Curiouser and Curiouser
Therefore I’m Mad
Spoilers: Up to BtVS episode 2.06 – ‘Halloween’
Warnings: Slash, Rewrite
Pairings: Spander, Possible Spander+Dru, Canon ships: Buffy/Angel, Willow/Oz, Giles/Jenny
Disclaimer: I own nothing from the various works and versions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Wonderland or anything from the Buffy Jossverse.
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? – Alice, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= Chapter 1 – Curiouser and Curiouser =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=I can't believe Snyder forced us to volunteer. Draft is more like it. Damn ugly little troll man. Wish he was the one my pack ate instead of Flutey.
Xander fumed as he strode into Sunnydale's only goodwill store. Since the arrival of one particular small blonde Slayer on the Hellmouth, he'd found that his clothing had developed an alarming tendency towards being shredded and icked on by various beasties. If there was one thing that he could count on vamps and demons for it was a never ending supply of claws, dust, blood, drool, ichor and fluids better left unidentified- that and their unerring aim, insuring he was always the one who ended up being thrown into things and goo-ed on. It was really quite impressive how the death throes of each monster of the week seemed to consistently carry them within bleeding range of Xander and his clothing.
He had never been the most fashion conscious person around and with a rising nightly death toll on his outfits he was starting to care less and less- so long as he wasn’t going to school naked. He really didn’t have the money to keep himself in fashion and finery, so Xander had become a common sight in the Goodwill store browsing for cheap and often ugly clothing. He knew the sections and layout of the store fairly well by now.
He was heading over to the ever present Army surplus section to grab some fatigues for a quick and easy soldier Halloween costume that could later double as slay wear when he saw IT.
IT was the most hideous thing he had ever seen, and if Cordelia and Buffy's usual comments on his tastes in fashion were any indication, the fact that he noticed its complementary-and-yet-still-clashing colors meant the shirt was even uglier than hideous. IT was also on the super sale display- the death row rack of clothes, the stuff no one in their right mind would ever purchase to wear. The garments that had been marked down, prices slashed, put on sale, reduced, closed out, on clearance and then re-negotiated to the point they were pretty much given away. IT was also perfect.
He could see the plan for a unique and interesting costume unfold in his mind. Soldiers were a dime a dozen anyway, this was his chance to do something different. Not to mention it fit his personality as a jokester to a T. He snickered at his pun as he grabbed the long sleeved pink and purple striped monstrosity of a T-shirt from the rack and headed for the register.
A few minutes and fifty cents later Xander was walking home, the proud new owner of an awesome Halloween costume-to-be. Maybe this volunteering thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Buffy sighed in frustration. She had spent the last short eternity trying in vain to get Willow to see the merits of not drowning herself in a sheet. The redhead had a nice body when it wasn’t smothered in oversized sweaters, frumpy bohemian blouses or overalls that the Slayer hadn’t known even came in sizes other than toddler and farmhand. It may just be the dying remnants of the head cheerleader in her, but she felt that it was her duty to see that the wilting wallflower grew into the self assured and attractive woman she could be. Some days it felt more impossible than others. Today was a good example of that.
“You’re never gonna get noticed if you keep hiding.” She eyed the prepackaged ghost costume clutched tightly to the budding hacker’s chest in distaste as she attempted to reason with her friend. Logic was, after all the way to a geeky brainiac’s heart as she had come to learn over the course of their friendship. "It's come as you aren't night. Halloween is the night that not you IS you- but not YOU, ya know?"
She rethought her statement in confusion, she’d lost the plot somewhere in the middle of that sentence. Her musing was cut off when Xander joined them and Buffy felt her chances to make her point slip away as Willow desperately changed the subject to his nondescript brown paper bag. “Hey, Xander! Whadja get?”
It looked like while she’d been spending all her time trying to convince Willow to do something fun, he’d already finished shopping. She hadn’t even started looking for herself yet. Maybe seeing what he’d gotten would give her some ideas. She was actually kinda surprised when all he pulled out was a set of purple cat ears and a tail. “That’s not a costume.”
He gave her a ‘duh’ look, "I've got the rest of my outfit at home. Just call me the 5$ costume king."
She returned his look flatly, “You’re going to be a cat?”
“Ah, but not just any cat. I’m going to be THE cat. The greatest feline of them all. Better than Mister Mistoffelees even.”
Buffy’s expression remained insultingly incredulous about the awesomeness of being a cat, but now there was an added note of confusion about the reference. Willow rescued her from having to respond when she stepped in with a reprimand, “Xander, you haven’t been watching all those old taped musicals again, have you? You know how much you hate it when you get ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ stuck in your head.”
He made a disgusted face. “’All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum’ is not a real song. It’s like they wrote half of it and then just gave up. Is it so wrong to ask that my songs have a full set of lyrics, not a nonsensical mish-mash of words and baby talk.”
Willow puffed up a bit at that. “Some of it is real words you know. Yiddish is not baby talk, mister.”
“Sorry, Wills. But you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty much the singular funniest sounding language out there. It all either sounds like you’re about to hock a loogie or cough up a hairball. Not even Buffy’s French is that bad.”
“Alexander LaVelle Harris. You stop insulting my heritage right now.” Buffy couldn’t help but notice that Willow hadn’t argued with what he’d said- only that he’d said it.
Xander probably went on to defend himself or at least protest the public use of his dreaded middle name, but Buffy ignored him, attention focused elsewhere. The kids in the back of the store had jostled one of the rolling racks as they pawed through the costumes. It had only moved about a foot, but it was enough for her to glimpse a vision of fake pink silk and taffeta beyond it. It was as if one of the beautiful dresses she’d seen in Giles’s watcher diaries about Angel’s human days had stepped right off the page.
Already she could imagine Angel’s reactions to her in this dress. He would be speechless, well, he really didn’t talk much anyways- but she’d be able to see the surprise and delight in his soulful brown eyes. He’d know that she picked this costume just for him and unable to keep his hands to himself he would wrap her up in his strong arms and oh-so-perfect Cordelia would be the farthest thing from his mind. It would be a real chance to feel normal again, just a girl and her date, even if it would be the vision of a date from the 1700s.
Tonight was going to be perfect.
Spike was busy watching and re-watching the moving pictures of the newest Slayer he’d gotten from one of the minions. He would get all full of excitement and passion when he was on the hunt. Drusilla shivered in delight. Her darling William wanted to kill another Slayer for her, he was always so sweet like that. It was the fiery fish that swum about in his tummy. But he didn’t know. Her lovely Spikey couldn’t see what was coming; he always ignored the stars no matter how loudly they shouted. Miss Edith said that he was too stubborn and willfully deaf to hear, but that was alright. Drusilla was a good little girl who always attended to her betters and did what she was told. She could listen for the both of them.
"Everything's switching, outsides to insides. It makes her weak."
And just like that she had his full attention. Her Spike may not listen to all the others, but he never ignored her. He was there for her always, not like Daddy, who’d gone away with the bad light burning in his chest. Gone all away, her family, left alone but never without her William. "Really? Did my pet have a vision?"
"Do you know what I miss? Leeches."
"C'mon. Talk to Daddy. This thing- that makes the slayer weak. When is it?”
"Tomorrow's Halloween. Nothing ever happens on Halloween." She hugged Miss Edith to her chest. She could feel his disbelief, it always hurt so good when her Spike didn’t believe her. Shiny daggers to her heart, stabbing and slicing. Drops of lifesblood flowing from the wounds like little pieces of delicious cherry confetti.
"Someone's come to change it all,” Drusilla tilted her head to hear Miss Edith’s whispers more closely. “Someone new. And he brings the Dark Kitten with him."
“Forget the kitten, if the Slayer’s gonna be weak I need to be ready.” She watched the blonde walk away sadly. Her Spike always listened, but he never heard. Everything would be alright; after all if he knew where the rabbit hole was he might decide to jump over it instead of into it, he was naughty like that. It didn’t matter though. Even though her Spike didn’t see it, the future was full of tea parties, oysters and a Hatter gone mad.
“Oh, but my Spikey the Dark Kitten is the most important of all. Alice won’t find him until he stops chasing the White Rabbit. Come Miss Edith, we must find the fine china, wouldn’t be proper to serve the guests without it.”
Ugh, maybe I should have just gone with the fatigues, or at least tried the shirt on before I bought it. Stupid impulse buying.
Xander grumbled to himself as he tugged on the bottom hem of his shirt for what seemed like the thousandth time in the half hour since he’d put it on. In his excitement and geek-gasm over dressing like one of his favorite childhood Disney characters he had forgotten to check the size of the tee. It was two full sizes smaller than he’d normally be comfortable with.
Luckily, his clothing was usually about a size and a half too big, so the shirt was only skin tight- not fully constricting his breathing or anything, it just left him feeling really exposed. Being a typically self-conscious and awkward teen, Xander wasn’t all that relaxed about showing off his body- it’s not like he was a model or had muscles to be proud of or anything. His normal clothes consisted of loose fitting tees with even looser billowing over shirts. With his costume fitting him like a second skin and insistently riding up to show his stomach and hips he felt like one of those fat kids that refused to acknowledge their muffin top. He didn’t think he was too bulgy around the middle, but this was California, self proclaimed land of the shallow. God only knew if his body fit into the socially acceptable category. What if everyone was looking at him like he was one of those saggy people who thought spandex was acceptable daywear.
He didn’t even realize how girly his internal monologue was. Being best friends with the estrogen brigade had apparently been hell on his manly ignorance of all things fashionable and social. Instead he tried to just focus on how he was only wearing the shirt once and people would be more forgiving about wardrobe malfunctions and fashion taboos on Halloween. He could burn the outfit later.
Stealing himself for the inevitability of failing the Buffy Test he stepped up to the Summers household and rang the bell. He just knew she was going to notice how terribly the shirt fit him. Hopefully she wouldn’t torment him too much.
Buffy looked at her image, standing side by side with a very sexy Willow in the mirror. They looked great. She’d been skeptical about her wig, but after all the styling she’d done it looked fantastic. She almost considered letting her natural brunette grow back in, but dismissed the thought quickly. She adjusted her necklace as Willow stared in shock at her own reflection before gently pulling the ex-wallflower’s (if the blonde had any say in it) arms away from where they’d crossed her stomach defensively.
Buffy had finally managed to get her way and the redhead was dressed in a skintight black pleather skirt and wrap around crushed red velvet top with a plunging neckline that ended just under her bust. The diminutive Slayer was actually a little jealous. She wasn’t tall enough to pull the look off; her torso just wasn’t long enough to bare the midriff like that. She’d carefully done up a set of sultry eyes and luscious red lips for her cosmetically challenged friend and voila, presto-chango Willow Rosenberg was a real girl. A very pretty real girl at that. I do such good work.
Her self congratulation on a job well done was interrupted when the doorbell rang. “Oh, that’s Xander. Are you ready?”
“Yeah. O-o-okay.” Getting over the initial shock of seeing herself in the mirror, Willow looked slightly less like she was going to run away screaming or faint, but not by much. She still had really wide deer-in-headlights eyes, but she’d get over it.
“Cool! I cannot wait until the boys go all non-verbal when they see you.”
Buffy bounced down the stairs, enjoying the flounce of her voluminous skirts and underskirts as they swished around her legs. She pulled open the door and stopped short when she saw what was standing on her front porch wearing a crooked smile.
Xander really had chosen to go as a cat. The purple ears sat jauntily and a little crookedly on his head and the tail was no doubt swinging merrily behind him. He was wearing a pair of black jeans and boots, but what really drew her attention was the shirt.
Normally, Xander suffered the same hiding in fabric syndrome as Willow, choosing to cover up in loose unflattering clothing, but this was totally different. The shirt he’d chosen was terribly ugly, with alternating fuchsia and purple stripes, but it fit him perfectly and left very little to the imagination. It hugged surprisingly well toned stomach muscles and stretched tight across his previously un-admired and quite drool worthy chest. The absolute best part was the way it was just slightly too short to reach his jeans, tauntingly bearing a sliver of sun tanned flesh. He looked like he’d just stepped off a poster or out of a magazine. A cat fetish magazine, but still. Hello, salty goodness. Who knew Xander was actually kinda hot.
As she continued to stand in the doorway staring, Xander tugged at the bottom of the shirt nervously and deflected her attention by cracking a joke. "Buffy, Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia. I am in awe. I completely renounce spandex."
Shaken out of her ogling, the blonde smiled at her friend and curtsied, trying out a false accent that ended up somewhere between English and Southern. “Thank you, kind sir.”
He gave a matching bow and she giggled before turning to the stairs. “But wait until you see… Casper.”
Willow had apparently chickened out at the last moment, because all of Buffy’s hard work was standing before her, smothered in a white sheet. Luckily, Xander seemed to sense her disappointment and stepped in, tsking in disapproval, “Oh, this won’t do at all. The lady is as white as a sheet. Perhaps we should visit the cards, I had heard rumor they are experts at painting the roses red.”
The situation was suitably disarmed as they all laughed.
Finally all of his planning and preparations were complete. In just a few moments there would be such delicious chaos on the Hellmouth and Ripper’s attention would be drawn. Ethan smiled, cold and deadly as a shark. Tonight would be spectacular. He couldn’t have planned it better and was oh so very pleased when that blonde bint of a Slayer had chosen to take the gown. With a useless charge Ripper would be disgraced in the eyes of the Watchers Council. When the girl and her uptight keepers were finally out of the picture Ethan could step in to pick up the pieces and convince Ripper to return to the old ways. Rupert Giles was never meant to be a bloody librarian and starting tonight he would prove it.
With quick movements he sliced a dagger across both palms, groaning in pain as he pushed against the cuts until blood began to flow freely down his wrists. The circles were drawn, the ritual candles were lit and the statue of Janus sat in its proper place on the altar.
“The world that denies thee, thou inhabit.”
Dabbing a finger through the pool on his left palm he anointed his eyelid with blood, and then again on his other eye.
“The peace that ignores thee, thou corrupt.”
Using the remaining blood on his finger he sketched a rough cross on his forehead and stared deep into the eyes of the statue representing his god.
“Chaos, I remain as ever thy faithful, degenerate son.”
He could feel the energies in the room rising and swirling about, just waiting to be given purpose and form. The air fairly hummed with the sheer power of it. He was all too happy to direct it to its destined function. Settling into a light trance he delved deeply into the magic around him and started chanting.
“Janus, evoco vestram animam. Exaudi meam causam. Carpe noctem pro consilio vestro. Veni, appare et nobis monstra quod est infinita potestas. Persona se corpum et sanguium commutandum est. Vestra sancta praesentia concrescet viscera. Janus! Sume noctem!” [Latin – ‘Janus, I invoke your spirit. Hear my plea. Seize the night for your own reason. Come, appear and show to us that which is infinite power. The mask transforms itself into flesh and blood. Your holy presence curdles the heart. Janus! Take the night!’
With the shouted end of the intonation the ritual candles guttered as the magic rushed out of the room in a torrent and swept the Hellmouth, taking hold of the costumes the mage had sold and changing their bearers. Deep satisfaction filled him as he felt his will being done across town.
"Oh, dear. Am I out? I could have sworn I had more." The elderly woman leaned down to speak to the disappointed kids at her door. "I'm sorry Mister Monster but-"
She was cut off as the now authentic small green goblin looking creature grabbed her by the throat and started shaking her. The other kids, unaffected by the magic, wasted no time and ran away screaming.
"No! Let her go!" Willow watched in horror as the small devil she'd been accompanying all night charged the goblin, who was still throttling the older woman. The surprise attack shocked the green demon into releasing his victim, who wasted no time running into her house and slamming the door, locking the chaos outside. Having lost its prey the goblin turned to grapple with the angry red devil.
"Stop. What are you doing? Stop!" Willow sucked in more air to yell louder at the children-gone-demon who were ignoring her when her chest restricted painfully. She reeled back against the house gasping and coughing, but couldn't seem to fill her burning lungs. "Can't breathe."
She slumped to the porch limply as her oxygen deprived heart stuttered to a halt. A moment later she lurched upright again, but her corporeal form remained stubbornly still and lifeless beneath her.
"Oh my god! I'm a real ghost?" She felt a little sick (and wasn’t that weird without a body) as she stared at the way her legs faded into the fallen flesh that she used to inhabit. She couldn’t even see her feet. Her distress was interrupted when she faintly heard someone singing over the sounds of chaos, and as she concentrated on the song it steadily grew louder.“`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.”
“Xander?” She quickly stepped out of her fallen body and rushed towards the familiar voice.”All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgraaaaaaabe.”
She quickly found him, dancing and tumbling acrobatically around in the street. He hadn’t noticed her yet. "Xander!”
He turned to her, continuing to hum jovially. Willow almost took a step back in shock. Apparently she wasn’t the only one going through some major changes tonight. Xander’s eyes were glowing with an odd yellow light and his hair, which was even wilder than usual, had turned bright purple (even his eyebrows) to match his realistic looking and twitching- Oh God, the tail and ears were real. Her usually-Xander-shaped friend was a real life catboy.
As if they’d heard her thoughts the ears rotated to fix on her position and the tail curled up over his shoulder appearing for all the world as if the striped tip were looking at her curiously. His shirt had somehow melded with him, transforming into a furred pelt that disappeared into his jeans. At some point he had also lost his shoes and socks and now sported clawed toes and fingertips. Even as she watched he couldn’t seem to contain his exuberant energy, bouncing and weaving constantly on the balls of his feet.
“Well, hello there! And good Xander to you as well.” A huge and very nearly anatomically incorrect smile split his face almost in half as unnaturally bleached teeth shone at her in the night.
"Xander quit messing around; this is no time for jokes."
“I find that anytime is a good time for a joke, no time is best of all. Would you like to hear one?”
“No! I don’t want to hear a joke. We have bigger problems right now.”
“There is no bigger problem than the loss of one’s sense of humor. Perhaps we can still find it. Where did you last put it down?” He cocked his head to the side and smiled at her in pity.
"I didn’t- You don't know me, do you?" There was no recognition in his unsettling eyes at all. He was just humoring a total stranger.
“How well can one really ever know another?” He vanished and reappeared behind her, “After all if your thoughts were in everyone else’s head, your own would be quite empty.”
“Oh, god. You’re really the cat.”
“The Cheshire Cat. At your service.” He confirmed with another overlarge smile and twirled into a low bow.
“But the Cheshire Cat was… Xander, you’re not crazy now are you?”
“I had noticed that you aren’t all there yourself.” Her cat-shaped-friend walked casually through her, making her shiver a bit at the tingling sensation. It was like a breeze had blown through her, touching everything inside rather than stopping at the skin. She couldn’t deal with this. Xander was being weird, she was very possibly gulp-dead and there was total madness (pun not intended) on the Hellmouth. They needed the Slayer.
"Ok, don’t panic. We just need to find- Buffy!"Oh, thank god.
Willow raced towards the familiar brunette wig of her friend, hoping the Cat would be curious enough to follow along behind her.=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= TBC =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=
I googled the spell and translation, but forgot to write down where I got it from.
Distribution: FFN (Lightning_Skies), Twisting the Hellmouth (LightningSkies)
Author has given no other permissions.
4,058 Words - 9 Pages – 08/13/09