Title: Mirror Shards
Summary: A certain costume choice has long lasting effects on Xander – good thing, too.
BtVS (YAHE) with a couple of crossovers thrown in as well.
Rating: FR:15 for madness, chaos, violence, kidnappings, death of both cannon and original characters, and general unpleasantness.
Spoilers: None – though Dawn exists at this point.
Disclaimer: Not mine, though I wouldn't mind living off the royalties. BtVS belongs to Whedon. Alice and Cheshire Cat are from American McGee. CSI and CSI: Miami are both CBS productions.
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* * Chapter 1 * *
... Mid October ...
Dawn nervously bit her lip as she waited out in the hallway for her sister to leave the room. She really wanted to ask Xander a favor, but knew that Buffy would just make fun of her request.
“I need a drink. Want one, Xander?”
'Finally,' the girl thought. She slipped into the room. “Hey, Xander.”
“Dawn Patrol, how are ya doing?” Xander grinned at her and Dawn felt her heart hammer in her chest.
“Okay. Um... Would you ... could ... um... “ she twisted her hands together, unable to look her crush in the face. “I wondered...”
Xander's brow wrinkled, and concern filled his chocolate eyes. “Hey, hey. Calm down. Have a seat. Tell me what's wrong.” He sat caddy-corner on the couch so he could face her.
Dawn took a deep breath. “Would you take me trick-or-treating for Halloween?”
The frown deepened and Dawn felt her chest tighten at the upcoming rejection. “What happened to the party I heard you'd been invited to?”
A ray of hope. “Cally got herself grounded. She tried to sneak one of her mom's cigarettes. So it got cancelled. And Buffy's been going on and on about how much she's looking forward to staying home and vegging out that night. So I know she won't take me. Mom's got a party of her own to go to, and I just know she won't let me go out on my own.”
“In that case, I'd be honored to go trick or treating with you.”
She glanced up, eyes wide in excitement, “Really? You mean it?”
“Sure. Well, we'll clear it with your mom first, but it'll be a lot of fun,” Xander grinned lopsidedly.
“Whoo hoo!” She lept forward and wrapped her arms around Xander's middle. “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.” She jumped up. “I gotta go tell mom!”
“Let's both talk to her, so if she has any questions, we can answer them.”
* * *
Xander smiled to himself at the bounce in Dawn's step as the two left the study.
Joyce had been surprised, but grateful that her daughter's friend was willing to give up his evening to escort Dawn. “Are you sure it's not an inconvenience? I mean, you're not skipping anything to do this, are you?”
“Nah. I usually went trick or treating with Willow and Jess. But Wills got roped into a function her parents are attending.” Jess' fate was left unspoken. “Besides, staying home isn't in the cards for candy night.” The Harris house never got rung up for candy – his parents never bothered buying any and they were usually well into their bottles by evening. Xander had no desire to be a verbal or literal punching bag on a night when he had a legitimate excuse to be out. “And trick or treating isn't nearly as much fun by yourself.”
Joyce had smiled at the eagerness in Xander's voice. “Okay. I agree. Just be sure not to stay out too late.”
“You got it, Mrs. S.”
* * *
“Xander, where'd you go?” Buffy stood in the hallway, two sodas in hand.
“Xander said he'd take me trick or treating and mom said it was okay.” Dawn restrained herself from sticking her tongue out at her sister in triumph. She was going to spend an entire evening with Xander!
Buffy looked shocked. “Xander? Are you sure? She can be quite a handful.”
Xander soothed, “Nah, the two of us will be cool. Right, Dawnmeister?”
Dawn relaxed, a smile splitting her face. “Right!”
“Tell you what. I'll come by after school tomorrow and we can decide on costumes. We've got a few days, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem finding what we need. Okay?”
“Okay,” Dawn practically floated up the stairs to her room, thinking about the possibilities.
Buffy shot her Xander-shaped friend a skeptical look as they returned to the living room.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
Xander sighed. “Yeah, Buff. I'm sure. She's a sweet kid. Besides, this way you can have your quiet evening in and I get an excuse not to be home. It's a win-win situation.” He switched topics and soon the two friends were laughing once again, Buffy forgetting the dark look that had entered his eyes at the mention of home.
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