If there's anyone who deserves a 'thon named after them, it's you! Long live Shrift!
For you, some JLU/BtVS crossover fluff. Probably longer than it deserves to be, but what the hell, I was having fun.
From the parapet, Diana spied the monstrous figure. She dove out into thin air, hurtling through the city's narrow alleyways in pursuit of the tentacled beast-man. This prey was hers alone.
She drove her quarry into the trap, brick walls on both sides, too rough for his suction cups to stick to. He attacked like a cornered rat, lashing out with his hideously elongated limbs, oozing ichor where she wounded him.
Suddenly a vortex opened in the right wall, a coruscating blue blaze. It ejected a woman who rolled across the alley and came to her feet in a defensive crouch. She was small and trim, with dark waving hair and dark wild eyes. Then she saw Diana. "You gotta be shittin' me," she said.
The Octoploid renewed his attack and did not spare the newcomer. The woman drew a knife from her belt, and Diana was astonished to find her a savage and proficient fighter. Between the two of them they soon reduced the tentacled horror to a quivering mass. "Like an overgrown bath toy," the woman muttered as she peeled a suction cup off her ragged (and tight-fitting) jeans.
"Thank you for you help. Where did you come from?" Diana asked as she extended her hand in greeting.
The woman shook it. "Oh, you know, the usual -- alternate dimension. And no offense, but I don't think this is the one I was trying to get to," she sighed.
"Do you have any way to get back?"
"Back's no good." The woman shuddered in disgust. "I've been stuck dimension-hopping for, like, a month now. 'Oh, it'll be so easy, just nip over to the next dimension and grab the thing for the stuff and the amulet will take you right back.' I am so going to kill her when I get home."
"Well, do you need any help? A place to stay for a while, or some advice on the amulet?"
"That is so nice of you." The woman seemed genuinely touched. "I really hope this isn't the dimension where you're all evil. The name's Faith, by the way."
"And I'm Diana. I'm meeting a colleague at the airfield in half an hour -- we can all ride up together. Er, I live in a sort of giant orbiting space station. I hope that's okay."
The ground crew had already prepared the Javelin for take-off. "This is your plane?" the woman -- Faith -- asked.
"You ever have an invisible plane?"
"You mean like a cloaking device? No, but I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce -- er, um, Bruce, a friend -- was working on one."
"Actually, I meant invisible. Like, completely transparent."
"Who would want a completely transparent airplane?"
"Tch -- you got me. I always wondered about that."
"You know, I'm getting the feeling you might know someone like me in an alternate dimension...."
"Yeah, sorta. I don't know if I should go into it. Sometimes that whole alternate universe thing kinda freaks people out."
"Oh, tell me about it. The only one I've personally experienced was one where everything was like a comic book from Green Lantern's childhood, only it turned out to be the mental projection of a boy with a giant mutant brain. But Superman tried to explain this thing with ten different dimensions, and Earth Prime, and some crisis, and it's just, no. He seemed kind of upset that I couldn't follow it. I think there may actually be dark forces at work preventing his story from being understood."
"Dark forces are always a safe bet."
The plane was ready, but the new guy -- Captain Cosmos, or whatever his name was -- was late. And drunk, when he finally showed. Diana rolled her eyes. "Batman is going to give you an instant sobering compound when you get up there, and you don't even want to know what the side effects are."
The world's latest lackluster hero was soon asleep in the back, giving Diana and Faith more time for conversation. "By far the worst was the world where everything was blue," Faith was saying.
"You don't like blue?"
"I don't like being that conspicuous! It's like, their scientists had theorized that other colors were possible, but no one could figure out how to make them, and then I show up and I'm the biggest discovery ever, and all I want to do is find the nearest witch or mage or whatever to tweak the damn amulet so I can have another spin on the big space-time Wheel of Fortune."
"I'm sure Dr. Fate can help with the amulet. We'll contact him as soon as we reach the Watchtower."
Faith stared out the window. "I've never seen the Earth from so high up before," she said quietly, and Diana sensed something wistful beneath the brave exterior.
"You still haven't told me where you know me from," Diana said.
"You sure you wanna know?"
"Comic books. TV shows. All you super-heroes. There was one show I used to watch when I was a kid, with you and Superman and these purple kids with a monkey...."
"And I had an invisible airplane?"
"And a magic lasso that could make people tell the truth."
Diana laughed. "Now that would be handy! My lasso's just unbreakable."
Soon they docked at the Watchtower. A message was left for Dr. Fate, and Faith was settled into guest quarters.
Faith wouldn't say she felt like she was going crazy, exactly. Now, trying to kill your own body so that you can live the rest of your life as your worst enemy -- that's crazy. Experience had given her tough standards. Still, things were feeling more surreal than she liked. Everything here looked all... comic book-y. Not fake -- just flat, and sharp, and smooth. Smooth walls, smooth bed, smooth PJs on loan from the medical suite.
She was so fucking tired of sleeping in strange places.
She heard an electronic chime. "Come in?" she said. The door slid noiselessly open and Wonder Woman was standing there, wearing a silky nightgown and robe.
"I just wanted to check on you one last time. Anything else you need for tonight?"
"Nah, I'm good. Really. Thanks again for everything."
But Wonder Woman -- Diana -- didn't leave, she just leaned on the door frame and looked distracted. "I'm sorry," she sighed. "I really shouldn't have bugged you again. It's just -- ever since Hawkgirl left I've been the only woman who lives here between missions...."
"So you're lacking in girl talk?"
"Well... yes. I know, it's not your problem, and you must be exhausted. I'll see you in the morning." She turned to go.
"No, wait, come on in. Honestly, I think I'm too wired to sleep anyway."
So that's how she ended up with Wonder Woman sitting cross-legged on the end of her bed. "That was some excellent fighting back in the alley. Do you have... unusual powers as well?" Diana asked, so Faith told her the whole demons/Slayers/Sunnydale story in all its freakish glory. It took a long time, even though she kind of left out the part about how she'd been evil for a while.
"...So now we're training all these new Slayers in this school in the British countryside. I don't even tell men what I do for a living anymore. You say 'girls' boarding school' and you just see this instant giant lesbian party spring to life in their skeevy eyes. I mean, the school actually is a giant lesbian party, but that's just the staff, and it's totally a coincidence! The students are all in their beds, alone, by curfew. I swear."
"I've never understood why Lesbos gets all the credit for that. Sappho? Pffh." Diana stretched one leg out and swung it back and forth off the edge of the bed.
"I guess Thermask-- Thermash-- how do you pronounce your island again?"
"Yeah, I think my point is made. It just doesn't have the same ring to it."
Diana leaned forward a little and flipped her hair so that it all fell over one shoulder and snaked down toward the deep V of her robe. She looked down and her eyelids fluttered a little. Sweet Jesus Motherfucking Christ, Faith thought, Wonder Woman is flirting with me. Now I am going crazy.
"Um, Diana, I guess I should tell you that I'm kind of seeing someone. I mean, if she knew the circumstances she might make an exception for this, for you, for-- but I just wouldn't feel right--"
"Oh, you don't have to apologize," Diana laughed. "I'm not offended at all. I just figured it couldn't hurt to try. Would it be better if I left now?" she asked a little ruefully.
"Not if you want to stay and talk more. After all, I already know most everyone's secret identities, and I know once I get home Xander can tell me 20 years worth of their dirty secrets. So if there's anyone you want to gossip about, anything you want to get off your chest...."
"Besides my nightgown, you mean."
Faith reached behind her for a pillow and whapped Diana with it. "You? are bad. I like that."
Faith got to the operations center first, but Diana arrived soon after, with Batman and a camera in tow. She extracted a small silver tube from her heroic cleavage. "The lipgloss you wanted."
"I lost mine in the world of eternal Wednesday," Faith explained for Batman's benefit. His eyes narrowed.
Faith opened it, swept the wand over her lips and pressed her lips together. "Any smudges?"
Diana rubbed her thumb across the edge of Faith's bottom lip. Batman's eyes got narrower. Bet there weren't any smudges. Faith smirked. "So let's take this picture." The two women primped their hair, put their arms around each other, and smiled for the camera. "Take two, Bats," Faith said, and his eyes got even narrower still, but he grimly pressed the button twice. The camera spat out two shiny next-generation polaroids.
"Here, one for you, one for me," Diana said.
"When Xander sees this his blood is going to rush to his groin so fast he'll probably rupture something and be crippled for life."
"Won't that be nice? Oh look, here's Dr. Fate," she said, as space-time unfolded like origami and some dramatic-looking guy stepped through.
Faith handed him the amulet. He inspected it. "Whoever made this rudimentary device has absolutely no business performing trans-dimensional magic," he said.
"Thank you! Can I get that in writing?"
He ignored her and went on: "I will have no difficulty returning you to your proper time and place. The dimensional signature is clear. Shall we proceed?"
"'Bye, Faith! It was so nice to meet you. I hope everything works out!" Diana hugged her again.
"This whole month of crap was totally worth it to get the chance to meet you. Maybe we'll get the chance to hang out again someday. Just, no amulets."
Then there was one more big ankh-shaped glowy hole in space, and Faith stepped out into the faculty commons room to find all her friends in a circle around her. She smiled.
Really, it was just a question of whose ass she was going to kick first.