By Rhysdux and Honorificus
“I’m well aware that most of our agents are insane,” he snapped after the Sunflower Official tried, for the ten thousandth time, to explain that any psychological or emotional damage caused by Baby Roxton was surely negligible, as madness in PPC agents was so common as to be almost normal. “But the Babyverse? Why didn’t you just try to drown them in a vat of urple dye while you were at it?”
The feud between the Powers That Be and the Department of Medicine was classified as Top Secret by Files and Records, on the grounds that it might be damaging to agent morale. Consequently, everyone in the PPC heard about it before the feud had entered its second day. Everyone talked about it incessantly except the Powers That Be, who didn’t acknowledge that such a feud even existed.
While Dr. Fitzgerald monitored Rhysdux and Ginmar to see if they had suffered any lasting damage, the two were assigned to desk duty. This was a relief for Ginmar, who found this a great opportunity to work on her mystery novel. Rhysdux, on the other hand, used the time to catch up on her paperwork and to correct Grammar Boot Camp tests. She developed twelve different ways of reorganizing her files. And she started surfing the Net, searching for a suitable name for her axe.
She was, in fact, bored stiff.
The fifteenth day, however, was different--starting with the table.
That morning, Rhysdux entered the Staff Lounge. She immediately noticed something unusual. A large and completely empty lunch table that had never been in the lounge before was standing in a corner, looking shiny and innocent. It was surrounded, though not too closely, by mini-trolls. Even her own mini-Balrog, Saurian, was keeping his distance, and Saurian hardly ever kept his distance from anything, no matter how menacing it was. A side effect of being a fire-breathing bipedal reptilian demon of Maiar heritage, I suppose.
“That’s the Lunch Table That Consumes Eight,” said a voice behind her.
Rhysdux swiftly turned to face the speaker, an imperious, chestnut-haired woman of indefinite age dressed in elegant designer everything. She looked oddly familiar.
“The Lunch Table That Consumes Eight?” Rhysdux echoed.
The woman nodded. “Yes. One of our agents picked it up in an alternate Buffyverse--one of those where Victim Buffy and Abusive Spike fall truly-madly-deeply in love. We were lucky; we confiscated the table just before the author deleted the story. Of course, no one can sit at the table and eat, but it’s a lovely way to dispose of Sues, fangirls and criminals of fashion.” Her eyes narrowed as she gazed pointedly at Rhysdux’s uniform--Reeboks, blue jeans and a black shirt emblazoned with a potted cactus on each sleeve.
Rhysdux shrugged. “Talk to the Morning Glory. She’s the Quartermaster. I don’t think the uniforms are that bad, really. At least we’re not compelled to wear bulky ankle-length skirts of khaki with patchwork appliqués, or urple polyester jerseys.”
The other woman turned pale. “That would be criminal. Being evil--provided you have the right attitude and style--is one thing. But there is no excuse for wearing pathetic, polyester garments! I would barbecue anyone I caught committing such foulness against fashion!” A few flames shot from her mouth as she spoke the last three words.
Rhysdux snapped her fingers. “Honorificus, right? Miss H’s demonic alter ego?”
“The very same,” said the demoness, a sinister smile creeping across her face.
“I thought that you and Miss H shared…er…a body.”
“Normally, we do. However, when she’s here at the University, I rarely get a chance to materialize. It’s quite tedious, believe me. I thought I knew all about the hell dimensions,” said Honorificus, shuddering, “but this is the worst. Being forced to endure the denseness of the fangirls…their unvarying lustfulness…the crimes they commit against the very NATURE of evil…not to mention their fashion atrocities--it was driving me quite mad. So, I informed the Sunflower Official that something had to change around here or I was going to find an extremely creative way to enjoy myself. Preferably involving Weed-B-Gone.”
She smiled wickedly. “The next thing I knew, Dr. Fitzgerald and Makes-Things had found a way to separate me from HonorH. For a few hours a day, anyway. The Marquis de Sod insisted that I be assigned to you, however. He said that of all the agents, you would be the least likely to object to having a demon as a partner.”
It was true. Rhysdux strongly preferred demons to fangirls, in general terms. The agent shook Honorificus’ hand. “I don’t object at all. Good to meet you.”
“It’s good to hear you say that,” Honorificus murmured. “I have to go visit the general store now, but I’ll see you in your office later.” With that, she vanished.
Grabbing a cup of coffee and several apples, Rhysdux headed back to her office. It would not do to be away from her desk when Honorificus decided to pay her a visit. Honorificus was not noted for her patience.
As she opened her door, she heard both music and whimpering coming from the computer. A host of male voices swelled in chorus as the computer beeped, sounding as if it were weeping.
“Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda,
quendo coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem,” sang tenors and baritones.
[bip. Bip. Bip bip bip bip BEEP. BEEEEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEEP. Beep. Bip-ip-ip-ip-BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!]
“There, there,” said Rhysdux, patting the monitor as she erased ‘Dies Irae.’ “Calm down. It can’t be as bad as all that. Certainly not bad enough to justify your downloading Latin hymns from MP3.”
Then she looked at the text scrolling across the screen.
She collapsed into her desk chair and held her head in her hands. “Oh, NOOOOOO…”
“What’s the matter?” said Honorificus, her voice sounding unexpectedly in Rhysdux’s office.
Rhysdux stood up and spun around in one fluid movement, grabbing her double-headed axe that had been leaning against the left-hand side of the desk as she did so. She relaxed only fractionally when she realized that it was her new partner, and did not put down her axe for one second.
“Damn it, Honorificus, don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“What’s the point of being a demon if you can’t scare people?” asked the demoness in a deceptively reasonable tone. “And what were you and the computer wailing about?”
“I knew Gin and I did too good a job on the Babyverse,” Rhysdux moaned. “Look at what Upstairs is giving us now.” She gestured toward the screen.
Her fierce eyes narrowing, Honorificus scrutinized the Words on the screen. “A Pseudodea Dubiosa,” she said in a soft, ominous voice. “Oh, we must teach the foul little beast the error of her ways. Omnipotent Sues have no business even existing.”
She glanced thoughtfully at her mortal partner. “What shall we disguise ourselves as?”
“Humans,” said Rhysdux instantly. “Vampires are a pain if you have to go somewhere that requires an invitation. I went through that enough last time with Ginmar. Switch to vampire, go to public place, switch to human, go to private area…I’m not going through that again in a hurry. Hang on. I’ll go get the backpacks and our equipment.”
Rhysdux returned a few minutes later wearing one backpack while carrying the second in one hand and her double-headed axe in the other. Wordlessly, she handed the second backpack to Honorificus, who promptly removed her Disguise Generator and tossed it on the desk. “Useless thing,” the demoness sniffed as she morphed into a sulky, sultry girl clad in a raw silk blouse and black leather pants, with jacket and boots to match. She looked elegant and dangerous at the same time.
“A trifle Sue-ish, don’t you think?” Rhysdux asked Honorificus as she slipped into her own disguise.
“Please. Sues only wish they were as fabulous as I am, and furthermore, I will not wear THAT,” said Honorificus as she glared at Rhysdux’s outfit. Rhysdux appeared to be a rather plain teen with short brown hair and braces, and she was clad in a Coca-Cola T-shirt, non-designer jeans and scuffed tennis shoes.
Rhysdux shrugged. “It’s not Prada, I’ll grant you, but I’ll blend in. That, after all, is the name of the game.”
Honorificus wrinkled her nose. “You’re an assassin. Assassins are supposed to have style.”
“Honestly, Honorificus--no Sue ever paid any attention to whether or not I was dressed in the height of fashion when I killed her.” Rhysdux fumbled about in her backpack, retrieved her Portal Generator, set the coordinates for the fic’s version of Sunnydale and opened the portal. “Ready?”
They leaped through the portal.
The Omniscient Author greeted the two agents as they materialized in the Summers’ living room.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. This is after Chosen but Sunnydale is still there and Spike and Anya are alive. Okay now onto the story.
“Another alternate universe,” muttered Rhysdux. “The authors all want to create alternate universes for their Sues.”
“Perhaps they sense that their Sues would not last ten seconds against the real Buffy Summers in the true Buffyverse--and while I despise that goody-goody, I’ll admit she does manage to get things good and dead, and sometimes even with style--so they change everything.”
Rhysdux pondered. “That’s a possibility, certainly.”
The entire Scooby gang was sitting in the Summer's living room. Spike was lurking in the corners and the potentials were talking excitedly.
Rhysdux scowled. “If this is taking place after Chosen, there are no more Potentials, not in Sunnydale, not anywhere in the world. Every girl who was a Potential is now a Slayer.”
Honorificus was glaring venomously at the Words. “Lurking is an art, like everything else. Spike is not subtle enough to lurk well. And how could he lurk in two or more corners at once?”
“And it’s Summers’. Not Summer’s.”
“Is Summer a mini-troll?”
“If she’s not, she should be.”
"Okay what's all the talk about?" Buffy asked.
"A new girl showed up." Dawn replied.
"And she has tattoos, a lip ring, and she's really cool." Amy stated.
Honorificus sneered. “Coolness is hardly defined by having tattoos and a lip ring. Coolness is part of someone’s personality. You either have it--or you don’t.”
Rhysdux looked confused. “Why is Amy Madison hanging around the Summers’ house? She and Buffy were never that close in high school, and Amy hates Willow. That was established during Season Seven. Even during Season Six, she was in a hurry to get Willow addicted to black magic.”
“Maybe the author means ‘Amanda’ and not ‘Amy,’ “ suggested Honorificus. “Amanda was a Potential.”
Rhysdux only looked more bewildered. “But Amanda was killed by a Turok-Han in Chosen. These explanations don’t explain!”
“Well, the author might just be inventing this girl and not giving her any characteristics whatsoever. Would that be an explanation?”
“Marginal, but okay.”
"Oh. So this new girl is big news. Where's she from?" Willow asked.
"England." All the girls chorused.
The two agents groaned. “England” meant one thing in their minds.
“If she is related to Giles, I’ll have to kill her,” said Honorificus in a vengeful tone. “Giles has entirely too many illegitimate daughters as it is. He won’t miss one.”
“Maybe she’ll be related to Molly,” said Rhysdux, though without much hope. “Or Dru.”
"So what's the big deal? I mean besides the tattoos and piercings." Buffy said.
“Why would body piercings and tattoos would be a big deal in 2003 California?” Honorificus inquired of the air. The air didn’t bother to reply.
"She's kind of a...well," Kennedy started.
“She’s kind of a shaft sunk in the ground to obtain water, oil and so on?” Rhysdux caught Honorificus’ eye and blushed. “I know what the author meant--it’s just that for a second, my mind went off in a bizarre direction.”
"Orphan." Rona finished.
"You see her parents died, and her brother came to the U.S. She was told by some old friends of her parents that they thought he was in California around here." Dawn said.
“Dawn. Rona,” said Honorificus, looking a tad more bloodthirsty than usual. “You use commas before a quotation mark. The only time you don’t do that is when the quotation ends in an exclamation point or a question mark. ‘“Orphan,” Rona finished.’ ‘ “They thought he was in California,” Dawn said.’ It’s not hard. And you really do not want to irritate me. Believe me, you don’t.”
"Oh, so she's looking for her brother." Buffy said.
“Dawn just said that, Buffy,” said Rhysdux wearily. She fished her battered notebook and a ball-point pen out of her backpack and printed “Charge of Redundancy” in large black block lettering.
"Yep." Amy said.
Honorificus glared at the Words. “Eight charges of cruelty to the common comma…so far.”
"Does this girl have a name?" Willow asked.
"It's Sage." Dawn said.
“Nine charges.” Honorificus was looking distinctly irked. Rhysdux glanced at the demoness, as if suspecting that she would explode at any moment. Given Honorificus’ temperament and modus operandi, it wasn’t an unreasonable suspicion.
“Sage,” Rhysdux mused. “Reminds me of Saffron, the daughter of Edina in the Britcom Absolutely Fabulous. Very Herbal Essence.”
Honorificus smirked. “Perhaps she goes well with mint and parsley. Or maybe we can just burn her in a giant smudging ceremony to rid the Buffyverse of her bad vibes. Ooh, I like that idea!”
Spike seemed to suddenly be interested. "Sage." he repeated. All of the girls nodded their head. He looked around at everyone and leaned back resuming his position.
Rhysdux stared as all of the girls in the room were briefly compressed into a multi-bodied monster that had but one head. “Shades of Sabella! That’s just disturbing.”
“‘Resuming his position’?” inquired Honorificus. “Am I to presume that he was practicing ballet positions at a barre? Or doing push-ups?”
“I pictured him assuming some weird and esoteric position out of the Kama Sutra…”
Meanwhile Xander was looking out the window. "Uh, Buffy. You might want to look at this." Xander said. Buffy walked over and looked out through the blinds. What she saw shocked her.
There was a girl wearing jeans, and a sleeveless t-shirt.
Honorificus sniffed. “That would certainly shock me. Even for Sunnydale, that is devoid of style. I think it’s even worse than YOUR outfit.”
“Gee, thanks,” Rhysdux said sardonically as she rolled her eyes.
There was about five Bringers circling her.
“Whaaaat?!” Rhysdux squawked. “What are the Bringers doing in Sunnydale after Chosen? The First Evil was defeated--there’s no reason for the demon high priests of evil to be hanging around after that!”
“Certainly not,” Honorificus said haughtily. “Assuming they hadn’t all been killed, the Bringers would be off somewhere plotting vengeance eternal on the mere mortals who had the insolence to defeat the quintessence of evil. Plus, ‘There was about five Bringers’? I’m adding another bad grammar charge.”
The girl kicked one and began to punch another. She continued to fend them of quite nicely until one pulled out a dagger. The Bringer stabbed her in the back.
“Fend them OFF,” growled Honorificus. “There is no excuse for mixing up ‘off’ and ‘of’ if English is your first language!”
Rhysdux sighed. “What’s really sad is that the author had this beta-read. Unfortunately, the beta didn’t catch most of the errors.”
“And what did that Bringer pull the dagger out of? The author does not specify.”
Rhysdux shook her head. “Honorificus, trust me. You do NOT want to go there. But as long as we’re talking about impossibilities, how come she’s still ambulatory after being stabbed in the back? That dagger should have either damaged her spinal cord, thereby paralyzing her, or missed the spine altogether and penetrated a few of her vital organs.”
Honorificus narrowed her eyes. “Bad biology and bad anatomy at the same time. Fascinating. And what are the Scoobies doing, anyway?”
They appeared to just be standing around watching this mysterious girl fight for her life like spectators at a track meet rather than jumping in and helping out like they’d been doing for other perfect strangers for six-and-a-half years. Rhysdux grumbled a few choice words and marked the Sue down for more character distortions.
She spun around and kicked him away. She grabbed the dagger and gutted him. Now everyone was watching. Another Bringer lifted her up and threw her straight at the window. Everyone dogged out of the way.
“She spun around, kicked a Bringer away, grabbed his dagger and gutted him--AFTER being stabbed in the back?” demanded Honorificus.
“She was thrown at a window, but not through a window. I guess that’s what saved her life. The Bringer threw her at a window and missed.” Rhysdux frowned. “I wonder how you dog out of the way?”
“Oh, easy. You scramble out of the way very fast while yelping and whining, just like your average canine.”
Rhysdux glanced speculatively at her partner. “Not really a dog person, are you?”
“Of course I am!” Honorificus snapped. “I love dogs. Especially barbecued.”
The girl got up and Buffy saw a tattoo on her stomach. It resembled a flower vine.
Honorificus’ eyes flashed. “What a wonderful time to start noticing tacky body art--in the middle of a battle.”
“Yeah. Somehow, I think that if someone just threw a girl at MY living room window, I would be focusing on the fight and not on fashion. And, if I were Buffy, helping out rather than still standing around like a friggin’ mannequin!”
The girl jumped out through the window and began to fight. She flicked out a switchblade and killed the rest of the Bringers.
“So, now she WAS knocked through Buffy’s living room window?” said Rhysdux. She dug a bottle of bleeprin out of her right jeans pocket, pried the bottle open with her fingernails, dumped a quarter of the pills into her left hand, and swallowed all of them in one gulp. “The contradictions in this thing are making me dizzy.”
“Not to mention where that switchblade came from, or what she flicked it out of, or how she managed to use it to kill four Bringers in less than a minute.”
Everyone was outside now. Spike was right there next to Buffy as she started towards the girl. Before they could reach her she fainted.
“More imprecise pronouns,” snarked Honorificus. “ ‘Before they could reach her, she fainted’? Before they could reach WHO? Buffy? Or the girl? Because both possibilities make sense. If I were Buffy, and I were trapped in this fic, I’d want to be unconscious.”
"Spike, pick her up and bring her to the basement. She looks bad." Buffy said.
“You can say that again, sweets,” said Honorificus. “Especially in that outfit.”
Spike nodded and picked her up with ease and surprising gentleness. As he walked past everyone they hear him muttering stuff like, "...it's all right. How'd you get back here bit?" to the girl. He carried her to the basement and laid her down with the same gentleness as earlier. Willow had bandages and other things to help tend to the girl.
Rhysdux blinked. “He ‘laid her down with the same gentleness as earlier’? What gentleness? All he has done so far is lurk in multiple corners simultaneously and resume an undescribed position.”
“She did use ‘laid’ correctly,” Honorificus said, as if reluctant to concede that much. “Though Spike using his pet name for Dawn while talking to this Sage distinctly does not bode well.”
Rhysdux nodded. “The author gets points for the ‘laid’ thing. It’s just that she tends to be imprecise in her descriptions. Even so, this is a million times better than the Babyverse. Which really isn’t saying much.”
"Oh my god! It's Sage!" Kennady yelled.
Neither agent mentioned Kennedy’s swift and sudden transformation into a (very loud) mini-troll. Such occurrences were too everyday to be worthy of comment.
"The new girl?" Buffy asked. The potentials nodded their heads in response. "Spike lean her up so I can wrap her wound."
Spike walked over and leaned her up as Buffy bandaged her. Everyone noticed that Spike looked very upset.
“Once again--if this is after Chosen, the Potentials are no longer Potentials. They are Slayers.”
“’Lean her up’?” asked an incredulous Honorificus. “What in the world does that mean, lean her up?”
"Okay not that I care but, Spike what the hell is with you?" Anya said.
Rhysdux groaned. “She’s trying to get Anya right. She really is. She just isn’t duplicating Anya’s tone, or her style of speech. It’s as if she knows the words but can’t sing the tune.”
Spike didn’t respond. He just “shook his head and laid Sage back down,” presumably on the floor, then “sunk back into the shadows.”
“The author’s mixing up her vampires again,” moaned Honorificus. “Angel’s lurks-in-the-shadows guy. Spike’s take-the-spotlight guy. You can’t just switch one demon personality for another; it’s un-preternatural.”
Suddenly the girl stirred. She groaned and made an attempt to sit up. She couldn't and fell back. Buffy leaned over her and whispered, "Hey, are you okay? I'm-"
"Buffy." Sage finished. "Yeah I'm alright. Did I get 'em?"
"Yeah. How'd you know my name?" Buffy asked.
"I know more than that. You're the Slayer, so is Faith, Dawn is or was the Key, Willow's a witch, Xanders a human, Anya is an ex-demon, Giles wherever he is, is your Watcher, and Spike is a vampire." Sage said all this while pointing to each of them. "The rest of the girls are Slayers too. I pretty much know everything."
Rhysdux sagged against the basement wall and closed her eyes. “And the story takes an abrupt right turn into Mary Sue Land. Couldn’t she have learned those facts throughout the story? Why does she have to know everything about everyone right from the start? Why?”
"How'd you know all that?" Xander asked.
“Yes! Thank you, Xander!” muttered Rhysdux.
"A very long story." Sage replied.
“That’s ten charges…” said Honorificus in a creepily cheerful tone.
"Around 100 years long right pet?" Spike said. He stood up and Sage was shocked. She hadn't gotten a good look at him before. She stood up wincing. She looked at him and he looked at her.
“Numbers in a sentence should be written as words,” said Rhysdux, who sounded more than mildly irritated. “‘ Around a hundred years long,’ or ‘Around one hundred years long.’ “
“Remarkable,” said Honorificus as she read the Words. “She has been stabbed in the back, thrown through a plate-glass window--which should have sliced her to ribbons--killed five demonic high priests while gravely wounded, fainted not five minutes ago and she is already standing up. The Initiative should study her. It would keep them busy for centuries.”
Tears formed in her eyes and she whispered, "William...," before collapsing. Spike caught her and she broke down crying. A couple of tears streaked his face. They stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity.
"I thought I lost you bit. That...that night..." Spike said when they broke apart to look at each other.
The agents watched in fascination as Spike and Sage shattered like shards of fine crystal. The shards gazed at each other for a moment, then reassembled as if nothing had happened.
"You should've known I'd find a way back. I told you I'd never leave." Sage said.
"You still have the necklace on." Spike said as he touched the horseshoe necklace around her neck.
Rhysdux groaned. “Please tell me that that is not a Magical Necklace of Mary Sue-ness.”
"I promised didn't I?"
"But I didn't think you'd keep it wherever you went..."
"You idiot! You know bloody well that I wasn't going to hell! Although since I knew you were a vampire I'd check the hell dimensions for your soul once in a while. I'm glad your still here."
“She was scouring hell dimensions for her brother Spike?” said Honorificus incredulously. “How? It’s not easy to gain access and,” she added, smiling in a sinister way, “it’s even less easy to leave. We Lower Beings certainly do not allow Suvian urchins to search throughout the Depths for their soulless and hell-bound brothers. Sues would simply ruin the tone of the place, with their pestilent and warped sense of goodness and insistence on redeeming every evil person in every fandom. It never seems to occur to Sues that some of us do not WANT redemption.” The demoness shuddered. “Oh, and add another grammatical charge for use of ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re.’”
"What? You went to the hell dimensions! Why the hell did you do that? I'm not worth it! You should've never gone down there Sage!"
"Oh boy here we go. Another trip into the land of over protective brothers." Sage said.
“Brothers can be such a pain, can’t they?” said Rhysdux in a mock-sympathetic tone. “They won’t let you go on a date, or play sports, or visit Hell…”
"Okay what the hell is going on here?" Buffy asked.
Sage stammered a bit. Spike took over, admitting there were some things he hadn’t told Buffy, the Scoobies or the new Slayers. “I had a sister when I was alive."
“But I don’t have one now that I’m undead,” Rhysdux added, mimicking Spike’s tone and expression.
"And that's me. I'm Sage, Will-Spike's sister." Sage said proudly.
"WHAT?" Chorused the whole group.
Honorificus muttered something about random capitalization.
Rhysdux shook her head. “Considering some of the things that this group has had to accept as normal, it’s amazing that they are making a fuss about Spike having a sibling.”
Honorificus nodded. “Really, they should suspect something is wrong. Her appalling taste in fashion just screams vampire. And what’s with the name? A child born in Victorian Britain would not have been named Sage!”
"How'd you get back? A spell?" Willow asked.
Sage laughed for a second. "No Willow. The guy in charge sent me back. Oh yeah that reminds me. Tara says hi!"
Honorificus glared at the laughing Sue for what seemed like a thousand minutes. “So,” she said at last in a flat tone. “You’re personally acquainted with a Deity. In fact, you are so well acquainted with this Deity that you speak of him as if he were your best buddy, someone to hang out with at the mall. Do you realize how ludicrous you sound?!” The demoness paused, thinking over what she’d just said. “That’s it. This insipid little Sue has me using double punctuation marks. She must die in an exceptionally painful way.”
Rhysdux sighed. “Not to mention that this is the Buffyverse, and there isn’t supposed to be a single deity in charge. The Buffyverse has the Powers That Be. Powers. Plural. And them being in charge is problematic, at best.”
"Wait a sec, you saw Tara?" Dawn said.
"Yep. She sends her greetings."
“Like a verbal postcard.” Honorificus sounded disgusted.
Rhysdux sang in a falsetto voice.
“The weather’s nice,
It’s summertime all year.
There’s some folks we know
They say hello, I miss you so…
Wish you were here.”
She grimaced. “Honestly, could this GET any more saccharine?”
"Okay so what are you? A vampire, a human, demon?" Xander said.
"Actually Xander I'm sort-of a cross between a potential now a Slayer thanks to Willow, witch, and human."
“Hyphens would have helped that sentence,” said Rhysdux, wincing. “But not enough.”
“Correct punctuation would have helped. And why would the author think that witches are not human?” demanded Honorificus. “Slayers are open to question, since they’re imbued with demonic essence. I suppose you could say that they’re augmented humans. But witches? Did the author forget how many humans practice magic in the Buffyverse? Catherine Madison, her daughter Amy, Ethan Rayne, Jonathan, Tara Maclay, Willow Rosenberg--not to mention Rupert Giles, and even Buffy and Dawn on occasion!”
Rhysdux pondered for a minute. “I think that the author might be thinking of the Harry Potter continuum, since, in that universe, wizards and Muggles function as different kinds of humans.”
“This is not the world of Harry Potter!”
Honorificus’ shout was loud enough to startle the Sue, who glanced around suspiciously and, for a few minutes, peered into the shadows of the cellar of the Summers’ house. At last Willow interrupted her search, asking a question both practical and pertinent.
"So you're like a super hero?" Willow asked.
“I wonder if Willow meant, ‘So, are you similar to a superhero?’ or ‘So, man, are you, like, a superhero, y’know?’” Rhysdux mused. “It could mean either.”
The only response from Honorificus was a low growl deep in her throat.
Sage laughed and said, "No. Just a little girl with a couple of gifts."
“How modest,” sneered Honorificus between gritted teeth. “You possess a Magical Necklace of Mary Sue-ness that seems to protect you from all harm, you access the hell dimensions simply by being you, you are a witch AND a Slayer AND an ordinary human, you visit the afterlife, you speak to the dead, who pass on loving messages a la John Edwards, and you were sent to Sunnydale by your best buddy, the Being in charge of the entire multiverse. All while wearing the drabbest, unimaginative, clichéd fashion crime of an outfit I can imagine. But you are just an ordinary little girl with a couple of very mundane gifts. Of COURSE you are.”
"How come Giles didn't find out about you? I mean he was on the search for Slayers and all." Buffy said.
"Oh. That's because I was dead for around a 100 years so the information on the supernatural stuff in me doesn't get picked up by people searching for me. At least the Slayer part."
Rhysdux gaped at the statement. “Dead for a hundred years so there’s no information available on her more supernatural abilities?! The Watchers didn’t seem to have any trouble amassing an extensive database on ghosts, zombies, ghouls and vampires who had been dead a hundred years or more. Not to mention that information on people who have been dead for a hundred years or more is readily available in any library. It’s called ‘history.’”
“I have had enough of this. I’m putting a stop to it before Spike starts begging Buffy to let her stay,” muttered Honorificus, shifting into her demonic form as she strode toward the Sue. Rhysdux followed, gripping her axe tightly and smiling in a less-than-reassuring way. Before anyone could react to the sudden appearance of the elegant-yet-terrifying four-armed demoness or the sinisterly smiling axe-wielder by her side, Honorificus had grabbed the Sue by both arms. Fortunately for both assassins, the personality distortions the Sue had worked upon the Scooby Gang made it unlikely that any of them would be able to do anything except stand around like useless wimps.
“Sage Whatever-Your-Last-Name is,” said Honorificus in a grim tone, “you are charged with the following: Causing a personality alteration and a character rupture in Spike. Causing the Scoobies to act like apathetic spectators to your bad, bad fight scene. Gratuitous resurrection not only of Spike and Anya, but also of an entire town. Being Spike’s Younger Sister. Violating the laws of space-time and of basic biology being alive more than a hundred years after Spike’s death in 1880 and still being a teenager. Causing an original character with special powers to join the Scooby Gang for the purpose of outstripping any and/or all members of the Scooby Gang--not that they don’t deserve to be outstripped, the goody-two-shoes--“
Rhysdux interrupted before Honorificus could really get going, continuing the litany of charges as her demonic partner fumed. “Transforming a known social/spiritual group--witches--into a non-canonical race. Transforming augmented humans known as Slayers into a non-canonical race. Possessing a Magical Necklace of Mary Sue-ness that seems to have protected you in the hell dimensions. Dropping by the hell dimensions ‘every once in a while’ to ‘check for your brother’s soul.’ Three charges of godplaying: being resurrected from the dead after one hundred years; being sent to Sunnydale by ‘the guy in charge,’ i.e., God; and eliminating the Powers That Be which rule the Jossverse and substituting a single deity…”
“Knowing all about the Scoobies before you were introduced to them,” added Honorificus. “Numerous grammar and punctuation charges, including imprecise pronouns, misuse of homophones, haphazard hyphenation and fourteen instances of cruelty to the common comma--I counted. For being an omniscient little twit. For crimes against fashion--anyone who has EVER been to Hell should have a much finer sense of style than you do. For annoying me into a state of celestial blessedness…and trust me, that is not good…”
“And,” interjected Rhysdux, “for being a Mary Sue, you are condemned to die.”
The instant that Rhysdux stopped speaking, Honorificus began choking the life out of the Sue with her upper two arms. A few minutes later, the Sue lay crumpled in a heap on the concrete cellar floor. Buffy and the Scoobies looked as if they were waking up from a puzzling dream.
Rhysdux activated the Portal Generator and opened an oblong doorway in the air. “Let’s get out of here before they snap out of it,” she said.
Without a second glance at the corpse, Honorificus leaped through the portal.
Swearing, Rhysdux grabbed the Sue’s body, shoved it through the portal, and then leaped through.
The agents (and the corpse of the Sue, naturally) materialized on a city street in what looked like New York. It wasn’t New York, at least not the New York that Rhysdux and Honorificus knew. But it was a magnificent counterfeit, from the glass-walled buildings that stretched upward into infinity to the streets clogged with cars and buses to the vendor whistling the Pachelbel canon as he sold hot dogs in front of a large corporate office building which had been designed in gingerbread Gothic.
A closer examination would have been enough to tell the agents that this was not their world’s New York City. The sidewalks were almost deserted, and the few people going about their daily business--such as the dark-haired young woman with the kind eyes who was purchasing two hot dog with everything from the vendor--looked much too alive to be true Manhattanites.
Neither of the PPC agents noticed either of these things. They were too busy arguing.
“You do NOT leave bodies behind!” Rhysdux shouted at her partner. “You may not think much of the intelligence of the Scoobies, but they would be bound to notice a corpse lying in front of them! Especially one like this--“
Honorificus scowled at Rhysdux. “You will not raise your voice to me--“
“A corpse that isn’t really a corpse--“
“Just because you’re squeamish about killing--“
“Because you forgot to take her species into account--“
“And just because I took the initiative and killed her--“
“She isn’t DEAD!”
“No, she doesn’t seem to be,” said an amused voice behind them.
Both human and demon spun around to face the speaker, the dark-haired, merry-faced young woman who was so fond of hot dogs. Rhysdux spun a bit more slowly than Honorificus, because she was still holding the body of the Sue in a fireman’s lift and the Sue was heavier than Rhysdux had expected. To make matters worse, the Sue, who was starting to wake up, was kicking Rhysdux’s stomach and kneecaps.
“Hello, Death,” said Rhysdux in a quiet, respectful tone. She shifted her stance slightly, trying to find a more comfortable position to stand in before deciding that there really weren’t any comfortable positions when you were holding a Sue. “Pardon me for not bowing. I’m trying to subdue a Sue.”
“Oh, forget the bowing. That’s incredibly last-millennium, and honestly, I didn’t care for it then.” Death peered curiously at the scared face of the Sue before facing both PPC agents. “Why would you bring a Sue to this continuum? We have more than enough of our own.”
“Apparently, she’s immortal,” said Honorificus with considerable disgust. “She’s the witch-Slayer-ordinary mortal sister of a vampire. She died one hundred years ago and spent the past century wandering through the hell dimensions and touring the afterlife, before being retconned back to life by THE Deity, whom she created to replace the Powers That Be, and sent to Sunnydale.”
“Oh. Oh, dear.” Death took a ruminative bite of one of her hot dogs. “Yes, definitely a Sue. But again, why bring her here?”
“Because gods and their messengers don’t die in the Jossverse,” sighed Rhysdux. “Not permanently. You can kill their corporeal forms after a long, bitter fight--assuming you can kill them in the first place--but their spirits live on forever.” She paused and glared at the struggling Sue before turning back to Death. “This is one of the few continua where gods die. I was hoping that if we killed her here, you could grab the soul and send it on to whatever afterlife awaits Sues.”
“We’d leave with the body, of course,” added Honorificus in some haste, lest Death think that the PPC was treating her universe as a convenient dumping ground for Suvians.
Death finished both hot dogs in silence, then nodded. “Make it clean and quick. She hasn’t done anything horrifically evil; she just wanted to save the world, and went about it in a very foolish way.”
Rhysdux unceremoniously dumped the Sue on the sidewalk, then stretched. “Gah! I never knew Sues could be so heavy!”
The Sue struggled to get to her feet…then stopped as she saw Honorificus shake her head just the fraction of an inch. A “deer-in-the-headlights look” swept over her face, and she froze.
Rhysdux backed up a couple of steps, swung her axe in two or three practice swings, then beheaded her in one stroke. Naturally, a ghost immediately popped into existence.
“You’re mean! That hurt!” yelled the ghost of the Wannabe-Goddess-Sue. “And this isn’t fair, I’m supposed to help save my brother and Sunnydale…”
“You need to come with me now,” said Death, with a comforting smile. “You can’t stay here, believe me. And who knows? Maybe you’ll learn how to help your brother and Sunnydale in a more…indirect way. Maybe you’ll help shape other worlds. Maybe you’ll even build universes of your own, one day. At any rate, you won’t be bored.”
Hesitantly, the ghost-Sue took Death’s hand.
The two vanished.
“Well,” said Honorificus with disgust. “That was so sweet I could just throw up. That’s my gripe with Death: she’s way too nice.”
Rhysdux shrugged. “At least the Sue’s dead.”
“Yes, but I wanted to torture her more. That would have been much more fun. Especially with her not being able to die permanently.” Honorificus looked a trifle misty-eyed. “I could have had fun for millennia.”
“Try to figure out what we can do with the corpse. We could incinerate her, but I’m not sure if she’d burn. Vampires like blood, and demons tend to prefer live meat. And we can’t leave her in the Gaimanverse. She’d warp canon. We could chop her up into little pieces, but then what would we do with the little pieces afterwards?” Rhysdux scowled as she activated the portal generator and opened a portal back to OBAFU. “If you have any ideas about what to do with her, now’s the time to say.”
An evil smile twisted Honorificus’ features. “Leave that to me.” Without hesitation, she grabbed the body in one hand and the head with another and entered the portal.
By a strange coincidence, a special treat was given to the mini-trolls
that night. The blackboard in OBAFU’s staff cafeteria listed it in bold
yellow letters: Roast chicken, stuffed with mint, parsley . . . and Sage.
The PPC, the Sunflower Official, the daisy known as the Marquis de Sod, and Makes-Things are all the creations of Jay and Acacia. You can find their stories, including the latest one, at http://www.misssandman.com/PPC/story.html
Dr. Fitzgerald, the Head of the Medical Department, is the creation of Architeuthis. Fitzgerald first appeared in Architeuthis' Intelligence Briefs, which can be found at http://www.oddlots.digitalspace.net/PPC/
The Lunch Table That Consumes Eight has been taken verbatim from an A/U Buffy fic entitled “Useless” which is no longer on ff.net.
The song that Rhysdux mockingly sings in response to Sage’s
delivery of a verbal postcard from Tara is entitled “Wish You Were Here,”
Written by Bill Anderson, Skip Ewing and Debbie Moore.
(© Belton Uncle Music / Mt Bubba Music Inc. / Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music / Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / Write On Music.) From "Wish You Were Here", © 1998, Mercury. You can find the song, if you wish, at http://www.coquetshack.com/lyrics/Wills_Ma...e_Here_2022.htm
The other song in this episode--the one the computer plays in reaction to Sage’s godplaying--is entitled “Dies Irae,” which translated to “Day of Wrath.” It’s a very old hymn--it would have been on the European Hit Parade, had there been such a thing then, in 1347. The lyrics of the song--roughly translated by Rhysdux--read as follows:
(Save me, Lord, from eternal death on that frightening
When the heavens and the earth are shaken,
When You will arrive to sentence that generation to the fire.)
Finally, the story “Family ReUnion” by Parselmouth Princess was PPC’d without permission. The original story may be found at http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=1396093
[Honorificus’ A/N--Well, that was dreary. Though the killing was fun. Suppose it beats being hung up at OBAFU while my Super-Twitty Alter-Ego harangues students. Besides, Rhysdux is almost bearable for a human, even if she does need to relax about the little things. Gotta work on her fashion sense, though. Suppose I’ll stick around for more missions.]
[Rhysdux’s A/N-- I decided that the PPC needed a Quartermaster, so I made up the Morning Glory. I picked morning glory as a suitable flower because 1) it can take a small area of land and use every inch to its full advantage and 2) it’s a climber. I thought that having a flower that was a climber might prove useful if it developed a personality in later stories--a climber that was an ambitious snob might prove amusing.
Sage really didn’t compare to Baby in terms of badness, but her godplaying and near-divine powers drove us both nuts. Neil Gaiman’s Death was a lot nicer toward Sage than I expected her to be; Honorificus was as ruthless and cruel as a--well, as a demonic PPC agent.]
Next up: Rhysdux and Honorificus go on a "bring-'em-back-alive" hunt for Suvian demons in an Alternate Universe in which the characters are high school teachers. Meet Angel the gym teacher and Xander the high school principal. Feel the horror.