: I don't own any of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
[BtVS]. This is intended as an homage to them, and is in no way intended to infringe on their respective owners' rights. I don’t make any money from this, and I never intend to do so. Xander Harris, Chaos God?
Xander Harris was cursing his luck. He’d been browsing the available selection, admiring all the super-hero costumes, wishing he could afford one of them.
He only had two dollars to spend, and he had planned on grabbing a toy rifle to go with the army fatigues that he already had. He thought his soldier costume was a pretty good idea. It was cheap, it was simple, and it wasn’t one of those costumes where photos of it could be used to blackmail him in a few years. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to rest soundly until he got ahold of Willow’s photo of him dressed as one of the New Kids on the Block. He shuddered at the thought.
Unfortunately, Tucker Wells had grabbed the last one from the bargain bin, just as Xander had walked up. Now, he was forlornly searching for something to make a costume that would be in his budget.
Then he noticed a sign: Masks — Close-out — 89 cents — No Refunds. That was certainly in his price range.
Xander started digging through the bin. The masks were pretty cheap—flimsy, plastic faces with a band of thin elastic stapled on each side. There were monsters and ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, fairy princesses, and pirates. Nothing really jumped out at Xander as being a decent idea. Plus, he knew that evil little man, Principal Snyder, jerk-may-he-rot-in-hell, would not be satisfied with a costume that consisted solely of a cheap, plastic mask.
About to give up, he wondered if maybe he couldn’t carry a Bible with his fatigues and say he was an army chaplain. He found a mask at the bottom of the bin. In fact, there were a few of them, stuck together. They were actually pretty lame, but he knew how he could make a costume that was at least satisfy the requirements placed on him by Snyder. Doing the math made his head hurt, but it should work out. He could always borrow a penny or three from the penny jar next to the cash register.
Xander rang the doorbell. He was meeting Buffy and Willow here, at Buffy’s house. They would walk to school together, where they’d pick up the little rug-rats they were shepherding for the evening.
Mrs. Summers opened the door. “Hello. Can I help you?” she asked. “Aren’t you a little old to be trick or treating?”
Xander flipped up his mask so she could see his grinning face.
“Hi, Mrs. Summers. I’m meeting Buffy and Willow here.”
“Come on in,” she said, closing the door behind him. She took in his costume with a bemused look. “Okay, I give up. Who, or what, are you supposed to be?”
Xander just grinned even more. He was wearing a white bed sheet wrapped around him like a toga, and had a mask of a bearded man’s face, which was currently flipped up on top of his head.
“I’m Janus, Roman god of janitors,” he said. With that, he lowered the mask, then turned around so that she could see an identical mask on the back of his head.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“Well, that’s very … literary of you,” she answered, trying to keep the amusement out of her voice. “Wherever did you come up with that idea?”
“Literary, not so much. I really don’t know anything about him, I just remembered his name because it was so close to ‘janitor’. Turns out, that’s where the word comes from. There was a picture of statue of him in one of my history books, and I saw this mask and thought it looked pretty similar to the statue.
“Besides, I figure that with my grades, that’s about what my future is good for—sweeping up a floor somewhere. Might as well get in good with the boss now.” His cheesy grin and the amused tone of his voice belied the bleak vision of his future brought forth by his words.
Ethan Rayne was pleased with himself. He loved chaos, pure and simple. Without chaos, the universe would die a cold, silent death. There would be no heat. There would be no light. There would be no life. Oh, also there would be no way to annoy his old chum, Rupert “Ripper” Giles.
When the door banged open, he was calmly waiting for Ripper. He had set this all up just to mess with him, tame lap-dog of the Watcher’s Council that he’d become.
“Hello, Ripper,” he said, smugly.
“Not quite,” the cold voice replied.
The figure standing before Ethan was wearing a Roman toga. He didn’t recognize the bearded man. The shadows cast by the flickering candles hid his features.
“Who the hell are you, mate?” Ethan demanded. He was confident that he could handle whoever this geezer was.
The man turned his head, scanning the room. Ethan blanched as he caught a view from the side. The man had two faces. Two identical faces. Janus. He was buggered, royally.
“I am he upon whom you called. And yet I do not believe that you really know me at all.
“I suspect that you intended to call upon my not-so-beloved sister, Discordia, the goddess of chaos and strife. Yet you called upon me, invoked my name for this… this abomination. Although not even she would have done this.
“Know this, mortal, I am Janus, god of protection of the innocent, god of the past and the future, god of new beginnings. For this outrage, I foresee a new beginning for you. Welcome to the beginning of an eternity of punishment.”
The last thing Ethan heard was Janus muttering, "Bloody chaos mage, you'd think he'd bother to learn who the bloody chaos goddess was!"