Author: Socrates <vampyr64[at]hotmail.com>

Disclaimer: All the usual. I own nothing but the idea for the story.

Summary: My take on the 'what if Xander dressed as something different for Halloween' Well, one of them anyway.

Rating: Pg-13

Category: Action/Adventure

Feedback: If you would be so kind…

Latest addition

Chapter 1

"Hey, we were having a touching moment here!" Xander Harris spoke indignantly at the blonde girl. He watched her, his eyes full of sadness as she moved away from him, as if mesmerized, her eyes fixed on an elegant Victorian gown that hung on display.

He didn't kid himself, knew she was thinking of 'him', her dark warrior aka, 'the brooding one'. He sighed, his hand brushing his hair back from his face. <might as well stop kidding myself.>.

Turning away from her, he started looking about the store. It wasn't for a reason really, his costume had already been selected, the army fatigues and dog tags lay on his rumpled covers even now.

There was a certain appeal to dressing up as a soldier, being someone else; someone strong, capable, all the things he wasn't. He couldn't say that the thought upset him really. He was used to it, after all this time.. No, it was more of an annoyance, like an itch that couldn't be scratched, an incessant reminder of the way things were. The way they had always been, and would always be. Xander Harris was a man who had had his entire life planned out for him since the moment he was born, and it was damned irritating.

Wandering away from the others, he found himself in the back part of the store, a section he had failed to notice before. Here there were an exotic and differing number of what appeared to be 'period' garments. It was clear that these garments weren't just for anybody. Not being someone familiar with clothing manufacturing he couldn't say for certain, but something about these outfits just screamed something 'more'. Finely stitched, expensive looking, seeming almost out of place in this store.

In the midst of perusing the various costumes, his eye caught a glint of something metallic and silvery. Curious, he turned to examine the source, and found himself awestruck. The outfit that was displayed before him was impressive, to say the least. A long, dark blue Victorian era leathery coat that would reach almost to a persons feet, trimmed, with the rigid collar pointing out and to the sides, a vest, slightly darker shade of blue with white shirt underneath, matching set of pants that also appeared to be made of leather, black long boots rounding out the ensemble. A silver cross necklace the hung from the neck, definitely gothic in design, with a red ruby in the centerpiece. A larger silver cross sat in a sheath at the belt. And last, but by no means least, a long chain whip that hung at the side.

"Wow." Xander muttered, at a loss for words, his eyes wide as saucers, the dark pools within fixed on the garment before him.

"Ah, I see that you have found it." A voice spoke up from behind him, soft and yet gravely at the same time, with something that made Xander's hair stand on end. Shocked from his trance, he turned to regard the owner of the shop, a Mr. Ethan, something or other. He nodded dumbly, "It's nice." Ethan scowled at him, his eyes narrowing in annoyance. "My dear boy, that outfit is much more then merely nice." His voice took on a different quality, one of reminisce. " It belonged to a great hunter, of vampires, werewolves, and all demon kin."

The dark haired boy gasped, then managed to compose himself "Everyone knows there are no such things as vampire." he spouted the tired party line.

Ethan merely smiled at him, the expression on his face belying the gesture, the way a cat might smile at a mouse it was just about to pounce on and rip to shreds. "Of course." he agreed, but the tone of his voice suggested something else. "In any case, from the moment you walked into my store I KNEW that this outfit would be perfect for you."

"It's nice." Xander repeated, "But I've already picked a costume."

"Ah, yes." The shopkeeper droned, "The soldier."

Chocolate brown orbs flicked upward in surprise <How did he….?>

As if sensing the boys thoughts, the other man added "You bought the toy gun from me. It wasn't hard to determine what look you were going for."

Satisfied with the answer, or at least reasonably so, Xander nodded. "My boy "Ethan continued, barely missing a beat, "Would you rather dress up as some regular G.I. Joe, or as a great warrior against evil?"

<Hmm, he has a point.> Xander pondered to himself. After a few moments, he nodded again. "Okay, you sold me. But It doesn't really matter, because there's No way I could afford that." He pointed at the outfit.

"Now, now, money is not an issue." The older man countered. "I'm not in this business to make money, merely to assure that the young people get the costume best suited to them, to help make this night as special for them as it can be."

Somewhat suspicious at the mans generosity, but feeling an intense desire to possess the costume, if only for Halloween, Xander accepted the offer for what it was. "Alright, I'll take it."

The smile on Ethan's face grew several sizes, now akin to a vampire who had just captured his prey "Excellent!"

Xander nodded mutely back and tried to suppress the feeling of dread creeping up his spine.

Halloween night came, as it always had and likely always would. The decades old ceremony began, with eager younglings dressed in various exaggerated attire, dashes of makeup applied here or there to complete the look, plastic bags or orange pumpkin-shaped buckets clasped loosely in their tiny hands. Parents watched with pride and just a touch of uncertainty, remembering their own dalliances with the revered art.

Groups comprised of tiny witches, vampires and any number of bogeymen crowded the streets, skittering from house to hideously over or under- decorated house, braving the night in search of nourishment, of a sort.

Xander Harris watched the entire scene and felt not the least bit nostalgic. Halloween held no special meaning to him, no fond childhood memories. Not that he could complain of course, as they weren't any bad memories of the season. No, just another time to be treated as a non-entity by his parents, to scurry off to his room and hope they forgot about him whilst drowning their sorrows. And their was that itch again, so annoying; as if his past was nothing more then some ill-conceived and lazily plotted piece from some wannabe writer, hurriedly scrawling the words an a battered notebook whilst cackling to himself in the darkened quiet of his apartment and telling himself over and over how 'brilliant' he was.

There were times, he admitted grudgingly to himself, that his life did indeed feel like some novel. Or to be more accurate, it felt like he was a character in a story centered around Buffy, and perhaps Willow and Giles, and even Deadboy. And that he was merely added as an afterthought, doomed to serve the singular purpose of lighting the otherwise grim proceedings with a bit of so called 'humanity'. In which case his past had been added to make the whole thing so damned ironic.

<Such thoughts are of no positive influence.> his inner voice chided him. And Xander found himself once again annoyed by the fact that it spoke with such a level of quality, as if everything he had ever learned slipped right through his conscious mind into his subconscious. Despite the annoyance, Xander realized that the voice was right. In any case, he was late meeting up with Buffy and Willow. They would be getting just about ready to leave the school by now. He had best hurry.

He decided to cut through the cemetery, or one of them, as there were ever so many in this town. Buffy he knew would scold him severely if she knew, prattling on about his lack of strength, skill, or even coordination. It didn't matter though. He was not quite as bumbling as they believed, or rather as HE had led them to believe. Neither was he an accomplished fighter by any means, but he could handle himself well enough.

His footfalls on the soft grass sounded quietly as he sped along, dodging expertly between rows of crumbling tombstones. His association with the slayer meant that he had knowledge of the cemeteries and their layout that would rival even that of a gravedigger. A grim thought indeed, but not near as grim as the realization that he recognized many of the names scrawled on the newer pieces of stone. Several of them had been schoolmates, some he had watched as their flesh was newly awakened, only to be scattered to the winds moments later. <Ashes to ashes…>

Just rounding the large groupings of graves situated near the center of the cemetery, he was overtaken by an intense wave of nausea. Blinding pain ripped through him like a white-hot blade and he crumpled, felt himself slipping away…

Seconds or perhaps minutes later, he couldn't be sure, he arose and surveyed his surroundings in curiosity, dark eyes searching the area for any sign of familiarity.

A cemetery to be sure, but not the right one…

His gloved hand reached automatically for the weapon at his side, hands ghosting over the wrapped chain, soft as a lovers touch. He sighed, relieved that, wherever he was, he wasn't alone.

That statement of course proved to be more true then he thought as figures became visible through the mist that seemed to have pervaded the entire area. He recognized them almost immediately, knew them for what they were. A smile played briefly over his lips, feeling strangely comforted by the all too familiar image before him.

Whenever, wherever, there would always be this, always be them.

Standing stock still he waited patiently for them to approach, hands resting at his sides.

As they closed the distance, one of them, who he assumed was the leader, stepped forward. He wasn't particularly imposing, as it went. But the still warrior knew without a doubt that he was capable of tearing a persons head clean off their shoulders. Any one of them could, and without a great deal of effort. Still, he stood, unafraid.

The vampire stepped up to him, a sinister smile plastered to his face, fangs flashing briefly when a bit of moonlight broke through the mist.

"You're in the wrong place at the wrong time, friend." the demon announced, his tone casual, as if he had just advised someone not to step on the grass. The men behind him chuckled briefly.

"I suppose I am." the man offered, sounding not the least bit repentant.

Sensing this, the vampire leader glared anew. 'Time to die."

"Yes, it is."

Growling in anger, the demon charged. His prey simply stood there, unmoving, not offering his own attack or defense. At the last second though, just as the demon was within arms reached, the warrior reacted. Reaching out with lighting reflexes and speed, though not superhumanly so, he grasped the demon strongly by the forearm, swiveled his hip to bring him about, and twist sharply upward. The sound of breaking bone could be heard, but no sooner had the vampire opened his mouth to scream , the air was forced from his lungs in a powerful blow, followed by another, each coming quicker then the last. After a final blow the warrior stopped and stepped back quickly, satisfied with his work. The wounded demon stared back at him, eyes wide with surprise and confusion. Not even feeling the pain in his chest he turned back to his group, his eyes imploring an explanation.

Too shocked was he too notice as his body crumbled into dust.

The warrior simply stood watching, hands once again at his sides, the hind of a wooden blade visibly peering out from the knuckles of his gloved hand.

The other vampires stared, slack jawed at what had just transpired. Almost quicker then they could follow, their leader had been reduced to dust in the wind, by a man with no more speed or strength then any other.

The shock soon faded though and they roared in outrage at their leaders executioner. As one they charged, intent on ripping this human to pieces. And once again the man stood still, simply awaiting their approach.

This time, as the last, he shot into action as soon as the attack reached him, never striking himself but always reacting swiftly to any attempted blow. He moved fluidly, with the grace of someone trained for a lifetime in the deadly arts The style was a variant of Aikido, modified to be more effective when battling opponents of superior strength and/or speed. Always an attacked force was brought back against him, leaving the defender free to set himself and counter any assault.

In the midst of the melee, limbs whirled, silver flashed and the numbers quickly grew smaller and smaller still, until he found himself standing in a cloud of blackish dust, his weapon glove-stake coated in it. Just like that he dropped the defensive stance, resuming his previous casual posture, allowing himself a small smile. <Didn't even use the whip. Father would be proud.>

He brushed back the strands of hair that had fallen over his face, securing them in the ponytail,. Victor Bellemont started off, intent on finding where he was and if this land secreted his quarry. Then the age old dance would begin.

Across town, Buffy and Willow were having their own set of problems to deal with.


Chapter 2

<Well, this is new>, Willow thought bemusedly as she watched her hand pass through the young blonde in front of her. The girl in question, Buffy Summers, was herself currently acting decidedly Un-Buffy-like in that she was screaming at the top of her lungs about ghosts and demons.

Willow chuckled inwardly as she realized that, for the first time she REALLY felt like slapping the blonde, yet she was unable to.

"Calm down." the redheaded ghost instructed her friend. "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you."

Buffy however, in her current state, didn't listen to the instruction and kept right on shouting as loud as she could.

Finally, Willow had had enough. "Oh, for crying out loud would you SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

Shocked by the harsh words, and even more shocked that a woman had spoken them, the slayers mouth snapped shut and she stared fearfully at the ghost. Willow herself had been shocked by her own outburst and simply stood there for a few seconds.

Finally, she composed herself and turned to address her friend. "Something is very wrong here. You're not you." The Victorian girl looked at her, confused. "Okay, you're you but what I mean is that you're not the you that you were. You're someone different." she tried to clarify, only to find that the other girl was looking at her like she was mentally deficient. "There must have been a spell…" she started, then stopped mid sentence, realizing that the girl currently in front of her probably wouldn't understand what she was talking about.

"Never mind." Willow declared, kicking at the curb in frustration and groaning in annoyance when her foot passed through the curb. "Let's just get moving. It's not safe out here." "Where will we go."

"A friends house. Yo… I mean she doesn't live far from here."

Willow turned in the direction of Buffy's house and started off, with her agitated companion following uncertainly. They hadn't gone more then a dozen steps though when a growl came from the bushes. To the side.

Willow stopped and turned toward the noise, the currently de-powered slayer doing her best to hide behind her. "Who's there?" Willow demanded, feeling somewhat empowered by the fact that she was incorporeal, yet ever mindful that her friend was very much corporeal and lacking in her slayer abilities.

A group of vicious looking demons emerged from the brush., glaring menacingly and advancing toward the two girls. It was obvious to Willow that before they spell they had been children. They were certainly much smaller then any demons she had seen before, but looked just as menacing.

"Now, now boys." she started, speaking with as firm a voice as she could manage "This… this isn't t-the time for games. Run along home."

The demons merely snarled in response and continued their advance.

"You heard the lady." a  voice sounded behind her and Willow swiveled toward it. <That voice sounds familiar. But the accent isn't right>. her eyes settled on the newcomer she saw with some surprise that it was indeed someone familiar.

"Xander!" she exclaimed, eyeing her friend, who now looked completely different. <Yummy>, willows inner voice proclaimed, and she silenced it quickly. Now was not the time for such thoughts. She noticed with a small hint of jealousy that Buffy was eyeing the man with a somewhat enamored expression on her face.

The dark-clad figure looked at her with a quizzical expression, before turning to face the still advancing group of demons. "I give only one warning, leave them alone." His hand dropped to his side and gripped the chain whip that hung there.

The demons reaction was pretty much the same as when Willow had tried warding them off.

They kept advancing.

Buffy promptly fated.

"You're choice then."

Quick as lighting, the whip came up from his side and lashed out toward the throng of demons. Willow watched in horror as the chain arced out at the former children It caught the lead monster in the neck, wrapping around its throat. Its wielder set himself and changed his grip on the whip before giving a short, sharp tug. The chains dug into the creatures neck as the force of the tug yanked it into the air. It landed hard on the ground and smacked into the curb, where it lay still.

"Stop!" Willow shouted at the man, reaching out to grab his arm and watching helplessly as her hands slipped through him. The action caught him by surprise though and he turned to quickly regard her.

"You're a ghost." It wasn't a question and he didn't sound the least bit upset or frightened.

"Kinda, at the moment. They aren't themselves either." She pointed at the group of little demons who had been somewhat frightened by what had happened to their comrade "They're really children, but something happened to them. You can't hurt them."

The being occupying her friends body stopped to consider this. "Sorcery then." he concluded. "I agree, we cannot harm them." he gave a flick of the wrist and the whip, almost as if it were a living thing, unwrapped itself from the fallen demons throat and curled up as it snapped back into his hand.

He reached into his coat and withdrew and small, glass-globe, which he tossed onto the ground in front of them. The orb exploded and the area was immediately shrouded in an intense aura of intense white light. Strangely though, Willow found that she was able to see well enough.

"sun globe." the young warrior explained "to beings of intense magic it is absolutely blinding." He knelt and scooped up the unconscious girl. "Come, we must leave. Is there somewhere safe we can go?"

Willow nodded. "Yeah, we were on our way there when we were attacked. C'mon, I'll show you."

The three figures quickly faded into the darkness and by the time the globes power had been exhausted they were nowhere to be found. The demons growled in frustration before moving off in search of easier prey, leaving their companion lying, still on the asphalt, forgotten amidst the growing chaos.

They made it almost all the way to Buffy's house before running into anyone else. And this person wasn't a demon, technically.

"What did you freaks do this time?" The brunette demanded harshly, her hands resting on her slim hips, which were accentuated quite nicely by the cat-girl costume she wore.  She took a second glance at the red head. "And why are you dressed like a skank?"

"Oh, Cordy" Willow said sadly as she eyed the other girl. "You've been turned into a cat."

The cheerleader glared at the redhead. "Are you mentally deficient?" She took her hands off her hips and started toward them "I am NOT a cat."

"Well I'm not a skank. " she waved her hand through the man standing by her side. "I'm a ghost."

 "Whatever" Cordelia replied disinterestedly " My date is a dog." She declared.

"Well, it can't be that bad. Maybe he just got a little excited." Willow offered. "I mean you do kind of give off this easy vibe."

"I'm going to ignore that comment, given its coming from a girl who doesn't know the meaning of  'make out'." Cordelia paused for a second. "But I meant literally, a dog, as in woof, woof. Right in the middle of our date he just… became all hair and slobbery." She caught the looked being directed at her "I mean more then normal!"

It was about this time that Cordelia noticed the state of the other teens. "What happened to slayer-girl." She did a double take as her eyes fully focused on the man clad in black. "And who is tall dark and drop dead gorgeous?"

The man bowed slightly. "You flatter me, my lady. My name is Victor Belmont, of the Belmont clan."

"You're name could be mud for all I care, cause' you look good enough to…  XANDER!?!" The brunette finished in surprise. She turned to the only one of the three who seemed to be acting normal. "Explain."

Willow shifted uneasily under her gaze. "I'm not exactly sure. Right now though we need to get inside where its safe…er."

Cordelia recognized the wisdom in this, and followed the three teens into the house. Once inside Willow quickly shut and locked the door, sliding the bolt closed for extra protection. She moved to the window and glanced outside, noting with growing trepidation the number of demons that had begun to accumulate on the street.

"Lets move to the kitchen." Willow instructed the others. They moved silently through the house, a shifting noise signaling that Buffy was waking up. Victor laid her gently across the table, brushing the hair away from her face in an attempt to calm the waking girl. "It's alright, you're safe now. I won't let anyone hurt you."

The other two girls watched this scene in fascination. "Wow," Cordelia remarked 'even when he's not himself he's got the Buffy-lust." Willow noticed the comment held a touch of bitterness, but chose not to comment. "Okay, so what's going on here?"

"Like I said before, I don't know exactly. I was just leaving some ladies porch when I collapsed. It felt like I couldn't breath. When I could move again, I discovered I was a ghost. And the whole town had gone mad." She pointed at her friends. "And when I found those two, they were like they are now." She pursed her lips, her mind trying to work over the problem. "Someone must have enacted some kind of spell that turns people into their costumes.." She turned to the brunette girl, "Why weren't you affected? Didn't you buy your costume from Ethan's?"

Cordelia snorted in reply. "As if! Like I would be caught dead in that place! I only buy from the best stores in town."

"Well that explains that. But who would-" Willow was cut off by the sound of the kitchen door opening and closing.

"Buffy!" the familiar voice called out.

Willow turned to see Angel start toward them, a look of worry on his face at seeing his girlfriend lying on a table. "Angel, its good to see you."  she started.

 A snarl to her side caught her attention and she saw out of the corner of her eye Xander stalking forward, the cross that had been holstered at his side now gripped firmly in hand.

"Vampire." the word was spoken coldly, yet at the same time burning with deep hatred. "I have you now!"

Willow started to shout at him to stop, but was too late as  Victor lunged at the souled-demon, bringing his weapon down in a killing blow….



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