"The Time Machine, II..." Part I



Summary: Following the action of my first "Time Machine" story (just after "Gone" in S6), in an alternate Cicelyverse, Warren, still seeking to create the perfect Warrenverse after dealing with his blonde nemeses, Buffy and William, gets a little unexpected help from a certain demon...From an alternate Earth...

I know, temporal/interdimensional paradoxes give me a headache, too...

***

Part I...

Sunnydale...Season four, pre-Tara, pre-chip...But not the pleasant little town we knew...A burning pyre of carnage...In the rubble-filled streets, a small vamp army fighting off a large force of humans...Initiative and Watchers' Council, backed by US regular Army...The vamps killing scores but hopelessly outnumbered and gradually falling back to their final stand...A battered Sunnydale High over the Hellmouth Seal...Where their leaders waited on the roof, preparing the escape they'd carefully planned out for weeks...Their best remaining troops, personally sired, awaiting the final onslaught...

"It's now or never, love..." a battered and weary-looking Spike eyed his sitting mate...Who nodded...

Never thought my dear old Giles would pull something like this off so quickly...Anne, demon of the late and great Slayer, Buffy Summers, glared at the enemy forces closing in...

"We'll be ready in just a min..." she looked up from a book she was reading from, while carefully stroking an orb in her lap, and over to where a part of the floor glowed and shimmered...Then looking across in startled shock to see Giles, Willow, and Faith, the new Slayer, materializing...Giles sternly eyeing her...

"Anne, Spike!...It's over!!..."

"Hey, Giles..." Anne beamed... "Wil, Slutty the treacherous, murdering Vamp Slayer..." she nodded to Faith...

How was my Xander's funeral?...she grinned... "I hope you noted that his lovin' ole gal-pal did not turn him...Just good ole fashioned fuck and gut...That was a gift for you, Wil..."

Faith took defensive stance in front of the others...Spike likewise in front of Anne...Giles, nodding to Willow and indicating the glowing floor... "The portal..." he noted...She nodded...Pulling some implements from a bag...As Anne watched them, hastily glancing at what was clearly her and William's escape route...

"He died screaming' your name, Wil...After screaming with joy...It being me, after all..." she called...Willow giving the briefest, icy stare...

"You never should have let him protect the library alone, guys...What were you thinkin'?..."

Giles pulled a cross as Faith unlimbered a cross-bow...Spike maneuvering cautiously, clearly the worse for wear...Anne watching Willow and Faith from her spot nearer the portal, but focusing on completing the ceremony...

She grinned briefly at the large cross... "Giles, apart from that being an insult to my best friend there..." she nodded at Willow, now hurriedly arranging sticks... "You know I never put much stock in those things..."

Whoops...She ducked her head to the floor as an arrow whizzed at her...As Spike charged Faith who whipped a concealed stake...Whoa, he fell back...

"Very nice move, Slayerette..." he grinned...Kicking her back in turn...

I wish we'd more time to dance...But, sadly...

"His card's full up..." Anne called, mock-pouting at him...Yeah, he smiled...

"Say, Giles how did you manage to spring murder girl from jail?...Willow, you hex into saintly selflessness or what?..."

"Willow, hurry..." Giles hissed... "Quiet..." she frowned, struggling to concentrate...

"Anne..." he turned to face her... "Willow's power is far greater than anything you got from my collection...Magics won't help you now..."

"Well...Magics have their uses...But I put most of my faith now in more concrete things...Spike!!..." Anne tossed him...Something small, black, heavy...Giles saw as it sailed to him...The vampire grabbed it and whirled to confront Faith, backed by Giles...With a small gun...

"I used to hate those things..." Anne noted... "But nowadays I do find they come in handy...Back off, guys...William hates to do things the easy way but he will if he has to..."

"Indeed..." Spike grinned...Waving the gun...Faith now moving carefully back...Covering Giles and Willow...

"Geesh...What did the Council offer you to get you so fired up protective and noble, Slutty?...You're a regular me...Giles!!...Tell Willow to pack up her troubles and her old kit bag and git...Now!..." Anne cried...

"No..." Giles shook his head... O...K...she sighed and nodded at Spike who fired at Willow...She looked up and a barrier blocked the bullet...

Shit!...Anne fumed, but continued her own ceremony...

"Over here, I can't extend it so far..." Willow called to Giles and Faith who moved to her corner...Spike firing but missing as they reached her barrier and were slipped through...

"Hey!..." Anne glared... "We're doin' you a favor...Vamoosing quietly, if you'll let us...Considerin' you let me die, Watcher...And never told me about William and our past...Or tried to help us before or after I got a little too close to Spike...I call that damned generous..."

"You're not going anywhere, Anne!...This ends here!..." Giles called...

Willow began chanting... "Spike!!!..." Anne rose, furious... He braced to make a run on the Wiccan, gun in hand...Faith moving to protect her as he threw himself at Willow...Whipping out...

A flashlight?...Spike stared, as did Anne...He beginning to smile...As she suddenly gave a horrified cry... "William!...No!!...Back here!!..."

The light beam caught his arm at the wrist...He stared at the burning flesh...

"High-intensity UV?...Hardly sportin' girl..." he frowned at Faith, dodging the beam...

"Will...Come back!!...We're ready!!!..." Anne cried, rising...He spun to dash back, covering his head with his duster-protected arms...Giles whipping up his own crossbow and firing...The arrow striking Spike in the upper thigh, he stumbled, tearing at it with both now lowered arms...

Faith catching him full in the face with the light beam...

"No!!!!..." Anne gave a hideous wail as he burst into flame...She raced for the portal as Faith swung the beam her way...Giving Giles a look that strangely combined malevolent rage, tragic sorrow, and even...He stared, trembling, as she fell into the portal which sealed immediately behind...Faith hurrying to him...

"I may have hit her...I couldn't tell..."

"No..." he shook his head... "She made it through...I know she did...Willow..." he turned to her...

"It could take years without knowing what dimension...What place she chose, Giles..." Willow sighed...

"Then let it take years...We have to find her and destroy her...If it takes all my life..." he eyed the floor which was quite normal and solid now...Went to the book from which Anne had chanted, picking it up gently...

"I owe her that much...Having failed her in every possible way..."

"What she said, Giles..." Willow took his hand... "About not..."



"If I had told her what the Council knew about William the Bloody and Cicely Addams..." he shook his head... "If I had done my job and realized why she was so attracted to Spike...He'd never have had the chance...She'd never have risked..."

"She came for him, Giles...There was no way anyone was going to stop her once she began to remember their past..."

"I could have tried to destroy him before it was too late...Or warned her, and restrained her on promise of my trying to help him...I did nothing and left her with no choice but to try to save him on her own..."

"It was my fault, Rupert..." Willow sighed... "I helped her access past life memories...I should have guessed it could be dangerous..."

Well...he sighed... "We've still a few things to deal with..." Riley entered the room, heavily armed...

"Mr. Finn..." Giles nodded to him... "How goes the operation?..."

"All secure...Buffy?..." he stared round...

"I'm sorry..." he paused at Willow's icy stare... "You know I meant...Anne..."

"She's escaped...But Spike is destroyed...Thanks to Faith here..." the Watcher nodded to Faith...

"Thanks...But only half the job's done..." she shrugged... "And thanks for the chance...You know..." she eyed them... "I'm sorry to have let you down..."

"You didn't...But you're right...The job isn't done...Not until Buffy...And Cicely...Are at last at peace..."

"She escaped through the portal...?" Riley eyed them... Giles nodding...

"Then she could be anywhere?..." "Not on this Earth..." Willow shook her head... "But any dimension, any parallel Earth..."

But we will find her...she grimly noted... "She wants us to, I'm sure...And more important, Xander does...So, we will..." she eyed Giles... "We will..."

Well...she gave a wan smile... "Guess we got some number-crunchin' to do, Giles..."

***

An alternate Sunnydale...Two weeks after the action of "The Time Machine..."

A groan as an unwillingly preset alarm blared...Urggh...Jesus...He grabbed at the clock radio, banging the shutoff...

Like there's a real need for me to be up and at 'em at 6:00 am...Still one must be on top of things when one is top dog...

"Hey..." a gentle nudge of the covers...He looked up to see the face of Buffy Summers eyeing him...Decked out in frilly nightgown...

"Good morning Lord Warren..." she smiled... "Sleep well, milord?..."

Eh...He shrugged... "Metsa-metsa...A little better..."

"Great...Care for breakfast?...Or something a little more...Diverting?...First..." she beamed...

"I could summon some of the other girls...If you'd prefer...Company..." she paused... "Warren?..." an adoring tone... "Warren...?"

Warren?!...The tone turned grim...

He blinked...

"You're awake?...Great..." a glaring Buffy ripped the covers back as she stood over the bed...In rather demure sweater, blouse, and pants...



"Get your miserable, lazy ass the hell out of there...We have things to do..." she coldly commanded...

And Buffy wants us at the Magic Box by ten for my weekly report...she noted... "Which is not likely to be favorable after your little stunt Thursday...Move!..."

"All I did was go downstairs and fiddle with a few of my personal things for ten goddamn minutes...Mom was the one who wanted to have a little heart-to-heart chat with 'my girl'..." he frowned...Pulling at the covers...

"What do you take me for, you little...?...Oh, right, your dumb-ass bot...I know damned well you were tryin' to pull something, even if Willow found nothing when I called her over...And if you ever slip off like that again, schmuck..." she pulled him to his feet suddenly...Up and at em, tiger...Your honey can't wait another moment to have you by her side...she sneered...

"You keep it up and my Mom is gonna be knocking at that door..." he noted... Groaning a bit as he staggered over towards the bathroom...

"Well...If that happens, I'll just have to fess up and tell dear Mom Mears I just couldn't bear another moment apart from you, babe..." she eyed him coldly... "Anyway, all the more reason we get moving on that new place of our own today...Where I can have you all to myself, baring work hours...When, lucky for your career future, I will be right on post watching your every move and seeing that you keep that big nose clean and firmly to the ole grindstone..."

I mean we couldn't have you screw it up at the new job...Sweetie...she sneered... "After all, I be high-maintenance..."

"Buffy oughta love that...Every clown in this town seeing you and me living together..." he grinned a moment...

"Oh, yeah..." she nodded... "And just imagine how that thought will influence her when she reviews your fate again today...I wouldn't make any long term plans, Mearsy..."

What?...she stared at him as he stood by the bathroom door, eyeing her...

"No good morning kiss...Babe?..." he grinned... "How's about a good-morning kick where it counts, babe...?" she eyed him sweetly...

Tut-tut-tut...he wagged a finger... "Geneva Prisoner of War Convention..."

"Bush era..." she replied... "Torture sanctioned by our very own Attorney General..."

A sound from the hall outside...They looked at each other... "You got ten to get done and downstairs to greet your loving sweetie at the front door..." she hissed...Heading for the window, which she opened and with a deft move, leapt from...

"Mom's gonna notice you're still wearing yesterday's...And the day before's...Outfit..." he called in a mocking whisper...

Bitch...

Though one must concede that Rosenberg had done a fine job of reprogramming...he noted to himself...

Jesus...What a hell of a life...My own bot my jailer in my own home...Soon to be trapped alone with her, in 'our own place', not even Mom to keep her off my back a little...Likely for life at this rate...Worst of all...Those damned cameras watching me...He glared at the wall in front of him...Where Willow's carefully implanted cameras transmitted his every move both to Botty and to the Scoobies' monitor at the Magic Box...Hell, give a guy a little privacy? he frowned at the tiny camera lens hole in the wall across from his bed as he swung his feet out and pulled on an undershirt... "I'm going to the bathroom, wanna come?..."

Inside the bathroom...Where no doubt, they'd placed yet more cameras... "Hey fellas, toppa da mornin' to ya, lemme give ya a proper flag raising, Slayer and co...There ya go, perverts..." He addressed the room in general, pressing the button on the mirror light, then turned on the CD player on the sink counter...

Time for a little pick-us-up...he noted, while grabbing toothbrush and paste...A reminder of Our eventual destiny... 'Cause whatever the Slayer and her lil' gang may think, Warren Mears is gonna come out on top...

He pictured himself on top...Of a certain Slayer...Heel grinding into her open entrails as she begged for mercy...

"Welcome to your lifeeee...
There's no turning baccck..." he sang his own lyrics along as he brushed...
You are the greatest...he told himself...Beaming at the face in the mirror beaming back at him...

And one day, soon...In spite of the few minor pebbles that have popped up in the road to glory...

"(But...he sighed...) Even while we sleep..."
They must find you
(So be) Acting on your best behavior
(While you) Turn your back on mother nature
(Warren Mears was meant) to rule the world..."

Another sigh...So close, a mere few weeks ago...Time itself at my command...The world according to Warren about to be written...

"It's my own design (You bet it was, pal...and a magnificent one...he sighed...)
It's my own remorse (That I didn't kill em all when I had the chance...)
Help me to decide
Help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure...(what little I can get...)

(Summers' rule won't) last forever
(Warren Mears is gonna) rule the world..."

"There's a place where the (bitch) won't find you
(Plotting schemes till her world comes) tumbling down
When (it does I'll be right behind her...(stabbing you in the back, bitch...))

So glad (I)'ve almost made it
So sad they had to (delay) it
(Warren Mears is gonna) rule the world..."

He peered through the bathroom window...Botty...Er, Elisabeth Joyce Summers, twin sister of Buffy, newly come from her dad's place in Spain already at the front door, brushing some grass from her dress...A warm smile ready for Mrs. Mears...

Ah, the dweeb section of my morning wake-up call...He eyed Andrew and Jonathan coming up his walk...Looking properly somber as befitting members of the new Jedi Council, Earth division in their role as assistants to the Slayer and her twin...Botty waving to them...Hey!...

Goddamn bastard traitors...

"(Lookee down there, it's) Indecision
Married to (dear)...Lack of Vision
(Two morons who will never) rule the world...."

Eyes that incredible self in the mirror...

"(Oh...) Say that you'll never never never (concede) it...
One (little failure) why believe it ?
(The face you see is gonna) rule the world...

(A world where) All(s) for (Warren) and for (his) pleasure
(Even that bitch won't last) forever
(Warren Mears is gonna) rule the world..."



Yeah...He nodded at his world-conquering features in the mirror...The Slayer's greatest nemeses...er nemesis...Would be back...

Or, as Christopher Lee's Dr. Fu Manchu had said mucho times during last night's all night movie marathon...Till the bitch-bot insisted on changing to a girly flick...Using her own built-in transmitter...His built-in transmitter...To lock channels on him...

The world will hear from Mears again...

"Warren?!..." his mother called from downstairs... "Yeah, Mom...?"

"Your friends and Ms. Summers are here...!"

Gr...reat...He glared at the mirror...Another day in the tender care of...

But vengeance would surely come...Just a matter of patience, the discipline of all true geniuses...And for now, humiliating as it was for him...He was fairly sure dear old Buf didn't entirely relish the situation...

Her identical twin being, to the general knowledge...Warren Mears' Numero Uno...Heck, already moving in with him...He allowed himself a slight chuckle at the thought...

"Warren...Sweetie...?...We're here...C'mon on down..." Buffy's or rather, a great...Perfect, he corrected himself...imitation of her voice floated up to him...Gently insisting...

"Honey..." a very slight, almost indetectable sourness in her tone...

Don't make me come up after you...A bit of stern threat buried in the teasing call...

Great...he fumed a bit...The ole ball and chain ready to make my day yet another that I'll treasure forever...

Though the worst thing of course was the disloyalty...The ingratitude...

Even if she couldn't help what Summers and her merry band of computer illiterates had done to her...His masterpiece, not counting his greatest achievement, likewise stolen from him at the very moment of his triumph...

The ultimate weapon...And the one he was still sure would bring the Slayer low, one day...

His time machine...

Unless of course that idea he gotten about mind-controlling rings from an episode of "Gilligan's Island" worked out...

***