Shadow Walking

Author: Mr Bear <t.p.budden[at]>

Disclaimer: I own none of this. That mad Whedon chap and some other rich people own all the interesting characters.

Right, this is a crossover I haven't seen done yet, and wouldn't leave me alone. It's only a first draft, and I'm not convinced I have everyone in character enough but I need to know whether it is worth continuing. or if I should just leave it alone. This diverges from canon at the end of 'Checkpoint' (I think).

Latest addition

Chapter 1

"She's not a demon." Travers explained. "She's a god." Travers took the stunned looks from the rest of the rooms as a signal to continue, "A hellgod to be precise." While the last statement sank in, Travers turned to his subordinates and sent them on their way, "Go on you two, I'll deal with this. I suspect that this will take a little while."

"A hellgod?" Buffy asked quietly, "Is that as bad as it sounds?"

Travers turned back to Buffy, "Yes and no. We don't know an awful lot about Glorificus, but what we do know gives us some small cause for hope." He gestured to the table, and everyone took seats. As they did, Travers opened a briefcase and produced a couple of very old looking books. "We are fairly certain that Glorificus originated somewhere other than the dimension she ruled, all of the reference material we have on her uses the title 'Glorificus, Exile of the Courts'." Travers paused when Giles looked up sharply at the statement, paling.

"Exile of the Courts?" He asked in astonishment, Travers nodded and was about to continue, but Buffy turned to her pale faced watcher.

"What am I missing that has you so worried Giles?" she asked "What does this 'exile of the courts' mean?"

Giles looked at his charge for a moment before removing his glasses and starting to wipe them as he spoke. "Occasionally in the histories, demons claiming to be 'of the Courts' have been mentioned, no slayer who has chosen to oppose one of these demons has ever survived the battle." Giles replaced his glasses and continued. "They had no common features beyond the fact that they were all stronger, faster, and tougher than a slayer, though this is probably because they all seem to be able to change their form at will."

Buffy finished his thought for him, "So if she's an exile of the courts, then she probably has all of these abilities. Great." She turned to Travers, "I thought you said there was 'some cause for hope', would you mind telling us what it is, because so far I don't see it."

"Patience." Travers said sternly, "I'll get to it, but it is necessary to explain the background first." Buffy looked like she might comment further, but instead stayed quiet allowing Travers to continue. "At some point after she was exiled, she came to world not unlike this one and used powerful magic to take over. She turned it into a hell dimension in short order."

"So why doesn't she just do the same here?" Buffy interrupted.

"Well firstly, her magic is mostly tied to her own realm, she doesn't have access to that level of power here." Travers answered, "And secondly, because according to the information we have been able to find on her, she was defeated and cast out of her realm by a man with a powerful magic sword made of silver with burning tracery laid into the blade. I was rather hoping that one of the books in Mr Giles' personal collection would have more information on the weapon." Giles was about to reply, but Xander beat him to it.

"Yeah, it's in one of Giles' books alright." He said. "I came across it one night when we were researching the mayor's ascension. It stuck in my mind because the blade was so beautiful."

"Can you remember anything else about it? Which book it was in maybe?" Giles asked.

"I can't tell you the name of the book, it was one of those that uses a different alphabet to ours, kinda flowing look to it. I flicked through it and the picture caught my eye, but I couldn't translate it so I moved on." Answered Xander. "It had a black leather cover if that helps?"

"Surprisingly enough, that narrows it down quite a bit." Said Giles, who was heading towards his private book collection. "I won't be a moment." He called.

While Giles was searching his book shelves, Buffy turned to Travers again. "If she's so powerful and all, what does she want here?" She asked.

"Well. As I understand it she believes that there is a 'key' of some kind in Sunnydale which would let her return to her own realm." Travers replied. "Apparently she can't heal from her injuries properly here and is quite weakened. That said, she is still very dangerous."

"So what's the problem with just finding this key for her and letting her go home?" Xander asked. "Seems to me like the easiest way to get rid of her."

While Buffy tried not to glare at Xander, Travers answered, "The problem is that there would be no way to close the portal once it opened, and eventually our world would be consumed by the hell dimension."

"Ah." Said Xander. "There goes my bright idea."

Just then Giles returned carrying a large black leather bound book. "I believe I've found the book you described Xander. He said.

"Yeah." Xander replied "That looks like the one. The picture was about a quarter of the way through." He moved over to where Giles had placed the book down, and started paging through it. The flowing text was very well preserved and interspersed with small illustrations in coloured inks. Xander kept turning the pages until, about a quarter of the way through the book, he came to a series of full page colour portraits, each with a page of text facing them. The pictures felt slightly cold to the touch as he paged through them. After a moment he stopped. "There." He said, pointing to a portrait of a man wearing black and silver and carrying a sword whose blade was inlayed with a pattern that the eyes couldn't quite follow. "There's your sword."

"Well." said Giles, examining the picture. "It would certainly seem to fit the description you gave us of the sword, Travers. Presumably the gentleman in the picture is the same individual who wielded it against Glorificus." Giles turned the book around and passed it to Travers to examine.

Taking the book, Travers carefully looked over the portrait before commenting. "Yes. The sword is almost certainly the one we need, and the man in the picture fits what vague desctriptions we have of the man who cast down Glorificus." He passed the book back to Giles. "You now know pretty much everything we know." Reaching into his briefcase he retrieved a folder, "Mr Giles, I understand you have copies of all the relevant books apart from the ones I brought with me. I'll leave those here. This folder contains all the information we could find about Glorificus and an index of where we found it." Travers pulled his coat on, and collected his now empty briefcase. "Now, if there is nothing more you want from me aside from Mr Giles' backpay, I'll get out of your way. I'm sure you have much to do." He said, before heading for the door.

"Don't let the door hit you on your way out!" called Buffy as the door was closing behind him. "Well, he couldn't wait to get out of here." She said.

"Can you blame him?" Asked Giles. "If we don't find this sword, there is a good chance that the world is going to end here soon, and on top of that you just threatened the man into giving in to your every demand. I rather suspect he had difficulty not breaking into a run." Giles paused and looked straight at Buffy before grinning widely. "Well done!"

Buffy grinned back. "Thanks!" She replied, before her face fell again. "I guess we need to get with the translating of the book then. We need to get our hands on that sword as soon as possible. Any idea what language it's in?" She asked.

"And do you have any idea why the pictures are cold to the touch?" Asked Xander from where he was sitting, looking through the book. Giles looked at him questioningly.

"What do you mean?" Giles asked.

"I mean, that the pages with this wierd writing on feel like normal paper, but the pictures feel cold, like glass or metal, but still papery." responded Xander. "Here." He said. "Try it yourself." He turned the book towards Giles.

Giles returned to the desk and ran his fingers gently across the page of text facing a beautiful picture of a fountain in a courtyard. As soon as his fingers moved onto the picure itself though, he pulled them back startled as he felt the cold feeling Xander had described. "How strange." He said, before beginning to check all the other pictures in the book.

"So far as I could tell, all the full page pictures feel cold." Xander said.

Giles finished checking the book and looked up. "Yes, you appear to be right. I wonder what is causing it." He said.

"At a guess, I'd say magic." Said Xander. "The artwork is amazing though, so real." He was staring at the picture of the courtyard with the fountain, fingers lightly brushing the surface. "It's almost like I'm really there..." He said, trailing off into silence.

Giles turned back to Xander just in time to see him disappear.

"Xander!" The cry rang out from all of the Scoobys, but there was nothing left where Xander had been except a book which now had a missing page.


Chapter 2

Xander woke to find himself collapsed, face down in the gravel of a familar courtyard. His head was pounding with the worst headache he'd ever felt and he imagined that if this is what a hangover felt like, he could perhaps understand why his Dad would drink on the morning after to take the pain away. "Where am I, and what hit me?" He asked the air around him, when no answer was forthcoming he decided he'd better get up off the floor.

Slowly he stood up and looked around the courtyard. It was almost exactly as it had been drawn in the picture, which he realised was still in his hand. The difference being, in the picture it hadn't looked deserted. The courtyard was overgrown with ivy, or something like it, and the fountain was dry. The main doors into the castle were broken inwards, but the gate out of the courtyard appeared to have been walled up. Xander let out the deep breath he had taken. "Well." He said to no one, "This doesn't look good." He looked down at the picture in his hand and then back up shaking his head. "Just like all travel brochures. Looks great in the pictures, but when you get there it's falling apart and the plumbing doesn't work." he commented idly. "Well, there seems to be only one way to go, and there is no time like the present." His decision made, he started to walk towards the great, broken doors to the castle.

Xander found himself in a long hall with one door on the left near the entrance, two doors on the right, and a large set of double doors at the far end, all the doors were open a little. Xander gently pushed open the door on the left and found himself looking into a large room with a table in the middle of it. Chairs lay on the floor as if knocked over by people rushing to stand up. The walls to either side were adorned with what looked like weapon racks and on the far wall was a door which seemed to still be locked and bolted..

"This place is like the Mary Celeste." Xander's comment sounded very loud to him in the empty castle, and he winced as his headache objected to the noise. Shaking his head to clear it, he moved towards the locked door. Bolts ran from the door into the stone wall at the top and bottom of the door, and what looked like padlocks kept the bolts from being pulled back, there was also a keyhole in the door by the handle. "Somebody didn't want people getting through this door. I wonder what's in there that's so important?" Xander asked himself then it hit him and he looked up at the room. "Weapon racks on the walls, space for quite a few people to mill about and keep busy, right by the castle entrance. Gotta be a guardroom, which means the heavily locked door must be the armoury. Damn, I wish I had a key." Again his words echoed around the lifeless room. "Well, time to move on." He said and left the room the way he came in.

A little further down the long hall Xander came to the first door on the right, which on inspection appeared to be some sort of office. There was a desk with a chair behind it and what looked like a wooden filing cabinet was in each corner of the room behind the desk. Xander's eyes were drawn to something else entirely though. Hanging on the wall behind the desk was a pair of what Xander guessed were ceremonial swords. He reached up and lifted them off their mounts, placing them down on the desk. The swords resembled cavalry sabres and while rather ornate appeared to be combat quality weapons. Xander replaced one of the swords on the wall, and strapped the other to his belt. Whilst the castle felt empty, it was clear that something very bad had happened here, and Xander felt a little more secure knowing he had a weapon with him.

Leaving the office, Xander once again continued down the hallway towards the double doors at the end. The second door on the right appeared to lead to some sort of parlour, there didn't appear to be anything of interest except for a door on the far side. Deciding to leave that door for later, he finally reached the end of the hall. The doors were hanging loosely on their rusted hinges, and with a bit of effort opened to reveal a large, square atrium with a very high ceiling and three sets of stairs. One set led straight down into some basement area that Xander couldn't see, the other two started on opposite sides of the atrium, and led up clockwise in a large double helix, each staircase touching the balcony of each of the three floors above Xander on the next side round from the previous floor. Xander looked in awe as he realised that everything from the floor to the staircases to the balconys above were made from white marble.

"Wow." Breathed Xander. "This is incredible." He wandered into the room slightly dazed, before refocusing. "This is no time to get distracted by the decor." He said to himself. The far wall of the atrium was dominated by a huge set of ebony double doors which were easily twenty feet tall. Intricately carved into the doors were depictions of battles. Armies of creatures that looked like demons doing battle with armies comprised of humans and more creatures that looked like demons. "Wierd." Xander breathed as he studied the carvings, something about the scenes bugged him and it was more than just the concept of humans working with demons, He was well aware that that happened on occasion. He'd reached the third scene he'd studied when it hit him. Some of the demons on the human side were carrying assault rifles. "Damn." Xander said in shock. "Demons with guns. If that isn't a damn scary idea I don't know what is." He stared at the carving in mute shock for a moment longer before shaking himself out of it. "Let's see what's behind door number one." He said as he started pushing on the doors. The doors were heavy but the hinges appeared to be free of corrosion and they opened freely with a little effort.

"Well, it wouldn't be a castle without one I suppose." Xander commented as he cast his eyes over the large, white marble room, finally settling on the large, ornate throne which sat near the back of the room. There was a smaller throne to one side of it, and there were a number of chairs down each side of the room. Each of the chairs, including the throne were upholstered in different colours and several of the chairs were covered with black cloth, each with a different crest on. The throne was upholstered in orange, red and brown. Behind the throne and each of the chairs in the room were large portraits. Xander recognised them all from the book that had brought him here. "I wonder.." he said as he moved over to the painting of the man in black and silver. Xander gasped a little in surprise at the cold feeling of the portrait even though he was expecting it. "If the picture of the fountain brought me to the real thing, what will you do?" Xander asked the picture idly as he rested his fingers on the surface and stared in to the portrait. There was a noise like static and a feeling of great distance in his mind and then a voice.

"Who the hell are you?" The voice echoed in Xander's head and he staggered back from the painting in shock and pain, the voice in his head cutting off as soon as his fingers left the surface of the picture. Unfortunately the voice had increased Xander's headache to migraine level. He managed to reach the nearest chair before he passed out.