Disclaimer: I don't own or make any money from this project.
BtVS was created by Joss Whedon.
Star Wars belongs to Lucas Films and Disney
Ethan scowled as his wards triggered. At least his visitor probably hadn't come with plans to harm him, or they would be screaming by now.
He spun in his chair at the point he estimated the appearance at his office door. An eyebrow went up as soon as he recognized her.
"Hello, Ethan." She closed the door behind her.
"Didn't think I'd see you off Ripper's leash."
"He doesn't know I'm here."
At that, his other eyebrow went up. Now that was interesting.
"So, you need me for something."
Buffy shifted uncomfortably, "I did some research. Janus isn't pure chaos, is he? Because that would mean no rules and not even life could exist."
"Don't know why anyone thinks you're just a dumb blonde."
The ghost of a smirk crossed her expression, but she continued, "But he's also a god of doorways, and I'm guessing that includes portals."
"Very good, and I'm guessing that aspect is your real interest."
"There's a hellgoddess- Glory- trying to get home. She thinks my sister is the key to doing that and will kill her to do it. I want her and my mom safe."
"You don't want to send this hellgoddess somewhere?"
"She's already tracked Dawn from half-way across the world. Then Willow sent Glory... somewhere and she came back a few days later."
Ethan leaned back, thinking about what the Slayer hadn't said. She was clearly desparate, if she had sought his help without issuing a single threat of bodily harm.
"This hellgodess isn't the only one that believes your sister is the necessary sacrifice, is it?"
Buffy just looked at him, "The only reason I'm trusting you even this much is because if the world ends, your fun ends. No more mischief, no more pranks, and no more Giles to mess with."
"What, exactly do you want from me?"
"I want my sister somewhere she's not being hunted. I want my mom with her, and I want it to be someplace she can get treatment at least as good as anything she can get here. Help me out with this, I won't tell Giles how I found you."
"What about you?"
"Someone has to keep Glory busy until the trail's cold and the deadline's past."
Ethan thought about the demand. Approaching Janus through his doorway domain meant the chaos aspects were less critical for a successful outcome, but there was still enough leeway to make things interesting.
Ethan followed the Slayer into her house. For all the times he'd been in Sunnydale, he'd never actually been inside. At first look, it was tooth-achingly normal. At second look, a couple of the books on the coffee table were straight out of Ripper's collection, an empty scabbard poked out from under the sofa, and a teenaged girl glared from the stairs.
"Buffy said you're supposed to help us this time, but if you mess with us, I'm going to steal her knives and see how many of Spike's stories I can reenact on you."
"Dawn! Room. Now."
Ethan recognized the woman as the Slayer's mother who, while not outright hostile, still gave him a cold look.
"But don't think I've forgotten about the cursed band candy."
He held up his hands, "Wouldn't dream of it."
Buffy tugged at his arm, "Come on. There's space in the basement."
Ethan looked over the space, nodding. "I can work with this. It'll take a few hours to prepare."
"Why so long?"
"I'd rather not be interrupted if Ripper thinks you need rescuing. Your friends won't be by, will they?"
"They shouldn't. I told them we're doing the family night thing."
"I'll come up for them when I'm ready."
She nodded once and headed back upstairs.
Buffy followed Ethan downstairs, with her mother and sister behind her. A makeshift alter had been set up near the far wall. The battered card table had an old double-door medicine cabinet propped at the edge and a candle at each corner. A tacky, striped scarf that was way too long for any human acted as a runner under the cabinet and a Janus bust, splitting the table in half. The bust had been set with each face towards one side of the scarf.
Buffy tilted her head, "Did you rob a vamp for that scarf? Because those colors? SO Seventies."
"I'll have you know that scarf is a classic." Ethan looked at Joyce. "You and the sprog kneel on either side facing the bust."
Buffy started to look away but felt her mother's hand on her arm.
"Are you sure this is the best way?"
"I need to know Glory can't find Dawn," Buffy tried to laugh. "and you know she'd just get in trouble without someone to watch her."
Joyce pulled her into a hug, "You know I'm proud you. But I need you to promise me something."
Buffy nodded, not trusting her voice.
"You fight. You make sure you're here for Dawn and I to come home to when this is over."
Buffy sniffed and wiped at her eyes, "I promise."
Ethan clapped his hands, "Well, that was touching. But we are on a deadline."
Joyce pulled away and Dawn darted in to throw her arms around Buffy, "And don't even think about selling my books for shoe money."
"Brat." Buffy snorted, "Take care of Mom."
She felt an answering nod against her shoulder before they separated.
Buffy stepped back near the stairs as Ethan began chanting. The Latin was surprisingly easy for her to follow. It was a little reasuring, although she wasn't sure there wasn't some hidden angle she was missing.
After a couple minutes, he paused and reached across the table to open the mirrored cabinet. He removed two of those fingersticks used for blood testing.
Dawn leaned forward, "Why do you have those and not some ancient knife or something?"
Ethan smirked, "Your mother's health was a concern during my negotiation with your sister. Using these to tune the spell to both of you symbolizes that requirement better than an old dagger."
Buffy tensed as he pricked their right forefingers and instructed them to smear them across the forehead of the bust facing them.
He then removed Band-aids from the cabinet and explained why he'd chosen the camouflage novelty type before Dawn could ask. "The Band-aids symbolize protection and the camouflage is to keep you hidden."
Closing the cabinet he cracked his neck, "Now, I'd appreciate if you remain quiet, as this part takes a bit of concentration."
Ethan began chanting again. After the second repitition, he lit the candles. At the end of the fourth, the flames turned blue. At eight, the image in the cabinet mirror began warping. Buffy lost count when flashes of blue light arced between the candles, the bust, and the crack between the cabinet doors.
Everything went dark.
Ethan straightened. "Lift-off."
Blue light exploded from the cabinet, blowing open the doors. Sparking tendrils of light coiled into the room, as if searching for something. They flickered over the materials and occupants in the basement for several moments before sucking back into the cabinet.
"Is that it?" Buffy asked irritably.
A beam shot out to the Janus bust and split. The first reached Joyce, surrounding her in the blue light. The second hit Dawn and appeared to stutter.
Buffy's eyes widened as the light flashed to her. It strobed between the sisters for a long moment before stabilizing into two beams, engulfing both.
Just before everything turned blue, she saw Ethan's shock and heard him swear. "Bugger. Ripper'll never believe I didn't plan that."
Buffy jerked awake, with no idea where she was. The last she remembered was the blue light surrouing her, her mother, and her sister. Sitting up, she yelped as her head hit a very low ceiling. She glared at the offending surface before taking in the rest of the space. Above and to her right were a dull, grey metal. Under her was a not uncomfortable mattress and to right was a narrow corridor with two more of what she realized were bunks against the other wall. The upper bunk had a snoring Dawn, who shifted so her arm flopped over the edge.
Sliding out of her bunk, Buffy landed silently in the cramped space and checked the lower bunks. The one under Dawn was empty, but their mother was sleeping in the one under the bunk Buffy had woken in. Shelf-like spaces in the wall at the head of the bunks clearly served as a ladder, with a door that looked kind of like that ones she'd seen in pictures of ships at the foot. Under each bunk were a pair of drawers, probably for clothes and personal things.
A short hiss and the door disappeared into the ceiling. Buffy tensed, especially at seeing the blue-skinned demon on the other side. It gave her a wary look as it sat on the empty bunk and began speaking quietly to the bundle it carried, leading Buffy to realized it was a female with an infant.
The floor jolted from under her with a low booming.
Buffy steadied herself, wondering what just happened. The demon looked terrified and jabbered something Buffy had no hope of understanding. Someone ran past the still open door. Buffy darted forward, hoping to find someone who spoke English.
Another shuddering boom sent her stumbling into the corridor, where someone- a human- knocked her over in his rush to another room just down the corridor. She scowled at the retreating leather boots and the tacky cloth wrapping up the guy's legs.
Buffy rolled to her feet, pressing her back against a wall as more humans and demons rushed past. By now, the booming and shuddering also caused the lights to flicker. A PA system blared something Buffy couldn't understand and wasn't sure whether that was due to the dying audio or the language. One, final, rumbling boom left the corridor in darkness while a low hum she hadn't noticed before faded to nothing.
She glanced around, her Slayer vision just barely able to make out anything using the handful of glowing buttons near the doors along the left side of the corridor. In the abrupt silence, she could hear muffled voices coming from behind the row of doors. She thought she heard someone at the far end of the corridor yelling to get the lights back on.
She flinched as half the lights returned, blinking rapidly as her sight readjusted.
The dull ringing of boots on the metal floor caught her attention. Sprinting around the far corner were three humans and a stocky demon with huge ears, black eyes, and bulldog cheeks. All four carried a gun of some type. They stopped about half-way to her. Two humans disappeared through the only door on the right. The third human and the demon flanked a passage on the left.
Buffy eyed the weapons warily, edging back towards her room. She fumbled for a handle, then turned and groaned. The flat metal had no handle, knob, latch, or any way she could see to open it.
The human looked over his shoulder, scowling when he noticed her. "You should be in your cabin."
"It's locked," she blurted. "What's going on?"
"Pirates." He checked the passage and cursed, drawing another gun from a holster, "They'll be through any minute, so you can either fight, or you can hide."
Buffy narrowed her eyes. While she'd been willing to send her mother and sister away to protect them from Glory, since she'd ended up coming with, there was no way she'd sit out while they were in danger.
She stalked forward, snatching the gun from his hand. The pistol felt weirdly balanced compared to the ones she'd handled before.
"You have used a blaster before, right?"
The man rolled his eyes and pointed to a selector. "Safe, stun, kill. Don't hit me or Payir."
"I know how to hit a target."
"Good." He shoved her towards the open door behind him into a cavernous room. Buffy glared at him, but joined the other two humans kneeling behind some large, plasticky crates.
A/N: I'm using an earlier story I wrote for the 2015 Fic-a-Day as a springboard for this story. Thank you, Adam, for bugging me on this and for the brainstorming/writing sessions.
Using Ethan was inspired by batzulger's stories Not a Dream, Fairy Tale, or Imaginary Story and Ancient Ghosts