Title: A Bleached Halloween
Rating: K+/PG, for a wee bit of violence
Pairing: Gen fic, all the way.
Spoilers: none for Bleach (gen. info.)/BtVS - S2, E6: Halloween
Summary: Instead of a soldier uniform, Xander finds an odd looking outfit, complete with sword. How many souls will Soul Reaper!Xander take this Halloween night?
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. They're owned by some guys named Joss Whedon and Tite Kubo.
AN: I wasn't planning on putting this up this close to Halloween, but no web access plus new job equals no uploading. Enjoy!
ETA: Fixed the whole Spike/Angel thing. My beta (who's not into Buffy) switched the two, and I never caught it when it came back to me. So blame the both of us. *grin*
Xander held up the fatigues as far away from his nose as he could. God Almighty, the things stank. Well, that put paid to that idea. There was no way he'd be able to get the smell out of them before trick-or-treating began, and there was no way he was going to wear them as is. Xander didn't particularly care if he was popular or not, but he did have some standards when it came to personal hygiene.
Shuffling through the piles of clothing, he finally came across a silky feeling fabric. Intrigued, he pulled the black fabric out. Holding it up to him, he saw that it had flowing arms and legs, with a white strip of silk tied at the waist.
"There's a sword that goes with that outfit," the proprietor said as he came up beside Xander. The air conditioner kicked on, blowing a cold draught down his neck as the older man smiled at him. "I don't know much about this particular costume - only that it comes from Japan."
"Cool," Xander said as he searched for the price tag. Seeing it, his response was, "not cool." He set it down. "I can't afford that one. I'll just have to make one at home."
"Look, Xander!" Willow bounced around a rack of clothes, holding up a package. "I can be a ghost! Only, this is a much better costume than a regular sheet."
Xander smiled down at his friend. "That's great, Willow. Looks like it the used clothes bin for me again."
Willow frowned. "I can loan you some money, if you want."
He shook his head, mentally cursing parents that preferred to pour what money they got into their booze, instead of an allowance for him. "It's okay, Will. It's not anything different from last year." Xander sighed as he moved away from the table with one last glance at the costume. He'd been bitten by the anime bug that had crossed the school, back when Jesse had still been alive, but now it seemed to be just a dream.
A squeal from across the store told him that Buffy had just found her 'perfect' costume, sending a bitter thought through his head. He shook it slightly, reprimanding himself that he shouldn't take his problems out on his friends. Xander looked over to where Willow was pouring over costumes - in spite of the package tucked under her right arm - as Buffy made her way to the counter.
"I can offer you a discount," came the proprietor's voice, off to the side. "Half off, maybe more."
Xander eyed him, wondering just why this guy was pushing an outfit on him. From the look of him, he was probably just a Regular Joe who was looking to get rid of his stock.
"Think about it, then." The man then crossed to the counter to ring up Buffy's purchase.
"What did he want, Xander?" Willow asked as she crossed over to him, pulling out her wallet. "Are you sure I can't lend some money? 'Cause I know you'll pay me back whenever. It doesn't matter if it's twenty years from now, though, 'cause I want you to have something to wear, even if Snyder is making us do this."
He grinned at his friend's babbling as she continued. Xander knew that he could borrow money from Willow, but he didn't want to - he still had some
male pride. "Wills, it's okay. He just offered me a discount." The red head grinned, even as Xander kept his thoughts to himself. I just don't trust the guy. Who knows what could go wrong with the entire situation?
"Are you getting that costume, Xander?" Buffy said in an excited voice, the bag in her hand rustling with her movements. "I think that'll be a great outfit. I mean, it's all samurai-y and Japanese looking."
Seeing the happy expressions on his friends' faces helped him decide what he was going to do, despite his misgivings about this whole thing. Xander stepped up to the counter. "How much do you want for this, then?"
Xander looked down at his body, then at the kids who'd gathered around to hear his trick-or-treating advice. The kids were panicking at the sight of the limp body, which, from where he was standing, didn't look like any air was getting into his lungs.Great,
Xander thought, I've died.
He paused. I guess that's okay, as long as I don't turn into some sort of demon or vampire. Knowing my luck, though, I think it might be worse.
"Xander?" He heard Willow's voice a few moments before she came into sight. There was something odd about her, as if she wasn't all there - in the physical sense, at least. His friend reached out to his body, where it lay on the concrete sidewalk. "Xander? Are you all right?"
Her hand going through Xander's body told him that something had happened to her as well. But something about her had him wanting to do something, as if he was supposed to take her somewhere. The more he thought about it, the more he realized those thoughts weren't quite his, but at the same time, they were in some way.
"Um, up here, Wills," he said as his friend began to panic as well.
Green eyes grew large in the pale face. "Are you a ghost, too, Xander?" Willow asked in a fast stream.
A strange feeling came over Xander at that point, as if he was supposed to be doing something. Almost absentmindedly, he reached for the sword that was hanging across his back. It slid out of the sheath, and he brought the hilt down so that there was only an inch between it and Willow's forehead.
He snapped out of the weird feeling to find Willow cross-eyed from looking at the sword.
"Xander?" Willow's voice was high and thin.
"Yeah, Wills?" Even for the Hellmouth, was this strange or what?
"Could you stop that?" She timidly pointed a finger at the sword.
He shook himself and moved the sword into a strange - comfortable, his mind told him - position and really thought about what he was about to do. The information popped into his head, and he was really tempted to just fall down at the realization he'd been about to send his best friend to the afterlife. Or the Soul Society, as it was called.
Xander looked at his surroundings, taking notice of the kids running around in a panic. He also noticed that his fellow students had decided to run amok in the streets. Well, it wasn't much different from the halls of Sunnydale High, but he'd just seen some kid dressed as a vamp (and wasn't that an awful costume for Sunnyhell) try to bite one of the kids.
Some instinct gave him the power to run over to the scene and hit the would-be vamp with the hilt of his sword, knocking him out. When he tried to pull the kid away, though, his hands went through him.
"Xander!" he found Willow trotting over, before stopping and leaning over to pant. "What was that? Because, whatever it was, it was totally cool! Hey, do you think we should find Buffy? Because she had that girly costume, and if what I'm guessing is going on, she might not know what's going on. Oh! I think we should get Giles in on this, too."
"Wills!" Xander tried for the fourth time to get her attention. When it looked like he finally had it, he nodded. "We can head over to Buffy's house. Even if she's not there, it's the closest place."
"Great!" Willow paused. "Um, Xander?"
"Should we do something with our bodies? 'Cause they're just laying there. Especially yours, since it's in the street. Well, the curb at least."
Xander looked at her. "How do you think we should? We're ghosts, Wills. I doubt we can physically touch them."
Willow's face drooped in disappointment. "I didn't think of that." She perked up. "We could get someone else to do it? I'll ask."
He watched as she ran over to several of the kids that had huddled together, trying to get their attention. Somehow, Xander knew that they couldn't hear her. It had to be part of the costume, he thought, that he would have that kind of information just showing up in his brain. Sure, it was a bit freaky, but he had the feeling that it would come in handy sometime soon.
It had first been an itch, but the longer they were in Buffy's house, the stronger it grew. Xander's hand was beginning to go numb from the fist it was currently clenched into. He hadn't really paid all that much attention to it, as he and Willow realized that Buffy couldn't see them. Unfortunately Angel, the bastard, could, so maybe it was fortunate that they'd come to the Summers' house. The entire time that Angel had been on the phone with Giles, Xander had been fighting the growing urge to dust the vampire.
It wasn't like his usual urge to dust the vamp, but was entirely different. The feeling was much worse than what he'd felt when Willow had found him earlier in the evening. That had been easy compared to what he was now thinking of doing. His arms ached as he tried to keep from gripping the sword, and his jaw was starting to hurt as he continued to clench his teeth together. A niggling thought in the back of his mind said that this thing was totally wrong, that it didn't fit in the natural world.
"Xander? You okay?" Willow asked from her seat on the couch. "You're sweating."
He turned to face his friend, catching Angel's look at Buffy as the blonde eyed the television with an astonished expression. Willow's face was a mask of concern, but Xander couldn't be bothered by it at the moment. The feeling was so overwhelming that he couldn't stand it anymore.
Xander stepped toward Angel as he drew the sword, gripping the hilt firmly in his right hand.
"Xander, no!" Willow shouted.
Spike looked up, as if he realized the danger he was in. But it was too late. Xander was already swinging the sword towards the blond vamp's neck.
"Mister?" came a childish voice from the side. It was vaguely familiar to him, but Xander was not entirely certain from where. "Mister Xander? Is trick-or-treating over?"
He blinked at the child's voice, recognizing it as one of the kids he'd been assigned to take trick-or-treating. He raised his body into a sitting position and shook his head as he looked around. Only a couple of kids were still around and there was an odd bag scattered here and there in either direction of the street. He shook his head to clear it.
"It looked like you died,
Mister Xander!" the child said in a loud whisper. "But then, you started breathing and then you woke up. Billy and Mandy and Dexter ran home, but my mom said that I had to stay with you, so when it looked like you died, I ran over to the nearest house. But then, by the time I got there, it looked like you were breathing, so I came back."
Xander blinked at the babble. The kid could certainly give Willow a run for her money if they were ever in competition.
The night's events came rushing back to him at that moment, shortly followed by a winded Willow.
"Xander! Are you okay?"
He turned to the kid standing next to him. "Did you want to go home?"
The boy nodded.
"You want me to take you?" Xander asked.
"I can get home by myself." He pointed to a house at the corner. "That's my house."
Xander smiled. "You did good, kid."
The boy grinned before running down the sidewalk in the direction he'd pointed. "Thanks, Mister Xander!" was his final statement of the night.
Turning to Willow, Xander found her staring at him with a strange expression on his face. "What was that?" she asked.
He shrugged, awkwardly standing up as he tried to avoid getting hit with the sword hanging on his belt. "I don't know." He paused. "Did I almost take Angel's head off, or was that all just my wish coming true?"
Willow huffed. "Yes, you almost dusted Angel. I think we'd better get back to Buffy's - for real, this time - and see if everything's all right there. And I'd better not hear of you staking Angel anytime soon, 'Mister Xander!'" The redhead gave another indignant huff and started in the direction of the Summers' house.
Xander pondered over that for a brief moment before following his friend. If they were lucky, there wouldn't be anymore consequences to whatever had happened tonight.
And we all know that, sometimes, Xander jinxes himself and the group more than he realizes.