Disclaimer: I own neither Middle Earth, nor Sunnydale.
A/N: I've seen a LOT of challenges like this, and I wanted to do a semi-realistic response. I have not followed EVERY single bit of the Challenge to the letter, but as my story was based on this challenge I felt that I should make the acknowledgement.
WARNING: This is sort of a crack!fic, there is character-death and some strangeness. You have been warned.▬▬▬
Xander watched his two best girls simper and fawn over the ugly pink dress with a slightly superior expression. Women and clothing, it was a relationship he didn't understand and probably never would.
Shaking his head he turned to the bin of weapons, his brown eyes lighting up with child-like glee at the sight of all the assorted tools of death.
He inspected a surprisingly heavy broadsword before dropping it in favor of a large axe, "Shiny!"
Buffy and Willow looked up at his exclamation and rolled their eyes, exchanging indulgent smiles at their friend's simple pleasure before turning back to the 'dream dress.'
"May I help you?"
Xander jumped and spun, almost knocking over a 007 display in his surprise. Why were British people so good at being sneaky?
The stranger's lips quirked into a small smirk, "I believe it may have something to do with all the tea."
The teen flushed, he hadn't meant to say that out loud.
"Never mind that, my name is Ethan Rayne, how may I help you?" He indicated the various weapons slung over the boy's shoulders and clenched in his fists.
Xander looked down at himself and flushed even brighter, "Help me? Oh no, I'm really just looking for a gun to go with my fatigues -"
"Ah, well, in that case: the guns are kept over there," Ethan pointed to a dusty and altogether unwelcoming corner of the store.
"Oh, uh, thanks," he began to divest himself of the armors and weapons he had gathered, releasing each one back into the plastic barrel with ever increasing reluctance until the last item - a rather spectacular longbow - simply refused to leave his fingertips.
Ethan watched avidly as several of the weapons seemed almost to glow in his othersight. Yes indeed: this boy had the potential to provide a veritable FEAST for Janus's delight!
"You know, you don't really seem the sort for fatigues. Have you considered a more… shall we say - classic - costume?"
Xander frowned in perplexity, "What, you mean like Conan the Barbarian?"
'Americans,' Ethan stifled a sigh. "No, my dear boy, classic LITERATURE. The Lord of the Rings? Surely you remember they made it into a movie a few years back?"
"Oh," the teen frowned, "I don't want to go as anything barefoot. This may be California but it's still October!"
The chaos mage repressed the urge to strangle the stripling, "I wasn't suggesting you go as a Hobbit. No, someone of your stature would be much better off as an Elf or a Ranger!" He smiled - a saccharine-sweet expression - and made a 'shooing' gesture towards the bin, "Why don't you look through there and just pick out whatever strikes your fancy, I'm sure you'll find the perfect costume."
Xander turned back to the barrel with the air of a small child on Christmas morning, ignoring the strange Brit as he went to help out Buffy and Willow. Practically diving into the container the teen soon found that certain weapons seemed almost to hum when he touched them - he set those beside the bin as possible costume choices - while others felt like dead fish against his palm.
Time passed and the brown-eyed teen barely registered the departure of his two ladies. Only coming back to himself at the sound of the proprietor's voice:
"Finding everything alright, are we?"
Xander glanced from the small stack of weapons and bits of armor he had stacked up to the Brit and smiled sheepishly, "Yeah, I guess I have." He sighed, looking at the shiny plastic and imitation-leather longingly, "I don't think I'll be able to afford more than one or two bits, though."
"Nonsense," Ethan laughed, "I'll let you have the whole lot of it for twenty dollars so long as you tell everyone you see EXACTLY where you got your costume."
The teen grinned, "Never too early to start drumming up business for next year, huh?"
Joyce opened the door and stared slack-jawed at the young man who barely fit in the doorway.
"Hello Mrs. Summers," Xander's jovial voice came from within a deep white hood.
"He-hello Xander," she stood aside and watched him as he navigated himself into the house with a decidedly amused expression. "Well aren't you just a walking armory?"
He pushed back the hood of his cloak and smiled lopsidedly, "I couldn't decide which member of the Fellowship to be -"
"So you decided to be the ENTIRE Fellowship?"
"Yup! I've got Gandalf's cloak, Aragorn's sword, Boromir's horn, Legolas's bow, Frodo's mithril, Sam's rope, Merry's cloak-pin, Pippin's daggers…" He trailed off, frowning.
Joyce smiled, "You forgot Gimli."
"Oh yeah!" He pulled back one side of his robe to show off the axe fastened to his belt.
"Thanks. So, where are the girls?"
"Upstairs getting ready, they should be down in a minute."
"Alrighty well I'll just wait right he -" Xander's voice cut off as he saw Buffy slowly descending the stairs, an expectant smile on her face. "Milady," he bowed and a dagger fell to the floor with a soft clank.
"Good sir… blacksmith?" The Slayer asked questioningly.
"No! I'm the Fellowship!"
A familiar squeal sounded from the stairs as ghost-Willow pounded down, "You're the ENTIRE Fellowship? Oh Xander, that's so cool! You should've let me know! I could've gone as - as -"
"One of the wraiths?" He supplied helpfully.
Willow beamed at him from behind her white mask, at least HE understood her desire to be unseen, "Exactly!"
He held out an arm for her to take, "Next year we'll coordinate, 'k?"
"If Snyder corrals us into this again next year…" Buffy trailed off, leaving her threats to the fertile imaginations of her two best friends.
"We'll go as the Uncanny X-Men!" Xander finished with a grin.
The Slayer threw him a dirty look, "Anyways… bye mom, stay out of trouble 'cause you know we will!"
"Uh-huh, sure," Joyce waved the trio out of the house with one last instruction: "Don't eat too much candy, kids!"▬▬▬
In the back of Ethan's store a flood of purple light exploded from the bust of Janus, moving like an evil fog and searching out the 'special' costumes the chaos mage had designed.
Ethan grinned, "Showtime."▬▬▬
Chaos had never found a more fertile host than that of the teenager Alexander Lavelle Harris. In this universe, in this timeline, he had the potential to become many things to many people.
A White Knight.
The Slayer's Heart.
The Demon's Love.
A Witch's Conscience.
Or even One Who Could See… but all these possibilities, all these different bends and branches in the tree of continuity were obliterated by one ill-timed spell.
The flood of purple hit the boy with the force of a mach truck, sinking into his skin and eyes and imbuing his costume with an unholy glow. The teen began to shiver and shake as HE was pushed to the back of his consciousness and nine others surged to the front to battle for dominance.
Completely different views, goals, dreams, and drives combined into a cacophony of unintelligible wants and needs. The differing personalities warred, yet were able to link up with those most similar to themselves.
Thus the Dunedain and the Elf fought and overcame the man from Gondor.
Thus the Hobbits Sam and Frodo assimilated their two furry-footed, food-obsessed friends.
The dwarf retreated to the back of the boy's mind, finding the twisting caverns of unconsciousness to be wonderfully similar to the mines and caves that he had once called 'home.'
In a desperate attempt to preserve sanity the White Wizard - through dint of his Valar-given powers - wrested control from the others and cast a blending spell.
It worked… but it also failed.
At their cores the members of the Fellowship believed most firmly in the destruction of evil, but each had a slightly different view of what exactly constituted true wickedness.
The Hobbits, simple folk as they were, thought that everything from a bad crop to a stolen copper could be construed as 'evil.'
The Elf and the Dunedain had a longer view than their shorter friends, seeing those things that upset the natural order of the world - orcs, wraiths, etc. - as the worst form of depravity.
The Gondorian felt that anything that aligned itself against him, his people, or his land could be evil and was therefore to be destroyed.
The dwarf, already a rather withdrawn being, had removed himself from the equation and was in the process of redesigning the subconscious landscape of Xander Harris's mind. The abiding ugliness of evil was his only contribution to the mind meld.
Mithrandir had exhausted himself in his efforts to preserve the Fellowship and it's unwitting host. He had no energy left to direct the focus of the thing that had once been a teenage boy, instead he devoted himself to prayer.
But the Powers That Be are not the Valar and do not believe in a final solution to the question of 'good' versus 'evil.' Balance was theirs and that was all that mattered.▬▬▬
The boy who had once been Xander Harris woke from the chaos spell in the midst of a veritable war zone. Bodies were piled high as far as he could see. Blood soaked the ground and to his dazed vision Earth had suddenly become Mars.
Soft whimpers drew his attention, causing his pointed ears to twitch. His sharp eyes were drawn to a small pile of rags - cloth that had once been white, but was stained with the bloods and bodily fluids of several of the surrounding corpses.
"Xa-Xander?" Willow whimpered, reaching out a hand to her kindergarten buddy.
Gray eyes inspected her coolly, quietly taking in the fact that the debris now rustled with her movements. Lightning-quick a dagger spun through the air to stick with a sharp thwock in the breastbone of the redhead.
Blood trickled from her mouth and her sight grew dim as she died for real, "Xande…" Silence reigned amongst the bodies except for the steady plop-plop of dripping blood.
He ripped the dagger from her chest, ignoring the resulting splatter and cleaned the elvish steel on her ghost-costume. Short, stubby fingers closed her green eyes, "May the Valar offer fair judgment, Wraith."
Ethan watched in his scrying dish as the monster that had been a boy proceeded to nearest cemetery and began a bloodbath that would clean out most of the demons of Sunnydale in less than a week.
A wave of his hand caused his vision to move elsewhere and he cackled in glee as he watched the Slayer and her vampire search the wreckage of the actual Mouth of Hell for the Watcher's remains.
He would have to leave soon too, the Mark of Eghyon would draw his creation to kill him just as it had Ripper.
Ah well, sacrifices had to be made for the good of chaos.
Here is the ACTUAL challenge by anpu in all it's glory:
Challenge 2712: Xander's Fellowship.
The PTB's trick Ethan Rayne into giving Xander the Fellowship's weapons, armor, tools, clothes, etc. (except Bilbo's ring) for free with purchase of the soldier's gun for Halloween. When Ethan's spell is activated, Xander becomes all ten separate individual heroes. When the idol is destroyed, Xander retains the courage, memories, knowledge, wisdom, personalities, skills, weapons, powers, and possessions of the soldier and the members of the Fellowship. Xander also keeps the physique of Aragorn or Boromir. The new Xander deals with Mr. and Mrs. Harris. You decide what happens next.
A/N 2: Like it, love it, loathe it with the fiery intensity of a thousand hot suns? Lemme know!