DISCLAIMER: The author owns neither Joss Whedon's Buffy, nor Disney's Aladdin. Have a nice day.
EDIT–7/31/2010: Nominated in the COA, yeah! Of course this meant I couldn't ignore it any longer and had to fix a few typos... 'Crackjacks' indeed! Happy Harry Potter's Birthday, all!)
Xander noticed three troubling things upon rediscovering consciousness.
One: his limbs weren’t falling off his lumpy bedroom mattress. In fact, it wasn’t his bed at all. His bed was a beast of a thing with a collapsed back left corner and a loose spring that spent its nights trying to corkscrew itself into his lumbar spine. Instead he was laid out on a soft expanse. He wondered, had the monster of the week knocked him out and the Scoobies dropped him in Giles guest room again? He didn’t remember the duvet-covered queen being this comfortable.
Two: someone had removed the padded costume of fake muscles from his body. The combination of unfamiliar bed and having been undressed made him jerk upright to take stock of the situation. First and most importantly, he was still wearing his pants. He calmed down considerably. For a moment. Then, just above his waistline, he discovered the thing that put him on the defcon 3 of freak-outs.
Three: his skin was a pale, corpse-like blue. He jabbed two fingers into the hollow of his throat. Then he waited. And waited. The pulse refused to beat.
“Oh, hell no!” he shouted and tumbled out of the bed. More accurately, it was a nest of cushions, but really, he could care less. He couldn’t be.
The room was large, round, and looked suspiciously like a deserted harem. There were no doors. More to the point, there were no mirrors. Xander needed to see his reflection. It was that or go straight to the plan where he broke off a wooden furniture leg and saw whether he dusted.
Of course, “Plan: Suicide” also required that there be furniture with legs or, y’know, wood. He was surround by silken drapes, pillows, and tassels. Far too many tassels. Really. This place had been decorated either by a cat or a "flamboyant" fashionista. And since he had woken up half naked in this harem prison, could he kindly submit his vote for cat?
Back to the part where he was panicking about being turned into a vampire, he finally found a reflection. There were gold bands closed about his wrists. At first he had mistaken them for the felt remnants of his costume, but they were in fact somewhat heavy and very shiny. He peered at them intently. Never in his life had he been so happy to see his ugly mug.
There was still the issue where he didn’t have a pulse and was an asphyxiated white-blue. And was half naked. And apparently trapped in a fantasy suite turned prison cell. It was still good to not be a vampire.
But seriously, where was the damned door?
He went to the nearest drape that covered the circular wall and gave it a vicious tug. There had to be a door. The satiny blue cloth tumbled down to reveal a curved sheet of metal. He repeated the process until he had to stop and stare. There wasn’t a door. He was trapped in a spherical metal room without a door.
Spike had never been above killing a demon for a piece of shiny. This, however, was more accidental. One of the teenage-turned vampires that nested near the high school had been moving towards a demonically inclined pawnshop as Spike ambled by. She happened to annoy him. Stake, dust, simple. Only not so simple at all, really, because something on her person didn’t dust, and that just didn’t happen. She disintegrated normally, first heart then a searing burst up into the head, then out into the extremities, her clothes crumbling in the chain reaction. An object dropped down. The cloth it had been wrapped in fell apart, and there on the ground in a pile of dust was a golden Persian oil lamp.
This made Spike pause. Crackerjacks vampires were not. They did not come with prizes. Had there been a contest sponsored by Hell he missed the announcement for? Curious, he picked up the indestructible object. He sniffed. Definitely gold. He attempted to dent it, then to crush it with his full strength when that failed. Nothing. Definitely magical.
He squinted at it. The dust had caked into its surface. There was some sort of inscription that might explain what it was (it didn’t pay to walk around with cursed objects after all), so he rubbed at the surface of the lamp the clear it off and get a good look.
This was when the lamp hissed and blue smoke shot out of the spout to twist into a thin, half-naked body that dropped onto the pavement with a thump and an “Oi!”
Spike took in the gold around the wrists and in a loop piercing one ear, the blue skin, and the lamp. Well, now, didn’t this just make his night? “Points for entrance, mate,” he called out. The genie stiffened. “But next time stick the landing.”
The genie twisted around. Spike’s eyebrows shot up towards his bleached hairline. He knew that throat. His sire had a hand wrapped around it whilst offering it to him just last week. It had been a bluff, but the throat was nevertheless the same. Now, though, instead of a Slayer’s lackey, he had a genie. A side effect of that god awful Halloween, he supposed. It didn't bother him too much that the whelp hadn't turned back like the rest. Genie laws were of the binding, for eternity sort. He twisted a finger around the handle. A genie. Going up in the world, he was.
He noticed the boy had crab walked backwards away from him and was about to jump up and bolt around the corner. That wouldn’t do. He rubbed the lamp, this time purposefully. There was a blast of blue smoke, and his genie was gasping on the ground in front of him again.
“What…how did you…” The boy, Xander, that was his name, gave up trying to articulate thought and just rasped for air.
Interesting. “You haven’t got a damned clue what you are, do you whelp?”
“I’m Xander. Donut-boy and vampire duster. And trick-or-treat group leader. Where the hell are my kids!” It was November 6th. Somebody was missing a week. Spike let the lamp dangle conspicuously from one finger in front of him and smiled as the mental wheels turned in confusion, then crashed to a halt. The boy looked down at his wrists. “My costume,” he whispered. “I’ve been turned into my costume…but if I…the kids…Buffy!”
Spike had to stop and raise his estimation of the boy’s IQ. Whelp jumped to a seemingly impossible but correct conclusion on almost no information, and then immediately understood the greater consequences. How precious. A child that had miraculously escaped the brainwashing regimen of a government-run school system.
“Where are my kids, Spike!”
The boy gawked at him. “Huh?”
“Call me Master.”
The genie gave him a once over. “Even you aren’t that ugly.”
Spike paused, recalling his one encounter with Darla’s maker. “Point.” He held out the lamp. “Come on then. I’m actually quite busy.”
He got a look of incomprehension.
“In,” he commanded forcefully.
The genie bristled. “Like hell!” he snarled, but his body had already begun to smoke. There was time for a look of dawning panic, and then he was dragged back into the lamp.
He was in a warehouse. There were chains. There were dolls. Bloody pokers. Bed sheets. Cute little knick-knacks. An insane vampire that insisted on petting him. Drucilla was obsessed. It was not good times. Unfortunately, Spike’s grip on the lamp sent jangles of agony through his body whenever he attempted to move, thus ensuring that his head stayed in her lap.
“Genie, I wish my Drucilla was healed, completely.”
Something twisted in Xander’s gut at those words. Or what had been his gut, anyway. He felt hollowed out, with a smoky coil inside that shifted. It swirled now, stretching out through his arms, trembling as it passed the shackles, and shot from his fingers into the vampire wrapped around him on the couch. It was possibility. Unlimited power forced to limit itself to fit the words of a pathetic worm called Master. Some instinctual loathing welled up in Xander. Not of Spike. That was a hate all its own. This was something else, peculiar to the genie, a rage at being so confined. Instinctively, as the power twisted around Drucilla, he reached out for some outcome that would spite the one that commanded him. Spike was the law. He had to follow it to the letter, no more.
And letters were tricky things.
Drucilla screamed, clutched at her head, and then fell from the couch, gasping for breath. “Oh my Lord,” she moaned, chest heaving. She was well on her way to hyperventilation.
“Pet?” Spike asked. He reached for her shoulder, touched the pale exposed skin, then snatched the hand away as though he had been burned. “Bloody hell, you’re warm!”
She was indeed warm. There was a flush in her cheeks. She was breathing. He sniffed. She was human. Spike rounded on the genie on the couch with a venomous, fang-bared glare. “What did you do!”
Xander straightened, and he smiled icily. “I healed her, Master,” he said simply as Drucilla broke into a Hail Mary on the spot. “Completely.”
Spike’s knuckles turned white as he gripped the lamp. Xander collapsed in a heap, but managed to give a bark of laughter.
“You think this is funny, do you! Well, try this on for size. I wish for Buffy Summers to die…permanently…right now.”
Xander froze. He waited for the coil of power to twist into an ugly cloud of death and go seek out his friend. He waited, and waited, and picked up his head from the warehouse floor in a daze. “I can’t,” he whispered in sudden understanding. A fierce joy seized him. “I can’t kill!”
Oh, thank you Lord. And thank you, Disney!
Spike growled at him, livid from his bleached roots down to his patent leather boots. Honestly, who dressed this vampire? That person and Cordelia needed to have words. Xander smothered a giggle. He was so on a variation of the yay-the-world-didn’t-end high. Spike was even less amused than before.
“In!” he demanded.
Xander mirth died a little. Into his prison cell again, it seemed.
Once the smoke had entered the lamp, Spike angrily stoppered it with a piece of rag and turned to Drucilla. Staring at him, his lovely pet started to mutter the Lord’s prayer. The words dripped from her lips, toads and beetles and other disgusting things tumbling from a perfect mouth. “Shush,” he demanded, taking her wrists. He could feel the pulse hammering against his fingertips. That genie…
Spike forced himself to see the good in this. He just had to turn her, and she would be his bone china princess again, strong, deadly, and lascivious as ever. “Don’t you worry about what he did to you, luv. I’ll make it all better. You’ll see.” He kissed the hot tears running down her cheeks and then shifted his attention to the base of her throat. “It will only hurt a little bit,” he whispered before piercing the jugular vein.
She shook beneath him. Never before had something felt so wrong yet tasted so right.
It felt like weeks before Xander was permitted to leave the lamp. He spent the time trying not to brood. That would just be…wrong.
Instead, he pieced together the clues of how the hell it had all happened. Between his memory of Disney’s Aladdin, Spike’s gloating, Spike’s rants, and Spike’s crazy girlfriend’s babbling, he had been able to figure out most of it. Somehow, people had been turned into their costumes on Halloween. Xander got all the phenomenal cosmic powers of a real genie. …And he got all that went with it, too, up to and including the itty bitty living space. Sometime after midnight on Halloween, according to Spike, everyone turned back to normal. Only he didn’t. Dru had nattered something in his ear about minor gods and unbreakable rules. Peachy. So, stuck in the lamp as a genie for keeps, Xander had languished until a vampire had found the lamp on the street and got in Spike’s way. Spike rubbed the lamp, and the rest was really depressing history.
Good news, his little troop of Halloween trick-or-treaters was most likely alive. Bad news, he was the universe’s most powerful butt monkey.
And there he was with the brooding again. He tried to stave it off by coaxing the coil inside of him out, willing it to do anything that would distract him from boredom and dark thoughts.
By the end of his confinement, he had learned to conjure vague smoky shapes. They weren’t solid or any color but his pale blue, but he would have several thousand years to improve. Xander shuddered. He was not willing to spend that time trapped in a lamp, but that wasn’t really his choice, now was it? Really, did he have any choices left at all?
When Spike finally called him, he really tried not to look too ecstatic at being able to leave, and he probably failed. Drifting to smoke, he allowed himself to be pulled upwards and out the spout.
Spike looked murderous. It knocked the happiness right out of Xander’s sails. The genie was briefly glad that he was indestructible. Then he blinked at the sound. Hanging in the air there was a cage. Within it, screaming antiquated but impressive obscenities, was a vamped out Drucilla.
Then he winced as he crashed to his knees.
“I want my Dru back,” Spike hissed, gripping the lamp. “She’s come out all wrong, all sharp edges and…sane.” He bit that last word off like a curse. “So now you get to fix it. I wish for Drucilla to love me again, like she used to.”
Xander’s face broke into a grin. Oh, Disney, you lovely bundle of mother-approved, moralistic storytelling. “Wish denied,” he replied happily. “Try again. And, oh, fuck you.”
The vampire’s expression was so worth the pain that came after. The solitary confinement, however, sucked.
The sight that greeted him upon his return to the out world wasn’t exactly fun either. There were about eighty crumpled pieces of paper, a legal book, and a library videocassette of Disney’s Aladdin on the table beside the lamp. Spike had on a superior smirk. Somebody had done his homework.
And there went the idea to tempt Spike into wishing to be a genie idea. Poof. Like that.
The vampire cleared his voice and began to read from the paper. It was complicated enough language to make crack lawyers balk. Xander felt himself go colder and colder as the coil wound ever tighter in him, looking for a loophole and finding none.
He played the words over in his head, trying to understand the enormity of what the wish would mean. He felt only dread as the pieces slowly fell into place.
No. “Please, no.” He reached out towards Spike. The vampire forged on, responding to his pleas with only a nasty smile. Xander felt himself spinning on the inside. It was hot, too hot. It was leaking out his ears and every other orifice. His nails scrabbled against the floor. He couldn’t take it. It was too much pressure. He was everything and anything. He was everything, and now he was being twisted into a single, horrible wish. Infinity writhed inside him. It could not be measured or defined, but here and now it was. Something in him crumpled. This wasn’t creating a prince or healing a girl. There was no room for interpretation, nothing but words pressing in on him from all sides.
His world exploded in a rush of smoke.
It should have been a blessing that he hadn’t seen the inside of the lamp in over a hundred years. Instead it was his curse. Xander looked away as the window of the car rolled down and William ordered into the squawk box at McDonald's. The pictures of human entrails and kidneys in the numbered meal boxes always made him queasy. A feat, considering he had no stomach to speak of. Happy Meals on legs. That was William the Bloody for you.
He blinked at the chocolate shake shoved under his nose a minute later. He took it and fiddled with the straw. That was William the Bloody for you, too. Evil, conniving, but with a vein of kindness in him that made everything else so much worse. He was incurably affectionate, even doting. Xander sipped at the straw to get those expectant eyes off him. The sugar hit the power coiling inside him and sparked. When asked to describe the sensation once, he had only been able to come up with pop rocks fizzing inside the ribcage. He preferred not to think of William’s sage nod after the explanation. Whole books had been written on his Master’s peculiar mixtures of blood and various foods. There was a theory about vampires being what they ate, the blood type contributing to their personality and human food lending the human qualities of flexibility and compassion.
A comic book. An asked opinion. A chocolate shake. Compassion changed nothing about the horrors Xander had been made to see. He had seen too much.
“Pet?” There was a uncharacteristically hesitant pause.
Xander cut the awkward conversation short. “I know what the date is, Master.”
William looked at him sidelong. “Right then. Happy anniversary and all that rot. I thought I might buy you something shiny, but what do you get the boy who can conjure everything?”
“Will you make your third wish?”
Xander opened the dark, necrotized car window and threw the shake out of the speeding car.
“No need to get in a tiff.”
“The third wish is burning under my skin. I’ve been at the pinnacle for so long that the tumble over the edge won’t be bliss, just release. Please.”
“No. Though if you want release…”
“Not all of us are pan-sexual, Master,” he snapped back in response to the toothy leer. “I just want it to end.”
“Right then. A puppy it is.”
Xander shot him a dark look but said nothing. He didn’t say anything for the rest of the night.
The next day there was a puppy. Four of them actually, but the first three were scared stiff of Xander and thus sealed their fate as appetizers for William’s guests. The last, a big oaf of a chocolate lab, tripped its way into Xander’s lap and wouldn’t leave. The genie waited for his Master to grow suitably distracted by the party downstairs before hugging the pup in his arms and crying.
He’d always wanted a puppy as a little kid, back when he was human, back before William had transformed the world into a vampire’s paradise with him as its eternal king. William had hidden the lamp, even from Xander, and wouldn’t make the third wish, all to ensure no one would use his genie against him. Unable to truly rest, Xander found himself wound ever tighter as the years passed. He wanted release. And sex, too. While he was at it, he wanted to be human. Normal. No crazy powers. Ever.
And he wanted a puppy, too.
He hugged the small, warm thing even tighter.
“So you’re the genie.”
He looked up, startled. A female demon had gotten past security. She looked around the room Xander was allowed to called his.
She smiled. The fleshy, pumice-colored ridges in her face rippled as she smiled. “So you’re the wish granter. It hurts, doesn’t it, to be forced to give people their greatest desires and yet be unable to give yourself the tiniest thing.”
He bristled. “I can make anything I want.”
“But it’s not real, is it, when no one is there to say I wish.”
Too close to the truth. Dead on, actually. “Who are you?” he demanded.
The demon sat beside him on the floor. “I know what it’s like to have power but be unable to use it for yourself. It eats at you, on the inside.”
“I don’t know where the lamp is, so don’t bother.” He looked away. People had talked to him before, making promises of a better existence or even freeing him, if only he would give them his lamp. This was a new tactic, this sympathy. He didn’t want to hear it.
“I’m not interested in the lamp.”
He scoffed. “Right. And I’m a real boy.”
“Is that what you would wish for?” She raised her hands at his dark look. “I’m just asking. This world is beautiful in its own way, but it’s something of a mess, too. King William has conservative tastes, but his subjects are wasteful. More and more seers predict the human population will vanish in a few years and then the whole dimension will slide into hell. …If we’re not already there. In any case, this is no place to make a living.”
“And you’d like me to change all that.”
“Would you, if you could?” She looked at him, eyes piercing. “Would you wish that none of this had ever happened?”
There was a sudden commotion from outside the room. Xander relaxed a little in the demon's presence. She was going to be dead very shortly, so what did it matter?
“I would,” he whispered, voice all but lost underneath the splintering crash as William broke down the door with an angry roar.
She ignored the vampire to stare unnervingly at Xander and clutch at an amulet around her neck. “Is that your wish? Do you wish it?”
“Yes, I wish it…”
He trailed off as William suddenly screamed, “You bitch!” and lunged forward.
Halfrek, Patron Saint of Abused Children, reached forward to stroke Xander’s cheek. “Granted.”
And it never happened.FIN
I have this penchant for depressing Xander fics, but technically this story never happened, and I think there's enough Xander-gets-superpowers-and-everything's-hunk-dory stories running around anyway. I do, however, encourage other writers who had childhoods and saw ten million Aladdin cartoons to run with the crossover idea and do all things cute, funny, and terribly romantic. What if Jasmine had been Chosen? Could Mozenrath and Willow make it as a couple? How horribly would Buffy drive Magic Carpet? What if an Aladdin character was turned into a vampire? How would various Buffy characters use their three wishes? C'mon, people: pick a feature.
Thanks for reading in any case.