'Bargains' usually aren't.
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS (Joss Whedon's), Avatar (James Cameron's), Star Trek (erm... lotsa people's?), nor Superman (DC's). If I did, there would be many changes made, MANY I tell you! *wanders off cackling madly*
A/N: I am a third of the way through writing this story, but I won't be posting any more until it's DONE. That's a big change for me, but I thought that I would try it out. Why, you may ask, is she posting the first chapter? Because... because I want some rhyming reviews, dangit! I always miss out on them and they're SO COOL! Ok, on with the story...~~~~~
Cordelia stared at the plastic-wrapped outfit on the rack, eyes intent and considering. So many factors went into good fashion, and Halloween came but once a year. Thank god.
Of course, she did
already have a costume. A good costume, but not a great
one – and she wanted a great costume. The fact that that little weasel Snyder had co-opted her into chaperoning kiddies was annoying but, aside from the likely headache, it didn't really change her plans. She'd be all done with that by eight at the latest, and the Bronze didn't get good till then anyways.
Still… this was a rather ambitious
"Interested in science fiction, my dear?" came a smooth voice from her elbow. Cordelia turned her head slowly, quirking an eyebrow in a manner she knew most found intimidating, this man – probably the proprietor – merely raised a brow in return. Her respect for him went up a notch.
"As if," she sneered in belated response to his question, "just browsing. Your selection really leaves something to be desired." She flicked a purple "Star Wars" lightsaber and watched it swing back and forth on its hook in ill-concealed disdain.
"Yes, well, most of the more everyday monster costumes went earlier this week. Just a few character pieces left, really. Though I am
surprised that a well-coiffed young lady such as yourself doesn't already possess the perfect outfit…"
Cordy shot him a haughty look, "Who says I don't? I'm just browsing."
He smiled, "If you need any assistance, let me know. We carry several different classical dresses from different time periods – " he pointed in towards the back of the store and Cordy sneered at the sight of Buffy and Willow oohing and ahhing over a particularly hideous pink gown," – of course, I understand that most people find costumes like this intimidating
, relying as they do so much on the body type of the wearer – "
me?" He did not just say that!
The man smiled again, falsely apologetic. "I was merely saying that most young girls don't wish to purchase such an, a-hem, revealing
costume – lacking, as it does, all the usual accessories to – ah – hide their flaws, shall we say? Perfectly understandable that you might wish to look elsewhere, and as I said earlier – we have a rather large selection of noblewomen's dresses." His smiled widened, "The full-skirted gowns are especially popular
."That son of a BITCH!
Cordelia's eyes narrowed dangerously. She knew the game he was playing, knew that she would be a foolish to give into such an insulting sales-pitch but… he had hit her where it counted: her pride. She snatched the costume off the rack, inspecting it more closely. It looked a bit like her leopard cat-suit, only far more exotic
"I'll take it," she told him, tone daring a comment.
Instantly he was all charm and twinkling eyes, "An excellent idea, miss. I'll just slip into the back and get you your size… Six, perhaps?"
"I can't take this one?" she asked, ignoring his disturbingly accurate guess.
"Oh no, this is for display purposes only – I'll just be a minute."
She rolled her eyes, "Whatever. And yes, six works." The sooner she got out of here, the better. Cordelia watched him head for the back and grit her teeth, stalking towards the register. It was ridiculous to feel as though she'd been played, after all, she'd gotten what she'd wanted out of the deal too: a great costume. A sudden jolt brought her out of her own head –
"Hey! Watch where you're – oh, it's you," Xander grimaced.
"Isn't that my line, comics-for-brains?"
He rolled his eyes at her, "You're slipping, Queenie
"Only into a higher tax-bracket, Goodwill
," she tossed over her shoulder.
Xander watched her go, If only she came with a mute button…
With a mental headshake, he turned back to the box of guns he had been rifling – no pun intended – through. "Pistol, no. Winchester, no. Samurai sword, no
. AK-47," he paused, then shrugged, "probably not…" He scowled down at the options, jumbled together in a hodgepodge of cheap plastic and metal. "This sucks."
Usually he would be picking through this box with Jesse, laughing and joking around while they mocked and/or bemoaned the inaccuracy of various weapons. Jesse had been something of a gun enthusiast, it came with the rap fixation and his dedicated following of the East Coast vs. West Coast style. That, along with their combined nerdidity (it wasn't a word, but if it had been they would have been a casebook definition) had allowed them to be pretty good judges of the worth of your average Halloween costume. Neither knew a Gucci from a Versace – those were
both designers, right? – but they knew their comic book heroes and weapons.
"Something I can help you with, young man?"
Xander flinched instinctively. Where the hell did he come from?!
"Nope, ah, no thank you." He smiled, "Just browsing."
"Yes, seems to be a surfeit of that sort of behavior," the man muttered. "Is there anything I could help you find?" He seemed genuinely hopeful, "I've been making a bit of a game out of trying to match youngsters up with their ideal costume, wiles away the time until closing."
"Oh, well, in that case… got anything more realistic than this
?" he asked, gesturing towards the bin 'o guns. "But not too
expensive," he added hastily, "I have a limited budget." Veeeery limited. Almost nonexistent.
"Well, being as it is
last minute and I am
trying to get rid of my stock, I'm sure we can come up with some sort of deal," the man said, winking conspiratorially. "Follow me, young man, I'm sure we can find something unique
Xander followed the strange, but helpful, owner back to the science fiction corner, probably the best-stocked part of the store. "Nobody wanted to be Mace Windu?" he asked incredulously, flicking a purple lightsaber.
"No, I'm afraid not. Perhaps you – ?"
"Oh no, not me. Never really been a fan of the whole Jedi-thing. Like some of their codes, but they were kinda monklike. Never really saw myself as the shaved-head-and-prayer type. Not that they're not pretty cool," he added hastily, seeing the man's crestfallen expression. Figures, he's a Brit isn't he? Don't they have Jedi as a religious option on their census or something?
"Just never really liked the sabers, I prefer a more long-range approach." Because nothing says 'dead by dawn' like up-close-and-personal contact with a vampire.
"Hmmm… you are
a tricky one… would something like this
be more your style?" he asked, pushing a few displays aside and pulling out a blue costume – weapon included. He smiled at Xander's excited expression, "If it's not one, then it's the other. You can have it for ten dollars, young man."
"Ten? Really? I couldn't, I mean, it's gotta be worth at least
twice that, with the movie and all…"
"Most likely, but as I said I am trying to deplete my stock and most of these costumes will be out of fashion within the year. Please, you'd be doing me a service. I really am overstocked with this sort of thing, most of the youngsters wanted monster get-ups and generic costume bits this year. Very few actually wanted specific characters
Decided, though it hadn't been much of a decision to begin with, Xander nodded. "I'll take it, it's absolutely perfect." He grinned, "If I'd known you had such great deals, I'd have looked for you last year too!"
"Oh, I'm moving on soon," the proprietor replied. "This town is a bit… small
Xander nodded, not really paying attention while he dug out his money, "Thanks again!"
"No," Ethan smiled as the brunette boy met up with the redhead and blonde from earlier, "thank you
." His grin grew at the sight of another customer entering the building. It was getting late and most of his prospective market was probably already getting ready for the night. Getting those last two teens into some of his more 'special' merchandise had been a coup, but three would be… splendid.
"Um, hi, um – are you the owner?" the teen asked, running a hand through his unkempt hair.
"Yes I am, how can I help you, young man?"
"I, well, I already have my costume, it's just the boots don't work so I was wondering if you had any Superman boots?" he asked hopefully. He was rather short and pudgy for a 'Superman' getup but to each their own, Ethan smiled.
"Right this way, I'm sure I have exactly
what you need…"
This would be a night to remember!~~~~~