The Long Buffy Halloween
Ships- a little C/X Summary-this is a response to the xanderzone Challenge- what if Xander dressed as something different for Halloween. He goes as his favorite superhero.
Disclaimer-I own nothing please don't sure Feedback-yes please it's the only way I'll get better
Xander Harris wandered the costume shop looking for that one perfect costume. The costume that would make him look cool, stylish, and most importantly attract the attention of the lovely slayer Buffy Summers.
The slayer in question was at the other end of the shop with his other best friend Willow Rosenburg. The two of them were giggling about something, probably something to do with the Slayer's sort of boyfriend the souled vampire Angel. Xander was not bitter or jealous in the slightest. Nope, not at all.
Xander sighed as he contemplated his thin wallet. He probably could afford a water pistol for the money he was carrying, and a water pistol wasn't going to do it.
" Oh MY GOD," he heard Cordelia Chase say from around the corner. " I love this costume."
He then heard the chorus of agreement from her hanger-on's.
" Totally. You would be like a superhero."
" Harmony, you idiot, haven't you seen the movie. She's a total villain"
" Whatever," Xander could hear the shrug by Harmony; "you so have the body for it."
Despite his hatred for Cordelia, Xander was forced to admit Harmony was right. Whoever she was going as, Cordelia would be able to carry off a skintight costume, and then he realized they might have the costumes of other superheroes if they had female supervillian.
He wandered around the corner, and saw Cordelia Chases holding a skintight costume up against her chest along with Aura and Harmony.
" What do you want dweeb boy?" Cordelia sneered.
" Yah, what do you want?" Her sheep echoed.
" He's merely looking for a costume, same as you are Miss Chase," A soft but sharp British voice answered from behind her. " Now run along now and pay for your costume at the front desk."
" Well I never," Cordelia turned around in a huff, " Your just lucky that I adore this costume." Then she and the others left.
Before she walked away she called back, " good luck finding one you can afford Xander."
The Brit turned and smiled at Xander. " What kind of costume are you looking for?" He inquired.
" The kind I can afford. As much as I hate Cordelia, she's not wrong. I think that most of these costumes are out of my price range." Xander looked down, a little ashamed.
" Nonsense, this is my store and I will not have a potential customer being insulted by some spoiled rich girl who can't appreciate what she just bought. Pick a costume and I guarantee that you will walk out of here with it." The Brit, Ethan smiled. " I insist."
Xander perked up. " you mean it?"
At Ethan's nod he turned to look at the costumes in the superhero section. His keen comic book eye identified the old stand by's. Superman, Spiderman, green lantern, green arrow, and a bunch of other classics. They even had a bunch of villains like magneto, the joker, saber tooth, and others. The only thing that stood out was the amazing detail of the costumes and makeup kits. He was impressed.
Then he saw it.
The costume he was going to wear. It was so detailed, so perfect; he reached out hesitantly and touched the fabric. It was pliable, but a little firm. Rubber, latex maybe. He figured buffy wouldn't like it but he didn't care. This was his idol.
" This, I want this." Xander didn't take his eyes off the costume.
" Its yours." Ethan smiled widely. " I think you'll look great in it."
Xander walked up to Buffy, his costume wrapped in plastic and hung on a coat hanger. Willow noticed the bounce in his step and the twinkle in his eye.
" You find a costume?"
"Oh yeah," he answered. He then cut off her next question. " You'll see it tonight when we have to take out the kids. How 'bout you?"
Buffy answered for her. " I found one here, but Willow didn't." She looked at the shy redhead. " I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what she going to go as."
" I doubt," Xander laughed. " Wills has gone as a ghost for about the last four Halloweens in a row.
Willow blushed and Buffy shot her an exasperated look.
Buffy heard the knock at the door from her room up stairs. She was putting the finishing touches on her noblewoman costume and Willow was in the bathroom putting on makeup and hyperventilating in terror.
" Mom, Dawn, can one of you get it? That's Xander."
With a smile she recognized the patter of tiny Dawn-sized feet rush down the stairs to open the door. Her crush on Xander was both cute and annoying.
She also heard a very Dawn-like squeal of excitement. " That is the coolest costume ever, Xander. Does the stuff on your belt really work?"
Xander clearly tried to pitch his voice downward. " Course it does Dawnster."
A few moments later Buffy finished her makeup. " Come on Willow, let's go. Xander's here."
" I'll be right there." Came the muffled reply.
Xander shifted uncomfortably in the costume. It might be cool looking, but it was hideously hot and sticky. He was making some small talk with dawn when he saw Buffy come down the stairs.
They both gawked at each other's costumes.
" Buffy that's-wow." Then Xander recovered and flurried his cape. " Milady, your very own Dark Knight awaits."
Dawn giggled at the sight of Buffy's gawking.
" Thank you." Buffy stammered. " No doubt my virtue is safe with the legendary Batman."
Buffy could not believe how realistic Xander's costume was. It was a form fitting black bodysuit complete with cape and cowl. It molded to his chest, highlighting muscles Buffy had been unaware Xander possessed. In the center of the chest piece was the standard yellow and black bat oval. Around his waist was a yellow plastic utility belt with several black plastic items. A small part of Buffy couldn't help but think that he looked pretty hot.
" That costume is very cool Xander. I especially like the utility belt." She noticed several items that weren't standard to Batman.
" Isn't it awesome." Xander looked distinctly unbatlike with his wide grin. " Ethan's shop really went all out with these costumes. This batarang and these 'gas pellets' and stuff really detach. I added a few things that batman wouldn't object to when partying on the hellmouth. Bat- vampire killing gadgets."
At that moment willow walked down the stairs and Buffy turned around hoping to see her in the clothes she had picked out for her. Xander let out a sharp laugh when he saw that Willow was wearing her traditional ghost costume.
" I told you Buff, Willow always wears the same thing."
" I'm beginning to get that." Buffy said while rolling her eyes at the shy redhead.
" Your costume's stupid." The kid dressed as a pirate stuck his tongue out at Xander. Xander rolled his eyes as the other kids laughed at him.
Darn kids had no respect for the classic superheroes. It was all about guys like spawn now. Anti-heroes not worth the paper they were printed on. It was sad for Xander to think that guys like batman no longer received the admiration they once did.
He, Willow, and Buffy were leading a group of kids around the almost eerily safe streets of Sunnydale gathering up candy. It was eerie how quiet the town was right now. Kids were playing and carrying on in the streets in ways they never did most of the time. It was kind of nice to see, Xander thought to himself.
" Xander, we're going to take some kids up to the Anderson place."
Xander was about to nod when a wave of vertigo struck him. He fell to his knees alongside Buffy. Bunch of the kids seemed to get sick at the same time.
Willow looked to see what was the matter when the kid dressed as a pirate suddenly lunged at her with a very real looking cutlass.
Willow was twisting away from the skewering weapon awkwardly when the kid suddenly dropped to the ground. Xander stood over the ten year-old pirate, his hand balled in a fist.
" Miss, are you alright?" Xander's voice was deep and gravely.
Willow watched as the kids growled and dispersed. She blinked as she realized that the kids weren't wearing masks anymore. They seemed to actually be the creatures they were pretending to be earlier.
" Yeah, thanks Xander. I think something hellmouthy has happened to the kids."
" Whose Xander?" Batman asked. He looked around suspiciously. " Where am I? This isn't Gotham City. And what is a hellmouth? "
Willow thought to herself.
" Buffy, help me out here." Willow looked to the slayer for guidance. Unfortunately the slayer seemed to be overly fascinated with a parked car. She looked around, her dark hair perfectly quaffed, and a terrified look plastered across her face.
" Who are you people and what am I doing here?" Buffy asked in a soft cultured voice. " I don't understand what is going on."
" Neither do I." Batman said. " Last thing I remember was chasing down some escapees from Arkham Asylum. I've been running myself ragged for days but right now I feel fine. Fully rested, in fact."
Willow looked around at the chaos the streets had erupted into and pieces started falling into place. The pirate kid, Xander the batman, buffy the noblewoman. People were turning into whatever they wore for Halloween. She knew that Xander was also reading the novelization of Knightfall right now so that must be the genesis for version of batman he became. At least he hadn't gotten to the part where Bane snapped his back. That could have been bad. Her mind spun in a circle as she tried to think of something to do.
" Listen Batman. Your name is Xander Harris. You live in Sunnydale, California and you dressed up as Batman for Halloween. Something has turned everybody into their costumes. You aren't the real Batman. You aren't real at all."
" Okay." Batman answered matter of factly.
" That's it! You believe me?" Willow replied incredulously.
" I've dealt with magic before. It would explain why I'm in a physical condition that is pretty far below my standards. Plus I can feel pimples beneath my mask." He smiled wryly. " That certainly isn't normal. What you said fits those facts." Then he got a grim cold look on his face. " At least for now."
" We need to get off the streets. Buffy's house is the closest. Then we can figure out how to stop what's going on."
Batman shook his head. " Once I get you safe, I'm going to go back out and try to keep order and fix whatever is going on. If people really are their costumes who knows what could be wandering around."
Buffy began to shake her head. " I refuse to go with you, you-you ruffians. You might try to seize my virtue." She began to back away from the others. " Plus she's a woman of ill repute," and pointed at Willow.
Willow was too busy pulling off her ghost costume to reply, baring her scantily clad body to the air. She needed more freedom to move and this was no time to be modest.
" Spare me the hysterics." Batman rolled his eyes and flung the struggling noblewoman over his shoulder and set off.
" This is bloody brilliant," Spike crowed. He flung his arm around the shoulders of his ladylove. " I don't bloody know who did this, but I probably wouldn't even kill him."
Spike, Drusilla, and a pair of minions were wandering the streets taking in the sites. Parents were running around terrified being chased by ghoulies and ghosties that used to be their children. Spike was hoping to run into the slayer cause even if she wasn't affected, this would have to be messing with her head. Then their keen vampire ears heard a high- pitched laugh coming from a nearby alleyway.
Intrigued, Spike went to investigate. He saw a lanky person half covered in shadows bending over a prone form. Every so often the guy would press his palm to the person on the ground and he would shake and twitch. Then the lanky figure would cover his mouth and giggle insanely.
" What are you doing mate," Spike called out
The lanky figure turned around and stood up. " I'm playing with my friend here but I don't think he gets the joke." The figure shook his head sadly. " Its such an easy joke."
Then he stepped beneath a street lamp and Spike took in the oddest sight in all his one hundred and twenty odd years. The man had ghost white skin covering a thin drawn face, greenish hair that half hung into mad looking eyes. He wore a lavender tuxedo and purple bowtie. A plastic corsage was pinned to one of his lapels. But his face was the worst, it was frozen in terrifying grin that held no true humor or joy in it.
" Who are you?"
" I'm wounded to the quick. You don't recognize me." The man staggered comically and held his hand to his heart. Drusilla laughed at the man's capering. " I go by so many names. The mime of mayhem, the comic of calamity, the clown prince of crime," then with a flourish he pulled out a playing card and threw it at Spikes feet. " But my friends call me the Joker."
" Spike, he's funny. Can we keep him?" Drusilla begged
They reached Buffy's home in record time, Batman carrying the struggling noblewoman the whole way.
" This way." Willow pointed out which house was Buffy's.
" Xander, what the hell are you doing. Put Buffy down."
Batman turned around and saw a large man clad in black striding toward him. Then he noticed a few things about him. The unnatural smoothness and quiet of his stride, the lack of visible breathing, the paleness of his face and he realized nearly immediately what was advancing. After all, he had dealt with vampires before
" Stay back vampire." He dropped buffy unceremoniously to the ground and drew out his trusty bat stake. he shook his head. It must be something the costume wearer must have added to the belt.
" Wait Batman, he's a good vampire." Willow jumped between the dark knight and Angel.
" Really." Batman arched an eyebrow.
" Willow what is going on?" Angel kept one eye on Xander. For some reason the boy seemed to be setting off his danger sense. He seemed to carry himself totally different from the gawky, clumsy way that was the standard fare for Xander Harris. " I came here as soon as I realized something was up."
" Everybody has become their costumes." Willow explained. " It happed all of a sudden about fifteen minutes ago."
" So he's really-," and angel pointed at Xander's chest emblem.
Willow nodded gravely.
" Wow." Angel seemed impressed. Then he felt Buffy flung herself into his chest.
" Kind sir, you must help me. This harlot and ruffian have endeavored to seize my person. I fear for my virtue."
Angel looked into the fearful eyes of Buffy and sent a questioning glance to Willow.
" And Buffy decided to dress up as and eighteenth century noblewoman." Willow answered his unspoken question with equal parts frustration, humor, and fear.
" We need to get everyone inside," Angel said with authority.
The dark detective shook his head. " If she trusts you then you take care of them. I'm going to see what caused this transformation and reverse it."
He started to move when Angel clapped a hand on his shoulder. " That isn't the way we do things. We need to stay together."
Batman might be stuck in an inferior physical form, but nothing was wrong with his mind or aikido skills. A swift movement sent Angel flying through the air. " Do not put your hands on me," He instructed the vampire coldly. " If you know anything about me, you know that I work alone."
" Your going to get my friend killed." Willow cried out frantically. " He's not really Batman."
Batman disappeared into the night and his answer was carried on an icy wind.
"He is tonight."
Spike watched as the Joker carried on his torture with the man in the alleyway with a mixture of professional interest and unprofessional glee.
Drusilla was bent over the poor mans face licking blood from several shallow gashes in his cheek. She seemed to get along famously with this Joker bloke
The minions were mostly bored. Didn't have the imagination of a master vampire. That's why they'll be minions till the slayer dusted them. No appreciation for the arts.
" Hurry up and finish luv. I want to track the slayer."
Drusilla glanced up, looking so very cute with blood spread around her lips. " The little lost slayer," she began to sing, " all alone in the night. Who will ever find her?"
" Such a pretty song," the Joker crooned.
" The slayer has been affected by the chaos." Spike began to grin. " Lovely."
Batman sat on a roof about a block away from Buffy's house and thought about what he was going to do next. He tried to focus on the task at hand but his thoughts kept wandering to the improbable situation he found himself in. Especially after he found this body's wallet in a pouch on his utility belt.
Batman turned the information over in his mind. This wasn't his body. He wasn't even real. He shook his head and flexed his armored gloves. He had all these memories in his head, Alfred, Dick, Barbara, Selina, his parents. None of them were real. This boy's parents and friends were the real ones.
Batman thought there must still be something of the boy inside him. Several times tonight he felt the urge to laugh and make jokes about things that were occurring around him, a far cry from his normal stoic demeanor. He could tell by the boy's quirky grin on his liscense, he was a person of good humor. Honestly he thought it felt kind of nice to have something rolling around in his mind besides darkness and duty.
As he fiddled with the wallet, a receipt fell out into the palm of his hand. It read Ethan's Costume Shoppe. that thought sparked off a memory of something he had once heard from Etrigan.
He could here the demon's gravely voice tell him that all magic required a focus. Magic could not be called upon without an external focus. For low level spells the casters body could be used, but for more powerful magic's a god's icon should be used or an item blessed by a god. Then it hit him.
He had to get to Ethan's. Which meant he had to cross half the town of Sunnydale during this chaos to get there.
He stood up and pulled out his swing line.
This was going to be a long night.
Willow wandered around Buffy's home, trying to think about what to do. But every time she thought of something her mind would wander to Xander-turned batman.
Batman had always been Xander's favorite superhero. There was something about the dark knight that appealed to the teenage boy. Bruce Wayne was a tortured man true, but he also was a skilled polymath and hero who fought battles along side Superman, Wonder Woman and other heroes that eclipsed him in power and age. Yet he never gave up and came out ahead every time sometimes through sheer determination and willpower. Ever since he and Willow and teamed up with Buffy she could understand the appeal in Xander's mind. Xander was also someone who worked along side of people who eclipsed him in every way, yet had made himself valuable to the group through sheer determination. She hoped the Bruce Wayne appreciated and kept safe the body that he appropriated.
She suspected that he would.
Angel meanwhile kept an eye out on Buffy. The noblewoman poked the pictures around Buffy's home in amazement. She murmured about the skill of the painters that crafted such lifelike portraits. Angel could only shake his head. The terrified lady was certainly taking the modern world in greater equanimity than he would have if he had been taken right out of the eighteenth century. Perhaps there was something of Buffy still inside her.
" Why didn't you turn into a ghost, Willow?" Angel suddenly asked. " If Xander, Buffy and the others turned into their costumes why didn't you?"
Willow stopped to consider the answer. " I don't know," she answered slowly. " Buffy and Xander bought theirs from the same store. I wore the same costume I do almost every year maybe-" then her eyes widened as she as Angel had the identical idea at once.
" The costume shop." They said in unison
Batman was making good time hitting rooftop after rooftop as he worked his way into the center of town. Then he heard it. The alarm of Sunnydale branch of Washington Mutual going off. At first he was going to ignore it, but then that nagging voice that all superheroes seemed to possess caused him to shift direction and swing that way. That's why he was the caped crusader.
When he got near Washington Mutual he stopped on a roof a nearby building and crouched low. He pulled out compact binoculars and watched the scene below. Even by the standards of a superhero it was bizarre.
A man in a red and purple costume stood in front of the bank and was holding out his hand. Batman could hear a screeching sound that he later identified as several teller vaults bursting through the wall. A second man, and the dark detective used that term loosely, was using his bare hands and what looked like claws to carve open the teller vaults to get at the cash inside.
Batman shook his head. All their powers and they were bank robbers. Beings like that disgusted him.
He took a swift inventory for the battle. Six tear gas pellets, twelve bat-shuriken, three batarangs, and a pair of flash and smoke grenades. Plus his skills, which he knew could not be put to much use in this body thanks to its sub optimal conditioning.
Taking a few deep, calming breaths, gripped his swing line and grabbed a flash grenade and smoke grenade. He then looked around and figured the optimum angle for attack.
The Master of Magnetism, better known as Jonathan Levinson directed Sabertooth to pick up the bundle of bills. He hated lowering himself to stealing from baseline monkeys but running a mutant terrorist group was expensive.
He had closed his eyes to focus on feeling out the large central vault. He could feel the metal room; feel the tiny pieces of jewelry and trays of large bills. He concentrated on ripping the vault from its hinges. That's the only reason why he wasn't blinded in the attack.
He closes his eyes, next thing he knows, he's coughing as smoke filled his lungs.
He feels something pass by him closely and then heard a roar of pain from sabertooth.
Batman passed by the small man in the red cape and went for the blinded big guy with the steel rending claws. He used the momentum from swinging down on the line to crash feet first into the large mutant. Dropping to the ground he flexed his knees to absorb the impact.
He then slammed his armored fist into the creature's rib cage. He felt crushing pain in his fist. Based on what he knew of pain and anatomy he figured that his bones must have been super dense. If he hadn't been wearing his armored gloves his hand would have no doubt been broken.
The lion maned man lashed out blindly with his claws and they raked Batman's side. Whirling around and using the cape to confuse the creature's senses, batman drove his fingers into its throat. Gasping the creature clutched his throat leaving the rest of him unguarded.
Batman used his knowledge of nerves and vital points to swiftly render the creature unconscious with several perfectly placed blows. The creature staggered around for a minute not going down immediately. After the mutant did collapse, he turned his attention to the man in the red cape.
Who wasn't there anymore.
Magneto flew straight up and out of the cloud. He landed about twenty feet away and watched the fog as the mysterious figure rendered Sabertooth unconscious with sure and confident blows.
Magneto could see that this was a man not to be trifled with. But he then again, neither was he.
Batman walked confidently out of the fog, his cape swirling dramatically behind.
With a hand wave Magneto sent a teller vault careening towards batman. The dark knight's muscles groaned as he engaged in an acrobatic maneuver that this body was plainly unused to. He evaded most of the vault, but it still clipped him in the shoulder and knocked him to the ground.
Batman flung a flash grenade at the advancing mutant, but with a wave of his hand, Magneto deflected the metal device. It detonated harmlessly behind him.
" Do you have any idea who I am, monkey? I am Magneto the master of magnetism. I can control the very elemental forces of the universe." He advanced forward and held out his hand. " I can rip the iron from your very blood. How can you hope to stop me?" He pulled off his helmet in order to better see the fallen monkey. With a thought he began to fuse the iron particles in the Batman's bloodstream.
Batman flipped onto his back and arched his body in pain. " Simple," he groaned. He whipped his batarang at Magnetos now unprotected head.
" My batarang is non magnetic."
The boomerang-like weapon cracked the tiny Jewish boy turned mutant terrorist in the head. Magneto sank to the ground unconscious.
Batman staggered to his feet and checked the pulses of both mutants. They were both alive and wouldn't wake up until after the spell was hopefully lifted. With a groan he popped his shoulder back into place.
Willow excitedly dialed the number for the school library. She had already tried Giles at his apartment and he wasn't there. There weren't a lot of other options besides the library. Giles was after all old and stuffy.
As she waited for him to pick up she saw buffy wander into the kitchen and Angel follow her.
" Yes. This is Rupert Giles." Willow breathed a sigh of relief.
" Giles! This is willow and we have a major slayer emergency. Buffy and Xander have turned into their costumes and so have a bunch of other people Giles. Its like a madhouse outside."
" What," came Giles confused voice. " Start at the beginning Willow and for god's sake breathe!"
So willow told him the story and at the very end Giles grew quiet. " What was the costume shop called again?"
" Ethan's Costume Shoppe."
" Ethan." Giles voice grew cold and angry. Willow was shocked at the fear she felt. That voice was at odds with everything that she knew him to be.
" Give me the address. I'll take care of this."
Willow had barely finished giving him the address when she heard a scream and a shout coming from the kitchen. She leapt to her feet and ran into the kitchen. She saw Angel picking himself up still in game face.
" Some of those costume monsters broke in here and attacked us. I accidentally vamped out and Buffy took off." Angel said grimly
" We have to go after her."
Batman darted from shadow to shadow using every stealth technique he ever learned to keep hidden. He was near Crafty Kat's Jewelry store when he noticed a figure moving around inside.
This time he swore to stay uninvolved. Then he recognized the thief and he sighed. He'd have to do something.
He crept up to the store and searched around looking for the hole in the glass. After a few moments he found it. A perfect circle cut out of one of the windows. He crawled inside and looked around for the thief.
" Your slipping bats," a voice purred from the darkness. " You used to be quieter."
" Bruce," she replied mockingly.
" Don't do this. You aren't really here doing this. You've possessed the body of a teenage girl. She's going to get blamed for this, not you."
" Please, still trying to reform me, Bruce." She shook her head. " I guess your stealth skills aren't the only thing that's slipping."
Selina Kyle, in the body of Cordelia Chase stepped into the light. " You'll have to do better than that Brucie."
" You've seen my face, you know what I look like." Batman drew back his cowl. " Is this the face you knew?" He advanced. " Is it?"
She paled and shook her head. " You mean its true. This this isn't my body. I suspected that something was up but I didn't want to think about it." Selina whispered, " I never even looked in the mirror. I didn't want to know."
" How do you think I feel? This body is scrawny and weak. At least you got one that you could use. She's probably a cheerleader or something."
Catwoman made a face. " You think?" Then she got a speculative look in her face. " I think you underestimate that body. I can feel that this one likes it. She finds him attractive. For that matter, I have to say your not looking that bad there Bruce," and then she gave Batman a seductive wink.
Batman shrugged. " Perhaps. He must have a formidable willpower. I've been able to push his body way past any limit to which he's been trained and he's held it together." Then he turned around to leave.
" Get out of here Selina. Find a safe place for your loaner body. I'm going to find a way to send us back home." Then Bruce Wayne vanished into the night.
" I'm not sure we have one." She whispered into the empty air.
Lady Elizabeth Sumner, of the Yorkshire Sumner's raced down the street as fast as her restricted dress would allow. That handsome dark haired man had transformed into a demon before her very eyes. Panicking she fled the house. If that kind man had been a beast who knew what that flame haired hussy could turn into. Perhaps some sort of succubus.
She ran right into a group of people. The woman of the group wore a dress of similar styling and they had jester in the oddest motley she had ever seen.
Then she heard the low class accent of the lead man, some lean looking devil with flaxen hair.
" Looky here. We found us a scared little slayer," he whispered.
" I can smell her fear spike," the woman tittered.
The jester held out his hand and instinctively she reached for it in relief. That relief is short lived as she receives a painful jolt that causes her hair to stand on end.
" HeeHee! I never get tired of that joke," the Jester cackled
Four robberies, five vampire attacks, and a pair of mutant sightings later, a very bruised and battered Batman looked across the street at Ethan's costume Shoppe.
Selina had been right. He had underestimated the body he was in. He might be the mind in charge but the Willpower, the desire to keep going, was entirely the boy's. He decided to take moment and scrawl something on the back of the receipt. If the kid had dressed up like him, a note from him might help steer the kid in the right direction. He slipped the note into Alexander's wallet.
The store looked quiet and there were no visible lights. Of course that meant exactly squat. He decided to go around to the alley and go through the back entrance.
He moved quiet as a whisper into the alley. Pulling out some lock picks, he went to work on the back door. A few minutes and a soft click later he was in.
Angel and Willow raced down the street looking for Buffy. They found her too, being tossed around by spike, Drusilla, and several minions. Plus...
" The Joker." Willow whispered in disbelief.
" Finally, a fan." The homicidal clown crowed.
" Spike, let Buffy go," Angel intoned in cold voice.
" Think not mates. When is the slayer going to be this helpless again? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I'm gonna have me some sport."
" Fine," Angel shrugged, " we'll do this the hard way."
Spike smiled. " Is there any other?"
Batman looked around, trying to find what could be the focus of the costume spell. He saw several candidates. A small statue of some god, a full length mirror, a tome of spells, and a few other items that could be it but it was unlikely.
He was cursing his lack of resources. If he had the occult database in the bat computer he could have had this thing figured out in a New York minute. He was about to destroy them all when he heard the door chime in the front room.
" Hello Ripper." Came a soft amoral British voice. He identified that one as Ethan
" Ethan. Still worshiping chaos, I see."
" It's a living. And so much fun. You remember fun, don't you Rip?" Batman could hear the smirk in Ethan's voice.
Batman may not have known any chaos magicians but he knew the chaotic type. They were people whose souls were so unhappy, so filled with disquiet they had almost the compulsion to share their pain with the world. They were sad, dangerous people.
" How do you break the spell Ethan?"
" I'm not telling," came the petulant reply.
Then batman heard a crash and a punch. " How do you do it?"
" Still not telling you mate."
This time a kick, and a calm brutish voice said, " I've just broken two of your ribs Ethan. How 'bout you just tell me."
" Statue of Janus. Its in the back." Wheezed the reply.
Spike and one of his minions rushed forward to attack Angel. Meanwhile the other minion held on to Buffy in a vise like grip.
Willow rushed forward to try to ward away the vampire holding Buffy.
Of course the cross possessed no power over the Joker. He advanced cackling like a madman. Willow faltered after hearing that terrible laughter. The joker seized the opening and used his joy buzzer to stun the red head repeatedly. With a punch he knocked her to the ground and sat down on her chest.
" I'm going to mark that pretty face up." The joker laughed. " Maybe afterwards you can be my assistant?"
He looked around confusedly. " I can't seem to find Harley right now." Then he shrugged. " Can you say Mister J?" he asked willow.
Angel flung spike away and went to the aid of Willow. With a mighty punch he knocked the Joker off her. Angel advanced, seeing red at thought of this monster mutilating Willow.
The Joker began to laugh and a stream of liquid struck Angel in the face and began to burn him.
" AAAHHH!!!" Angel screamed. He clutched his acid burnt face and staggered away.
Spike cracked his neck. " Seems like the worm 'as turned mate."
Batman staggered painfully over to the head of Janus and lifted it up to smash it on the ground. As soon as he did so, a wave of dizziness struck him.
Xander Harris slid along the wall near the shattered remains of the gods' head. He could keenly feel every ache, every pain that had been inflicted upon Batman's body that night.
Giles rushed in the room at the sound of the shattering statue and took stock of the situation.
" Good lord, Xander. What happened?"
" My costume decided to take my body on a heroic joy ride." Xander pulled off the rubber cowl and sighed.
" Are you okay? Are the girls okay?"
That caused Xander's eyes to snap open and he stood up groaning along the way. " Crap, I don't know. Batman decided he had to work alone tonight, so he left the others behind"
Giles took in the costume. " What exactly did you go as Xander?"
" A superhero who doesn't know the meaning of the word quit. And one who doesn't play well with others."
Spike was laying into Angel with a wicked series of punches when a tiny hand grabbed his arm.
" Stop hitting my boyfriend." Buffy Summers said. The raven black wig slipped off her head and was lying discarded in the street. Then she threw a punch that flung Spike back eight feet.
Flipping back up Spike looked around and saw that both his minions were dead, and the joker was dazed on the ground.
And now he looked like a sixteen year old in grease paint and rubber.
" Lets go Dru." He and his ladylove disappeared into the night.
Buffy just watched them leave. She wanted to chase after them, but this was neither the time nor the dress to go after Spike. She would have her reckoning with the bleached vampire another day.
The Next afternoon
" So there weren't a lot of casualties last night," Buffy asked.
" Thank goodness no. Ethan made a serious error when he included both heroes and villains among the costumes. Some people are making wild claims of people like Superman saving their lives." Giles replied.
" And Batman," Willow added remembering Xander's costume.
" Batman indeed."
" How is Xander doing? He was really quiet last night." Buffy was concerned for her Xander shaped friend. He seemed unusually grim after the battle.
" Okay I guess." Willow answered hesitantly. " I walked over to his house this morning but he said he was going to stay home today. He was still sore from last night."
Just then Aura and Harmony walked by. " I cannot believe that Cordelia blew off school today."
" I know. I bet she has mono, the slut."
Xander Harris sat in his basement, holding a plastic batarang in one hand and a folded note in the other. He had just read it and his mind was swirling with a dozen different thoughts all at once.
He knew that what had happened to him last night had changed him forever. He could still feel the memories and skills bouncing around in his head. He had proved that this morning when his father tried to pick a fight with him over being out
so late. He knew exactly where the joint lock he used on him came from.
Which brought him back to the note. It read:
To Alexander Harris
You have the spirit of a warrior and the heart of a hero. You would have made a fine Caped Crusader.
P.S.- For God's sake go to the gym.
At that moment the basement door opened and Cordelia Chase walked down the basement steps.
" Hi," she said hesitantly. " Your door was locked," then she shrugged and gave a half smile, " but that doesn't seem like that much of an obstacle anymore."
" Hello Cordy."
" Do you.do you remember stuff from last night?" She shook her head. " Not what you did, but like skills, habits, and stuff."
Xander nodded his head slowly.
She sighed. " I hoped I wasn't the only once." Then she frowned. " Why are we the only two people to keep these memories?"
" Because," Xander said slowly, " you and I are more alike than we care to admit. We aren't happy with who we are. We try to hide behind smiles and jokes, or money and status, but we both want something more. I think out of everyone, we're the ones clinging to the memories because we want them. We need them. We want the chance to be something more than what we are right now. These memories are that chance."
Cordelia looked at Xander. " I think you might be right." Then she looked down shyly. So unlike Cordelia. " Xander, I."
" Don't say it Cordy. Whatever you think your feeling, it's not real. Its from her."
" Shut up Xander."
In a few long strides she closed the distance between them. She pulled Xander to his feet and kissed him savagely. Xander resisted for a moment, then gave in. A flick of his wrist sent the plastic batarang into the basement light switch, plunging the room into darkness. But that didn't matter.
They were both at home in the shadows.