Sorry for the glacial rate of writing/posting, but as i noted on my ffn page, my shape over the last year and more has been bad, even compared to normal. Still writing, just slowly and less often.
As a sidenote:
-text- emphasised or quote within speech.
[text] nonstandard speech: what someone says through the phone or over a radio, in a language other than what is commonly spoken in context or telepathy.
Enjoy if you will, tolerate if you wont.
History bites back.
Suzuka looked at her watch, did the math again to be sure, then dialled.
[... Suzuka! Finally you call, I was getting worried.]
"Sorry, things happened rather quickly here, I actually started school here less than 8 hours after I got here, so... phew."
[You´re forgiven now that you called.] Arisa said graciously, making Suzuka giggle at the imperious tone it was said with.
After some chatting and catching up, Arisa more seriously said [Come on, out with it.]
[I know you, there´s more to this call than just talking with me, get on with it Suzuka. I could hear it the moment you opened your mouth.]
"Ehehe... Uhm, well I don´t know where to begin... You remember why I went here, and how you thought Shinobu had to be exaggerating about, the, situation?"
[Of course. I mean shouldn´t we hear about it through -normal channels- if there was so much nasty critters around?] this time Suzuka could hear real worry from Arisa.
"Well, what Shinobu nee-san knew... I think the classic -tip of the iceberg- expression should give you a hint."
[... THAT bad?]
"If you ever decide to come visit, make sure you bring some really good bodyguards, of the -special- kind, or Kyouya or Miyuki, better yet, hire -both- of them to come with you." Arisa´s startled gasp made it clear that she understood what that meant "This place is almost literally crawling with fakes, and there´s hordes of, others, represented here as well, some of them very dangerous even if others are mostly harmless."
[Do you need me to come help? Should I contact Nanoha or Hayate?]
"I think I can handle it, there´s a nice girl here, well actually there´s two of them, that are, mmm, boosted, to handle things, with a bit of help from me I think we can handle the worst of it. I don´t think -anyone- could handle -all- of it."
[Well, ok. If you say so...]
"No, the important part was to make sure you knew not to come here unprepared. And I need to know if you had an extra training device?"
[Huh... No, I gave it to Yuuno, he may not truly -need- a device, but for some things it´s still a real help... If you need one you can borrow mine, I have done some tinkering with it though so it might not suit you that well any longer. But you´ve always disdained relying on -that-, so what´s happened?]
"Mmm, yesterday, I had to cast complex things several times and even stuffing myself with snacks it was really straining, had I known that I might need to do even one of those spells I would have accepted the device they offered me right from the start."
[And -why- did you have to cast spells might I ask Suzuka?] now with a very pointed and rather angry voice.
Suzuka chuckled "Well, first there´s a spellcaster that desperately needs some help, think Nanoha but with zero training, a hundred times more chaotic magic and no device to help-" that caused a gasp from Arisa "-yeah, that´s what I thought as well, it´s even worse in some ways because she does it mostly by calling on and channeling external powers-"
[Is she insane!.?]
"Not even close, but it seems it´s the only magic they really know reliably about here, and not everyone can be lucky like us. Anyway, then there´s a lycanthrope that´s going to be problematic, with a device I might be able to make the spell I used on him last longer and work a little better, as it is I will have to renew the spell at least once a month to be sure. And that would be tiresome at best."
[Wow, you´re really in the middle of it there...]
"You don´t know half of it! Mmm, and then there was this other caster who had managed to lock herself in the shape of a rat-" Arisa burst into laughing "-yeah I know, with us knowing Yuuno like we do it´s quite funny. However, she bungled it so badly that she almost made herself a rat, -permanently-. Without escape clause of -any- kind. Actual change of base species."
"Mmm, it was really hard to break the transformation without any -buttons- to push, had to do it by raw power, and you know how little of that I have."
[Oh dear, you are ok right?]
"I had to drink an extra time from Farin, then I´ve slept almost 12 hours, uh, make that 14 hours actually, yes I´m ok, but I´ve already had to cut school short today, maybe I´ll skip completely even..."
[Stay at home and rest you hear me, Suzuka! You always try to push harder than you should, you´re almost as bad as Nanoha sometimes.]
Suzuka giggled at the stern order "Ok Arisa, I´ll probably stay home and rest today... Does TSAB retain their office in Tokyo?"
[Oh yes, only a clerk, or maybe two I think, I´m not quite sure, now that nothing big has been happening for a long time I haven´t been there as often, just keeping up to date in case they need me to help with anything, but... Oh, you want me to ask them for a device?]
"Three actually, one for me and one for Willow, that´s the powerful caster, she´s a real mess, a device would help her a lot I think, and I´m starting to think that I will seriously need one as well, and one in reserve, this place is really attracting weirdness so I wouldn´t be surprised if I found someone else who needs one, or if one gets lost just like *poof*. Haven´t been here even a week and I´m already straining the limits on what I can do."
[I´ll get over there first thing tomorrow. You remember their conditions for borrowing devices?]
"Yes, that wont be a problem, thank you. Oh, I also need you to ask them if they know about the, -other- side of the supernatural on earth..."
[... You mean you and... Are you sure?]
"Yes, just think of the damage if a vamp or the wrong kind of demon managed to take one of them over."
Suzuka could almost hear Arisa shudder at the thought.
After a moments pause she asked [Oh right, you want the same additional configurations on the devices as on the one you borrowed last time?]
"Yes, on all of them. That should give a good starting point, and it´s really slow to modify them with only earth electronics to work with."
"Oh you can say that again!" Arisa said heartfelt.
"Good, you stayed home to rest, feeling better?" Farin asked as she entered Suzuka´s bedroom.
"Still tired but yes, much better. Should be ok by tomorrow morning at the latest. And I was given strict orders by Arisa to stay home so not much choice there." Suzuka pouted theatrically.
Farin smirked slightly "Seems she still has both of your sense of pacing then."
"Aaaww..." Suzuka´s pout became even more exaggerated, making Farin chuckle.
Suzuka gave a quick smile and asked "So, how did your trip to L.A. go? Did you find a suitable jeweler?"
Farin nodded "Easier than I thought, there´s surprisingly much of the, -unusual- communities, in that city, she´s not a youkai but she´s well known as reliable and fairly good."
"Good. So what did she think of the bloodgem shards, could they be used?"
"Obviously she doesn´t have any experience with bloodgems, almost noone does after all, but she was reasonably sure that most of the shards could be worked into gems good enough to be used for normal jewelery. So, who were you thinking of giving them to? Xander and Willow I guess?"
Farin´s eyebrows went up "But-"
Suzuka shook her head, now dead serious "No, almost anywhere else, at least before I came here I would never worry about you, but here..."
"Alright. That´s 3 then, maybe Oz and Cordelia?"
"Oh yes, definitely Cordelia, I asked Buffy and she´s helped out before even if she´s not nice about it she does care enough to risk her life, even if giving her one only gives her an extra chance, it´s well worth it. And Oz, well he´s in the thick of it already, so that´s pretty much obvious."
"Mmm, true I guess."
"I think I´ll offer one to Giles as well, question is if he will accept it. Wouldn´t surprise me if he thinks it´s some sort of mind control magic or something."
Farin chuckled "These -watchers- does seem a bit twisted yes. And if they´re who you think..."
"They are, even if they´ve become both better and worse since the last record of them I can recall from the old stories, I already asked Shinobu to send me everything about that whole mess she can find. And I think I´ll give Buffy and Faith a gem each as well."
"Oh? Will it make any difference for them?"
Suzuka shook her head "Probably minimal but even a tiny extra edge is always better than not... Mmm, would she be able to have anything ready by Buffy´s birthday?"
"Nothing suitable for a present but if I understood correctly, she should have at least 2 or 3 of the simpler ones you asked for ready by then."
Suzuka sighed "Darn, I was hoping for that. Ah well, I´ll figure out something else for a present and she can get the gem later. Oh, I invited them here for a movienight on Sunday, well movie evening or even day ok, but anyway, no problems with that right?"
"That will work fine as long as you´re not up too late, do you mind if I invite Faith as well?"
Suzuka blinked "Oh, I didn´t even think of that, no that´s fine."
Farin nodded "Good, I think she really needs some friendly time."
Suzuka raised her eyebrows in question.
"When I assisted her moving into the gatehouse, she let a few things slip, I believe traumatised is a fair description."
Suzuka winced "-That- bad?"
Farin nodded "I was thinking I could at least give her a little bit of stability, I can´t be her parent but perhaps I can be a little bit of a reliable adult to her at least."
Suzuka nodded slowly "Do what you can."
As Buffy passed Cordelia enroute to her own seat in the classroom she was intercepted by a raised eyebrow of the latter.
"No funky hair colour new girl today? I thought she had this class with us?"
"Uh, she..." caught very unprepared while thinking about something else, Buffy mostly just managed to sound a bit slowwitted and mentally cursed herself for it. Cordelia sometimes had that effect on her it seemed.
Cordelia smirked slightly "Perhaps it has something to do with Amy Madison suddenly appearing again?"
Buffy twitched a bit and blinked, definitely not expecting Cordy to be quite -that- quick on the uptake.
Cordelias smirk turned into a smile "Oh, so it -was- connected..."
"She´s tired from fixing Amy." Buffy answered quietly, there were only a handful of others in the classroom yet but she wasn´t about to be blatantly careless at least.
And Cordelia´s raised eyebrow was back "Fixing?" she pointedly asked.
"De-ratified her... With magic. She turned into a rat to escape that MOO mess. Why would you care?"
"Huh, so that was the story. Not care exactly, but you two were nearly stuck together the whole week until now so I got curious. And her family´s rich and powerful enough to draw dad´s attention. And she has a maid, that can hunt vampires-"
"Vamps." Buffy interjected by reflex then quickly tried to make it look like she hadn´t really said anything. She knew it was too late as Cordelias eyes narrowed.
"You know you´re going to tell me the rest of the story. Save yourself the -agony- and just tell me." the way Cordelia said the word -agony- made Buffy wince.
Buffy sighed "Fine, why are you suddenly so -curious- anyway?"
"The way you reacted to her and that my dad would ever so like to deal with her family, the fact that no human should be that strong and of course, I really want to know how she got her hair so perfectly coloured."
Buffy snorted 'I bet the hair was what decided it...'
"Sorry Cordy, but her hair is that colour naturally-"
"Damn." the exclamation made Buffy strangle a laugh. 'I knew it.'
"And no, you´re right, she´s not human. It seems our usual vamps were just someone stupid´s attempt at making cheap cannon fodder copies..."
Cordelia´s eyebrows went up.
Further ahead in the classroom a very prehensile ear twitched in interested surprise followed by a slight shudder.
As she was picking up to go home, Buffy wondered if maybe she shouldn´t have said anything, after a moment of thinking she shrugged.
'Cordy is already mostly in the know anyway and Suzuka didn´t make it sound like a secret... Except from Giles.'
Her giggle was interrupted as she snorted a short laugh 'Her mind may be buried in the clouds of fashion and hobnobbing, but drats, she´s way too smart sometimes, guess there´s a reason for her grades...' she ended the thought with a sigh, as she doubted she could have managed grades anywhere near that good while she had played the queen bee at Hemery High.
She then stopped in mid motion for a short moment 'Buried in the clouds? Ugh, how did I come up with -that-?' she shook her head as she walked on.
"Ah Allan, there you are, come on in. Now do tell me what you have found out about our newest visitor?" the mayor smiled as he asked.
"Not much I´m afraid, most seems to not know anything and the few that do refuse to say much, but..."
"Many seemed... Apprehensive, as if they worried about it but didn´t know why they worried, or possibly how much they should be worried... And, Uncle Fangs has left town..."
The mayor´s mouth fell open as he blinked rapidly "Uncle Fangs skididdily-daddled out of town? The oldest, most harmless vampire ever in Sunnydale just left? He was already here when I built the town! He didn´t even as much as twitch during that thing with the Master. Why?"
"When I provided my description he became worried, agitated even, then asked me to describe her aura and how far it extended, and what colour her hair was."
"Hair colour?" the mayor asked disbelievingly.
"Yes sir, he asked if she had pink, purple, red or white hair, he relaxed a little bit when I told him purple and mumbled something about how he would at least have time to get away and how the devil would go do a ballet performance on ice before he would risk staying around if -they- were coming back."
"... Well now Allan that, that actually sounds a wee bit worrying. -They- at least means he expects her not to be a unique something, so no true demon or godess at least, and she´s apparently not one of the more powerful ones of whoever -they- are, and if noone else knows for sure except him, then -they- have been gone for a very long time... I wonder..."
Allan Finch shuddered when he finally left the mayor´s office several minutes later, the mayor not being cheerful was a dreadfully bad sign, he just fervently hoped that he would not be the one ending up dead because of it. Or worse.
"So she´s ok then?"
"Yes Willow, you know you could simply have called and asked her yourself?" Willow wilted slightly at Buffy´s admonishing tone while looking an extra time at a nearby mausoleum on the cemetery they were edging.
"Ok I guess I could... B-but she´s your friend first a-and uh I didn´t want to disturb her and ehm, it´s not like I... Shutting up now." she ended lamely as Buffy looked at her, having a hard time not laughing. Willow shrugged and smiled a little.
"She´s fine and will be back in school on Monday as normal, well not that she´s been here long enough for anything to be normal yet, and how do you figure out what´s normal anyway, I mean if you take the average of everything, then all you end up with is something very much not of the normal right?"
Buffy looked over and found Willow giggling "Yeah yeah that got a bit strange, sorry not mr philosopher here."
"Actually Buffy, I think it was rather insightful, -how- you said it though..."
"Oh..." Buffy brightened up "Well, yay me the great philosopher then! Oh and she asked if we wanted to come over and do a movie night on Sunday."
"Mmm, sounds good, what did she say about my idea?"
"Hmm, oh right, she said it was good and we should try it soon."
"And what do -you- think about it Buffy, you never really said?"
Buffy wiggled her fingers a bit and shrugged "Well it feels a bit wrong to have you without a slayer, but on the other hand, if me and Faith are both close enough to see each other and Farin going with you, Oz and Xander in the middle, yeah it should be as safe as it can be, and with Suzuka doing her hunting dog imitation coming at us we should be able to kick a lot of ass very quickly that way..."
Buffy trailed off at the end, stopped walking and was looking around when 2 vamps came jumping down from the nearest tree, fortunately still too far for them to be able to jump down right on top of the 2 girls.
"What the? Are you starting to nest in trees like birds now or something?" Buffy quipped as she easily slugged the closest one and got a partial smack hitting her in return from the second.
Willow recoiled backwards and as she looked around her eyes widened "Buffy! Behind you!"
Where 2 vamps came silently rushing in, Buffy dropped to the ground and tripped one but the other turned fast enough to get a kick in hard on her shoulder.
"Ow!" the force from the hit made her roll sideways as she grimaced.
Willow had taken the time to aim the small crossbow she had been carrying, carefully, at the first vamp that Buffy had hit, as it was still mostly just standing there a bit dazed from the strong punch it had taken.
A moment later it was dust from Willows well aimed shot.
Buffy however just barely managed to get back up before the other 3 attacked, and they did so cautiously. Exploiting their numbers and cooperating far too well.
Willow was fixed in place for several seconds, praising her lucky star that the vamps were completely ignoring her. The problem was that they were instead working very effectively at overpowering Buffy in a joint effort.
Blows were traded, but Buffy was not given any chance to deal with any vamp permanently and the instant Willow moved to reload her crossbow, the 2 closest to her growled almost in unison at her as they moved to threaten her.
"Eeep!" Willow quickly dropped the crossbow and leaped back a step and right away they were completely focused on Buffy again.
'Not good, NOT good!' Willow thought while trying to come up with something to do and not panicking, she would have zero chance if they attacked her directly and she was well aware of that, these were very much -not- fledgelings.
Not that she could handle even one of those on her own, unless she had total surprise or something to help her. But against these she wasn´t just outmatched, divine intervention AND winning the lottery would be needed for her to stake even one of them.
She fervently wished that Xander and Giles had come with them tonight. On the other hand, they wouldn´t be much better than her against strong vamps like these.
Buffy was still in decent condition but Willow was very worried that it would not last much longer like this, being effectively tagteamed by 3 vamps was not a recipe for good health. And while all 4 were taking some hits, Buffy was taking all the hits from the vamps by herself.
Willow finally came up with an idea and started to slowly move her hands while trying to mostly copy how she had done the spell yesterday, not quite the same but mostly, she kept checking the 3 vamps, but although they saw that she was doing something, they clearly didn´t think it was any danger to them.
Then she ended the casting by throwing her arms out towards just above Buffy to help aim and shouted "Look it´s sunrise!" and hoped fervently that she got it right.
The 3 vamps didn´t react at all first, at least not beyond a slight twitch showing clearly that they had heard her and understood what she shouted, something they really didn´t want surprising them, but still knowing damn well it couldn´t be true.
Then a fistsized globe of light appeared just over Buffy´s head. Bright. Extremely bright. Willow had to close her eyes and even hold her hand in front of her eyes, as the whole graveyard was lit up, not as by daylight, but maybe a day with an overcast, and all that light coming from just the small globe.
The 3 vamps froze still in shock of literally seeing the promised sunup, or something at least vaguely like it, also being badly blinded by the strong and sudden light, Buffy, the least affected by the light as she had none of it coming at her eyes, in less than 3 seconds had staked the 2 vamps that were closely together and then with 3 more fast steps the last vamp was dust as well before it could think straight again.
"I think it was more like sunset for those 3..." Buffy lamely panted out as the light slowly faded out again over several seconds. She groaned at the way her shoulder felt when she slowly and carefully stretched and moved.
"You ok Buffy?"
"Ok enough I guess, will be sleeping with bruises tonight though." Buffy winced at the thought, slayer healing was great, but injuries still took some time to stop hurting, tonight would not be a night of pleasant sleep and sweet dreams "Impressive mojo Wills, when did you learn that?"
"Uh, I kinda didn´t?"
Buffy turned to look at Willow "What?"
"That was basically the spell Suzuka used to show me her magic system yesterday, I just changed a few parameters for it..." she trailed off at Buffys raised eyebrows.
"You, you created a -new- spell in a few seconds..."
"Ehm yeah, well sort of, more like a revision? That´s the great thing about Suzuka´s style, changing spells is mostly just a matter of changing the structure, it´s totally logic based so even if I can´t get optimal results if I know how to do something it´s fairly easy to do something similar."
Buffy nodded slowly "That´s great Willow, one question though, did you happen to notice that your spell actually had them start fizzling and smoking a bit?"
"... It did? Uh, I was rather busy not looking and getting blinded so didn´t see it nope. You mean like it was a real sun, or, oh dear..."
"No, not like a real sun, but it sure affected them like sunlight, just much weaker."
Willow brightened up "Heh, maybe I can come up with an even better version, wow just think of-"
Suddenly she broke off and unceremoniously sat down, her legs no longer able to keep her standing.
"Willow!" Buffy rushed the few meters and kept her from falling over further.
"Uh..." Willow said uncertainly, having gone somewhat pale and swaying a bit despite Buffy holding her "Maybe I should be a bit more careful with spells, I, that was a bit more straining than I had expected... I think I´ll just sleep here for a few weeks, ok Buffy?"
Willow smiled weakly as she passed out into Buffy´s embrace.
Buffy quickly checked her over as best as she could and relaxed slightly as she became reasonably certain Willow wasn´t in any immediate danger. And at least from what she could see, probably not really in danger at all.
A somewhat bleary-eyed Giles opened the door and quickly straightened up as he saw Buffy carrying Willow "Oh dear, is she badly hurt?"
"Not hurt at all Giles, just exhausted herself saving my pretty behind, since we were nearby I thought it was better to go here."
After putting Willow on Giles couch and some help bandaging the worst scratches Buffy had told what happened.
"Vampires leaping down from trees?" Giles asked for the third time with a disbelieving grimace.
"Totally freaky yeah, and those were just the diversion to let the other 2 sneak up from behind. And they cooperated Giles, if Willow hadn´t dusted the first one I hit, I would have been in serious trouble, career ending trouble..." she finished quietly.
Giles shook his head "While vampires joining up against a strong foe or under a strong leader isn´t uncommon, working together this well, it´s exceptionally rare, and every time I have... heard of it..."
"A slayer or someone important died? ... Willow was the only thing that saved me tonight you know... First the one dusted letting me keep up with the remaining 3, even if just barely, and then she gave me the chance to dust them with that spell... Without that help, I´m not sure..."
Giles frowned unhappily.
The mayor ended the phone call and rolled his eyes dramatically, even though noone saw him. Gotta keep in shape after all.
He shook his head "Didn´t I specifically tell them -not- to mess with the slayer? I needed information on the new girl, not wasting some of my best trained henchmen for nothing, the slayers didn´t really matter anyway, or was that henchvampires? Well they clearly didn´t have a hunch at least." even failing to properly follow orders, that was a really big no-no.
He cheerfully chuckled at the terrible joke and sat back in his chair while thinking about what he still -had- learned.
"A new kind of witch eh?" the description he had been given from those observing was easily in line with the level of power expected from the slayers longtime friend, but the -type- of spell was radically different, and if what had been heard was true, then the source was the girl he was trying to get information on.
So, not a complete loss at least. He was still unhappy about loosing some of his better minions ( brains excepted ), especially when those teams were supposed to be his main tools if he ever needed to take care of a slayer permanently, and for nothing more than what had become a simple brawl and a tiny trinket worth of information.
On the other hand, he had also found out that while his special teams really could take out a slayer, almost any interference could be enough to tilt the scales to the slayer´s preference, so, good in theory but probably in need of some further improvement.
He wrote a few short notes about it on a post-it note that he neatly placed in one of his -to do- piles.
The mayor smiled as he leaned back in his chair, nope, on second thought, definitely not a complete loss.
Anyone think that the mayor wouldn´t notice that there´s a new girl in town?
No, I thought so.
Think of how magic is nearly always shown in BtVS. Magic there nearly always involves begging some kind of being, spirit, deity or -someone- to perform or grant what is wanted. While the Nanohaverse relies heavily on taking power from yourself or the environment, and using a system that is effectively a science, transform that power into what you want.
The upside is of course that spells can be insanely overpowered despite being cast by a weak magic user, but there´s no guarantee what so ever that any such spell will work, or will work like intended. And if you look at the history and success rate of the BtVS cast when it comes to spells? Well, it´s not exactly great, lots of mishaps and unintended consequences. Or outright failure like when Willow tried to bring Tara back to life. Because the being she called upon refused to help.
The Nanohaverse magic isn´t borrowed the same way, meaning a greater personal risk of exhaustion and simply more or less burning out, but the very logic and dependable structure it is based on means if a spell is cast well enough and with enough power, it works and it works as intended, because there are no third parties involved.
I´m not quite sure what you meant but there might be some Nanoha appearances in the future of this fic. She´s not one of the primary characters in it though. And I wont say more than that about it.
Ah, but "stronger" here is a very problematic term unless conditions are added to such a statement. The main difference is in the ability to channel spells using external sources vs performing every part of the spell yourself and more or less using personal power. Hayate(and Nanoha) are drastically more powerful than Willow when it comes to using their own magic, but Willow is scary powerful when it comes to using herself as a conduit for "other powers".
Beyond telekinesis(and the single supersimple demonstration spell used in last chapter), what Willow does in this chapter is effectively the only time she has tried to do all the work of using magic, just by herself, instead of relying on some other power. And she wasn´t exactly ready for it, as she hasn´t realised that difference yet, or even that there are any differences at all.
Basically, if you want to call upon an ancient godess of death and destruction to blow the moon into tiny pieces, Willow is definitely your girl, but if you want to do the same without involving powerful and potentially capricious or unreliable and dangerous beings, then you want Hayate instead, even if she will take much longer to do it, as the limits on personal power are far stricter than the limits on power channeled from elsewhere.
A virtual cookie to whoever can give the reason for the chapter title(beyond the obvious one).
And from hints in this chapter, anyone that can guess where do we go from here?