Disclaimer: I own no commercial entertainment property, seriously, zip, zilch, nada! This is also not a commercial property. Please don't sue.
"I had this whole section on-" the Mayor began, but stopped with a confused expression on his face.
"What did you do?!" Buffy demanded, as she and the rest of the Slayerettes spun around wildly, seeing that the crowd of students around them were as still as statues.
"It wasn't me," Richard Wilkins the Third, Second, and First complained, "I need a full eclipse to transform. Having things frozen like this isn't helping me at all."
A circle of black flame flared in front of the stage while a pillar of heavenly light descended from the skies.
"This is either really good or really bad," Buffy decided.
The light faded away as the flames died down revealing a man and a woman in matching blue suits who bore a noticeable resemblance to each other.
"Probably bad," the Mayor decided.
"Yes and no," a familiar balance demon said as he separated from the crowd.
"Whistler," Angel said.
"Hey Rat Breath," he replied with a wave, "no time to gossip, the bosses got me hoppin'."
"Do you know what's going on?" Buffy asked Angel.
"Not a clue," he replied taking off the cloak he'd been using when he found the sunlight didn't burn him.
"Everyone listen up," Whistler began loudly, waving his arm to get everyone's attention. "We have a flag on the play, there is a technical foul."
"What did you do?" Buffy demanded, glaring at the Mayor.
"I've been planning this for well over a century, Miss Summers," the Mayor replied, "I assure you that I have dotted all my Is and crossed all my Ts."
"Xander Harris will you please step forward," Whistler requested.
"Me?!" Xander asked in bewilderment, as he slid through the crowd. "What did I do?"
"You came up with a workable plan to kill an Old One," Whistler explained.
"Him?!" the Mayor demanded. "But he's a nobody!"
"Just because you weren't smart enough to read-" Xander began and then forced himself to stop.
"Read what?" Giles asked as everyone waited for an answer Xander obviously wasn't going to give.
"Never explain to your enemy any mistakes he's making, just take advantage of them," Whistler quoted with a grin as Xander refused to speak. Whistler winced. "No need to yell," he told the two blue suited beings, who seemed to be silently watching the proceedings.
"What rule did I break?" Xander asked.
"Technology isn't allowed in the big face-offs," Whistler explained. "At least, not yet. Basically we're looking at a three yard penalty and a time out."
"Which would mean what, exactly?" Giles asked.
"It means we rewind things to the Slayer's arrival and Mr. Harris is removed from play," Whistler explained.
"You can't just kill Xander!" Buffy yelled, gesturing angrily with her sword.
"Who said anything about killing?" Whistler defended himself. "We're simply allowing him to trade in all the good karma he made in this life for an easy one elsewhere."
"But what about Willow and Buffy?" Xander demanded.
Whistler glanced at his bosses. "Mundane lives, Summers becomes a prom queen, Red heads up Microsoft's R&D."
"What?" the two girls chorused.
"They get completely benched, no demon can touch them," Whistler promised.
"Whoa!" Buffy said. "Let's not get crazy now."
"You can't just make those decisions for other people," Willow lecture Xander.
"He's not," Whistler said, "it's part of the rewind. The two of you have enough good karma that Summers dying shortly after she moves here and you getting vamped… is inappropriate."
AN: A solid start, but I didn't have a story to go with it and I have quite a few stories with similar starts already
"Death is my gift," Buffy explained to Dawn before turning to walk out and leap into the portal, acutely aware that Xander wasn't far behind her.
Xander had reached the top of the scaffolding just in time to see Dawn nail Buffy in the head with a pipe.
Buffy dropped like a stone.
"Dawn, are you possessed?" Xander asked cautiously.
Extradimensional energy lanced out of the portal, crawling across the metal framework like it had just been struck by lightning and was drawn to the two people still standing.
Xander and Dawn shuddered as it shot through their past and grounded itself in a Halloween that Dawn hadn't existed for, making changes to their present through a crack Janus had opened that night.
"No, I'm not fuckin' possesed!" Dawn yelled. "The ditzy bitch was going to sacrifice her life on the off chance that it would close the portal, when we all know it's gotta be me!"
Xander looked out at the portal. "Hope you don't mind company, Girl. Cause you know there's no way I'm letting you go alone."
"You know it's probably going to kill us," she said seriously.
"Only one way to find out."
"Come on, Ass," she said with a sigh and a sad smile.
He looked at her and then glanced at the pipe she was holding.
"Fine," she said as she realized he knew what she was planning. "I won't knock you out and go alone."
Xander just waited until she finally sighed and dropped the pipe.
"You are a pain in my ass," she said with a sigh.
AN: This scene popped up when I thought about how Buffy's big sacrifice would have changed if Xander and Dawn had dressed as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl for Halloween and then I figured they'd never have gotten into that mess in the first place, so I scrapped it.
Quitting Your Day Job
TN: Ok, I read the title and then the first two paragraphs and got this big expectant grin on my face.
Loki grinned and readied his mystic might to complete the spell while the Wrecking Crew fought to keep the Avengers and Spider-Man from interfering,
It was a chaotic battle and Spider-Man was just a hair too slow to dodge the Absorbing Man's ball and chain, sending him flying right into the sacred circle Loki had prepared just as he'd finished his spell.
"Arise! Awake! Be reborn!" Loki chanted, eldritch flames obscuring the view of the figures within for a moment before dying down, revealing a dark clad individual standing within.
"I, Vlad Dracul am reborn!" he exclaimed, arms outstretched and fangs growing as he laughed maniacally.
"No!" Captain America shouted. "We're too late!"
Spider-Man's fist exploded out of the front of the vampire's chest, covered in gore and holding a blackened, shriveled lump that beat wetly for a second before he clenched his fist, wiping it from existence and turning the reborn vampire king into ash once more.
"No!" it was Loki's turn to yell. "You'll pay for that you fool!"
Webbing splashed off the mystic shield surrounding Loki.
"As if mortal weapons could harm me," the trickster god snorted. "You'll pay for your actions this day, you and everyone you've ever loved!"
Spider-Man leapt, stealing Crusher's mystically enhanced crowbar from his hand and smashing him in the knee with it in passing.
Crusher howled and fell clutching his knee.
Loki suddenly found himself having to reinforce his shield as Spider-Man started wailing on it with his stolen weapon.
AN: Didn't have a story to go with this, I just thought that if Spider-Man was willing to sacrifice his relationship with MJ for Aunt May, then threatening her would be a really bad idea.
TN: No, really? What's that quote I saw once while surfing the net…..? Oh yeah (With some paraphrasing), "Family threats to heroes, like red flag to bull." - Old Criminal Saying.
Phoning It In- Shades of HP (Discarded)
Merlin felt a pull, like someone was attempting to contact him via a trump, and as he was currently wearing the shape of a leopard while waiting for a pack of wolves to get bored and leave, he had plenty of time to talk, so he allowed the contact.
He realized his mistake when his surroundings dissolved into smoke before reforming into the familiar looking front room of Grimmauld Place where he found himself in the center of a pentagram and completely surrounded by the members of the Order of the Phoenix.
"H-Harry?" a red-haired woman asked anxiously, the rest of the group didn't do a thing, waiting for a response.
Realizing what had happened, he decided to play along. He shape shifted into Harry Potter, taking details of his appearance from those around him.
"What is so important that you would pull me from my world?" he asked, slipping a hand into his pocket and reaching through shadow for a pair of glasses that fit their perceptions of what he should be wearing.
"Harry!" the woman exclaimed before pouncing on him.
He absently patted the woman who was now crying on his shoulder while he looked around for answers.
"You've been summoned to fulfill a prophecy," Albus Dumbledore explained. "The spell was designed specifically to summon a Harry who had no parents and would be happier here."
Merlin looked down at the runic scrip painted on the floor, slowly turning with the women clinging to him, until he read the appropriate section. 'I suppose this is better than being up in a tree surrounded by wolves, at least in the short term which is all this ritual could read,' he thought to himself.
"Harry?" an older copy of himself asked hopefully.
"My friends call me Merlin, but not the Merlin you are thinking of, the Merlin who is Corwin's son," Merlin explained, not wanting to go by a different name but not wanting to deal with people accusing him of having a massive ego either.
"That was rather…" Remus trailed off confused, but it was like a dam had broken as everyone started trying to talk at once.
Merlin now had two people clinging to him and crying while dozens of people tried to speak to him at once.
Dumbledore lowered his wand. "I appreciate that we're all excited, but I believe young Harry is owed some explanations. So if everyone will take their seats."
"I'm assuming these are the Potters?" Merlin asked.
"You're a Potter too, son," the older version of himself said firmly, tears in his eyes as he and his wife slowly released him.
Seeing that Merlin wasn't quite in agreement with that statement, Dumbledore spoke up to defuse any arguments before they began, "So, an animagus at sixteen? That's impressive."
"And a great cat no less," James Potter said proudly.
"Did your Hogwarts have an animagus program?" Lily asked, wiping her eyes with a handkerchief.
"No idea, I never went to Hogwarts," Merlin said, using his courtly training to lie without lying, just in case someone had a means of catching falsehoods. "It's hardly a secret that the Dursleys-" Merlin had to wait for Lily's sobs to grow quiet as James comforted her before continuing, "Between those peoples' hatred of magic and everything and one connected to it…" He sighed and shook his head, leaving everyone to answer their own questions on the subject.
"I set out traveling at the very first chance I got," Merlin said honestly. "I met people who were much more welcoming than the… those people. While I planned on entering the Wizarding World eventually, in the meantime I learned magics that did not require a wand. I received a lot of my knowledge from this one family and if you asked them who I was most like in their family, they would tell you it was Merlin. Never got to meet Merlin, but I found the name infinitely preferable to being called Freak or Boy."
"Were you happy?" Lily asked.
"As a preteen, traveling the world has its dangers," Merlin admitted, "but I have really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. I have zero regrets. When you summoned me, I was having a relaxing lunch."
"I thought the spell required him to be happier here?" Remus asked Dumbledore.
"Just because I was content that doesn't mean I can't be happier here," Merlin replied. He'd been planning on learning HP magic and going to Hogwarts anyway and this way, there were a large number of people who had a vested interest in helping him learn.
Taking care of Voldemort and his Death Eaters was a small price to pay for quality training. It might be a different matter if Voldemort was competent, but what were the odds of that?
"Just because one isn't miserable does not meant they are happy," Dumbledore added.
"That does make sense, thank you," Remus said apologetically. "The morality of this… still concerns me."
"What are the particulars of my summoning?" Merlin asked, even though he could feel the details of the new geas laid on him.
"Please understand," Dumbledore said, trying to break it to him gently, "we would not have summoned you without great need."
Merlin waved him off. "That's already understood, no one does a blind summoning on a whim. No, what I need to know is the exact wording of the binding."
Dumbledore nodded, relieved that Harry both understood and accepted what had happened. "A threefold spell, the missing child who is missing his parents in return, happiness lost through events shall through this event return, a prophecy undone shall be fulfilled by his return."
Merlin laid his will upon reality, shattering all bindings upon himself. It took a moment for him to realize he'd broken the geas the ROB had laid upon him as well.
"How?!" Dumbledore exclaimed as everyone stared at Merlin in shock, having felt the bindings come apart.
Merlin beamed feeling truly free for the first time in this life. "I can't believe I forgot that I could only be bound until I decided not to be," he said, a basic fact that all of the Court of Chaos knew. "Ok, now of my own free will I will rid this world of Voldemort, moral quandary solved."
"You can't just break a threefold binding like that!" Bill Weasley exclaimed.
"No, you can't," Merlin corrected, "clearly I can."
"The power he knows not," Dumbledore said in wonder.
"I can see why they'd call you Merlin," Tonks said.
"I don't think you've met him," Merlin said. "Merlin loves sugary cereals for breakfast, playing with computers and was a bit of a baby when sick. We were practically twins."
"You were named for a different Merlin," James said, thinking briefly of what his 'son' had said earlier.
"Not being able to be bound is also something we have in common," Merlin said. "Anyway, remember that I go by Merlin and not the one you guys swear by."
"I don't care what I have to call you, I'm just glad I have my son back," Lily said, wiping her eyes.
"What did happen to me here?" Merlin asked, wondering how Harry had bit it, among other things.
"The Dursleys," James said softly.
Merlin looked at Harry's parents. "If you two weren't killed and Sirius framed for it, why was I at the Dursleys?"
"My fault, I'm afraid," Dumbledore said with a heavy sigh. "I had thought that you'd be safe at the Dursleys' while Rose was being trained to fulfill the prophecy."
Merlin recognized the plot elements from a number of fanfictions he'd read and hoped it wasn't as bad as he feared. "But that was a decoy action as you knew who the prophecy was about and wanted to make sure the 'Chosen One' was sufficiently humble and modest."
Dumbledore winced, but didn't deny it.
"You knew?!" James demanded.
Merlin ignored the Potter's looks of betrayal and the mutterings of the crowd. "Just to be sure, the Potters didn't get swelled heads and become the Light Side version of the Malfoy's right? And by that I mean stuck up ponces."
"A touch openly proud of their daughter but nowhere near that level," Dumbledore assured him.
"Thank the gods," Merlin said. "Dealing with neo-Malfoys would have been a deal breaker."
"You said Harry would grow up in a normal home while we ensured Rose would survive the prophecy," Lily said softly, glaring at Dumbledore.
"And he believed that," Merlin assured her, much to everyone's surprise. "He honestly believed that the Dursleys would treat their own flesh and blood decently if a bit stricter than most. He also thought Rose would be a prime target and since she wasn't protected by the prophecy she would need extensive training to survive."
"How are you piercing through my Occlumency barriers?" Dumbledore asked in shock.
"A power you know not," Merlin replied softly, before grinning. "Actually, this was all really, really obvious." And for one with training from the Court of Chaos, that was true. "While I never joined the British Wizarding World or attended Hogwarts, I did read the papers occasionally and listen to the gossip."
"I don't know how to feel about this," Lily told James.
"He did what he thought was best, but really should have told you the reasons behind everything," Merlin replied with a shrug. "If the Dursleys were't more vile than he believed possible things would have worked out."
AN: Way too much exposition and there was a lot of details that should be revealed in-story, not simply dumped on the reader. I'll have to redo the whole thing.
TN:Just a touch.
AN2: And this batch of random half formed ideas is what I chose to start the new Fragments file with!
AN3: OK, I just wanted to get it done quickly so I could post things faster.
AN4: Lord Circe came up with the latest Fragments title!
Typing By: Lost Worlds