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 Post subject: ...But Wishing Makes It So BtVS, Multiple Pairings YTeen
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:32 pm 
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...But Wishing Makes It So...

I was sitting at a table in the Zimzonreet Coffee Shop in a mall a few miles outside of National City. It's not a big chain and having one around is one reason I'm glad my folks moved here when the old hometown went blooey. Sunnydale had a Zimzonreet.

Due to the unusual circumstance of enjoyable company, my latest issues of Cult Film Classics and Sci-Fi Cinema were set aside. She called herself Lili, seemed to be in her mid-20s, and was very personable and definitely attractive. We'd just met and were hitting it off, a little too well. If I'd kept my mind more on what she was saying and less on how she looked I might have known where she was taking the conversation.

"Okay, Jared, so you've had a good life, but isn't there anyone you just want to get even with, maybe from years ago."

"I was raised to believe holding a grudge isn't just wrong, it's a waste of energy. I have enough to do living my own life," I answered, talking with my hands as I generally do.

"But if they deserve it...."

"It's not my place to judge anyone."

"There must be something, and remember, we're just playing here, that would make you happier."

"A couple million!"

" I don't mean material stuff, I mean something to do with the people you know, and do not say you want them all to have a couple million," she said, eyebrows raised in mock indignation.

"Well, I'd be happier if my friends were happier. I've lost too many for my age in peacetime. That's what I'd like, if dreams could make wishes come true. I'd like all of my friends alive and happy and together and facing a bright future in the old hometown."

As I said this and gestured, Lili tossed something into my out-flung hand, a pendant she was wearing. I looked at her and her face was all gray with purple veins, and she said, in a much more guttural voice, "Done!"

Immediately having said this, she vanished as I was replying to her; I think she heard the "N" but not the "o" or the "!". I looked around and I was back in the old Sunnydale Zimzonreet.

I picked up my glass, a sobravente iced tea with hazelnut and Irish crme syrups, Equal, half-and-half, and skim milk. I t was over half-full but I drained it without stopping; I figured I'd need the caffeine and sugar, and I definitely needed the act of swallowing.

"Okay," I said to myself, "okay, you screwed up Milek, you got scammed by a demon, but maybe it won't be that bad." I started toward the exit; if this wish was structured the way I figured it was, Giles and Anya would be at the Magic Box and they could advise me. I gripped the medallion tightly in my left hand.

A very pretty, very familiar voice called out, "Jared, we didn't see you come in!"

Turning, I said, "Oh, hey, Buffy, I kinda sorta just dropped in, so to speak. How are you all?" with as smooth tone as I could manage, under the circumstances.

Angel answered for the table, "Just great, old buddy, the wedding plans are coming along really well."

Yes, Angel was out in broad daylight, so were Spike and Drusilla, and she and Buffy had really impressive rocks on their left ring fingers. So did Joyce, along with a plain band matching the one on Brian Harland's finger. Dawn was there, so was Faith, and a guy I recognized from various descriptions as Connor.

We chatted a while, giving me the latest on events my other-dimensional self presumably knew about. I think I hid my clueless condition quite well but I knew I had to get away from there, for my sanity's sake, when Drusilla said, "We've given up that silly idea of a double wedding. Buffy wants and deserves traditional, and, while I'd enjoy that myself, William and I will be better off eloping. After all the things the lady with my face did for over a century, I really can't wear white, and the alternative, well, didn't your father's favorite group once do a song about not wearing blue so well?"

My mind reeled; a 19th Century woman with a punk-rocker boyfriend quoting the Statler Brothers was just too surreal. And since when does she know my dad's musical tastes. Hell, since when does she know me well enough to talk to?

With a chuckle I hoped didn't sound nervous, I said, "Yes, they did, Dru, very beautiful song. Look, I have to get going, but I hope you crazy kids have just the best afternoon ever. See ya!"

They said good-bye and went back to their conversation; I made for the door and stepped out into that familiar, well-loved but now terrifyingly unnatural street, mumbling to myself, "Oh well, everything you've seen so far is of the good, maybe things will turn out well." I remembered an old song, made famous by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris but my dad has always preferred Johnny Rodriguez's version, "We believe in happy endings, Never breaking, only bending...We believe in new beginnings, Giving in and forgiving, We believe in happy endings, She and I." I kept singing this to myself down the street.

About half-a-block from the Magic Box, I ran into Jonathan and Harmony, walking arms linked. I wasn't surprised; as much as they'd always hated each other when they were alive, I often thought they'd make a super-hot couple.

As casually as I could, I said, "Hey, guys haven't seen you two around as much as I'd like lately. How's things?"

Harmony looked puzzled and said, "What a character. We talked night before last at Andrew and Larry's party and he says he doesn't see much of us," and laughed a little.

"Speaking of seeing people," Jonathan said, "somebody was looking for you at the Magic Box. If I were you I'd get there fast."

"Actually heading there now," I answered and we said our farewells.

"Okay, Larry and Andrew, that's a weird pair even for me. Oh, well, everyone seems happy," then I stopped, began channeling Fred Gwynne in Pet Sematary, buried my face in my hands and said, "What have I done? Christ on His Throne, what have I done?"

Just as I walked up to the shop, I saw Amy Madison coming out with a parcel and calling a cheerful "See you guys later" over her right shoulder. We greeted each other in passing as I went in, and she mentioned, "A slightly older woman was just here looking for you ".

Of course Willow and Tara were sitting at the front table and gave me their usual very sweet hello. Giles was up on a ladder arranging some things on a top shelf and Xander was spotting him. Anya was behind the counter.

I went over to her and said, "Anya, something big's happened and I need your advice. When are you on break?" I noticed she was pregnant and my guts went sick.

"In about ten minutes, Jared, have a seat or buy something while you're waiting," she said. She certainly hadn't changed.

I headed for the table to talk to Willow and Tara and noticed another woman had joined them, someone else I hadn’t seen in a while. "Ms. Calendar!" I half-gasped, half-croaked; even I hadn't figured things would go this far.

"So formal and so out of date, what's up, Jared? You've been calling me Jenny since long before I became Mrs. Giles."

"Sorry, Jenny, let's say I'm having some short-term amnesia today. Nice to see you."

The four of us sat and talked for over five minutes when I heard the bell over the door ring. A striking brunette walked in, put her hands on her hips, and said, "Well, my slightly younger man finally shows up and of course I catch him flirting as always."

I barely choked out, "Hi, Theresa," before my throat closed up completely when I saw she was wearing my Aunt Liz's engagement ring.

As she walked over she said, "You seem surprised to see me, honey."

"I'm getting a lot of surprises this afternoon, don't mind me."

"Well, my mom called and said the relatives showed up already and I have to get over there a few hours earlier than we expected. I was waiting for a while but I ran out of cigarettes and had to rush out. So I'll see you tomorrow night, okay?"

"Uh, sure."

"Hey, remember, I promised to quit right after the honeymoon, chill out," then she bent down, laid a really hot one on me, said, "Bye, babe," and left.

"Anya!" I half-yelled.

I sat down at the table in the back room and collected my thoughts. Anya got a cup of coffee and sat down opposite me.

"Now, Jared, what's so important?"

"Well, Anya, first I think it'll go faster if I ask you a few questions and you just give me some short answers and when you've answered all of them, I can tell you better what's happened." She agreed and I started; I can't quite recall but I think I counted off my questions on my fingers.

"The first question, and please don't take this as criticism, I just need to know. Are D'Hoffryn and his Vengeance Demons basically evil?"

"Basically, yes. The wishes he allows them, allowed me, to grant almost always increased the total suffering in the world."

"Okay, now, is the person who makes the wish always bitten by it?"

"Guilt feelings at the least, usually more than that."

"And after they get what they wanted and take their punishment, does that end it?"

"No, the consequences go on to their logical conclusion, whatever that is, and affect whoever logically should be. Jared, I really hope you're finished because I'm starting to go crazy here."

I didn't speak, just showed her the amulet.

"Pulilita! Jared, tell me you didn't..." and I just sort of shrugged and dropped my eyes.

"You, of all people, let that ever-lasting bitch get you to make a wish. How could you do that?"

"Uh, well, she really seemed to like me and she said we were just playing and she asked me to imagine something that would make me happy and you know how I talk with my hands and suddenly she dropped this thing in my palm."

"And said 'Done!' She's had it in for me since 1688 when Tshrnobog picked me instead of her as his date for the Harvest Moon Massacre. She probably went after you because you know me."

"Knew you," I blurted before thinking.

"What? What do you mean?"

"I'll explain later."

"Oh, this is just ducky, Jared."

"Hey, I didn't even know I was making a wish!"

"Okay, we need the others."

Within less than a minute, the Magic Box was temporarily closed, I was sitting at the front table, and six people were standing around giving me looks, which, while not unsympathetic, were still more than cold and hard enough.

Giles finished cleaning his glasses, put them back on, and said, "Jared, we might as well get right down to cases. What did you wish?"

"I didn't exactly wish, I just said I'd like something."

A tiny flash of Ripper showed in his voice and expression when he said. "C'mon, Milek, out with it."

"All I said was, I'd like it if my friends were alive and happy and together and facing a bright future in the old hometown."

"'A bright future,'" he says.

"Thanks, Jared, any Vengeance Demon worth a quarter of her weight in rhino vomit could do a dozen nasty things with that," Anya spat out.

Willow began murmuring "A quarter of her..." when Tara nudged her and said, "We don't have time for that," then looked over and said, "Don't be so mean to him, Anya. He was tricked and that can happen to any of us. That's as close to a fool-proof wish as I could imagine, anyway."

Jenny seemed to be distracted by something she noticed out the side windows but commented, "I guess there are no fool-proof wishes when it comes to Vengeance Demons," then walked over to the window and looked out.

"Regardless, wishes are dangerous," said Giles, "Anya, you told me my counterpart summoned you before he smashed your power center. Is it necessary for us to summon Pulilita?"

"No, we just have to destroy it and if the wish hasn't been completed it'll reverse."

"Wait a minute, this world is a couple million times better than the one I left. My first reaction is just to take my lumps, let the wish bite me back, and go on from there."

Willow said, "Jared, you could die, like Cordelia did in her wish world."

"Believe me, it'd be worth it, and this is my fault."

Giles gave me a blank look. Willow, Tara, and Anya all came closer to me, something I'd normally have enjoyed. Still clutching the amulet in my left hand, I tapped the fingers of my right on the table.

Anya patted me on the right shoulder and said, "Jared, my friend Tessmilta once granted a wish for a rising young politician in the Rhineland in 1867. Well, you're good at history, you know the Franco-Prussian War, the failure of Reconstruction, European colonial domination of the Third World, the worst atrocities of the Indian Wars, the free-silver controversy, the First World War, the Communist Revolution in Russia, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, the Depression, the rise of Nazism, Pearl Harbor, the Cold War with its guerrilla fighting and nuclear tension, the failure to achieve peace in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, the inflationary recession of the 70's, and the current terrorism scare. None of that would have happened except for that wish. That's one reason the old me loved Cordelia's Bizarro Land so much, it was a chance for me to match her."

Willow snorted and said, "Even I don't believe that one."

Anya replied, "It's true. If Cordy or Harm or Nicole were here, I'd pinky-swear to it on Cordette's honor."

"Of which there is no such thing. And the realities of socio-economic..."

Xander took Anya's hand and said, "Hey, Mel, give it a rest," then turning to Willow, "You too, Buddy, we need to focus."

I put in, "Actually, Xander, they're more like Monk and Ham, since Mel and Buddy really disliked each other but..."

"Jared!" Tara said, shaking my left shoulder. At that I was lucky; any one of the others would have given me a sharp backhand across my upper arm. Then she leaned over me, that patchouli scent she wears driving me crazy; I guess I'll always have a crush on her. "Look, Xander's right. If this is all from a wish, then we're living a lie, and you shouldn't want to sacrifice yourself for it. You can't risk dying for an illusion."

I took hold of her right wrist with my left. "Forgive my familiarity, Tara, but this is no illusion, you're really here." I let go. "In my old reality, you've been dead for a year and a half."

Nobody can hear that without being rattled and Tara jumped back a bit, while Willow screamed "What?" and hugged her.

I continued, "Yeah, and well, the last I saw you, you'd adjusted. You were doing okay most days, trying to get into adult life, had a new semi-serious girlfriend, but you were definitely 'Empress Carlotta' for a couple days. You killed two guys, the murderer and someone else who deserved it but still. You came within inches of killing Giles, Buffy, Xander, Anya, Dawn, Jonathan, and Andrew. You tried to destroy the world and you even seemed to have lost a lot of your brilliance in the process. Plus, Jenny's been dead for years."

She looked over when I said that, but didn't say anything. "So has Theresa. Buffy died, you resurrected her but she was depressed for almost a year, remembering the heaven she'd been in, hating the living world. Andrew killed Jonathan under influence of The First; Larry's dead, Joyce is dead. You died a few months ago too, Anya, and where does that leave your baby?" She gasped, looked away from me, and grabbed onto Xander. "For all I know, even Jesse's still alive here."

I heard Xander say, "Jesse's dead? Then who's dating Ampata?"

But I was on too good a roll to take time to even groan triumphantly at that. "Sunnydale itself is gone; the end by the school is a crater full of sand and the rest is just a ruined pile of fragments no larger than Willow's latest Atrocious Hat of the Half-week. Angel's still an ensouled vampire seeking salvation, Spike got his soul back and the chip out but The First used him to kill some people. Then when Buffy rescued him, he died closing the Hellmouth. Drusilla's still an insane vampire, Harmony's a moron vampire and Connor was a homicidal maniac until he got a mind-wipe and was placed with a foster family with false memories like the ones about Dawn. Amy's, well...pretty much evil now. Cordelia's in a coma she may never come out of, Xander's lost his left eye, the Watchers' Council Headquarters was blown up, lots of field Watchers and potential Slayers have been killed, a few hundred or thousand girls are running around loose with Slayer power. Faith is a fugitive from justice, and I had a problem with my left ankle which seems to have gone away here, too. Gee-effin'-blue-bloody-dee!" I gave out a huge sigh and rested my forehead in my left hand.

Jenny walked over and said, very sadly and forcefully but sympathetically too, "Jared, this has to stop. Tara's right, we can't live a lie."

Willow rounded on her and burst out with a half-shout, "No! No, I can't lose Tara. I'm powerful, you've said it, and Tara herself said I was frighteningly powerful. Whatever's coming, I can fight it. I can do it for her, to keep her, to keep all of us happy, to..."

Now it was Tara's turn to grab Willow in a sudden embrace and say her piece. "Shh, shh, baby, please. It's okay, remember, this isn't real, you'll be alright, you heard him."

"But I don't want to be alright without you."

"You already are, it happened and you won't remember this. You'll just go back to being strong survivor Willow. And someday our spirits will share memories of this in Annwyn and smile about it."

"But..."

"You know as well as I do, this is what has to be done," she said and kissed her.

Jenny was holding both her husband's hands and looking into his eyes. "Rupert," she said. "I know you're considering Willow's plan but Tara's right. When Jared said Buffy remembered a few details about the afterlife, something clicked in me. Nothing even remotely concrete but I'm getting a tiny flash of where I was. I know you've never believed in much of anything, but this time you need to have faith."

"You're right, dear, I know that."

I blurted out, "I can't! I can't let you guys die again. How can I say this...if someone had come to me around maybe January of '98 and showed me what was going to happen, convinced me it was true, and proved that I could change it by dying, I would have gone out the next day and stood in front of a truck. Yeah, I would've regretted all the things I'd never get to do, the people I was hurting, and I'd be afraid, but I'd feel it was worth it."

Jenny came over, placed both of her hands on the table, looked me in the eye and said, "I appreciate your feelings, Jared. Underneath all your clumsiness and your self-involvement, I always thought you had some hero in there, just like your older friends. But it's no good. Look at the windows. It's past 2:30 in the afternoon in late September. Should there be that much light coming in both windows at this time of day? I don't know exactly what this bright future is you wished up for us, but I don't think it's anything we really want to see."

"Oh, my Lord, I guess I don't have a choice. But Cordelia's Bizarro-Dale apparently survived in some form, because that spell brought VampWillow over that time. Maybe this will too."

Anya raised her head from Xander's shoulder and said, "I doubt it, Jared. So many critical lives were ended in that continuum it created historical potential, so different worlds branched off from it. Nothing much has happened here, so it'll probably just go poof like the world without shrimp."

I guess I must have looked obviously disappointed because Giles came over to me carrying an antique cast-iron bookend and said, "Come on, Jared, lay the amulet on the table and I'll destroy it before things get even worse."

Knowing I'd never see this version of Giles again, I decided to say what I was itching to say. As I reached out and took the bookend from his hand, I said, "Ripper, old boy, smashing a necklace into smithereens hardly requires the specialized knowledge of a Watcher. I did this, I'll undo it. You need to be with your wife," and with a sad smile he turned away.

I hefted the bookend and, keeping the chain in my hand, laid the amulet on the table. I studied it for an instant, then looked around.

Xander was looking at Anya and saying, "Where are you going? And the baby?" And she was saying, "We'll both be waiting for you, don't worry." Both had tears in their eyes.

Willow was saying, "Baby, I still don't understand." And Tara replied, "I don't either, darling, but we will, someday." Both had tears in their eyes.

Rupert and Jenny weren't talking, just gazing into each other's eyes. He was crying, she was the strong one as always.

I thought about the six of them, about the happy faces I'd seen at the coffee shop and on the street. I lowered my head, closed my eyes, and whispered, "Oh God, I'm sorry. Please, everyone, forgive me. I love you guys." Opening my eyes, I looked at that piece of rock and focused my feelings on it. I raised the bookend even higher and brought it down...

"Done!" I heard again and looked up into Lili's human face. (I guess crossing realities like that snaps you back a split-second, like a rubber band.) Her triumphant smile faded and was replaced by a look of surprise.

I showed her my left hand and said, "Lookee, no pendant, just a busted chain," which I flung at her, and she caught it very easily. "I guess you'll be calling your boss now. If he doesn't want to hire you back, I know some people who can help you find a job."

Her fist tightened around the chain, she called me a bastard, and stalked off. Oh well, other women have called me that before.

I often cry in public, so the next ten minutes or so were nothing that new. Then I looked at my glass and saw it was still half full.

"Well, at least I got an extra half a glass out of it," I said with mock cheer. By now, along with the caffeine, sugar, and act of swallowing, I needed the fluids too. I reached for it then hesitated.

The words of Alan Jackson's Here in the Real World came into my mind; "And tonight on that silver screen, it'll end like it should. Two lovers will make it through, like I hoped we would."

I picked up the glass and looked out the nearest window, said, "Here's to absent friends," and drained it at a gulp.


Last edited by DaddyCatALSO on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ...But Wishing Makes It So BtVS, Multiple Pairings
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:59 pm 
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:clap :clap :clap - Oh I like this very much

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