed shut before he could say another word.
I never was a fan of irony.
          
           She was awoken by a knock on her bedroom door the next morning.
“I apologize Ms. Maximoff,” Jarvis’ voice came from the other side. “You have visitors. They insisted.”
           When she was dressed in her suit and sitting in the Mansion’s meeting room Jarvis returned to her.
“Your guests mam,” he said. In walked behind him Psylocke and Rachel Grey. And the irony continues. “Do let me know if you all need anything,” Jarvis said as he left the room.
“Hello,” Wanda said, putting on the best smile she possibly could. “How can I help you all?” She was trying to remember every trick her father ever taught her about shielding your mind from telepaths. If she knew… Well, it would be embarrassing.
“Isn’t that a loaded question,” Psylocke rolled her eyes.
“What brings you here today?” Wanda rephrased.
They both looked around the room. They eyed the pictures on the wall, the table settings, and the fine décor. Wanda knew what they were thinking. It was the same barb so many X-Men before had thrown at her before. “She gets to be Avenger?” They stood across from where Wanda sat at the table.
“Our powers are on the fritz,” Psylocke said. She was staring directly at Wanda but the Scarlet Witch felt more like she was staring through her.
“They’re weaker. Harder to control,” Rachel spoke. Her eyes were softer; kinder.
“My katana is looking more like a steak knife.”
“And I’m having to concentrate to even read minds,” Rachel elaborated. That’s a slight blessing, all things considered.
“I’m sorry. I’m not certain how this one’s my fault,” Wanda said, looking back and forth between the two of them sympathetically.
“What exactly did you and Hope do to the Phoenix Force?” Rachel asked. There was a slight tone of offensiveness starting to rise in her voice.
“I’m… I’m not exactly certain.” Did she read my mind already? Without me noticing?
“Of course you aren’t,” Psylocke snapped.
“I’m trying to find out. I’m researching, doing everything I can.”
“What we do know is that you said ‘No More Phoenix’ and the last time you ‘No More’ of something ninety percent of that something was no more,” Psylocke said.
“And we also know that it is believed by many that the Phoenix Force is, or was, the nexus of all psionic energy,” Rachel finished.
Wanda paused for a moment. Her thoughts raced. “So you believe Hope and I might have damaged your power by damaging the Phoenix?”
“You might have damaged the power of every psionic in the universe,” Rachel corrected her.
“So fix it. Find out what you did and fix it,” Psylocke spoke shortly. Add it to the list, shall we?

           Deep in space the creature once known as Brio of Life awoke. She felt a rumbling from outside her prison. She at once remembered her last living memory. She saw her fellow Gods each being blasted with massive amounts of energy from the giant Galactus. She watched him squeeze the life out of the innocent Antiphon. That’s when she attacked. She flew towards the World Devourer. As soon as she was in arm’s reach she was grabbed by the throat. Galactus’ massive hand clenched her throat tightly before a blast from his eyes hit her square in the face. Everything went black. The memory angered her. She looked around her current setting. She was completely surrounded by a metallic material. It was dark except for one small circular window letting a blue light in. She remembered her power. It was so long since she used it. She could feel how long she had been dormant. It angered her further. She blew energy outward in every direction creating a sphere around her that echoes her spherical prison. The energy tore through and decimated the metal around her before dispersing. She found herself floating in space, surrounded by several prisons identical to the one she had just escaped. She flew over to the one closest to her and looked through the window. She saw Diableri of Chaos still and lifeless. She shook her head in defiance before looking over at another prison. She flew to it and through window saw another lifeless God. She looked off in to the distance and she saw the lifeless bodies of Aegis and Tenebrous floating. Her anger grew and grew with each discovery. She screamed, loud and shrill and her voice echoed through space.

           Wanda returned to her bedroom at the mansion to find a letter Jarvis must have put on her desk. It said only “Wanda” on the envelope in handwriting she immediately recognized. She reluctantly sat at the desk and opened it.
“Hey,
I’m half convinced that Tony should fire Jarvis. I mean what kind of butler can’t deliver letters? Because this is like the sixth or seventh I’ve wrote you and I haven’t heard anything from you. So let me just give you the jist of those letters. They go something like: Hi mom, I miss you, how are you, I haven’t seen you in a while, I heard about the X-Men/Phoenix catastrophe thing, heard you did well, I’m proud of you, etc. The other half of me thinks that Jarvis has assisted the Avengers for like ever so he can’t really be that bad at his job. But that thought process leads to the possibility that you have read all my letters and have chose not to respond, which is a lot more depressing so I tend to avoid that one. I don’t know why you would do that… But anyways, I miss you. And although Tommy is way too stubborn to ever admit it, he does too. So it would be awesome to see or hear from you soon. Here’s to hoping.
                                                                      
Love,
Your son
Billy”

           With her elbows resting on the desk she dropped the letter and crashed her face in her palms. It’s the seventh. She pulled a drawer on her desk open and looked down at the other letters in the same handwriting. She sighed deeply as she added the new one and shut the drawer. It’s not that I don’t feel bad; I do. It’s just… I think it’s better this way. An alarm in her room went off at that moment. She turned to look at the red flashing light on her wall. Avengers Assemble.

           Brio soared the space at an incredible speed. Her head veered from left to right. She glanced at every planet, every star, every corner of dark space she passed. She couldn’t find it. She never slowed her pace, never slowed her search. Her mind again danced through her ancient memories. In the beginning they found each other. They were both alone with the stars. It was the first life Brio had found in this new universe and without knowing for sure she believed she was the same for it. Her memory froze as she looked at it; she put it on pause. She stared at its fiery depths, its even deeper eyes, its vastness. She was in awe of the Phoenix. As her memory continued she saw the two of them flying through space together. They destroyed stars and made stars. They explored countless planets. Even after Brio had found the others that would come to be called the Proemial Gods, she always returned to the Phoenix. They always explored together. They did so for many years before they discovered Earth. Brio thought nothing of the planet. She saw it as another planet, humans as another creature. The Phoenix saw humans as an anomaly. She saw them as creatures possible of evolving and improving. When Brio was ready to depart from the planet the Phoenix would not leave with her. So she left alone. Angry as she was, she couldn’t leave so easily. She watched the Phoenix from afar as it travelled the Earth. She saw it bond with a human and she was disgusted. The Phoenix leant a portion of its power to this tiny, insignificant, human and Brio could not understand why. She watched as the Phoenix’ human became a God to it’s people. That’s when the Phoenix felt accomplished and left the planet. Brio was torn on whether or not to follow its one time companion or watch its human. Her mind was made when she felt the humans’ psionic ability. She flew to it on Earth and observed it. It had telekinetic and telepathic abilities. The Phoenix gave it power. Brio was further disgusted but she also felt astonishment. She knew how to punish the Phoenix and also knew how to further the Proemial Gods’ plans. But it was too late. She felt the call of her Gods’. The fight had started. She knew must go to them.

           The Scarlet Witch returned home after her long day; a routine day for an Avenger. She began changing into street clothes. I wonder if I have the power to stop time. She finished and exited the mansion. The sun was just beginning to set. It would be useful. Everyday it’s something else: AIM, Hydra, Red Skull, my father. I don’t have enough time for everything else. She began her walk alongside the street. I don’t have time to research the Phoenix, or the psionics’ problem, or you. She had just made it down four blocks.
“Wanda?” a voice came from behind her.
She turned to see Steve Rogers looking at her. His kind face had a slight tinge of pity.
“Steve. Yes?” She wore her happy voice. Her voice she was all too familiar with putting on like a glove.
“You do this every night?” He asked, walking up to her.
“What? Have you been following me?”
“Only these last couple nights.”
“I—”
“I’m only worried about you. You walk these streets every night, rubbing your face in all of these problems people like to blame you for.”
“You say that as if they’re wrong to blame me.”
“I just don’t know what good this does anyone.”
She waited. She looked around. The streets were pretty busy. People passed them on the sidewalk. “I have to see these problems to remind myself to solve them.”
“We both know that’s not true. You could never forget even if you tried.”
“I—”
“You’re torturing yourself, I think, because the world has convinced you that you deserve it. You don’t. You do that enough all by yourself.” Since when did he become telepathic?
“I think out here. There are so many problems I need to solve. I think about them out here at night.”
Steve smiled widely. “You can think at home Wanda.”
“But—”
“Come on,” Steve said. He stepped to the side and opened his arms widely. Damn Captain America’s charm. She stepped forward and he turned and followed her back to the mansion.

           When she returned to her room she at once walked to her walk in closet. Maybe he was right though. She walked to the back of her closet and pushed all the clothes on their hangers to one side, revealing the brick wall behind it. Maybe tormenting myself wasn’t the road to discovery. She wrapped her hand with a hex blast. The pink energy lit up the dark closet. She pressed the hand gently against the wall. With a loud shifting noise the entire wall slid to the left, opening a dark walkway. I haven’t been back here to see you in some time any way. She kept the energy around her hand to light the way as she walked down the narrow path. When the end was near she could see the candles lit in the distance. She dissipated the energy as she continued walking. She came to a halt in front of the dead end. There was a table up against the wall, where the candles rested. She looked over the mess she had made. There were dozens of papers, newspaper stories, ancient books, and scrolls all overlapping and mixed on the tabletop. She looked to the wall. There were at least fifty pictures hung and taped there. Each one of the same woman. There were some of her as a child, a teenager, an adult, and some of her tombstone. Wanda looked at each one, focusing on that red haired, green-eyed woman. Hello again Jean Grey.

The Ending Chapter 2
phoenixphreek

            Faith was getting out of the shower when the three of them portaled into her apartment. After she dressed, they caught her up on everything.

“Okay, let’s go.” Faith said quickly. “I want to save Angel.”

Buffy nodded.

“Seeing as how this is pretty dire and all, should we split up? One groups finds Angel, the other finds Spike? It’d be faster.” Willow asked her.

“Um, yeah, yeah. You’re right,” Buffy said. They all paused for her to continue, but she didn’t.

“So, Buff, who do you want to go after?” Willow pressed her.

“Um…” she paused, thinking. “Um…”

“Look, no offense or anything,” Faith interjected, “But I could really care less what happens to Spike. Sure he’s a champion and all now, but I owe Angel my life. I’m not gonna risk it not saving him.” Buffy slowly nodded.

“Um…” Willow started to say slowly, “Not that I still have any problems with Spike, because I don’t, but if it comes to who I care for more between him and Angel, it’s not really a contest.”

“O—Okay,” Buffy choked out.

“While you all are sharing you disgusting human emotions, it might be worthwhile for me to mention I do have a fondness towards the blonde one.” Illyria said. “And we do not have much more time to waste. We were able to restore me to full glory because of the hellish enchantments put onto LA. Outside of those enchantments this body can’t contain my essence. My powers grow uncontrollable and my status turns fatal. We must return to LA with haste.”

“Okay, well we should probably stay even teams right? So Faith and I will save Angel, and Spike will saved by Illyria and you, Buffy.” Willow said slowly.

“Um… Alright.” Buffy said finally.

nbsp;          Illyria waved her hand and a portal appeared. The four of them all stepped into it. When they stepped out they were in an alley between two large buildings with the sun beaming down on them.

“This is the last place Angel was seen by some of our allies. Progress with caution in order to succeed. It can be assumed he’s being heavily guarded so travel in the direction in which the demon concentration increases. Travel to the Hyperion when you’re finished,” Illyria instructed. Faith and Willow both nodded and Illyria and Buffy disappeared into another portal.

nbsp;          They both peaked outside of the alley. Nearly every building’s windows were smashed in, doors broken, many were on fire. The entire sky had a hint of red to it. There was a group of red skinned demons huddled together in front of one building.

“Go check the other end, I’ll watch here,” Faith said, nodding towards the other end of the alley. Willow did, and when she peaked around the corner of the building she saw ten green scaley demons standing in a horizontal line in front of one building. Faith was alternating between looking out on to the street and back over at Willow. The next time she looked towards Willow, she motioned her over. Faith began walking towards the witch.

“There’s ten of them over here,” she said once Faith was in ear shot.

“Looks like they’re standing guard too,” Faith said after she peaked around the corner. “Think Angel’s in that building?”

Willow closed her eyes and thought. She pictured the scene in which she had seen Angel chained up. “No. He is being kept in a building, but it’s bigger than that one.”

“Alright, according to Blue Mama we need to still head that way,” Faith said nodding towards the group of demons. “How hostile do you think these guys are? Like are they gonna attack us on sight?”

“I don’t know. Won’t know till we try I guess.”

Faith looked around. “Okay, we’ll just make a run to that alley,” she said pointing across the street to an alley slightly to the right of them. “If they come after us, run. We’re too outnumbered to take them on.” Willow nodded. “Okay, go!”

nbsp;          They both bolted. They were nearly half way there when Faith saw a couple of the demons turn to them out of the corner of her eye. They continued until they made it to the alley. They continued to run down the dimly lit, long passageway. When they were near it’s end, Willow grabbed Faith’s wrist.

“Stop,” she turned around to face the demon’s catching up to them. “Vis agro!” she yelled pointing her hand towards them. A blue wave of energy flew from it, and grew until it expanded to the walls surrounding them. A demon ran straight into the new blue wall of energy. A couple behind it followed its lead, and they began to bang on it with their fists.

“We’ll kill you witch!” one of them yelled.

“Nice Will. Didn’t think to ask if you could do anything.” Faith said.

“I don’t want to rely on it. We still need to get out of here soon, that won’t hold forever.”

Faith turned to peak around the corner onto the new street as the demons continued to yell at them. “Okay, there are only a couple demons, there to our right.” Willow looked out and saw an alley in that direction. “Go!”

nbsp;          Illyria and Buffy walked out of a portal and on to the beach. Buffy looked around to see the destroyed pier. There were large holes and gaps in the bridge that balconied over the beach, buildings were destroyed and some were on fire. She was horrified.

“This is the last location Spike was seen. We too will travel in the direction the demon population increases.” She then turned her head in the other direction and sniffed. “This way.” She began to walk without waiting for Buffy to follow. Buffy sped up to be next to her.

“So, you said they talk about me?”

“Yes. They mostly argue. They both claim they obtain the majority of your affection. It is bothersome and nauseating.”

Buffy wasn’t sure how to respond. “They saw you in Rome. They’re rivals with the one you have coitus with. The Immortal.”

“What?” Buffy’s jaw dropped. “I have not had… coitus… with anyone in Rome! I’ve never even been to Rome!”

“That’s not what the vampires perceive.”

“Well it’s not true… Oh my gosh, I bet it was one of my decoys!”

“Decoys?”

“We have fake Buffys planted all over the world. I’ve sorta become demon’s number one most wanted so we thought it would help keep me safe and confuse them all.”

“This topic has begun to bore me.”

“Oh… Um… Well was it like being an Old One? Did you ever meet—”

nbsp;          Buffy was interrupted by a group of seven demons jumping right in front of them from a rocky cliff that hung over their heads. They were tan with long, dragging skin. They reminded Buffy of Clem slightly, except for the claws and the evil expressions they were wearing. They lunged towards the two of them. Buffy blocked a hand swung towards her then threw that demon into another one coming at her. With him bent at the knee she swiftly kicked him in the back of the head. The second demon had gotten back to his feet and swung his claws towards Buffy. She moved backwards avoiding each of his swipes until her back hit the rock wall. The next time he swung she darted under his arm, and while he was still facing the rock wall she slammed his face into it. He fell to the ground still. The other demon then grabbed her around the neck from behind her. She grabbed his arm and used the rest of her body to lunge him up into the air so he collapsed on his back in front of her. She squatted down and repeatedly punched him in the face until he was out. She stood up panting and turned to Illyria. The other six demons were lifeless on the ground all around her.

“Okay then.”

“We need to travel upward.” Illyria said looking up the rock wall before them.

“How are we supposed to do that? I’ve never been rock climbing.”

“I can jump that distance.”

Buffy stared at her plainly. “I can’t.”

“I will hold on to you if I must.”

“Joy.”

“So yeah, there are about two thousand slayers globally.” Willow said to Faith just after darting into another alley. “We’ve found and talked to around fifteen hundred of them.”

“That’s crazy. It went from two to two thousand.”

“And how’s your team in Cleveland?”

“We’re five by five. Hellmouths suck but with eight slayers there it’s bearable. I even get off nights,” Faith said enthusiastically.

“Oh, wait,” Willow said when they reached the end of the alley. They both stared out at a wide building with at least twenty demons standing in front of it. “That has to be it. It looks like it could be the one I saw, and with it being that heavily guarded…”

“Alright, so how do we get past that demon guard party?”

They both paused and waited.

“I could create a distraction from the other direction. I know this spell that causes one small isolated explosion, maybe it will draw them away.

“Go for it.”

Willow closed her eyes. “Segregatorum combustion.”

Faith peaked out of the alley to see a random eruption of fire and smoke accompanied by a loud boom occur far from their position and the building. The demons all turned to look in that direction. In moments a large group of the demons started to walk in that direction.

“Okay, I’ve got another idea. Run when I do,” Willow instructed. “Duo vis agro!” This time a wall of blue energy came from both of Willow’s hands and created a path directly from them to the door of the building. Willow bolted and Faith followed. The remaining demons started to yell and bang on the force field walls. “Hurry!” As soon as they entered the building Faith closed the door behind them and threw herself against it while Willow looked around to find they were alone in the room. “There’s too many of them, I can’t hold it for long,” she said when she turned back to Faith.

“Is there anything else you can do?”

“Um…”

Just then she felt the force field break, and the demons started to push at the door.

Faith held it shut for the moment. “Willow, think! I can’t hold this door forever!

“Instanti foramen!” she yelled pointing at the ground. Right where she was pointing a huge hole grew where there was previously floor, around fifteen feet deep and directly in front of the door.

Faith couldn’t hold up anymore: she leaped sideways away from the door. The demons instantly came pouring through, running, and instantly falling down into the hole. Willow and Faith watched as their plan succeeded. When there were only a couple demons left they stopped themselves right in front of the hole and looked towards the two and smiled menacingly.

Illyria punched one last demon and it fell to the ground with the several others. She and Buffy now stood at the mouth of a cave after taking out another horde of demons. Illyria led the way. As they traveled further the sunlight began to fade but lit torches fastened to the rock walls replaced the light. Buffy walked on her toes with caution. They made a turn and were met by a group of vampires.

“Go on ahead, he can’t be much further!” Illyria ordered as she shoved a fist through the chest of a vampire.

Buffy dashed past the vampires and continued on. In moments she entered part of the cave that was wider than the narrower walkway prior. She braced herself as she entered this new territory. Once she got further into it she saw from across the way a man chained up to the wall behind him. His shirt was missing, his head was down, he had cuts across his torso, and blood all over himself but his muffled blonde hair was unmistakable.

“Spike.”

He slowly raised his head and looked at her plainly. He rolled his eyes and dropped his head back down.

“Spike? It’s me. I’m here to get you out of here.” She said as she walked closer to him.

“Bugger off.”

“What is wrong with you?”

“Drop the act. You’re not real, and I bloody stopped falling for it the third time you tried.”

“Spike,” she said as she reached him and lifted his chin, “what are you talking about?”

He looked into her eyes with wide eyes and a slightly dropped jaw that morphed into a half smirk. “I—”

He choked on his words as he continued to stare through watery eyes.

nbsp;          Buffy reached for the chain on one of his hands. She began to undo the lock when a hand grabbed her from behind and threw her in the other direction. She got back to her feet and saw Drusilla standing between her and Spike.

“He’s my pet now. Again. You tried to let him go. That’s a bad slayer, very, very bad slayer.” Buffy rolled her eyes as she closed the distance between them and punched  her in the face. Dru retaliated with a punch to Buffy’s face. Buffy swung again but Drusilla caught the fist in her hand and began to squeeze it, pressing her long nails in to the flesh. Buffy’s other hand grabbed Dru’s arm at the elbow as she spun them both around quickly, throwing the vampire’s grip off of her. Spike began to wriggle against the already loosened chain on his arm, and banging it on the hard rock wall behind him. Drusilla pounced towards Buffy and successfully pinned the slayer to the ground. Both of Dru’s wrists held both of Buffy’s hands to the ground as she switched to her game face and leaned towards the slayer’s neck. Buffy unsuccessfully writhed against the hands holding her down, then quickly head-butted the vampire in the face, knocking her back enough for Buffy to free her hands, get to her feet and then kick Drusilla in the face.

“No, no, no, this is all wrong! All wrong!” Drusilla yelled from her hands and knees on the ground.

“My god, and I’m the one with the reputation for talking too much during pivotal fight scenes?” Buffy said as she picked Drusilla up by the shoulders of the dress she wore. The vampire quickly shoved her palm upward and into her face, knocking her back a little. Before Buffy could retaliate Drusilla waved her hands in front of her face as she stared deep into her eyes. Buffy was stilled.

“You, you troublesome girl.” Dru said as she continued to wave her hands and motion the slayer’s eyes into her own. “You ruined dad, you ruined my pet. Tainted them beyond repair. I poke and I prod and try to make them see but their eyes have gone light. Too much light. And you, slayer, their sun. No! No! You ruined our family.” She pulled her hand back and stretched her fingers out as she aimed towards Buffy’s neck. Her hand swung but before it connected her body turned to dust and collapsed. Buffy’s trance ended as Spike appeared through the dust in front of her. He dropped a torch as he fell onto Buffy. She caught him, and helped him back on to his feet as she wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

“I guess saving my life can mean you’re off the hook for not telling me you were alive,” she said. Spike half smiled.

nbsp;          After killing the three demons left and discovering the building was empty Willow and Faith found a staircase and walked to the basement. As soon as they entered, Faith looked to Willow and she nodded. They looked around the empty, dark basement.

“Angel!” Angel raised his head up to see Buffy. She ran towards him. “I’m here to take you home!” Angel stared at her as a slight smile appeared on his face.

“Angel!” Angel looked in the other direction to see Faith and Willow running towards him. He looked back and Buffy was now staring him with a devilish grin. They quickly freed him of his chains and held him up.

“Where’s Cordelia?” Willow asked.

Angel looked up at her confused. “No… It’s not… It’s the First.&rdquo


The Ending
phoenixphreek

“Hi! You’ve reached Buffy Summers—well I guess you haven’t really. But this is her phone—I mean my phone. I must be busy or something but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”

Beep.

            Willow hung up her phone and placed it on her bedside table. She laid back down on her bed, getting ready to go to sleep for the night. It had been yet another busy day. Such was the life of the most powerful witch on earth, Scoobie and godmother of the Slayer line. As she rested she racked her brain to assure she had accomplished all she had set out to do that day. I just need to tell Buff that the new slayer Monica is all set up, but she didn’t answer her phone. Nothing unusual there. She still doesn’t know how to work it. She continued her mental checklist and in moments remembered one last thing to do. It’s been ages since I’ve talked to him. I think it’s been since I reensouled him. She effortlessly remembered the spell she needed to make mental contact. Mentemeloqui ad Angel. She waited, expecting to hear his voice in her head. Angel? She tried again. She laid there for a couple of minutes waiting for any sort of response, but she got none. Oh well, she thought as she rolled over to go to sleep.

***

            Angel was alone in his room at the Hyperion. He had just returned, and was taking off his bloodied up clothes. His shirt had just hit the floor when his head was struck with a searing pain that he had only ever experienced once. He screamed lightly as images flew through his head. He bit his tongue to quiet himself as he tried to wait out the skull splitting sensation. In moments it was over and he could now see through his own eyes. He knew what to do. He grabbed another shirt from his dresser and put it on over his bruised torso, picked up his sword and headed for his window. It’s too dangerous for the others.

***

            When Willow woke up the following morning her first thought was of Angel. She bit her bottom lip slightly. Mentemeloqui ad Angel. She still heard nothing but her mind was now filled with a horrid feeling. She was trained enough in spiritual introspection to notice the difference between her own and foreign feelings. What is that? She thought of different spells she knew. Possession identification, aura location, trance vision, umm… oh! Astral sight! Ummm…. Uh… Videre… Videre Angel de longinquo. It worked. In her mind’s eye she could see Angel. She could see LA. She was immediately horrified. Her mouth dropped open as she sprung out of her bed and grabbed her phone. She dialed Buffy’s number, put it on speakerphone, threw it on the bed and began to change.

“Hi! You’ve reached Buffy Summers—well I guess you haven’t really. But this—” Willow hung up the phone, now fully changed. She grabbed the last of her belongings she needed. “Proficiscor ad Buffy.” She said, as her body disappeared in a swirl of blue and white lights.

***

“Come on girls! Move! Move!” Buffy stood before the warehouse doors she had just kicked in as she ushered in several girls. “Do not try and get in to a full on fight with them! This is daytime, our time! Just throw them into the sunlight, save your energy!” When the last girl had entered the vampire nest, she followed in after. A vampire at once lunged at her. She quickly grabbed him by the wrists and squatted under his leaping body, using his own momentum to throw him into the sunlight let in by the open doors, and turning him to dust instantly. The rest of the girls followed her lead, throwing vampires into the doorway left and right. Buffy could hear a fight from across the room and ran to it.

“Don’t worry, I’m here!” Buffy said, as she pulled out a stake.

“I’m not!” the girl replied from the darkness, as a vampire fell before Buffy’s feet and turned to dust. “I got it!” She said as she stepped close enough for Buffy to see her and smiled.

“Well… Okay then… That’s good. Good for you.” She turned to face the rest of the warehouse. “Good for everyone really. Did we get them all?” There was a rumbling of “yeahs” and “yesses” from all the girls. “Good. Good job girls.” They all started to walk out the warehouse. “Alright girls, you’re all really coming all along. Really. Everyone buddy up and go patrolling tonight. Keep your phones on you and I’ll see you all soon.”

            All the girls said their goodbyes to Buffy and each other as they walked away, down the London streets. In the month or so she had lived there, Buffy had gotten to know the city, or at least her own little part of they city, well. She walked from the warehouse to her apartment without any trouble, which was a big difference from when she had first arrived here. She unlocked the door to her apartment, locked it behind her, through her keys on a side table and as she walked to her kitchen a swirl of bright lights swirled in front of here. She backed up and braced herself. The lights began to vanish and then Willow stood before her.

“Will! Wanna give someone a little heads up before just teleporting into their flat?” Buffy huffed as she walked past Willow and to her fridge.

“Airbourne not teleport.” Willow said quickly.

“Whatever.”

“And super villians generally don’t use pretty white and blue lights as their means of travel.”

“Yeah, yeah. So how’d it go with that new girl in Seattle?” Buffy asked as she grabbed an apple out of the fridge.

“Fine. Buffy that’s not why I’m here.”

“You’re talking fast.”

“It’s serious.”

“What? What’s wrong?”

“It’s Angel.” Willow paused. Buffy looked at her with a furrowed brow. “He’s in a lot of trouble. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening. I tried to contact him last night for just a little mental chat, but no dice. Then I tried again this morning and I could sense evil. I did a spell to see him in my mind and he’s being held against his will. He’s being tortured by vampires and… um… and—“

“Spit it out Will.”

“Cordelia.” Willow said reluctantly.

“What?! What?! I thought she was dead!”

“So did I.”

“And after all that fuss they made about her being different. Now she’s actually evil! And not just highschool evil, real evil. Oh my God!”

“That’s not all Buff. LA has been altered some how. It’s full of demons. Not in the Sunnydale way either. Like there’s more demon’s than humans. A lot of death. There’s some really powerful magics at play too.”

“How do you mean?”

“I’m not sure really. I could feel it vaguely. But there’s no way I wouldn’t have been able to sense all of this had been going on. That much magic makes ripples. I can feel ripples. I didn’t feel them do this.”

“Wait, so you think LA’s been like this for a while?”

“It has to have been. All the destruction and death I saw takes time.”

“So what? LA’s over run by demons and the news just forgot to mention it? People aren’t running away from the city for their lives? I don’t buy it.”

“Like I said, powerful magics Buff. I don’t know who could pull something like this off. I couldn’t.”

They stood in silence for moments, just looking at each other.

“Well, let’s go.” Buffy spoke finally.

“Are you sure?” Buffy nodded. “Even after everything that happened with him and Wolfam and Hart?”

“That doesn’t matter now.”

“Alright. Should we tell Giles or Xander or anyone?”

“No. If it’s as bad as you say it’s not safe for them. And we can’t take the slayers in blind, that’s irresponsible.”

“Right. Okay. Um… so like now? Do you need to get anything first? What about the Scythe?”

“We’ve still got it locked up in Giles’ safe.”

“Right. Okay. We’re off then.”

“Can you do that airbourne thingey with me tagging along?” Buffy said as she walked through her kitchen to stand right next to Willow.

“Yeah. I’ll just need to change the spell a little bit to account for two people. Grab my hand,” Willow answered and held her hand out for Buffy to grab, which she did. “Okay, just take deep slow breaths. It kinda feels like flying. If flying felt like being smothered by a large monster made of wind.” Buffy slowly nodded. “Okay, Proficiscor cumeduobus ad Angel.” They both closed their eyes as they waited for something to happen.

“Um… Not feeling the wind monster Will.”

“Let me try again. Proficiscor cumeduobus ad Angel.”

Again, nothing happened.

“What’s up Willow?” Buffy asked.

“I don’t know. I know the spell works, I did it with Xander the other day… Something must be cancelling it out.”

“You mean like someone else’s mojo is making your mojo a no go?”

“Precisely. Probably the same magic doing everything else to LA. I’m not liking this Buffy.”

“Me neither. It makes saving Angel that much more important though. We have no idea what these people could be doing to him.” Willow nodded. “Okay, well maybe you could airbourne us just outside of LA and then we could—”

            Buffy was cut off by a swirl of wind erupting from the center of her living room. A portal burst open and the wind emanating from it was so powerful it sent Willow flying into a nearby wall. She hit her head and collapsed to the floor instantly. A small framed woman with dark and blue hair wearing dark skin tight battle armor stepped out from the portal, and it closed behind her. Buffy ran towards her immediately and uppercut her right on the chin.

“You dare!” She spoke, in a shrill and relatively deep voice. Buffy swung her fist again connecting right on the woman’s jaw. She immediately turned her head to stare at Buffy intensely. “You are challenging me slayer. Illyria does not

recoil from a physical confrontation under any circumstantial events.” Buffy ignored her and jabbed her in the gut several times quickly. She went for another punch to the face but Illyria blocked it with one arm, ad her other arm instantly punched Buffy right in the chest, sending her flying backwards and crashing into a wall, denting the dry wall. As Buffy fell off the wall and on to her knees, huge fragments of the wall fell with her. She slowly got back to her feet and stared at Illyria from across the room with wide eyes. After catching her breath she ran towards her again and as soon as she was in reaching distance she aimed a roundhouse kick towards Illyria’s face. The Old One quickly darted backwards out of her leg’s range. Buffy quickly swung her fist towards her face and Illyria leaned to her left, dodging it. Buffy swung again and again and Illyria continued to dodge each blow. Buffy then tried to sweep her leg but Illyria jumped over her leg and kneed Buffy in the face, causing her to fall backward. She kipped up quickly and again swung a fist directly for Illyria’s face. She caught the fist in her palm. Buffy urged her arm forward, in a test of strength. Illyria though curbed her efforts and pushed her fist backward towards Buffy’s body. Buffy tried with all of her strength to overpower her but in time Illyria pushed her arm back until it was next to Buffy’s body and as she held it in place her other hand grabbed Buffy by the throat. Buffy’s other hand clung to the hand strangling her, attempting to pull it off of herself. She continued to pull to no avail as the hand got tighter and tighter, cutting off her breathing supply. Illyria’s grip continued as she began to lift Buffy up off the ground. Buffy continued to fight the hold’s on her but was still unsuccessful. As her feet were now completely up off the ground, she quickly slammed a knee to Illyria’s gut. Illyria gasped in anger as she lifted Buffy up higher and then slammed her body hard onto the ground. Buffy lay on her stomach in pain as she reached her forehead to find a bloody cut. She looked up at Illyria who was staring down at her with a contorted face. Buffy screamed as she leapt to her feet and towards Illyria. She quickly swung her hand and waves flew from it and around Buffy as her movement’s speed was decreased drastically. Illyria began to walk around Buffy’s slowed body in her own usual speed. As she was now facing the other side of the room, the awakened Willow now stood before her.

“Fred?” Willow asked with her eyes squinted and head tilted as her hand rubbed her forehead.

Illyria paused for a moment. “You knew Winifred Burkle?” Illyria’s face tightened as she thought. “Yes. I can see it now. You helped her once. You aided her and the others against the fallen Power, the one they named Jasmine.”

Willow just stared at her. “Yeah,” she said slowly. “I—I… Um… Fred, what happened to you?”

“Winifred Burkle’s body was used to hold my essence when it was freed from the Deeper Well.”

Willow paused again. “The Deeper Well? Where the Old Ones are kept?”

“Yes. I’m the God-King of the Primordium, the Merciless, Illyria.”

“You—you killed Fred.” Willow half stated-half asked.

“Taking over body ended her life. An undoable consequence.”

“But you remember me? You have her memories?”

“I possess everything that was Winifred Burkle.”

“What do you want with us? What did you do to Buffy?” Willow asked as her eyes fell to the slow moving slayer.

“I decreased the flow of time surrounding her body.”

“Well undo it.”

Illyria stared at her pointedly before waving her hand and freeing Buffy. Her body lunged forward quickly, then she looked around everywhere confused.

“Umm…” she said.

“Buffy!” Willow called from behind her.

She turned around. “Will, are you okay?” Willow nodded. Buffy ran to her side and turned to face Illyria. “Willow, this girl’s strong. I haven’t been able to do anything to her.”

“Wait,” Willow rushed, “I know her. Kind of. I don’t think she’s here to hurt us.” Buffy looked to Willow, then back to Illyria, confused. “Are you?” Willow asked.

“If the slayer stops her attempts, I will stop mine. A physical encounter was not my intention.”

“Okay,” Buffy said slowly, still confused. “How do you two know each other?”

“She used to work with Angel, when I helped reensoul him,” Willow said.

“So you came from LA?” Buffy asked Illyria quickly.

“I did.”

“What’s going on there? We know Angel is in trouble.”

“Angel, myself, and his followers killed a demon group that worked directly for the Wolf, Ram, and Hart to achieve their apocalypse. In their subsequent anger they unleashed hordes of demons to LA to punish Angel. They warped the land magically, surrounded it with enchantments. No creature can enter or leave the city limits utilizing any method,” Buffy and Willow looked at each other, and then back to Illyria. “The demon population grew at an enormous rate. After learning the reality warp changed dimensional rules we restored me to my true power to give Angel and the others a semblance of a chance at survival. I have killed scores of demons in this new hellish Los Angeles, but Angel and Spike have now been taken captive.”

Willow and Buffy stared at each other, eyes wide and jaws dropped. “What do you mean Spike is captive?” Buffy asked Illyria quickly.

“He went out patrolling by himself one night and never returned.”

“What? How do you—Spike was with you in LA?”

“He was at Wolfram and Hart long before my return to this world.”

“How? He died in the Hellmouth!”

“He was resurrected. The amulet he used contained his essence. It arrived to Angel somehow, and Spike has resided there since.” Buffy just stared at a random point on a wall. “I’ve continued to annihilate demons without pause in there absence. However success cannot be achieved through these means. I… I’m a fighter, a warrior. I do not strategize, I do not compromise. They talk about you slayer. They call you a champion and a hero. They talk of your wit and leadership. I felt your assistance was needed.”

Buffy paused for a moment to process everything. “Alright. Well we were actually on our way. But we didn’t know how to. Willow’s spell didn’t work.”

“The surrounding enchantments overpowered her magic.”

“How did you get out?” Willow asked her.

“The Wolf, Ram and Hart have no power over me!” Illyria yelled. “There enchantments have no effect on my interdimensional travels.”

“Okay, okay… Well good, so you can take us back in?” Buffy asked. Illyria nodded. “Alright, if it’s as bad as you say it is though, we need to stop and get someone else first.”

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