Luck of the Cards
Disclaimer: Buffy the vampire Slayer belongs To Joss Whedon and Mutant enemy, Deadlands belongs to Pinnacle publishing company. I own neither and have made neither nor plan on making any money off of this.
A/n: Wanting to try and change the atypical Yahf Fic first attempt at a BtVS story of any sort. Feedback is both appreciated and wanted.
Xander found himself looking at the discount bin inside of Ethan’s costume shop as a small child grabbed the last plastic rifle and ran off laughing gleefully. Realizing his costume of a solider was now ruined he had to find a cheap substitute or his road trip budget would be badly reduced.
Wandering around the costume store that now seemed to be strangely empty, listening to Willow and Buffy squealing over in one corner over some overpriced dress Xander began to wonder what they really saw in something like that.
Continuing both his musings and his wanderings he found his way towards the more classic costumes akin to pirates and cowboys. Examining one that caught his eye Xander found himself in front of what appeared to be a classic Sheriff costume out of the Wild West.
A hand dropped on Xander’s shoulder causing him to spin around and drop into some approximation of a defensive stance finding himself now facing the middle-aged face of the worker, he relaxed and looked somewhat embarrassed, “Really you shouldn’t sneak up on someone in this town it can get you in trouble.”
Smiling disarmingly the employee just shook his head, “I will have to remember that in the future young man, but I happened to notice you admiring the costume and thought I would inquire if you where planning on either purchasing it or renting it for the night.”
Looking down at the price tag attached to the costume Xander shook his head, “This is more than I was planning on spending even to just rent it.”
Starting to walk away Xander was stopped by the voice of the employee, “Mayhap we can come to some kind of agreement? My name is Ethan the proprietor of this establishment and maybe able to work out some kind of deal.”
Turning back to the costume Xander once more began to examine the costume in greater detail. Xander turned to Ethan and asked, “What exactly is this costume of?”
Pointing to a bag attached to one of the pockets of the costume by way of a safety pin. Inside could be seen a pamphlet appearing to be made out of some sort of old paper and several decks of cards Ethan responded with, “From what I understand with the information that came along with the costume, it’s a costume of a US marshal from during the 1870’s something of a gambler to with the cards and paraphernalia that comes with it.”
Looking up and down at Xander’s rather worn pants and Hawaiian shirt Ethan continued, “I would be willing to rent the costume to you for say ten dollars if you would be willing to tell everyone that you got the costume here, word of mouth is usually much better to advertise than anything else.”
Smiling broadly Xander took out a single bill from his wallet handing it to Ethan he took the costume off the rack and began moving towards the front door over his shoulder he responded, “You won’t regret this thank you very much.”
Walking over to the till Ethan put the money away smiling evilly to himself Ethan thought of the chaos to come that night when that specific costume became active. Turning to help the slayer and her companion purchase the dress the two of them had been so attracted to he wondered what how much chaos would come from all this fun.
A few hours later found Xander putting on his costume, examining what appeared to be a pistol of some design he found it to be strangely designed with no obvious place where one would load ammunition. Thinking nothing more of it he placed the toy gun in question into its holster.
Opening the bag that came with the costume for the accessories he removed the small book first looking at the cover all he could make out where the letters H...Y…E and the year 1741. Opening the booklet Xander found barely legible information on card games and other games of chance one might have found during that time period.
Pulling out the cards and placing both them and the booklet inside a pocket sown into the duster seemingly especially for that purpose Xander then examined the full costume in the mirror. From a cowboy hat that covered his head to the duster and shiny star on the breast of the duster he looked like a marshal.
Quickly noticing how late it was Xander realized that he would need to leave now if he where to meet up with the girls at Buffy’s house if they where to make it back to the high school in time to pick up the kids for the night.
Twenty minutes later found Xander in front of the Summers' Residence ringing the doorbell. The door quickly opened revealing the Buffy’s middle-aged mother Joyce. Smiling at the young man that she was quickly starting to see as one of her own. Joyce began to speak, “Xander, what a nice costume come on in the girls are getting ready up stairs.”
Entering the house and moving into the living room Xander tipped his hat, “Evening mam, Marshal Harris at your service. I understand that there are two lovely ladies in need of an escort this evening?”
Laughing lightly at Xander’s attempt at humor Joyce nodded to the stairs where noises could be heard coming from. “The two ladies in question should be down shortly.”
Catching Xander’s attention just as Joyce finished speaking Buffy could be seen coming down the stairs in a nineteenth century noblewoman’s dress. “Wow Bufferella, you look great. I completely renounce spandex. “
“Interesting costume Xander, the outfit seems to fit you well. Buffy replied, “And don’t rush to dismiss spandex until you see… Casper, “She continued disappointment obvious on her face as Willow made her appearance from the bathroom wearing a ghost costume.
“That’s a mighty fine boo you have there Willow.” Xander commented.
“Willow how could you?” Asked Buffy sounding exasperated.
“Sorry Buffy but it’s just not me.” Willow explained
“That was the entire point.” Buffy countered.
“Girls we’re running late, unless we want the troll on us we need to leave soon.” Interrupted Xander before the burgeoning argument could gain any more steam.
Nearly an hour later the three of them could be seen leading their different groups of children away from the high school to begin their escort duties. Near the merchant district of town a chaos mage of little renown was finishing a ritual to call upon the powers of a chaos god.
As the ritual completed and the energy wave washed over the town many of the inhabitants blacked out for a moment and woke up feeling not themselves at all.
United States marshal Harris woke up feeling as if he had just finished a week long alcohol bender and were suffering the hangover. The last thing he could remember was facing against a large band of outlaws several of them being harrowed.
Pulling out his deck of cards Harris began to shuffle them nervously beginning to examine his surroundings trying to figure out what was going on. This area felt like a Deadland but different. None of the surrounding area made any sense the feel and look of the technology looked nothing like what he could remember seeing in any major cit back on the east coast.
Looking around he saw a quickly approaching redhead that seemed somewhat familiar to him even though something seemed very off about her. A moment’s examination made him realize she felt something like what a harrowed felt like but not as strong.
A few dozen feet from where he was standing the redhead passed through a fencepost as if it weren’t there. AS she got closer it was obvious to him that she wasn’t dressed ‘properly’ wearing form fitting clothing that accentuated her female curves.
“Xander, thank god I found you!’ Shouting loudly as she got closer it became obvious that she believed that she knew him.
Raising one eyebrow he asked, “Mam, I don’t know who you are or who you think I am but I’m not this Xander. I am Marshal Alexander Harris of the United States Marshal Service.”
Looking once more closely at the form of the redhead as it was slightly blurry he commented, “Mam, it appears that you are a ghost if you give me a few minutes I may be able to send you on to the afterlife, I may not be a Templar but I do have some skills.”
Appearing to take a step back the redhead looked at her friend in wonder, “Your name is Xander Harris you’re not some marshal stop playing around.” She stated almost frantically.
Almost if for the first time the marshal noticed the apparent monsters or demons running around the pair giving both of them a very wide berth, small lightning began to crack around his hands as the shuffling of the deck of cards began to take more of a pattern. Closing his eyes for a moment Alexander opened his senses to the aether.
Snapping his eyes open he looked to the west, “Something isn’t right, this is neither my body nor my world, and yet the manitous are still reachable if much more complacent then I would expect.” Looking to the redhead still standing in front of him now staring at him wide-eyed, “May I ask what your name is mam and what we should do? You seem to be a local and have some kind of idea what is going on.”
Looking at her friends face and speaking rather apologetically, “My name is Willow Rosenberg it appears that everyone became their costumes, tonight is Halloween.” Hearing a scream in the distance Willow suddenly spun around in the direction, “Oh my God! Buffy! She dressed up as a noblewoman she will be completely helpless we need to go find her.”
Reaching down to the gun still in its holster at his hip gently caressing the handle he spoke softly, “Lead the way Willow, me and my Hellstrom special will be able to protect you from any harm.”
Running off towards the direction of the scream with willow leading the way they quickly came across Buffy standing there screaming at a car calling it a demon.
Willow came up to her and tried to calm her down, “Buffy please don‘t worry it’s just a car it won’t hurt you.”
Turning to face them Buffy looked appalled before responding, “My name is Elizabeth Russell only my father is allowed to call me that name, and what would some street harlot know about what is safe and what isn’t.”
Stepping forward Alexander came abreast of where Willow was standing then stepping past he began to speak, “Mam, weather or not she is who you think she is, it is not safe out here I am an officer of the law and will make sure you both are safe.” Turning to where Willow still stood he asked, “Do you know somewhere safe that we may be able to defend?”
Looking around quickly Willow realized where they where, “Buffy’s house is nearby and we should be safe there.” Pointing in the direction further down the street she began to move and the two others follow, Alexander leading and Buffy reluctantly following.
A few minutes travel found them inside the living room of the Summers' home. After quickly ascertaining the safety of the house Alexander returned to the front room where Willow and Buffy still waited.
“It should be sa….” Before he could finish that though a loud female scream could be heard coming from the front yard.
Moving so that she could see outside Willow was able to identify the source of the scream outside a woman in her mid to late teens wearing a cat costume was being accosted by a male wearing a pirate costume, “That’s Cordelia, you have to help her! Don’t hurt the other its just some teenager turned into their costume.” Shouted Willow.
Quickly drawing his weapon and moving to the front door, opening it a firing a shot into the air over the two combatant’s head. The shot was very loud and a green energy seemed to cover the bullet a small amount as it left the barrel. A small high pitched scream could be heard also.
Startled the two combatants turned to face the source of the shot and had extremely apprehensive looks on their faces. Pointing the gun at the man dressed as a pirate Alexander advised, “You should leave the lady alone or the next one won’t be over your head.” Nodding to Cordelia he continued, “You are Cordelia yes? A Willow Rosenberg asked me to assist you, if you would come inside.”
Just as the pirate ran off Cordelia nodded slightly and followed Alexander back inside. Once inside Willow rushed up and babbled, “Cordelliayournotreallyacatyourreallyahighschoolstudentwhodressedupasacatforhalloween.”
Looking at Willow strangely Cordelia replied, “Of course I am, what are you talking about. I mean look at this costume I really don’t think Party Town is going to return the deposit on this.” Gesturing to the various rips that where obvious on the cat costume.
Looking slightly confused Willow said, “I turned into my costume as did several others,” motioning towards where Alexander still stood, “Including Xander.”
As if having some sort of revelation Willow’s eyes brightened for a moment, “Giles! He will know what’s going on here and what to do about it.” Moving towards one of the walls pausing right before passing through it she continued, “You need to stay here it should be safe.”
Running through the wall and quickly disappearing from sight Willow was gone.
Standing near the front door a sound could be heard coming from the back as footsteps quickly entered the back of the house. A few moments later Angel entered the room to find a large hand gun pointed directly at his head.
Hissing in anger Alexander asked, “Harrowed! Give me one good reason not to put a ghost rock bullet right between your eyes and end your miserable existence right here and now.”
Cordelia still standing a few feet away rushed over and tried to pull the gun away from pointing at Angel’s head, spoke loudly, “He’s a friend and not a harrowed or whatever you called him he’s a vampire.”
Slowly holstering his gun he looked between the now identified Angel and Cordelia he spoke softly, “I will take your words for it now, but if you betray my trust there isn’t a place you can hide from me.”
Looking somewhat apprehensive Angel look between the strangely dressed Alexander and Cordelia and nodded. Just as he was about to speak the lights suddenly went out. Buffy let out a scream and ran out of the room and left into the night through the back door.
On the other side of town at the Sunnydale high school library the librarian Rupert Giles was treated to the strange site of one of his favorite students running through the wall in front of him.
Dropping his cup of tea into his lap in fright Giles quickly stood up, “Good lord what happened Willow?”
“We don’t have time for that! Everyone’s turned into there Halloween costume, Buffy’s a noblewoman and Xander became some kind of lawman but he can do magic.” Commented a wide eyed Willow.
Sitting back down in the chair that he had gotten up from in shock when Willow had come in through the library wall Giles began to clean his glasses, “Tell me everything, what happened where you bought your costumes?”
“Well me Xander and Buffy all bought them at a new costume shop called Ethan’s and Cordelia apparently bought hers at party towns.” Eyes widening in realization Willow continued, “Do you think that’s the cause because Cordelia didn’t change into her cat costume.”
“Did you say Ethan?” At Willow’s nod Giles let out an exasperated sigh, “Ethan Rayne is a chaos mage of some skill I believe that he is this Ethan that runs this costume shop.”
Standing up he quickly got his jacket and keys turning to where Willow was still standing he said, “I will go to the costume shop and try to end this madness you stay here.” Not even waiting for a response Giles quickly departed.
Back with Alexander and Cordelia they left the Summers' home and quickly split from Angel in hopes of covering better ground. A few minutes later they come across a large group of men attacking the helpless Buffy.
The bleached blonde in the front of the group was quickly moving to accost Buffy when a gunshot rang out and a bullet hit the ground in between them. Looking up he stared at where Alexander and Cordelia were standing Alexander with his gun drawn and Cordelia staring in shock a few feet behind him.
“Hate to tell you this mate but guns aren’t going to do anything to a vampire.” Sneered the bleached blonde.
Moving the barrel up and pointing the gun at one of the other vampires standing nearby Alexander quickly pulled the trigger. The Bullet quickly tore into the head of the nearby vampire causing a flash of green flames to immolate then dust it.
The entire group of vampires took several steps back before the bleached blonde vampire quickly motioned them to attack, “I don’t know who you are but no human gets between Spike the bloody and a Slayer meal.”
Moving the gun again this time with the barrel pointing directly between the eyes of Spike without one moment’s hesitation Alexander pulled the trigger. As the dust quickly began to fall from the once master vampire another wave of energy swept across the town as the spell was reversed.
As the spell washed over them all the spirit that was inside of Xander fought back and was able to leave a stronger essence inside of him allowing more memories to be retained. The gun crafted in the arcane factories of Hellstrom industries used to fire the hellish bullets crafted of ghost rock was able to hold off the transformation and prevent its reversion into a plastic toy.
Even as all of this was happening the four remaining vampires still began to rush towards the three humans. As Buffy snapped out of the seeming daze she quickly removed a stake that had been sown into the hem of the dress.
After easily dusting the remaining vampires the three teens quickly decided to part ways and head home making plans to meet the next morning before class in the library to find out more of what was going on.
That night Xander’s dreams where filled with horrors of a life he had never lived, waking up early that next morning he looked at the book that had come with the costume on it he could see written: A Treatise on Games by Edmund Hoyle 1741 edition. No longer hard to read he found the book to be filled with information on a kind of magic.
Quickly getting ready and heading to the Sunnydale high school library Xander found his quarry in his office going through a couple of older books. Knocking on the door Xander placed the book on top of what Giles was reading and asked. “What do you know about a man named Edmund Hoyle?”